Join us for our Fringe Summer re-watch, where we review every episode of Fringe during the summer hiatus. Comments are welcome as we dig into the connections made over three seasons.
Momentum Deferred is an important episode in the overall story of the show. It's importance stems from the fact that previously Agent Charlie Francis had become a shape-shifter and no-one is the wiser on the Fringe team.
The episode centers around Olivia trying to recover her memories from crossing over to the other side. Her attempt in doing so in the beginning of the episode involves her drinking flatworms to help trigger her memory. Meanwhile multiple cryogenics facilities have been robbed and someone seems to be targeting frozen heads across the country. One of the corpses found at the scene bleeds silver (mercury) and left behind one of the devices used to help him shape-shift. Charlie begins to suffer the effects of his previous shape-shifting, having been in the body too long and in an attempt to heal himself, drinks mercury to recompose himself. It seems to be a temporary fix.
Olivia takes the shape-shifting device to Massive Dynamic where they work at rendering the image of the last shape-shifter and promise to have it on a public server for Olivia the minute they figure out who it is. Meanwhile Peter takes Walter to visit Rebecca Kibner, a previous test subject that had the ability to recognize people from the other side. Rebecca eagerly agrees to come back with them to the lab to undergo tests once again in order to help.
While in the lab, they ring the bell while Rebecca is under. The sound immediately affects Olivia as she passes out onto the floor and is unresponsive. During this time, we get a flashback of Olivia and William Bell from the otherside. Olivia is told that she is the gatekeeper, the strongest of all the children protected. She is informed that very few can cross over and that her ability makes her special and that she is just now coming into it. She must also remember the symbol on the back of the shape-shifters neck and show it to Nina Sharp . Peter revives Olivia painfully with a needle filled with adrenaline straight to the heart. Jolting up, she gasps that she needs to speak with Nina Sharp. Olivia remembered her time crossing over.
Nina breaks it down to Olivia, telling her about the Pauli Exclusion Principle and the last great storm. Olivia is interrupted by her phone and sees Charlie is calling. He tells her that Nina is the shapeshifter and to get out. Olivia quickly excuses herself, confessing to Charlie that she almost gave the information to Nina, that the body is at “Laston-Hennings Cryonics.” Just as she tells him, she sees another message on her phone and looks down to see the reconstruction of Charlie as the shape-shifter. Charlie manages to make the call, assaulting Olivia and attempting to kill her. She has no choice but to defend herself and finds that she has to shoot him in the head to kill him. In the end, the facility had already been cleaned out and presumably had taken whatever it was they were looking for. We see a head being strangely reattached in the final seconds of the episode.
New questions raised in this episode that remain unanswered:
Charlie is dying in his body and needs a new device to survive. How long is a typical shape-shifter in their body? Do they use the device for anything other than changing bodies?
The frozen head that the shape-shifters are after – where was the body prior to being frozen? What led him to this state?
What does the symbol mean on the back of the shape-shifters head? Why does he have it?
Bell tells Olivia that most people are torn apart that try to cross over. How many others have tried to cross over? We know Olivia has a natural ability to cross over but how was Walter and Peter able to cross over? What about William Bell? Is that why he needs the oxygen mask?
Did William Bell know that by ringing the bell it would later help jog Olivia’s memory?
How does William Bell know the phrase “Einai kalytero... Anthropo apo toy... Patera toy” Did he know Peter’s mother more intimately than we’ve been told?
If Peter Bishop never existed:
This episode is not heavily Peter centered. His lack of existence in this episode doesn't change the major story. It is after all Olivia that finds out Charlie is a shape-shifter and Olivia that is forced to kill him. Peter does give the shot of adrenaline to Olivia but presumably Astrid or Walter could have assisted.
The only major Peter element is what William Bell tells Olivia to say to Peter because she will need him by her side. "Einai kalytero... Anthropo apo toy... Patera toy."