Fringe Season 3 Episode 4 Do Shapeshifters dream of Electric Sheep?

Given the mental problems that dogged his later years the Bluverse seems an appropriate place for a heavily Philip K Dick influenced episode which somehow manages to rope in particularly celebrated tropes of PKD but also hint at them in the main espionage/adventure plot too. It’s a beautiful piece of television delivering the efficient plot delivery we have come to expect with something deeper. All of which is enriched by a  sound score that plays all the right notes in exactly the right order and (Murray Gold) take note knows when being quiet is the most effective thing to do. Often I ignore the score but in this episode it wasn’t a case of me forgetting it was there with the efficiency it did it’s job but it here it was a thing of beauty.

I mention efficiency a lot in relation to Fringe. That can sound,cold, mechanical and unengaging. That’s not what I mean. I mean it in the way that an efficient heart transplant is far superior than a passionate but inefficient one. It delivers drama effective and reliably week after week.  

In the melody of this review there may be the odd spoiler note or semi-quaver. 

Mentioning the efficient performance of the show does not mean that there is no levity. In fact we see John Noble relaxing with Walter moments of narco-lunacy that must have been a pleasure after the stern face of Walternate.   But the standout performance is Anna Torv. Oh Anna, I’m sorry I said you were cold and Olivia was dull and you just come into season 3 and beat me around the head and neck with a performance which just shouts WRONG! WRONG!  WRONG ! oH And oh how wrong I was! But enough gushing about the regulars on to the plot.

Now when I review stuff I don’t really like to recent the plot in detail After all if I’m positive I’d hope you would enjoy it for yourself.  So trying to stay true to that ethos let’s just say the plot here admirably explores the PK Dick notion of what if machines start to think like us, almost think they are us – then are they not in a real sense us? It delivers this with a series of plot developments that leaves Redlivia struggles to orchestrate matters to betray the blue team while acting like a girl scout and head girl. Teh plot ebbs and flows with very real threats to characters concerned though the actually casualties aren’t who you expect. Feed in Redlivia’s own fight against the mission need to bed Peter and her feelings for the boy (or is it boys?) she left behind and it is a very heady mix.  When she commits one way other developments have left her, very, very alone.

All in all a tour de force of an episode. We have to be due a dullard soon surely?

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