For a few weeks now, I have been pretty sure that the Shapeshifters 2.0 were the work of Jones, especially since it would just be too easy to imagine that they were the work of Walternate (don’t get me wrong; there has to be a reason that we haven’t seen him in so long), and now that I have seen the most recent episode, “Novation” (4.05), I am convinced. The episode is loaded with clues. To begin, the Shapeshifter (who I will, for the time being, identify as Nadine Park, since we don’t know her actual name yet, and yes, I do know that she has one thanks to the wonderful actress that plays the part) Nadine Park obviously had to have had inside information pertinent to Massive Dynamic, and Jones used to be an employee of Massive Dynamic. We learn that Malcolm’s project, which had the potential ability of correcting skin problems such as burns, was shut down by Bell, and we know that Jones harbored anger toward Bell for having fired him. Is it possible that he also wanted Bell to pick this project back up, to help him overcome the deformities that he withstood because of the teleportation device?
Granted, I don’t know why Jones wouldn’t have hunted down Malcolm Trust, the guy in charge of the project, but we do know that Jones wanted Bell to see him as he had become. He said, before being sliced in half by Peter (which means that since Peter obviously never did that in this timeline, he may have successfully crossed over), that Bell was about to find out just how special he was; that was a huge letdown for me, as someone who was a big fan of Jones’ character, because I wanted to know just how special he was. Walter, in “Ability” (1.14), says that the teleportation device does something unimaginable to you but that it doesn’t kill you, and we saw that Jones had Hulked himself out of a hospital, but then, in the season finale (“There’s More than One of Everything”), Jones says that the teleportation device may be killing him but that it has made him something far superior in the meantime. Why the contradiction? I wanted answers, and Jones wasn’t even mentioned once during season 2, which was a major letdown. Newton was cool, but he didn’t excuse the fact that the writers had thrown a book right out the window without finishing it.
However, that is one of the very few delights of the alternate timeline; we now have some opportunities to explore some stories that we couldn’t otherwise. I had never understood why Jones was dismissed, disposed of so easily, but now, I have to wonder if it was done knowing that we would eventually be in this alternate timeline in which Peter hasn’t existed since his death as a child, which is why Peter stopped Jones from crossing over. If Jones does come back (and the writers have previously said that he will), I still don’t like the fact that it technically won’t be the same Olivia and the same Walter that encounter him. As I have said repeatedly, I hate this alternate timeline; I hate that a lot of what has been built has been torn down, such as the relationship between Olivia and Peter, for example. Assuming that the old timeline is not restored (which it had better be), they’re going to have to rebuild a relationship from scratch, assuming that they will even try, since as far as Olivia is concerned, they never had one, and I’m supposed to be interested in that. I’m going to have faith, though, no matter what; FRINGE is my favorite show of all time, and this isn’t the first time that the writers have gone in directions that I didn’t totally agree with (although, unlike just about everyone else, Nugget isn’t one of those directions).
We now know from the ending of “Novation” that the Shapeshifters 2.0 are being sent from “over there,” but we don’t know who precisely is sending them. Jones was an employee of Massive Dynamic, so it would make sense that he would have inside information, information that he could give to Shapeshifters such as Nadine. Who else from “over there” could possibly provide that information? Some may argue and point out that Jones is from the Blueverse, but again, I iterate that if Peter wasn’t at Reiden Lake to stop Jones from crossing over, Jones may have been successful, and he may have eventually killed Bell, which would account for Leonard Nimoy’s retirement. In fact, it’s likely that no one was at Reiden Lake that night, because when Peter shows up at Reiden Lake at the end of “Subject 9” “(4.04), that doesn’t ring any familiarity for anyone other than Walter, so they have probably never been there. Nadine also says to Dr. Trust that “one man shouldn’t stand in the way of progress, not even William Bell,” and I don’t think that that was an act; I think that she really believes that, which strongly suggests to me that these Shapeshifters are somehow tied to Bell, which would be Jones’ anger toward him, and she also tells Dr. Trust that “your work created me,” so again, we know that whoever is in charge of these Shapeshifters is tied to Massive Dynamic. She says that she is offering Trust the opportunity to seize his legacy, which she says Bell took from him, and that’s exactly how Jones feels. Is there anyone else on the same page? I know that Xerophytes, at least, is.