As you'll know if you watch it, or if you've read or heard much about it, the show got super good towards the end of season 2, and 9 episodes into season 3 I'm not only totally invested emotionally in what's going on, I'm impressed by how strong the storytelling has been. Parallel Universes FTW.
"Marionette" absolutely blew me away, not because of the monster of the week (who was, admittedly, both creepy and tragic), but because of the intimate and devastating story of Olivia's heartbreak. Like most people, I can't get truly hooked on a show without loving the characters, and I can't love the characters if I'm not invested in their relationships; so, while the scifi aspect of the show went from okay to awesome the moment we were properly introduced to Earth 2, the real reason the show started working better is because the emotional stakes were raised so high: Peter and Walter's relationship was tested, and, more importantly, Olivia confessed her love for Peter.
I was so angry with Peter for not realising that Fauxlivia wasn't his Olivia, and for a few episodes there I was appalled at his stupidity. What, you don't even *consider* that a switch happened? You're supposed to be a genius! But then, in "Marionette", the truth comes out: on some level Peter knew the truth, but he ignored it, because - and this is what makes the episode genuinely heartbreaking, as well as wonderfully brave - he liked Fauxlivia better.
Now, I have major, major problems with Fauxlivia - why does it take Peter to explain to her that the genocide of billions of innocent people is unacceptable? I don't understand how she can be a hero in her own world but a cold blooded murderer in ours; she lost my sympathy the moment she murdered the deaf man, and while I understand that she's a soldier on a mission, she behaved too villainously for me to really be able to continue loving/admiring her. So while I, like Peter, find her more charismatic and fun than Ourlivia, I also hated her for her actions on Earth 1. Surely spending time in the company of the good people in the Fringe division should have made her see how atrocious her mission was. There were obviously moments of doubt, and obviously she developed (some) real feelings for Peter, but there also appeared to be no remorse for her crimes, nor any real lesson learned (although perhaps that will be rectified in the future? Don't spoil me, I'll find out in the next couple of days :P), and that's why she doesn't hold a candle to Ourlivia in the hero department.
I thought Torv and Jackson acted the shit out of the complex emotions generated by Peter's actions. He knew from the outset that he'd fucked his chances to be with Olivia, but he also knew he had to tell her, and I love that he told her straight away; that was the right thing to do and I respected him for it. But it was Olivia's reaction to his confession that tore my heart out and ripped it to shreds. First, she says she's fine, because it IS understandable that he would not notice the difference, but as the hours crawl by the far more difficult truth sinks in: it is absolutely not okay that Peter didn't know Fauxlivia wasn't her, and, what's worse, what cannot be forgiven, is that he did, on some level, know it wasn't her and he turned a blind eye. This was basically confirmed at the end of the episode when she tells him she doesn't want to be with him and rather than fighting for her he just says, "I'm sorry".
That's by far the most powerful drama the show has done so far, imo, although I am worried that the show can't sustain the roll its on. I also miss Earth 2 and the Earth 2 team (Alt-Broyles! *SOB*) and I do hope we will visit them again soon. Our Walter is waaaaay more wonderful than Walternate though omg.