You know the expression that when certain people light up a room by just entering it with something as little as a smile. Well how about someone who can walk into a secret government hanger and suddenly arm a doomsday device simply with their presence? On this week's episode of Fringe Peter comes face to face with his destiny when he see the now fully constructed doomsday device.
"Reciprocity" takes place only five episodes after Astrid had cracked the code from the 'first people' for the all the different locations of this mysterious device and now it has been fully constructed. When the episode begins the fringe team gets their first look at this now assembled universe-destroying-machine. After numerous tests by Massive Dynamics to activate or power the machine, to help study it, the only thing that seems to effect it was Peter's proximity to the machine. Shortly after shape shifters begin to turn up dead by some unknown assassin around the same time Bolivia's laptop is cracked by the FBI. Broyles soon realizes that these assassinations aren't just coincidences but that every dead shape shifter has been mentioned in Bolivia's files, so there must be a mole getting this information. Then it becomes a race to find the shape shifters for answers and the trader who's taking them out.
This week's episode is another solid mythology based episode to help elaborate on some of the big questions that were brought up earlier this season. Questions like: who are these 'first people'? How is Peter connected to the doomsday device? And who created that device if it was only found by the 'first people'? All great questions, but unfortunately none really get answered. However, the end of the episode suggests that this 'first people' story-line is connected to William Bell, so stay tuned for some possible answers. Maybe.
One good thing "Reciprocity" does is bring out a different side of Peter we haven't quite since yet. When its later revealed that it had been Peter going after the shape shifters all along Walter starts to believe Peter's encounter with the device somehow weaponized him; making him go dark-side. As a fan it was a lot of fun watching Joshua Jackson take his character in that direction. When I saw that Jeannot Szwarc in the opening credits returning as director for "Reciprocity" I knew there would be something different coming from one of Fringe's main characters. Last time Szwarc directed an episode of Fringe it was last seasons "Grey Matters" (one season 2's best) and there, for the first time, the audience was treated to a whole version of Walter when his missing brain pieces were connected for that short period of time. "Grey Matters" had that small scene where John Noble was able to make the same character seem like to different people and that's exactly what Szwarc got out of Jackson when the darker Peter was revealed. It also help that last week's episode buttered up audiences by making Peter seem like more a nice guy; enabling the transformation that much more dramatic. The only way to describe Jackson's darker Peter would be he was coldblooded, but since he was only killing shape shifters he is more cold-mercury-blooded... but that does quite have the same ring to it.
For me the thing I think will be the most interesting to see is how this whole 'first people' story arc will play out. Its starting to look like Peter and the doomsday device will end up being involved in this season's finale, as each episode is starting to build up to that point. As for the whole 'first people' stuff I think that it might not be answered until the end of the series. But then again that's just my guess. Also it wouldn't be that big of a stretch the 'first people' and the observers are one and the same, but the writers will still have some serious explaining to do if they were from a time before the dinosaurs. Somehow I don't see a flashback episode to the Jurassic era in the future.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.