I seem to have been spending all my blogging time watching episodes of the Science Fiction series Fringe recently… So this post is going to address a question that’s been at the forefront of my mind as I watch Season 3. (Warning: Spoilers.)
How would you feel if a doppelganger took over your life for two months and nobody could tell the difference?
Fringe is about a secret division of the FBI which investigates weird stuff, including a conflict with a parallel universe, where there’s an equivalent Fringe Division, complete with doppelganger agents. The mythology of the series and the story arc across the first three series is excellent — and includes for a time the infiltration of ‘our’ Fringe Division by ‘Fauxlivia’, the doppelganger of the show’s hero, Agent Olivia Dunham.
The thing is, none of her colleagues and friends can pick the difference. Fauxlivia impersonates Olivia very well, but she moves differently, speaks differently, behaves differently. (The actress Anna Torv does a great job at subtly differentiating the two characters.) I can’t understand why the characters don’t suspect anything, especially those closest to her. (Aside from the obvious need for plot purposes!) Naturally, when the real Olivia returns, she’s somewhat devastated to find she’d barely been missed.
I’m trying to decide whether this is a plot hole in what is otherwise a fantastic show — because it’s almost impossible for me to believe in the scenario. I cannot imagine, for instance, someone impersonating me so well that people I work with closely every day wouldn’t suspect anything.
But then, I guess we all like to think we’re unique and irreplaceable, don’t we?
Would the lack of doppelganger precedent be sufficient to veil the eyes of my close friends and family, were I to be impersonated? After all, if the very idea of a doppelganger is preposterous, how could the idea of an impersonation even be contemplated?
(Not that this is an excuse in Fringe, where the characters are fully aware of the existence of the Fauxlivia doppelganger, making their lack of insight even worse.)
It’s fascinating to contemplate how far we might be willing to delude ourselves, simply because something seems impossible. How strangely would my impersonator need to act for anyone to realise it wasn’t me?
It’s something of a mind twister. I’d love to hear some other thoughts on this. Any other Fringe fans out there?