This weeks episode of Fringe can almost together with the first episode of the season be seen as one story. This time the story plays out mostly in the mirror universe though we don’t see much of the high tech gadgets….
As for the plot….
Olivia is contacted by agent Broyles about 23 unsolved homocides, as Olivia starts to question Broyles about why she has never heard of the case he reveals that it was brought forward by Fauxlivia from the mirror universe. In a strange plot twist it is revealed that although most events from season 3 occurred even after Peter fixed the timeline there are differences, for example the agent Broyles from the mirror universe did not die at the hands of Walternate but is still just the head of Fringe division.
Fauxlivia has so far managed to identify the killer but has been unable to catch him, she suggest that the alternate man from the Prime universe be brought to the mirror universe to help in the investigation. Reluctantly she agrees and thus she contacts the man called John McClellan who works as a forensic psychologist and often makes profiles of serial killers. At this moment in the episode it is quite creepy as the you can feel that the McClellan from the Prime universe also has dark thoughts and yet seems empathic all the same.
The story briefly diverges to Walters lab at Harvard where agent Lincoln Lee seems to be taken in by Walter. Walter still has the same issues with seeing and hearing Peter without knowing anything about him, fearing he might be going insane he covers every mirrored surface. In the meantime Olivia inquires Astrid about how agent Lee is settling in, Astrid suggests Olivia should get a date with him but she rebuffs the idea, at this moment we see there might be a lingering longing for Peter even though she can’t remember him.
In order to hide the fact towards the Prime John McClellan that an alternate universe exists he is sedated for the journey, he has also been kept in the dark about the fact that he is trying to catch his own mirror self. He is lead into the house of his mirror self to begin profiling the killer, there is a sudden urgency as the alternate McClellan has just kidnapped another woman from a rest stop.
At this moment it is worth mentioning the extraordinary effort that went into letting Olivia interact with Fauxlivia, the special effects of blending two characters played by Anna Torv into the same scenes is almost perfect. The writers have put in place subtle differnces between the characters so when Fauxlivia impersonates Olivia in order to question McClellan the audience not only sees that although they look similarly they are in fact different. Olivia is more restrained while Fauxlivia is more freewheeling and sexier. In season 3 these differences were perhaps a little forced but now Anna Torv seems to have gotten the hang of it. This kind of begs the question, if Anna Torv merely plays the part of Olivia Dunham than who is she?
Back to the story. In one unsurprising plot twist we see the Prime John McClellan figure out that he is after his own mirror self. Olivia explains to him he is in an alternate universe and inquires about why the mirror John murders. The Prime John admits to his darker side, he said he had always been different from other kids and later even alludes to torturing small animals. However, at the age of ten he met a woman called Margerie who cared for him and he learned to suppress he murderous feelings. After the Prime John agrees to help Olivia he manages to escaspe.
Despite the best efforts of the mirror Astrid in hunting down the mirror John McClellan she has little success, Olivia convinces Fauxlivia to track down McClellan to the farm his father once worked at.
The Prime John McClellan reaches the farm first and confronts the mirror John, trying to convince to give up his murder spree. After initially agreeing he strikes down the Prime John and straps him down to a machine that would enable him to extract the feelings from his victims, while also killing them with a cooling agent. The mirror John has been using the device to extract happy memories from his victims and now uses it to extract a memory of Margerie from the Prime John McClellan. Finally Olivia, Fauxlivia and Agent Lee reach the farm only to find it abandant. A cellar door allows them entrance to the lair the mirror John does his experiments in and they find the last victim still alive. The mirror John is eventually cornered and commits suicide, the Prime John is removed from the device with unknown side-effects.
Later in the Prime universe agent Broyles and Olivia meet the Prime John McClellan, he has been convinced that he had been injured while profiling for the FBI. He can’t remember anything of the last few weeks and crucially can’t rememberd Margerie. This troubles Olivia as that memeory was the only thing that kept John from killing like his mirror self. Agent Broyles assures Olivia the FBI will keep a close watch on him. The Prime John however alludes to a strange sensation of feeling restrained though he doesn’t know why. Agent Broyles later on says to Olivia that although memories may be erased the effects that people have on your personality and life are permanent. Then comes a second crucial moment when Olivia thinks this over, the audience understand the reference to Peter even if she doesn’t yet.
The final scene of the episode is back in Walter’s lab at Harvard. Walter is preparing for bed and carefully switches off the light hoping not to see another apparition of Peter. Instead he hears Peter’s voice but is convinced he is going insane and puts on Mozart loudly hoping to drown out Peter’s voice, with no effect….
Conclusion; just as the episode before this episode is good but not great, i like it a little better though the promise of a series reboot has so far not happened yet. Just like the last episode this one relies a bit more on drama, mimicking the strategy used by Warehouse 13 during its third season. I am not sure the slight change in structure will manage to attract a larger audience for the storyline only makes sense if you have seen season 3. That is not going to change for the next few episodes either I would guess.
This episodes again didn’t show the character of Charlie Francis, this time the writers decided he was sipping cocktails on a beach with his ‘bug lady’ from season 3. And that is kind of lame….
The question begs however whether Walternate and Fauxlivia are seeing apparitions of Peter. If they aren’t, does that suggest Peter is somehow able to control to whom he appears.
Viewer rating; 3.14 million.
The rating was expected but still… nothing seems to stop Fringe going down the drink these days…. It would appear that ‘Bad robot productions’ seems just a little preoccupied with Person of Interest and the Star Trek sequel…..
The name of the actor playing John McClellan is ‘John Pyper-Ferguson’, i thought he looked familiar but I couldn’t remember the name, he has guest starred in BSG, Caprica and Lost….
Next weeks episode is entitled ‘Alone in the World’….