A young woman is kidnapped by an Observer -- not to be confused with the Observer. While the Fringe team and their lab rat friend at Massive Dynamic are wondering about the Observers' (plural) ability to appear in pictures of historically significant events, and why there have been so many more sightings in recent months then ever before, we catch up with the original Observer at lunch with two of his fellows, who wonder why "August" has apparently gone rogue with regard to this young woman. All they know is that she's a survivor of the '89 San Francisco earthquake, and that she was supposed to be on a doomed flight to Italy. The other Observers take steps to "correct" August's actions in saving her, while Walter acts hinky, ostensibly about his quest for the perfect strawberry milkshake but really because he knows more than he's telling. While Olivia and Peter have a run-in with the Observers' human hit man, August asks Walter for help, and after not getting much more from him than cryptic suggestions, sacrifices himself, then gives Peter his own MiB weapon for a rematch with the hit man. Which Olivia and Walter win, but then they lose August. As for the woman he saved, she's off the books as a result of having become important by Observer standards: "She is responsible for the death of one of us," is the last thing August hears from Famous Original Observer before expiring of a heart broken not only by unaccustomed love but also several actual bullets. But as for Olivia, even though she finally gets to take her niece on a postponed trip to the amusement park, Boss Observer remarks that things are about to start sucking for her harder than ever.
We're in Boston, Massachusetts, according to the floaty letters over the city that must have been installed since the last time I was there. On what looks like a college campus, a hand pops open a normal-looking pocket watch, which reads five minutes and twenty seconds after nine. That same hand is then seen writing in a book, and you know the kind of writing I'm going to describe -- symbols, going from right to left, which don't look normal at all, unless you know how to read Observer-ese. A pair of folding opera glasses pop open, and we see through their magnified and graphically enhanced display, like Star Wars macrobinoculars but with better picture quality, as a bald man in a suit and a narrow-brimmed hat watches students through it, making more inscrutable notes in his journal. He takes an imperceptibly tiny sip from a thermos cup, checks his watch again, and looks through the binocs some more. "Nice specs," someone remarks from his elbow, and he turns to face the camera. For the first time, it's apparent that this is not The Observer we know and love (okay, actually we do neither), but merely an Observer, who dresses and acts and behaves just like him. The similarity extends all the way to the robotic mannerisms, but this one has a more angular face and ears that live on the side of his head rather than at the base of his jaw. "They're from somewhere far away," he explains to the speaker, a grizzled war veteran, then notices the man's collection box for war veterans. "I don't have any money," the observer (note the lack of capitalization) says, but the guy gives him an American flag pin anyway, attaching it neatly to his lapel. "Thank you," the observer spaces, and goes back to his Observing (note the return of the capitalization). Just in time, too, because he seems very interested in a smiling young brunette who's walking along the grounds. Going by her scarf and the partially braided hair, he's apparently Observing art students today. He starts packing up, revealing an incongruous teddy bear inside his briefcase as he does so. But oops, he left his journal on the table. Sloppy! Now just anyone who comes across it will be able to read his notes and learn that in just a few weeks, it will be the end of ROGAINE as we know it!
He catches up to the young woman and says, "Come with me, please," grabbing her by the arm. Despite his politeness, she tries to pull away. He doesn't let her, and she's in fact starting to get rather noisy about it. A dude yells, "Hey!" because bystanders always intervene on this show, if only just so we can see what the bad guys can and will do about it. In this case, the ex-Observer (because I think it's clear that at this point he's Observing fuck-all) draws what looks like an ordinary gun, but instead of a bang it gives a click like a camera flash, and the would-be hero is hurled dozens of feet backwards. Yeah, worst Observer ever. In fact, I think he just became The Initiator. General panic commences, but as everyone runs, The Initiator now has a clear path to where some cars are parked. He smashes the back passenger window of one of them, injects his victim in the back of the neck with some kind of needleless spray hypo that renders her instantly unconscious, and dumps her in the back of the car. Finally, here comes an armed campus security guy, ordering him to stop. The Initiator doesn't even dive for cover as the guard opens fire. Sure, when someone's shooting at him he gets all passive again. The Initiator gets in the car as the guard finishes emptying his gun at him. He hotwires it by pressing his thumb against the ignition lock, both of which glow briefly as the engine turns over, and drives off. His face, though still expressionless, is stretched a bit more tautly than before, which for an Observer is probably the equivalent of crying and filling his pants with something extremely spicy.