With the Fringe team investigating a series of time anomalies, Peter continues ingratiate himself into the day-to-day workings, except when it comes to Walter, who is giving his (sort-of) son the silent treatment. And because Peter's working on this case of people who are experiencing time jumps back to four years ago, that means the team isn't able to avail itself of Walter's mind (except until Walter can't stand everybody not being as smart as he is, so he needs to provide a key theory). In fact, Broyles decides that Peter himself is a fringe event (and let's face it, he's not wrong), so at least Walter gets to treat Peter like a lab rat.
As for the anomalies, the team traces them to Brookline, where a devoted husband (played by Stephen Root, who to me will always be Jimmy James -- and if not Jimmy James then the guy from Office Space who just wants everybody to leave his stapler alone) is carrying on the work of his wife, a theoretical physicist, and he's managed to create a time chamber that he keeps using to jump back in time to when his wife wasn't an Alzheimer's patient, so she can continue her work until she finally figures out how to fix things permanently (not that she's aware of what her husband is doing).
Peter saves the day -- preventing the drowning death of drivers in a tunnel that didn't exist four years ago -- and the whole notion of time and place is getting to him. Despite -- or maybe because of -- his dreams in which he and Olivia are happy fun in love again, he's come to accept that he's a man in the wrong time here, that the people he knew and loved are elsewhere. Olivia, though, still wants to convince Walter to try to help him out. Walter's got better things to do, though -- like listening to Styx.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. On the plus side, at least Peter has a house to himself now. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at email@example.com.
Olivia's lying on the grass in a playground, eyes closed, possibly dead. I mean, not likely dead, because that would kinda put a damper on the rest of the season, but... anyway, a hand reaches down to stroke her face, and she smiles and says, "I thought I'd gotten rid of you." It's Peter, who's horn-dogging it up in the park while kids play all around, and he says it took him three years to finally get her, so she's not getting rid of him that easily.
She asks where he disappeared to, and the answer is not "into some netherworld between time streams" but he just went to check up on Walter. "He found the swing set, and you know how he feels about Newtonian mechanics," says Peter. Sure enough, there's Walter, gleefully swinging while being pushed by some poor little kid who probably would rather have a turn. On the plus side, Walter doesn't appear to have conducted any nefarious experiments on the little kid yet, but it's still early.
So Olivia and Peter start talking about how this is the perfect day, which is a conversation they've had before, and then they start kissing, and Olivia says it's too bad it has to end, and Peter doesn't understand why it does and asks what the problem is. Apart from this obviously being a dream that is. "You, Peter. You're the problem," says Olivia, so this episode is starting off promisingly.
That's when Peter wakes up, still in his holding cell in the Federal Building, which is a lot less fun than making out with Olivia in a park, I suppose.
Speaking of Olivia, she comes into his cell just a moment after he wakes up to tell him there's something going on. "And we think it has something to do with you, with your appearance here," she says. They're not actually sure what's going on, but they think it has to do with time, she says.
Over to Central Village in Boston, where a little girl goes racing through an apartment building to try to scare her mom with a fake spider and her mom, washing dishes in the kitchen, plays along for a moment. "I'm almost done here, and then we'll read together, OK?" she says, and the girl says OK -- they're going to read Burlap Bear -- but when the woman turns back to the sink, what had been a basin filled with soapy water is suddenly a burned-out sink coated in ash next to charred and melted and smoldering dishes and appliances. The entire kitchen looks like it's been torched, and her daughter is nowhere to be seen. OK, these anti-smoking messages are starting to get out of hand. "Samantha?" calls the woman, and she goes running down the hallway towards the sound of a crying infant. The woman pauses a moment, perhaps wondering why A) her five-year-old girl is now a crying infant in a crib and B) why the apartment is only burned out halfway through the kid's room -- the rest of it is fine. Then she just grabs the girl and runs outside, where people on the street are staring up at the charred and broken windows in the corner of the apartment building.