Fringe recap: Man In The Maze

A showcase episode for Lincoln Lee finds the rootless agent chasing vigilante shape-shifters and finding a new home in 'Everything In Its Right Place"
Ep. 17 | Aired Apr 6, 2012

"Personally, I prefer Radiohead's older stuff. The Bends in one of the great guitar-driven albums of the alt rock era, and OK Computer is next-level genius. But since the twin releases of Kid A and Insomnia, I feel the band has been "In Limbo." You want to know "How To Disappear Completely"? Try confusing 'inaccessibility' with 'artistic integrity.' I'm "Optimistic" that Thom Yorke and friends can connect with a large audience again, but not until they get over themselves. Did you see them on Saturday Night Live? Blech. Anyway: I'm looking for a "Creep" with a huge fleshy member sticking out of his mouth. Know where I can find him? No? (Sigh.) Thanks, anyway. Pablo Honey Forever!" Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) rocks in "Everything In Its Right Place"

Liane Hentscher/Fox

“Everything In Its Right Place” began with Olivia Dunham returning something to Lincoln Lee that she longer wanted: His heart. In truth, she had been doling it back to him in jagged little pieces for several episodes now, ever since she began losing her Rebootlandia mind and remembering that her affections belonged to Peter Bishop. The final pulpy remnant came in the form of a charm bracelet Lincoln had given her months earlier as a gift for saving his life, during a time in which they were becoming close friends, and possibly something more. Olivia had forgotten those days (and late nights), the memories squeezed out by the re-emergence of her original timeline identity. The finer point of this poignant and painful opening scene presented itself when Olivia asked Lincoln to explain the significance of the image inked on the medallion: The “Man In The Maze” – derived from Native American art and specifically from the Tohono O’oodham culture. It shows a man (the creator god 'I'itoi'; or 'Se:he' meaning "elder brother") entering (or leaving) a labyrinth of light (or shadow) that symbolizes the serpentine, spiraling, sometimes backtracking path that leads to the elusive, sacred ground of true self. (I think.) Lee explained that his former partner, the late Robert Danzig, with whom he had a brother-tight rapport, had originally given him the charm. “The maze represents the journey of life – the obstacles – making the right choices until we find ourselves at the center,” Lee said. “Danzig knew I was never one for putting down roots. He used to joke that if I kept on living like that, one day I would just float off into space. He gave me this as a reminder that I always had a home, with him and his family. He said it was my tether.” (Shades of: "The Constant" from Lost; the concept of "taming" from The Little Prince.) With Danzig dead and with Dunham now re-committed to Pete, Lee was adrift – a man in a maze, searching for a new center. “Everything In Its Right Place” was about finding it.

The story also explored the themes of identity and heroism through Lee as well as another homeless nomad, a shape-shifter with the loaded name “Canaan” (the “promised land” of the Old Testament; derived from the Hebrew for “humbled” or "low”). “You can keep waiting for someone else to define you, to give you your place in the world, or you can decide that you’re not just somebody else’s broken puppet anymore,” Lee barked at Canaan during a tragic moment. “CHOOSE!” I'm guessing "someone else" can run the gamut of influences that we allow to hold sway over us and determine our worth, from parents to lovers, celebrities to svengalis, governments and religions. In a story suffused with conspicuous cultural references, the one that intrigued me the most was the one that belongs to an activist organization that was born in a time of crisis, that offers some marginalized Americans the means to loudly and proudly declare their identity and fight (sometimes in controversial fashion) for their lives and for the world that they want. I speak of the “ACT UP NOW” sticker inside the locker of “over there” Lincoln Lee. What exactly did that slogan mean to him? Alas, we will never know, as Captain Lee sadly left the Fringe saga for good after getting cut down by an assassin’s bullet.

NEXT: Batman or Mantis: CHOOSE!


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