FRINGE REWATCH: 3.01 Olivia — Painted Walls & Cheerful Colors


Our Fringe Rewatch continues as we search for new perspectives ahead of the fourth season. Up next: Olivia – or what we’re calling: “Painted Walls & Cheerful Colors.”

Please note: these rewatches may contain references to later episodes.

In case you didn’t manage to rewatch this episode, here’s a promo to give you a sense of where the story was:

This retrospective is focused around two main areas: NEW PERSPECTIVES, where I look at the episode with new eyes. And FINDING PETER, where I share my speculations and thoughts in relation to Peter ‘ceasing to exist’ and the new timeline.

As mentioned previously, I’ll be making an effort to avoid going over old ground, but there will be links at the end to my previous rewatch articles should you wish to drill down on my previous thoughts.


Could Olivia find herself in a similar situation in season 4?

  • The opening scene with Dr. Anderson and Olivia could be viewed in relation to the new timeline. Just replace Olivia’s certainty that she’s from another reality with the same degree of belief that she’s from an alternate timeline. Could we see something like this in season 4?
  • The big difference in season 4 would be that Olivia is home.
  • The fact that Olivia ultimately clung onto her identity throughout her AU ordeal is even more impressive for someone who doesn’t remember large chunks of their childhood. That said, she’s been awake for a while now, and as the saying goes: Olivia never fails. Perhaps forgetting those parts of her childhood was a good thing?
  • Walternate put so much hope on understanding Olivia’s ability, believing, and getting others to believe, that it would help them “win this war.” Altlivia getting pregnant changed that focus, though I’m curious as to what Walternate would have done if he more time to perfect the over there Cortexiphan experiments?
  • Lincolnate says Altlivia is “good at disguises.” Not sure that really hit me the first time I saw this episode. It has far greater weight now (even though the actual Altlivia was pretty rotten at pretending to be Olivia!)
  • I like this line in relation to where the story is now:

“I know that the treatment can feel worse than the disease. But they’re just trying to fix you.” — Lincolnate

  • Dare we view the universes as characters in their own right? Not based on this one line, of course, but it’s clear that the alternate universe concept is a representation of a few things, one of them being the subconscious mind.

Olivia remembers..but the memories are not her own.

  • Olivia ‘remembers’ her mother after capturing the sensations of home. It reminds me somewhat of little Peter as she caves in and buys into a reality that isn’t hers.
  • The painted walls scene with Mother Dunham is particularly good for many reasons, particularly because it reveals interesting aspects of Altlivia’s world view, while simultaneously contrasting it with Olivia’s. It’s almost as if Altlivia’s cheerful outlook papers over Olivia’s more torn perspective.

Mother Dunham: “You picked the colors. I wanted blue, but you convinced me to use..”

Olivia: “YELLOW. Because it was more cheerful.”

  • And let’s not end without mentioning Peter’s trick to save a dying Pen:

“Do you want me to fix it or not?” — Peter

  • Fix, fix, fix. You’re always fixing things aren’t you, Peter?

Retrospective Rating: 9/10 Seriable Stars

Want more? Check out my previous Olivia write-ups:

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    • says

      FinChase: I agree. All in all, 3.01 is the best S3 episode. Though, I’m curious to see whether I change my mind on that during this third leg of our rewatch.

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  1. Kira says

    >>>Lincolnate says Altlivia is “good at disguises.” Not sure that really hit me the first time I saw this episode. It has far greater weight now (even though the actual Altlivia was pretty rotten at pretending to be Olivia!)<<<

    I wonder about that too. :)
    But Lincoln is talking about the object of his affect. 😀

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