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.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (57 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Oh man. I really hope that Fauxlivia isn't pregnant! And if there IS a pregnancy I want it to be our Olivia. Sigh. Why isn't it Friday yet?


i believe that the only saviour for peter is olivia to just like FingeFan said. he can bring out the side of him that he tries to hide or is hidden deep inside. she grounds him to be a better man. that is also so for peter to olivia. he is her protector and he knows her more than she at times know herself. she keeps emotions in but peter triggers those emotions.
fauxlivia being pregnant , if true then it will be an obstacle that they will have to overcome together. peter will have to make a choice, and so does walter if peter does not recover. i can understand peter's emotions, he was used in love and war so it hurts a lot to feel like a puppet. hopefully olivia and walter can make him see that there is more to life. i hope walter does not go crazy again because i can see him doing so... he has too much to bear. for once peter will have to be there for his father and protect him like he has for so long




Fringe is awesome, each episode fascinates me in different way, I can't wait to see how all of these will turn out.. It's a shame if this show gets axed..


Just saw the episode. Amazing. I keep thinking that the thing that will save Peter is Olivia. Throughout the show we have had glimpses of the shapeshifters and have begun to see their humanity. Olivia lived in Walternate's world and observed that this was not a matter of evil killer robot people trying to kill alternate universes, it was instead a mutual reaction to the unbalance struck by Walter's desperate and misguided attempt to save his son. Peter commented to Walter that what he did was not wrong because they were not human. We need Olivia to connect the worlds and help Peter see that both sides have been injured, and both are human. She is the traveler, and she above all others could break through to him (the one scene where he looked like his old self was when she apologized. It was so cute!). Good luck Fringe. I hope your awesomeness will never be defeated by the evil Friday time slot monster.

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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.