There is some crap floating around the internet that Agent Olivia Dunham, played by the very talented Anna Torv, is hard for viewers to connect to. I for one don’t understand it and hopefully after you read this blog you will agree with me or at least revise your opinion of the character.
JJ Abrams in a interview on E! with Kristen that Anna Torv owned the role of Olivia from the moment she auditioned. He said that she like Olivia is “Smart, Funny, Beautiful and Tough.”
The first moment we see her in the pilot, is not as an FBI agent, but as a woman who has apparently just had a very good time with her boyfriend in a cheap motel. I think there is a reason that we see this private Olivia first, so that when she is at work in her Agent mode, we always know that that softer person is there underneath.
Olivia is in several sticky positions when the series starts. First, she’s having an affair with a co-worker, always more dangerous for the female half, she is an interagency liasion and her past history as a US Marine Special Investigator is making her relationship with her new boss very hostile. In fact, he calls her, ” powdered sugar on a glazed donut.”
That’s okay, because Olivia calls him a “petty bastard.”
However, Broyles isn’t the only person that she doesn’t think very highly of at first glance. She is sure even before she meets Peter, that he is going to be, “a massive pain in the ass.” This is a woman who is afraid to tell the man who has told her he loves her that she feels the same way. She is the first to admit that she is not good at the “relationship” thing. So how is it that by the end of their first case she has impressed Broyles so much that he offers her a position in the Fringe division and Peter goes against his instinct to get as far away from what is going on as possible? Broyles and Peter both go from calling her honey and sweetheart to treating her as an equal with all the respect that entails. The Peter and Olivia relationship goes so far that Peter is willing to do anything for her.
The key to Olivia Dunham and the love and loyalty that everyone comes to feel for her comes from a core part of Olivia’s personality, one might even go so far as to say it is the thing that forms the very core of her being. The first thing that becomes apparent about Olivia is that she would do anything for someone she loves. She stands up to her boss, bluffs Peter out of Iraq, gets Walter Bishop, a man she does not particularly like, from a mental hospital and participates in dangerous experiments all to save John Scott’s life.
We have been shown over and over again that this loyalty and sacrifice is who she is. Olivia saved her family from an abusive stepfather at a young age, she shelters her sister and niece in a time of crisis. Most recently she was willing to go back into a building full of infected people at no small risk to herself to rescue Peter and in last week’s episode put her life in Walter’s hands again to try and reawaken an ability to save thousands of lives of people she didn’t know.
This is why no matter how the team is torn apart and it is coming, I have no doubt that Olivia can put Peter back together, reunite the team and save the world. It’s who she is.