Fringe

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Astrid Needs a Latitude Adjustment
says, without acknowledging that much of that can be attributed to recreational drug use. Walter still looks unsure.

Elsewhere, Fauxlivia's driving while Peter sums up the book for her: "Something happened, some sort of cataclysm that so completely decimated the first people, they were just wiped out of the historical record," he says. "So how did Seamus Wiles know about them?" asks Olivia. But there's more: "They were apparently very technologically advanced. They discovered the vacuum," he says, and Fauxlivia's all, "Oh, the vacuum cleaner?" and Peter says, "No, the vacuum as in 'the source of all creation and destruction.'" He proclaims the book "useless," then finds a chart at the back, and he asks Fauxlivia what the numbers on the first broadcast were. She asks why: "Well, if you were to believe the book, the first people measured time in months that had wildly different numbers of days in them. But humour me. What were the numbers?" he asks again, and Fauxlivia stumbles and the music swells as she rattles off some numbers that we're being led to believe will turn out to have just been Fauxlivia talking out of her ass as she tries not to reveal that she doesn't have Olivia's photographic memory. But it's all misdirection, as Peter starts reciting the numbers with her, because the numbers from the first broadcast correspond exactly with the numbers in the book. "Never thought I'd say this, but I think Markham's right. Somehow, the number stations are connected to these first people. What the hell does that mean?" I don't know what it means, but I do think it's mean of Peter to constantly slam Markham who is a) always willing to help and b) ALWAYS right, which is why Peter keeps coming back.

Back at the lab, Astrid's reading The First People now and declaring it "absurd," which sets Walter off on a tirade about how "arrogant" we are to assume that we're the first Homo sapiens to walk the earth, and I love how people use the word "arrogant" to describe people who don't believe something until there's, you know, PROOF, which you'd think Walter, being a scientist, would appreciate (notwithstanding his whole white tulip nonsense). "History is full of extinction events: climate change, meteorites, Atlantis," he says, at which point Astrid pleads for help from Peter.

"I don't know what I believe yet. All I know is that the numbers in their calendar correspond with the numbers of the first broadcast. That can't just be a coincidence," says Peter. Uh, because the people making the broadcast got the numbers from the book too? Isn't that the most likely explanation? I mean, I realize this is Fringe and everything, but you'd think THAT would be up for discussion here, that the book in real life would be more likely proof that the first people theory is nonsense, rather than lend credence to it.

Astrid reads out a passage: "'They were a people of great technological prowess who made the ultimate discovery. A mechanism known to them as the vacuum, containing at once both the power to create and destroy.'" Walter calls the vacuum "a wonderful name" and that it verifies some of his theories. Astrid's all, "What theories? Create and destroy what?" and Walter says, "Well, everything. Many religions speak of such a power. And science, the big bang, and its counterpart, the big crunch. The universe expanding and contracting and expanding, an endless cycle of creation and destruction." Which is all well and good, but the fact you've got someone else talking about the same nonsense as you do isn't VERIFICATION, for god's sake. Walter might as well theorize that a man can fly and then pick up a Superman comic book and be all, "Holy shit! This verifies some of my theories!"

Thank god for Astrid, who can't roll her eyes fast enough. But Peter continues to run with it, figuring that the first people created the mechanism and then somehow translated into a code. "And now someone is wiping people's memories to keep the code a secret?" asks Astrid, skeptically, but Walter is all, "Not so surprising! It's the key to the universe! It's a secret worth keeping." No, no. Up up down down left right left right A B select start, that's a secret worth keeping. This is just gibberish.

And then Fauxlivia comes in, and because she now knows she needs to be super concerned about how Walter's doing, she's brought him some malassadas, which I don't think I've ever even heard of but Walter goes nuts for them. She asks if there's anything new in the book, and Astrid says, "I'm sure the numbers hold the answers. But beyond that, nothing tangible."

And then Peter finds something: the transistor that we saw Feller solder, and Peter can tell it's Polish, and military grade, and there are only a couple of places that are licensed to sell things like this, and you have to have a verified address to buy one. Fauxlivia takes in all this information impassively, and when Walter borrows the First People book to take with him to the crapper, grossing out Astrid in particular, Fauxlivia excuses herself to update Broyles. She looks pissed.

And then she actually leaves rubber driving out of there. I guess part of her cover story is that none of the phones at Harvard were working?

Back at the lab, Astrid's working on the code, and Walter brings her an avocado, cucumber and cheese sandwich (with potato chips for the crunch), which is what he developed when the CIA asked him for the best sandwich for clarity of thought. Is it invalid since he wound up in a mental hospital? Astrid's frustrated because she can't see the pattern in the numbers. Walter says, "To break the code, you would have to think like they did, and they lived millions and millions of years ago," adding that they think so differently that their concept of time is all bunged up, as evidenced by one of their months having nine days. And that's the trigger Astrid needs to go all Beautiful Mind and start writing numbers down while Walter reads out the numbers in the first people's calendar to her. She thinks that what they're missing is the cipher matrix, "our decoder ring." Walter continues to rattle off numbers, but there are only so many ways you can make bingo exciting, so we're going to check in on Fauxlivia, who is knocking on an apartment door that is answered by -- naturally -- Feller. "We got a problem," she says. He lets her in to his sleek, ultra-modern open-concept apartment. "The Secretary said we weren't supposed to meet," he says, and Fauxlivia says the Secretary can't see every turn of events. She tells him Fringe found the Polish transistor and are tracking him: "You were sloppy. You've jeopardized the mission," she says, and he gets a bag together -- packing to leave? -- and says he's got to upload another post tomorrow. Interestingly, Fauxlivia tells him he's done enough: "We've got their attention. There's no need to hurt any more innocent people," but Feller's all "all's fair in love and war," which is apparently not a phrase they have on the other side but one that he's learned over here. "If they were in our shoes, they would do exactly what we're doing," he says. We know that Fauxlivia's starting to realize that's not the case, but her phone rings, so she silences Feller with her hand. It's Broyles, giving her an address for Feller and telling her they're on their way with backup." After she hangs up, she tells Feller that they're coming. "Where should I go? Do you have any information on my next mission?" he says. "Yeah, I do," says Fauxlivia, calmly. So you know he's dead. This is why I try to avoid the next-episode previews so that I don't know that what comes next, as Broyles and Peter arrive, noticing Olivia's car already there, is Feller flying out the window and plunge to his death (preceded by a gunshot that made everyone look up). The look on Broyles' face as Feller cracks the pavement right next to him kills me. It's less surprise and more disgusted/pissed. Mercury spatters out of Feller's nose and spreads in a reflective pool under his head. "It's a shapeshifter," he says.

Peter spots Fau

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