I always enjoy the episodes which take place Over There, and tonight’s episode “Bloodline” was no exception. The world-building never ceases to fascinate me, the Alternates are wonderfully intriguing, and trying to predict how the stories will affect Our Side is, well, rather fun. It was also quite the relief to be able to enjoy the show without the spectre of cancellation hanging over our heads: in case you haven’t heard, Fringe has indeed been officially renewed for a fourth season.
For a long time I was in the minority in that I actually liked AltLivia. My guess is that the impetus behind the hatred that developed was a combination of the mission she was carrying out against Our Side, as well as the fact that she was in a relationship with an unsuspecting Peter. I think people have been starting to come around since AltLivia was back on her own Side, but I sincerely hope that tonight’s episode changed some minds. Actually, I’m not sure how you could watch ‘Bloodline’and still dislike AltLivia. Anna Torv, as per the usual, delivered a phenomenal performance. As someone who watches a fair bit of television, I’ve seen a lot of shows do scenes with characters in labour. This is the first time I actually really felt anything for the character in question: AltLivia’s pain was almost palpable, and many of the scenes had me cringing. Not to mention Olivia’s tangible fear for her own life, even while being determined to save that of her child.
Speaking of great performances, I also loved the work of Seth Gabel, who plays Lincoln Lee, in tonight’s episode. The scene between Lincoln and AltLivia when she’s giving birth was heartbreaking, especially since we didn’t know whether she would survive. One benefit of having doubles of your characters is that it can help to foster a real sense of jeopardy: characters can be killed off without being written out entirely.
As far as Lincoln and Charlie go, I am very glad that they’ve finally become aware of the switch that occurred earlier this season. Now that they know what really happened, I’m hoping that they’ll start to wonder about Broyles’fate; I think they already have, given that they mentioned his disappearance. I’m curious to see whether one of them, or perhaps AltLivia if they talk to her about their suspicions, will guess that Broyles actually helped our Olivia escape. And if they find this out, I wonder if it would make anyone question Walternate, if their own commanding officer were willing to act against him so openly. Although, when Walternate was talking to Lincoln he made it sound as though Olivia had been sent back by him, not that she’d escaped, so that could throw them off a bit.
On the one hand, I was hardly surprised to find out that Walternate was behind AltLivia’s abduction as there seems to be no end to his machinations and few limits to what he will sanction. On the other hand, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be him: in the last couple episodes Over There, Walternate has seemed staunch in his unwillingness to experiment on children. I suppose it was too much to hope that that unwillingness would extend to his own grandson. I keep vacillating between liking and hating Walternate, though I always remain wary.
I’m endlessly curious about what Walternate is planning for AltLivia and his grandson. I’ll be disappointed if it turns out that Peter’s son can operate the Machine as well: by that reasoning, both Walter and Elizabeth Bishop could also operate it. There has been quite the emphasis on the fact that only Peter is keyed to the machine, so no relatives of his should be able to operate it, no matter their genetic similarity.
I’ve been discussing the episode with friends all evening, and one question that people have is whether the baby will experience any side-effects from the accelerated growth. The technology used is reminiscent of that showcased in the Fringe season 1 episode ‘The Same Old Story’: in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the same technology. We know that the Other Side is more technologically advanced, and if they have found a way to cure cancer — which would entail arresting the uncontrollable cell growth — it stands to reason that they would have a way to safely accelerate cell growth. As we saw in season 1, the problem that arose was that once they accelerated the growth in subjects, they couldn’t slow it down again. I doubt, very much, that they have that problem Over There.
My guess is that we won’t see any ill-effects: I think that the baby would need continual exposure to the drugs they gave AltLivia to induce accelerated aging. One of the doctors mentioned that the drugs were acting to block inhibitors, so I assume that once the drugs are removed, the inhibitors — that is, those intracellular inhibitors which mediate cell growth — would resume their normal actions, and Peter and AltLivia’s son will exhibit normal growth.
My one problem, though it’s really more of a quibble, with the episode was that the people holding AltLivia captive were administering her sedatives in pill form. She already had an IV in, and logically, it makes far more sense to just administer all of the medications intravenously. That being said, I understand that they needed a way to have her trick them into thinking she’d taken the medications, so presumably it was intentional, but it’s just a little bit illogical.
The question has also arisen as to what, exactly, VPE — viral propagated eclampsia — is. This is not actually a condition that we see in reality, although eclampsia is, of course, a real and very serious condition that can be life threatening for a mother and fetus. We don’t actually know what causes eclampsia, although there are various risk factors and correlations that are observed. I gather that VPE is eclampsia driven by a virus that replicates to the point of causing cardiovascular collapse for both mother and child during labour if pregnancy goes to term.
I assume that VPE is a disease that was discovered Over There, likely due to the fact that they’re more advanced. That being said, the fact that there seems to be a genetic component does make one wonder why Rachel and Ella survived on Our Side. My own hypothesis is that VPE is also due to some sort of environmental factor — perhaps the virus is one which doesn’t exist on Our Side — and so that is how Olivia’s niece and sister are still alive in our universe. Rachel, and Olivia, for that matter, would still be carriers of the genetic predisposition, but if the virus only exists on the Other Side, the condition wouldn’t manifest in them during pregnancy.
It’s a bit of a non sequitur, but I very much hope that we see more of certain guest stars. Amy Madigan consistently delivers heart-wrenching performances as Marilyn Dunham, and always makes me wish that Our Olivia still had her own mother. Andre Royo is thoroughly unforgettable as Henry Arliss Higgins, and leaves me wanting Olivia to cross back over just so that we can see more of their dynamic. I find it rather fitting that he would bring AltLivia’s son into the world. And although we didn’t actually see Julie McNiven in tonight’s episode, Charlie’s mention of his date with Mona the entomologist, whom we first met in ‘Immortality’, had me laughing and hoping that we’ll see her again in person.
Overall, I very much enjoyed ‘Bloodline’. I can’t quite say that every new episode is better than the previous ones, because I love so many episodes from this season and last. That being said, it certainly feels as though we are building up to something pretty huge as we go into the remaining episodes of the season. A
Love it! (the episode and the article!) This is definitely my favorite "Over There" episode so far! I agree, there's no way you can get through this episode without at least starting to like Altlivia et al. I was kind of torn before… they're "the enemy", but at the same time really just doing their jobs/trying to protect their world… (Walternate being the exception… I get more of a sense of vengeance in him.) But in this ep it really sunk in how the alternates are similar, still largely the same people as our versions of the characters, just in different circumstances. I absolutely loved the birth scene… Henry's great, and their Liv and Lincoln… perfect. I can't even… words. Seth Gabel and Anna Torv were especially brilliant actors on this one. For once, I might even be more interested to see what happens over their! But I know when we get back to our side I'll be sucked back into that storyline… I think they should just run two episodes a week, one from each universe. ;)
Yes I also didn't like Altlivia at first and was really concerned for her in this episode. The writers are amazing at having us want both universes to survive. I also loved that the character Henry was back this episode. I'm hoping his role continues to grow on the other side.
Amazing episode. Enjoyed every second. Wish the 'over here' episodes were as good. I really like how much of the story was told through visuals rather than allot of dialogue.
A very observant accurate article. Well done. I would disagree a little on Walternate's willingness to experiment on his grandchild. There's a difference between a dangerous experiment to acquire knowledge and trying an experimental procedure as a last ditch effort to avert certain death. Had he not, either his grandson would have died at birth or been aborted. For him, any other solution was preferable, even reasonable. I agree on the oral medication. Also on emptying bladders. All this advancement and they don't know what a catheter is? Or is it usually removed at time of delivery? But then how would Liv have escaped? I wish we could decide on 'Fauxlivia'. Not my decision, it was Walter's. I'd go A+ on BLOODLINE and as maybe the best episode this season, after some uneven episodes recently. (Aren't some fans a little embarrassed now giving 9's and 10's to OS, 6B, and STOWAWAY?)I think the scene with Lincoln was second only to "You belong with me." All kinds of selfless subtext going on there that made it much more poignant. Liv scared and dying and only thinking of her baby, while Lincoln is losing the love of his life, but agrees to be responsible for her child by another man. All conveyed by with a minimum of dialog. A masterful acting pas de deux. What more does Anna need to do to get an Emmy nomination?
Great review (as usual) of a superb episode! Things I wish we could have seen more of: Alt Chinatown, Alt Charlie (although he did get a good bit of screen time this week compared to your typical "over there" story), zeppelins (gotta love 'em) and, er… I guess that's it! Apart from me wanting Alt Broyles back.
Let me just say that Seth Gabel blew Joshua Jackson totally out of my sky. He completely convinced me that he was a man watching the woman he loved die in his very arms; that "I love you" was wrenched out of him with pliers.
It was a deeply emotional scene, and though brief he brought to it more passion and intensity than I've seen from Jackson in any "love scene" with Olivia yet. In fact, Jackson only seems to get really fired up when Peter is telling off Walter. Maybe he needs to start bribing the writers to give him a really solid emotional scene with Olivia. Until then, though, Lincoln Lee in any universe is a helluva lot more appealing, and a lot less bland, than Peter Bishop IMO.
Every episode I hold out the hope that it is an intentional choice on Jackson's part. That there is something we just don't know about Peter and ultimately we'l' go back and go ''oh that's why he was playing it like that.'' But alas, nothing so far.
It disappoints me. I have to assume he simply isn't invested in this aspect [polivia] of his character and can't hide his disinterest. Which, if true, is pretty selfish.
But I really do hope there's a storyline reason behind his detachment and not the actor.
I couldn't disagree more. Peter and Lincoln are two totally different characters emotionwise. One keeps his emotions to his chest while the other is a very emotional character like his altuniverse counterparts.
If you follow his storyline and state of mind this season, you will see that he is even more repressed than normal due to all that has happened to him since he found out that he was from the altuniverse. Nina was very astute in ep 11, when she said to Walter that Peter was not in a good way and needed help.
He has shown his love for Olivia on many occasions. They were very subtley down, but the emotion was there. The last one being when in 3.17 when Olivia came back for a split second at the end of the episode, before Bell took over again. The look of love that came over Peter's face was really well done.
Well said Nadine, fine work again. Now I'm really not liking Walternate again and whatever the heck he's really up to. Brandonate is starting to tick me off. I was expecting to see Jones in this ep for some reason, I haven't been reading much spoilers lately, but I heard he might be turning up. Thought this was it. Anyway the cast was great as usual, specially Anna, Seth and Kirk Acevado. The birth scene was the best, ALMOST made me think they might actually kill her off. Thought I heard a Fandom gasp.