Fringe

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A Face Only a Mother Could Love
he time, not to mention the fact that just a moment ago he thought the inbred banjo-picker in Deliverance was a real person. Olivia interrupts the nattering because she can hear a faint humming.

Once the Bishops shut up for two damn seconds they can hear it too, and Walter starts humming a song to it: the prelude from Carmen, and then he starts singing nonsense lyrics to go with it: "Hard artichokes rarely keep, Norwegian elephants, Singapore sleep." Peter asks him what he's singing, and Walter has no idea, says it just popped into his head. Must be the buzzing.

A sheriff Velchik strolls up, and anybody watching this immediately goes, "Well, he's in on whatever's going on," because it's character actor Michael O'Neill, who specializes in hard-ass authority figures -- and if not for him (as Richard Walsh), Jack Bauer's first 24-hour day might have been a whole lot less eventful. Anyway, he notes that they've all gotten acquainted with "the Edina hum" and explains it as huge turbines at the military base five miles down the road.

The sheriff suggests they go for coffee, and once they're inside, seated, Olivia says, "So, I take it you've heard about what happened last night to the three troopers in Jonestown," which is an odd thing to say, because wouldn't that be why he's meeting with them? The sheriff says he understands they took a kid, and Olivia slides over the picture of Teddy (deformed), and the sheriff is all "my god" and he says he's never seen anything like that before, although "Telling those stories is a bit of a local pastime. You hear 'em all over this part of the state."

While Olivia talks to the sheriff about how this boy was picked up by their town, a man at a nearby table gets up and leaves, leaving a perfectly good piece of blueberry pie behind. What kind of madness lurks in this strange town! Meanwhile, the sheriff is saying they get their fair share of sightings but he's never been able to confirm them. "Nothing like this," he says, looking thoughtfully and NOT AT ALL SUSPICIOUSLY at the picture of Teddy. Olivia says they'd like to see the reports, and the sheriff says, after the slightest of pauses, "Of course. Anything I can do."

At a really nice looking blue house, a woman sets a kitchen table when the man from the diner comes in and silently starts helping her. She asks "Joseph" what's wrong, and she has to press for an answer in that sullen "I'm going to say 'nothing' first but act all mopey so you have to drag it out of me" way that frustrates my wife so much, and he says federal agents were at the diner with a photograph of Teddy, asking questions about the killings. Teddy is colouring or doing a puzzle or whatever it is that I thought kids didn't do any more what with all the cellphones and the iPods and the videogames and the hipping and the hopping and kids today, am I right? "I told you that wasn't the answer!" she whispers, and Joseph asks what other choice they had, and now neither one of them knows what they're going to do. Well, that table ain't going to set itself, so you should at least finish.

Later, in the car, Olivia confers with Broyles back in Boston, who says the troopers were killed with 12-gauge shotgun blasts. "But there's probably a shotgun in every house in this part of the state," says Olivia, which is like the sheriff telling Olivia that there's probably a gay wedding in every house in Boston. Peter brings up the military base. "You floating another government conspiracy theory, Mr. Bishop?" asks Broyles, like where would Peter ever get the idea that the government sometimes cover things up, but he says he'll look into it.

Olivia's looking forward to getting back to the hotel -- which apparently is in Boston, considering how long they've apparently been driving -- and Peter notes that his dad, asleep in the back, has already decided to call it a night, and then they talk about Walter like he's a three-year-old: "He's had a big day!" Peter says he understands why his dad's scared, but he's not able to snap out of it this time, and it's like when Walter was first released from St. Claire's. While Peter's worried that his dad is regressing, Olivia thinks he's just starting to appear "no less normal" than the rest of them, and I'd like to point out that Walter is having difficulty getting out of the CAR, Olivia, but this is just a jumping-off point for her to tell a story about running into an old high school friend who was a little bit freaked out by what she did: "Like I had suddenly grown a third eye." Wait, did you tell him about Fringe division or did you just tell him you work for the FBI? Because if it's the former, it's understandable for him to be a little freaked out. If it's the latter, that makes him sound a little sexist. But I understand that the scene she's referring to was filmed but cut, so it's hard to understand the context, other than the need for it to be shoehorned into a freaks-vs.-normals debate. "You ever get the feeling that doing this job just makes you less and less normal?" she asks, and Peter unhesitatingly laughs and says "Absolutely!"

Just then, there's a truck coming down the road right at them, honking its horn. Olivia practically freezes up but they swerve off the road, down into the bush and crash. Peter, dazed, says Olivia's name, but she's unconscious. As is Walter, but he just HASN'T WOKEN UP. He's snoring.

Meanwhile, the truck that drove them off the road is parked up on the embankment, but they haven't stopped to help. The silhouetted figure raises his shotgun and fires, slowly advancing. Peter scrabbles for Olivia's gun, and returns fire through the busted windshield. Nothing. No movement. Peter looks around the darkened woods, and then in his rearview mirror, but he can't spot anything. Walter sits right up all "Are we there yet, Peter?" and his son yells for him to get down and the dude with the shotgun is shooting again and Peter goes out the door and keeps firing. Up on the embankment, the truck pulls away and drives off.

After the commercial break, that Agent Frug or whoever is explaining that it's usually pretty quiet in this area: "Not much in the way of dead cops and feds being run off the road," he says, which is HILARIOUS, Frug. Olivia asks Peter: "But you think you shot it?" and Peter says, "I don't know. But it was able to drive off," and doesn't point out that "it" drove off about half a second after taking a shot at Peter, which is not much time to get back up the embankment to the truck but ANYWAY.

Frug tells them one of their agents just found an abandoned pickup truck on the side of the road about a mile away.

The agents check out the truck, but they can't really tell if it was the one that was heading straight at them. So while the agents work on finding out who the owner of the truck is, Walter makes himself useful by spotting butterflies on the side of the road, specifically a big blue one. "Isn't she magnificent? I've never seen one this big on this continent," he says, adding he knows "a certain lepidopterist" who will be thrilled, and he goes to get his kit from the car, humming the prelude from Carmen again.

Peter and Olivia can barely hide their annoyance, but then they spot drops of blood leading through, and the agents go crashing through the bushes to find a body. Only when they turn it over, it's not a beast, but a man -- Joseph. "You said you shot at the creature, right?" Frug asks Peter, who says "yeah" but suddenly doesn't sound very sure, and Walter steps in: "Agent Frug, what happened here is simple: my son shot a beast. We found a man. Obviously the creature transformed in the interim." Which makes a ton more sense than "Peter shot a man," doesn't it? Walter's positively guilty about having possibly found a creature with metamorphic ability.

And now Peter's going to sulk because he shot a man, and I'm not sure what the big shock is, since their working theory is that these are people who can shift between man and beast. Olivia does her best to comfort him, saying that the first time she killed someone, th

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