There is a Monster of the Week plot this week that seems almost refreshingly unconnected to the overall story arc at first: Alan Ruck and a press-on mustache guest-star as a scientist determined to help his wheelchair-bound son walk again, and discovers that an unlikely combination of elements, injected into people, turns them into human balloons. I mean, they float. They don't swell up. They do die, however, and the trail of bodies leads the Fringe team eventually to Ruck, who is devastated when his son isn't too impressed when he finds out what's been going on in his name. In solving the case, though, Walter's puzzled that the combination of heavy elements osmium and rhenium should be lighter than air. But he's got it: the physics of our universe are starting to go all wonky, thanks to the rift between universes he made twenty-five years ago.
And bookending the main plot is (along with Walter smoking up with Jorge Garcia at Massive Dynamic) is Walter's obsession with bringing William Bell back to life, because Walter's still worried that the missing pieces of his brain are preventing him from being as totally universe-saving as he can possibly be. So: soul magnets. The bell that William, not coincidentally, left to Nina early this season. Walter science rings science the bell science to make William science appear science but it science appears not to work science. At least, not that Walter's aware. It doesn't make William Bell walk in the door, but elsewhere, after an episode of new couple Peter and Olivia being nauseatingly cute in the way couples are when they think they've invented relationships, Olivia's voice suddenly gets gravelly and more Leonard Nimoy-esque. Yes, William's soul is apparently in the Olivia's body. If nothing else that should make Peter more aware of the differences between Olivia and Fauxlivia. I imagine it will make things a little more difficult in the bedroom, unless he's a really big Star Trek.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. He thinks he knows who Leonard Nimoy was. Isn't he one of the Little Rascals? Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're listening to some '70s rock and looking at a security monitor with many camera angles showing us multiple areas of Massive Dynamic, and the unmistakable sound of water bubbling through a bong is heard, and we pan down to see Walter, holding said bong, flicking a lighter closed, and he's saying, "I didn't realize until later. I woke up, and there she was in my bed. Yoko." Ono he di'n't!
He's talking to none other than Jorge Garcia, also known as Hurley from Lost. You may also know him from the cover of a Weezer album whose name escapes me. Raditude? Hurley says, "What did he say?" by which I presume he means Yoko Ono's husband, the famous composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. Walter says, "What could he say? It was the '70s," and this makes both of them giggle, despite not being super-excellently funny, but such is the power of the bong that's passed between them -- which looks like it's been fashioned from lab equipment at Massive Dynamic. It probably cost about $6,000 in material. Anyway, Ono and Ichiyanagi were divorced in the '60s so I guess that's not who Hurley is asking about.
And then Walter is marveling at all the screens Hurley -- who he calls "Kevin" for some reason -- gets to watch all night. "What a magnificent job," says Walter. Keep in mind, he is high. And just when you're starting to think this is footage of the most amazing episode of Undercover Boss ever, Hurley says, "CEO of Massive Dynamic is not a bad gig either. Must be nice, all that power." Walter somewhat morosely says it was Belly's intellect that made the company great, and all he's managed to do with its vast resources is to create a new flavour of cupcake frosting: bacon-berry. And he does a little bon-appetit kiss, and I would like to remind everyone that while the idea of a frosting flavour of "bacon-berry" sounds exciting, nay, exhilarating, this is Fringe, after all. It's not real. And just because something has bacon in it, that doesn't automatically make it great! Why, just last summer I found a tube of bacon-flavoured lip balm in the gift shop of Madame Tussaud's museum in Vegas -- what wondrous treasures were there -- and I eagerly bought it, despite the relative unchappedness of my lips at the time. And you know what? It felt like I was smearing my lips with bacon fat. And if I'm being honest with myself, I should have expected that. That one's on me.
Anyway, Hurley says he worked for Bell for a long time, but Walter's the best boss he ever had, which isn't surprising. Bell probably expected his night watchman to not smoke weed all night long and all sorts of unreasonable things. Walter looks genuinely touched for a moment, and then they both crack up again, and this is replicating admirably the feeling of not being drunk or stoned whilst watching those who are and being annoyed by their amusement.
Anyway, Hurley's ready for a little more fire in the hole already, but Walter's looking at the monitors again, speechifying about the rhythm and the cadence of the beautiful symphony and other such nonsense, when he suddenly points to an ornate old-timey door that he's noticed no one ever goes through. "You know what that is, don't you? That's William Bell's office," says Hurley.
We jump right to Walter excitedly wheeling stacks of boxes into Nina's office. She's reading The First People book again. I bet she hasn't even touched the Miguel Syjuco book I sent her! It's somewhat surprising that Walter hasn't been in there already, but he says he's found the most amazing things: Animal ESP, morality detector, viral dreaming, powdered water (just add water?). Some of their best ideas! I never heard the word "hoverbikes" though, so it's not that impressive.
Anyway, Walter's been going through Bell's files because the universes are on a collision path, blah blah blah, protect the world, yadda yadda yadda. "If Belly were here, he wouldn't let everyone down," says Walter, adding that Bell would have figured out what the machine does and how it relates to Peter. "And to make matters worse, for the first time since we've been reunited, Peter is truly happy," he finishes. I'm a little confused by that. I guess he means that things are going to suck even MORE for Peter if the whole doomsday whatsis comes to fruition? Would he prefer it if Peter were his usual cranky self? Nina asks why Peter's so happy, and Walter explains, basically, that it has to do with mounting Olivia nightly. Walter didn't realize that Nina didn't know. Well, now she does, and she says it's wonderful. Sounds like she hasn't told anyone that Peter has to make sure he's with Olivia and not Fauxlivia because that will determine which universe survives. Anyway, Walter explains that his happiness is a constant reminder of the price of his failure, to which I again would like to ask: would you prefer it if Peter were miserable? And then he gives a long speech about going through the files, missing Belly, wondering if he could succeed without him. "And then I remembered how good we were together!" he says, and now he's throwing files on Nina's desk and talking about how maybe if he goes through them he'll remember his old thought patterns, and remember how he used to think back when there were no limitations, when anything was possible. Well, it's a better plan than smoking up with the night watchman every night.
Speaking of anything is possible, we cut to a couple of ne'er-do-wells climbing, hand over hand, up ropes along the side of a tall concrete-walled building, the Massachusetts Metal Depository, and then... hmm. This is odd. There are boots on some kind of concrete overhang. Not falling off, so they must be nailed on. The first guy to reach them flips around so he can slide his feet in, and then he zips the boots up and takes some tentative steps, upside down, as his partner makes his way to the second pair of boots and puts them on. And then they're interrupted by a security guard, and the camera flips around to reveal they're actually right-side up now. "Koenig! Come on!" yells the first guy, who's getting into a car, but the security guard has a gun out and yells, "Let me see your hands!" and then Koenig reaches for something, and the security guard fires, and some of Koenig's blood splatters out in front of him and floats in droplets, upward. Moments later, Koenig slides up out of his boots and drifts, lifeless, up the side of the building, until the rope, to which he's still tethered, arrests his ascent.
After the opening credits, we're in the Harvard engineering building, where Peter is running tests on the memory discs he "retrieved" from the shape-shifters. Not necessary to the audio recording he's dictating is how he retrieved them, I suppose. The memory discs, arrayed on a panel, look an awful lot like Space Invaders aliens. They're connected by glowing cables, and Peter tells everyone that the daisy-chain wiring pattern seems to have activated them somehow, revealing tons of previously undetected data. "Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea how the hell to read it," he says. His phone rings, and lets us all take a moment to admire the sleek product-placed phone that clearly identifies Olivia calling. He picks it up, and she teases him, saying that she thought he was going to sleep in, like WHY ARE YOU CALLING THEN, and he points that out more nicely than I did, and she explains that she woke up early and it's warm outside so there's this "great street fair on Memorial Drive" and Peter says, "You like a street fair?" whatever that's supposed to mean, and Olivia says she loves a good street fair: "And you're not so bad yourself." Ugh. Keep it to yourselves, guys... Which, upon reflection, I guess you are. Anyway, since he's on the way, she figured she'd pick him up, and he makes up a lie about getting up early and going to the gym, and she certainly wouldn't want to interrupt his workout, and he says he'll shower and meet her in fifteen minutes.
So she gets off the phone, and now let's all admire the multimedia console in the