TV Review: FRINGE 4.17 “Everything In Its Right Place”

Lincoln heads to the Alternate Universe to get his groove back.

Lincoln Tyrone Lee nabbed the spotlight on Friday’s excellent episode of Fringe. It was a nice change of pace to see the dapper agent take center stage after spending so much time on the sidelines recently (and almost becoming a walking joke in last week’s ep). “Everything In Its Right Place” was an exciting and emotional episode. It reminded me a bit of February’s “Making Angels,” which centered on Astrid and her Earth 2 double. Like Astrid in that episode, this week saw Agent Lee meeting and interacting with his Earth 2 doppelganger, but this week’s outing proved to be a tenser, stronger and more thrilling outing than “Making Angels.”

Lincoln was feeling like a man out of place at the start of the episode, and who could blame him? No one bothered to invite him to “Grazing Day” (Moo!), and Olivia forgot all about the tender moment they shared when he offered her his special Native American necklace. Olivia couldn’t even stick around long enough to hear Lincoln talk about the necklace’s significance – she had Grazing Day duties to attend to. Turns out Lincoln’s former partner, Danzig, (who was killed by a Shapeshifter in the season premiere, despite his awesome name) gave him the necklace as a gift. It was supposed to act as the floundering Lincoln’s tether to the world, a reminder that he had a home with Danzig and his family. Lincoln lost that home when Danzig died, and he started to make a new one with Olivia in the first half of the season. But when Peter arrived and Olivia’s memories started slipping away, Lincoln was left without a home again. His progress and position with the team started fading away, and now he’s on the outside looking in. This episode marked Lincoln’s journey home, or at least to a place where he’s needed and appreciated as part of the team.

Last week I mentioned how Walter seemed happy to be part of a family – a family that included Peter, Olivia, Astrid and Lincoln. But it seems I was wrong about Walter counting Lincoln as part of the family; our favorite mad scientist only views Lincoln as a “perfectly-suited chess partner,” not a son like Peter. When he figured the Fringies could easily do without him for a day, Lincoln hopped the bridge to the Other Side, where his destiny was waiting.

This was a fun and engaging story that made great use of the controversial Timeline 2 plot as well as the dual universes development. Earth 1's Lincoln Lee was sent on a long overdue journey of self-discovery Over There that would not have happened if Peter hadn't disappeared, creating the new timeline. In Earth 2, after spending time with Alt-Lincoln in the field, Lincoln learned he had the potential to become not only a self-possessed person, but a hero as well. He also learned not to define himself by how others view him (others like Olivia, Walter and even Danzig, who saw Lincoln as a lost and lonely soul).

One of the greatest joys of this episode was watching Seth Gabel act against himself as both versions of Lincoln. Gabel was excellent here, and the interplay between the two Lincolns was seamless and believable. I especially enjoyed the bits with Lincoln struggling to figure out when and where his path diverged with the path of his supercop doppelganger. They both grew up in the same place, shared the same friends and dated the same girl in high school, but somewhere along the line, Alt-Lincoln said he “made a choice to become the man I wanted to be,” a man who was “not defined by circumstances” and a man whose world wouldn’t survive without him. It’s a lesson Lincoln took to heart here, and it’s a lesson a lot of people can probably benefit from seeing play out on the tube: Live life, don’t let life live you, stupid. (Also, maybe buy some contact lenses.)

Lincoln’s journey was mirrored in the proto-Shapeshifter’s arc. It was cool to learn that Jones’ first attempt at creating a Shapeshifer didn’t turn out as he had planned. His beta test, named Canaan, was a lonely soul (with a killer extra-long windpipe) who was rejected by his family and later rejected by Jones, the man who promised to make him special. Like Lincoln, Canaan was lost and looking for a home, and he couldn’t find the courage to be his own man and stop longing for a life that was over. When Lincoln yelled and ordered Canaan to choose to stop being defined by his circumstances, it was clear that he was also yelling at himself. This was more than a little obvious, but Gable's fine performance really sold the moment.

I was sorry to see Captain Lee go. His death was disappointing, but it didn’t come as a shock. Alt-Lincoln’s death was telegraphed earlier in the episode when he and Lincoln were taking stock of their lives. I’m sure this well-liked character’s passing upset many of you, but I didn’t take it too hard. Alt-Lee was awesome, but his death had a wonderful silver lining – Earth 2 and Fauxlivia are in need of a Lincoln Lee, and our Lincoln is in need of home. Lincoln decided to “stick around” on Earth 2 to help Fauxlivia bust Jones, and it’s only a matter of time until he decides to permanently hang his hat Over There, where he’s needed and appreciated as an individual, not just a copy of a fallen officer.

Once again, Fringe told a compelling and exciting story about the power of free will versus fate and circumstance. This episode also explored what can happen when a person literally comes face-to-face with his potential, or a fully realized version of himself. This was a great way to return to the Alternate Universe after several episodes that mostly took place on Earth 1. I really missed watching the Earth 2 crew do their thing. That’s a testament to the lasting power of these characters and the fine performances of the actors. It was also refreshing to see Ana Torv smiling so much as Fauxlivia. I love Olivia, but Fauxlivia’s cute rock n’ roll look and attitude is infectious. And I wouldn’t mind seeing her hook up with Lincoln (as it seems the show is itching to go there).

Other thoughts:

- Peter’s sacrifice is paying off – Earth 2 is healing, the “spacial rifts” are stabilizing and Walter calls the creation of the bridge “a turning point” for the world.

- Batman is called “Mantis” in Earth 2, and they have newspapers with moving images on the front page (But no lattes?). I also dug the see-through plastic suits and the nerdy tech the Dept of Containment agents were sporting.

- I appreciated the quick callback to Alt-Lincoln’s harrowing experience after being blown up last season.

- Fringe Division has Alt-Nina in custody (I think it’s safe to say she’s not a Shapeshifter). But it’s probably only a matter of time until the scheming Broyles busts her out.

- Lincoln helped Fringe Division nab some cool Shapeshifter locating tech. We’re getting closer to the big confrontation between the good guys and Jones’ army of creepshow mutants.

- I hope this isn’t the last we see of Canaan. The Fringies could probably use a Shapeshifter on their side.

- “What’s up, Tyrone!”