I wonder if the idea of an accelerated pregnancy was pursued because the writers weren't sure they'd get a fourth season, so decided they should draw as much of the current narrative together as possible in the remaining time. "Bloodline" was one of those episodes that offered things we've seen before (inscrutable doctors kidnapping someone to perform a bizarre medical procedure, as Fringe Division tried to locate the victim), but it was a notable episode for how much it enlightened the alternate characters, and pushed Fauxlivia (Anna Torv) into a brand storytelling direction.
As I said, Bloodline wasn't offering us much that felt original, as I recall Olivia being kidnapped by scientists and having to escape back in season 1, and this storyline felt similar to how things played out there. But it was still an entertaining ride, brilliantly performed by Torv -- particularly because the stakes for Fauxlivia were so high because she could die if forced to give birth. It was also fascinating to speculate on who wanted to expedite her pregnancy, and the twist that it was a secret operation sanctioned by Walternate, worked well. Perhaps it should have been obvious in retrospect, given the very limited options, but I guess I was too distracted by Fauxlivia's plight to give it too much thought.
It was also a nice touch having Walternate earn our admiration earlier in the episode, by restating his policy never to experiment on children, only to show he's not above risking the life of his own grandchild's mother. But you have to now wonder why Walternate's was in such a rush: simple impatience? A desire from the writers to get the story moving quicker without nine months of waiting? Or is Fauxlivia's love child going to be capable of operating the Doomsday Machine, if Peter becomes a dead-end?
One lasting effect of "Bloodline" was moving many of the alt-universe characters to a position of mistrust. Charlie and Lincoln are now very suspicious of Walternate, knowing he sanctioned the exchange of Olivia's without telling them, and they'll perhaps come to realize the situation with the alt-universe isn't as black-and-white and the Secretary has made it seem. Will they collaborate with our side one day? Olivia should also be worried people are after her baby, even if we know the danger has actually passed.
The great thing about Fringe this season is how it's found a way to make the characters and their tangled relationships rise above the simpler pleasure of sci-fi craziness. It was missing this level of emotional complexity and humanity in its earlier seasons, but I'm so glad it's found a more compelling voice now. And respect to Fox for giving Fringe a fourth season, allowing this confident voice to continue, despite the fact its Friday night ratings have fallen to lows of around 3.5 million.
- More alternate universe fun: Francis Ford Coppola directed Taxi Driver, not Martin Scorsese; The West Wing's about to begin its twelfth season; and Henry reads "Opus The Penguin" comic-strips, not "Opus".