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Cherry Pop

'Fringe: The Complete Third Season'
(Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The Fringe team escapes from the parallel universe – except for Olivia, trapped in the other world and replaced in ours by her double, who turns Peter and Olivia’s tentative relationship into a love affair. Then Olivia returns, bonds of trust fray, ever more bizarre and terrifying phenomena occur and secrets that stretch back to 1985 threaten to destroy our universe. Or theirs.

DVD Verdict: For all those not in the know (and if you truly are not in the know you'll never get to know this show coming in at season 3!), 'Fringe' is an American science fiction TV created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The series follows a Federal Bureau of Investigation "Fringe Division" team based in Boston, Massachusetts under the supervision of Homeland Security.

The team uses unorthodox "fringe" science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe.

OK, and before I begin my review, just know that as you yourself watch this captivating TV show on DVD, to keep track of Our world vs. Their world, during the first half of the season, odd-numbered episodes mostly take place in the parallel universe (Their world - and have a red title sequence), while even-numbered episodes mostly take place in the prime universe (Our world - and have the original blue title sequence.)

And then, as we progress through, some episodes (such as 'Entrada') have a title sequence as a mixture of blue and red; and since have been either blue or red or both to signify the universal focus of the episode. Oh, and for episode 15, 'Subject 13' it stands alone in these thoughts for it features a same retro title sequence from 'Peter', with Asimov font and an 80s rendition of the theme song!

Oh, and for the record, 'The Day We Died' has a grey title sequence to indicate the future setting of the episode.

OK, all on track now?! Good, let's continue. In episode one, 'Olivia' we get a flashback to bring us up to date. We see the good Olivia battling in Their world to accept who she is over there and so she tries to find a way home. In 'The Box,' in Our world, the bad Olivia is mixing with everyone as if all was normal, including Peter! A Doomsday device is needed to make a war between the two worlds a reality, but the funniest moment comes when Walter makes a 'silent, but deadly' joke! Also, Dr. Bell (via his Will) leaves him a very nice surprise!

In 'The Plateau,' in Their world, a man can create deadly chain reactions to occur, but why are his targets who they are? In 'Do Shapeshifters Dream of Sheep?', in Our world a Senator is exposed as a Shapeshifter and is now targeted for attack. In 'Amber 31422,' in Their world Amber from a sealing is broken into and a body removed. An old character comes back to say hello! In '6955 khz,' in Our world a radio broadcast is deadly to those listening, but why does it speak numbers over and over - and in different languages each time? Astrid stands up to the mathematical plate here in fine style.

In 'The Abducted,' in Their world, a child is kidnapped by The Candyman - a person stealing (quite literally) their youth! Peter also gets a BIG message delivered to him! In 'Entrada,' Our world the fate of Olivia is revealed to Peter and the real one (finally) comes home. But, in the Olivia timescape swap, a tragedy befalls someone important in one of the worlds. In 'Marionette,' which is quite easily one of the freakiest episodes I have ever seen on TV, a man puts back together a young girl who committed suicide - organ by once-donated organ!

In 'The Firefly,' a brilliant Christopher Lloyd stars as an old rocker from a band that Walter used to love - Violet Sedan Chair! But, his link to Walter runs deeper, way deeper than just music. This episode turns out to be a test set by The Observers. In 'Reciprocity,' the Machine gets built from all the pieces found around the world, but nobody knows how to work it! Walter, trying to regrow back some of the brain that was removed by his counterpart in Their world, tries some Chimp DNA - and so we get a nice moment with a banana split and some ape like gestures! Oh, and Peter becomes a killer! In 'Concentrate and Ask Again,' a toxic biological gas that removes your bones from your body once inhaled is targeting certain people - but why them? A mind reader is brought in and proves to make this an entertaining episode.

In 'Immortality,' a man and his skelter beetles are causing havoc and bad Olivia aka "Fauxlivia" gets some bad news. In '6B,' another highly entertaining episode, a supposedly haunted building could well be another so-called soft spot for a vortex to come through. As for Peter and the real Olivia, well, they finally get together in Our world! In 'Subject 13,' a flashback episode to 1985, Peter and his wife are still at odds over the child they have - Peter, but not 'their' Peter, which he now suspects - and a freaky mind meld of Good vs. Bad worlds come to the fore.

In 'Os,' a liquid metal is stolen to allow a man - the always-great Alan Ruck ('Spin City') to combine with another element to inject into wheelchair-bound people; in the hopes that it will enable them to walk again. Great idea, save for the fact that what he injects them with makes them float!! In 'Stowaway,' Dr. Bell comes back through a ring of a bell, but only his mind, which is now inside Olivia! She even gets to speak like him, but in her own voice - which is pretty sweet and yet weird at the same time (to watch and listen to!) The storyline is one of a female suicide jumper that just cannot die!

In 'Bloodline,' "Fauxlivia" is pregnant and kidnapped, has her pregnancy accelerated, and then has her baby in a Chinese food store - it's a long story! But for what true purpose is revealed right at the end. In 'Lysergic Acid Diethylamide,' the gang link up and enter Olivia's mind to try and "find her" and get Dr. Bell out and into a computer! This episode is nearly ALL animated and flows just like a comic book. The special features on the creation of the episode say that it normally takes up to a year to create such a thing - and yet for this episode, they only had 4 weeks!

In '6:02 AM EST,' a vortex opens and kills cattle and people on a farm. The Machine sparks into life, without Peter, and so he tries to turn it off himself - not a good idea, as it turns out! "Fauxlivia" tries to do something good about the upcoming war, but fails. In 'The Last Sam Weiss,' Peter is recovering, but not quickly and not without residual brain effects. Walter figures out that the Machine has to be moved closer to the one on Their world, which means a huge move to Liberty Island.

In the season ending final episode, 'The Day We Died,' most all of the episode jumps to 2026 - once Peter has strapped himself into the Machine - and it all includes some major shocking news ... and one MASSIVE shock moment you won't want to miss! A confusing ending, for me, it has to be said, but one that is explained on Wikipedia by the writers in their summary of what to expect from Season Four. Oh, and once you hit the red dot on the Episode page, you will get a longer version of the funeral scene! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Duality of Worlds: Four featurettes exploring The Other You, Visualizing an Alternate World, A Machine of Destiny and The Psychology of Duality
Animating the “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” Episode
Constructing an Extrasensory Soundscape
Experience “Os” (Episode 316) in Selectable Maximum Episode Mode with Pop-Up Experience-Enhancing Commentaries and Featurettes
Commentary on “The Plateau” with Monica Owusu-Breen, Jeff Pinkner and Timothy Good
Commentary on “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” with Jay Worth, Luyen Vu, and Tanya Swerling
Unusual Side Effects: Gag Reel
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