Friday, October 15, 2010

Fringe: Season 3 Episode 4 - Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?

Hello Half Human/Machine mercury bleeding entities from another dimension!  Welcome back for another dose of FRINGE recap goodness!   I just have to say, this season is off to a roaring start with no sign of slowing down any time soon.  This episode returns to our world with our IMPOSTER Olivia causing some ruckus for the team both personally and professionally.  I'm really starting to hate her!  But we must give total props to Anna Torv for selling us on basically 3 different versions of Olivia Dunham since the start of this show.  As Jeff "Doc" Jensen recalled earlier today, she and the writers have really brought her character along over the years from the early days of the show.   I'm still just thrilled at how far this show has come and really am looking forward to where we still have to go.  Let's "shift" things into the recap now, shall we?

For an episode about shapeshifters, it's a shame we didn't get to see any actual shifting isn't it?  That didn't take away from things though.  The title of the episode gets its name from a Phillip K. Dick novel of a similar name: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  The novel is based on a post-apocalyptic near future Earth that has seen a nuclear war (sounds kinda like OVER THERE, doesn't it?  Just substitute the nuclear war for holes in the universe!).  The protagonist is charged with retiring 6 advanced androids and the novel examines the basic differences between robots and humans.  This plot also served as the basis for the film Blade Runner.  And now we can say it has inspired an episode of and possibly certain broader themes found within Fringe.

The episode follows Faux-livia's reluctance to go ALL-IN with her mission and fully assimilate into Olivia's life.  We see Walter getting accustomed to his new home-base at Massive Dynamic (I already miss his lab and Jean the cow).  The main case of the episode deals with a struggle for capturing vs. destroying the memories of one individual shapeshifter that could expose all that is going on with Walternate's minions.  And we see one struggle of a shapeshifter who has gotten comfortable with his human "cover" story of 5 years.

Fringe Case of the Week

Shapeshifters like Lemonade

Senator Van Horn has been on Fringe before.  He was in an early season 2 episode called "Earthling" and he is also seen debriefing Peter at the end of this season's premiere episode.  I could have sworn we saw this guy becoming a shapeshifter in a previous season but I could be confusing this show with the senator from the X-Men movies being portrayed by a shapeshifter (Mystique)!  Anyway, the guy bought some lemonade and gave the kids selling it a nice big tip.  While he was smiling driving away...THWACK!!!  Hit by a truck!   He gets brought into the hospital and he has no pulse.  Broyles has arrived there with Van Horn's wife because he is close friends with the family.   Van Horn turns out to be a liability to Walternate's cause and Newton comes to claim him before he spills some beans.   Naturally, he is able to shoot anyone that he came into contact with EXCEPT Broyles!  Broyles is smart enough to hide behind a wall, and he knows how to dodge bullets ("NO Neo, what I mean is...when you're ready you won't have to").     

Anyway, Newton sees there is no way to get Van Horn out of there so he shoots the dude directly in the EYE and splits.  And this is the grand reveal that Van Horn was a shape shifter.  And silly me thought we already knew! 

The Tap-dance

The episode, much like last episode in our world "The Box" played out like a tap-dance with Faux-livia playing both sides.  Of course, the Fringe team was called in to examine Van Horn's body (well, the shapeshifter's body).  As mentioned earlier, we were treated to Walter's new diggs at Massive Dynamic (on Floor 23, thank you LOST!).  I wonder if this is a permanent thing or if he'll ever need to go back to the Boston lab to feed Jean!  I do think we need Walter to be on acid for every episode from here on out.  Fantastic stuff!  But we'll get there.  

Basically, Walter was able to get the body to respond, to partially "re-animate" it.  It seemed to respond to people it was attached to personally.   People such as Mrs. Van Horn.  At this Faux-livia got scared and called Newton into action.  Newton was forced to wake a sleeper shapeshifter who has become very comfortable with his suburban life and teaching his kid the smell of asparagus pee!  When ordered to kill his "wife and kid" he just couldn't bring himself to do it but went on with the mission to retrieve the "Memory DISK" from Van Horn. 

Meanwhile, Peter and a jumpy Faux-livia were investigating Van Horn's office where Peter discovered that this shapeshifter has been keeping tabs on the Fringe cases for 2 years.  We also find out that he knows all about Faux-livia infiltrating our world which makes her even more concerned for covering this up.  

Walter, against Folivia's wishes, was granted permission to bring in Mrs. Van Horn to try and trigger the shapeshifter's memories.  It eventually does work when she touches him and talks to him, but he just rambles off some vacation destinations.  Liv gets the warning from Newton that things are about to go down so she tries to distract Walter with food.  While he is not hungry he does want some comfort food and pudding!   And of course he needs to eat animal crackers in honor of William Bell! 

Somehow Astrid and Walter get to talking about dinosaurs which reminds Walter that stegosauruses have 2 brains.  They were picking at the wrong brain!  So Walter went to go and open up Van Horn's back but it was too late.  Shapeshifter with a heart arrived to steal the disk.   Was anyone else scared that he was going to shift into Walter!?   I think we knew they would have went too far if they did that!  But he did slam Walter's head into some Massive Dynamic equipment after Walter stabbed him!  Ouch.  

Shapeshifter guy gets away and thinks he's going to get to go back to his old life.  Ahhh how naive.  Newton is waiting there and lies saying that he killed this guy's fake family.  He flips out.  In the end, Newton does not like how comfortable this guy has gotten with his fake life and shoots him in the head.    Ahhh but it's not over yet!   Thanks to Walter's ownership privileges, Peter was able to track down the recently deceased Man-Bot and thereby found Newton with Folivia.  There is a fun car chase (and yes, that is a Ford Taurus you see!  Your eyes didn't deceive you!) that leads with Newton flipping out of control.   Liv is first on the scene and grabs the disk before Peter can see what happened.  

Newton is imprisoned, which seems to be much to Folivia's satisfaction.   They sure have been dishing some dirt to each other these past 2 episodes in our world.  He doesn't think she is committed to getting the job done.  She gives him some kind of Listerine Strip (remember those) with some microchips on it.  I guess it was some kind of self-termination program or something because we then see Newtown shaking out of control and then ceasing to move with a smile on his face.  RIP Newton?  Shame...for a bad guy, I kinda liked him! 

The Seduction of Peter Bishop

Yes, it wouldn't be a season 3 episode of Fringe without some Peter and Anna Torvlivia flirtations, whether it be in this world or in Olivia's head in the other world!   The episode started off with Peter and Faux-livia out to dinner and reading people.  There was the Persian Kid Rock among other characters.  Peter called out one cradle robber combo for giving off signals of not being intimate yet.  They give off some kind of vibe.  You could tell he was also referring to himself and the blonde doppleganger he was
sitting with.  

  • Faux-livia panics and runs to the bathroom while Peter makes excuses that he needs to go take care of Walter.   
  • Newton accuses Liv of not being 100% dedicated to the job.  It's gotta be tough for her knowing she has her Smallpox fighting man hanging out in the state of North Texas over there. 
  • Later on at Massive Dymanic, Peter and Folive are eating dinner once again.  This time, Peter is talking about how maybe Mrs. Van Horn DID realize this shape shifter was not behaving like her husband but then pretended not to notice it.  He said he was doing the same with Faux-livia since she has been acting so differently since she had been back.   He said she is patient with Walter among other things.  He doesn't mind the new her but it IS different.  
  • All of this leads to the final sequence when she texts Peter saying she wants to talk to him about Newton after she interrogated him.  He comes over, she says that she lied to him.  "I don't want to talk"  and then there they go.....Faux-livia fully invests herself into her new life and forgets anything holding her back from her "over there" existence.    Something tells me Olivia won't be too thrilled if/when she finds out about this!  

As you all know, it's always a treat to get a dose of Walter from our world.  So here are some of my favorite one liners and scenarios from this episode!
  • When Astrid arrives at Massive Dynamic they do not have her name on file.  Instead it's Astro.  But later on Walter actually calls her Astrid and says that it must be the LSD.   
  • "One thing I know for sure.  I am no longer high!"  Classic.
  • Walter's first speech to the scientists of Massive Dynamic all the way to him almost taking his pants off because it was too hot in there.  And of course, Peter indicating that he was Tripping Hardcore was fantastic.  

  • Walter has the brainstorm about the stegosaurus and runs to his lab, but not before he does a double take to Astrid and says "Oh!.....Don't eat my pudding"  

  • Walter's craving of the week was Candy Buttons.  Those things are fantastic!  His temporary assistant wasn't understanding the mad scientist's method at all! 
  • When Astrid arrives Walter asks if she brought the stuff he needed and it was a picture of G. W. and a dirty magazine.  She says she doesn't even want to know.   Walter says "Which one are you referring to?"  She looks at both things in her hand and says BOTH.  Where do they come up with this stuff?  Hysterical!! 

  • I could probably go on and on....I do miss not having this Walter in EVERY episode but the show is still fantastic over there too so it's a whole Cake and Eating it Too scenario for me! 

Glyph Code
  • Today's episode of Fringe is brought to you by  "S H I F T" for obvious reasons I would think! 
  • So 1-4 is Amber Alert Breach Shift. Do with that what you like! 

Observer Spotted! 
  • When Broyles, Folive, Peter meet up with Walter in the lobby of Massive Dynamic, a wide shot of the lobby shows the Observer walking towards the exit.  Boo Ya!  (yes, GOOGLE again.  I never spot these things on my own!)  

That's all I got for today folks!  Looks like we'll be going into a 3-4 week hiatus for the Baseball Playoffs on FOX.   I can't complain, the PHILLIES are still in this thing and are looking pretty good!  But, in the meantime I look forward to hearing your thoughts and commentary on the episode.  I will also still be recapping the EVENT when it airs and possibly commenting on other shows in Fringe's absence, should I have some additional time.

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings as always and I will see you next week! 

End Credits
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  • If you're not watching THE EVENT, Mondays on NBC, you should be!  It's not LOST so don't expect it.  But it is an entertaining thrill ride and does have enough mystery for us all to speculate.  I am recapping weekly so check it out!  This one "MIGHT" be here to stay (if the ratings don't keep dropping!)  
  • I'm falling behind on this, I know but when I get a chance I am blogging my "Quick Thoughts" on a variety of shows: Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Dexter, How I Met Your Mother, Glee, The Office, Big Bang Theory, Chuck, etc...   Hey, I watch a lot of TV, so time permitting I might just write about anything!  Best way to stay in touch is to Bookmark the site, sign up for email updates or as I mentioned above: Follow me on Twitter!!!  


AUStarwars said...


no but seriously..the whole shapeshifter thing to me is just waaaaaay too X Files, thus again proving the connection between the two shows (connection is my way of saying "stealing")..

what i still dont understand is whether they are androids/nanites/altered humans or just some type of droid programmed to do a task and they are "learning to be more human"..aka the Terminators

I guess in the end it probably doesnt matter..

I liked Newton a lot, i still dont understand what William Bell's role was in the Altverse, did he create them? Did Walternate? I still feel like I am missing some big part about what Bell's role was over there vs. here..

we again see the agents over here as being wholly and completely evil, and the ones over there "just trying to do a job"..but in the end, do we want FauxLivia to be caught? do we want her to escape? do we care?

This break for baseball is bad for the show imho..and just more stupidity on the part of Fox..

MJ said...

Fox always gets stuck doing this - which is why they started playing 24 from Jan to May. Then to make it worse Fringe comes back in Nov with only a few eps and is off for Thanksgiving again.

Loved Nina trying to play it off that she knew Walter was high !

If the coming attractions for the next ep said what I think they said - wow ! Can't wait.

Mike V. said...

@AUSW - Here comes Mr. Negative again! lol I understand you were a huge X-Files fan and I enjoyed the show a lot too (while didn't watch religiously). I still say Fringe is paying homage more than stealing from them.

What's not to understand with the Shapeshifters? They were created by Walternate (or indirectly by William Bell as you mention in your question) and sent to this universe to do his bidding. There are sleepers all around the world living out normal lives of the people they have taken the form of. But, if they've been "sleeping" for awhile, they may have gotten themselves into a routine and used to their living arrangements. I don't think Walternate was planning for them to have internal conflicts about a mission at hand. But that's just how I see it.

Agreed on Newton, I liked him too. I too was confused about Walter's comments about William Bell creating the shapeshifters. Maybe Bell has done work for the OTHER Walter? I know that the shapeshifters work for Walternate though.
I think what we have learned is that there are GOOD people OVER THERE just doing their job but they happen to be working for a man with evil intent. FauxLivia is directly involved with manipulating OUR Heroes so yeah we want her to get caught. But I can foresee a time when she's back in her world and we're just following their every day Fringe events too and be rooting for her over there. I dunno...maybe not. But when Olivia does come back to this universe....are we just going to stop looking in on the OVER THERE world? I can't possibly think so.

As for as baseball...I agree with MJ...happens every year. I think the 24 thing was 2-fold...people were frustrated with the reruns...and yeah Baseball was a part of that. The probablem with American TV still remains where they have to fit 22 weeks of programming in from September to there is bound to be reruns....unless you're an exception show like 24 or LOST or whatever. So, we're going to get Fringe reruns eventually...and they probably want to air the SPECIAL episodes in November seeps so they planned this accordingly. And do you not think they're going to highly promote fringe DURING the MLB playoffs?

I actually am hoping Fringe takes the normal break in December too (and THE EVENT) because I'm doing some vacationing in that month. You guys may be BLOGless unless I nominate someone to write in my place! lol

@MJ - Nina's reaction to Walter was priceless...agreed! Are you referring to the part about Olivia and what she might be doing in that first ep? Yeah, I heard that too...but I think it will probably be temporary. That would have been a really short stint otherwise lol Of course, you could be referring to something else!

AUStarwars said...

Oh i wasnt being negative about the Shapeshifters/X Files connection..just pointing it out

about the William Bell/Walternate connection, yeah that was me literally not understanding it, because i was always under the assumption that William Bell over there (the over there one) died long ago..somehow I missed (or in reality they glanced over) what his role was over there..i mean he seemed really powerful at the end of season 1, but then it seemed like he was a nobody at the end of last i wrong? did i miss a bunch?

Whatever happened to the dude from Grounded for Life with her in the bowling alley? does it matter?

I know baseball "happens" for Fox, but it doesnt make it a "good thing" when you are trying to get viewers..havent we seen shows fail horribly when we have these long breaks (see: Flash Forward)?

Look i love the show, i was one of the ones who recommended it to you 2 years ago lol..they just seem to leave a lot out..and it isnt really the type of show you need to really get a larger picture imho

Mike V. said...

AUSW - Gotcha, I always think you're knocking Fringe when it comes to that lol

William Bell in Alternaverse DID die in some car accident long ago. He mentions this in the season 2 finale (which I rewatched right before this season aired). I hear you on what his role was though. It does seem like we're missing something. I think the fact that he owned Massive Dynamic in OUR world made him a powerful figure. But what he was doing OVER THERE? I'm not quite clear on that.

The bowling alley thing - good question. I think since she jogged her memories and unlocked her potential of seeing who is from what world, his role is not necessary anymore. Though, I don't think that means we won't see him again.
I think Fox is very aware that Fringe's ratings are not going to improve nor get much worse in its current timeslot on Thursdays. It's a consistent performer. They knew it did better on Tuesdays in season 1 but it's doing better on Thursdays that whatever was there before. It's a tough timeslot against Grey's and the NBC comedies.

The difference between Fringe and FlashForward is that Fringe has established its dedicated audience that will follow it anywhere. FlashForward was still earning people's trust and was a highly serialized show like LOST where reruns can hurt. Fringe is getting MORE serialized but there still is a beginning and end to each episode. A mystery solved.
Woaaaaa wait a did NOT recommend this show to me 2 years ago. You told me last year that I need to catch up on season 2 because it got really good! And I thank you for that. I was planning to I just fell behind with LOST blogging and FlashForward blogging and whatever. But I checked out this show from Day 1 because it was the next J.J. Abrams potential masterpiece. LOST made me check out this show! lol

I think the large picture of the show is that there are 2 worlds in conflict. I would agree that it's not a mystery show like LOST or The Event that benefits from theorizing on what is going on. That's why I struggle with writing this recap. I'm basically just recapping some events and talking about my favorite parts! lol And maybe a little speculation of what might happen next. All of that said, it HAS become appointment viewing for me so that has to say something!

David S said...

Mike, I really enjoy your recaps of Fringe so I hope you keep doing it. You have made me aware of many things that I never knew before, even though I have watched since ep. 1. Things such Walter with Astrid's name, the observers in every episode, the coded glyphs, etc.

Interesting how the shapeshifters getting emotionally involved with humans parallels the 5th column aliens in V. It got me thinking about Lost and Fringe vs. V and Flash Forward. I think we really cared about the characters in Lost and now in Fringe, so that's one of the reasons we will follow it anywhere, as you say. So far I haven't developed that feeling about the characters in V - and I don't think I ever felt that way about the characters in Flash Forward, either. (Although it makes it hard to get invested in their characters when I couldn't help thinking "Penny" in Flash Forward "Juliet" in V. Although I didn't have any trouble with totally believing Dominic Monaghan as Dr. Campos. I guess it's cuz I didn't like Charlie that much.) On Event, I am starting to feel that way about Sean, and for some reason, I felt emotionally involved from the first episode with Sophia and the dilemma I perceive her to be in .

Re: Bell -- maybe you already knew this, but I recall him in a scene with our Walter admitting to creating the shapeshifters and he gave the excuse that he felt he had to do it so he could remain useful (and therefore on the inside) to Walternate.

Anyway keep up the excellent work!

Mike V. said...

Thanks for the feedback David! Glad you're enjoying the recap! Or actually more the "Observ'er"ations" lol Maybe if I ever feel crunched for time I'll just point out those things and my favorite parts of the ep and skip the recap part lol

Definitely a good point about being invested in the characters vs. V and FlashForward where we never really had that opportunity. Maybe V will get better but I'm not holding my breath!

Agreed on Event...if we care about anyone it's the Sean/Leila thing. I'm interested in the whole overall conspiracy of the show and the Pres vs. Sophia stuff but I can't say I'm too invested in their characters yet. I feel like any interaction they have is almost the same conversation each time. But I'm sure it's going to get better!

Riiiiiight...thanks for the reminder on Bell. Once you said it it came back to me!

Thanks for the props and I will try my best to keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I watched this episode last night, and I can't help thinking Peter SO knows this is not his Olivia! She just isn't as aggressive and SMART when investigating things, and her attitute toward him is very different.

It never even occurred to me that there could be a bunch of "sleepers" out there - I was thinking there was just a small pool of shape shifters who had a specific objective, not a large pool of them to be tapped upon when needed, however, it does make since. This aspect of the storyline reminds me of The Event.

Trying to watch a few more episodes tonight, but no way and I going to make it through this entire season before the new season starts, so I'll have to DVR them!!!!

And I'm glad you continued to do the recaps, they are more helpful than you think!!! Cajun

Mike V. said...

Hi Cajun! Glad you're enjoying the show and the recaps! They get a little more evolved as the season goes on and in the new year, I started my season 1 rewatch which helps a bit too lol You may find an episode in there where I didn't recap (I think it's #9) was the wife and my belated honeymoon so I just skipped it but made some comments later!

I won't spoil anything on the Peter front, so just keep watching but definitely an interesting observation! Nice tie-in to The Event with sleepers...also a bit of a Battlestar Galactica reboot feel as well.

Yeah, take your time with catching'll be there before you know it and then you'll be sad that you have to wait a week between episodes! :-) Plus, with the baseball playoffs there will probably be another hiatus for that too! lol