"Reciprocity" (3.11)


I consider this episode of Fringe to be on the same scale as the last episode, "The Firefly." It isn't any better for me, and it isn't any worse. I give it the same rating - 8.5 Psychotic Peters. I would like to give it something a bit higher (even though 8.5 is fairly high), but I find myself, once again, feeling rather frustrated. We still don't know why the Weapon responds to Peter (which I was really hoping to find out in this episode), and all we really do know is that the Weapon is possibly corrupting Peter. Olivia, in this episode, says, "Every time we learn something new, we're still a step behind," and I'm on the exact same page. Walter tells Peter near the end of the episode that the Weapon is weaponizing Peter, that when he touched it, it touched him. Now, when did Peter touch the Weapon? "Over There," correct? So, why is it that this behavior is just manifesting now? Has he secretly been killing Shapeshifters all this time, or was being in love with who he thought was Olivia enough to slow down the process? Is the Weapon changing Peter at all? Maybe Walter is wrong. Maybe it's just all of the anger and frustration built up from having been betrayed twice now. Personally, I think that the Weapon is changing him, but it could be a combination.

I also want to point out that although I don't remember who stated this, someone said months ago that we would see the old Peter start to resurface, the one that existed before he met Olivia and joined Fringe Division, and now, I think that that is what we're seeing. He is sneaking out at night to get rid of Shapeshifters, and he is lying to people (which is especially terrible, because he is lying to Olivia after she has finally apologized for being so hard on him a few weeks ago). I just love how he gets back from killing Shapeshifters and then goes straight to the fridge to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. From the "Previously on
Fringe" recap at the beginning of the episode, I thought that this episode was going to deal a lot more with the First People, which is another reason why I find myself slightly disappointed with this episode, since it didn't deal much with them at all. Weeks ago, I saw promotional photos for this episode, and I thought that Carl Lumbly played the part of James Falcon, since he really does look like him in the photo. (If you don't know who Carl Lumbly is, he played the part of Marcus Dixon on Alias, another epic J.J. Abrams sci-fi TV series.) It amazes me how different Nina is, but are we ever going to see "The Dreamscape" (1.09) resolved?

It surprises me that Massive Dynamic doesn't opt to run another test on Peter when they discover that Falcon was a Shapeshifter. Since he was indeed a Shapeshifter, how do we know, how do they know, that he was being honest when he told Peter that he didn't see anything indicative from the results? We definitely see a glimpse of Walternate show his ugly face this week when Walter snaps at Falcon and tells him that he is a graduate of M.I.T., and that really scares me, because now, Walter wants to regrow his brain cells, and God only knows what's going to happen as a result. I'm just afraid that we're going to start to see a very ugly Walter, one a lot more like Walternate, and I really don't want that. It bothers me, because in response to the previous episode, "The Firefly," I said that I sense tragedy at the conclusion of this season, and this episode causes me to be even more convinced of that. I have no idea what we're going to see happen; perhaps, Peter is going to return to the Other Side to stay (as some, not myself, might argue is where he rightfully belongs, anyway), and I also believe (although I don't know who) that someone is going to die. It would also seem like Walter is going to become corrupt; it seems like his position at Massive Dynamic is getting to his head, and now that he is trying to regrow his brain cells, he really could become a dangerous person.

Walter, when he speaks to Nina about his desire to rebuild his brain cells, argues that he doesn't want her help finding a therapist because
he needs to help him, saying, "Nina, he's my son." Obviously, this is not really the case, so it is, in a sense, ironic that he uses this as motivation. It makes me wonder how much he repents the decision that he made, and I'm not necessarily saying that his intentions weren't good. However, here's what I don't understand. Walter must have known at the time that there were an infinite number of universes, not just one, so why was it so important to him that that particular Peter live? Doesn't it stand to reason that Peters were sick and dying, so didn't that drive him crazy? It makes you wonder if, all along, his intention really manywas to take Peter and keep him? That is, after all, what he tells August in "August" (2.08), that he did what he did because he missed his son; he doesn't say that he simply wanted to save him. I don't know; Walter is one of the, if not the, most complicated characters I have ever met in a TV series or a film. I am just really surprised, because this season is not at all how I would have imagined it to be at this point.

Very early in the season (in fact, it may have been before the season actually started), Josh Jackson said that this is "the Year of Olivia." When the season started, that definitely seemed to be the case for the first few episodes. However, it seems like now, we are back to the series being very Peter-centric like it was in Season 2, which is fine (I have no problem with that), but it just wasn't what I was expecting. We
do need to know why it is that the Weapon responds to Peter, which is what I was hoping we were going to learn in this episode. That is, of course, not to say that there hasn't been any involvement from Olivia recently, because there certainly has, especially in "Marionette" (3.09), and this week, she reads the other Olivia's case files, which, as Broyles suggests, read like a diary in their explicit statements about how she felt about Peter. I find it really odd, though, how Olivia says that "we're the same," because I disagree with that. I don't think that our Olivia would ever call Peter "PB," for example. I also find it to be incredibly strange that she would have referred to Walter as "kind and brilliant," because did she indeed go soft, after all? My assumption was that she went soft only for Peter, since (a) she fell for him, and (b) he is from her side.

This episode doesn't deal as greatly with the First People as I was expecting based on the recap, but it does deal quite a bit with the Shapeshifters. Once again, we see one do the "face crunch," which is wildly grotesque and disturbing. Needless to say, it's rather obvious that, in this particular instance, Peter is lucky that he
is so important, because, otherwise, that Shapeshifter near the end of the episode would have had his head, but, again, it's so sad that now, Peter is deceiving Olivia after she just apologized, and that's especially sad due to something that I know that I won't share, having to do with "6B" (3.14). Although, if I were Peter, I would think, "Okay, but where do we stand? Are we back to where we were when we kissed on the Other Side, and if not, what do we need to do to get back there?" That doesn't, however, justify his lying to her, and maybe that's not even what he's thinking at all; maybe he really wants to be with Bolivia. The last observation that I would like to make is that when Brandon tells Nina that Bell had once been looking for a copy of the First People book, her "Ah" leads me to believe that that meant something to her, but I don't think I agree with some that say it was actually her doing. Until "Concentrate and Ask Again" (3.13), stay on the fringe.

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