Back in the town hall record room, Peter and Olivia haven't found anything on Joe Falls in 1990 or 2000. Peter asks what the current population of Edina is, and Olivia rattles off 1,943, since it was on the sign, which I guess makes Edina like the only small town to keep that current. Peter points out it's strange that between the years of 1990 and 2000, seventeen people died, forty-seven people were born. That's the only change in the population; i.e. no one moved in or out.
Olivia's cellphone rings. It's the sheriff, so Olivia tells him section F of the tax files is missing. The sheriff says he may know who's responsible, and explains that the "local tax collector" said Falls moved out to the edge of town, and is living in a trailer with his wife and his son, who's about seven or eight: "I've got an address if you want to meet me, and this is clearly not a trap." Olivia starts getting on her jacket and says she'll see him there.
The sheriff slowly puts the phone down, gets up and walks out of the Edina town hall, where a group of people are gathered, waiting. Small town's got a secret! The sheriff says, "They don't know anything. There's nothing to worry about. It's going to be fine." Which is when Joseph's wife shows up with Teddy and says, "You're wrong, Paul. They found out!" The sheriff tells Rose that he knows she's got a special interest in it, but they don't know anything. "They have a photograph. They have proof!" she says, and the sheriff says, "Others have come before." He promises to take care of it and make it all go away.
So Astrid and Walter hit the road now, Astrid driving the Bishop shaggin' wagon as she tries to get her head around the idea that the man and the moth didn't transform at all. Walter explains that this is something else entirely: "In the late '70s, the Army became obsessed with finding a new way to camouflage soldiers. They started experimenting with electromagnetic pulses," he says. Whoop, hold on a sec, here. I think this is the time when everybody should just raise the bullshit threshold in their brains. Walter talks about how the eye converts electromagnetic energy into something the brain can understand (true). "Well, the Army thought that if they could generate a massive electromagnetic pulse, then they could effectively scramble the optic nerve, and at the right frequency, make the soldiers invisible to the naked eye." Walter says he consulted briefly on the project, but after he left it was realized that prolonged exposure to the pulse has a horrible side effect, an incurable genetic disorder. Astrid wants to know how that explains their ability to change, but Walter tells her to pull over, so she does, and he gets out and walks toward the town sign. He's carrying the jar with the moth in it, and he's watching it intently. Then he starts to smile. He asks Astrid what she sees. "I see the moth," she says, and he tells her to come closer. She walks, and as she does, we see the moth suddenly transform into the blue butterfly Walter saw. She's amazed. "A friend of mine once wrote that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," says Walter, which indicates that he's friends with Arthur C. Clarke, I suppose. Astrid asks how the butterfly is doing it, and Walter says it's not the moth -- or the man -- that changed, but our perception. So the electromagnetic pulse "scrambles" people's optic nerves with such precision that anyone within its range doesn't see a mutation but instead sees what these people would look like without mutations. Really? I almost wish Walter had just gone with "...magic!" This is less plausible than the invisible car in that James Bond movie.