According to dictionary.com, the definition of reciprocity is a reciprocal state or relation, a mutual exchange. When you give something to someone, be it tangible or not, they give it back and vice versa.
As Walter said in last night’s episode of Fringe, every relationship is reciprocal. Between man and woman, man and child, person and pet… Every relationship is about the give and take. In last night’s episode it was about man and Walternet’s machine.
But before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s take it back and recap tonight’s episode from the beginning…
The episode begins as the fringe division crew is on the scene with Nina Sharp at Massive Dynamic’s off site hanger where the doomsday machine is being assembled and tested. Whereas Olivia mentions it’s bigger than she imagined, Peter supposes, ‘it’s just big enough to destroy a couple of universes.’No one at Massive Dynamic seems to know anything about the workings of the machine but as Peter is in the house, things start happening. Specifically, the electromagnetism in the room spikes, the computers start going crazy and Peter gets a nosebleed. (Oh hey! Am I watching Lost?!)
It’s also at this scene we learn that the division has cracked the code on Fauxlivia’s computer which while good news isn’t helping the fringe division much. (Editor’s note: As this is what Walter has dubbed her, I’ll start calling her Fauxlivia but I much prefer Bolivia.)
Every observation she made and thought she had is in one big file and it’s hard for them to tell what’s valuable. There’s detailed information about her relationship with Peter and hundreds of names of those she came in contact with but no real order or code to figure out what it all means.
Shortly after the hangar, there is a moment between Peter and Walter in the kitchen of their house. Walter having read ‘The First People’multiple times to determine what the machine is and it’s connection to Peter, and Peter just coming in the house after a supposed late night walk. Peter is exhausted, anxious and somewhat determined. He needs and wants answers just as much as everyone else does. He tells Walter that he can’t protect him from this, and by the look in Walter’s eyes you can tell this is killing him. (In case you forgot, ‘The First People’by Seamus Wilis is the book mentioned some episodes back about a civilization before the dinosaurs who made a great technological discovery.)
To no avail, Peter undergoes some medical tests at Massive Dynamic to investigate the connection between him and the machine. Not surprisingly the tests tell us nothing. Terrified, Walter speaks to Nina about his need for the research Billy did when taking out parts of his brain. He feels he isn’t whole and needs to be smarter to help Peter and he breaks my heart.
Meanwhile Broyles puts Astrid on the case to figure out Fauxlivia’s file, and a dead shapeshifter is found at the port authority. As Olivia is super smart, she figures out that this could be the work of Walternet and there is a mole over here.
At first, it appears to be Dr. Falcon, who was just conducting tests on Peter. Yet, moments later we see Dr. Falcon dead on the floor of his living room, leaking mercury from his brain and his data storage unit removed. Finding blood under Dr. Falcon’s nails, they link the murders to Brandon Fayette (Massive Dynamic’s chief scientist) who is later cleared by Billy’s amazing lie detector machine.
In a twist I didn’t see coming, we see Peter shoot down another shapeshifter and steal the data storage unit from it’s back. Peter has been killing each shapeshifter and sifting through their data. His need for answers and his frustration in getting them has caused him to act out.
After a phone call from Nina, Walter realizes what is going on and tries to stop Peter before he gets to the last shapeshifter. By pure luck or accident, he actually ends up saving him as this time the shapeshifter was ready for Peter to attack. Walter watches, somewhat horrified, as Peter kills the shapeshifter.
‘I don’t know what happened. This isn’t you,’says Walter.
Peter doesn’t think he is doing anything wrong, ‘they’re not even human,’he says. Walter questions back wondering if he isn’t doing anything wrong, they why didn’t he tell anyone?
There’s a definite change in Peter. He says he’s ‘tired of being reactive.’It’s time to figure this out, he’s sick of waiting to find out what his part in the destruction of the world is. He wants answers and he wants them now and he’ll do whatever it takes to get them.
And this is where the reciprocity comes in. In Walter’s mind, Peter’s relationship with the machine must be reciprocal for him to act out like this. It’s possible that upon touching the device, he he’s become weaponized.
Now, Is this true or is Peter acting out because he’s really pissed off about being in the dark? We’re not entirely sure. What’s the next step to take? Neither Walter nor Peter know. The only thing we know for sure is that Peter is tired of waiting around to see what this connection is. It’s time for some answers.
Some additional observations:
- Peter and Olivia’s relationship took a few steps forward tonight. You could see she felt the same way as Fauxlivia did as she was reading her file.
- Will Olivia ever find out it was Peter killing the shapeshifters?
- Walter sniffing the chimp serum and then eating a banana split was hilarious and also endearing as he feels he needs to be smarter no matter the consequences.
Next week’s episode looks to be interesting with a possible terrorist threat, and a James Bond/Alias type of mission. For our review of this episode please click on over here and then let us know what you thought about ‘Reciprocity’in the comments below!