Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv)
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On Fringe this week, Alan Ruck joined the succession of initially-well-intentioned scientists in this series who end up breaking the law or causing a tragedy. Aside from Walter Bishop and William Bell, the original Fringe outlaw-science-guys, foremost among them was Peter Weller’s Alistair Peck in the all-time top-10 episode “White Tulip.” In this episode, titled “Os” — it referred to the chemical element osmium, twice as dense as lead — Ruck sported a soup-strainer moustache and hoped to find a way to enable his paralyzed son to rise from his wheelchair.

But first a word from our cameo-role sponsor: Jorge Garcia got himself sprung from Mr. Sunshine long enough to appear as Kevin the Massive Dynamic security guard, alternating bong-hits with Walter, Cream’s “Strange Brew” playing in the background. The latter man was depressed: Since becoming the boss, the most Walter has accomplished, he confided to Hurley — I mean, Kevin — was a new cupcake-frosting flavor, bacon-berry. But gazing at the bank of security cameras, he discovered William Bell’s old office (naughty Nina had never shown him this, of course). This set the episode spinning off, away from Garcia. (His character, we were told, had worked for Bell for “a long time,” and as of this episode, he’s still working there, so we can’t rule out more appearances. I also wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them, either.)

Ruck’s plot involved him injecting young men paralyzed from the waist down with a hybrid of osmium and lutetium, heavy metals that produced an unbearable lightness of being: So unbearable his patients were dying, only to serve as cadavers to be further experimented upon. The parallels to the scientist and his son, and to Walter and Peter, may have been heavy-handed, but Ruck played everything with a sustained, understated touch.

Peter and Olivia spent a lot of time billing and cooing. It was sweet, they’ve earned it, but even better-earned was Peter’s “full disclosure” to her that he’d been fibbing and keeping secrets. He revealed a little office crammed with all his research into the perhaps-not-doomsday machine, as well as everything he knows about the shape-shifters, the Observers, and doubtless numerous dog-eared copies of The First People and the ZFT manifesto.

The pinch-me moment of the night was saved for last. After much howling from Walter about “soul magnets” and his needing to be in contact with Bell, whose soul was “energy” that needed a “vessel” to manifest itself, who did Bell choose to speak through but Olivia. This was a clever development, to be sure; the even more clever decision on the part of everyone involved was to have Anna Torv imitate the voice of Leonard Nimoy, instead of doing the obvious thing and have her lip-synch Nimoy reading the lines. It’s no wonder Torv’s name went a-Twitter trending sky-high after the episode concluded: This was the internet version of an instant Emmy.

What did you think of “Os,” Jorge Garcia’s cameo, and the final Olivia/Bell twist? Do we call the new hybrid Bellivia?

Fringe benefits:

• Walter was in bed with Yoko, and John didn’t object: “It was the ’70s; what could he say?” Where was Annie Liebovitz when we needed her? Next thing you know, we’ll hear that Walter was the one who handed Lennon the Kotex pad at the Troubadour the night John and Harry Nilsson raised such a ruckus…

Twitter: @kentucker

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Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv)
Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, and John Noble star in J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi drama
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