"Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" Review
Two weeks ago, we watched “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep” - an interesting and important episode of Fringe that dealt heavily with the nature of the shapeshifters. There were some great character moments across the board in this episode - some dealing with the standalone episode, while others about Peter and Alternate Olivia’s relationship.
We were introduced to James Van Horn - a U.S. senator who was in a terrible (and unexpected!) car crash. We find out quickly that he’s a shapeshifter, as Newton comes in, trying to clean up the mess. One of those nice character moments I mentioned was a conversation between Van Horn’s wife and his corpse. That sounds ridiculous in writing (as many Fringe plots do), but it was well-acted and convincing.
We were also introduced to another, more likeable shapeshifter named Ray Duffy. Ray can be pretty ruthless, but it was nice to see his attachment to his family. In the end, Newton shoots him in a dark and frightening moment that speaks volumes about him. Newton is the ruthless one - not Ray.
But the biggest surprise of “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?” was Newton’s death. I couldn’t believe he was killed off, and by suicide, no less. He’s become a very dynamic character on the show and I’m a little sad to see him go. I’m sure it was for good reason and that the writers have something else planned.
Before Newton’s demise, he called Alternate Olivia out on her inability to play real Olivia properly. We even had Peter mention that she’s not the same since she’s back. This all leads to the episode’s conclusion where Peter and Olivia finally get together. It’s all tainted by the fact that this isn’t the real Olivia and it has me wondering what’ll happen when she finally gets back. It’s a complicated and sad setup that’s only going to lead to more problems down the road.
That being said, this was a nice episode that moves the story forward. This season is considerably stronger than the first half of season two, and I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode.