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Fringe, Ep. 4.17, “Everything In Its Right Place”: Character study puts series back on track

Fringe, Ep. 4.17, “Everything In Its Right Place”: Character study puts series back on track

Fringe Review, Season 4, Episode 17: “Everything In Its Right Place”
Written by David Fury and J. R. Orci and Matt Pitts
Directed by David Moxness
Airs Fridays at 9pm (ET) on FOX

This week, on Fringe: Lincoln spends some quality time with himself, Foeyles is still a baddie, and shapeshifters are people too

After last week’s disappointing episode, Fringe is back in fine form this week, abandoning the wacky and more extreme elements in favor of a straightforward character study of the often overlooked Lincoln Lee. Granted, on Fringe “straightforward” is a trip to the Other Universe and a homeless shapeshifting vigilante, but the majority of the episode is spent with Agent Lee getting to know Fauxlivia and Linclone and evaluating himself and how he’s come to this point in his life.

If there’s a disappointing element to this episode, it’s how much it, and by extension Lincoln, is defined by Olivia and Fauxlivia. The opening scene would be far more powerful if we hadn’t spent the past two episodes watching Lincoln pine for Olivia like a sad puppy. By this point, Lee should know His Olivia is gone and he should be beyond awkward attempts to remind her that, at one point, they were far closer than they are now. It makes sense that he would be bowled over by Fauxlivia, especially now that His Olivia is gone, but again, it’s hard to root for a character who devolves into a moon-eyed, clingy mope whenever he’s around the pretty girl he likes. Hopefully Lee’s somewhat swooning reaction to Fauxlivia means he’s at least moved on from Olivia. It’d be nice if it weren’t her doppelganger, but any change in this storyline is forward movement.

Far more interesting are the conversations between Lincoln and Linclone. Whereas the other characters have clear, significant differences in their history (Fauxlivia wasn’t experimented on, AUstrid had a distant father), the decision to only differentiate the Lincolns in their attitude and reactions to the same set of circumstances is a pleasant surprise. Many genre series have explored the differences a divergent life path can produce in someone, but few extend that to purely perspective and choice. Instead of the standard fate vs. free will discussion, the what ifs so many wonder about, we see the only thing separating awkward, insecure Lincoln from his confident, together counterpart is the decision to be so. The decision to be happy, to be the person he wants to be and react to what life hands him with certainty and poise.

Shapeshifters make a return this episode and continue to be a far more compelling threat than those from many of the recent Cases of the Week. It’s nice to see this intermediary stage in their development, bridging the gap between the season one version and the current one. It’s also great to finally get some insight into why these people choose to become shapeshifters, into how David Robert Jones converts his True Believers. In the very little time we’ve spent with them in the past, we’ve gotten hardly any honest reflection, and though it’d be surprising if this shapeshifter returned, it would be an interesting development. As for the Other Nina (any nickname suggestions?) and Foeyles, if that map of shapeshifters seen at the end of the episode is accurate, it shouldn’t take long for the trail to lead back to him. We should be in for at least a few fun interrogation scenes between the two of them though, before Fauxlivia and company put the pieces together.

One overdue element is the good news that the bridge has begun healing the Other Universe. With the wasteland we’ve seen the Other Universe devolving into, this felt very much like a hanging thread. Walternate has been shown to be more approachable and reasonable, and perhaps this is why. More than anything, however, this episode will be remembered as the swan song for everyone’s favorite OU character, Linclone. When Fringe first went Over There, Seth Gabel’s Lincoln Lee was a fun breath of fresh air and integrating Lincolns into the action on both sides has been a smart move. We’ll see if the events of this episode inspire Agent Lee to become a bit more like the now-deceased Captain, but even so, he’ll certainly be missed.

Anna Torv is great in her final scene with Gabel, mourning her loss, and though it’ll be nice to have one fewer double to keep track of (kudos to the visual effects people, by the way, for so seamlessly integrating the two Lincolns into so many scenes together), it’s a shame to lose such a fun and energetic character. This is assumedly only the beginning- as we approach what, if the ratings are any indication, will most likely be the series finale, it’s time for the stakes, and body count, to rise. With more episodes like this, it’ll be a shame to see Fringe wrap up its run.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Anyone else dying to see a mockup of the Mantis? How long do you think they’ll go before putting together Fauxlivia and Lincoln? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick