After the lackluster previous episode, "Momentum Deferred" got Fringe right back on track with an exciting plot-packed episode. Shape-shifters are stealing heads from cryonics labs across the East Coast as Olivia's memory begins to return, and because this is Fringe we're talking about, the two events seem to be related. Plus: Walter seeks the aid of a former test subject and Evil Charlie's plans come to a head.
Wow, this episode got a lot out of the way. I expected there to be plenty of revelations - after all this was the episode where William Bell returned - but there was more than even I expected. If all the plot machinations meant there was little room for character and emotional beats in the story, so be it: The creators pretty much set up the entire rest of the season (or series) with this episode. The opening appeared to be setting up another "freak-of-the-week" storyline but it soon turned out to be so much more. The shape-shifters (under the eye of Evil Charlie) are stealing heads from cryonics labs and looking for something... or rather someone.
The most important occurrence of this episode was Walter whipping up a flatworm shake for Olivia. I'll admit the explanation for the flatworms helping Olivia remember what happened on the other side was a little suspect, even for Fringe, but I was more than happy to gloss over it. This, of course, led to a few momentary flashbacks while Olivia was on the job; and just when I started to worry we would only get quick, cryptic flashes, we got the whole dang flashback!
I loved the way Bell treats Olivia in this scene. He tries to be warm and welcoming ("Call me Willem") and acts as if this is some great reunion. But Olivia isn't having any of it, and she shouldn't! This man inexorably changed the direction of Olivia's life and she's more than a little pissed about it. Anna Torv and the writers really deserve kudos for making Olivia forceful and strong without making her come off as a complainer who curses her lot in life. After all, we wouldn't have a show if Bell-y hadn't done what he did. Bell explained to her that a war was coming and the shape-shifters, also known as "The First Wave," were looking for someone who could open a door between their two universes. He has confidence Olivia can be the one to stop the nefarious plot because she was always the strongest and she's "just coming into [her] abilities." I personally cannot wait to see what the extent of those abilities might be.
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