Fringe Review: "Reciprocity"

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From the first time I met the “other Olivia,” I have called her Fauxlivia.

Tonight, I was vindicated in my choice as Walter, too, has given her the moniker. It took long enough, and in a very silly way it made my day for them to choose it as the official Alter-Olivia nickname on "Reciprocity."

Olivia and Broyles Photo

The “first people” machine has been built, and from now going forth I don’t think things will be the same on Fringe, no matter what universe we are in. When Peter came in to the same room as the machine, his nose bled and the machine started moving. A machine heretofore found to have no power source or ability to produce its own power.

My first thought was that Walternate is far more wicked than I imagined, and then how much we now need our own Walter to have the full capacity of his brain, in short order, to try to save what we can of our universes.

When the computer of Fauxlivia is cracked, Astrid is finally asked to perform a task worthy of her abilities. She’s to go through the files and determine any worthwhile information or patterns within in the notes that can be used to their advantage.

Until now, our own Astrid has strictly been a sidekick to Walter and greatly underutilized. Given the incredible mathematical skills we know the other Astrid possesses, I was disappointed that the final encryption hint came from Olivia herself due to her similarity to Fauxlivia. Astrid needs, just once, to be THE AGENT who saves the day.

As shapeshifters are popping up dead all over, Olivia and Broyles determine they have a mole and start to crack down on staff at the FBI and Massive Dynamic. Unfortunately, the clues are right in front of us, just unimaginable. Peter sneaks into his home in the middle of the night, lying to both Walter and Olivia about his whereabouts. Of anyone in both universes, Peter knew Fauxlivia best. His behavior is shady throughout the episode, and part of me wanted it to be because he was uncomfortable that people were reading Fauxlivia’s notes.

What a Sight...

But it was not to be. Peter has fundamentally changed. He’s not holding anything back. He’s speaking out of turn, being disrespectful, and has lost the fun-loving side of his nature. Darkness has invaded him to his very core.

This is confirmed as we learn Peter is the mole. Well, not a mole, but fully capable of deciphering Fauxlivia’s notes, and in doing so he was one step ahead of everyone. He was trying to get the shifters to tell him his own personal role in regard to the machine. However, he didn’t give them much of a chance to give up information.

Question, rip out their chip, kill. Seeing Peter in this fashion was chilling. When Walter walked in on a questioning in progress, you could see both pain and fear on his face. What had happened to his son? I could feel how incredibly disappointed he was in himself that he was unable to stop the changes taking place in Peter. Because if he had his brain, and it wasn’t disabled at his own request decades earlier, he may have been able to foresee or hinder the present circumstances.

It must have been his similarity to Walternate’s depraved intellect that caused him to cut it short in the first place, but in hindsight, he must wish he had been able to handle it better.

As he tries various formulas William Bell left behind that may repair his brain and remove it’s cells inability to replicate, I wonder if this will ultimately change our Walter. What would Fringe be if Walter was an ignorant ass devoid of feeling and humor? Not worth watching, that’s for sure.

The other thing that hit me right in the face is that as Olivia is realizing Fauxlivia’s true feelings for Peter, they are both unaware of the shift that has taken place in him. At this point, the warm, loving man they both fell for is quickly slipping away. As he kills each shapeshifter in the hopes of finding information to save his life, he, himself, has become a sort of shapeshifter. His contact with the machine has altered his sensibility.

Not being used has become his sole motivation. To not stand aside and be exploited because of what the Walters did when he was a boy. What implication the first people book has in all of this is unknown, but we do know William Bell was at one time searching for it, so we should have a lot more to look forward to in that regard. I find the idea of the first people, here millions of years ahead of us, fascinating, so I’m looking forward to whatever they toss our way.

There is a spoiler going around that Fauxlivia may be pregnant. This idea both intrigues and disturbs me. But, more importantly, I think that having a child of his own may be his only salvation from his rapid descent into madness.

Reciprocity Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (57 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Fringe Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

Walter: It's song lyric. Fauxlivia ruined U2 for all of us.
Nina: Fauxlivia?
Peter: That's what Walter's calling her now. Fauxlivia; as in fake Olivia.
Nina: Aah.

Walter: You have any chewing guy?
Guard: Excuse me?
Peter: I'm sorry, he has this thing with he ears.
Walter: It's not a thing with my ears. It's a blocked Eustachian tube, and it's a perfectly natural reaction. Any flavor will do, although I'm rather partial to grape.