Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fringe, Season 3, Episode 4, "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Again, apologies for getting to this post late, as I'm out of town this weekend. So just quick bullet points about the episode and hopefully we can get into some discussion in the comments (and by the way, if you're catching up to these episodes late, please do comment on the previous episode posts -- I'm linking to them at the bottom for a reason, I'd love to keep the conversation active on those eps as well).

-- Really great episode that delved into the Shapeshifters from every angle: physiology to psychology to improbable emotional connections. Fringe has gotten pretty great at delivering stories that pack an emotional punch (the cop shapeshifter and his son was totally heartbreaking) while still, say, having a guy's mercury-smeared brain on display for half the episode. The ep went a long way towards making the Shifters actual people (for lack of a better term). Even in their pursuit of so-called evil, someone like Newton showed characteristics of duty-bound honor. (Also, is that the last we're going to see of Sebastian Roche? Because I will miss him. I know he's coming back to General Hospital soon, but those stints never last.)

-- The other major thread in this epiosde actually addressed a concern of mine from a couple weeks back -- namely, how is it that Peter isn't twigging to how different Fauxlivia is. I mean, she's doing a decent job, I guess, but the differences are pretty apparent, especially for a guy like Peter who commented on those differences back in last season's finale. Here, Peter acknowledges them, in a couple scenes that felt a little too fake-outy for my tastes, but ultimately chalks it up to Liv being changed by her trip to Alt World. A few more episodes like this and I'm going to start getting frustrated with Peter for not Getting It, but it's good to know the showrunners realize this needed addressing of some kind.

-- And related to the Fauxlivia thing, I thought the episode did well handling the obvious but still effective parallels between Fauxlivia and the Shapeshifters. Particularly in addressing her struggle to keep from forming attatchments to Our World.

-- Love that Walter seems to be thriving -- if also tripping -- inside Massive Dynamic. Nina Sharpe certainly seems to be a fan. She's quite the genius groupie, huh? Also, has Massive Dynamic always gotten its own 3-D chyron like that?

Anyway, I'll open it up to your comments -- what did you think? (And no, I haven't seen previews for next week, since I watched the ep on iTunes. What'd I miss?)

More Fringe on Low Res:
Fringe 3.1 "Olivia"
Fringe 3.2 "The Box"
Fringe 3.3 "The Plateau"


Jamie said...

In such an emotionally rich episode, where were Rachel and Ella? We know that Fauxlivia knows they exist, because she pretends to take a call from Rachel, but I feel cheated to have missed their meeting. It's obvious that Liv will become a little emotionally connected to this world, and it would be a little less cliche if it could be for a reason other than the love of a good man.

Solid car crash at the opening. I usually try to see if I can 3-2-1 guess those "surprises" but this one was so well done I gasped and jumped (which is exactly the kind of reaction I hope for and miss around Halloween every year, so well done to Fringe for giving such a bonus).

I'm curious to see how Fauxlivia gets along without Newton as her safety net, but I desperately hope he is not gone for good.

Celendra said...

re: Peter twigging to Fauxlivia, I'm hoping that the opening scene where he's clearly so good at reading people is meant to make us assume that the scene between them in the cafeteria was a suble shout-out that he's already figured out that she's not his Olivia. And that he's just sleeping with her at the end for the same reason she is - to deflect suspiscion. Hopefully. Otherwise he's getting his conman license revoked. Look at all her pretty makeup! She is not your Olivia!

I actually let out a horrified gasp-screamed "Walter!" when he took that header into the metal strut? pylon? thing?. If there's one guy who so does not need some traumatic head injury, it's our poor Walter. Although, bonus points to the show for the adorable Astrid reaction, especially as a capper to their earlier scene where he finally got her name right. Of course, she'll always be Aspirin to me.

Just as an FYI, it doesn't come back until November because of stupid baseball.

Joe Reid said...

Thanks for the programming note, Celendra. I'll miss the show, but I prefer this to when The X-Files wouldn't even premiere until November to avoid the Series.

Also, I think we all have our own personal Astrid misnomers. I'll always think of her as Asterisk.

JA said...

I've gotten to the point where I'm always looking for those car crash moments they've been done so many times before but the editing on this one was done just a beat off, it happened a second too quickly, so it totally got me too.

I thought this episode was incredible. One of the best of the series. I could back that up better if I were writing about it when I'd seen it and not five days later, but I'll stand by the claim all the same. Everybody had great little moments. Esp. loved the tiny little bits between Walter and Asteroid - I wish they'd give Apostrophe some character outside of who we've come to know her as, some kind of outside life, but I can't dispute the fact that her relationship with Walter is one of the most touching things on the show.

Oh and Joe, who should show up in the preview for upcoming episodes but KEVIN WEISMAN, only a couple weeks after you posit fanfic involving him and Asterisk.

Joe Reid said...

I am a prophet!

(*Waiting patiently for Ivy to show up.*)

Kris McN said...


Oo, It's like you're psychic or something! Wait! Are you...Alt-Joe?! FauxJoe? Foe?? Where do these precog powers come from JOE?

I was an Aspirin, but Astro made me laugh out loud.

JenMarc said...

I actually rewound to make sure it was really Marshall in the preview. I cannot wait for that! Everywhere I turn these days it's Alias, Alias, Alias (and I'm not complaining at all).

I'm with Joe in my preference for Asterisk, but Aspirin made me laugh out loud.

Is it weird that I prefer the real Olivia in Alt-verse to Fauxlivia? I think that probably just needs to be chalked up to excellent acting and directing, but I want the real Olivia back every week. The above ties in with my biggest complaint about Peter not noticing, that what he is noticing is Fauxlivia being nicer, when, to me, she's the complete opposite: harder and meaner. I hope they can give that some sort of reasonable resolution when they do the reveal.

Sandman said...

Yup. Pretty sure Massive Deux Ex has always gotten its own giant 3D floating monster chyron thingie.

Your comments on the episode are apposite and well made as always.