Fringe: Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep? (Review)

Fringe: Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep? (Review)

Fringe-Do-Shapeshifters-Dream-of-Electric-Sheep-GroupStarting off in our world, Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Bolivia (Anna Torv) are having a nice, comfortable dinner, taking in the people around them. They are having a contest on reading other couples. There are definite parallels to Peter’s current “relationship” with Bolivia, though whether he realizes it remains to be seen. When they leave, Bolivia takes a moment to herself, temporarily removing the mask hiding her concern.

Soon after pulling away from a girls’ lemonade, Senator James Van Horn (Gerard Plunkett) is in a car accident. He is taken to the hospital where doctors are aware of his breathing but lack of a pulse. Before the doctors can get to work on him, Newton (Sebastian Roche) appears on a mission to remove the Senator from exposure. He kills several doctors before retreating after being shot by Broyles (Lance Reddick). Before he escapes, he shoots the Senator in the head. When Broyles gets to the Senator’s body, the mercury leaking from the bullet wound confirms him as a shape shifter.

Broyles and company gather, determined to find just when the Senator was subverted. Concerned about her mission and cover, Bolivia questions Newton who justifies his actions and doesn’t hide his doubts on her ability to succeed with her secret mission.

Walter takes to studying the shape shifter, attempting to gain any type of access to its memories. While he is doing this, Peter and Bolivia are traversing the Senator’s office when Peter discovers files on all the Fringe agents and every case that they’ve worked on. Taking it to Broyles, they soon discover Walter’s success in tapping into the shape shifter’s brain. Walter hypothesizes that using the emotional attachment the shape shifter created with the Senator’s wife can be used to tap into the neural pathways and provide them access to potentially advantageous data.

Despite the plan not working quite as expected, as many geniuses are, an idea occurs to Walter by the most innocuous of conversations—one that involves animal crackers. He identifies the true location of the shape shifter’s data storage unit at the base of the spine and not the brain. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one.  Ray Duffy (Marcus Giamatti), a sleeper agent tasked earlier by Newton, arrives back at the lab just behind Walter. He takes possession of the device, injuring Walter in the process before escaping from Massive Dynamic.

Meeting Newton back at his home, Duffy passes on the device and is killed by Newton for refusing to leave his family. Emotional attachments, it seems, is a veritable chink in the shape shifter’s—and maybe even Bolivia’s—armor.

As Newton is throwing Duffy’s body in the trunk, Bolivia and Peter arrive, setting off a chase which ends with Newton crashing in a freeway tunnel, allowing Bolivia to take possession of the data storage unit. Later, she visits him in a holding cell, boasting on getting the job done as she hands him a clear microchip-like film. Before ingesting the film that acts as a cyanide pill, he tells Bolivia just why she will fail; she pretends not to care but cannot hide the fact that she truly does and it prevents her from being fully committed to the mission. The words have their desired effect as she walks away with doubt and confusion etched on her face.

The episode is capped off with an event nearly two years in the making (or it would have been were this the true Olivia) as Peter and Bolivia consummate a relationship that really is no relationship at all.

Or will it be?

  • The show continues to burn steady. Each episode furthers the overall story arc as well as peeling off hidden layers for each character. Bolivia’s continued development will be something to watch throughout this arc.
  • Speaking of Bolivia, how about her taking that leap with Peter?! I have to wonder, did she do it to throw Peter off or prove something to herself and to a deceased Newton? Her task is to subvert him for Walternate’s own plan but as it appears that she and the real Olivia most likely share quite a few personality traits, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if she falls for him as well. From the handful of episodes, her character doesn’t appear to have quite the same self-control parameters as Olivia and that will factor in her ability to resist “going native”.
  • Walter as the head of Massive Dynamic…there’s quite a bit of material to work with here. Walter’s bouts between lucidity, being stoned, and flights of fancy should be very interesting (funny, uncomfortable, epiphany-like, tender) for everyone.

Rating: B

– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)