We get a blast from the past this week, as we revisit the case where a man freaked out on a plane and transformed into a porcupine man and perished along with everyone else in a fiery crash. Peter's familiarity with the case (as well as Olivia's memories, via old/new Olivia) both helps -- since he has some idea what's going on — and hinders, as some of the details have changed. In this case, Marshall (Porcupine Man) Bowman transforms back into human on the plane, but goes into beast mode and dies once he's down on the ground and being interrogated by TSA agents.
They're down a body in Fringe division, because Olivia's memory wipe means the FBI is concerned she's not the same agent they licensed. Example: she talks to an FBI shrink about how her sister went back to Chicago to be near her douchebag ex-husband. Except here, her sister is still married and she and her husband have two kids.
Of course, it's not like Olivia's going to let anything like a direct order keep her from working the case, and she shows up at the house of Marshall Bowman's partner, only to find he's a monster already; he attacks Olivia and escapes.
A tattoo of a cuneiform symbol on Bowman's corpse leads Peter to his bookseller friend, who doesn't know him or Olivia (although he can't help himself from hitting on Olivia), and with his help they track the symbol to a cult of whackjobs who are all about improving the human species; mutation by design. This is worrisome for everyone, perhaps most of all Lincoln, who may have been infected in the attack.
That monster has shown up at the home of some woman who, far from being freaked out, helps calm him down and give him an injection, while talking about how perfect they're going to be, like Adam and Eve.
Eventually, after a Massive Dynamic connection (naturally) is uncovered, and the discovery that it was an experiment overseen by David Robert Jones, the FBI finds the creature and kills it, after blinding it when they figure out that the nocturnal porcupine-bat creature would be sensitive to light. Lincoln is almost killed again twice, once by the creature and once by its human girlfriend.
The team's left with some burning questions, boiling down to what's Jones' deal, anyway? And rather than give Olivia shit for getting involved when she shouldn't have been, Broyles says they've decided she can be back on the team, since 60 percent of Olivia is better than 90 percent of everyone else.
We close out with Bowman's sister recruiting some other poor sap to the porcupine-man army, and a floating nightmare: a ship with some kind of collection of animal hybrids that we only get glimpses of. Huge spider legs here, a massive rattler's tail there. Night terrors tonight, folks.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. If we don't see the spider-creature again, he'll be really upset. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How strange to kick off the "previously on Fringe" scenes tonight with clips from a mid-Season 1 episode that was largely a monster-of-the-week! You know, "The Transformation," where Mayor Carcetti's chief of staff turns into a snarling porcupine man. But it felt nice, almost nostalgic, didn't it? Like looking at the yearbook from your freshman year?
Stranger still, that when the episode actually starts, and we see the exact same scenes we saw back then: the same blissfully happy people in first class on Vertus Air, the same announcement about strong winds and turbulence, the same old lady sitting next to the soon-to-be Porcupine Man. I suppose it would have been impractical to round up all the extras from this scene for continuity's sake. Besides, this old woman could be dead by this point.
Not Yet Porcupine Man is, as before, scribbling away in some sort of journal when his nose starts dripping dark crimson blood on the page. His seatmate again offers the same useless advice -- "put keys on your back" -- that she did originally. I remember being annoyed when she revealed that it's all bull, that she tried it herself and it didn't work. Well, thanks for sharing!
Same nervous trip to the lavatory, same shaky test of a tongue swab that turns a solution bright red, some agitated discussion with the flight attendants as Potential Porcupine tells them to round up all the sedatives and tranquilizers they can, dismissing their assumptions that this is some kind of panic attack. We don't see any discussion of weapons on board, like we did before; instead, we skip right to Buddy saying he's going back to the bathroom, and giving the flight attendant the same stark warning he did before: "When you get the drugs, you come back, you knock. If I don't answer or if I do and what you see isn't me anymore, you keep that door closed," he says.
Back to the lavatory, where he starts convulsing. He checks his eyes -- which change color to an inhuman yellow. Out in the cabin, the other passengers seem a little concerned about the agonizing grunting coming from the bathroom.
Unlike last time, the bathroom gets a visit from the air marshal, who knocks on the door, ordering the man to come out.
Which he does, looking fine. Normal eyes. Teeth still in place. Nose no longer bloody, and, most important, not an unholy beast more porcupine than man running rampage through the cabin. Marshall? Meet the air marshal. Marshal? Marshall.