Nina Sharp tracks down William Bell's copy of The First People for Olivia, but rather than figure out what's up with the books, the two of them have a heart-to-heart over Olivia's obsession with Peter and Fauxlivia, as she continues to probe how over it she is by yakking about it every chance she gets.
Meanwhile, over at good ol' Intrepus (I'm not going to write INtREPUS), a scientist is killed with a freaky powder-spitting voodoo doll that appears to disintegrate his bones. The team tracks the powder to a former marine, where Olivia has another soul-baring chat with Peter about his relationship with Fauxlivia. The crime-scene-wounded-heart talk is fast becoming an Olivia Dunham trademark, isn't it? The marine almost gets away, because in a house full of FBI agents, only Peter is chasing the guy, so luckily the ex-marine gets hit by a car.
He's out of commission, but the Fringe gang learns that he and his wife lost their baby to a bone disease that was due to the marine's exposure in a wartime weapons project run by the dead scientist. The Fringe team tracks down yet another Cortexiphan kid with special powers (this one can read minds) to help them track down the other soldiers in the unit before more people die, but not before some suits at a defense contractor meet the same fate.
The Fringe folks discover that a congressman who used to be a general is the last target, so they bring the mind-reader to a cocktail fundraiser to find them, and then I'm not sure what happened, because Olivia had on a dress and was wearing lipstick and I believe I passed out. I think it worked out in the end, because all the good guys were still alive.
And just when Olivia thinks things are going to be OK with her and Peter, she finds out, thanks to the mind-reader, that Peter still has feelings for Fauxlivia.
That may be more than just Olivia's problem; Nina has determined that everyone's favorite bowling-alley manager, Sam Weiss, has written all the First People books, so she wants some questions answered. He tells her that the doomsday device will spare the universe of whichever Olivia that Peter winds up. So Olivia should keep wearing lipstick, and we should all be fine.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. Anyone who reads his mind won't likely find much beyond garbled Tom Waits lyrics. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Massive Dynamic. Nina strides down an austere corridor (are there any other kind at this place?), and uses her keycard to enter a room filled with keepsakes, artwork and artifacts. Old helmets on display. Outdated books like (ahem) Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care. She gives the items a brief look, but she's there with purpose. Looking at what appears to be a heat vent, Nina slides the thermostat all the way to "Off", and the grille shimmers out of existence, revealing a safe behind it. Just in case the hologram didn't trip people up, someone has scrawled "Stay out! This means you!" on masking tape affixed to the door of the safe. Nina enters in a code -- 052010#, in case that winds up being important -- and swings open the safe.
Then she starts going through his things -- a red matchbox car makes her smile. There's what appears to be the preliminary sketch for the Massive Dynamic logo. There's an old Photoshopped picture of John Noble and Leonard Nimoy together, and there's Leonard Nimoy's massive head superimposed on the body of someone embracing a young Blair Brown. She lingers over the photos for a moment, then moves on, and pulls a well-worn book out of its protective leather wrap. Die Ersten Menschen is the title, and Nina helpfully translates for us: "The First People," she says, adding, "You and your secrets." She takes out her cellphone and dials and tells someone else to call Agent Dunham, like Nina herself doesn't have Olivia's number in her cellphone.
Nevertheless, Olivia's now in Nina's office, thumbing through one of four copies of The First People that Nina has collected. "So they all say essentially the same thing?" says Olivia, and Nina says, "Not essentially, precisely. Despite being attributed to different authors." She also has no idea why William Bell was pursuing it, but tells Olivia just in case Olivia forgot the information in the books led to the co-ordinates where they found pieces of the doomsday device. "Which makes them impossible to discount," says Olivia.Nina wonders if Fauxlivia's journal might shed some light, and Olivia says that she read them and there wasn't anything like that in there. Nina suddenly feels a little embarrassed, not realizing that Olivia had read the journal. "I imagine that must have been awkward, reading her account of her time with Peter," she says, and I swear to god the first time I watched this I thought she said "her time in Peter."
And since there's nothing more awesome on this show than hitched-throat blatherings about the Fauxlivia-Peter-Olivia love triangle, Nina and Olivia discuss it at great length, with Olivia understanding how Fauxlivia came to have feelings for Peter, and she wonders if Peter felt the same way. "I was her for a while, and she's -- she's like me, but better." Oh, no, Olivia, no! She seems to mainly mean that Fauxlivia still has her mother and wasn't experimented on as a child (well, you don't actually know that, do you). "And she can laugh. She has real friends. She even wears a dress every once in a while." SHE EVEN WEARS A DRESS EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, is what Olivia says, because why not keep this show's streak of cases tailored directly to the Fringe squad's personal problems going, and then Nina says, "Yes, but even so, you don't know what Peter's thinking. And there's no possible way you ever could, unless for some reason tonight's episode winds up giving you a way to READ PETER'S MIND."
Then Nina starts going on about how if Facebook had been around in the 1700s when she and William Bell were doing each other, her relationship status would have read "It's complicated." And now she regrets that they never honestly acknowledged how they felt about each other, and then she wraps this up because everyone would rather picture Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson doing it instead of Blair Brown and Leonard Nimoy doing it, so she tells Olivia not to make the same mistake she did: "If you want to know how Peter feels, ask him."
And then we go over to an office birthday party at good ol' Intrepus, and I'd like to point out that the company logo is all small letters now, and the man of the hour opens a present that turns out to be a Magic 8-Ball, like thanks for breaking a tenner for that gift, whoever you are, and he asks the 8-Ball if they're going to get the "Fowler Grant," and then he does that thing that people in movies and television always do where they shake the Magic 8-Ball which really just makes for a million air bubbles in the little window, sometimes blocking the answer. Not in this case, though; no air bubbles in the chamber, just the floating answer: "Outlook not so good." And then Warren bums out the crowd by TELLING them this instead of pretending it was a positive answer.
And now people are bringing him a cake and singing "Happy birthday to you," which is going to cost Fox some money, and he's told to make a wish so he wishes to never hear them sing again, and everyone laughs their asses off even though it was kind of a dick thing to say, so this guy is probably their boss. Then he blows out the candles.Later in his office, his departing assistant tells him he's very popular today, which he wryly notes happens once a year, and he's got another box to open. Inside is a little black and white doll. Puzzled, he pulls the ring on the back of the doll's neck, and it starts to giggle, nice and creepily. Then a puff of blue powder explodes from the front of the doll, all over Warren's face. Almost instantly he starts grimacing, and he slowly collapses as his arms and legs seem to fold in on themselves.
His yells aren't loud enough to attract attention from anyone but Grace -- "he's in trouble! Those aren't his usual cries of anguish!" -- and she comes to the turn, and starts screeching when she sees Warren dead on the floor. We get a little glimpse of his flattened body, but we have to wait until after the opening credits for the full effect.
It's now dark outside, ninety minutes later, as Broyles leads the Fringe team into the quarantine zone. He tells them about Dr. Warren Blake, a scientist working in the company's R&D Department. "The victim's reaction doesn't match any known biological or chemical weapon," says Broyles.
Walter's utterly confused: "But why would anyone kill a scientist? What did we ever do?" Fortunately for Walter, the only reaction he gets is from a wry Peter, who simply says "Really?" Olivia, whom Walter conducted experiments on when she was a child, says nothing.
Inside, the team wears badass-looking red Hazmat suits as they pick their way through the remnants of the worst office birthday party ever. Walter crouches down by the body, just a shapeless mass of flesh and clothes. "I feel nauseated," he says, but not because of the body, but because he farted inside his suit. Always nice to have Walter along! He examines the body, and notes that there doesn't seem to be a single bone left in, and he notices a blue substance on his face that Blake must have inhaled.
This is one of those incredibly horrifying products that Walter seems to wish he'd thought up: "Ingenious. It destroyed bone matter but was nonreactive with everything else. The work of a highly proficient chemist, no doubt," he says. Meanwhile, Peter's found the doll delivery system, and he pulls the tab and spews MORE of this incredibly toxic stuff into the air, and he gives the killer "bonus points for the creepy factor." In the box the doll came in, Olivia finds a card that says "Happy Birthday from Madison." There's no return address on the box, but Olivia's looking at it thoughtfully, until Peter asks her what she's thinking. "That this is too big to go in a mail drop," she says.
So they're back at the Harvard lab. Broyles tracked the postal code, and they've discovered that the package was sent from Chelsea two days ago, and Olivia is just downloading the post office security footage. Olivia explains all this to Peter as he strolls in, placing a coffee cup by Olivia's computer, very prominently in the foreground in a "th