Some episodes of Fringe are more compelling than others, and , more messed up. And while some Fringe episodes are more messed up, they are still very much in order. Even though episode 3.18, titled, 'Bloodline' takes place Over There, it fits into that category.
'Bloodline' is not just an episode about more consequences for Fauxlivia, who just 10 episodes prior swaggered back into her own Fringe headquarters "just like nothing ever happened." It's also an episode about enlightenment and emotionality for Special Agent Lincoln Lee, about Lincoln and Scarlie recognizing the synchronicity of FauxLivia's return and AltBroyles' disappearance, and about who is further off the deep end-Walternate, or our Walter? It's also an episode about the relationship between FauxLivia and her mother, Marilyn, and about just how concerned our favorite alt cab driver, Henry, has been about our favorite blond FBI agent.
'Bloodline,' is one of those Fringe episodes in which you must plan your bathroom breaks accordingly, so you don't miss a second! It's an episode of horror, drama, bonding, mythology, and humor all rolled into one. And it contains several cultural faux pas. Barely into the episode at 4:40 FauxLivia gets tasered by two men hiding in her apartment. Hmm. Tasering a pregnant woman? Sounds reckless, doesn't it? And irresponsible. That's just the beginning of the reckless behavior in this episode that we learn at the end is Walternate's doing. At 6 minutes in, Special Agent Lincoln Lee is told FauxLivia has been kidnapped. (Who kidnaps a pregnant woman? That's so wrong.) At 9:48 we see an evil-looking doctor sticking a giant needle into FauxLivia's abdomen while she lies in some clandestine warehouse, restrained. Sticking giant needles into pregnant abdomen? Restraining a pregnant woman with leather restraints? It's madness! And it doesn't stop there. There's some kind of targeted light therapy aimed at the poor fetus in her womb, making it look like he's moving manically. Interestingly, it's not until around 19 minutes into the show that we know for sure they've accelerated FauxLivia's pregnancy, and she's a dead ringer for poor Loraine Daisy in episode 1.02, when we see all kinds of ghastly movement in her abdomen after she cries out in pain. Yeah, just like nothing ever happened, Faux. I think the cruelest thing is the OB doctor's instructions to expand her joints and bones. Imagine taking a pregnant woman through an almost complete gestation in a few hours! The only semi-compassionate person in the whole insane operation seems to be FauxLivia's OB nurse, but even she has her limits. In a scene which finally makes me feel something for FauxLivia, she begs her nurse to help her, to give her a minute alone so she can get away, but the nurse doesn't budge. So FauxLivia takes matters into her own hands and threatens her nurse with a scalpel to unlock the backdoor, which she does, and FauxLivia escapes into the dark streets of Vancouver's(er, New York's) Chinatown.
I've been thinking about Seth Gabel's Saturn Awards nomination for Best Guest Actor, and if his performance in this episode is any indication, he's sure earned it. Lincoln Lee's mental ride in 'Bloodline' is intense. With KickAsstrid's help, he connects the dots and finds Henry Higgins, our favorite alternate cabbie. Lee is totally puzzled how Henry fits into the picture until he says, "But you start hearing things about some other universe...it's hard to ignore," and the light bulb goes on. Lincoln is reminded of Scarlie's question to him in 3.03 of what if what Olivia said about not being who they thought she was, was true. Scarlie's quick to remind Lincoln he said that he was crazy(which isn't true, I've rewatched episode 3.03, "The Plateau," and Lincoln says "That's nuts,"). Lincoln replies, "What if you aren't?" and Lincoln and Scarlie get into a kind of synchronicity that I hope sticks around for as long as their characters do.
My favorite scene of the whole episode is in the middle, when Lincoln asks Walternate directly if their Agent Dunham was switched with the one Over Here, and after a pause Walternate replies, "She was." The look on Lincoln's face is riveting, and now burned into my brain. If you'd had any doubts earlier in Season 3 whether Lincoln Lee was in love with FauxLivia or not, the look on his face answers that question. Lincoln immediately replies he wishes he had been told sooner, only to be answered by his boss that he wasn't told because the information was classified. Wow! What a slap! Isn't Agent Lee Walternate's highest in command in Manhatan? As Walternate continues with his revelations, Lincoln gets a third slap when Walternate tells him she's pregnant with his grandchild. Yup, as Scarlie said, this is seriously messed up. But Lee's a trooper and keeps himself together as best he can under the circumstances. Just like FauxLivia getting more and more abuse, Lincoln then hears from FauxLivia's mom, Marilyn, that she probably won't make it through the delivery(more on that below), as he and Henry-the-shortcut-Cabbie race to her aid. There's an interesting delivery scene in the middle of a Chinatown store, when Henry delivers the baby while Lincoln comforts FauxLivia, that is just screaming with deja vu from 1.13(See below). We'll never totally know why Lincoln chooses the moment he does to tell FauxLivia he loves her, but my theory is he wanted her to know in case she didn't make it through the delivery. In a moment chock full of "Brown Betty" reminiscence, FauxLivia appears to die, making a 'Faux pause,' and coming to moments later. I couldn't help noticing that like Stan Lee's superheroes with the first and last names with the same initial, Henry Higgins and Lincoln Lee are FauxLivia's heroes in this episode.
Scarlie and Lincoln are super-tight in this episode, especially after Lincoln points out that their Agent Dunham returned about the time that their Broyles disappeared, and Lincoln is quick to say, "Makes you wonder what else we don't know." Indeed, Pinkner and Wyman, indeed. I have a feeling these two agents will be less than Walternate-obedient in the coming war.
We've been talking about our Dr. Walter Bishop's recklessness and lack of research ethics for years now in this series. But after watching 'Bloodline' it's getting harder and harder to tell who has further crossed over the line from research to madness-Walter, or Walternate? Look what Walternate put FauxLivia and her unborn child through! All to get his hands on a megadrop of Baby Dunham-Bishop's blood. Worse yet, FauxLivia supposedly was a carrier for a condition that Over There caused 8 out of every 10 laboring women to die, like her sister. Obviously, Walternate was comfortable taking that risk to get his grandchild born alive. The scale balances again, as the Walters in both universes risked the life of Olivia Dunham to get to their goals. Sad, isn't it? We know at what price for our Olivia, but at what price for FauxLivia and her son?
I wasn't expecting to enjoy the scenes between FauxLivia and her mother, but I did. Anna Torv and Amy Madigan made the stressed mother-daughter dynamic come alive very convincingly. You really wanted to give Marilyn a hug as she sat on that bench watching the mother and child with the kite, and cheer with her as she held her miracle grandson.
Henry Higgins was a delight as always. I loved the forced team of Henry and Lincoln racing off to find and save FauxLivia. I'll add another Henry appearance to my Season 4 wish list. As usual we didn't see enough of Scarlie, but he was adorable when he made the reference to Robert DeNiro's character in "Taxi Driver." His facial expression was glorious, by the way, when he described having tea with Mona, AKA, "Bug Girl," but did Scarlie really need to say outloud to Lincoln "...just admit...You've got a thing for Liv?" I guess that was for new Fringe viewers coming aboard.
Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman should be happy. I'm sure one of their goals was to make us warm up more to the alt characters, and I did to most of them. This truly was a messed up episode. The seed of doubt as to whether Walternate was truly involved in all this horror was just starting to sprout when AltBrandon appears in the stair well next to Walternate and hands him the card with the baby's blood on it. Nice job, Jeff and Joel. You got us!
September says after the card changes hands "It is happening," so I guess this is the beginning of the end of Season 3. May we strap ourselves in well, and pay attention for the rest of the ride.
Things In This Episode That Make Reference To Other Episodes
- FauxLivia viewing the moving butterfly in OB's office-reminded me of the butterflies in 1.09, "The Dreamscape."
- Marilyn(FauxLivia's mom) :"You met a man in a bar while Frank was away"-reminds me of the scene of FauxLivia and Peter in the bar in 3.02, "The Box."
- The blue vials in the fancy case held by one of FauxLivia's abductors-reminded me of the cool transformation virus in one of my favorite episodes, 1.13, 'The Transformation."
- Strange men rolling FauxLivia onto a gurney in a secret location-reminded me of when our Liv got the similar treatment in1.11, 'Bound."
- Syringes with big needles-made me think of our Liv's torture in 3.01 "Olivia," and when the typewriter guy got his needle in 3.08, "Entrada.
- FauxLivia's pleading with the OB nurse-reminds me of our Olivia pleading for her life with AltBroyles in 3.08, "Entrada."
- When Lincoln found FauxLivia's tracking device in the plant-reminded me of when Peter found his father's tracking chip in the sink in 2.10, "Grey Matters."
- Scarlie telling Lincoln he had tea with Mona-reminds me of all the tea talk in 3.17, "Stowaway."
- Marilyn walking the dog in a navy peacoat-makes me think of our Olivia's same coat, and Peter's in many, many episodes. (She should be on the Blue team with that coat.)
- FauxLivia making a desperate call for help on the phone-reminds me of our poor Olivia calling Ella on the phone in 3.05, "Amber 31422," and also of our Liv phoning Peter in 3.17, "Olivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver."
- Alt Lincoln Lee holding FauxLivia and comforting her-reminds me of Peter comforting our Olivia after he pulls her out of the tank in 1.13, "The Transformation."
- FauxLivia passed out for a few minutes and then coming to-reminds me of Peter doing the same thing in 2.20, "Brown Betty."
- The dark areas of Chinatown Over There-remind me of the same in our Boston's Chinatown Over Here in 2.09, "Snakehead."
- FauxLivia telling Lincoln Lee, "I'm scared,"-reminds me of our Liv's same words to Peter in 2.15, "Jacksonville."
Things That Struck Me About This Epsidode:
- What mother calls her kid's obstetrician by her first name? That just struck me as odd.
- Viral Propagated Eclampsia(VPE)-A made-up disease similar to something very real called "eclampsia." There is no such thing as a viral form of eclampsia that I know of, but pregnant women in the US are checked at each well visit during pregnancy for signs of pre-eclampsia that unchecked can lead into eclampisa. The early symptoms are protein in the urine and increased blood pressure, and later, seizures. Eclampsia can be treated with magnesium sulfate but if it progresses too far it can be fatal for either mother or child, or both.
- "You met a man in a bar while Frank was away."-Marilyn repeating FauxLivia's explanation of how she got pregnant. Sadly it's another thing she has in common with Peter Bishop, besides killing someone coldly. Now she's telling lies laced with the truth, because as Peter said in one of the episodes, "The best lies contain some truth."
- Scarlie had tea with Mona-another Alice in Wonderland reference. And how cute is it that he went out with her? I love Scarlie/Lincoln conversations and I hope we get more of them in the future. More simply, I hope they will both be around in the future.
- "Although I do think if she was gonna cheat on Frank with someone..." Haha. Lincoln is very vocal, isn't he? If Walternate ever made him keep a secret I'm not sure he could. Come to think of it, AltBroyles told him the people in amber are revivable. I'll bet he'll tell that to someone on our side in the future.
- More giant needles!-Wouldn't you love to know who has the needle fetish? One of the executive producers? Or is it one of the two women who wrote this episode?
- The first IV bag is yellow-OK, I know Pinkner and Wyman made it sound like we wouldn't see a third universe right away but come on! Walternate has 3 colored squares on his wall. One's red, one's yellow, and the third is blue. And the first bag of solution going into FauxLiv's arm in this episode is definitely yellow. As she moves further along in her acceleration there's a bag of blue stuff AND a bag of yellow stuff connected with a "Y" connector. I think the colors being combined are significant. But how?
- The Echelon biometric tracking protocol-interesting and very Orwellian. How do we know that just the Fringe division employees have them? What if Walternate put them in everyone? Even little newborn babies? Does that mean our Liv and Peter have one on their person now also?
- "If we fail to determine a reliable way to cross between universes..." AltBrandon points out to Walternate who interrupts him, reminding him he'll stand firm on his decision not to experiment on children. But I thought they already crossed over pretty reliably? Walternate got over and back, as well as FauxLivia.
- "It's you and me." "I love you."-Note to Jeff and Joel. I really want to hear Peter or our Olivia say these in the future.
- 7X41-The number on the side of Henry's cab. Is it significant?
- "It wasn't part of the mission. When she was on the other side, Olivia and my son got close." I'm sorry, I think Walternate's lying here. We may never know what he ordered FauxLivia to do via the Selectric 251 typewriter, but I think Walternate had all the details of his revenge mapped out and distributed.
- LL:"Who else knows about this?" W:"Just Olivia and I." Now we know Walternate's lying. Walternate's pseudo-son and mad-scientist-in-training, Alternate Brandon Fayette, certainly knows.
- "She won't make it through the delivery." I gotta bad feeling we're going to hear this again on our side. Sure hope I'm wrong!
- "There's no place else for me to be." Just my opinion, but I think the whole Lincoln/FauxLivia delivery scene is foreshadowing of something yet to come.
- "You did a good job, Sir. Broyles would be proud." Scarlie's words to Lincoln in the stairwell, that made me tear up a little. And Lincoln made light of Scarlie calling him "sir," which was so them.
- W:"And I trusted that you wouldn't fail." AltBF: "We didn't." Walternate and AltBrandon are in this plot together. But are they really? If and when Peter Bishop goes back Over There wouldn't AltBrandon get jealous of Walternate's attention to Peter? Do we know AltBrandon's true intentions? What if he's working for someone else? And what are they going to do with that big fat drop of baby blood? It really does make you wonder what else we don't know. And the worst thing? We have to wait until April 15th to find out more!