This review may contain spoilers.
Sometimes, ‘Fringe’ makes it difficult to remember that Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) is actually a force to be reckoned with. Yes, he’s somehow connected to Walternate’s (John Noble) doomsday machine and somehow figures into the big picture of … whatever the big picture is, but it’s easier to see Peter as the guy who gets knocked out often and has to be saved by Olivia (Anna Torv) or the guy who gets conned by Fauxlivia (which, of course, led to be knocked out by her).
“Reciprocity” seemed like the writers’ way of saying that they both understand the way the character has been treated; it’s not as though fans have been silent about this aspect of the show. Peter Bishop is an angry guy, with a superior intellect, and the ability to con just about anyone. At least, that’s the Peter we were given at the beginning of the series.
This episode reminded us all (and some of the characters) of that by bringing it back when it was perhaps the most necessary. It took awhile to get back to that part of the character – the part that’s not just Olivia’s partner, Walter’s caretaker, and the sympathetic ear for the (mostly female) victim of the week to open up to – but it’s completely understandable, given his reluctant involvement in the impending end of the (well, “a”) world and his recent manipulation by Fauxlivia.
Speaking of Fauxlivia, it looks like the show’s writers also finally joined the rest of us in officially calling her that. It was actually kind of fitting that they made Walter the one who decided to “name” her Fauxlivia, considering that it was this episode in which we found out Fauxlivia’s opinions of the eccentric genius — according to Astrid (Jasika Nicole), Fauxliva’s journal entries proved that she thought he was “kind…and brilliant.” Even the “bad” version of Olivia has a great respect for the Walter Bishop, and there is a connection between them despite being on opposing sides.
Points of Interest
1. It was rather easy to believe that Brandon, Nina Sharp’s (Blair Brown) chief scientist, could possibly be a double agent for the Other Side. His Other Side counterpart is Walternate’s right hand man, and when the first season pretty much portrayed Massive Dynamic as Evil, Inc., it seemed as though he’d be revealed to be truly evil any moment.
2. “Fauxlivia ruined U2 for all of us.” So even though Newton told Fauxlivia not to get too attached to our world’s culture, she still fell for U2 (which she showed just the littlest fascination about when she discovered them). Silly Fauxlivia.
3. It may have lasted for only a little while, but Broyles (Lance Reddick) delegating the task of Olivia’s journal to Astrid reminded us that, besides being Walter’s lab assistant, Agent Farnsworth is actually another genius in the Fringe Division (which the Other Side definitely utilized).
For the first time in a long time, Peter was actually intimidating – both physically and mentally. He was able to outsmart everyone, and with just a look – and it was certainly more of a threatening look than a pleading one – he was able to get Walter to keep his mouth shut.
What Didn’t Work
The idea of the doomsday machine actually weaponizing Peter, as posited by Walter, was a bit hard to swallow. In fact, it was more on the nose than anything else in the episode. The figurative meaning was enough to go with – there was no real need for the literal.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Reciprocity” was written by Josh Singer. It was directed by Jeannot Szwarc.
“Fringe” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.