An FBI agent and friend of Broyles gets infected with a parasite, which is kind of like saying Anne Boleyn had a headache. He's got this sucking, constricting thing around his heart, sending tendrils throughout his body. The Fringe team works to save him, and find an acronym buried in the DNA of the creature. Well, of course they did. ZTF is the name of several cells that are connected to the pattern. Olivia is, as usual, annoyed that she's getting information in bits and pieces, which you'd think she'd be used to by now.
While Broyles corners a local suspect, Joseph Smith, Olivia's off to Germany where she hooks up with a former boyfriend to gain access to another suspect, David Jones in a German prison who might have information on how to save Broyles' friend. She almost hooks up-hooks up with her old boyfriend too, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. (I mean "sex."). But the Jones wants to ask Joseph Smith a question, which would normally be fine, except Smith got shot in the head during the FBI raid and he's dead.
But, as we know, being dead can't save you from government interrogation, only the bullet to the head complicates matters, and Walter rigs up a device that'll let the dead guy speak through Peter in order to answer Jones's question and perpetuate the illusion that Smith is still alive. So it's like Weekend at Bernie's, only far more implausible.
Oh, and they save the FBI agent, who turns out to probably be evil. The FBI really needs to overhaul its recruitment program.
We open on the docks of Weymouth, Mass. Some guy named Capt. Loeb is leading an FBI raid with units on the ground and in the water. He himself is in a little tugboat with some other agents, cutting the engine as they coast in to dock. On land, the men take up their positions until the target shows up -- a box truck. Loeb orders his men in, and the truck is swarmed by FBI agents, ordering the driver out of the cab. Loeb and his men open the back of the truck, and inside is merely several stuffed panda bears. So I guess they're busting a major Coney Island smuggling ring.
"Panda bears?" says Broyles, later, in his office, talking to Loeb, who says they knew the FBI were coming, and someone made a switch. "Joseph Smith," he says. The father of Mormonism? Loeb hands over an Interpol notice on Smith, who began working for the shipping company a week before the container was packed, has a science background, and has been back and forth to Budapest half a dozen times in the past year. Broyles asks if there are any other local agents working on the case. "Coscarelli and Scrim," says Loeb. "Coscarelli" would be a great name for yelling. "Coscarelli! My office! Now!"
While Broyles, puzzled, notes that the container was seven pounds heavier when it was seized than when it was in Germany, Loeb's looking very uncomfortable. "Mitchell?" says Broyles, right before Loeb pitches forward onto the floor.
At the hospital, he's still in pain, sounding like he's constantly on the verge of throwing up. Broyles is following the trauma team as they take Loeb's stretcher down the hall, when he's flagged down by a distraught woman asking Broyles (who she calls "Phillip") how he is.
In the operating room, the doctor's already whipped out the defibrillator, which doesn't seem to be having any effect except for making that strangely pleasing ka-chunk noise. They're going to have to cut him open, which they do, rather graphically, and then use what looks like the tire jack for a Hummer to pry open his stomach, which instantly seems to provide Loeb with some relief. But now the OR staff are bewildered. "What is that?" asks a nurse. "I don't know," says the doctor, and then we see what they see -- some pulsating, creepy, grey reptilian thing coiled around Loeb's heart, which is what too much Taco Bell will do to you.
After the break, Broyles leads the Fringe team in to see the poor bastard. "It's not a heart attack. At least, not in the traditional sense," he says. He also says it's been determined the thing isn't communicable. Olivia's all, "'thing'?" and Broyles says "We'll get to that later." Oh, and the episode wouldn't be complete without a quirky obsession for Walter to fixate on inappropriately. Tonight, it's asking for gum. Or mints. Neither of which Peter has. Probably in the same place he left his patience.