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‘Fringe’ recap: labor pains

318_bloodline_018 It’s crazy to think that at one point I complained that "Fringe" needed to “get to it faster.” Back in Season One and much of Season Two, the show would only dish out hints at the overarching mythology in each episode. Tiny morsels delicately rationed out. Now "Fringe" rushes through nine months of pregnancy in just a single episode. Why waste time? There are tons of great drama we can’t be waiting around for. 

Fox officially announced it was renewing "Fringe" for a fourth season Friday morning. If you need a reminder of why, all you have to do is watch "Bloodlines." We’re back “over there.” In case you’ve forgotten what’s happening in the red universe, Fauxlivia is pregnant with Peter’s baby, Walternate is putting together the pieces he needs to destroy our universe, and Lincoln has taken over Broyle’s job as the head of Fringe Division. If you had any doubts about the quality of "Fringe," just look at how much life they have brought to the alternate reality. They took these doppelgangers who could have existed as villains and made them just as compelling as the characters in our reality. It’s almost hard to say who the bad guys are.

As if carrying the child of a man living in another universe wasn’t enough, Fauxlivia also has to worry that she’s a carrier of VPE, or Viral Propagated … um, something that starts with E. The doctor said it kinda quickly and I didn’t catch it. Whatever it stands for, VPE is the condition that caused Fauxlivia’s sister Faux-Rachel to die in childbirth with Faux-Elle. If Fauxlivia’s also a carrier, there’s a high chance that she, the baby, or both might die during the delivery. Fauxlivia waits for her test results, contemplating the impossible decision she will have to make, but that’s all cut short when she’s kidnapped from her apartment.

How about that kidnapping? Did it make you jump? It totally caught me off guard. 

While Fauxlivia is injected with crazy chemicals and plans her escape, Lincoln and Charlie do their best to track her down. The Lincoln/Charlie relationship might be one of my favorites on the show. Those two guys seem so natural and fun together. Charlie teasing Lincoln about his new job, and then Lincoln cracking jokes about Charlie’s dates with “bug girl.” I enjoy watching the red universe’s Fringe Division as much as ours. 

In more great “get to it” moments, Lincoln and the Fringe Division begin to find out about the Fauxlivia/Olivia switch. Searching for clues on Fauxlivia’s disappearance, their Astrid points them to a taxi that has been driving past her apartment repeatedly. Of course, that cab belongs to Henry Higgins, the cabby that helped Olivia escape back to our reality. Henry’s story leads Lincoln to Walternate, who spills the beans on Fauxlivia’s mission into our reality, which prompts Lincoln and Charlie to question what else they might be kept in the dark about. 

Fauxlivia manages to escape ("Fringe" villains need to learn that you can’t keep either Olivia tied to a gurney for very long), but not until after her captors have sped up her pregnancy. She bursts out into Chinatown as she kicks into labor. I sure hope that the bystanders in our universe would be much more helpful to lost pregnant women than the ones over there. She makes it to a hospital just in time to give birth to the next of the Bishop line. Boy, that kid’s going to have a crazy life.

Besides propelling the "Fringe" mythology several leaps forward, "Bloodline" managed to squeeze in a couple great moments of acting as well. Anna Torv continues to impress. There might be some debate over her Leonard Nimoy impression last week, but you can’t deny the power of that speech she gave trying to convince the obstetrics nurse to let her go. Or how about the moments she had with Amy Madigan about her fears over VPE and being a mother. I’m one of the people who doubted Torv’s acting chops in Season One, but I never will doubt her again.

After this episode, my biggest fear is that everything that’s been said about the device will be true, that one of the universes is going to have to be destroyed so the other can live. Of course, my gut reaction is that I want our universe to thrive, but I’m starting to care just as much about our friends “over there.”

Blast from the past – "Fringe" has been doing an excellent job of dipping back into the first season and bringing new life to technologies that could have been forgotten as “craziness of the week.” "Fringe" brought back the mysterious amber from Episode 3 "The Ghost Network," and gave it a whole new life. While I don’t think the show came out and claimed the connection, the process they used to accelerate Fauxlivia’s pregnancy reminded me a lot of Episode 2, "The Same Old Story." That’s when Walter, Olivia and Peter investigated a baby that aged 80 hours immediately after birth. Am I the only person who caught that connection?

Now that "Fringe" has earned itself a fourth season, there will be much more time to revisit some of those technologies from the first year. Are there any favorites you’d like to see again? My vote is for the werewolf-like monster that crashed the plane back in "the Transformation."

Astrid Action – Astrid 2 or Bad Astrid or whatever you want to call her is starting to get as much screen time as our own Astrid. Her security clearance was knocked up a few levels so she could be trusted with the fact that Olivia is carrying Secretary of Defense Walternate’s future grandson. It doesn’t matter which universe we’re in, I always enjoy watching Astrid pop up. 

Spot the Observer – Those bald watchmen weren’t hiding very well this week. Even Fauxlivia caught a glimpse of one. While the Observers stepped out of the shadows slightly, they didn’t give much of an indication of why. Just the cryptic comments that “it is happening.” With only four episodes left in the season, “it” better get hurrying. 

[Update: Thanks to everyone for catching that I said Fauxlivia gave birth in the hospital. How could I forget that incredible scene. Anna Torv, Seth Gabel and Andre Royo were each amazing. Just shows how great this episode was. I couldn't even remember everthing I loved.]


Fox renews 'Fringe' for Season Four

'Fringe' recap: 'The place where the mysteries of the universe are solved.'

Complete 'Fringe' coverage on Show Tracker

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo: Olivia (Anna Torv) is kidnapped and finds herself in mortal danger. Credit: Fox

Comments () | Archives (25)

I adored this episode. Fringe at its best. I caught myself crying at the birth scene. I started to 'feel' for Fauxlivia. Easily one of the best episodes this season.

Per Jasika Nicole, it's "Kick Astrid" - there's a wonderful interview posted with her by the guys at the Fringe Podcast last week . They also posted an interview with Michael Cerveris recently.

Both are highly worth listening to if you like the show - http://thefringepodcast.com/ or search for it in iTunes.

For me, this was the best episode in a while. While it continues the trend of emphasizing the emo aspects of the characters (Licoln holding Fauxlivia), we got some creepy science again.

I caught the connection to second episode of the series as well. I as actually kind of hoping the baby would grow to his 20s and stop aging, as if they had solved the ages 'til it dies issue. But this worked too.

Also, in same old story, olivia had some weird dream/vision of broyles asking if she was safe with john scott, and then she gets all preggers instantly. Sort of a weird connection to alt-livia's situation...

No, Faux-livia had the baby in the shop in Chinatown with Henry coaching her and Lincoln holding her in his arms! That was my favorite scene from the show last night... How Henry re-introduced himself... How Lincoln declared his love for Faux-livia... How Faux-livia almost slipped away during birth. I'm SO glad to hear that the show was renewed for another season.

As much as I like reading your "Tracker" , Henry delivered the baby in a store in China Town and not at the hospital.

The baby was delivered in a Chinese retail store, not in a hospital. And you neglected the most important information, that Walternate and his assistant were behind the kidnapping. I suspected that and yelled out loud when Walternate got the blood type info. Great show! Sorry we have to wait 3 more weeks for another episode.

I believe this baby is Lincoln's, number one, not Peter's. I believe Walternate will find that out from analyzing the baby's blood and then his plan may change to test on children... perhaps that one? I was afraid that Fauxlivia would flip universes when she was in childbirth due to be so scared, but I guess she was never given the synthetic Cortexiphan they concocted when our Olivia was over there. I also think that perhaps Peter gets our Olivia pregnant at some point and then Walternate will really have a grandchild, but over here. Love this show. So glad it's up for a 4th season. Really want to see the whole "Bellivia" plot end though. Very stupid and hard to handle even though Anna Torv has proven to be an acting goddess with all the roles within roles she's had to pull off!

The E is for eclampsia, a real pregnancy danger. And didn't Henry deliver the baby in a shop in Chinatown just before the ambulance arrived to take Fauxlivia to the hospital? What's going to happen now that Lincoln has admitted he loves Fauxlivia? And what about the bit at the end where we find out Walternate was the one behind the baby's accelerated growth? Did he know about the VPE before Fauxlivia did?

Actually, Fauxlivia gave birth in the Chinese store, not in a hospital. I thought the birth scene worked really well, unlike most such "emergency childbirth" scenes (I'm looking at you "Lost" finale).

The interaction between Lincoln, Fauxlivia, and Henry was very revealing of the relationships (love?) between those characters. Some great acting, and again demonstrating your point that the "other" universe characters are just as "real" as our own universe's. I'm certainly hoping they don't destroy the whole universe, or just knock off the characters one-by-one, as they did with Faux-Broyles.

I'm very happy that Fox renewed for a fourth season. Given Fox's history with sci-fi shows, I'm quite surprised they went for it.

For alternate Astrid, I nominate Altrid

Let me just say that Seth Gabel blew Joshua Jackson totally out of my sky. He completely convinced me that he was a man watching the woman he loved die in his very arms; that "I love you" was wrenched out of him with pliers.

It was a deeply emotional scene, and though brief he brought to it more passion and intensity than I've seen from Jackson in any "love scene" with Olivia yet. In fact, Jackson only seems to get really fired up when Peter is telling off Walter. Maybe he needs to start bribing the writers to give him a really solid emotional scene with Olivia. Until then, though, Lincoln Lee in any universe is a helluva lot more appealing, and a lot less bland, than Peter Bishop IMO.

Every episode I hold out the hope that it is an intentional choice on Jackson's part. That there is something we just don't know about Peter and ultimately we'l' go back and go ''oh that's why he was playing it like that.'' But alas, nothing so far.

It disappoints me. I have to assume he simply isn't invested in this aspect [polivia] of his character and can't hide his disinterest. Which, if true, is pretty selfish.

But I really do hope there's a storyline reason behind his detachment and not the actor.

"She makes it to a hospital just in time to give birth to the next of the Bishop line."

Erm, she actually gives birth in a Chinese restaurant, assisted by The Cabbie and held rather romantically by Lincoln. FYI.

speaking of Astrid..Astrid FARNSWORTH, as in Philo T.Farnsworth, the invnerto of the first modern TV shown at 1936 Worlds Fair.anybody else mention this, came in late to this blog.

Wow, each to his own Alex, but I totally disagree.

Peter Bishop is not as forthcoming with his emotions as is Lincoln Lee. Plus The Olivia and Peter relationship has had alot more happen between them and has become alot more complicated than what is between Bolivia and Lincoln. I've seen quite a few scenes in which Peter clearly shows how much he loves Olivia, this season. There not showy but understated. If your looking for showy, emotional scenes then that is not how Peter Bishop comes across. He is different to Lincoln in that regard. Peter is a con man and has mastered the poker face. Keeping his emotions close to his chest is what Peter Bishop does.

This show is becoming a soap opera. eww!!

Random comments:

If Walternate knew about Bolivia's VPE and knew that the acceleration process would allow her and the child to survive it, there would have been no need to kidnap her. Therefore, he either did not know, or the writers did this just to add some drama ... and provide another reason, beyond his killing of Broyles, for Bolivia to betray Walternate down the road.

Walternate appeared to be showing some humanity when he told Brandon not to experiment on children. I perversely enjoyed his being behind the kidnapping, because it undercut the perception that he's still got some good left in him. He is, after all, the dark father/darth vader.

It makes no sense to me that Henry would be circling around Bolivia's block. Sure, he might be worried about her, but unless he's an obsessed stalker he's not going to be hanging out in her neighborhood.

Is Altrid a savant? She's unnaturally good with (and precise with) probabilities and also unnaturally stiff, and there are indications that she avoids eye contact (which would be a sign of Asperger's). I would not be surprised if Walternate experimented on her when as a child and made her this way.

I think Walter did know Fauxlivia was a carrier before she did, and acceded to Brandon's idea to accelerate the pregnancy as the best chance for his grandchild to survive. He didn't know it would work, and I'm sure Brandon would have died a painful death if the acceleration had failed.

What I'm not sure about was what they would have done if Fauxlivia hadn't escaped--delivered the baby and then tip someone off where she could be found? And I'd be surprised if it doesn' t occur to Lincoln, and to Fauxlivia too once she recovers, that Walternate was behind this risky endeavor. It makes sense that the kidnapping was about the baby, that whoever was behind it wanted the baby to be born, and sooner rather than later. My thought is that they kidnapped her as she and her family might not have agreed to the risk of death to her or the baby so they took the choice away.

Very good episode, so glad the show got renewed!

The Chinese characters all over China-other-town are all 'rearranged'. At first I thought there is no one good in Chinese at the film set, but on second thought, may be it's done on purpose...

The Chinese characters on the Restaurant main door (above 'Happy Year of Rabbit') literally mean - 'Rabbits that are happy during Chinese New Year'.

Show me your show me...

President Ted Kennedy.

I love this show so much but one thing really bothers me. Olivia in both universes is a moral person trying to help people. But Fauxlivia in our world was really awful, committing murder in cold blood. It was totally out of character and I can't reconcile that departure.

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