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TV Review: Fringe – “Reciprocity” Part 2

However amusing and thankfully harmless Walter sniffing monkey DNA turned out, it underlines how impatience, anxiety and related, high-strung emotions are highly dangerous, becoming veils obscuring logic and objectivity. I find it highly ironic that in his quest for mental acuity, Walter is demonstrating even less mental acuity than he is currently capable of, what with the veil of his anxiety obscuring him.

Even more interesting is the fact that, although Walter claims that Peter is “what this is all about”, it’s become all about him and his mental acuity. In his quest to save his son, Walter has become wrapped in his self. It makes you wonder just how many people, in their day to day lives, while having the best of intentions, do the most grievous harm because they are wrapped in themselves.

Another veil obscuring Walter is the belief that his mental acuity is the only thing needed to save Peter from a terrible fate. Not only does that underline the underlying arrogance of the man, but it also undermines the power and potency of the consultative process, all the more that Walter has at his disposition Massive Dynamic. While intelligence is most certainly an asset, perhaps it would be more strategic for Walter to pour his energies into consulting with other in order to make up for his decreased mental acuity. After all, consultation is a form of intelligence. For example, instead of getting all up and in it when he meets extremely smart people like Dr. Falcon, to use them through consultation. Then would Walter become smarter in the sense that consultation brings out the spark of truth.

In a terrible attempt at smoothly changing the topic at hand, one person who certainly was not telling the truth in this episode was Peter. While it was obvious from the very beginning that Peter was hiding something, I really didn’t see the twist coming until near the two thirds of the episode. I didn’t link the first death to Peter in any way. The only thing that set me on edge was Peter’s “Do you actually want to catch this mole, Nina?” First indication that something wasn’t quite right with Peter, but I chalked it to being under a lot of pressure, what with the impending threat of the machine and his relationship with Olivia.

Actually, who am I kidding? Until I saw everyone but Peter marching down the hall to intercept Brandon, which came mere seconds before the big reveal, I had no clue. Kudos, Fringe production team: you got me.

Peter, in Walter’s words, has been weaponised – he has become a soldier. Perhaps it was something inherent to Peter, or something inherent to the machine. Then again, perhaps its Peter’s increasing helplessness, both in the face of his impending doom as well as in the face of his relationship with Olivia, that made him susceptible to the machine’s effect.

By the same token, remember how Peter was a loner when the show first started? Remember how he admitted, a little over a year later, how he felt he had a family of sorts in Fringe Division? Isn’t it interesting how the “weaponization” of Peter includes him telling Walter at the beginning of the episode that there is nothing he can do? Walter is part owner of Massive Dynamic – of course he can do something!

It seems that this vulnerability, which made him so endearing when he admitted to Olivia that he didn’t want her to read about how foolish he must have seemed to Altivia, also made him open up to the possibility of being weaponised, and could be making him more and more susceptible as time goes. Perhaps if taken to the extreme, this vulnerability will make him willingly step into the machine.

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  • Flo

    I personally think that the machine just “woke up” parts of Peter he already had. The good hearted, witty, nice boy is maybe more a facade than we think. I’m not saying he isn’t like this, but perhaps we see that he also has other layers to his characters and not good ones.

    The machine reacted to him and he reacted to the machine. it was a reaction to me not a posession of some sort. I really believe it just triggered a weakening of a deep nature of Peter. Let’s not forget he is the son of Walternate who is not the most pacifist man in the world.

    Olivia is the queen of compartmentalizing. That episode reminded us why she is so good at her job.

  • Justine

    Thank you.

    I’m waiting for your every review, you have a real gift.