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April 23, 2014

'Fringe' Season 3, Episode 4 Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 15th 2010 6:45AM
'Fringe' - 'Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?['Fringe' - 'Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?']

Anyone familiar with the Philip K. Dick Novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' -- or the movie 'Blade Runner' for that matter -- likely anticipated what this episode was going to explore. Back in the alpha-universe, as it were, we start to get an idea of how far the shapeshifters have infiltrated this society, though we're still in the dark as to what any of them are hoping to accomplish.

Those of you hoping to get a definitive name change for this version of Olivia have made your voices heard. With 61 percent of the vote in last week's poll, she will now, and forevermore, be known as ... Fauxlivia. (Let's have a quick shout-out to commenter Apotheos for being the first to bring this name to us.) At least I can take some solace that my suggestion, Altlivia, polled higher numbers than the producers's own Bolivia.


Throughout the episode, we encountered three shapeshifters. One, a high-ranking senator, another a police officer and family man, and third, Thomas Newton, who Fauxlivia has been bullying around all season long. While the Senator's death set a chain of events into motion that led to our Fringe team being more aware of the shapeshifters than they have been to date, it was through the explorations of Newton and Ray, the police officer, that we could see the different sides of the lives these almost-men lead.

Half machine, half human, we've mostly seen their goal-oriented side. The senator had a wife that he seemed to have genuine emotion for, as shown through Walter's neural stimulus tests, but with Ray we got to see a shapeshifter with a family that he genuinely cared for. When Newton came calling with a new assignment, Ray said it had been five years. It looks like Ray went native in that time and had set up a life for himself.

Unfortunately for Ray, Newton was as unconcerned about his life as he was about the senator's, and ultimately his own. A good soldier until the end, Newton did his job, followed orders whether he liked it or not and committed suicide on command. Ray, on the other hand, followed his orders but not completely. He hedged his bets that he could step in when needed and do his work for the other side without having to sacrifice his family and the life he'd built for himself.

You could hardly blame the man. He'd been left to his own devices for five years, so what's to say he goes in and grabs the chip from the senator's spine and they leave him alone for another half-decade? That's a pretty sweet deal for him to get to live a life he surely stole from the real Ray. But would you notice if someone was switched on you?

Patricia Van Horn, the senator's wife, wondered if she should have, and Peter revealed to Fauxlivia that he'd noticed changes in her since their time on the other side. Only he attributed the changes to the trauma she experienced over there and didn't even appear to be considering the possibility that she'd been switched with her double. I expected more out of him, but then he does appear to be looking through somewhat love-colored glasses these days.

A little more difficult to peg was exactly how Fauxlivia sees things. She had to take a few moments to herself this week, but it's not clear why. She's clearly having some emotional difficulties with whatever her orders are. Newton detected it in Ray, and he detected it in Fauxlivia. She's a good soldier, but she's a human being. And as we've discussed, she's not a cookie-cutter bad guy from the comic books. She's every bit as three-dimensional and complicated as the Olivia that's running around with her Fringe Division.

But I'm left to wonder about her motives in bringing Peter to her room. First she said to him, "I lied to you," but when he asked about it she said she didn't want to talk. Apparently she wanted to let her fingers and other body parts do the talking. But was she on the verge of confessing that she wasn't his Olivia? Did she change her mind and decide to use distraction to throw him off the scent, as she did a couple of weeks ago when her bathroom was bleeding out?

The show has barely touched on the possibilities for the team and Walter now that he's in charge of Global Dynamics. Nina Sharp was there briefly to essentially give her blessing to the whole thing, and then we got to see Walter traumatize a group of scientists by tripping out while lecturing them, culminating in him trying to take his pants off. They're also going to have to learn to keep their labs well-stocked with candy and other goodies that Walter might suddenly be craving.

He seemed to be taking well to the idea of being able to work at Massive Dynamics over his old lab at Harvard, which was a real progression for the character. In the first season, he used his own lab as almost a crutch to his social anxieties, and now it was absolutely nothing to start work in a whole new environment. It helps, I'm sure, that he now has the latest in state-of-the-art technology within an arm's reach.

As was said in the episode. With shoddy equipment and his lab at Harvard he was able to open a wormhole to a parallel dimension. Imagine what havoc he could wreak with all of this at his disposal. I can scarcely imagine, but I'm more than looking forward to finding out.

'Fringe' airs Thurs., 9PM ET on Fox.

[Follow Jason @ultraversion21 on Twitter.]

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radfordavenue

Just a thought. The cop went to MD to take the "butt brain" out of the senator's body - which Fauxlivia now has. But by then end of the episode, the Fringe team now has access to the cop's and (after his suicide - assuming it didn't get damaged by whatever he did) Newton's bodies. Can't they get information out of them?
And wouldn't it raise anyone's suspicions that Newton committed suicide right after "Olivia" visited him?

October 17 2010 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil

Is Anna Torv not looking sexier these days?? And has actually grown into the role. Still I don't see any difference between the Olivias. They both are loyal to themselves, their friends and allies and the jobs that they do. Olivia in the other than our universe who comes from what we believe to be our universe is just being wound up right now, but the so-called Faux Olivia is doing her job. Neither are really evil. Also I'm getting impressed by the Astrid character(s) and the actress who plays her. . . I'm also glad they brought back Kirk Acevado. I wish they had more for Lance Reddick to do. But still this season has been a wow one for me. Kudos all around.

October 17 2010 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Alan

Awesome episode. I love that they're not afraid to let the characters and situations change and progress. Great mix of character development and action this week--Walter even got a chance to be a badass!

I think the idea about Fauxlivia's feelings was that she wasn't sleeping with Peter because she was faithful to her husband. Newton was pointing out that she couldn't let those feelings for her husband stop her from fully playing out what Olivia would be doing, and her decision at the end was to embrace that.

Random thought: Lisa Simpson, Sheldon Cooper, and Walter Bishop. Three of the smartest and best characters on television. (Even if The Simpsons isn't nearly what it used to be.) All big fans of Red Vines. (Lisa in the episode A Star Is Torn, and the other two in last night's episodes, although at least in Walter's case we've seen it before as well.) Not sure why this is important, but I feel it is.

October 15 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brett Alan's comment
Michael

Dr. Dude is not fluxlivias husband. It's her boyfriend

October 15 2010 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leroy

I'm glad Fauxlivia won. It is the perfect companion name to Walternate in that, when pronounced, they both contain not only the complete character name, but the complete word designating the difference.

October 15 2010 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Leroy's comment
Gordon Werner

never mind that it's the name used on pretty much every other forum discussing Fringe

October 15 2010 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach

Misty, I think you're in part right to that it was a booty call in why she called im over. However I don't think it was entirely to gain his trust, remember Newton said she has conflicts when she has those moments before sleep at night. I think in part it was to help her get over that.

Fringe has been great this season. At this point in the series I think it's better then Lost was (especailly since they had that dreadful 3rd season) and we keep on making advancements in the story lines. Can't wait till after baseball it comes back. And... Lets Go Yankees!!!

October 15 2010 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Apotheos

Oh sweet sweet victory! Does it get any better then virtual kudos from an online TV blog? I think not.

RE - Fauxlivia's inability to "shimmer". She can't shimmer because she wasn't exposed to cortexiphin as a child in Jacksonville. Only real Olivia was involved in those experiments that awoke that ability.

October 15 2010 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Misty

What she said was "I lied...I didn't want to talk." In other words, "Surprise - that was a booty call."

She's got to make Peter trust her, especially now that he's admitted thinking she's different. She never intended to confess anything.

October 15 2010 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Picviewer

Just realized something but can't Olivia tell she's not the alternate one? Sure she has the memories overlayed from the alternate but can't she see the shimmer of everyone and thing? Or is it only when things from there are here?

October 15 2010 at 7:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Picviewer's comment
J

I wondered that too, like when's the shimmer going to kick in?

My theory is that she isn't using it because she is no longer aware of that ability.

I was all... you can't kill that kid and they were all... we'll let 'em live this time and I was all... sweet.

October 15 2010 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

Olivia can detect items from the alternate universe when they are in our universe. While inside the alternate universe ... I would imagine if the same effect even happened ... that she would only see herself shimmer. But remember it was something that she had to actively work on being able to see ... so in her confused who she is state ... it is possible that she wouldn't even notice if she was shimmering herself.

October 15 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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