Back at the Harvard lab, Astrid's still flummoxed by the numbers. Walter asks if she's had any breakthroughs, and she hasn't, but she thinks maybe she should add up all the numbers. Walter encourages her to keep at it, adding, "And I wouldn't go in the bathroom, dear." He must be such a joy to work with. Wait a minute, he's been in the bathroom THIS WHOLE TIME? Good grief, even I don't take that long, and that's where we keep our Onion books!
Anyway, Astrid is about to erase some numbers, maybe to start again, when all of a sudden she notices the sun shining in through a window, through the transparent board, projecting the numbers onto a handy nearby globe. "Huh," she says.
Back over at the Feller splatter site, Peter stops some agents from zipping the shapeshifter up into a bodybag, saying he needs to look at the body.
Grabbing a pair of gloves, he tells Broyles and Fauxlivia that he's figured out why Walter couldn't make head nor tail of the GameCube: "It must have come from the other side," he says, and Broyles makes the leap to deducing that Walternate must know what the numbers mean and is the one protecting them. Peter rolls the body up enough so he can stick his hand into Feller's back, and Olivia has to hide her glee when Peter, disappointed, pulls out a data storage unit that's too mangled to be of any use to them. So when Astrid calls immediately after that to tell Fauxlivia she thinks she cracked the code, I'm kind of surprised Fauxlivia didn't bust out an "Oh, godDAMNit" at her.
Back at the Harvard lab, Astrid explains that the numbers stations are a co-ordinate system, and shows the group that the numbers indicate location via latitude and longitude. "Thirty-five degrees and 40 minutes south by 58 degrees and 40 minutes west, that's just outside Buenos Aires, Argentina," she says, adding that all the numbers indicate specific locations on a globe, in Ethiopia, Spain and China.
Peter asks what's at the end of the points, and Astrid says it's all random stuff like a farmhouse, swimming pool, but Walter points out that if the message is millions of years old, then what they're looking for is likely something buried underground. No one here points out what's been pointed out on message boards, that if the message is millions of years old, then some of those points would likely now be ocean. I'll admit to being a little fuzzy on how latitude and longitude work, but I'm curious to know how Astrid knew where to start in each sequence of numbers to pinpoint various locations, especially since numbers stations have been broadcast since the time of the first peoples, right? Does each broadcast repeat all the numbers, every time? If so, why would people need to keep tuning in? And finally, and most problematic for me, with all the people tuning in to figure out the code, you're telling me no one thought to try latitude and longitude before? Isn't that a little like the Fringe team investigating a message that has stymied a bunch of armchair codebreakers who can't make head nor tail of "Ethay oomsdayday eviceday isay uriedbay undergrounday"?
OK, I'll stop now. This must be why I fell asleep at this part of the episode, to prevent my head from exploding from the medieval torture that is trying to patch the holes in this plot.
Fauxlivia asks how many locations there are. Astrid says she hasn't finished plugging in all the numbers, but so far there are twenty-two, and Peter asks where the closest one is. I'd probably have asked, "Who's up for Buenos Aires!
Oh, Jersey City. Booooo! There's a massive dig site underway as Peter strolls up with some coffee for Fauxlivia, asking what he missed, and he hasn't missed anything but a buried football, and then there is some allegedly cute banter that I will ignore, and then Fauxlivia looks over at Walter anxiously watching the dig and asks, "What if he's right?" and Peter's all, "Right about what?" Duh, about whether to build the doomsday device. "What if it does mean the destruction of one universe or the other?" asks Fauxlivia. Peter considers his answer before replying that they don't know that yet, WHICH IS WHY SHE SAID 'WHAT IF,' PETER. "If you knew that only one of our worlds could survive and it was up to you, and you alone, to defend your side, you'd have no choice, right? I mean, you would have to do what you had to do. No matter the cost to protect our world," says Fauxlivia, haltingly. Peter says some stuff about billions of innocent people being over there, just like here, people with jobs, families, lives. Yeah, people like Peter's MOM, which I'd think would be relevant, but he doesn't mention her. "Whatever my part in all of this is, I got to believe there's another way. There's always hope, right?" Fauxlivia looks at him for a while until one of the diggers shots that they've got something.
Peter, Fauxlivia and Walter rush to the edge of the big dig as the crane hauls up what appears to be a huge baked potato, dripping wet.
Back at Harvard, Astrid is still plotting the co-ordinates, placing flags on a map of the world for all the locations. She's about to stick another one in on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. when she stops and says, "Oh my."
She calls Olivia, who's watching as workers brush away the dirt encrusted the top of some sort of hard, flat surface, with a couple of strange symbols etched into the top.
"I just identified the last coordinates," Astrid tells her: Milton, Mass., the house where the first piece of Walternate's machine was buried. "Do you think it's possible that these locations are all part of the machine, that Walternate's device is the vacuum described in the First People book?" she asks, and Fauxlivia stares as the what turns out to be the lid of a large -- I want to say stone? -- box is removed, revealing more funky doomsday machinery underneath. "I think they're one and the same," she says.
She gets off the phone and tells the Bishops that Astrid's finished figuring out the code: there are thirty-seven other locations. "In that case, it seems we have work to do. We have to recover the pieces, assemble it, and figure out how it works," says Walter briskly, surprising Peter. "Creation and destruction. I suppose we'll have to hope for the former," he adds, and everyone smiles, not really meaning it.
Time for a visit to the crazy typewriter room for Fauxlivia. She rolls a fresh sheet in the paper and types "THEY'VE LOCATED THE PIECES OF THE DEVICE," and the answer "WELL DONE" comes back, and then "INITIATE PHASE TWO." And since no one is around to see her, Fauxlivia is free to make all the evil expressions she likes.
And then, to show that we're taking a quick jaunt into the other universe, the Statue of Liberty turns to copper right before our eyes. Olivia's getting out of the shower, answering her phone - it's geeky alt-Brandon, letting her know that the Secretary has "decided postpone today's procedure." She asks when they want her to come in. "It may not be necessary. We'll let you know," he says, in a tone of voice that clearly says, "Don't hold your breath."
Fortunately, Visions of Peter is there to explain it for her: "Whatever they needed from you, they have it now. It's not safe for you here anymore, Olivia. You have to go home," he says.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. He thinks the people in the other universe would agree that Defenestration is the Cure's best album. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at danieljdaniel[at]gmail.com.