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In the Momentum Deferred season 2 episode of Fringe the false Charlie Shape-shifter started to feel bad. At one point he buys a large quantity of mercury thermometers, breaks them and drinks all the mercury after which his health seemed to improve some. I know their blood is partly mercury, but if I feel bad it wont help me if I drink a cup of blood.

Why was his health deteriorating and why did the mercury helped him recover?

  • @Xantec Thanks for cleaning that up. – DavRob60 Dec 4 '11 at 14:56
  • His colleague says, "You've been in this body too long. You're dying." However, in the third-season episode "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" the shapeshifter Ray has remained in his most recent shape for several years, as has the replacement Senator Van Horn, so it remains unclear exactly why the false Charlie's body is deteriorating. – user1787 Dec 5 '11 at 4:13
  • Can't comment yet so sorry if this isn't helpful as an 'answer' - It's been a while since I've seen that episode but wasn't that shape shifter injured in the gun fight? – Travis Dec 5 '11 at 15:43
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2 things contributed to his declining health. Firstly, when he was trying to kill Olivia, he was shot multiple times. This seemed to wound him. Secondly, as one of his shape-shifting colleagues says:

You've been in this body too long. You're dying. You need to get back home and get fitted with a new conversion device.

So, shape-shifting is a necessity for them, holding the same shape seems to have negative effects on them. Alternatively, the loss of the 'conversion device', which is the tool they use when changing shape, was the reason for the decline and not keeping the same shape. Perhaps the device helps maintain the shape-shifter in some way that wasn't clarified.

While drinking blood won't help you or I improve our health, putting the appropriate blood straight into our bloodstream would. However, the shape-shifters are complex biological and technological devices, not people, so it's possible they were manufactured with the ability to process mercury to heal.

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    I think the loss of the conversion device is a more important factor, since there are shape-shifters who seem to be able to stay in the same body for much longer. – Royal Flush Dec 27 '11 at 19:44

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