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‘Fringe’ recap: In your head

February 18, 2012 |  9:35 am

"Fringe" tells stories unlike anyone else. Since the beginning of television, shows have had the "will they/won’t they" romantic leads. Your Sam and Diane, Mulder and Scully, Ross and that monkey. The problem with those relationships is the writers constantly have to come up with reasons why the two can’t be with each other. Mostly through misunderstandings and bad timing, but ‘Fringe’ does it in its own way. Peter and Olivia have had a rocky romance. Whenever they get together, it turns out that one is from another universe or the other is from an alternate timeline. Those two kids just can’t catch a break.

After the events in Westfield, alternate history Olivia starts picking up memories from regular ordinary Olivia. She goes through our Olivia’s Friday routine: ordering in, drinking wine and making out with Peter. Only it doesn’t stop there. Soon she’s remembering Peter with her when she rescued Walter from the mental hospital or sharing a drink after solving a case. The questions arise. How did alternate-timeline Olivia get these memories? And is making out with her technically cheating on the original Olivia?

While Walter pops Olivia under his high-tech hair dryer and studies her brain, Fringe Division investigates the case of Shawn, a schizophrenic boy in a mental hospital who witnessed a murder hundreds of miles away. Three men broke into a reporter’s house and suffocated him with a plastic bag. Shawn and the murder victims are all half-brothers, the product of in-vitro fertilization by a doctor trying to build a better human being. He’s activating traits long since lost in our DNA and mixing in a few genes of his own, because if you’re going to play God, you might as well go all out. 

Turns out all the half-brothers have developed a bit of a group mind. Like bees. They can hear each other’s thoughts, but that isn’t good for Shawn. He was labeled a schizophrenic and shipped off to the mental hospital for the voices he heard in his head. Luckily, Walter has advanced experience dealing with voices in his own head. 

This was far from my favorite mystery of the week. Most of the information came out in large chunks, like when Olivia and Peter stopped by to question Dr. Frank, and he spilled his guts. It isn’t the best way to convey exposition, but it does make detective work a lot easier. Then after his children come back and kill the good doctor, Shawn is magically disconnected from the hive mind. At least that’s how it seemed to me. I confess, I wasn’t all that interested. I was much more interested in the developments with Olivia’s mind.

Walter believes it is Peter making Olivia remember events from his timeline, either consciously or subconsciously. He grabs a chunk of hair to examine and finds out the truth. Someone has been slipping her Cortexiphan. He and Lincoln Lee head to Nina Sharp and ask what Massive Dynamic did with the remaining samples Walter and William Bell saved. Nina leads them in the company’s top-secret, biometric fault. Walter pulls the old taste test and discovers that those samples are fakes. Duh duh duh. 

And if that isn’t dramatic enough, just as Peter and Olivia decide it is OK for them to hook up, she walks away to use the bathroom and never returns. She wakes up tied to a chair in a room with Nina Sharp. The real Nina sharp. It appears that David Robert Jones’ shape shifters have infiltrated deeper than we thought. 

Astrid Action – Astrid benefited from her years of dealing with Walter this week as she tended to another delicate psyche. She helps Shawn through detoxing off all his schizophrenia medications and dodges his hapless flirting. After Shawn disconnects from the mental grid of his half-siblings, Astrid is there with helpful, if somewhat cheesy, words of wisdom about dealing with life now that he’s all alone in his head. 

Spot the Observer – Did you catch the Observer? He strolled outside the gas station when Peter went to find out why Olivia was taking so long in the bathroom. He probably stopped by to watch her get kidnapped. Or he was picking up a Slusho Pop. More importantly, did you see the preview for next week’s "Fringe?" Seems like we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Observer very soon.


'Fringe' recap: Unpleasantville

'Fringe' recap: Astrid Action

Complete 'Fringe' coverage on Show Tracker

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo:  Peter (Josh Jackson, left), Walter (John Noble) and Olivia (Anna Torv) investigate a series of murders.