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A Face Only a Mother Could Love
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.

So now Walter's on the phone explaining it to Peter, whose head mysteriously doesn't explode as Walter "explains" that someone must have perfected the military's camouflage technology to hide the deformities. As long as they stay within range of the pulse, then everyone appears normal. "So that's the Edina hum. That's the sound that the pulse makes," says Olivia, who asks Walter if he knows who could have perfected this technology. Merlin? "Edward Cobb was the scientist who dreamed up Project Elephant. He would be the only one with the imagination and the know-how," says Walter. Peter wants Walter and Astrid to head back home: "Someone obviously has a lot invested in keeping this thing a secret. They've killed three people already; they tried to kill us. I don't want to have to worry about you." Walter says that's very sweet of him, and Peter says he'll see Walter back at home.

Astrid -- who I'd like to point out is an FBI agent and not actually under Peter's command (for that matter, neither is Walter) -- asks what Peter said. "He wants us to head into town to try and find the source of the electromagnetic pulse," says Walter. Heh. Go get 'em, Walter.

Over at the sheriff's office, Velchik is loading up his shotgun but good, along with the deputy, when Rose comes in to say that there's been too much bloodshed. "You got your boy back. Would you rather we'd let them keep him?" asks the sheriff, and Rose starts talking about killing innocent people and "real consequences" and the sheriff says there are real stakes here, which is why she's gotta let him do his job and keep the town safe. "And you think that killing those federal officers is the best way to put a stop to this?" she asks, and Velchik chillingly says it did the last time: "That federal marshal a few years ago, no one came looking for him, did they?" He says they've all got jobs to do, and her job is to "stick to the machine." The two men (the deputy has white hair like the freak who shot Pekarsky point blank) walk by her, leaving the office.

So Astrid asks Walter what kind of device they're looking for, and Walter says, "Any number of things could transmit the pulse," such as a large capacitor bank or some form of compression generator. There ya go ... just look for a "capacitor bank" or a "compression generator" and you'll find it in no time.

She asks about satellite dishes, because those are all over town, and Walter laughs at her and says, "Those are for television, dear. Given how little there is to do here, I imagine they watch a lot of it." So he manages to be condescending to Astrid and to the Edina hicks. That's nice.

To narrow it down for her, Walter wants Astrid to look for "something that could relay the discharge from the microwave conversion of large energy pulses." Would a big antenna work? Walter says it would, and Astrid points out the window. "Something like that?" There's a huge antenna behind Joseph's house. "Well done, Asterix," says Walter.

So their plan -- well, Walter's plan; Astrid is unsure -- is to just knock on the front door. A wooden plaque by the door identifies this as the home of Rose and Joe, and Walter says, "Rose. That was Edward's daughter. He used to carry her around the lab on his shoulders." I love how these little triggers help Walter remember things, especially since the pictures and drawings and reports of gruesome deformities in Edina didn't make him remember that he once consulted on an experiment THAT CAUSED GRUESOME DEFORMITIES IN EDINA.

Anyway, Teddy answers the door and looks suspiciously at Walter and Astrid. Walter asks the kid if his mother is rose, and his grandfather was Edward, and Walter identifies himself as a friend of Teddy's grandfather, and asks if they can come in. The kid nods, and the two of them come in.

Walter happily identifies people in old photos in the living room, and then asks Teddy if they have more recent pictures of his mother. "We don't own a camera," says Teddy. Under his breath, to Astrid, Walter says, "No, of course. Cameras have no optic nerve. The photos would only show their deformities." Well, sure. But going by the logic on this show, when people look at the pictures, their scrambled optic nerves would only show magical undeformed people. Windows and mirrors don't have optic nerves either, yet I'm guessing that reflections appear to be normal, otherwise every visitor to town would see deformities in every pane of glass and polished surface.

Anyway, all of a sudden Teddy seems to realize that he's not supposed to have strangers in the house, and Walter agrees, but asks if he can use the bathroom before they leave, and Teddy reluctantly directs him there. Astrid stands around looking awkward until she sees the game Operation sitting there. "Oh, I loved that game!"

Meanwhile, Olivia and Peter are still mulling over the case, realizing that Joe Falls is in his 30s, too young to be one of the soldiers tested in the experiment, so it must have been his father. "I guess folks with that kind of deformity don't tend to leave home," says Olivia. I don't know. Have you seen

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