FRINGE “Reciprocity” Review

FRINGE “Reciprocity” Review Season 3 Episode 11 – Last week’s episode of FRINGE gave us interesting insight into the motivations behind the Observers and how it may change the relationship between Walter and Peter. Did the Observers want Walter to be willing to sacrifice his son? Or did they mean for Walter to stop worrying about Peter’s safety and focus on the bigger picture (i.e. the alter-verse and it’s plans to kill us all)? This week we go back to the “War of the ‘verses” storyline and see how far our we’ve gotten in piecing together the mystery (potentially universe killing) device.

What happened in “Reciprocity”?

This week’s episode starts off with the Fringe team visiting the doomsday device that is being put together by Massive Dynamic. As Peter comes into the hangar the device comes to life, causing objects to start flying around, but also affects Peter with a nosebleed. The Fringe team gets Peter away, but the scene makes Walter start to worry about his son’s safety. Peter goes through some thorough testing at Massive Dynamics by Dr. Falcon to make sure he isn’t emitting any radiation that could have tripped the device. Falcon reports that, outside of a slightly higher heart rate, Peter was okay.

The Fringe case this week starts off with a dead body in a fish pond full of dead fishes. The fish died from mercury poisoning, because the dead body was a shapeshifter. When the team sees the dead person’s name on Bolivia’s hard drive, they focus on trying to figure out who’s the next target and if there is a mole in Fringe team. The team focuses on Dr. Falcon as a potential suspect, but he’s found dead and also a shapeshifter (seriously how many are there over here?). While performing an autopsy on the body, Walter finds blood under Falcon’s nails, telling them the culprit is a human. The blood is type A, which leads them to Massive Dynamic to follow up on a suspect, but we get to see the killer finish off another shapeshifter. As the villain steps from the shadows we see that it’s… Peter Bishop?

Later in the evening, Walter hears from Nina that Peter did not return to Massive Dynamics for more tests. By now Walter is truly concerned about Peter and goes up to his room to search for clues on what he’s up to. His search leads him to find a list of the dead shapeshifters, with two more names left on the list. At the same time in the MIT lab, Astrid and Olivia come to the same conclusion after reviewing the hard drive data from Bolivia.

We get back to find Peter breaking into an apartment and putting two shots into the back of a mannequin. The last shifter knew Peter was coming and set a trap to capture him, and tells Peter that his orders prevent him from killing Peter, but he’s willing to maim and injure him. Walter steps into the apartment at that moment, giving Peter the opportunity to kill the shifter and take the recording device. A stunned Walter asks Peter why he did it, Peter responds that this is war and the shifters are soldiers. When Walter asks why he didn’t tell the rest of the team about this, Peter suddenly finds silence. The two of them leave before the FBI shows up, leading Olivia to think they missed their big opportunity.

As the episode draws to a close, Walter confronts Peter about what happened, especially now that he’s complicit in the shifter deaths. He believes that just as Peter activated the device, the device also affected Peter, turning him into a weapon. Peter asks Walter what should they do now, and Walter didn’t know, leaving us wondering what could happen to Peter next.

What worked in this episode?

I’m loving the way the Fringe writers, producers, etc. are handling the plot lines for this half of the season. I think JJ Abrams learned from viewer’s frustrations during Lost and its shown in how they are handling the major story arcs and what information to give the viewer. The result is that you don’t get any filler or throwaway episodes, each moment on this show is building momentum to the next big climax. Whether this will translate to more viewers in the Friday timeslot will be the real question in the coming weeks.

The writing and acting were good as usual, though there was nothing as spectacular as the scenes between John Noble and Christopher Lloyd from last week. I enjoyed the way they presented the concept of reciprocity between the machine and Peter, as well as Walter and Peter. The fact that the machine may have changed Peter, and therefore how he acts with Walter and the Fringe team is going to be an interesting plot point throughout the next few episodes.

There were a couple of moments in this episode that I liked but weren’t really part of the major storyline. First was Broyles asking Astrid to sort through the data on Bolivia’s hard drive, almost setting themselves in their alter-verse roles. Second, I did enjoy the little bit of comedy going on with Walter and the DNA serum. It was a good way to break up some of the action and seriousness of the episode without being overly silly, the writers and Noble did a great job there.

One more comment about story lines, I thought the last scene involving the books about the First People and the revelation that William Bell was also looking into them was very interesting. I’m curious to see how are they going to tie that into the main storyline involving Peter and the device.

Do you think Peter has been changed by the doomsday device? Will Walter tell the others about what Peter’s done? Was the last scene involving the First People a hint of things to come? Let me know in the comments! Make sure you tune in next Friday, February 4, for the next episode of Fringe, “Concentrate and Ask Again”.

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