Review of Fringe Episode 3.18 – Bloodline ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Review of Fringe Episode 3.18 – Bloodline

      Email Post       3/27/2011 08:12:00 AM      

Connections: Cosmic & Cabbie

Quickly now – just finished a Snoopy Happy Dance Marathon upon the news that not only has FOX renewed Fringe for a fourth season but also for a full twenty-two episode order! WooT!

Congrats to the cast and crew!

Bloodline has to be one of the most layered episodes of Fringe. There is so much going on below the surface here that it would take a major thesis to cover them all.  

Fauxlivia Encounters A Buddha In The Road!

Fringe is very much a show of 'why.' The other elements of story telling; how, who, what, where, and when are given to us, in that trademark Fringian Freaky Format that shows the viewer the story in either the most graphic or dramatic way possible. Or with the two mixed together if the occasion calls for it. Often those mechanics are used to manipulate the viewer's thoughts one way while the real 'why' of those scenes is often more complicated than expected. Bloodline is a text book case.

In Bloodline, and in previous episodes, Walternate has consistently told us via BadBradon that experimentation on children in the battle between universes is not an option. Yet by the end of Bloodline, Walternate has broken his vow with the accelerated pregnancy of his grandson being carried by Fauxlivia.

Or did he?

I believe in the show's sincerity when showing us that Walternate would not break that vow since he is so adamant about it. Yet at the end of the episode his complicity appears undeniable. Why? Why would he do that? Some of the feedback I have seen from others state they knew Walternate was behind it all the time. They were right but possibly for the wrong reasons because they have drawn the wrong conclusions. Some viewers still see Walternate as fundamentally evil and willing to do anything to accomplish his goals. I respectfully disagree because Walternate is a far more complex character and his goals are not clear to us in this episode.

Walternate reinforcing his, 'No Children Experimentation,' edict to BadBradon only to then reverse his decision makes no sense. Yet Walternate turns out to be behind the accelerated pregnancy. There has to be a reason why Walternate would take such a risk with his grandson.

What if Walternate knew about Fauxlivia's family history? What if he knew that Fauxilivia's sister and baby had died in labor from Viral Propogated Eclampsia or VPE? What if Walternate knew that it was a near certainty that his grandson would die too? Would Walternate subject his grandson to a risky procedure when the alternative of doing nothing means certain death?

The answer is, of course, yes. Yes he would. I am guessing that Fauxlivia surviving was of secondary interest to him. Saving his grandson was the primary goal. Preserving the Bishop Bloodline because the Dunham Bloodline is tainted with VPE. So Walternate's gambit here does not mean his edict no longer stands.

Walternate did what he did to save his grandson's life.

Bloodline certainly leaves us with the intimation that the real purpose of the accelerated pregnancy gambit was so Walternate could secure a DNA compatible energy source for his Machine. But that is a conclusion engineered by the tone of the episode without providing anything substantiated for such a conclusion. The confirmation of Walternate's true motivations lie in future episodes.

Of course I could be totally wrong and Walternate is just plain evil. But that is too simple and pat for a show of this quality. They have taken great pains to deepen the characters in both universes. There is more to Walternate than stock evil guy.

(Note: I had been toying with the idea that one of Walternate's goals for Fauxlivia Over Here was to get pregnant but with this episode I am putting that idea to rest. My latest belief, Fauxlivia's pregnancy was at the least, accidental or at most, fated.)

Episode 'Patterns': Add your own in the comments.
  • beautiful opening mood shot of Fauxlivia watching holographic picture with a butterfly flying away and fading from view to be replaced by the next image
  • Fauxlivia facing the same fate of her sister, Rachel and her baby, because the Dunham bloodline carries VPE – a deadly defect that turns the life stage of birth into one of death
  • Fauxlivia's agent senses kick in at home, she is being watched by an Observer
  • Fauxlivia is tasered in her home
  • Scarlie is dating Mona – the Bug Girl. Lee teases and Scarlie teases him back about Fauxlivia
  • Walternate repeats his vow to BadBrandon – 'No Children.'
  • Fauxlivia is a fighter too
  • Sonograms in the RedVerse are way cool and far less messy. No jelly needed.
  • Henry the cabbie returns! Reading Opus the Peahen and 'verting the 12th Season of West Wing
  • Henry is the catalyst for Lee and Scarlie finding out about the Olivia switch and questioning how much more is going on below the surface of what they know
  • 'Hands on the wheel!', 'Out of the car!', 'Which is it?'
  • said it before but those ear phones are way cool!
  • Walternate spills some of the goods to Lee. 'This all from a cab driver.'
  • Fauxlivia's impassioned plea to nurse to look the other way – and the nurse kind of did
  • Bstrid's phlegmatic, 'Oh I see,' was a great beat when she asks for another factor and learns that the baby is Walternate's grandson
  • RedVerse version of Taxi Driver and Travis Bickle helmed by Coppola instead of Scorcese
  • Fauxlivia Meets The Buddha On The Road! Episode 3.10 Firefly callback!
  • Henry and Fauxlivia/Oliva's paths intertwined by... fate or destiny? 'She got to me.', 'Nice to meet you Henry.'
  • Mothers and babies are miracles. Even more so with VPE in the equation.
  • Wonderful birthing scene by all the actors involved
  • Lee and Scarlie do not trust Walternate
  • baby blood test reveals Walternate behind it all
  • did Mary do a double take on the baby after the blood test?
  • Observer's neutrally delivered, but oh so full of foreboding, 'It is happening.'

Cosmic Cabbie To The Rescue!

I have spent so much of this review on the big picture issues here because it is important that to keep open minds on the actions of characters. The probability of our opinion of Walternate changing again is high.

This episode accomplished so many things. Fauxlivia, Lee, Scarlie, Mary, the baby, and Henry were fleshed out even more. They all did great work again. Everyone was engaging. Special note to Anna, Seth, and Andre during the birthing scene. They managed to make what can often be a cliched scene into something touching and poignant without being cloying. A Fringe trademark we have seen throughout the series; most recently with the handling of the Peter and Olivia relationship.

Henry may only be a cabbie, as Walternate observed, but it was only a cabbie who helped our Olivia return home and helped save Walternate's grandson. On another show, Henry having delivered his own daughter would come off as trite. On Fringe it feels right. Henry has also twigged Lee and Scarlie to the fact that there is much more going on than before.

'A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!' cried Shakespeare's Richard the Third. Walternate's version of that plea could very well be, 'A cabbie! A cabbie! my kingdom for a cabbie! There are moments when the outcome of the grandest of schemes rest on much simpler, unaccounted for actions. Moments never envisioned by schemers and plan makers like Kings and Walternate. Moments often ascribed to fate or to the random.

One of those unforeseen moments could very well turn out to having the baby, (will the baby still be a baby by the season finale or will the growth acceleration continue?), end up at the RedVerse Machine. Peter has made a vow too.  Peter is adamant that he will not go back to the Machine in our universe.

Walternate and Peter may find their vows rendered impotent by forces outside their control.

Whatever happened in this episode, the Observer and his 'It is happening,' let us know the end game with the Machines is about to commence.

If my name seems familiar, OldDarth, it is because I am part of the Fringe Benefits Inc podcast you can find here on the FringeTV Podcast tab. Check out all the podcasts there for a variety of different views. Note these reviews reflect my views only and not that of my fellow FBI Podcasters.


Anonymous said...

Old Darth,
Thanks again for a brilliant review!! Well thought. I especially liked the capture of the image of The Buddha literally in the road, as a reference to the book by Sheldon Kopp, "Peter's favorite", which he wanted to share with Olivia, who was Fauxlivia, whom he thought was Blue-verse Olivia.
Now, as far as the 'inner character' of Walternate goes, it is my interpretation of the intention of the producers that neither can be all-good or all-bad, because Walter and Walternate are variations on the same person. Each of them is the 'real' Walter, only responding to slightly different circumstances. In the episode SUBJECT 13, when Walter has the panicked realization talking to Elizabeth that someone will eventually come seeking to retrieve Peter, he explains his worry by saying "That is what I would do". Similarly, when Olivia is reading Faux's notes on her time with Peter, Olivia says to Astrid: "This may have started out as an assignment, but she developed real feelings for him -- he's a great guy, and she would see what I see".
When Sam Weiss says the Machine can be used as a tool of "destruction or creation", depending on the "frequency" Peter is in (if & when he would power it up), he gives rise to the delicious possibility/impossibility that the resolution to all the contradictions, threats and stalemated choices among the characters will be for the Machine to be used (by Whom??) to fuse the two Verses back together again -- in effect, deliciously, simultaneously, to create and to destroy them at the same time. If our choices split us off into different Verses, maybe we can choose to meld them back together. After all, that's what I would do.

sharkman73 said...

Remember, the people in both universes are almost the same inside and out, especially inside, who they are as people. That said in this universe Walter said last season that nothing is more important to him than family. Nothing! He crossed universes and stole Peter to save him, so what do you think Walternet would do to save his grandson? He didn't experiment on him he did what he needed to do to save him, even if that meant bolivia died.

Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

Forgot about Peter's book. I read it when it came out maybe I'll re-read again!

TGS said...

RedVerse version of Taxi and Travis Bickle helmed by Coppola instead of Scorcese

Should be "Taxi Driver".

Old Darth said...

Thanks TGS! Fixed.

Xindilini said...

Actually, the Buddha was not in the road. It was behind Henry Higgins after the delivery of Olivia's son.

The masked worn in the image is a clown in Cantonese lion dance traditions.

Anonymous said...

if peter ever does use the machine, it wont destroy the universe. think about it like this, if he saves our universe by destroying theirs, where would the show go from there? and if he uses the machine to save theirs.... well, thats just dumb lol the only thing we can look forward to is the big twist ending for the machine, one where both universes survive but neither get what they want.

Anonymous said...

I noticed a lot of blue tones in this episode, which was interesting since it was a "over-there" episode". I think it was right about when Olivia was looking at the baby on the sonogram when I noticed the color yellow start showing up. Anyone else pick up on that?

Also, remember when the glyphs spelled out twins when we found out that fauxlivia was pregnant? What was all that about? Is this supposed to be a Peter twin?

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?

Old Darth said...

'The masked worn in the image is a clown in Cantonese lion dance traditions."

Good to know Xindilini. Someone contact the Fringe showrunners!

cortexifan said...

Anon who wrote about the glyphs spelling twins. We found out in Immortality that Fauxlivia was pregnant but the glyphs spelled ROMAD.

loveycats said...


Could someone give me some background on the Machine?

Old Darth said...

Sorry loveycats little is known about the Machine.

Anonymous said...

Just watched for the 3rd. time. Excellent episode. The nurse was not played by Cynthia Nixon or Elizabeth Mitchell; the actress is Kendall Cross, a 'doppelganger' chosen I'm sure to keep you people with too much time on your hands looking for secret cameos!
Wonder when we will see Henry in the BlueU?
I think the baby will be named Henry Ellis Dunham. Why not?
Look the Machine up in the Fringe Wiki.


Cedrico said...

@ FringeFrog

The card was not passed to the obsever at the end, it was passed to Alt Brandon (we are made to believe it was passed to the observer) and yes i believe the nurse who took the card was one of those involved in the accelerated pregnancy and is probably on Walternate's payroll.

Great review Old Darth!!!!

Anonymous said...

Cedrico-- the card was passed from alt Brandon to Walternate as he looked through the window at his grandson.

loveycats said...


Unfortunately there is no page on the Machine on Wiki yet. Hopefully when we learn more there will be.

Anonymous said...

I think the best part of this episode was the B storyline (heh) with Scarlie and Lincoln. It seems like we're being seen a much darker side of Over There than we have in the past. Over Here there's a certain amount of open discourse within the FBI about the events of the Pattern. There isn't really a "should we trust him" kind of character. Over There however we can plainly see that Scarlie and Lincoln don't really trust Walternate and it seems clear from Walternate's covert actions with BadBrandon that the Red Universe is much more preoccupied with keeping secrets in general.

Now that I think about it that seems to be a recurring theme. In previous episodes we've seen times where the Government (read: DoD) has been less than forthcoming with information like the usage of Amber and the effects of being encased in Amber.

I think it's an interesting angle that might start pitting Over There characters like Henry, Scarlie, and Lincoln against their own universe in favor of Over Here.

Dennis said...

Yes there is. On Fringepedia, it is called the "Wave Sink Device". See:

Dennis said...


BTW, what did you try searching for? Maybe we could could redirect those terms to the WSD page...

loveycats said...


I just tried searching the term "The Machine". Guess I must have missed the actual term for it. Thanks for letting me know.

Fringie6989 said...

Great review OldDarth! I definitely agree that there is more to Walternate than being just another bad guy. What his plans are I have no clue, but they are probably a lot more complex than what is implied. I also hope that the acceleration doesn't continue after baby Peter has been born. I'm hoping that the experimentation that occurred over here in "The Same Old Story" was perfected over there. I can see that the baby growing up quickly would benefit Walternate as far as the machine. But I'm not sure that is Walternate's intention. He went to great extents to save the life of the grandson, why would he do that simply to put him into an almost certain death situation. That said, he was going to do that same thing with Peter, unless he wasn't aware that the machine would kill Peter like in the drawing and he thought that Peter would only destroy the other universe. Of course then that raises the question of balance. Walternate knows that the universe must be balanced, so wouldn't he have come to the conclusion that if one universe is destroyed, then the other one would too. Sorry I got off track. I hope the baby stays a baby for now. I am just now trying to come to terms with the fact that Peter has a son. It would be a lot harder to take in if that baby suddenly becomes a man.

This episode certainly had some of the most emotional and suspenseful scenes in the entire series. It also raises SO many new questions. My head hurts just thinking about all or them.

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