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Fringe: “Reciprocity” – review
Just when you might have started to think that the Secretary of Defense’s (Walternate’s) schemes to invade our Earth and destroy everyone here with his Doomsday Machine were only the subject of Fringe episodes from last year (soooo 2010), the episode “Reciprocity” comes along, and makes the plot fresh and new again. The Fringe Team visits Massive Dynamic’s assembly of the doomsday device, and Walter becomes greatly concerned for Peter’s well-being, so he turns to Nina for added brain power to understand the relationship between Peter and the Doomsday weapon. Some of the results are somewhat humorous, like when he drinks a serum containing chimp DNA. Meanwhile, the discovery of a dead body triggers an intense investigation, because the body is that of a shapeshifter, whose name was mentioned in Faux-livia’s computer’s hard drive.
We are all interlinked, interconnected. This reciprocity is the main theme of this episode of Fringe, when Peter’s actions seem to be directly affected by his closeness to the Doomsday Machine when he enters the room at Massive Dynamics where the various parts buried around the world have been collected and assembled. There were several OMG Moments, to borrow a phrase from my teenager, in “Reciprocity” that are taking Peter’s character in a different direction, as if his dark side is taking over more and more. These moments make up some of the episode’s highlights.
Major Highlights/Memorable Quotes
I’ll preface these with the caveat that I haven’t yet had a chance to read any transcript of this episode to check the complete accuracy of any of the quotes I might mention. The change to Friday nights has left me with a little bit less time to try to get these reviews ready by Saturday. However, the gist of the quotes should be fairly accurate, if not every single word or person’s last name, in some cases.
1.) I’ll start off, as I often do, with the decoded glyphs for this episode. The decoded letters spell out ALTER, and I think they probably refer to how Peter is altered by proximity to the Doomsday Machine, and he becomes sort of a weapon himself.
2.) I like anytime Walter says something that’s a non sequitur, like he does early on in this episode, when he and the rest of the main Fringe team are stopped at a military checkpoint, and he asks the guard: “Do you have any mint chewing gum?” It’s to help his ears pop, is what I gather, but it’s an odd thing to just say out of the blue.
3.) Peter Encounters the Doomsday Machine:
Yes, the early point in “Reciprocity” when Peter enters the room at Massive Dynamics containing the Doomsday Machine and the scientists there get “electromagnetic spikes” and things start flying around the room was another highlight for me.
4.) Walter acts very much in a protective manner towards Peter, not wanting to expose him to any potential harm or danger. He is worried, concerned that the tests the doctors want to perform on Peter to determine if there’s something different about him that caused his interaction with the Doomsday Machine might end up harming him in some way. I find this kind of touching, and I liked the interchange between him and Peter when Peter says: “You can’t protect me from everything,” and Walter says, when Peter’s about to get X-rayed: “You’ve no idea how much radiation you’re about to be exposed to.”
5.) As in the last episode, “The Firefly,” Walter desperately desires to become smarter, to somehow regrow the parts of his brain that William Bell cut out of him, despite knowing what Bell said about Walter’s having asked him to do it. He goes to Nina to ask for her to locate the research Bell did on regrowing brain matter, or restoring it, and she finds a serum that may/may not contain his DNA, that might aid him. He immediately inhales/snorts it, despite her warnings that it should be tested first. It is not his DNA, but a chimpanzee’s, and shortly afterward, Walter feels a craving for a “banana split.” Yumm!
6.) I’m not going to mention every highlight of this episode, but there are a couple more I thought were important to the plot that I will discuss briefly. One is where a man smoking a cigarette outside notices dead fish in a pond, and then finds a dead man’s body underneath lily pads. The fish have died from mercury poisoning. This is important, because the dead man’s body is that of a shapeshifter, and the Fringe Division soon learns that other shapeshifters–agents of Walternate’s–mentioned in Faux-livia’s writings are also being targeted for assassination. Olivia wonders how whoever is responsible seems to always be one step ahead of them. She never discovers why, but we, the viewers, do.
7.) The OMG Moments
I won’t get into all of them, but here are a few:
- When blood is found under one of the shapeshifter’s fingernails, Dr. Falcon’s, and it’s type A+. There is only one other employee at Massive Dynamics with this type, but that person passes a lie detector test designed by the late William Bell. Walter mentions that it’s also his blood type, and that makes us as viewers wonder if it is possibly also Peter’s blood type.
- When Olivia cracks the letter substitution code of Faux-livia, and learns who the fifth victim will be, by using her childhood nickname, “Olive.”
- There are others, but I’ll close with the one when we see a hooded figure enter into an alley where a shapeshifter has claimed a victim, who is a panhandler. We get to see that the face under the hood is–wait for it–Peter’s. Walter finds out that it’s been him, all along, who has been killing the shapeshifters, but he keeps the information secret from everyone else. I really liked when he said to Peter: “I think I know what’s happening to you. Everything is reciprocal.”
Well, that concludes this week’s review–I hoped you liked the episode, and my comments. Please feel free to post any comments you’d like in the form below. What do you think of the episode? Do you think Peter’s changed behavior will add even more drama to the series? Do you believe that he will eventually allow himself to become the catalyst for the Doomsday Machine? The shows in the coming weeks should prove very interesting in answering these questions, and more!