Review of Fringe Episode 3.18 – Bloodline

Connections: Cosmic & Cabbie

Quickly now – just finished a Snoopy Happy Dance Marathon upon the news that not only has FOX renewed Fringe for a fourth season but also for a full twenty-two episode order! WooT!

Congrats to the cast and crew!

Bloodline has to be one of the most layered episodes of Fringe. There is so much going on below the surface here that it would take a major thesis to cover them all.  

Fauxlivia Encounters A Buddha In The Road!

Fringe is very much a show of ‘why.’ The other elements of story telling; how, who, what, where, and when are given to us, in that trademark Fringian Freaky Format that shows the viewer the story in either the most graphic or dramatic way possible. Or with the two mixed together if the occasion calls for it. Often those mechanics are used to manipulate the viewer’s thoughts one way while the real ‘why’ of those scenes is often more complicated than expected. Bloodline is a text book case.

In Bloodline, and in previous episodes, Walternate has consistently told us via BadBradon that experimentation on children in the battle between universes is not an option. Yet by the end of Bloodline, Walternate has broken his vow with the accelerated pregnancy of his grandson being carried by Fauxlivia.

Or did he?

I believe in the show’s sincerity when showing us that Walternate would not break that vow since he is so adamant about it. Yet at the end of the episode his complicity appears undeniable. Why? Why would he do that? Some of the feedback I have seen from others state they knew Walternate was behind it all the time. They were right but possibly for the wrong reasons because they have drawn the wrong conclusions. Some viewers still see Walternate as fundamentally evil and willing to do anything to accomplish his goals. I respectfully disagree because Walternate is a far more complex character and his goals are not clear to us in this episode.

Walternate reinforcing his, ‘No Children Experimentation,’ edict to BadBradon only to then reverse his decision makes no sense. Yet Walternate turns out to be behind the accelerated pregnancy. There has to be a reason why Walternate would take such a risk with his grandson.

What if Walternate knew about Fauxlivia’s family history? What if he knew that Fauxilivia’s sister and baby had died in labor from Viral Propogated Eclampsia or VPE? What if Walternate knew that it was a near certainty that his grandson would die too? Would Walternate subject his grandson to a risky procedure when the alternative of doing nothing means certain death?

The answer is, of course, yes. Yes he would. I am guessing that Fauxlivia surviving was of secondary interest to him. Saving his grandson was the primary goal. Preserving the Bishop Bloodline because the Dunham Bloodline is tainted with VPE. So Walternate’s gambit here does not mean his edict no longer stands.

Walternate did what he did to save his grandson’s life.

Bloodline certainly leaves us with the intimation that the real purpose of the accelerated pregnancy gambit was so Walternate could secure a DNA compatible energy source for his Machine. But that is a conclusion engineered by the tone of the episode without providing anything substantiated for such a conclusion. The confirmation of Walternate’s true motivations lie in future episodes.

Of course I could be totally wrong and Walternate is just plain evil. But that is too simple and pat for a show of this quality. They have taken great pains to deepen the characters in both universes. There is more to Walternate than stock evil guy.

(Note: I had been toying with the idea that one of Walternate’s goals for Fauxlivia Over Here was to get pregnant but with this episode I am putting that idea to rest. My latest belief, Fauxlivia’s pregnancy was at the least, accidental or at most, fated.)

Episode ‘Patterns’: Add your own in the comments.

  • beautiful opening mood shot of Fauxlivia watching holographic picture with a butterfly flying away and fading from view to be replaced by the next image
  • Fauxlivia facing the same fate of her sister, Rachel and her baby, because the Dunham bloodline carries VPE – a deadly defect that turns the life stage of birth into one of death
  • Fauxlivia’s agent senses kick in at home, she is being watched by an Observer
  • Fauxlivia is tasered in her home
  • Scarlie is dating Mona – the Bug Girl. Lee teases and Scarlie teases him back about Fauxlivia
  • Walternate repeats his vow to ScarySanderson – ‘No Children.’
  • Fauxlivia is a fighter too
  • Sonograms in the RedVerse are way cool and far less messy. No jelly needed.
  • Henry the cabbie returns! Reading Opus the Peahen and ‘verting the 12th Season of West Wing
  • Henry is the catalyst for Lee and Scarlie finding out about the Olivia switch and questioning how much more is going on below the surface of what they know
  • ‘Hands on the wheel!’, ‘Out of the car!’, ‘Which is it?’
  • said it before but those ear phones are way cool!
  • Walternate spills some of the goods to Lee. ‘This all from a cab driver.’
  • Fauxlivia’s impassioned plea to nurse to look the other way – and the nurse kind of did
  • Bstrid’s phlegmatic, ‘Oh I see,’ was a great beat when she asks for another factor and learns that the baby is Walternate’s grandson
  • RedVerse version of Taxi Driver and Travis Bickle helmed by Coppola instead of Scorcese
  • Fauxlivia Meets The Buddha On The Road! Episode 3.10 Firefly callback!
  • Henry and Fauxlivia/Oliva’s paths intertwined by… fate or destiny? ‘She got to me.’, ‘Nice to meet you Henry.’
  • Mothers and babies are miracles. Even more so with VPE in the equation.
  • Wonderful birthing scene by all the actors involved
  • Lee and Scarlie do not trust Walternate
  • baby blood test reveals Walternate behind it all
  • did Mary do a double take on the baby after the blood test?
  • Observer’s neutrally delivered, but oh so full of foreboding, ‘It is happening.’

Cosmic Cabbie To The Rescue!

I have spent so much of this review on the big picture issues here because it is important that to keep open minds on the actions of characters. The probability of our opinion of Walternate changing again is high.

This episode accomplished so many things. Fauxlivia, Lee, Scarlie, Mary, the baby, and Henry were fleshed out even more. They all did great work again. Everyone was engaging. Special note to Anna, Seth, and Andre during the birthing scene. They managed to make what can often be a cliched scene into something touching and poignant without being cloying. A Fringe trademark we have seen throughout the series; most recently with the handling of the Peter and Olivia relationship.

Henry may only be a cabbie, as Walternate observed, but it was only a cabbie who helped our Olivia return home and helped save Walternate’s grandson. On another show, Henry having delivered his own daughter would come off as trite. On Fringe it feels right. Henry has also twigged Lee and Scarlie to the fact that there is much more going on than before.

‘A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!’ cried Shakespeare’s Richard the Third. Walternate’s version of that plea could very well be, ‘A cabbie! A cabbie! my kingdom for a cabbie! There are moments when the outcome of the grandest of schemes rest on much simpler, unaccounted for actions. Moments never envisioned by schemers and plan makers like Kings and Walternate. Moments often ascribed to fate or to the random.

One of those unforeseen moments could very well turn out to having the baby, (will the baby still be a baby by the season finale or will the growth acceleration continue?), end up at the RedVerse Machine. Peter has made a vow too.  Peter is adamant that he will not go back to the Machine in our universe.

Walternate and Peter may find their vows rendered impotent by forces outside their control.

Whatever happened in this episode, the Observer and his ‘It is happening,’ let us know the end game with the Machines is about to commence.

2 thoughts on “Review of Fringe Episode 3.18 – Bloodline

  1. EsDee

    Hi Old Darth – got to your site from the link on Nik…thanks Nik! I always enjoy MORE Fringe reading, and really enjoyed your take. I'll read through your older posts when I've got a free moment.


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