Olivia's trying to explain the dual-universe thing to an understandably consternated McClennan. "In this universe, some things are the same, and some things aren't. People make different choices and therefore end up in different places," she says. He says it's like a nightmare.
But Fringe has a job to do, so Olivia's all, "Anyhoo, anything you can tell us about him will help," but McClennan says, "I am him. What's in him is in me." Well, THIS sounds interesting! Fauxlivia comes in as McClennan talks about how he's always known something was wrong with him, and his father knew it too, and used to try to fix him. With violence. So Olivia gets to bond with him by telling him she also came from an abusive home, but she's not able to get out much detail about her stepfather, but McClennan, seeming to understand, nods, and says it's no mystery why he does what he does; he wants to help people like himself.
Fauxlivia gets to the point a little bit quicker and asks if he's ever acted on it. He hesitates and says he didn't but he wanted to. Olivia wants to know what stopped him, and he says, "Not what. Who. She helped me find just small moments of peace," he says. Olivia thinks he's talking about his mother, but he quickly dispels that idea, hinting that his mother wasn't much better. The "who" who helped him was Margery. "Was"? This sounds sad... "And what my father did with cruelty she did with love. She taught me that I didn't have to live in the darkness. That when I got the urges, that I could just step out of it and into the light," he says. He's crying -- guest actor does a great job here. LOVE it when somebody nails a part like this -- because when he imagines what his life would have been like without her, this is it. To be fair, apart from the murdering, it's not that bad! Nice house, plenty of dinners ready to heat, and lots of candy in the cupboards!
You know, this show often has plotlines that reflect turmoil among the characters themselves, but few seem as natural as this one does, using the joined universes to examine the differences in a person's life depending on who shaped him, so nice job by the writers.
McClennan looks at the window, tears rolling down his face, stammering that he wishing he could tell his counterpart that it doesn't have to be this way, that he just had no one to teach him: "I mean, you said so yourself. Some things happened some way in this world, and some didn't, right?" His stammer is getting worse.