A cop walks into a train station. Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but when said cop freezes solid and then explodes, killing and wounding dozens, the Fringe team is off in search of a punchline. While Walter goes about reassembling all the little frozen blown-up bits, Peter and Olivia discover that the officer has been taking some kind of weird serum injected between his toes since when he was still stationed in Iraq. Their search leads them to something called "Project Tin Man." Peter decides he needs to go to Iraq to look into it, and Olivia's coming along, even though she's still far from a hundred percent (what with the new headaches, still-shaky hands, a shakier relationship with her new bowling guru Sam Weiss, and near-subliminal flashbacks). In Baghdad, they find a doctor who worked on the project, which was originally intended to treat exposure to a chemical weapon until the whole human-bomb angle was discovered. They also get the name of a renegade colonel from the program, and the entire FBI gets busy trying to both defuse the next human bomb and nab the colonel before another attack in D.C. Except Walter figures out that they might be able to triangulate the colonel's location if they let him broadcast the detonation signal -- as long as they do it within a 30-second window. That works, though not without a few hitches. Once the colonel's in custody, he spills all to Broyles: he's been trying to disrupt deliveries of mysterious briefcases from mysterious couriers to mysterious enemies that want to destroy us all. He doesn't know who, but we get to see one of those briefcases delivered to none other than the Observer. And it's full of surveillance photos of the Bishops. Which is weird, because I thought the Observer already knew what they look like.
I can't believe it took me this long to realize it, but it just hit me that the two mad scientists in last week's episode were played by John Noble and John Savage. Noble/Savage! Coincidence?
A cop car pulls up to a coffee shop bright and early. I assume they're here to respond to calls about giant letters reading "PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA" hovering dangerously over a busy intersection. But they ignore them as though they're not really there, because they're just picking up coffee. Seconds after the cop not driving gets out to enter the shop, a slim red cell phone in the driving cop's shirt pocket rings. He answers it, "Yes, Colonel?" in a very un-coplike tone, which was even more confusing to me the first time I saw this, when I thought he was just getting a call from someone named Carl. A deep, creepy voice on the other end of the line says, "It's time. Get to Suburban Station. He'll be wearing a black trenchcoat, carrying a black briefcase." The cop, not exactly looking like he won the lottery, hangs up and peels out, abandoning his partner on the crosswalk holding two to-go cups. Looks like someone doesn't like coffee that much after all.
The runaway officer walks into the busy train station, silencing his shoulder radio so he doesn't have to hear his pissed-off partner's bitching any more. He looks around among the commuters -- and the clock, which reads 7:10, and the electronic schedule boards -- but doesn't see anyone matching the description the colonel gave him. Finally he turns and sees him coming down the stairs: a guy in a black trenchcoat, carrying a black suitcase. The colonel didn't say anything about the blond ponytail, though. That makes him rather more of a standout. Clearly already prepared for trouble, the officer unsnaps his holster and rests his hand on the butt of his gun, approaching the man and telling him to set the briefcase down. When the man asks what's up -- not arguing, not fleeing, not committing any crime other than curiosity -- the officer draws his weapon but keeps it pointed at the floor. No need to overreact, after all. At this point, the electronic departure boards are starting to flicker. The officer chases away a transit cop, then makes a grab for the case. As he stars to walk away with it, the hand holding it suddenly seems to freeze solid, crackling and going rigid as the tissue solidifies. Is that briefcase full of stuff I keep getting spam e-mails about? The ones promising to make me rock-hard? Because it doesn't look like all that much fun. To the officer's horror, the effect spreads all the way up his arm, and he has just enough time to turn his crystallizing face skyward and let out a scream before exploding into tiny little cop bits. Mission accomplished, Officer Freeze.