‘Fringe’ 4.05 Recap: “Some Things Are Not Ours to Tamper With”

It’s a case of good news/bad news for Peter Bishop on ‘Fringe’. On the one hand, he’s no longer a non-corporeal ghost stuck between universes. So that’s good. On the other hand, no one remembers him or has any idea who he is, not even his father or his girlfriend. I’m going to guess that part would be a bummer.

Broyles and the FBI have Peter under lock and key in ‘Novation’. They don’t know who this strange man is or why he knows so much about Fringe Division. Peter has decided to clam up and will only speak to Walter. Unfortunately, Walter is really freaked out by this grown man who claims to be his dead son, and doesn’t want to speak to him.

Walter theorizes (much as I had in my last recap) that adult Peter comes from another alternate universe where he didn’t die as a child. When Peter talks about an Observer pulling him out of the lake, neither Walter nor anyone else knows what he’s talking about. They have not yet discovered the Observers in this universe.

In another interesting development, we learn that, in this universe, Nina Sharp became Olivia’s foster mother after Walter’s Cortexiphan trials. That’s why this Olivia seems pretty well-adjusted, and why she and Nina are so chummy. Similarly, Walter hates Nina because he blames her for young Peter dying in the lake.

In the main plot of the episode, one of the new organic shapeshifters who calls herself Nadine (the gorgeous Michelle Krusiec) has kidnapped former Massive Dynamic scientist Malcolm Truss (Arye Gross). Years earlier, Malcolm had worked on a project involving “cellular replication,” which was shut down by William Bell for ethical reasons. The intent was to help the injured or sick to regenerate damaged or diseased tissue, but (unbeknownst to Malcolm) the research had further implications that would facilitate shapeshifting.

Nadine gains Malcolm’s sympathy by claiming to be a cancer patient who underwent an experimental procedure based on his research. Because he never finished the work, she says that her body is unstable and will continue to deteriorate unless he helps her. Malcolm agrees.

In reality, it seems that the new organic shapeshifter tech is flawed. Once perfected, the shapeshifters will be able to impersonate anyone down to the molecular level. Short of cutting them open and searching for memory discs, there will be no tests that can reveal their true origins. They will become perfect infiltrators.

Back at the FBI, Peter overhears the others discussing the shapeshifter issue and offers to help. He has extensive experience decrypting their memory discs (you know, during that murder spree he went on a while back) that no one else in this timeline is familiar with. By fiddling with the disc from a dead shapeshifter, he finds a GPS transponder in it. The implication here is that there’s someone behind these shapeshifters who likes to keep tabs on what they’re doing. Peter uses the GPS signature to track down Nadine. Olivia and Lincoln manage to rescue Malcolm, but not before he completes his research and Nadine escapes. She’s seen later using one of the interdimensional typewriters to send a message that the research was completed and works. The response she receives says: “We’re sending the others.”

(It occurs to me here that Peter should be able to easily track Nadine down with her GPS again.)

In the episode’s wrap-up scene, Walter very coldly declares that he never should have crossed universes to kidnap the alternate-Peter. He realizes now that the boy from the other universe was not his son, and neither is this one. He will not help this Peter.

Also, Olivia experiences an odd moment of déjà vu that seems like it will tie into the next episode.

‘Novation’ is a really good episode that seems to finally signal that this season is ready to kick into gear. It’s nice to see the pieces of Peter’s storyline come together, and I’m intrigued to find out who’s behind the new shapeshifters. Is it Walternate? Do they come from another alternate universe? How many universes may we be dealing with here? I’m eager to find out.

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