Astrid and the Farnsworthbot are working to try to connect the victims, but they're coming up with nothing, and at the same time they say, "Period. Goose egg. Zilch." They both find this delightful, but to be honest I found it kind of strange, given that it's exactly what the Observers do to demonstrate the way the exist across all times.
Anyway, Astrid offers the Farnsworthbot some coffee, and she's surprised, explaining how rare and expensive coffee is where she comes from. Then, flashing a broader smile than we've ever seen from the Farnsworthbot definitely and maybe even from Astrid, Farnsworthbot says she would like coffee. Astrid calls her "sweetie" but then turns around and makes a face about how weird her doppelgänger is.
Nearby, Fauxlivia is helping herself to Walter's licorice jar, and he gives her grief for it and won't share even after she asks permission. He grumbles about her breaking his concentration, and she sarcastically asks if he was solving world hunger or "perfecting the perfect" peanut butter shake, and it seems to me that the latter goal could probably take care of the former one. Walter snaps that he was "musing on our killer," and he says the "Tears of Ra"-style killing would be consistent with Olivia's report that the killer may be attempting to put his victims out of their misery. So they may be looking for a humanitarian or compassionate killer. Fauxlivia -- gesturing so much while she speaks that she may also be playing charades -- calls killing people to prevent them from suffering is an "extremely contorted view of compassion," so maybe in her universe the concept of euthanasia doesn't exist? Walter quietly says that, "Some suffering is worse than death," managing not to point out how much it hurts to see someone go after his licorice without permission. He does glare at Fauxlivia, though, so there's that.
Then there's a break in the case from the Farnsworthbot, who finds a connection. Whatever Logan International or the Transportation Security Administration are in the other universe, they have different names, as Farnsworthbot doesn't know what they are. But she does figure out, based on their voucher stamps, that all three were screened by the same security agent. Astrid confirms it, feeling a little bit strange about being shown up by her own self, but Farnsworthbot is just enjoying her coffee like it ain't no thang.
So it's off to Logan International to arrest TSA badge 0047, also known as Neil Chung. He sees them coming, though, and quietly walks away from his post while Olivia and Peter struggle to get through the crowd. They're stopping from getting into the boarding area anyway by another agent, who tells them they either have to have a boarding pass or supervised authorization. Seems kinda foolish that they didn't think to call ahead to maybe avoid this kind of problem. At any rate, Chung gets away.
After the commercial break, Peter and Olivia are now talking to a professor at MIT, because that's where Chung was previously employed. Peter asks the professor how an advanced mathematics professor winds up working for the TSA. "I suppose he loses his mind," says the professor, explaining that while everyone around there is driven, Chung put them all to shame: youngest tenure track professor ever, believed math was the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe. "I know how that sounds," says the professor, apologetically. "Not nearly as crazy as you might think," says Peter.
Anyway, Neil came back from his summer break at his lake house -- and given the scene from Reiden Lake in the "previously on Fringe" clips this week, you know where this is going -- and he was "changed." Neil found something, wouldn't say what it was, and became obsessed with high-level differential equations that no one could make heads or tails of. I wish that were the kind of problems we'd have at my work! Neil's theory was that if he could solve the equations, space and time could be flattened and be on a level plane: "You could in essence see past, present and future simultaneously," he says. That twigs for Peter, as the professor continues, explaining that solving the equations became more important than class, and eventually he just left and never came back.
Peter asks where the lake house was. Fortunately the professor has it right at his fingertips: Reiden Lake. A giant exclamation mark appears over Peter's head. Over Olivia's head, a question mark.
Outside, she reminds Peter that when he showed up in this timeline, it was at Reiden Lake. She asks him what's going on, and he explains that seeing past, present and future at the same time is what the Observers do, and how in his timeline, an Observer saved his life at Reiden Lake. (I'm ignoring their product-placed electric car plugged into the outlet or whatever you'd call it.) Olivia asks if he's suggesting that an Observer is behind this and is using Neil. Peter's not sure, but he thinks they should take a drive. Fortunately, They manage to not chat about how amazingly far they're going to be able to go on a single charge.
Back at the Harvard lab, Walter's got his eyes closed, he's plugging his nose and he's got headphones on. Farnsworthbot asks Astrid what he's doing, and Astrid explains that he's thinking. "You care for him," says Farnsworthbot, and Astrid has to admit that yeah, she does. And now it's time for another babblefest from the Farnsworthbot, who's worried that she couldn't give her father what he wanted because of the way she is. Astrid looks like her heart is breaking, like mine is. "That he secretly wished I could love him back in a way that he could understand." As the tears start to roll down her cheeks -- Jasika Nicole not wasting a rare showcase for herself -- she asks if Astrid thinks her father would have loved her more if she were more like Astrid, if she were normal. Astrid doesn't answer before the Farnsworthbot announces that she'd prefer her coffee with sugar. She goes to get some, while Astrid sits there, hoping Farnsworthbot cheers up again really soon.
Meanwhile, Peter and Olivia have arrived at Neil Chung's lakehouse. While Peter stares at the lake where, for all intents and purposes, he was born, and then goes to peer in the window, Olivia picks the lock, covering herself with a fake-innocent, "Who leaves their door unlocked when they're not home?"
They go inside, guns drawn, but the place is devoid of life. The walls are covered with equations, though, so they know they're in the right place. Peter, meanwhile, has found a wall with a framed newspaper story that reveals Neil was a twin. His brother and father were killed in a car accident. The wall is festooned with pictures of people like Jesus, Gandhi, Joan of Arc. "What's the connection? They're heroes?" he asks. Olivia's figured it out but instead of just saying so, she asks Peter what else they have in common, and then answers for him: "They're all saviors."
There's no sign of Neil, though, but a picture that Olivia got from the mantel may hold the answer: it's a picture of Neil with an older Asian woman. Great job! Now you know Neil has a mom!
And Neil is at his mom's house. There's a safe in which he's storing the glowing blue stick, and he pulls something out that's wrapped loosely in a cloth. It's a .45. He puts a clip in and jacks one into the chamber. Then, tucking the gun into his waistband behind his back, he strolls out into a living room where the older woman from the photo says, "Where are you going? I don't understand. What do you mean, you are here to say goodbye?"
When we get back from commercial, Neil's mom asks him again, and he says he already told her. "'Where I belong' is not an answer," she says. Ah, it's the battle hymn of the Tiger Mother! She asks if he got fired again, and he says that he wasn't fired from MIT; he left.
He's staring at her intently at t