This review may contain spoilers.
This week’s episode of “Fringe”– which took place in our world instead of the other side — was all about feelings, both real and fake. Is Fauxlivia (Anna Torv) growing a real attachment to Peter (Joshua Jackson)? Is Peter too blinded by his feelings for Olivia to see that she is actually a different person? Are shapeshifters just as capable of real emotions as their human counterparts?
The answer to all of these questions is ‘sort of’.
“Fringe” has been doing a good job this season of making the baddies of the week (and even the “victims”) characters that the audience can truly develop a short-term emotional connection with, which was an ongoing problem in the previous seasons. From the moment we’re introduced to shapeshifter Ray, we see his home life and just how deep into it he is. He hasn’t even heard from Newton in five years, but he still has this duty to the cause, no matter how much this war is no longer his life. It’s these human emotions — this “weakness,” in Newton’s eyes — that lead to his demise. His transferred dedication to this family is something that Newton can’t use, so he ends his life.
Newton, for as long as he’s been in our world, has never become assimilated the way we see that Van Horn (the catalyst for these events) and Ray have. In fact, he continually tells Olivia not to become emotionally attached, because at the end of the day, this is still not their world, despite any similarities. He even ends his life for the cause. His feelings are directly connected to this war of the worlds, and that’s why, at the end of the day, he’s able to give up what “people” like Van Horn and Ray, and even Fauxlivia, seem to want more of — this world.
This was another strong episode in an already very strong season, and a great episode to momentarily stop the season at. It brought forth the beginning of a new era in “Fringe,” with Peter and Fauxlivia taking a huge step in their relationship, Walter (John Noble) as the eccentric head of Massive Dynamic, and the Fringe Division’s arch nemesis (at this point in the story) finally eliminated.
What Didn’t Work
Peter really, really needs to start thinking with his big brain when it comes to this Fauxlivia business. It’s one thing to openly state that he realizes something (more like everything) is different about this Olivia, but it should’ve been an even tip-off to him when she eventually distracted him from having an actual discussion with sex. Surely it’s too soon in the season for the revelation to be made, but it gets a little ridiculous when we have Peter explicitly stating his knowledge that something wrong.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Fringe” stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole. “Do Shapeshifers Dream of Electric Sheep?” was written by David Wilcox & Matthew Pitts and directed by Ken Fink.
“Fringe” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.