The motif is a familiar one for a Fringe episode: bad guy needs something from other humans. Bad guy takes from other humans, killing them in the process. Bad guy is found out. We pity bad guy because he can’t help the way he’s become. The high-impact of this episode wasn’t in the case of the week, which was cut from the same cloth as many others, but in the questions the characters struggled with.
U-gene (the sad name given to Baby Boy Bryant, meaning “unidentified genetic abnormality”) had only one goal: to be seen. He had a strong emotional need to be seen and appreciated, even in the smallest way, by someone who wasn’t a scientist or military. Once this was accomplished — once he spoke to Julie in the elevator — he was content to sit down and die. It was a beautiful scene and a striking reminder that in a crazy world the simplest things are often what hurting people need the most.
The episode never deals with U-gene’s conscience. He killed ruthlessly and showed no signs of regret. We can only assume that the lab environment he grew up in failed to instill many morals in him; they certainly didn’t teach him to speak and interact like a regular person. Although it sounded as though he had been at large in the world for ten years, since the fire in the lab, it’s unlikely he fully understood the impact of taking a life.
Peter appears to be handling the altered universe fairly well at this point. Though he questions the necessity of it, he deals with the presence of his…bodyguard? Friend? He thanks Lincoln for treating him like a human being. He recognizes that the Olivia here isn’t “his” Olivia and even goes so far as to help Lincoln in that department by giving him a stylish new pair of glasses.
The developing Olivia-Lincoln relationship is unexpected, and I, for one, am on the verge of liking it. Part of me doesn’t want to because of Peter. But part of me understands that, as Peter said, this is not his Olivia, and he does not belong with this other Olivia. This Olivia is up for grabs, Lincoln is a great guy, and we can see their bond growing, case by freaky case.
Olivia spends the episode growing increasingly disconcerted over the fact that she doesn’t need help to deal with the emotional ramifications of their unusual line of work. Lincoln hasn’t slept since he arrived in Boston; Astrid sees the department shrink on a regular basis. Is Olivia emotionally stunted? Could it be a side effect of Cortexifan, she wonders? Nina Sharp assures her that nothing is the matter with her.
When they search the apartment building for U-gene, you know as soon as Olivia decides to split up with the dog team that she’ll run into him. Like U-gene, she is a product of childhood experimentation, her headaches an unwelcome lingering reminder. She sees something of herself in him, and therefore it’s natural for her to reach out to him. Olivia offers help and healing to people quite often, but she is left wondering, with all she’s seen and experienced, why doesn’t she need a little help herself sometimes?
Nina Sharp and her crew burst in to Olivia’s apartment for a surprising twist — a great place to leave us hanging until Fringe comes back in mid-January! What are they injecting Olivia with? Why would they want Olivia to forget the past two hours, or is that simply a (convenient) side effect of the injection? It’s fun seeing Nina as what I’m assuming is a true baddie. Having always been a little distrustful of her, I like having clear evidence that this version of Nina has ulterior motives in her relationship with Olivia. What those are, what she’s hoping to get from Olivia…we’ll have to wait til next January to learn more!
- Calling in tons of German Shepherds to help search the apartment building
- The second mouse appearing in the maze, to everyone’s surprise, once Walter flipped on the UV light (and Walter calling the mice John and Yoko)
- Lincoln and Olivia planning their 3 a.m. “date”
- Everyone remembering all the exact details about a baby from 22 years too readily
- Minor characters in this episode had particularly stiff line delivery
- Are UV flashlights such standard equipment that they could outfit all the searchers with them at a moment’s notice?
- What is Nina up to?! Can we trust anything she says or does this cast doubt on all her seeming helpful information? What is she hoping to get from Olivia as a result?
Olivia: Walter, do you think that U-gene is trying to make himself visible — that he’s killing people to steal their pigment?
Lincoln: Is that even possible?
Walter: It’s possible, of course. …Leprechauns are possible.
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