TV Recap: 'Fringe' Episode 405 - 'Novation'


Fringe Episode 405


Written By: Roberto Orci and Graham Roland

Directed By: Paul Holahan

Original Airdate: 4 November 2011

In This Episode... 

Lincoln calls Olivia in on a double homicide in Hillsdale, NY (which I think was the location of another shifter at some point... or perhaps that helpful cabbie... major deja vu). One of the victims had translucent skin. It seems that the shifter had taken over the body of Karen Truss in the hopes of getting her husband, Malcolm Truss's research. Malcolm used to be a scientist at Massive Dynamic and one of the projects he was working on involved cellular regeneration, with an eye towards burn victims, cancer patients, and amputees. But the shifter didn't know that the man getting ready to shower wasn't Malcolm; he was Karen's boyfriend. The Trusses separated years ago.

So the shifter, Nadine, goes in search of Malcolm Truss. She finds him in Vermont, and even though she approaches him at gunpoint, Truss is happy to finish his research in an attempt to save Nadine's life. Nadine was one of the Massive Dynamic test subjects, and while the experiment cured her stage four melanoma, it left her cell structure unstable, so she was still dying.

Fringe division begrudgingly accepts Peter's offer to decrypt the shifter discs that they have found - it is Lincoln who champions Peter's involvement. Peter has already done this before, and no one else at Fringe had had any success cracking the discs. What did they have to lose? Peter discovers that these new, "evolved" versions of shifters can replicate DNA precisely, and stores all their previous identities. They could be anyone, any time, and completely undetectable. Peter also discovers that the discs broadcast location information. He traces the signal to where the data is being gathered, and manages to find the coordinates of another shifter - Nadine.

Nadine has a state-of-the-art lab set up in a waterfront warehouse. Truss has figured out the last elements to fix her cellular structure, he just needs to stabilize it. But when Nadine accidentally shifts into Karen, Malcolm realizes his ex is dead and is no longer in a helping mood. Nadine knows enough chemistry to know that the stabilizing agent he is preparing is a fake, and makes him start again. Fringe invades the warehouse, and a gunfight ensues. Liv chases Nadine up to the roof, where a couple agents are down. One dead, the other gravely wounded. He tells Liv that Nadine jumped into the water below. Now, you know, and I know, that this is crap. Liv doesn't know until a little while later, when agents drag the water for Nadine's body, and instead find agent Warwick's body. Nadine is still out there. She stops at the train terminal and retrieves the magic typewriter from the locker. She lets the other side know that the formula works, and is told they are "sending the others."

Dig It or Bury It?

Peter's return suddenly feels anti-climactic. I know the last episode was the "big reveal," which was plenty exciting. I am kind of surprised at how calm everyone is handling the situation. Walter, of course, is antagonized as I expect him to be, but I hate it when people pull the "I don't deserve this" pity party. In general I think this episode was just lackluster. There was so much focus on the science of the shifters that there was no room for the little interpersonal touches that make Fringe extra-good.

Towards the end of the episode, Liv seems to experience some kind of weird time slip: an agent gives her some files, she puts them on her desk. Asks Lincoln to dinner, gets turned down, feels rejected. The same agent comes up to her and hands her to same files - the first set, the ones Liv had placed on her desk, were gone. This is setting up next week's episode.

In A World Without Peter

Peter may be back, but in the minds of everyone else, he never existed as an adult, so this world has been affected like that. Anyway, in this world, Nina and Walter had a falling out long, long ago. Walter admits that blamed Nina for alternate-Peter's death - and that he feels guilty about that. Nina was right that he shouldn't be messing with the other universe; some lines should not be crossed. In reality, he was mad at himself for not listening to her. Also, no one has ever heard of The Observers, and Liv and her sister were raised by Nina after their mom died.

Walter Babble

Walter was too busy being upset to babble much. At the beginning of the episode, Liv goes to get Walter from the lab... and finds him passed out, attached to a couple IVs. Liv's first thought: suicide machine. But Walter wakes - this was the only way he could get any sleep. One IV is filled with sedatives; the other is filled with adrenaline, and set to go off on timers.


Fringe has begrudgingly accepted Peter as part of their team - except Walter, who will not treat Peter any differently than if he were a nameless test rat.