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HE’S BAAACK!!! Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) finally returned in this week’s episode, “Novation”!

But there is just one minor problem… nobody in the altered Fringe timeline seems to know anything about who Peter Bishop is, or how significant he really is  to the realities.

This topic is discussed below In the cool video special released by FOX Broadcasting on November 07, 2011. Thanks FOX!!


This highly anticipated episode begins with Peter being escorted into Fringe headquarters and led to a secure room.

Fringe- S4x5 – Broyles escorting Peter

Meanwhile, Olivia (Anna Torv) goes to the lab to talk to Walter (John Noble). The Walter of this timeline is a sad and haunted fellow. Olivia finds Walter sitting in a chair injecting barbiturates into himself because it is the only way he can sleep. He claims it is not a big deal because he uses adrenaline to wake himself up. YIKES! Do NOT try that at home.

Fringe S4x05 - Walter in chair

Olivia tells Walter that Peter claims to be his son and wishes to speak with him. Poor Walter, he is obviously going to have a hard time this episode. We find ourselves next in Hillsdale, New York watching a woman riffle through drawers in a house.

Fringe S4x05 - Woman riffling thru drawers

A man shows up, presumably her husband, and asks what’s up and mentions that he thought she hated the sweater she was wearing. At this point, I screamed “SHE’S A SHAPESHIFTER” at the television, but Dude totally didn’t hear me… Later when the “wife” thinks the man is in the shower, she steals his keys and is opening a wall safe. He catches her and we see her face start to change. SHE’S A SHAPESHIFTER!

Fringe S4x05 - Skin change

Dude freaks out and falls to the ground where he sees the woman the shape-shifter is impersonating dead under the bed.

The shape-shifter is demanding him to tell her where some files are. She begins to morph into Nadine Park (Michelle Krusiec) as she is attacking him and the sequence is  awesomely done! One of the best morphs I have ever seen on television in long while.

Fringe S4x05 - Morph to Nadine

When he does not give her the answer she wants she puts a thumb through his eye. As “ya know”, you do what you need to do when someone is being difficult… I do not judge…

Fringe S4x05 - Walter cannot look at Peter

Broyles (Lance Reddick) lets Walter know that DNA testing shows that Peter is related to him. Walter believes he may be from a third universe because in these alternative timelines, both Peter Bishops died as boys. We find out that when Walter took the Peter from the other universe over to the prime universe’s side he fell through the ice and drown in the lake. Peter asks about the observer, September, who saved him and we find out that no one here knows about observers.

Fringe S4x05 - What is an observer?

Peter hypothesizes that his survival created a paradox and the only way to heal both worlds was to delete his existence. Does anyone else wonder how they created the bridge to connect the two universes in this timeline without Peter? They needed him to power the machine to build the bridge right?

Peter tries to reach out to Walter for help but when he touches him Walter freaks out and bails.

Fringe S4x05 - Olivia and Lincoln at crime scene

Olivia gets a call from Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) and she arrives at the house where Nadine killed that guy. Turns out the woman used to be married to Dr. Malcolm Truss, a former Massive Dynamic Research Scientist. The dead guy turns out to be the woman’s mechanic boyfriend. OOPS. This means that Nadine must still be looking for Dr. Truss.

Fringe S4x05 - Mechanic Outfit

Nadine finds Dr. Truss in Vermont tending a garden with plants that would never grow outside in that climate in now matter what universe this is supposed to be and holds him at gunpoint.

Fringe S4x05 - Dr Truss at gunpoint

Lincoln and Olivia head to Massive Dynamic to find out what type of research Dr. Truss was involved in 10 years ago.

Fringe S4x05 - Lincoln, Nina and Olivia

Lincoln asks Olivia why Nina (Blair Brown) has a photo of her as a young girl. Olivia reveals that she and her sister lived with Nina Sharp so they didn’t have to go into foster care … hmmmmm…. Interesting.

Nina tells Lincoln and Olivia that Dr. Truss worked on a “cellular replication” project that was designed to help patients with extensive tissue damage. They said the project was designed to copy genetic data of healthy cells and use them to replace damaged ones. Nina says William Bell shut down the project due to ethical concerns.

Fringe S4x05 - Dr Truss profile

We next find Nadine holding a gun on Dr. Truss while traveling in a car. She tells him that she needs his help. She says she had cancer and was healed but the cells aren’t stable and she is still dying. Intrigued by the idea of continuing his old research, Dr. Truss agrees to help her.

Fringe S4x05 - Dr Truss and Nadine in car

Back at Fringe headquarters, Broyles and Olivia talk about how the shape-shifters they encountered previously at the train yard couldn’t complete their shifts. They theorize that the shapeshifters need Dr. Truss’s “cellular replication” expertise.

Peter, who has been listening in on their conversation, says that the devices pulled from the train yard shape-shifter are most likely memory disks.

Fringe S4x05 - Listening to Peter

Lincoln wants Peter to help decrypt the disks. Peter says he will help if he can talk with Walter. Olivia is wary because she is very protective of Walter and doesn’t want to see him upset.

We find Walter sadly looking through a box of young Peter’s things. Don’t you love how John Noble can convey so much emotion without saying a word?

Fringe S4x05 - Walter with coin

Next we find Dr. Truss and Nadine at a gas station. Sadly, Dr. Truss talks about his wife and wanting to fix their relationship. Nadine neglects to tell him that she murdered her and that he should probably give up on that dream. While Dr. Truss is inside the paying for gas, Nadine kills a state policeman who had come upon their car. Nadine and Dr. Truss continue on their journey with Dr. Truss having no idea the type of monster he’s really in the car with.

Fringe S4x05 - Dead policeman

While Peter is messing with the memory disk, Olivia talks with Lincoln about how weird it is that she was dreaming of Peter. They then find that Dr. Truss was at the gas station and they watch the surveillance video.

Fringe S4x05 - Peter with memory disk

Nadine and Dr. Malcolm Truss (Arye Gross) arrive at a warehouse that is set up with research equipment. Dr. Truss examines Nadine’s cells and mentions the artificial tissue is adapting well but that her genome is not fully propagating through the tissue. He thinks he can fix it.

Fringe S4x05 - Dr Truss examines Nadine

Nina comes to visit Walter and talk about Peter. We find out that Walter has blamed Nina for young Peter dying on the lake because he couldn’t bear the weight of being solely responsible for the events of that night. Walter doesn’t feel he deserves to have joy in his life and Nina tells him to think of this as a second chance. This gives us a little more insight to why this Walter seems so much more disturbed than the Walter we were used to in the original timeline.

Fringe S4x05 - Walter and Nina

Meanwhile Peter shows Broyles that he has found six genetic profiles in the memory disks and he believes that shape-shifters can switch between anyone they have been before. This would cause HUGE problems in identifying shape-shifters.

Fringe S4x05 - Peter with computer

Nadine and Dr. Truss are still at the warehouse lab and she’s not doing so hot.

Fringe S4x05 - Nadine morphs

We get another excellent morph as Nadine changes into Karen.

Fringe S4x05 - Nadine becomes Karen

Peter discovers that the device broadcasts signals and figures it’s a shapeshifter LoJack. The team heads out to find the signal source

Fringe S4x05 - Peter and Broyles with computer

Dr. Truss is totally freaked out that Nadine looks like his wife. Nadine tries to persuade him into still helping her. Under threat of death, he says he will find a way to let her cells accommodate multiple genomes.

Fringe S4x05 - Dr Truss upset

He pretends to help her but she catches him adding restriction enzymes, which are enzymes that cut double stranded DNA at specific sequences, to a vial and she is not happy.

Fringe S4x05 - Nadine hurts Truss

Olivia and Lincoln arrive at the lab and the shooting begins. Dr. Truss steals the serum that Nadine forced him to make and tries to bail. He does not get very far before Nadine kicks his butt.

Fringe S4x5 - Truss on the floor

Nadine shows that she’s been watching the “Matrix” movies and pulls some running on walls moves that would make even Trinity proud as she avoids fire from the Fringe team.

Fringe S4x05 - Matrix

The Fringe team chases her onto the roof where Olivia finds an injured Agent Warwick who claims that Nadine jumped into the water. HELLO!! EARTH TO OLIVIA! This guy is LYING! He’s totally the shape-shifter! Olivia apparently didn’t hear me and believes “Agent Warwick”. He is wheeled into an ambulance while Olivia talks to Dr. Truss.

Finally the dive team pulls a body out of the water and big surprise it’s Warwick

Fringe S4x05 - Warwick pulled from water

They find the ambulance soon after and the shape-shifter has escaped. DOH!

Back at the headquarters, Olivia tries to connect with Lincoln more but he seems distant and uninterested in her friendship.  Olivia also has one of those flashing-over-to-the-other-universe moments associated with being handed a blue folder. Apparently this Olivia isn’t aware of her abilities she gained from the Cortexiphan trails in this alternative timeline.

Fringe S4x5 - The blue folder

Walter goes to see Peter but tells him that he doesn’t feel he deserves to have Peter in his life. Poor Peter. He can’t catch a break right now. Will they ever remember him? Will he have to rebuild his relationship with Olivia and come to terms that Walter is a different man in this reality? Or will they reverse time and everything will go back to the way it was before he was deleted from reality?

Fringe S4x05 - Walter touches Peter face

Nadine uses the serum that Dr. Truss made to fix her little shape-shifting issues and seems to be much better.

Fringe  S4x05 - Nadine injects herself

She finds a locker and pulls out one of those typewriters used to communicate with the other side. Side note: the typewriter model is a Hermes (in Greek mythology, Hermes is the great messenger of the Gods). She lets the other side know that the serum works. Well now we now that the other side is responsible for this new kind of shapeshifter. Wonder who’s behind this… Walternate perhaps?

Fringe S4x05 -The typewriter

The typewriter then types a message back:

Fringe S4x05 - Sending others

…. We’re sending the others… Ruh-Roh!

Science Analysis Thoughts:

Dr. Truss’ “cellular replication” research really sounds like stem cell research. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. In many types of tissue, they act as kind of an internal repair system. Stem cells differ from other types of cells by two main characteristics: they are capable of self-renewal through cell division even after long periods of inactivity and they can be induced to become tissue-specific or organ-specific cells under certain conditions. Stem cells offer potential new ways for treating disease or traumatic injuries due to their unique regenerative abilities.

Dr. Truss also mentions needing to find a way to for her cells to accommodate multiple genomes and that her genome isn’t fully propagating through the artificial tissue. I’m not sure what the artificial tissue is supposed to be. They mention grafting so I’m assuming it came from cell cultures grown in the lab.

Almost all the cells in your body share the same DNA (exceptions are mature red blood cells, eggs, sperm, and B cells). Cells become different types (or specialized) depending on which sets of genes are turned on (expressed). Stem cells become specialized cells (differentiated) when the cell’s DNA acquires epigenetic marks that restrict DNA expression. In essence, certain genes are switched-off and certain genes are switched-on. It is possible to switch-off or in-activate entire chromosomes.

We see this with the X chromosome in female mammals. Females have two copies of the X chromosome while males only have one. One copy of the X chromosome is inactivated so that females don’t have twice as many X chromosome gene products as males. It’s possible that one day we may be able to accommodate multiple genomes per cell by silencing entire chromosomes, but as of right now that truly is science fiction.

“Novation” was written by J.R. Orci and Graham Roland and directed by Paul Holahan.


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Thank you

XO Rachelle Smith, Ph.D.

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1 Comment

  • avatar WR_Systems says:

    Dear Rachelle,

    We are so happy that you are back from your leave of absence! Absolutely awesome job on “Novation” with an excellent scientific discussion of the implications of the DNA factor at the end of the review.

    My own theory is that people was re-inserted to pay an old debt too. What that debt is is hinted at the end. As I speculated and tweeted last season, a third universe might very well come in to play and it certainly seems like that is what is happening!

    Great work on the images too and welcome back! Thank you.

    Best Regards,


    PS: I still say the Observers are evil interlopers and must be eliminated similar to a book by famed scientist Isaac Asimov called “The End of Eternity”!

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