"Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" (3.04)


Before I discuss this episode, I would like to warn those who have not yet seen it that if you read any further, you will come across a great deal of spoilers. Don't read this if you haven't yet seen the episode. Okay, well, now commencing, this was, by far the best episode of the season so far, in my opinion. There is so much action in this episode, so much that goes on in a single episode, so much revealed, and I am very pleased with it, ultimately giving it 9.5 Dinosaur Cookies. At the very beginning of the episode, Bolivia and Peter are trying to guess as to the attributes of the couples surrounding them, and in regards to one particular couple, Peter says, "They haven't slept together yet. You can always tell when a relationship is about to take that next step," and the two of them exchange awkward smiles. At that point, I knew that the two of them would be sleeping together very soon; I totally saw that coming. I was still taken aback by the ending of the episode, though, because I wasn't expecting it so soon. I am also taken aback by the number of Fringe fans who are horrified by what happened at the end of the episode. Peter thinks (we can assume, anyway) that Bolivia is Olivia, and Bolivia, especially now that Newton has challenged her, is going to do whatever she can to ensure Peter's trust. The question is (which is the Poll for this week; please do vote), is Bolivia truly falling in love with Peter, or is it all a show?


During this conversation, Peter also says, "Unless you put yourselves in another person's shoes, I don't think you can really judge their situations." This mirrors what he says to Walter in the second season finale, "Over There," which is that he is trying hard to see Walter's side of the story. So, when he says this to Bolivia, is he consciously talking about Walter, or should he be practicing what he is preaching? Walter is especially hilarious in this episode. As Massive Dynamic, after losing his cool with his class, he decides that it is hot in the room and that it would therefore be appropriate to take his pants off, and Nina's reaction ("Uh, sorry to interrupt.") is priceless, as is Peter's explanation that Walter is "trippin' his brains out." I would like to add, by the way, that like the crane in episode 1.04, "The Arrival," the computers in the room in which Walter is teaching say Massive Dynamics, with an "s." If you don't know that story, that was what it was to be called originally until the "s" was dropped, so I don't know why it's there now. Walter apparently notified a Desk Attendant at Massive Dynamic that an "Astro" Farnsworth would be arriving, and despite what some fans seem to think, the scene that follows is not the first time that Walter has gotten Astrid's name right. Although she doesn't hear him because it's actually September to whom he is speaking, I believe that the first time is at the end of "The Road Not Taken" (1.19).


Then, there is the scene in which Walter gets something to eat after Bolivia convincing him to do so even though he was not hungry, and Astrid points out that he said he didn't have an appetite. Walter tells her that he is "eating for comfort." This then results in a conversation between Walter and Astrid in which Astrid points out that Walter loves animal cookies, and Walter grumpily says that no, he doesn't like them, Belly did, and that he only eats them in his honor. He then says that Belly believed that dinosaur cookies (which I would have thoughtdo exist) were a better idea, which also was pretty funny, especially when he uses his "Waltery" tone of voice, amused and entertained. We also get quite a bit of character development from Walter in this episode. I was, at first, very surprised that Walter is not only comfortable working at Massive Dynamic but wants to work there. However, I got thinking about it, and this would, of course, be the case. We first see in "Of Human Action" (2.07) that Walter is jealous of what he sees at Massive Dynamic, jealous of Belly. Now that Massive Dynamic is Walter's, it would only make sense that he would want to embrace it. Additionally, he showed a great deal of courage (as it was clear that he was reluctant) when he attempted to take out the Shapeshifter, Ray Duffy, and I couldn't believe that Walter was assaulted so badly; that was a first. I wonder if Ray recognized Walter. Had he ever met Walternate?


We learn in this episode, although I guess it's not all that important, that Shapeshifters apparently do not have a pulse, and I can't believe that all this time, Van Horn has been a Shapeshifter. It certainly shocked Broyles, and when Newton shoots Va Horn in the left eye, we see what is probably the most emotion that we have yet seen from Broyles when his eyes widen and he shouts, "No!" At first, I thought that it was really Van Horn who had been hit, that it was a Shapeshifter who had hit him and then replaced him, so I was confused, but no, Van Horn, even when we first meet him in episode 2.06, "Earthling," has been a Shapeshifter all this time. Additionally, I would like to express my opinion that the actress who played the part of Patricia Van Horn (Shannon Cochran) is not a very good actress, unless, of course, Patricia Van Horn is a Shapeshifter, as well and was putting on a show. The promo for this episode was definitely cleverly edited to make us think that Peter was going to find out who Bolivia is this week, something that I didn't fall for. In the promo, Bolivia approaches Peter and asks him what he found, and he shows her a photograph of Olivia. Looking suspicious, he says, "It's you." Obviously, it was very misleading, and I knew that it was when I first saw it. During this scene, though, when Bolivia is on the phone with Newton outside of Van Horn's office, telling Peter that it's Rachel, I can't help but wonder how it is that Peter doesn't hear her.


So, obviously, Redverse Olivia's operation here is still in effect, and the team does not know the truth. However, Peter finally questions changes in her personality, and it's about time. For example, in this episode, Bolivia tries to convince Broyles not to bring Patricia in to help them, and she says, "I don't think it's a good idea. Imagine the panic if she talks to the press." That is not Olivia, and Broyles should be wondering why she is different, too. In episode 1.06, "The Cure," Olivia interrupts Emily Kramer's wake, despite Peter's objections, because saving Claire Williams is more important to her than maintaining peace in the Kramer household, and that wasn't just because of her birthday. That's how Olivia is; she will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and Broyles has both scolded and praised her for this. Olivia most likely would have been the one to suggestbringing Patricia in, not to say that it's not a good idea because of the press that they might have to deal with as a result. Surely, Broyles thinks that something is up with her. Peter, much like Darrell of the Fringe Podcast sore of argued, tells Redverse Olivia that he has been trying to come up with ways to explain the sudden differences in her personality, and she doesn't follow up on this. Does he now suspect that she is Redverse Olivia? Well, unless he is falling in love with Bolivia and doesn't care where Olivia is, I doubt it, because he hasn't brought it up with Broyles or anyone, and he sleeps with Bolivia at the end of the episode.


If you haven't seen the film Along Came a Spider (based on a novel by James Patterson that is a million times better than the film), then I apologize, but I really do want to make this connection. I will do my best not to spoil too much by avoiding the character's name. When we learn in that film who the "baddie" is, Alex Cross (played by Morgan Freeman) points out a time at which that character had a clear shot at the then perceived "baddie"'s car but hesitated. I wonder if that kind of situation will play out when Bolivia is compromised. Will Peter return to the time at which Redverse Olivia had a clear shot at Newton and his car but hesitated? Redverse Olivia, though, with her command ("Keep your hands where I can see them!"), certainly is a good actress. The scene that directly follows says something to the viewer that I didn't hear the first time that I watched the episode. When Redverse Olivia calls back to Peter, lying, saying that she can't find the disk, she and Newton exchange facial expressions that say, "You know what we have to do now." First of all, Newton can't survive without Mercury fixes, and second of all, he can't afford to be compromised, so he has to "self-destruct," which really disappoints me, because now the showdown between Olivia and Newton that is foreshadowed in episode 2.10, "Grey Matters" ("Now I know how weak you are.") isn't ever going to happen. In a word, it is disappointing. I feel like he has just been effortlessly dismissed now, the same as Jones was.


Unfortunately, though, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. You have two allies, and one of them has to pretend that the other is her enemy; she has to stay on task, and her task is infiltration, so their paths were destined to cross this way eventually. I just wasn't expecting it to be so soon, and I wasn't expecting Newton to die as a result. How does he die, exactly? What exactly does Bolivia give him? It looks like a computer chip, and I am guessing that it is some sort of self-destruction device designed in case it is ever necessary to exterminate a Shapeshifter. Unfortunately, I doubt that we're going to get too much more insight into what that mysterious "suicide pill" is. Sort of like he did our Olivia, Newton tells Bolivia that she is weak and that her weakness, her emotion, will be her undoing. What are we to make of this? Does this mean that she will turn? I'm not so sure anymore, because without Newton, would there then be a "bad guy" here? Anyway, we learn from this episode that Shapeshifters are clearly capable of emotion, as Ray shows us, and I love the monster analogy that he makes when he speaks to "his" son. He tells him that sometimes, monsters can be your best friends, and the child says, "But you're my best friend." As sad as it is, especially since Newton kills Ray for his unwillingness to let them go (which I totally saw coming), it is also kind of funny, because it's like, "So, do the math, kid."

The title is derived from the Phillip K. Dick novel
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (adapted into the film Blade Runner), and if you read about the novel, you will definitely see the parallels.There was an Easter Egg in this episode that I caught; Walter is working on the twenty-third floor of Massive Dynamic, and twenty-three is a LOST number. I also find it interesting how during Nina's conversation with Peter near the beginning of the episode, she refers to Walter as Peter's father twice, and neither time does he correct her and say, "He is not my father." I guess that this is evidence that he has grown since he discovered the truth, that he has, to an extent, forgiven him. Ultimately, I find this to be an incredibly powerful episode, especially the ending. Within the last minute or so, there is absolutely no dialogue, just music, and it is powerful. Sure, there were a couple of aspects that I found to be a bit predictable, and I don't like the fact that, like Jones, Newton is dismissed, but something that I was just recently saying to my boyfriend (who happens to be named Ray) is that the writers of this show make a lot of decisions that I wouldn't make, but it's going to be an incredible show no matter what. We now have a little bit of a hiatus for the next couple of weeks, but be sure to tune back in on November 4th (according to FOX) for episode 3.05, "Amber 31422," which will return us "over there," at 9/8c on FOX.

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