Alone in the World

Episode Report Card
admin: B+ | 1 USERS: B
Fungi Like The Wolf

No sooner has Walter sealed the case shut when the corpse explodes, coating the inside of the case with brownish-grey dust. "Spores. I had assumed that the mold was just a symptom of the rapid decomposition," says Walter, who now thinks it was an aggressive form of fungus that killed the boys. Hey, and speaking of exploding corpses killing people? Didn't Lee and Olivia go to get the other one? Astrid runs for the phone.

She calls Olivia, who fortunately is risking the lives of patients on sensitive electronic equipment by NOT turning off her cellphone, and Astrid hurriedly tells her that they've got to evacuate the morgue lock down the body before it explodes and releases spores. All in a day's work for Olivia! The agents run for the morgue while Astrid tries calling it.

A morgue worker sits eating while the phone rings (staring at the corpse as he does so, because why not stare at that gruesome thing while you eat?), and he makes no move because he's eating his lunch, he dismissively tells his co-worker. She goes to answer it, while he notices the body swelling. "Hey, Beth, come here. Take a look at this," he says. She rolls her eyes, eloquently saying, without words, "No, I have to answer the phone because you're eating your lunch."

And you're kind of hoping that Conscientious Beth will survive while Douchebag Co-worker dies, but Lee and Olivia arrive just in time to see the windows spatter with the spores of the dead kid fungus, so it looks like the hospital now has a couple of openings in the morgue department. Lee tries to go in, but Olivia stops him: "We can't open that door. We need to get a team in here and lock down the area," she tells him. He protests that they can't just leave them to die, and Olivia says -- without actually knowing if it's true or not -- "They're already dead."

So once the stylish red contamination suits have arrived, the agents gingerly make their way through the morgue, already covered in fungus and spots with orangey-yellow-red clusters that look kind of like apple fritters. There's Beth, covered in fungus. She died the way she lived: answering the phone.

The team (including Broyles) is communicating with Walter (and Astrid) back at the lab, and Walter says it's "clearly not the garden variety of Cordyceps fungi. A genetic mutation with the capacity of hyper-accelerated growth and nutrition absorption, which explains the rapid decomposition of the bodies."

For Olivia's (and our) benefit, Walter explains that Cordyceps fungi is a species that can release neurotoxins to paralyze a host, usually an insect, so it can feed and lay its spores. Broyles wants to know why it's not attacking them, then. "These are not a pack of wolves, Agent Broyles. Size not withstanding, they are still a lower life form with rudimentary instincts probably based on tactile response. As long as none of you touch them, they won't even know you're there." Look, I'll just say it: I kind of want to see an episode about wolf fungus.

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