Awww thank you, my fellow Fringie. :) <3
(Long but definitely worth reading. I haven’t seen such a well constructed, well thought of comment. It’s a great sum of the season concerning Altlivia and the layers she lacks and her underdevelopment.)
… I will say that I feel more sympathy for her now than I did at the beginning of the season, so I guess that’s something. That said, the sympathy that’s there is still barely enough to register on my sympathy scale. There hasn’t been enough development in her character to justify why I should sympathize for her.
Let’s recap, shall we? Altlivia came over here, infiltrated the Fringe team while pretending to be Olivia, lied to everyone she came in contact with, prevented the Fringe team from succeeding in their efforts against Newton and his shapeshifters, killed innocent people, manipulated everyone, stole vital pieces of the machine, slept with Peter, and effectively destroyed everything good in Olivia’s life. And I should feel sympathy for her, why?
Sure, she has suffered a bit since returning over there. Her life was lived in while she was away. She broke up with her boyfriend. She found out she was pregnant. She was abducted and nearly died giving birth. But really if you think about it, all of those things are nothing more than consequences from her own actions. She chose to cheat on her boyfriend. Her actions led to her pregnancy, when she knew full well the possibility that she could be at risk of being a carrier. She’s simply living the consequences of her actions. And while I do sympathize for what she has to go through, she asked for it by making the choices that she made.
The whole argument that she really had no choice and that she was only doing what was necessary to defend her world only goes so far for me. While I can understand how the safety of her world and her feelings of obligation to protect her world is certainly a strong motivating force, and a good reason for doing “whatever it takes”, it still doesn’t justify what she has done in the name of defending her side.
For one, from the time she spent over here, she KNOWS that over here is NOT trying to destroy over there. She KNOWS that the people over here are simply trying to protect their own world. She KNOWS that the few people over here who are even aware of over there, are trying to avoid damaging over there. She learned firsthand that what Walternate said about the people over here was completely false. From her experiences over here, she should have realized that no one over here is attacking over there. And that knowledge greatly diminishes the argument that she had to do what she did to protect her side from the evil monsters who are out to destroy them. The threat is not what it appears to be, thus her actions were out of line.
Secondly, even without the knowledge she gained from her time over here, there are other options. She didn’t have to compromise her values. She didn’t have to sell herself. She didn’t have to stoop as low as murder and adultery. She could have found another way. Olivia would have.
In fact, Olivia has had to make similarly difficult decisions in the past. In Bad Dreams, she had Nick Lane actually request for her to kill him in order to prevent further deaths. She would have been perfectly justified for granting his request. But she couldn’t bring herself to do it. And she found another way. Altlivia, on the other hand, killed a man in cold blood with nothing more than an apology that he couldn’t even hear. If she had been in Olivia’s place in Bad Dreams, I imagine she would have resorted to giving Nick what he asked for and killing him. And I believe that if Olivia had been in Altlivia’s position, she would have found another way. No way she would have killed him like that.
(On a side note, it has been argued that Altlivia’s actions in killing the man weren’t that bad, since Newton would have killed him anyway. That’s not the point. It doesn’t matter if he would have died anyway. She didn’t have to be the one to pull the trigger. She could have refused, argued that it was unnecessary, tried to protect the man. But instead she gave in to Newton’s pressure and killed the man. She did nothing to try and stop it, so the guilt and the responsibility is all hers).
Just like Altlivia, Olivia has also been given the huge responsibility of protecting her side. And she’s doing that. But she’s also doing everything she can to protect the other side at the same time. She was a prisoner over there, and was subjected to some pretty terrible treatment. She has a pretty good reason to be bitter and not have very positive feelings for the other side. But she acknowledges that the majority of the people over there are good, innocent people and she’s committed to doing everything in her power to saving them. In contrast, Altlivia was treated to a perfectly lovely life while over here, complete with people who loved her and took care of her. Yet she’s still working against the people over here and is willing to kill anyone who gets in her way. She doesn’t care if those people who cared for her, who she supposedly developed feelings for, are all destroyed. That’s just not right.
Altlivia is in a unique position where she could be making a difference in shifting the perspective of the people over there. She is a lead member of Fringe Division and a person of influence. She could confide in Lincoln and Charlie and others. She could tell them what she knows and convince them to help her work against Walternate and try to work with over here instead of working to destroy over here. She could cause them to completely rebel and change their approach. She could make a difference. But she hasn’t even tried. She has simply returned home and is content to follow Walternate’s orders as he leads them in a war to destroy over here. That suggests that she has no attachment to anyone over here and that she has no concern for what happens to them. As long as her side survives. It’s a very narrow-minded attitude that is in sharp contrast to the attitudes of Olivia and Peter and the others over here. It doesn’t make me feel any sympathy for her.
We haven’t seen any sign of guilt, remorse, or concern from her in what she has done or what she is doing. We haven’t seen her struggle against the choices she felt she was forced to make. We never saw her consider that there might be other alternatives. Sure, there were little hints here and there, but nothing at all equivalent to match the magnitude of the things she has done. And I suppose part of that is to be blamed on the writers for not depicting those emotions. It might be more of a case of not showing that it’s there rather than that those emotions just don’t exist. But they have had opportunity throughout this season, and by not showing her emotions and her reactions to these moments, she is depicted as a bit heartless.
So, to summarize, yes, it was nice to see a bit more of a softer, more vulnerable side to her as she was abducted, faced with death, gave birth, and became a mother. But they have a lot to make up for and they’re going to have to do a lot better than that for me to come close to sympathizing for her in the same way I do for other characters. I don’t think she is a bad, evil character. She is a generally good, honorable person who was put in a really tough situation. But that does not mean I like her, sympathize for her, or support her choices. The things she has done say a lot about her character, and I don’t like what it says.
(Now, how many people actually read all of that? If I had authorization to award points, I would give a cortexi-point to anyone who actually reads this whole comment!)
Flawless post is flawless.
German Trailer | 3x10 - “Das Glühwürmchen” (The Firefly)