“How would you like to send back their Olivia? Alive or dead? Because I feel there are very valuable parts for study, and I would just have to replace their mass.”
– Alt-Brandon

There’s a lot going on in “Entrada”: Fauxlivia is exposed; Our Olivia is being held against her will on the Other Side; and Alt-Broyles is debating his loyalty to Walternate. But I want to zero in on the character who turns Our Olivia’s struggle to escape into a battle of life or death: Alt-Brandon.

Walternate is not a cruel man. He may be ruthless and vengeful, but he is not cruel. He never specifically intended to kill Our Olivia. He viewed her as a test subject, but like his counterpart in Our universe, he also viewed her as a human. However, in Alt-Brandon’s eyes, Olivia is just another test subject in a lab. Her life or death is irrelevant in his pursuit of knowledge.

Out of all the pairs of Prime Universe and Alternate Universe characters, the Our-Brandon/Alt-Brandon pair is the most chilling. Our Brandon is a harmless nerd, giddy and enthusiastic about the frontiers of science that he gets to explore at Massive Dynamic, eager to share his knowledge with others. On the other hand, Alt-Brandon seems like a twisted, perverse version of his Prime Universe counterpart. He has a similar obsession with science, but his is more focused – colder, even. In his mind, the pursuit of scientific knowledge trumps all. Right and wrong are of no concern to him; he’ll cut open a woman and rip out her organs while she’s awake if it can give him the answer to a scientific question. He has no qualms about doing anything – no morals, no limitations. He represents science taken to a extreme, science without ethical boundaries.

In this way, Alt-Brandon acts as a foil for Walternate. The thought of extracting Our Olivia’s brain tissue never even occurred to Walternate. He did approve of Alt-Brandon’s plan, but one gets the sense that he might not be as gung-ho about scientific experimentation as his most trusted scientist. Walternate may have boundaries, and we’ll find out about them in due course.

For more information on the Fringe rewatch project, please click here. For my review of “Entrada,” please click here.

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