Well it looks like Fringe's unevenness in terms of quality is to persist into this season. The odd/alternate universe stories are dull--although the season premiere was the strongest of the three.
The alternate universe Fringe team just isn't that interesting and alternate Astrid is just bad--the actress does good with her regular persona but she doesn't have the range to pull off this--we are talking cringe-worthy here. The efforts to give some personality to the rest of the team has failed miserably. I can't take any of them seriously--it is like a team full of Harry Kims--weak actors portaying bland goofballs--some of the dialog was just embarrassing. And Broyles is as wooden as Robert Beltran's Chakotay. And I can see that one of the writers goal is to have Olivia invest in these people--but I could care one iota what happens to them--so on that front they have failed miserably--just cardboard cut-outs.
I guess they've decided this season to relegate forgettable standalone MacGuffin plots to the alternate episodes--I don't even know why they bother--it is clear even the writers' hearts aren't into them. This one wasn't the least bit interesting--if you are going to do a standalone story at least make them worthwhile and entertaining not some baggage that drags the whole hour down. Standalones actually used to be fairly entertaining but with Fringe they are just used as necessary filler to drag out the arc storyline.
The only interesting parts--which add up to oh say maybe 4 minutes of the hour--centered on Olivia's brief visit to her universe and the realization that something is up but I hated the tired cliched use of a person in her life--Peter--representing her original buried personality. And of course we get the standard scientific mumbo jumbo with Olivia finding herself once again in a tank of water--the only difference is that it is a tad more modern than the rust bucket Walter would occasionally dump her in.
A very mediocre offering. Average.