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Cats in the Pharmaceutically Altered Cradle

That night, Olivia shows Nina a traffic-cam photo of Peter driving Tyler in Walter's car. Nina wonders how this could have happened. "The son of one of your top scientists can control people's minds?" Olivia asks incredulously. "Surely that's not a coincidence." Nina admits that although Tyler's dad works on aerospace projects, he's been working with the pharmaceutical division lately. "What project?" Olivia asks.

And then we're looking at a fighter jet streaking through the sky, which according to Nina is actually a flight simulator running a test of a "hands-free guidance system." So the pilot can still send text-messages on patrol, I guess. That's certainly worthy of millions of dollars of tax-supported research. Olivia's reflection appears in the screen as she asks how the plane is flown, and Nina says the pilot's wearing a helmet that transmits commands from electrodes to an onboard computer. Very Firefox, by which I mean not the browser but the Clint Eastwood film that predicted similar telepathic control systems for fighter jets back in1982. The simulation shuts down, and Dr. Carson, who is also present, explains that the pilot was given a "pharmaceutical enhancement" to amplify his brainwaves. From across the room, Walter asks quietly, "Did you by chance expose your son to this so-called pharmaceutical enhancement?" Nina says that would be totally against Massive Dynamic's testing protocols, but Carson admits that Tyler might have found some he brought home to work on, for "further research." What kind of research did he plan to conduct that the Massive Dynamic labs couldn't support? See if they float?

No, I guess it was just to see if they would fit into a Pez dispenser. In the car with Peter, Tyler pops another pill from Homer's neck as Peter futilely asks Tyler the range of his mind-control powers. Wisely, Tyler isn't sharing that. He looks at a photo in his hand of a woman who might be his mother. Yes, that might be a spoiler, but it's not my fault. Peter tries again, and when Tyler tries to shut him down, Peter snaps, "Hey, genius, the second you took me, they knew that you were behind it all." Well, not that same second. It took several hundred seconds before anyone besides Walter even noticed Peter was gone. Tyler gloats that Peter didn't know himself until then. "You managed to kidnap yourself," Peter chuckles. "Congratulations. You're a criminal mastermind." When Tyler doesn't have an answer to that, Peter realizes Tyler doesn't even have a plan. "You sound just like my father," Tyler bitches. Peter isn't exactly sympathetic: "Do you really think that you're the first kid whose father didn't think he was good enough or smart enough? Take a number." Ouch.

Back at Massive Dynamic, Carson is maintaining that the drugs are designed to work on computers, not humans. "The brain is a computer, doctor," Walter insists. "It's an organic computer. It can be hijacked like any other." Oh, well, that makes perfect sense, then. He gets up in Carson's face, confirming that the kid is fifteen and still in puberty. "His system flooded with hormones affecting his neurotransmitters...opening up pathways for the uptake of psychoactive chemicals, yes?" He keeps pressing, asking if Tyler was taking any other meds. Carson confesses that the kid was on ADD medication. "And an untested brainwave enhancer," Walter accuses. "It's a mind-control cocktail. Because of this man's inability to be a proper parent, his son has kidnapped mine!" Oh, so this is all about Walter. Projection much? Olivia manages to pull Walter away before someone gets hurt.

Peter continues trying to relate to Tyler about father issues when a cop car's flashers light up behind them. Tyler doesn't want to stop and when Peter says this can't go on forever, Tyler says. "It's not even close to finished." He orders Peter to pull over. Peter does, and as they wait for he cop to walk up alongside the car, Peter tells Tyler to let him handle it. "If you don't I will," Tyler threatens. Peter smiles up into the cop's flashlight, and compliantly gets out of the car when the officer asks him to. But when the cop asks him to put his hands on the car, Peter asks what's wrong, although he's still smiling. The cop repeats the order and pats down Peter for weapons as Tyler slides over so he can see the cop. So I think we just got our answer to Peter's earlier question about the limits of his range. Because once Tyler's able to eyeball him, the cop takes out his own gun and puts it on the car's roof in front of Peter. Who then has to pick it up and point it at the cop. "Do not force me to shoot this man," Peter begs, which is totally out of context from what the promo indicated. Tyler doesn't want the cop to give away their position. Peter says there has to be another way, and then pistol-whips the cop to the ground. "Something like that?" Tyler asks.

Working out of an office at Massive Dynamic, Olivia and Astrid are coordinating the search for Peter when Nina's leggy assistant comes in to summon Olivia into Nina's office. Which is where Broyles and Nina are, and the former tells Olivia that Tyler is now considered a national security risk, so Special Forces will be taking over from Fringe Division. Well, that sounds messy. And it's all because they've just learned that Tyler bought two one-way tickets to Costa Rica before the kidnapping, which indicates he might have a foreign handler. It also indicates that he's a hell of a lot more resourceful than I was at fifteen. I couldn't even score my own Van Halen tickets. What worries the brass is the thought that Tyler might be about to hand over God knows what manner of Massive Dynamic goodies over to enemies of the state. Olivia reads the phrase "overwhelming force" on the briefing sheet, and argues that it doesn't really bode well for Peter. "We need to contain the situation on our own before it's too late," Broyles says. Thanks for stating the stakes so clearly.

Walter has pretty much gone catatonic when Olivia and Nina find him. "I can't lose him again," he mutters, because for a minute there we were in danger of letting an episode go by without a reference to Peter's past. Olivia crouches down and uses her best hostage-negotiator smile as she says Walter needs to figure out how to "disable Tyler." "Peter always helps me," Walter whines. "How do I do this without Peter?" Well, they are in New York City, where hack standup comedians are pretty thick on the ground. Surely they could rustle one up here to make wisecracks in Peter's absence. Olivia admits that Peter helps her too (some episodes more than others), "But you can do this." Nina steps up and tells Walter, "I know you're scared, but you're the only one that can help him." Walter seems to get the idea of using an EMF scrambler, whatever that is. "Sounds like a good place to start," Nina smiles encouragingly. As always, she is the master of looking helpful when it's not clear what her motives really are -- yet. Just then Astrid enters to say they've brought Tyler's computer, and he's been doing some "pretty strange searches." Oh, man, better glove up.

In another office, Astrid's showing Olivia some of Tyler's recent searches: women who died in car accidents 14 years ago. Okay, I knew the internet caters to some pretty specialized fetishes, but this is more focused than I thought possible. Olivia notices a pattern: each of the victims would be in their early 40s if they were alive today. "What are you thinking?" Astrid asks. The answer to that should be obvious, but maybe Astrid is just disoriented at finding herself outside the lab for the second time in as many months. Olivia doesn't know yet, but Tyler's most recent search pulls up a newspaper article about one Renee Davies. Whose accompanying photo just happens to be the one Tyler was holding earlier.

Olivia goes to confront Carson with the article, and upon hearing the name Renee Davies, he confesses that she's his ex-wife. Tyler's mother, of course. And not, as I may or may not have suspected, the name of former Kinks frontman Ray Davies after becoming a chick.<

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