Fringe Season 3 Episode 19 “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide”

 

Take 3 parts Inception to one part ‘Fantastic Voyage’ mix them under the gentle heat of the fashion of animated episodes and add a touch of cinnamon and in nutshell we have this episode. It’s Fringe dusting off it’s old hookey cliché sci-fi and having a ball with it. There are spoilers in the line work of this review.

 

This was a potentially risky episode and give some of the missed beats we’ve experienced recently I thought it might fall apart. I was wrong for all the impressive animation and little genre nods (I think I saw a bit of the Matrix in the early live action scenes) this was an episode with strong writing and that rested on the performances of the excellent regular cast.

 

For once all the cast got a good crack at the whip. Lance Reddick gets to do comedy and show us he can smile, which after 5 seasons of the Wire and 3 of Fringe came as a shock. More importantly his performance was very believable.  The rest of regulars and a special guest get to do a stellar turn from inside Olivia’s mind. Anna Torv gets a bit of rest this episode but her performance is essential to deliver the threat in the opening portions of the tale and to deliver that killer sting at the end, but more on that later.

 

The animation is well done. It’s good the cast are all confident voice actors as one can’t expression the subtleness of emotion as well in animation. All the micro-movements get lost. Of course what the animation does allow is for Fringe to go mega budget with Zombies, Blimp chases, parachute fights and all other manner of fun and games. That’s where this episode fills its boots.

 

Some might ask ‘what’s the point of this episode ?’ I think it let’s us see Walter andBellin action one last time. The dynamic between them seems true and echoes what one expects from the show and to me, also rang true to the prequel comic as well.  To use an overused modern phrase I think the episode gives a sense of closure to the Bell-Walter relationship. It also is a nice nod to certain other roles Nimoy might have played.

 

Once again that annoyingly talented Torv woman manages to steal the show.  When I first started to watch Fringe I used to moan how dull Olivia was. What an idiot I was. Torv managed to harness her natural charisma and keep it locked down in Olivia’s clipped WASP type mannerisms and 1990s professional action hero demeanour. When let off the rein in the breezy confident Fauxlivia or the creepy lecherous Belivia  we see it come out and be used in two different ways. Here with the ‘freed’ Olivia the easy option, the lazy option would be to revert to playing Olivia as Fauxlivia. That however is not what Anna Torv does – she seems to dial it in exactly right and ‘our’ Olivia is recognisable in this more confident woman.

 

And then the writers sucker punched us.

 

If you haven’t guessed I loved this episode.

 

5/5 stars

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