The shortwave radio from the pocket universe starts beeping one night out of the blue. Astrid is the first one to hear it, so she looks for Walter to decode the pattern of beeps. Unfortunately, he's in the middle of an acid trip and existing mostly in a world of his own imagining. I say "unfortunately," but that's where the Fringe team is concerned. For us at home, it provides a wonderfully bizarre glimpse into Walter's mind. While Peter and Olivia track down the source of the signal, believing it will lead them to Donald, Walter and Astrid remain in the lab to deal with miscellaneous hallucinations.
The running theme of Walter's trip is his fear of once more becoming the Walter of yore – the man who nearly destroyed two whole universes and regarded himself as a god. That part of him is represented by Carla, the lab assistant who died trying to eradicate some of Walter's more dangerous work. During his trip, though, she seems to be guiding him towards just what her real-life self fought to avert. She strokes his ego and whispers that the Observers would revere a man of his brilliance. She leads him to a hidden journal full of dangerous ideas, even as a hallucinated Nina Sharp tries to lead him back onto the path of goodness.
Peter and Olivia eventually find the signal's source, but there's no Donald. Instead, there are two Resistance fighters and the Junior Observer left in their care by Donald some 15 years earlier. They've since named him Michael, but he hasn't said a word in all the years they've cared for him. He only seems to perk up (by Observer standards) when reunited with Olivia, whom he remembers from the other timeline.
There is a veritable ton of other weirdness and plot developments, including hints as to where Walter's solution may ultimately lead. There are also winged fairies, a Gilliam-style animated sequence, an appearance by Gene (sort of) and other strangeness that may or may not make sense in the full recap. Stay tuned.
Previously on Fringe: Walter and someone named Donald made a Betamax tape showing some of his Plan to Defeat the Observers, but rather inconveniently neglected to catch Donald's face on camera. Now, in the future, Walter has no idea who Donald may be. Other parts of the PDO seem to be falling apart, too, like Walter not being able to find the child Observer in the pocket universe like he'd planned. He did, however, find a shortwave radio with its tuning dial stuck on a specific frequency. Distraught over some of his emerging thoughts and behaviors, Walter went to see Nina Sharp, who looks even more stunning with her starkly silver hair. Walter pleaded with her to remove the brilliant parts of his brain that he felt would doom him to becoming the haughty, naughty Walter of before.
Formerly Harvard University. A searchlight fondles the exterior of the building for a moment before moving on. How nobody has uncovered the Fringe team living and working there may be one of the bigger mysteries of the show. Yes, they get in and out of the building through a tunnel, but still. If you knew Walter Bishop was one of the people you were looking for, wouldn't it make sense to stake out his old lab? Or at least pop in once in a while? The guy who was just there to feed the pigeons doesn't count. Anyway, Astrid is asleep when something starts beeping somewhere in the lab. She wakes up and whispers for Walter. Getting no reply, she reaches for the Observer-killing gun under her cot and begins to skulk around. She is, by the way, wearing a pretty cute little pajama set. Just because you're fighting the impending apocalypse doesn't mean you can't sleep in adorable jammies.
She follows the unfamiliar sound into the lab proper and finds the shortwave radio. Where it seemed broken before, it's now lit up and beeping. Something moves in the shadows behind her. She gives a start and turns to see... "Walter!" she exclaims, chiding and relieved all at once. "Hello, Astrid," he says. She should know right there that something is up. He goes on to compliment her hair. She asks him about the radio, but he can only go on about how beautiful her hair is. He seems near to tears. Astrid narrows her eyes at him.
In one of the lab offices, Peter lies awake, watching minutes tick by on a clock. Frustrated, he rolls over on his cot. The wound from his self-surgery last week is bleeding through its dressing just a bit. Apropos of nothing, Peter sleeps in black boxers. I figured I might as well report on what everyone is wearing to bed these days. Olivia, sleeping nearby, hears his cot creaking and wakes up. Wearing what looks like her street clothes, she sits beside him and runs her hand through his hair. Luckily, it looks like his tech-induced depilation seems to have stopped and Olivia doesn't end up with a fistful of his fluffy locks. He says he's having headaches again. "Can I get you anything?" she asks. He gives her a sweet smile and says, "No, I got everything I need right here." Astrid interrupts to tell them about the radio.