The shape shifter storyline in the Fringe Season 2 premiere episode "A New Day In The Old Town" is leaving a lot of people confused. Here are the "rules" of shape shifting as we percieve them, and a time line of events, which hopefully will clear things up.
The Rules of Shape Shifting:
- As you see in the video above, the "meat" of the transformation only takes about 18 seconds, and including the setup, about a minute. The shape shifter is clearly not in a hurry here, which could cut the overall time to under 30 seconds.
- When the device is used, the shape shifter takes the physical form of the victim. It's possible that memories may be transferred as well, which would help with the disguise.
- The victim stays basically the same, save for the three holes in the mouth and the strange fluid loss.
- The shape shifter does not seems injure, and may be self healing, which helped it survive the car crash and gun shots, and may mean there would be no holes in the mouth if inspected.
- The shape shifter appears to have super-human abilities, endowed with extraordinary strength, and able to leap from tall building without injury.
At some point before Olivia's NY trip to meet William Bell, the shape shifter entered our world and killed George Reed and copied his looks.
After the crash, the shape shifter believe he's killed his target - Oliva, and flees the scene to find a new disguise.
The shape shifter communicates with the alternate reality using the Selectric 251. Is he talking to his boss, or his alternate self?
The shape shifter assumes the form of Olivia's nurse, and hides the dead nurse's body in the cart next to the furnace.
The nurse unsuccessfully tries to kill Olivia, and is shot in the back by Agent Jessup. Unfazed by the gun shots, the nurse jumps out the window, and runs into the basement and hides near the furnace.
This is where the time line gets a little tricky. As soon as the nurse drops from the ceiling, Charlie immediately turns and fires two shots. Unfortunately, we don't see what happens next.
The sound of two gunshots causes Peter to turn around, then there are two more gunshots heard a few seconds later.
From that point, it takes about 10 more seconds of screen time for Peter and Amy to arrive. It's possible there is some time compression and this could have taken much longer, depending on how large the hospital basement was.
However, 10 seconds is clearly not enough time for the Shape Shifter to perform the transformation, change into Charlie's clothes, and get the nurse's real body from the cart, and then put Charlie's naked body in the cart.
Another possible explanation is that the shape shifting nurse could be playing possum, and kills Charlie after Peter and Amy leave.
However, one problem with that theory is that it looks like Peter takes the transformation device - but then again he could be just looking at it, and could have got it later from Amy. I can't imagine the shape shifter would give it to him.
Not quite a rock-solid case, but almost there. How do you think it all went down?
UPDATE: Here is the Charlie gunshot scene: