Fringe Summer Rewatch: #318 "Bloodline" ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Summer Rewatch: #318 "Bloodline"

      Email Post       9/16/2011 01:53:00 AM      

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.
My sister died during childbirth.
This story idea has certainly always been out there. If the scripts were thought up that far ahead, and if Olivia was played like she always knew the risk of being pregnant, would that have translated into the hesitant reaction behind that closed door before seducing Peter? In any case, now we bare witness to the real consequences of that choice. In the aftermath of "Immortality", Liv is resigned to being a single parent, with mom Marilyn and Lincoln for moral support. Olivia also has a reality check. There is high chance that she might be a carrier for Viral Propagated Eclampsia (VPE), the same disease that took her sister Rachel's life. Either she or the child or both will not survive delivery.

Lincoln and the rest of his team had more to be concerned about when Olivia was kidnapped from her home. During their investigation, Lincoln and Charlie encounter Henry the cabbie and suspect that their Olivia had been replaced for a time all along. The Secretary confirmed as much and revealed that Agent Dunham was carrying his grandchild. Outwardly appearing the victim, he impresses upon the Fringe agent his deepest desire for not loosing the baby.

Meanwhile, Olivia is subjected to freaky fringe science that accelerated the development of her baby. Before the doctors can complete their task, Liv breaks free, drawing upon her Dunham-esque innate nature to take out her opponents much like the other Olivia did in "Bound" and "Olivia".

By the time Lincoln and Henry comes to her rescue, everyone believes having the baby will kill her, including Liv. Shortly before the baby is born, Olivia begs Lincoln to promise to save the baby. In the most tense moment in an hour of television imaginable, it would appear that Olivia's heart gave out. Because it was so unexpected, I remember yelling at my TV the first time I watched it. You will notice even the background music also went silent for a few seconds. It felt like the longest 50 seconds before Liv breathed again, to Lincoln's relief. This was Seth Gabel's best scene no doubt, full of tenderness and love.

It's not surprising that the Secretary was the mastermind behind the kidnapping. In the end, the purpose of it was to attain baby boy Dunham's blood sample, in effect saving both mother and son. Now the whole incident made Lincoln and Charlie wonder what else Secretary Bishop is keeping from them, like what happened to Broyles. How far would they go for a man who values a mission over the actual people involved?

Random Thoughts:
  • The two instances that we see symbols of Buddha remind people of Peter's favourite book. If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him. In Eastern faiths, Buddha has achieved enlightenment. He is capable of living an eternity through reincarnation. Who knows what other significance does Buddha have to the Fringe story.
  • I love you. How many time have we heard this? This time it is Lincoln who declares his feelings for the with these three little words. It's often heard around Olivia Dunham over there and over here. On rare occasions, it is even reciprocated. One likely reason we haven't see Liv return the sentiment is probably of the uncertain situation she finds herself in. We know she trusts Lincoln. Trust is only the beginning steps to becoming more than just friends.
  • I never thought of how the Secretary even knew about Olivia's VPE, when her own OBGYN didn't have the test results until later. That bossy doctor had no regard for her well being and his conversation with the obstetrics nurse does seem to supporting that theory.
  • The head doctor said, "She's a fighter... Like they said." Since they were obviously Brandon's associates, I am guessing he provided them that bit of information. If it was him, he would be speaking from first hand experience. I just keep flashing to the scene in "Olivia" where he's touching a bruise on under his eye, when he was talking to the Secretary. It won't be the last time he gets his lights punched out by a Dunham.
  • Marilyn Dunham was reliving the horror of losing a child. She was the most concerned for Olivia. So devastated initially, she didn't want Olivia to have the baby.
If Peter Bishop Never Existed...
It wouldn't be his baby being born. Olivia would not be having a baby then, since there would be no reason to accelerate her pregnancy. When she does have children, there is a likely chance that she would die.


cortexifan said...

Part 1 of a long one again, sorry.

I want to do something different for 3.18 Bloodline. This is what I wrote for my Fringies at work, right after the episode aired the first time. I want to put that out there first and then go back to the re-watch:
-Glyphs spelled: FATED, as in fate forced upon, by Walternate’s actions, by Fauxlivia’s decision?
-Observer can be seen in the beginning outside of Fauxlivia’s apartment but it’s not September who can be seen at the end in the hospital.
-Just before both Olivia’s have the fight in 2.22 Over There Part 2, Fauxlivia says: “I don’t know what you are, but you are nothing like me.”
Ha! Little do you know Fauxlivia that you soon and in a short span of time, will experience some of what our Olivia has already gone through:
-Fauxlivia in 3.18 Bloodline and our Olivia in 3.05 Amber 31422 are both being zapped.
-Fauxlivia being injected with a pregnancy accelerator just like our Olivia is dreaming she’s pregnant in 1.02 The Same Old Story. Here is a thought to this: What if our Olivia wasn’t dreaming about her being pregnant but sort of saw the other side and is experiencing what Fauxlivia is going through right now?
-Fauxlivia being moved from one table with restraints to the next, just like our Olivia from the table in 1.11 Bound to 3.08 Entrada.
-Fauxlivia looking into one window pleading for help as she wanders through Chinatown and Olivia out the other in desperation for release at the end of 2.22 Over There Part 2.

-I thought, yes, you are reaping what you deserve, Fauxlivia but …then the whole episode was not what I expected. Although I never really was against Fauxlivia, my whole viewpoint of her changed.
-We saw more of the alternate universe and how life is over there. In 2.22 Over There Part 2 we found out that Rachel and Ella died during child birth because of VPE, the virus mentioned in this episode. Fauxlivia is a carrier as well. On the way home from the doctor Fauxlivia in a sense makes an initial (almost) decision to consider abortion to save her own life maybe, to be able to keep working and she is by herself. Mom tries to convince her otherwise. The cockiness that Fauxlivia displayed in earlier episodes is all of a sudden replaced by concerns and fears.
-I firmly believe life begins at conception and that every life (whether they can speak for themselves or not) has that right to live. And I believe abortion is wrong. And although I believe that, there is a but…
I’ve never been in a situation where I had to make that kind of choice.
This is my personal opinion because I’m sure some will argue it shouldn’t have been put in there at all.
And this is also what I like about Fringe. It does not shy away from controversial subjects and they present them in a manner where they don't force anything on anyone. Anyway, now back to the story.
-Arriving at her house she feels observed (no pun intended), calls Lincoln, goes inside and gets kidnapped. By whom? I will get back to that later.
-Her tracking device gets removed. I thought it was interesting that everyone’s was distinct and untraceable without the echelon tracking system.
-We find Fauxlivia strapped to a table and injected with the pregnancy accelerator. Obviously who ever took her knew she was pregnant.
-Brandonate (who is more evil than ever) and Walternate still debate about experimenting on children and Walternate still says no. I have to say I have a feeling he wasn’t honest from the first time he said that a couple of episodes back. Then Walternate gets news Fauxlivia has been kidnapped and urges Lincoln to do whatever he can to find her.
-So then Lincoln and Charlie come across Henry. Great character and of course he helped our Olivia escape. The agents find out about the other universe and take Henry into custody.
-Funniest line in the episode: “Hands on the wheel”, “get out of the car”, “which one is it?”, “Out of the car”.
-Back to Fauxlivia. She is waking up, because she is a fighter. Don’t know how they know that unless it was an inside job.

cortexifan said...

part 2
- There are lots of hazy shots, not only in this episode but throughout the series which gives us the character’s perspective, to see it through their eyes. Honestly I don’t really want to experience that.
-Fauxlivia I think starts to realize what’s happening when she sees the ultra sound and now the battle to escape begins. She is pretending to continue to take the pill (which was used for the story I guess instead of the IV drip – it’s a show, got to have drama) and looks for ways to free herself. She grabs a scalpel and works on her bonds and I really thought she is going to make it but the accelerator kicks in (no pun intended) and the baby starts to grow. I can’t wait for the DVD’s because the special effects are amazing; I want to know how they did that and again awesome performance from Anna Torv.
-Meanwhile there is Mrs. Dunham. I have to say that I don’t trust her, she acts very suspicious throughout the episode and I have not trusted her from the first time I saw her in 3.01 Olivia.
-Also Lincoln finds out about the switch. He is in love with Fauxlivia and I hope now that he knows a lot more than before, he will do everything he can to protect Fauxlivia and the baby.
-So then there is more torture and it looks like they are stretching her, ouch! Because she stopped taking the pill she is quite awake and endures that which sort of now maybe explains why she can give birth in silence.
-Anyway, after this she finds an opportunity to escape and wanders through Chinatown.
-I hope I will never have to walk through Chinatown alone, in the dark. It seems very creepy. All kinds of shady characters.
-As she scrambles through Chinatown, there are all these people and no one helps.
It seems she is full term now and the baby could come any minute.
-Where she knocks on the window there is a sign that says: Happy Year of the Rabbit. It’s part of the Chinese calendar but could it also be another reference to Alice in Wonderland?
-She finds a phone and calls Lincoln. With the help of Henry they get there fast and Henry helps deliver the baby. She finds out she is a carrier for VPE and has to make a choice right there.
-She urges Lincoln to save the baby and let her go. Which Lincoln doesn’t appreciate, I guess, since he is very much in love with her.
And then she dies….or so I thought. That would have been the easy way out. For some reason she still is valuable, either to Walternate and/or work together with our team to save both worlds. (my opinions) but she comes back and sees her newborn son. Happy end, right?
-We find out that the acceleration saved both their lives because the virus was too slow to keep up. She is a mom now. Is she ready? Will she trust her mom? Actually I wouldn’t.
-Not so fast with the happy end!
-Walternate did have his hands in it. I knew it. Some may argue that he did not experiment on the child, only on Fauxlivia. I disagree because the child was accelerated. Let me ask a few questions right here: Did Walternate knew about VPE? Did her mom tell him about it and the possibility of abortion? Did he use the accelerator to save the baby? Does he care what happens to Fauxlivia? Did he need the baby’s DNA to see if he could power the machine? Why didn’t he just ask her? What is Walternate going to do with the baby and will it grow normally? You can add your own as well!
-Two more questions: Will Lincoln and Charlie fight against Walternate? And what did the Observer mean when he said: “It is happening”?

cortexifan said...

part 3

-This episode was all about choice, I think and the repercussions of them. In the beginning Fauxlivia said; “I don’t really have a choice”, as she was thinking about abortion and the fear of dying. Even though the way the pregnancy happened wasn’t the best, seeing the ultra sound maybe made her change her mind and in the end she was willing to give up her own life to save her child. Her mom said something too in the hospital: “Whatever science, it’s still a miracle.” That’s another choice we sometimes are faced with, do we have the surgery or not, do we prolong life or not, do we allow to be experimented on or not. I’m going to venture out and say that most of us will say one thing but faced with a decision in any situation could make us go the other way.
-I am glad both of them survived and we will get to see how this plays out.
-Other observations: Charlie and bug girl had a date!
-A double decker car driving by her apartment complex, just like in 2.14 Jacksonville and 2.15 Peter.
-All the dummies in the store window as she walks to the phone booth are pregnant, kind of funny.
-Apparently OPUS was a peahen instead of a penguin and is still published.
-And it looks like West Wing is in its 12th season.

So these are new observations:
-can’t wait for Henry to come back.
-“What about their Olivia?” “She was sent home.” Really Walternate? She escaped.
-I think Walternate put on an act as he said he will disclose anything to Lincoln.
-Another parallel I missed: Fauxlivia being able to escape, just like our Olivia in 1.11 Bound and then again in 3.01 Olivia.
-As Fauxlivia is walking past the masked man, there is a seahorse on the red tarp.
-The bird on Walter’s shoulder in 3.19 LSD is on a bill board.
-The phone booth in Chinatown is the same Walter made the phone calls from in 2.09 Snakehead.
-I was disappointed that there was no extra material from this episode on the DVD. Would have liked to know how they did all the pregnancy stuff.

As I said this episode was about choices. It fits with Fringeology. It’s the choices we make that kind of decide how our life is: “…to go to work, to stay at home…” (1.19 The Road Not Taken). I was re-watching 2.02 Night Of Desirable Objects yesterday and Walter said: “There is an infinite number of universes. And in each of them, there is a version of us -- you, me, and Agent Farnsworth -- but each one slightly different... changed over time based on the accumulation of our choices.” It also reminded me of Walter’s conversation with Peter in 3.22 The Day We Died: “It's a paradox. I can't change what happens because it's already happened. But you can make a different choice within what happened.”

cortexifan said...

part 4

milostanfield, this is my attempt to explain Fauxlivia :)
You are right. We don’t know much about her. I’m going to assume her life was easier than our Olivia’s. Our Olivia should be more fleshed out because our universe is the main focus. The other universe is a bonus which I enjoy. I give the writers credit to have gone as far as they did with the Alternate Universe. Fauxlivia’s life started to change in 2.21 Over There Part 1, Lincoln getting hurt, seeing her doppelganger, being sent on a mission to the unknown and so forth. Her life changed when she was on our side. And even after she came back to the other side her life was different and anything but normal.
At the end of 3.13 Immorality we see Fauxlivia’s life crumble even more, she’s pregnant, Frank’s gone and Walternate is breathing down her neck (for lack of a better word). This is out of place but I also believe that her statement to Peter in 3.08 Entrada holds truth, that: “…this started out as an assignment but it became something more.” She started to see the other side for what it was and not just the enemies Walternate made them out to be. I know there will be disagreement over this but I’m just writing down my personal opinion.
What she experienced in 3.18 Bloodline reflects parts of Olivia’s life in a nutshell. The only thing Fauxlivia didn’t experience are the cortexi-trials. Yes they are genetically the same but some factors still make them different. By the time 3.20 6:02 AM EST came around, Fauxlivia was fully aware that she is a pawn to Walternate, he was using her to get the DNA so he could power up the machine. He kept tabs on her since he found out about Peter knowing our Olivia. She was willing to give up her son to warn Peter. I guess I’ll say it here too. I wish she would have made it to the other side. She was fighting Walternate until Peter brought the two universes together. Will she continue? I don’t know. Will the two Olivia’s have a heart-to-heart? Would be cool. I can see those two working together more easily than the two Walters.
I guess I’ll stop before I just keep rambling. I'm sure I've missed some but there is still the re-watch for 3.20 6:02 AM EST.

A few of the questions I had asked right after the episode aired were answered. Walternate did use the DNA to turn on the machine. And it looks like she is going to work with our team.

If Peter never existed in this episode…
-Fauxlivia would not have been pregnant and because of that not have been kidnapped.
-Henry would not have been born. With the reset was he anyway? :)
-Walternate would have had to find a different way to turn the machine on.
-Would Lincoln have confessed his love to Fauxlivia anyway?
-Would Walternate have told Lincoln about the switch?
-Would Walternate still have had a purpose for Fauxlivia?

Xindilini said...


We noticed some of the same things.

I thought Marilyn could have been involved with the kidnapping at first, but when I rewatched the episode, her attitude about the birth was changed and was more about saving Olivia. "She can't have the baby."

Interesting that they didn't explain the accelerating fetus scene. My guess is that it was not digial. With the actress on the gurney, they could have added a fake stomach where they could make it move from remote. If I remember correctly, the shots where we see this is overhead and not in as much detail.

Xindilini said...

Another thing I forgot to mention...

Buddha is not a single entity, in Eastern statues, there is a smiling Buddha, a Buddha with many offsprings, but one thing that stand out... they are always bald...

g33k said...

I find it interesting that from the end of Immortality, right after the secretary tells her she can have every resource at her disposal, she doesn't tell him about the history of VPE in her family right away. I think she was leaning towards using this as a cover for not having the baby from even when she found out she was pregnant.

She must have known that if Peter was the one to operate a machine that could destroy a universe that somehow that could mean her child could too and Walternate was desperate enough to try anything. As a mother if you knew your kid was going to be used to kill people, whether it was their choice or not, would you want to have them? Would you want them to grow up even knowing they would probably have to live with that fact of their existence for the rest of their lives if they ever found out? And you knew you probably couldn't protect them from that happening either.

Maybe she wanted the VPE to be her excuse to Walternate to terminate the pregnancy. I think that explains why she was so worried when they were taking the blood sample from the child.

seedoubleyou said...

"He is capable of living an eternity through reincarnation…"

I hope this won't be just splitting hairs, but I wanted to just make a quick comment about this idea of Buddhism and eternal life. Buddhism doesn't teach that people live forever through reincarnation, but rather that we go through a cycle of "Samsara," meaning an eternal repeating flow of birth, suffering and death. The goal is to attain a higher level in each life so that the cycle of Samsara can be transcended and the person can move to the higher plane of existence known as "Nirvana" (meaning, to live in a state free from all suffering).

Xindilini said...

Thanks for the clarification. I've only seen once Siddhartha about 10 years ago. It's vaguely still in my memory.

milostanfield said...

Marilyn - I never really picked up a bad vibe about her. In fact I thought the opening scenes with her and Altlivia were great and were only about a mother daughter relationship. But hey, this is Fringe, where anything's possible, so first time through an ep you never know. In the hospital and in the car I thought Anna and Amy had the mother daughter thing perfect. Altlivia would make her point with the doctor and then look at mom like they were using the doc to argue by proxy. It was the kind of arguing and tension that you see between two people that have loved each other for a life but do have ongoing issues. Torv does subtle little things with her face and eyes that are a marvel. I rewatch those scenes just to watch her face.

I also love the scene where Marilyn is in the park and gets the news from the doc about Altlivia and VPE. During that scene, as she gets the bad news, she suddenly looks off in the distance with alarm. This is Fringe, so I'm thinking, oh &@#$, is there a tear? Is a SWAT team about to snatch her up? They hold that for a few beats and then show us a grandmother, mother, and young daughter. In a heartfelt way, that moment brought home how badly she wanted to just be a grandmom and be a bigger part of her daughter's life, so badly that she giggles nervously when broaching the subject, and that she's just one of the normal people that both Fringe teams are tasked to protect.

These scenes also reinforce the normalcy of Altlivia's personal life compared to Olivia's. Closest mother daughter thing we've seen with Olivia is with Nina Sharp. But even that is more in the context of the bigger story. It will be interesting if Marilyn and Olivia ever have another scene, and how much Marilyn may or may not know about Olivia at that time, should it happen.

milostanfield said...

That zap in the Intro - I've watched Bloodline more times than any other ep, and that zap Altlivia gets as she is kidnapped still startles the hell out of me every time, even though I know it's coming.

milostanfield said...

AltLinc & Charlie busting Henry - If I were to list my top 10 scenes in Fringe (if that's even possible), this would have to be one of them. Henry's "Which one IS it?!" was pitch perfect. If it were shorter I would make it my computer alert sound. When Altlivia is in danger, AltLinc really loses it. Happened in "Immortality" too. He and Charlie are so amped over Altlivia they are one pratfall away from a Keystone Cops routine. Wonder if we'll see that kind of passion from Lincoln, and in what context.

I also like it because of what everyone knows, does not know, and is mistaken about, going into that scene, and coming out of it. Going in, Henry only knows there is one Olivia and that she may be from another universe. Linc and Charlie know there two Olivia's and two universes, but don't know they actually worked with Olivia. Henry thinks they're the bad guys out to hurt Olivia. They think Henry is involved with her kidnapping. Henry is surprised that they don't know what he means when he says he never thought she'd "come back here". Coming out of it, AltLinc, hearing Henry talk about other universes, finally puts two and two together, and realizes Charlie was right all along about the switch, setting up the team's growing opposition to Walternate. And poor Henry still thinks there's only one Olivia and that her brain was wiped. At least he got a kid named after him.

I wonder now how much AltLinc and Charlie know about Olivia after they have read Altlivia's case files. The important thing they probably did not learn about Olivia from the files, is when they were working with which Olivia, the one who thought she was Altlivia ("The Plateau", "Amber 31422"), or the one who knew she wasn't ("The Abducted"). That will be critical in setting up how the two Fringe teams interact (OMG! I can't wait!) in S04.

milostanfield said...

"this is my attempt to explain Fauxlivia :)" - Thanks. I'm still trying, but making progress. I like your connection made with the "started out as an assignment" line. There is certainly a big irony in that statement for Altlivia. I would even go so far as to apply it to Olivia's first Fringe case with Flight 627. It also kinda resonates with Walter's "So much has happened here. And so much is about to."

I saw a lot of what the two Olivia's have in common come out in those strapped down scenes with Altlivia. Especially their fighting spirit. Olivia had a similar strapped down moment in "Entrada" when she was helpless but aware of what AltBrandon was about to do with her. And then Altlivia, pretending to be knocked out, but strapped down helpless, listening to the docs. Funny how many times the almost exact same thing happens to the two Olivias and the two Walters. Olivia convinced Broyles to set her free. Altlivia escaped on her own after failing to enlist the nurse's help.

Yeah, I also so very much wanted Altlivia to escape to "our" side in 6:02AM. That would have been very dramatic, especially as an opportunity for Peter to find out he is a father before going off to wherever. There would have been lotsa other cool stuff coming off that too. She would have been the fourth person to risk crossing over to rescue Peter. Walter did it. Walternate did it. And Olivia did it. They should all get a "I rescued Peter from the other side" T shirt! Fringe likes to pull the rug out from under us, someone setting up daring plan that would work in most shows, but flop in Fringe, putting the protagonist in even more deep doo doo. I'm sure they're saving a similar big moment, like Altlivia crossing over, for S04, so a little patience.

Xindilini said...

I love both of your comments.

milostanfield said...

"Buddha is not a single entity, in Eastern statues, there is a smiling Buddha, a Buddha with many offsprings, but one thing that stand out... they are always bald…" - wow. Bald Buddha. Bald Observers. Hmmm! (Let's leave Captain Picard out of this for now!). Take seedoubleyou's statement about Samsara being a cycle of change through birth, suffering, and death, and throw in the First People, assuming that the cycle of Samsara could be applied to civilizations as well as individuals, then that would be an interesting prism through which to view things. I don't think any of us are saying that the writers are saying the Observers ARE Buddha, but as a metaphor I think it is worth exploring. And it may be that some of buddhist thought has influenced the writers and gotten into the mix. Thanks for the fill in about Buddhist thought. Been a long time since Siddhartha for me too.

milostanfield said...

Oh My God! Where's AltNina?

milostanfield said...

two more scenes I like (and then I'll stop I Promise!) - the scene with the nurse where she's trying to get Altlivia to pee. It was set up nicely by previously showing antagonism between the nurse and that creepy doctor. That made us think it was possible for Altlivia to turn her. And Altlivia gave it her all. I loved how they set that up with the screen, with shots showing half their faces separated by the screen, Altlivia hunkered down, the nurse in that black(!) medical mask, only showing her eyes, focus moving back and forth between them. Genius to take a simple prop and make a profound scene with it. If you ever get a chance see "It Happened One Night" with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, check out the scene with the blanket. But alas, this is another "plan that flops" scene, as Altlivia is unable to win her over (or pee apparently).

the early scene with Walternate and AltBrandon (Brandonate?) arguing about using children for testing. That AltBrandon is getting way creepy! That shot of him standing there, slightly bent over, and staring, after Walternate shoots him down, his badly fitting suit draped on his frame. And those eyes! Shout out to Ryan McDonald!

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