Good news! Despite flagging ratings since its move to Friday nights, ‘Fringe’ has officially been renewed by Fox for a full fourth season of 22 more episodes. So, when this season ends with its inevitable unsatisfying cliffhanger, we can console ourselves that the series has another whole season to wrap things up. In the meantime, Last Friday’s episode finally returned to the main storyline about the war between universes.
In all fairness, there had really only been a couple of case-of-the-week episodes sidetracking us since the last major development in this story arc. However, due to the vagaries of network scheduling, it had been a solid month since then, which felt like forever.
‘Bloodline’ takes us back to the alternate universe. Fauxlivia is pregnant with (our) Peter’s child, but learns that she’s at risk for something called Viral Propagated Eclampsia, a condition that usually results in death for the mother (and often baby too) during childbirth. She seriously considers an abortion, until being kidnapped by rogue doctors who keep her doped up and perform experiments on her that rapidly accelerate her pregnancy.
In searching for Fauxlivia, Lincoln and Charlie discover the cabbie Henry, who’d been hanging around her neighborhood to check up on the other Olivia. Henry doesn’t know that there are two of her, of course. (Incidentally, I love the ‘West Wing: Season 12’ ad on his taxi!) After questioning Henry, Charlie and Lincoln figure out that their Olivia had been swapped with our duplicate for a time. Lincoln confronts Walternate, who admits to this, but assures him that everyone eventually swapped back.
In no time at all, Fauxlivia has come to full term. The baby visibly squirms around under her skin, which is really gross. She escapes her captors and runs out to the Chinatown streets, where she finds a payphone and calls Lincoln, and then starts going into labor on the sidewalk. With Henry’s help, Lincoln rushes to Fauxlivia’s aid. While she’s in the throes of labor, he tells her that he loves her.
Lincoln and Henry help Fauxlivia to deliver the baby right there in Chinatown. For a moment, it looks like she’s died from the VPE. Fortunately, both she and the baby boy survive. It turns out that the experiments the doctors performed on her caused the pregnancy to develop faster than the virus could. Thus, what would have killed her after a normal nine-month term merely knocked her out for a few seconds.
Lincoln and Charlie later put 2 and 2 together regarding what must have happened to their Broyles. They don’t trust Walternate anymore. And they’re very right not to trust him – in the final scene, we learn that Walternate was behind the kidnapping and pregnancy acceleration all along. He gets a sample of the baby’s blood from one of the doctors at the hospital, and seems pleased with himself.
All the while, an Observer has been watching these events. He reports: “It is happening.” I presume that Walternate needs this baby (which has some of Peter’s DNA) to activate the doomsday machine.
Overall, ‘Bloodline’ is a pretty good episode. However, I feel like the expedited pregnancy is a big cop-out to move the plot along and get Fauxlivia back in action a couple episodes from now. What’s also annoying is that we won’t get another new episode until April 15th.