Fringe season 3 episode 18 review: Bloodline

Billy's upset that Altivia's baby arrives before he's even organised a baby shower for her in the latest episode of Fringe…

Fringe: Bloodline

This review contains spoilers.

3.18 Bloodline

Fringe never fails to surprise me, but the announcement that it got a full 22 episode order for season 4 from Fox, after they sent it to the Friday ‘death slot’ trumps any unexpected plot twist this year. It’s wonderful news for those like me that like this show, and it’s entirely quirky style.

Does putting that news into the context of this week’s episode add anything? Not really, because when this was being shot, Fringe was most decidedly bubble material, and as such, a plan presumably existed to wrap as many threads as possible within season 3. Now they’ve got the luxury of more, then perhaps the last two episodes might reflect that. Who knows?

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Leaving that pivotal choice aside, was Bloodline a positive or negative exercise? It might seem unhelpful to say, but it had a foot in both of those camps for this reviewer.

I’ve enjoyed all the ‘over there’ stories and parts of this were really good, where Altivia finds out that the implications of carrying Walternate’s grandchild can be pretty scary.

Early on, a further jeopardy was thrown into the mix when Altivia goes to see if she carries a virus that can be fatal to both her and the baby. If she does carry this pathogen (and she does), then the chance of them both surviving the birth is very low indeed. But then that’s nine months away, surely? Not in TV land, where we’ve got to cut to the chase more smartly than that.

So, after she’s abducted by the nameless medical team, we soon realise that they’re got a solution for the tedious morning sickness phase by collapsing nine months to just a couple of days. Who are these people, I kept wondering? As they’re clearly not our universe Fringe, and they’re not the alternate lot.

The answer to that and why they can’t wait nine months is eventually revealed, and it’s not remotely as scary as it’s presented to Altivia. Which made me wonder why they just didn’t talk to her instead of abducting the poor woman and strapping her to a surgical trolley?

Where this worked was that it allowed the alternate Fringe division to work much more like the one in our dimension, following the trail of crumbs to the conclusion. The Lincoln Lee character was foremost, hinting, perhaps, that he’s going to become key in both dimensions at some future point.

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But I think the reveal at the end, where it was Walternate who was the other hand in the narrative cookie jar was actually quite disappointing for me. I wanted another group or dynamic, rather than the two usual suspects and the watchers observing the sparks of their conflict. When it turned out that there wasn’t an unknown third corner, I felt more than marginally cheated.

That’s not to say that it wasn’t gripping in places. I just wanted there to be more to it in the final analysis.

We now have to wait till mid-April for the next instalment, by which time the child will have undoubtedly grown to adulthood, I predict.

Read our review of episode 17, Stowaway, here.

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