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Fringe 3.18 - Bloodline - Review

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Fringe 3x18 - In Which Walternate Weaves a Wicked Web and Olivia Officially Becomes a MILF

Not since 'Marionette' have I been as moved by an episode of Fringe as I was during this week’s instalment. It didn’t help that I was already an emotional wreck after learning that FOX had finally heard our threatspleas and confirmed the renewal of the show for a fourth season. I’m guessing the employees at the network are all suffering tooth-decay from all the red-vines they received. This week’s episode was more of the bitter-sweet as we shifted our gaze ‘Over There’. The narrative was focussed and tightly woven, centring intensely on Atlivia’s abduction and its Fringish consequences, leading to unexpected arrivals and unsettling revelations.


Oh baby – The episode began with the drawing of blood. Interestingly enough, it ended with blood as well. We soon learnt that Olivia had an 8 in 10 chance of being a carrier of Viral Propagated Eclampsia (VPE) which, after some googling it seems exists solely ‘Over There’. What I liked about this revelation was the convincing reactions from both Olivia and Marilyn. I thought Amy Madigan did a great job of portraying her maternal concerns and fears regarding Olivia’s choices, but I was particularly pleased by the fact that Olivia was realistically considering the fact that, regardless of the VPE, she might not be prepared emotionally or otherwise for a baby. Of course this option is soon taken away from her, but it was interesting to see the writers playing with the possibility of choice.

“Someone who’ll love you for who you are on the inside” – I call them Scona. So Scarlie and Mona ‘the bug girl’ Foster had ‘tea’ (always a suspect concept in the Fringe verse). It seems like he’s finally found someone to scratch his spiders when they itch. I wish that was a euphemism. I really appreciated this as one of the cuter, lighter moments in the episode and I do hope we hear or see more of Scona in the future.

Henry - Andre Royo reprised his role as Henry, this time playing the hero to a different Olivia. I loved that he had been checking up on her, which really just reinforces the profound impact our Olivia had on him. This character has really come to stand as a symbol of hope and courage - in the short span that we’ve seen him he’s risked his own life (twice) to help a woman he barely knew and then, despite being taken in by the scary government folk who took his cab, and mind-screwed by the idea of alternate universes, he delivers the baby of a woman he’s already met (except not really) on the floor of a Chinese shop while dozens of onlookers gape through the window. This guy deserves a medal or something.

The Birth - When I first started watching Fringe, as weird and far-out as it seemed, the image of Olivia Dunham giving birth was one of the last things I expected to see. We got teased with a sneaky image of Olivia suffering from a nightmarishly accelerated pregnancy in a dream sequence in “The Same Old Story”, which at the time, seemed rather random and now seems like the coolest case of foreshadowing ever.

Once again, Anna Torv knocked it out of the ballpark as she went from last week’s delightfully absurd to the opposite end of the spectrum with this week’s heartbreakingly dramatic performance. This episode also gave Seth Gabel a chance to shine. I’ve always been sort of neutral towards Lincoln and his feelings towards Liv, but this episode sold me on both.

The scene in China Town will go down as one of the most beautifully moving scenes in Fringe history. It was perfectly orchestrated, from the intensity of the situation, to Lincoln’s heartfelt declaration of love and Olivia’s stoic resignation. Interestingly, the score reminded me of Lost’s ‘Deus Ex Machina’ in which a young Claire gives birth to Aaron in the jungle while the inexperienced Kate delivers him. I was extremely hesitant about the idea an alt-pregnancy, but by the end of this scene I was crying harder than the baby.

Baby Dunham – wearing blue and red (and rocking the patent Dunham beanie), conceived in one universe, born in another - baby boy Dunham (born 14/02/2011 according to his blood chart) is no doubt going to be an important figure on the board. His grandfather went to considerable lengths to make sure of his existence (I’m curious to see what his father’s reaction will be when he learns of it, inter-universal child-support must be a bitch.) Either way, with the Observer observing and ominously stating “It is happening,” I’m worried about what the new-born’s future holds.

Other notables - Kick-Astrid was doing just
that in this episode. I enjoyed her involvement in the search, but the highlight was her barely muted reaction to Lincoln’s Jerry Springer-esque bombshell “Agent Dunham is pregnant with Secretary Bishop’s grandchild”. I haven’t said this often enough, but kudos to Jasika Nicole for pulling off this strange and oddly endearing character.

Charlie and Lincoln are finally questioning the greater scheme of things. As we move nearer to the end, characters are becoming self-aware and uncovering more truths. This makes me wonder if the two teams will slowly start to merge towards one common goal – saving both universes.


Brandon(h)ate – I despise this character, and not in a “love to hate ‘em” kind of way. Maybe it’s the baby-teeth, maybe it’s the smug, constipated smirk, maybe it’s the fact that there is not one redeemable quality about him. Whatever it is, I seriously cannot wait for him to die a grisly, violent death, preferably at the hand of a Dunham (either one, I’m not picky).

Act of Hubris – My feelings toward Walternate grow less and less ambivalent as the season progresses. Initially, he was portrayed as the villain, before we saw a more human, more fleshed out version of the character, but lately I’m inclined to cast him back into the baddie role. I cannot see how his abduction of Olivia can be justified in any sense. His means were brutal and inhumane. If he wanted to save his grandchild, he should have sat her down and discussed it with her as opposed to abducting her, drugging her, stretching her bones, accelerating her pregnancy and ultimately (and ironically) putting both her life and the life of her child in danger. Just no.


The fact is that I was incredibly reluctant to accept this storyline when rumours of it first started circling the fandom. I couldn’t see how a pregnancy would fit in, much less benefit the overall plot, yet now I am not only engaged, but excited about the possibilities that it may hold. This episode had me whipped, got me to sob over a narrative I once despised and if that’s not brilliant storytelling, and then I don’t what is. My only regret at this point is that we have to wait three weeks before getting our fix of LSD ;)


9.4 Baby Booties

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