Friday, October 15, 2010

Fringe “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?”

All photos from Fox

Fringe (Fox) “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?” had viewers back in the “normal” universe, but it still felt different. The episode didn’t have the usual suspense but it should be enough to hold fans while they wait until new episodes return in November (after baseball playoffs). Shapeshifters were causing all the trouble in this episode, and one of them – Newton – delivers a stern warning to a hard-headed Olivia, who seems to think she has everything under control.

Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) – who is really the alternate Olivia - and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) seem to be moving their relationship to a new level. Walter Bishop (John Noble) is having some fun as the new sole owner of Massive Dynamic – the fun part aided by the fact that he’s tripping on LSD. Things take a serious turn when Agent Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) hears that Senator Van Horn has been in a car accident (a visual sure to make viewers feel like they were jolted themselves) and is in the hospital. Van Horn has no pulse but is breathing. Broyles, acquinted with Van Horn’s wife Patricia, helps to support her while the doctors work to save him. Thomas Jerome Newton (Sebastian Roché) comes in and tries to steal the body, shooting many people in his way. Broyles tries to stop him and Newton can’t get away with the body so he shoots Van Horn and makes a quick exit. We can see that Van Horn is bleeding mercury – he’s a shapeshifter.

This news rocks the Fringe team and Broyles, who has known Van Horn for a long time and wonders when the switch was made and how much Van Horn knows about what Fringe is doing. Peter finds that Van Horn had files on all of them. Peter and Olivia are working the case, and Walter is working on reanimating the body in his new high tech lab at Massive dynamic. Newton is planning to get the body back. He’s also not happy with how Olivia is handling everything and thinks she is in over her head. He also warns her that Peter has doubts about her, maybe on a subconscious level but that likely Peter has noticed things are different with her. Van Horn also knew about the alternate Olivia and Newton and Olivia must make sure Walter can’t revive Van Horn.

Newton activates another shapeshifter, Ray, who has been living a normal life with a wife and family. Newton orders him to shapeshift into someone who can get into the lab and get the shapeshifting device – and then tells Ray he has to leave no trace at home. Ray seems torn, clearly happy in his new life. So he disregards Newton’s orders so he doesn’t kill his wife and son, and heads into Massive Dynamic as a security man.

Walter, meanwhile, is at Massive Dynamic and close to bringing enough life into Van Horn in order to find out what Van Horn knows. They enlist the aid of his wife Patricia, and she is able to get a response. Van Horn sits up and begins to rattle off numbers and places. His wife recognizes the information as their anniversary date and hotels where they were planning to stay to celebrate. They stop the test, and Olivia convinces them to all take a break – Newton has sent her a message to get everyone out of the lab. She needs them out of the lab so Ray can enter and get the shapeshifting device.

the problem is that Astrid (Jasika Nicole) – who Walter oddly calls her by her actual name Astrid and attributes it to him being on LSD – lets Walter head back to the lab alone. They don’t know that Walter has stepped into the elevator with Ray, the shapeshifter. Ray follows Walter to the lab and, shooting a guard, gets into the lab and gets the shapeshifting device out of Van Horn. Walter, not wanting the device to be lost, stabs Ray with a scalpel but Ray slams Walter against a beam, knocking him out.

When Peter realizes Walter is in the lab alone, he races there and steps into the elevator as Ray is stepping out. When Peter sees mercury on the elevator buttons, he knows it was a shapeshifter who just got out of the elevator and he stops the doors from closing. Olivia tells him to head up to Walter and she’ll go after the shapeshifter – of course she has no intention of doing so.

When Peter gets to the lab, he finds Walter down and out, but Walter comes to and Peter calls for medical help. Olivia returns and says she lost the shapeshifter. Peter works to get his identity from surveillance cameras.

Ray returns home and finds Newton waiting there. Newton is not happy that Ray went to the lab as his normal self, and then tells Ray he “took care” of his family, and when Ray reacts badly, Newton tells him he lied, he just wanted to see Ray’s reaction. Newton kills Ray and is putting the body in his trunk as Olivia and Peter drive up. Olivia shoots at the car and purposely misses. Newton wrecks his car in a tunnel and when Olivia catches up with the injured Newton, he gives her the shapeshifting device.

Afterwards, Newton is in a Federal Detention Center and Olivia comes to visit. He continues to question her ability. She hands him what looks like a computer chip, which Newton later ingests, killing himself.

Olivia texts Peter saying they need to talk. But when he gets to her place, she tells him she lied, she doesn’t want to talk – and she kisses him. Clearly she wants him to distract him into thinking she’s different but in a good way for Peter.

With Newton out of the way, Olivia now has free reign to run the operation as she sees fit. The problem is, does she know anyone else from the other side who is there to help her? With Olivia entering into a sexual relationship with Peter, is it enough to keep his mind away from the fact that he knows she’s different since she “came back” from the other side? And now, with Walter having full access to massive Dynamic and all its technology, will he still be the same Walter or will his mad scientist side return? How much did Van Horn know and how many more shapeshifters have infiltrated key positions? Were those words that Van Horn rattled off really what his wife thought? We’ll have to wait until the show returns with new episodes in November to begin to find out.

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