“They’re not human, and I’m not doing anything wrong.”
– Peter

As we learned back in “A New Day in the Old Town,” Peter isn’t one to take things lying down. But that impulse to always want to do something about his situation could lead to serious consequences if Peter ever were to develop a dark streak.  “Reciprocity” examines what happens when Peter is pushed over the edge.

Right now, Peter feels hopeless. His relationship with Olivia is in shambles, and he is no closer than he was a few months ago to stopping Walternate from destroying Our Side. There are still shapeshifters running around in Our universe. So when he happens upon Fauxlivia’s files and figures out who her shapeshifter contacts were, he sets out to stop them, vigilante-style.

It’s chilling to see Peter as a killer. He’s often stoic and focused, but it’s difficult to think of him as someone who kills in cold blood. But as he tells Walter, he doesn’t believe he’s doing anything wrong; shapeshifters aren’t human, after all. However, as Walter points out, if Peter didn’t believe what he was doing was wrong, he would have told the FBI about it. Peter is making excuses for the behaviour the Machine is causing in him, subtly influencing his personality and making it darker, colder.

But Peter is unaware that the shapeshifters aren’t just machines. As we learned back in “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?”, shapeshifters can form attachments. Indeed, they are capable of emotion at a level that makes them indistinguishable from humans. The mercury-based humanoids that Peter is killing might as well be real people.

Peter manages to kill all five of the shapeshifters listed in Fauxlivia’s files, but his flirtation with darkness may not be over yet. The Machine is still operational, and it could yet influence Peter to do things that he normally wouldn’t do. It might take someone like Olivia to bring him back from the edge.

For more information on the Fringe rewatch project, please click here. For my review of “Reciprocity,” please click here.