Walter is ecstatic to have his old lab buddy William Bell back from the dead, even that means Bell is occupying Olivia's body, but don't worry Bell has made sure that Olivia's consciousness is just taking a nap, and it'll be like 2 weeks before that does any damage to her. (Pause for incredulous chuckle, since this is Fringe after all and their plans always work out so well.) Broyles gives them 48 hours to find a suitable host body for Bell, Peter tries to avoid trowing up looking at his girlfriend's possessed body, and Astrid mentally catalogues Bellivia's inappropriate advances to cite in her sexual harassment lawsuit. Luckily, everyone gets the distraction of a case. A suicide counselor, Dana Grey (Paula Malcomson), whose unable to die keeps appearing at suicide incidents, and Agent Lee of the DoJ (yaya for alternates!) has been tracking her since she should have been murdered along with her entire family 18 months before. Through plucky investigative work, Peter and Lee discover that she was struck by lightening twice, which accounts for why her molecules refuse to separate, therefore preventing her from dying. Desperate to be reunited with her family, she decides not to prevent an explosion on a train, perpetrated by a disturbed man she didn't try very hard to keep from offing himself, but Peter manages to talk her out of it, and she finally dies in the explosion, but she is the only one. Agent Lee goes back to his regularly scheduled job, but with a funny look on his face. Attempting to have a late night heart-to-heart with Peter about fate and such, Bellivia is ousted out of power and Olivia asserts herself in her own body, but only for a second, causing Bellivia to remark that the present situation may be more "complicated" than supposed. YA THINK?
I watched this episode Saturday and I'm still a bit in awe of it.
First of all, kudos to Peter for convincing a woman not to allow a train to be blown up. Peter gets a gold star for professionalism; doing his job so well in spite of the fact that his personal life turned into a freak show.
Of course, we have to address the issue of Bellivia's voice. At first it was pretty hard to take the whole thing seriously when Bellivia sounds so silly. It almost sounded like Olivia was doing a James Cagney impression (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, rent "One Two Three" or "White Heat"). But as the episode went on, and as he/she continued to cock his/her eyebrow as if nothing was wrong, the total creepiness settled in. The longer Bellivia talked the clearer it became that Bell feels no remorse, not even any shame, in what he's doing to Olivia, and the jarring voice highlighted the unnaturalness of current events. Add that to how well Bellivia's smug cheerfulness contrasted with Peter's horrified revulsion, and by the end your skin was crawling.
But your brain should have also been working overtime. Let me try and work this out. If I'm remembering correctly at the end of last season, when the Fringe team crossed over to the Other-Side, as they were trying to escape the alt-Fringe Division, Nick Lane (empathy-murderer boy!) recognized Agent Lincoln Lee, right before the later shot the former. (I really need to get S2 on DVD, I've only watched it once and I can't keep all this shit straight.) So, that means that at some point Over-Here Nick and Lee met, which might explain why Lee wasn't too too hesitant to share his theory that Dana couldn't die, and therefore his cute little bafflement in Walter's lab over all the crazy shit there was a bit of an act, but also means that he really did kind of give Peter a "we-will-meet-again" look when they parted ways. So is there another Fringe-type team working within the US government? Is there only one Lee, going back and forth between sides? Is he another of the Cortexephan kids? Am I searching for a conspiracy where there is none?
Or is it just Agent Lee Over-Here's fate to meet up with the gang since his alternative counterpart did? I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets a bit nervous when the word "fate" comes up on a J.J. Abrams show. Fringe is so good because it isn't based on fate/destiny/bullshit, it's based on choice and consequence. I'm not saying that anything on the show has denied the possibility of unifying principle or intelligent design, but as soon as Fate (and I'm capitalizing that because that is how it is meant) got mentioned a strange amalgamation of Ron Rifkin and Mathew Fox floated through my head, which is a singularly unpleasant experience. Please spare us all from the pandering to Lost fan who can't just get over it.
And just as an aside, Paula Malcomson, you can attempt to leach off my despair anytime you want. I was really hoping that somehow when un-dying chick died they were going to be able to use her body as a host for Bell, and that way Ms. Malcomson could stay on the show. Doesn't she deserve some kind of awesome new job since Caprica got unfairly cancelled?
See you this Friday on the Other-Side!
The TV Girl