Stars: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole
Writers: David Wilcox and Matt Pitts
Director: Kenneth Fink
Network: Fox, airs on Thursdays
Original Telecast: October 14, 2010
This was probably one of the best episodes of FRINGE this year.
Not only did it forward the evilness that we have come to expect from alt-Olivia (Anna Torv) but it gave us a unique insight into the beings known as shapeshifters – that have been a character on the show since early in the Season Two.
Crafted by the Walter (John Noble) on the other side, up until “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?” the only knowledge of shapeshifters we have seen are unstoppable killing machines that are the only beings (unless a super portal is opened or you have Cortexiphan kids at your disposal) that can cross over into our universe without getting torn into little bits.
Killing without emotion and their minds set on whatever agenda was implanted in them, the two shapeshifters we see in this episode were anything but this. One had infiltrated a U.S. senator and while this is scary on any number of levels, the shapeshifter seemed to actually be a pretty nice guy giving a big tip to local girls at a lemonade stand, loving his wife and setting up something special for their anniversary. The other was placed as the father to a loving wife and caring son. He took the position to heart and grew to love them as any father would.
But when Thomas Newton (Sebastian Roché) – you know the dude that was a frozen head but then placed back on a new body and reborn – tries to cover it up, the Fringe team investigates why the shapeshifters are being placed in high positions – regardless of whether they have become friendly or not.
This was an interesting position that alt-Olivia was placed in. She has to cover her own tracks but at the same time she must help Newton and any others from the alternate universe in retrieving some chip that was inside the shapeshifting Senator. I loved that on one hand she was playing both Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Walter on one hand, and on the other trying to help Newton recover the chip. She seemingly convinced them to take a break just when another shapeshifter was going to recover the chip. And when Newton was captured, she slyly took the chip with one hand and convinced Peter she was doing her job on the other. Well played, dark Olivia, well played indeed.
I was not expecting them to kill off Newton, however, as I thought for sure he would be an integral part of Season Three or at least play some sort of a role in how the Fringe team discovers that Olivia isn’t really Olivia. But maybe because Roché got a role on SUPERNATURAL and will be part of that show’s mythology for the season but it sure seems like he was too good of a bad guy just to throw him away. That was maybe the one thing that disappointed me about this great episode in what is shaping up to be yet another great year on FRINGE.
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