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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 18 Season 3, Bloodline

Posted by Karl Withakay on March 25, 2011

A Red Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Mostly For the Search Engines

I believe Viral Propagated Eclampsia (VPE) is a form of elampsia that exists only in the alterverse.  It is apparently not usually associated with women who have experienced preelampsia, like eclampsia is in our universe.  The virus that causes VPE is dormant until pregnancy and undetectable until the 10th to 11th week.  VPE is apparently nearly 100% fatal for both mother and child if the mother tries to carry the child to term and deliver.

What Are The Odds? Part I

No mention is made as to how the virus is contracted, nor of why having a sister that was a carrier of VPE would put you in the highest risk group of possible carriers of the VPE virus with an 80% chance of having the virus.  The virus can’t be contracted from the mother during pregnancy, as mothers with VPE can’t successfully deliver children, and no mention is made of Fauxlivia’s mother (or father) having it anyway.  So why would a having a sister being a carrier of the virus put you at an 80% risk of carrying the virus?  Is there a genetic component that makes you vulnerable to contracting the virus?  It would have to be carried on the X chromosome.  If it was a dominant gene that caused the vulnerability, and it came only from her father, her odds of being vulnerable would be 50-50.  If it was recessive and came both from her father and her mother (who did not have the problem because she carried only one copy of the recessive gene) the odds of her having the gene would be only 25%.  I don’t see how it could be genetically related and Fauxlivia’s odds of being a carrier be 80%.  Maybe if I thought about it for a while, I could come up with some complex combination of multiple genetic factors that could come out to an 80% risk for Fauxlivia when her mother did not have the problem, but nothing comes to mind off the top of my head.  I suppose it could be some environmental exposure that has to occur during childhood or puberty, such that if Rachel was exposed, the odds are 80% that Fauxlivia was exposed.

Menacing Liquids for Injection

They always seems to be strongly colored in colors other than red don’t they?  Blue, green, orange, they never seem to be red or clear or light yellow, like most of the liquids I see injected or fed into people by medical professionals in the real universe.

Take a Pill, Pretty Please With Sugar On Top

So, the abductors have state of the art medical equipment and supplies, and they expect the patient they are restraining against her will to take a pill to render her unconscious?  Is their some reason they couldn’t just inject her or use an IV to deliver the sedative?

White Rabbit/ What Kind of Pill is That Anyway?

The Nurse told Fauxlivia that she should start feeling the effects of the pill right away, but pills don’t work in a matter of seconds, and an instantly dissolving medication would make spitting the out the pill that was placed in her mouth very difficult.

Do Mentats have an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

I think it’s a really interesting attention to detail that Mentat Astrid tends to avoid eye contact with whomever she is talking to, similar to what is typical of someone with Autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

What Are The Odds? Part II

Mentat Astrid:

“I’ve reviewed the traffic for a three block radius around Agent Dunham’s residence.  There’s an anomaly.  The same commercial vehicle has cruised past her building six times in the past week.  The chances of that are 1 in 760,000.  It is a clear statistical outlier.”

Boy the Alterverse sure is a strange place, because in our universe, it’s very common for commercial vehicles to take the same route on a daily basis.  Maybe the cabbie had a regular fare that always took the same route past Fauxlivia’s building every day.  This just strikes me as a forced way to conveniently work the cabbie into the episode.

Mr. Cobblepot’s Opus

In the Alterverse, Opus is a peahen and not a penguin.

No HIPPA in the Alterverse?

I suppose it’s possible that Fauxlivia signed a release to allow the doctors to disclose her private medical information, sucha s the fact that Fauxlivia was positive for VPE to her mother.  I’ll have to ask Polite Scott if it would be OK to disclose that kind of information without a release form in that situation, if the mother had been present during the examination.

Well Secured

Fauxlia wasn’t secured to the gurney very well.  There was a lot of play in those wrist straps.  Considering that her upper body wasn’t strapped down or restrained, it looks like she should have been able to reach the wrist restraints with her teeth.  Of course, if she was properly restrained, the stage would wouldn’t be with the scalpel on the floor for her later escape.

It’s All Part of the Plan

I think it’s clear the Walternate was lying when he said the pregnancy wasn’t part of the plan for Fauxlivia’s mission.  It seems likely that the child may be a substitute for Peter in the universe destroying doomsday machine.

Someday a Real Rain Will Come and Wash all this Scum Off the Streets

Travis Bickle was the main character in the movie Taxi Driver, which in this universe, was a Martin Scorsese pictue, but in the Alterverse, it was a Francis Ford Coppola picture.  Either that or O’Charlie is worse than Lincoln at movie trivia.

More Forced Cabbie

Again the show finds a way to force the cabbie into the episode.  Of course he can get there faster, cabbies know all the shortcuts.  I really liked the cabbie character in previous episodes, but his his presence in this episode is really forced.  It seems unnatural and unnecessary.  I assume they are laying the groundwork for a later and more relevant appearance of the cabbie character.

What Are the Odds? Part III

“Accelerated pregnancy” must be not especially uncommon in the Alterverse, since everybody seems familiar with the concept, and nobody is surprised when it is mentioned.  However, how come nobody has ever stumbled across accelerated pregnancy as a solution for a pregnant woman with VPE?  Apparently something lead Walternate to think it might work.

Should I Just Leave this Comment Out?

Hey, I’m a heterosexual guy that finds Fauxlivia to be pretty hot.  I can’t help wondering if hoping that the show runners will go for realism here by making Fauxlivia’s boobs bigger due to the pregnancy.

I Don’t usually Comment On the Previews for the Next Episode, but…

I know I’m not the only one who thinks next week’s episode looks a little like a rip-off of the movie inception.


11 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 18 Season 3, Bloodline”

  1. nanna said

    What stroke me odd was that the neonatal screening sample was taken and it was then given to Walternate. Why on earth would he need it? It will only show some metabolic and/or genetic diseases like phenylketonuria, that can cause mainly uncurable diseases and mental retardation. Of course, being in alterverse may lead to Walternate knowing how to treat the baby but i would assume so do all the pediatrics too. What on earth would he do with that poorly sampled filter paper?

  2. FC said

    “Boy the Alterverse sure is a strange place, because in our universe, it’s very common for commercial vehicles to take the same route on a daily basis. Maybe the cabbie had a regular fare that always took the same route past Fauxlivia’s building every day. This just strikes me as a forced way to conveniently work the cabbie into the episode.”

    I think this was poorly worded by the writers, I think Astrid already accounted for this. Remember that she said the vehicle passed by the building six times, but didn’t mention if they it passed by at the same hour or different times of the day. Maybe she didn’t say because she thought it would be obvious to her superior that she was talking about a vehicle that wasn’t making regular scheduled stops.

    Maybe the cabbie was appearing irregularly, and at weird times that made it improbable that he had a regular fare along that route. That’s a plausible enough scenario. And yes, I’m “filling in the blanks” which I know you don’t like. I just think the writers messed up and could have made it the scene more complete by modifying Astrid’s lines.

    ““Accelerated pregnancy” must be not especially uncommon in the Alterverse, since everybody seems familiar with the concept, and nobody is surprised when it is mentioned. However, how come nobody has ever stumbled across accelerated pregnancy as a solution for a pregnant woman with VPE? Apparently something lead Walternate to think it might work.”

    The good news is that they did not try to explain how the accelerated pregnancy works. As for how it works with VPE, it’s possible something else needs to be done in addition to the accelerated pregnancy to keep the VPE in check. This is supported by all the work the doctors were doing on Olivia. We don’t know what the procedure is for accelerated pregancy, but because we’ve never seen one we also don’t know if the scenes we saw are for a “standard” accelerated pregnancy or a modified one.

    Maybe medical researchers explored this avenue unsuccessfully. Walternate with his bottomless pit of resources probably brute forced his way into finding out how to use Accelerated Pregnancy to counter VPE. Also, this doesn’t CURE the VPE it’s a workaround, so any future kids Fauxlivia might want will have to go through this scenario. That much is clear from the episode: the virus was unable to replicate fast enough, it doesn’t mean it was wiped out, it probably went dormant again.

  3. jedivulcan said

    No one mentioned the double-decker car!

  4. Tom said

    I would assume that, seeing as the Machine responds directly to the presence of Peter’s DNA (I think that was mentioned earlier) Walternate intends to swipe the card past the little pieces of the machine that first reacted to Peter’s hand when Peter was working on it in the first “Over There” episode, to see whether the little pieces jump to life in reaction to a little piece of Peter’s son. Other option is that Brandon tested the Cortexiphan on Fauxlivia’s son in utero, thereby working around Walternate’s prohibition on testing on “children” (not a child ’til it’s born, see?) and creating the uber-baby. Just my $0.02. BTW, Fauxlivia seemed a lot more ruthless in the Blue Universe, IMHO. Think Lincoln knows about that side of her?

  5. […] This week’s Fringe cipher was: FATED. A list of all previous Fringe reviews is available here. Karl has more to say, as always, over at his blog. […]

  6. Daedalus said

    Mentat Astrid is so accurately portrayed because actor Jasika Nicole has a sister with Asperger’s.

    Thought I spotted an SF reference at the end with the mention of “Bayard St.”, as in Brion Bayard, hero of “Worlds of the Imperium”, a parallel world story. Alas there really is a Bayard St. in NYC Chinatown.

    Hey if B-Linc can fall for Fauxlivia, maybe A-Linc can do the same in the A-verse.

    HIPPA in the B-verse? It’s a data-driven police state. In any case Walternate probably had plenty of data on Fauxlivia without digging into hospital records. He would have been looking into the VPE question long before Fauxlivia got around to being tested, just to protect his grandson.

  7. Tom said

    There’s a cast-interview clip in which Jasika Nicole says that her character in the Red universe has Aspergers, and is a member of a profession called “Lookers”. (And that she is, that she is… 😉

  8. Josh said

    That boobs comment is so chauvinistic!

    Just kidding, I’m completely with you.

  9. kira said

    Inception 2010.
    Fringe 2008, where Olivia enters the mind of John.

  10. […] episode is debunked at Polite Dissent and Cordial Deconstruction, and you can read more about it at Fox, IMDb and the A.V. […]

  11. Daka said

    I’m responding to Karl Withakay’s post on Viral Propagated Eclampsia and how ‘Fauxlivia’ is diagnosed with it and the percentage ratings and risk factor break down. I read through your takes and how the puzzling end resulting percentage of 80% is derived and this has me a bit stumped as well. I did some research on Pre-eclampsia and how this disorder is acquired. The risks only affect 3-8% of pregnant women. Perhaps having a ‘Viral Propagated’ version of the disorder adds to the increased chances of the disorder affecting child or mother. Another thing to consider is that perhaps the affected atmosphere of the Alterverse (where people have to wear masks at certain intervals) adds to the increased percentage. So it’s probably both genetically and atmospherically triggered. That probably adds to the remaining 30% or 55% accordingly to your genetic breakdown.

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