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'Fringe' recap: Dr. Falcon left work early

January 29, 2011 |  9:33 am

311_reciprocity_188 To be completely honest, I wasn’t thrilled by last week’s “Fringe.” I didn’t quite understand the Observer’s big plan of testing Walter to see if he’d be willing to let Peter die. But I was glad to have “Fringe” back, so I chalked it up to the first episode back and the move to Friday nights. I knew it wouldn’t be too long before “Fringe” hit its stride.

Then Blam. Episode Two and they’re already at a full sprint. All the aspects of “Fringe” that I love seemed to be firing in “Reciprocity.” There was a point when I was fast-forwarding through a chunk of commercials I probably should be watching to help support the show, and I realized there were only 10 minutes left. I really wished there was more.

In the spirit of the Super Bowl pregame ad that briefly filled the lower right hand corner of the screen, let’s break it down and check out the highlights of this week’s “Fringe":

Grape Gum – The first few minutes of the episode perfectly encapsulate the spirit of “Fringe.” All these dramatic shots of a highly secured, mysterious facility in the middle of nowhere, with heavily guarded entrances, where Walter asks a soldier for a piece of gum. Preferably grape. The whole opening set up everything so well, even the things you might not have noticed.

Faux-Livia – It’s official. No more using Bolivia. She’s Faux-Livia, and they’ve cracked the encryption code on the computer she left behind. The Fringe Division has access to all of her mission reports, observations, and dairy. 

The Device – Massive Dynamic has put it back together, but they can’t figure out any power source. I’m not sure what those tests included. Putting in different-sized batteries, plugging it into the wall with all the AC adapters that have collected in the junk drawer, tying a kite to it in a rainstorm. Though that all changes when Peter walks in the room. The big scary doomsday device has taken a shine to that boy. Enough to give him a nosebleed.

Spoiler Alert – OK, at what point did you figure out that Dr. Falcon was a shape-shifting super soldier from another dimension? I picked up on it pretty early. Mainly because when Dr. Falcon introduced himself to Walter, my first reaction was “Where’s Brandon?” I knew there had to be a reason my favorite Massive Dynamic employee wasn’t heading up work on the Device. Then when the dead shape-shifter showed up, I knew that’s what Falcon had to be. I like that I figured it out so early, but when you think back, Peter may have already known he was fake. I like that even more. 

Peter sneaking home – The best part of living with Walter has to be the food. Imagine what has to be filling the shelves and refrigerator. Leftovers from all of Walter’s insane cravings. Peter sneaking in and lying about where he’d been was quickly forgotten in the more interesting conversation of what happened with the Device. Later, when Olivia mentions it to Peter she tried to call him and he lies again, I was distracted figuring out the deal with Falcon and wasn’t paying much attention. Figuring out the first twist kept me from figuring out the second twist, which worked just fine for me.

Fish dead from mercury poisoning – Thought “Fringe” might have tapped into the “dead animals everywhere” news headlines, but instead it turned out to just be mercury poisoning. Good touch. 

Walter’s DNA – Walter’s efforts to repair himself are getting fun. Sure, the first time he nearly killed himself with his milk and medicine concoction. This week he inhaled a bunch of monkey DNA. It gave him a passing fancy for bananas and some dominance posturing but then it faded. It’ll be interesting to see how he changes once he gets the missing pieces of his brain back. Will his personality be more like Walernate? Do you think he’ll accidently inhale the rat DNA first?

Brandon! – I’m glad Brandon showed up, running the super polygraph machine in the search for shape-shifting mole. Better late than never, and he got to deliver the awesome line “Dr. Falcon left work early.”

“I get it now” – Olivia and Peter find a little time to bond over a shape-shifter’s murder scene. She really seemed to want to connect over the awful things Faux-Livia did to them both. Too bad the moment had to end with Peter lying about where he was going. 

Brandon!?! – Brandon the killer? Never! Though it was worth it to see him rushed by men with guns. Also eating a PB&J. Same as Peter when he snuck home at night. Was that a clue? A theme? A craving of the writer? Who knows. But when Walter said he had the same blood type as the killer, it had to be a clue to it being Peter. So many mysteries and clues. I love it. 

Weaponized Peter – The reciprocity this episode was named after. Peter activated the device, but the device also activated Peter. Now he’s one mean shape-shifter assassin. Tracking them down, shooting them in the head, ripping out their data chips. They aren’t allowed to kill him, but they aren’t above threatening to cut off his fingers, to which Peter responds with some finger chopping of his own. Hearing him say “I’m not doing anything wrong” about killing the soldiers was eerie. Can’t wait to see where this goes.

Astrid Action – A lot of trust in Astrid this week. She got access to Faux-Livia’s files long before anyone else, though we find out later Peter had copies all along. I’m still not sure if she should have let Olivia read them. 

Spot the Observer – The Observer really does love police tape. Wherever there’s a crime scene, you’ll find baldy. This time he was standing behind a cop car across the street from where Olivia and Broyles examined the pond where the found the first shape shifter corpse.  

One more thing – The little extra scene of Nina and Brandon talking about the First People books was just icing on the cake. With the added “duh duh duuuuh” of finding out William Bell tried to track down the same information himself. One more kick in the pants on your way out the door to make sure you come back next week for another “Fringe.”

[Update: I originally referred to Dr. Faclon as Dr. Falco. Thanks to David in the comments for catching that. I guess I just really wanted to make a "Rock Me Amadeus" joke.]

-Andrew Hanson

Related:

"Fringe" recap: Walter broke up the band

"Fringe" recap: Epilogue

Complete "Fringe" coverage on Show Tracker

Photo: The team, from left, Lance Reddick, Anna Torv, John Noble and Blair Brown, collaborates on a case. Credit: Fox Television

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