Fringe Review: Bloodline ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: Bloodline

      Email Post       3/27/2011 05:41:00 AM      

“Nothing is set in stone.”

It would be easy to dismiss this episode as nothing more than “advancing the plot,” whatever that utterly meaningless phrase means. To do so, however, would be to ignore the lovely character moments, structural risks, and tantalizing hints of “Bloodline.”

From the Hemingway-esque circumlocutions of Fauxlivia’s conversation with her mother about the “procedure,” to the quiet grace of Lincoln Lee’s “I love you,” every line of dialogue seemed weighted down with an extra suitcase or two of meaning. “You’re a different person than your sister”? “That just doesn’t sound like you”? “You can’t leave!”? This list could go on.

All of that dramatic irony—in which dialogue speaks differently to us than it does to the characters—is predicated on us as viewers glimpsing in through a transparent fourth wall. The theme of observation and watching was everywhere, though: not just in the clues to get us theorizing (the year of the rabbit, for instance), but also in Fauxlivia’s sensation of being watched, the Observer and Henry the Cabbie watching her, the Echelon system that enables satellite tracking…This list, too, could go on and on.

However much we may feel like we see everything, though, we only get as much as the writers can give us. Regardless of whether you figured out Walternate’s complicity in Fauxlivia’s abduction early or late in the game, we didn’t get confirmation until the end of the episode. Similarly, Fauxlivia’s perspective on what was happening to her was equally limited: unable to see her captors’ faces, unsure what they were doing to her until her stomach started wriggling—Fauxlivia, like us, only has so much information. Both we and the characters are working with only partial knowledge, trying our best to understand where things are headed. Narratologically, this was made even more difficult by the episode’s unusual structure: no freak of the week, just one long chase interspersed with conversations whose relevance we couldn’t know as we saw them for the first time. “It’s Chinatown,” indeed.

Lincoln Lee and Francis are starting to get a sense that something is afoot, though. These guys are good: they did some solid detective work under incredible pressure (to find Fauxlivia) and at incredible risk (of Walternate’s rage). Their final conversation on the elevated walkway—a contained bridge, really—showed us how they’re both trapped and on their way to new realizations.

But the real stand-out of the episode was Lincoln Lee. As touching as the birth scene was, I was most impressed by his restraint as the talked to Walternate about Fauxlivia’s journey. He had to remain professional while dealing with knowledge that 1) his beloved had been replaced and he hadn’t noticed, and 2) his beloved was pregnant not by some one-night stand but by Walternate’s son. The emotional chaos those realizations and revelations caused for him was intense, and he managed to show us just how deeply he was wounded without showing Walternate.

Speaking of Walternate: wow. Did he resort to kidnapping Fauxlivia to accelerate the pregnancy because he knew about the VPE? Or did he plan on doing this as soon as he found out, for some other reason? After all, what’s the rush? We’ll find out soon, although not soon enough: the next new episode of Fringe airs April 15th.

I Feel Kinda Dizzy:

• OtherFrancis and Mona the Bug Girl had tea. I guess that’s the equivalent of a coffee-date Over There. Sigh.

• Francis: “Hands on the wheel!”
Lincoln: “Get out of the car!”
Henry: “Which is it?”

• Henry: “I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers here, guys. There are some things a guy like me shouldn’t know about. I get it.”

• Lincoln: “That was way too many details to be lying.”

• Fauxlivia: “It’s nice to meet you, Henry.”

• The wriggly baby belly was very Angel Season Four, and not necessarily in a good way.

• So they do have old-school pay phones Over There?

• I love the way everyone Over There just accepts the pregnancy-acceleration like it’s the equivalence of getting a tetanus shot.

Four out of four Chinatowns.


Anonymous said...

You know a series has completely reeled you in when realize you can't decide what you want to happen. Up until this ep I would have sworn I wanted only good things for our Olivia in the future even at the expense of Faulivia who I really like. Our Olivia has been powerless enough tis season (as she was as a child) so she comes first IMO. But watching this ep I found myself anxious for everything to be ok for Faulvia and the baby even knowing that in the future it could be another slap to Liv. On the baby and Walternate's plan...I think he doth protest too much about experimenting on children and the line he supposedly won't cross. I think he will find himself on the precipice of that line sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Oh, also - nice analogy with Charlie and Lincoln in the tunnel, trapped. I think they will meet up with our Liv and be quite torn...

Anonymous said...

Did you also notice that they used the metric system Over There? Well, the America Over There..
Lincoln was getting updated on Fauxlivia's location, the guy on the other end of the line said "speed- 50 kilometres per hour".

Anonymous said...

Great review, Josie!!


Xindilini said...

Nice review.

Not surprised by their lack of surprise of BOlivia's plight. The accelerated birth thing was possible, if not in practice, for the red universe, and consistent with advances in medical science.

It's all very Star Trek. In The Next Generation episode "The Child", the lifeforce that impregnated Counselor Troi made a moral decision for the greater good.

Perhaps Peter's kid is also fated to do the right thing too.

Frank said...

I called the birth b4 the end of the season thing a few weeks ago, 18 by next season here I come!!

Anonymous said...

A fair review all in all. I really liked everything about the episode except that O.T. Walter was behind it all - big disappointment. I really thought it was going to be the Observers, the Rogue Observers (whoever they are) or people from the third universe that we haven't met yet. For those who missed it, J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner in interviews said we would see a third universe before season 3 ended. I was hoping this was the one. Four episodes to go and then a long summer break. BRING ON THE L.S.D.!


LaVerna said...

Charlie had a "tea" date because they don't have coffee over there. Coffee is one thing Fauxlivia said she would miss from over here.
I was actually routing for Fauxlivia in this episode. I was sure they were going to kill her off so Walternate could have the baby.I do hope she ends up with Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

I prefer more reaction in characters to outlandish situations. Lincoln and Charlie's reaction to finding out about the Livias switch was a bit anemic for my tastes. They acted as though it was a common occurence - just another day in the Fringe Division. Perhaps the subject will be broached by Lincoln to Faux, or the writers may simply abandon any further detailed discussions betweeen the characters.

As far as Walternate, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he's proven himself to be as evil as I'd originally thought. I believe he intended to kill Faux after taking the baby. And I think the baby will not remain a baby for long. He could grow to become Peter's nemesis.

Anonymous said...

now there you go, the kid will accelerate and look just like our Peter. It's his face in the diagram not Peter's. Can Peter face his own child and save his universe when the kid might be the one to end it all???? Hummm

FringeFrog said...

While I don't disagree about Walternate being behind it all, I actually found the ending a lot less black and white about who exactly did what.

I'd have to watch this again, but am I wrong in thinking the nurse who handed over the card to the observer was one of those involved in Olivia's accelerated pregnancy? Is he a double "agent" for Walternate and the Observer, or is there another option to who was actually involved in the procedure?

As to Lincoln and Charlie's reactions, I think they had both had suspicions or unease about what has been going on on a number of occasions, ones they had dismissed, this put it all together. I think it is great that they are realising they are being lied to in a big way.

Anonymous said...

The card was not handed to an observer but to the scientist (whose name I forget). He had it and showed it to Walternate right at the end of the episode.

Also, did anyone spot the Double Decker Car early in the episode? I think this was the first time we actually see one (aside from the model and picture of one from season 1 [when we are told that a normal car was sent to that universe and a double decker car came back in exchange]).

wikiaddicted723 said...

I think one of the main concerns of the writers in this episode was to make us understand that Faux and Ourliv ARE the same person, and that given similar circumstances they would react in similar ways, they have just led very different lives up until this moment. I think we're in for some Faux angst, where she will react A LOT, if not identically, like Ourliv.

Dennis said...

Anonymous said: now there you go, the kid will accelerate and look just like our Peter. It's his face in the diagram not Peter's. Can Peter face his own child and save his universe when the kid might be the one to end it all???? Hummm

The problem with that theory, is that the machine is uniquely tuned to Peter's DNA. While the child may have similar DNA because they are related, the child would not have the same DNA. How similar would it need to be? Walter is Peter's father, and it doesn't appear to work for him - only for Peter.

Roberto said...

I think you all are onto something. One POV is that they let her escape. Another (mine) is that she was never meant to leave that facility alive. I don't understand the confusion over Walternate's actions. Using an experimental medical procedure as a last resort to save lives is entirely different from a scientific experiment to obtain knowledge. Also, remember Liv's OBGYN scheduled a 'procedure' for her after the virus was confirmed. That procedure was an abortion. You know that Walternate was following her case closely and certainly had access to her medical records. He must have freaked to see the abortion scheduled. Everything this ep was logical and the groundwork expertly laid out. The delivery scene was outstanding, second only to "You belong with me." poignancy. Great writing, great acting, great characters. Close or tied for best ep this season. A+

Anonymous said...

Another reference to a previous episode - the scene when Fauxlivia goes into labor (the screaming, arching of her back, the wriggling stomach) is almost exactly like episode 2 of season 1 when Olivia, sitting in Massive Dynamic and waiting to see Nina, has a dream in which she begins going into accelerated labor because of unprotected sex with John Scott (the dream was based on the "cultivated accelerated soldiers" case they were working on).

mama-t said...

From how I saw it Walternate had her kidnaped not to save their lives but he didn't want to wait 6 months. Also the way the first injection was shown, was that cortexifan? Liv can cross and the baby has half her DNA and half Peter's. He doesn't yet understand how it works. Maybe he wanted the baby's blood to test for DNA as well as cortexifan? Too many unanswered questions. Like about the fallout of Lincoln admitting he loves Olivia!

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