“The tiniest changes in our composition result in a drastic change in our behavior.”
What an odd, unexpected episode. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing: Fringe is keeping me on my toes, and it was fun to gradually realize that I was watching a traditional who-done-it with a few chapters from the killer’s point of view interspersed with our detectives attempting to mulder out the mystery.
The theme of this week’s episode is the red herring. The opening seemed to indicate that the device would be our guest star: an impenetrable object whose destiny and motivation are unknown. But, really, this was Peter’s episode, as he tries to grapple with his anger at having the con-tables turned on him. And, of course, we also had the red herrings of numerous possible moles.
But let’s return to Peter for a second. Walter told him that the machine weaponized him, turned him into a killing machine out to get the shapeshifters—a case of the “tiniest changes in our composition result[ing] in a drastic change in…behavior.” That may be part of it, but I think Peter is also acting out his rage at being conned. By pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, Peter is trying to engage in a productive con—trying to remind himself that he is still capable of his old tricks.
Is he still the same con man that he was, though? No. So he’s put himself in the position of relying on old habits to get him through new problems, and he has forgotten that he now has a group of people who can, and will—and want to—help him deal with all of this insanity. Peter told Walter, “You can’t protect me from everything,” but he’s not even giving Walter a chance to try. It’s understandable, of course: Peter has really been through the emotional wringer, and he’s dealing with his problems as best he can.
Will Peter’s trauma make him cold, like Fauxlivia? She, too, thought that the shapeshifters were just tools to be used, not beings with emotions and attachments. Peter’s willingness to kill the shapeshifters seems very Fauxlivian to me. I wonder if, eventually, every soldier on both sides of this war will become cold, pragmatic, and un-sentimental?
[Random aside: yes, we got confirmation this week that Fauxlivia felt, um, warmly towards Peter. But she certainly didn’t treat the shapeshifters any better than I treat the salmon I’m having for dinner tonight.]
I worry about Walter, too. He can’t—or hasn’t, yet—mastered the problems before him, despite the comical use of chimp DNA, and now he is stuck lying to Olivia about Peter’s involvement in the shapeshifter deaths. I want everyone to be happy, with puppies and red vines and champagne. I don’t see that happening any time soon.
Especially not with the revelation that Walternate managed to plant so many shapeshifters in key positions at Massive Dynamics. That sort of long-range planning and reach might indicate that there are many, many people—more than just the shapeshifters Peter killed—doing Walternate’s bidding Over Here. Plus, we still don’t know what the device does, or how it can be tuned to Peter.
And now I’ve got a question for you: how much of this “First People” stuff are we supposed to believe? Three books, evidently published within the past 150 years, about a group of people who pre-date the dinosaurs…are we supposed to find that to be compelling proof? Is it because of an implication that the author of the books is himself a First Person? Or are the First People a red herring, too?
So What’s With the Dead Fish?:
• It’s official: Fauxlivia.
• Dr. Falcon mentioned NASA, the CIA, and the NIH. The National Institute of Health? Is there a chance the device is going to spread disease?
• I’m so glad Brandon isn’t a spy.
• We got to see Peter’s room. It feels very lived-in. Interesting set design.
• I loved Olivia breaking the code with Astrid.
• Walter: “I have a graduate degree from MIT as well!”
• Walter: “I’ve snorted worse.”
• Walter: “I’m establishing dominance.”
• Brandon: “Can I swallow?”
Three and a half out of four retroviral chimp DNAs.
(So you got a thing for bananas? Check out my other reviews of Chuck and the Vampire Diaries at billiedoux.com,)