I like that ‘Fringe’ has given extra attention to some of the show’s supporting characters this season, such as the episode that focused on Astrid not too long ago. Friday’s new episode put the spotlight on Lincoln Lee, and it’s another strong character piece.
‘Everything in Its Right Place’ starts on an atypically slow day, where the Fringe team has no pressing cases or universe-threatening crises to resolve. Walter announces that Jean the cow is depressed, and will need to be taken out to a pasture for a grazing day. Astrid has been assigned to make a trip to the alternate universe for a briefing on the David Robert Jones situation, but can’t go because she promised to spend some time with her father. Lincoln, who’s been feeling out of sorts and kind of useless lately, volunteers to take her place.
On the other side, Lincoln’s meeting is cut short by a breaking case, so he decides to tag along with his alternate self and Fauxlivia to investigate a vigilante killer who has left a series of melted bodies behind. The evidence leads Lincoln to suspect a shapeshifter, but alt-Broyles brushes off the theory and tries to send Lincoln back home. Of course, we already know that alt-Broyles is working with the evil Nina Sharp, which would account for his evasiveness.
Interesting details we learn about the alternate universe in this episode: The USSR is apparently still around, $100 bills are called “Fillmores,” and nobody’s heard of Batman. The most popular comic book character is named Mantis instead. (Or perhaps it’s ‘M.A.N.T.I.S.‘? I’m actually guessing the latter, which is only separated from ‘Fringe’ by one degree of J.J. Abrams.) The rifts in the universe also seem to be healing as a result of the new bridge between universes that has stabilized both. Lincoln spends a lot of time with his counterpart, trying to figure out why they turned out so differently from each other, given that they have mostly-identical personal histories.
Lincoln turns out to be pretty much right in his theory. The killer is a lone shapeshifter named Canaan who’d been left behind to fend for himself in one of the uninhabitable areas of the city that’s only now being reopened. Because his body needs refreshing periodically, he’d taken to knocking off the city’s less desirable elements that nobody would miss, such as muggers and druggies. The two Lincolns and Fauxlivia manage to capture him, and discover that he’s more pathetic than evil. Canaan was in fact the very first shapeshifter, of a flawed design, and has been waiting in vain for Robert David Jones to rescue and “fix” him.
On their way to bringing Canaan back to headquarters, a sniper tries to take him out, but hits alt-Lincoln instead. Fauxlivia then kills the sniper. Realizing that he’s been betrayed, Canaan helps the Fringe Division capture Nina Sharp by shifting into the sniper’s body. (How he knew where Nina would be seems like an unexplained plot hole.) In return, Lincoln brings Canaan back to the main universe and asks Walter to try to help him.
Sadly, alt-Lincoln doesn’t survive his injuries. While cleaning out his locker, Fauxlivia finds a lot of pictures of herself. She was the reason that this Lincoln became the man he did, because he was in love with her and wanted to impress her. That’s where the two Lincolns’ lives diverged. Eventually, the surviving Lincoln returns to the alternate universe once more, and asks if he can stick around to investigate Nina Sharp’s connection to David Robert Jones further.
I’ll miss the alternate Lincoln. He was a cool guy, who’d even survived being set on fire. But if he had to go, this episode is a good exit for him, and a good showcase for both Lincolns.