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Fringe: Everything in Its Right Place

“That’s the difference between us.”

In “Neither Here Nor There,” Olivia said, “I know what it’s like to have a hole in my life. It’s been there as long as I can remember.” That hole is now fixed, as Olivia has rediscovered herself and Peter along with it. But without that hole, Olivia can no longer connect with Lincoln Tyrone Lee. They don’t share the same language of loneliness anymore, and Olivia doesn’t even remember that she used to speak it.

Lincoln has always been a roamer, more given to leaving than to staying. For whatever reason, he preferred to remain untethered until he met something worth tying himself to: his partner, Robert Danzig, and Robert’s family. After the loss of Robert, Lincoln found a camaraderie with the lonely hearts in the Fringe lab: Olivia with her existential hole, Walter with his missing son and lost mind. Now that Peter has fixed both of those problems, Lincoln finds himself where he tends to be: unmoored. Now, though, he knows what he is missing.

Lincoln looked so happy to see Fauxlivia. She’s just similar enough to remind him of Olivia, but different enough that he’s not reminded of what he almost had and has so completely lost. In an odd symmetry, by the end of the episode Fauxlivia was in the same position: faced with Lincoln “Shy” Lee just as she’d lost Lincoln “Over-Confident Pretty Boy” Lee. Will Fauxlivia fall for our Lincoln the way she never did for her Lincoln? Will they at least develop a strong friendship that keeps him rooted? Or will it be too hard for her?

The two Lincolns had no obvious differences in their past, right down to their prom dates and the reason for the 3.85 GPAs. But somehow they developed crucial differences: Agent Lee lacks the personal confidence to assert himself professionally, despite his numerous skills. Captain Lee is brimming with confidence and has made himself indispensible at work. What Agent Lee doesn’t realize, of course, is that underneath Captain Lee’s bravado is their similarity: they are both men who cannot make O/Fauxlivia realize that they are worth loving. Their major difference is in how they present themselves and how they think of themselves, not what they actually are.

Lincoln “Spectacles” Lee’s fate is up for grabs now that their paths diverged in that most important of ways: the death of Lincoln “Captain Awesome” Lee. Is our Lincoln enjoying Over There simply because it’s a new opportunity to leave everything behind? Is he so deep in the habit of distance, of leaving, of detachment, that he can’t find home anywhere he goes? I hope not. I want Lincoln to find happiness and home either here of there, and to start believe what Captain Lee realized: he’s a good agent. Maybe he’ll make a choice to become the man he wants to be.

This episode broke my heart, and was a fascinating portrait of a character that I’ve come to care about deeply. (Sure, some of the dialogue was a bit on-the-nose, but who cares? It worked.) But what mattered most to me about this episode was that portrait—not the story of the week that made the portrait possible. Canaan’s story was interesting, and the reminder that David Robert Jones is a force to be reckoned with is important. But so far the Jones stories have seemed a bit too small: the shapeshifter episodes are often personal, which lessens the sense of peril as far as the army-building is concerned. I wonder why the shapeshifters are being created, what Jones has in mind, and generally what’s going on, but we’ve made very little progress on that front, which makes it seem sort of like Jones doesn’t have any master plan worthy of the name beyond creating and tracking a bunch of shapeshifters. Surely he does, but that “surely” just comes from my experience watching TV rather than any strong clues within Fringe itself.

Grazing Day:

• Fauxlivia: “Are we talking heat vision, or communicating with fish.”

• Lincoln: “You don’t like Tyrone? I think it’s a strong middle name.”

• Lincoln: “Your superhero is an insect?”

• Canaan: “I wanted to be needed. Or at least to be missed.”

• Lincoln [to Fauxlivia]: “I guess you still haven’t lost your touch.” What was Lincoln referring to? Am I over-analyzing?

• Walter: “I’m really looking forward to studyin—helping you.”

• The episode title is the name of a Radiohead song.

• Rest in peace, Lincoln “Pretty Boy” Lee.

Four out of four self-aggrandizing narcissists.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

9 comments:

celticmarc said...

Wow, awesome review Josie.

It was one of the best, strongest eps of this season, so therefore, one of my faves. (a lot of shows Over There are strong BTW)

And with Billie's news from yesterday, I beg Fox to give us another season. Only 5 shows remaining this season...I'm a bit distraught.. (powerful understatement)

(nice shooting Fauxlivia)

Jess Lynde said...

Josie, I believe that we once learned in Over There that Fauxlivia has an Olympic medal for marksmanship. I took Captain Lee's comment about not losing her touch as a reference to that. Presumably that bit of history remains intact, given that Peter had little to no influence on her life until more recent years.

I loved the focus on Agent Lee this week, and am sad that we lost Captain Lee. It seems strange to me that Fauxlivia would want Agent Lee around after her loss, but as you point out, maybe having the "gentle" reminder of the man she lost in the form of someone who looks similar but is still very different, will help her through her grieving process.

Josie Kafka said...

Jess, I remembered that about Fauxlivia's shooting, but it was the phrasing of Lincoln's statement that bothered me. She "still" hasn't lost her touch? It seems like an allusion to something in their shared past, perhaps when Faux/Olivia wrangled with Lincoln back in Season Three.

Sooze said...

I don't know...something just isn't clicking with me and Fringe this season. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying it, I desperately want to know what is going on, and there have been several strong episodes and performances this season...this episode being one of them. I like Lincoln and enjoyed having an episode focus on him. I was sad to see Captain Lee go...but not as sad as I would have been had I seen more of him this season.
It used to be that on Friday's I could.not.wait until 9 pm. Now I have actually had Sat morning roll around and realize that I forgot to watch Fringe! Not a good sign.
I am so invested in the "over here" folks...and then I did get really invested in the "over there" folks....but I have yet to be invested in the "over where/when" folks. This Olivia that is now our Olivia still doesn't feel like our Olivia to me.
I was expecting a universe showdown...and now we have over there healing? Really? Because the folks "over where/when" did...what exactly? Build the bridge? Is that it? Did I miss something?
We've gotten practically no evil Walter...is he even evil anymore?
And like Josie said, the Jones stories haven't made me say "wow".
I would have really liked more over there stories....or joint stories like this one (although this was primarily over there).
Hmmm, I know this post seems like sour grapes...obviously I am feeling disappointed. Hopefully the season will close out with some real mythology centered episodes that get me back on the edge of my seat.

Jess Lynde said...

I agree, Sooze, that right now a lot feels like it is riding on the endgame for this season. I've been enjoying the season, but any sense of direction has completely alluded me, and it has left me in a "well, this has been fine, but I'm waiting for it to come together in a cohesive whole when all is said and done" place. It feels like the potential for a massive letdown is huge here.

Josie, based on your response to my earlier comment, I now vote Yes for your "am I over-analyzing?" query in the review. :)

CrazyCris said...

RIP Captain Lee. I much preferred you to Agent Lee! *sigh*

Am looking forward to seeing more of Evil Nina next week! :o)

And if Olivia got back her original memories of Peter, why hasn't Walter?

Evil Walter isn't evil anymore because he didn't find out early on that Our Walter had kidnapped his son (which he discovered in the original timeline because Olivia managed to phase over to the other universe once as a child and gave him a drawing of her with Peter), plus in this reality he had more support from his wife to face things and remain not evil. Does that make sense?

Josie Kafka said...

Well, "Over-Analyzing" is my middle name. Better than Tyrone, I guess? :-)

Sooze, I agree with you. I didn't even watch this episode until Sunday. While that was mostly due to other (non-TV) obligations, I still managed to sneak a few Alias episodes in. We make time when we want to, and I'm less inclined to make time for Fringe. :-(

Billie Doux said...

It took me a few days to get to this one, too. But it was a very strong episode, and I'm sad at the idea of our agent Lee moving "over there" permanently.

Gene the cow was wearing rain boots. You gotta love a show that puts a cow in rain boots.

Mario said...

I don't know... Over-There episode never really get to me... They're only a testament to how how amazing an actress Anna Torv is. Seriously, her entire walk, demeanor, even voice changes. But yeah, i love everything about the Over-here world. Gene, Walter, Astrid and Olivia taking Gene out for a day in the sun is such a refreshing thing for them to do amidst all the darkness. What worries me is that this is too happy, too perfect... it's like the writers are giving them some happy time before they kill off one of them in the finale.