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>Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee (TV)


Fringe 3.12 was ostensibly about a bone-dissolving compound – as in dissolving the bones seconds after anyone breathes it in, leaving the victim just about instantly filleted.  On a deeper level, the episode was about the few satisfactions and many perils of mental telepathy – that is, how difficult a normal life is if you can read everyone’s minds – with Fringe taking a page from True Blood.   But the deepest and most long-range significant level of Fringe 3.12 was about who Peter really loves – Olivia or Fauxlivia – and why that is so important not only to Olivia but our universe.

Fauxlivia is still on and in Peter’s mind, whatever he may say to Olivia to the contrary.  We see this early on in the story, when Peter brings Olivia a coffee with milk – she likes her coffee black, with sugar, and the realization that Fauxlivia liked her coffee with milk certainly is not sweet to Olivia.  The telepath – someone whom Walter kicked out of the experimental children’s group (of which Olivia was a part) because he didn’t want anyone to read his mind and know he had kidnapped Peter – reads Peter’s mind, writes down what he finds, and gives the paper to Olivia.  She reads that Peter still has feelings for her alternate self.

This a tough situation for Olivia, to say the least.  She feels she has been damaged by the experimentation done upon her as a child.   She has trouble expressing her feelings, and is more withdrawn than Fauxlivia, who smiles and acts more easily.   So who will Peter choose?  Good, slightly damaged Olivia, or bad, totally together and more vibrant Fauxlivia?   And will it help Olivia’s cause if she confronts Peter about his mind-read feelings?

But Fringe raises the ante another notch, with the revelation – from the guy in the bowling alley to Nina – that Peter’s choice of Olivia vs. Fauxlivia will do much more than determine Olivia’s happiness.  It will determine which of the two universes will survive.

A nice profound development, in an episode which did have at least one cool touch and one hilarious bit of secret history.  The cool touch with was the book on the shelf by Dr. Spock, as Nina looked at pictures of her and William Bell.   And the secret history?   Walter says that Pat Nixon came on to him.   Can’t get much better in cracked secret history than that.


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