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Reality Bites
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
The sound of a car accident ushers us into the season premiere of Fringe. Yes, there is more than one of everything, and that now applies to Fringe seasons as well. Some dude with blood on his face comes to in the driver's seat of his car, the source of his injury apparently the spiderwebbed windshield in front of him. He staggers out of his car and off down the Manhattan street. The other vehicle in the collision looks suspiciously like the FBI-issue SUV driven by one Olivia Dunham who, you may remember, narrowly missed a fender-bender in last year's season finale. Or did she? Yeah, she did. Only I think most of us have an idea of what might be going on here.

Bloody Face makes his way through the throng of people on the street, checking out doors along the street until he finds what he's looking for, which appears to be a door that isn't chained shut. He finds one, an apartment, and runs his thumbs down the buzzers for all the units, and his scattershot technique yields an open security door almost instantly. Nice work, Mabel in 3F: you just let a jewel thief in the building!

There's a guy putting trash in the garbage chute, when he's approached by Bloody Face. "You OK?" asks the new guy, who takes off his glasses to get a better look. Must be farsighted. Instead of answering, Bloody Face grabs the guy by the throat and pushes him backward into the apartment. See, Mabel? You see? There's going to be an apartment board hearing over this.

Bloody Face drags the poor tenant, unconscious or dead (probably dead), across his hardwood floor, glasses lying cinematically in the foreground. Bloody Face has wiped the blood off his face, and looks at himself in the mirror. He's looking at the man in the mirror. He's asking him to change his ways. Or at least his face: he pushes his palms up against his cheeks, and there's a cracking sound. He presses his fingers into his face and when he removes them, his face is all smushed up, like his flesh has the pliability of Play-Doh.

Then he pulls out a little gizmo that has a cord with a plate with three prongs on it, and he sticks it in the dead guy's mouth, pushing it into the roof of his mouth, and does the same thing with a similar attachment on the other end.

More cracking, and electronic whirring, and Previously Bloody Face looks to be in some pain. There's an episode of X-Files on the television, but it's one with Mulder and not Doggett, so that can't be the source of his distress. After a moment, his facePod has finished syncing, and Bloody Face now looks exactly like the dead guy lying on the floor. Then he yanks the cord out of his mouth, and I know my computer doesn't like it when I don't eject my iPod properly, so here's hoping he did that right.

Meanwhile, back at the crash site, the FBI is already on scene, which doesn't make much sense, until when the tough-yet-still-feminine agent who we haven't seen before asks an agent already on scene who was driving the SUV, and he hands her a printed-out piece of paper with Olivia's picture on it. "Classified Secret" is printed above Olivia's picture, so it's awesome that he's just handing these out in public.

Meanwhile, Peter and Walter are at the grocery store with Walter being earnest and solicitous towards his son, and Peter being a pissy douche and wanting to be just about anywhere other than with his dad who loves him and wants to make Peter something for his upcoming birthday. Walter giddily expounds some nonsense about being the sous-chef for the Bakersfield food lab or whatever, and worked with the guy who invented Ho Hos or some such malarkey. Walter insists on making Peter custard, and Peter says he doesn't like custard and never has, and Walter at some point is just going to have to say something like, "Oh, right -- it was the Peter who died who liked custard; you're alternate-reality Peter."

Walter also plans to impress Olivia with his cooking: "I want to see her face when she eats my pudding," he says, which Peter notes is a rather disturbing thing to say, as he answers his cellphone. He listens for a moment, and then says, "What?" looking distressed.

So this accident scene investigation that has already blocked Manhattan traffic for twelve hours already has to wait for the Bishops to get in from Boston, and Peter and Walter are very concerned for Olivia except spunky Agent Amy Jessup wants to ask Peter some questions about what it is that he does, and Peter blows her off and asks for Charlie. Meanwhile, Walter just strolls over to Olivia's SUV and tries the door, which is locked, and so he yanks out a windshield wiper hook to jimmy the door, and can I just ask why no one is even trying to stop this deranged man from contaminating the crime scene?

Jessup tells Peter that people saw a man leaving the other car in the accident, but no one saw anyone get out of the SUV and the doors are locked and the seatbelt is engaged and there's no indentation, which implies that no one was behind the wheel at the time of impact, she says, which is kind of a hilarious conclusion to draw. Peter's basically ignoring her and asking if the skid marks match up with the vehicles, and she snaps that he still hasn't told her what it is he and his dad and Olivia do for the FBI, because she checked with the field office, and they told her it was ... "classified. And that you don't have access," smirks Peter. "It's not that I don't appreciate petulance..." begins Jessup, so THIS is going downhill fast. Meanwhile, Walter gets behind the wheel of Olivia's SUV, like so much for no indentation in the seat, and suddenly the hazard lights start flashing and the radio starts fading in and out, and Walter hurriedly gets out of the car and slams the door, and suddenly the SUV's alarm is going off and the lights are flashing and the engine's revving. And then that stops.

And then, in a nifty little moment, Olivia comes flying out through the windshield of the stationary SUV, and landing on the ground, face up, eyes open. Not moving.

And we're right into the opening credits, still my favorite X-Files-theme ripoff. Well, except for Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Over at New York General Hospital, Peter and Walter watch as Olivia is wheeled down the corridor with an EMT telling the doctor Olivia's vitals, and then the doctor is all, "Prep her, stat!" like SLOW DOWN with the complicated doctor jargon there! Outside, Jessup shows up, and hustles up the hospital steps, only to be met by the always-fearsome Phillip Broyles, who says they need to talk about the accident. Actually, they don't need to talk so much as he means to hand her -- whom he pointedly calls "junior agent" -- a report for her to sign that explains everything. Well, that's awfully considerate of him!

"A random traffic accident involving a federal agent. No extenuating circumstances, case closed," he tells her. Jessup looks quite confused -- that's not what happened at all! -- and starts to protest. Broyles is all, "Sign it. That's an order." And now Jessup looks like she's worried Broyles might actually kill her. She signs the report.

Inside, Walter's about two seconds away from going apeshit on a finicky bill feeder on a vending machine in a waiting room, but it eventually takes his money and he gets his Berry Kablooey or whatever it is he's looking for, just as the doctor comes in to update them on Olivia. "I'm afraid your friend's injuries were too severe," he says, adding that they were unable to restore any brain function and that patients who suffer this sort of head trauma usually don't regain consciousness. Walter spits out: "Simplified! Reductionist! Absurd!" and looks to Peter and then starts talking about how life and death are "relative terms" and babbles on about primitive diagnostics and then starts repeating that Olivia's not dead. He bolts for the ICU or wherever it is where Olivia is, and the doctor tries to stop him, and Peter says, "Doctor, please. Back off." And I guess the doctor thought, "Well, FAIR ENOUGH," and didn't c

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