A passenger jet soars through darkened skies lit sporadically by flashes of lightning in the surrounding clouds. The ride inside is getting bumpy, and the monitors in the seat-backs change from the flight-path map (showing a trans-Atlantic route) to an image of hands buckling a seatbelt backup. An old couple holds hands and looks concerned. A younger couple barely stop their conversation.
We focus on one fellow in particular who seems to be having a rough go of it. He's bent forward in his seat. After determining that he can't quite reach far enough to actually kiss his ass goodbye, he sits up, opens up a briefcase and scrambles for an insulin pen, his seatmate looking on with undisguised interest. Buddy jabs himself in the stomach, recaps the pen, and then sits back. "My friend, it is just an electrical storm," says his seatmate, who then offers him ... gum? Yay, my fear of flying is gone: I have gum! Suddenly, Insulin Man bolts from his seat and scrambles up the aisle, as the electrical storm starts scrambling the monitors and lights. They're flying through one of those Class 5 Dramatic Lighting storms! A stewardess unbuckles herself and chases after him, but he's gone completely batshit. She catches him, and he turns around, only his face is all melty and gross. Then he pukes all over her. This, you can imagine, does not go over well with the rest of the passengers, who, being modern-day plane travelers, are no strangers to mind-numbing horror.
But now everyone is screaming, and everyone's faces are hideously disfigured, like a ProActiv "before" picture, and a stewardess screams some words in German into the cockpit phone, and the co-pilot opens the door to see what the rhubarb is.
After a moment, the pilot flips the auto-pilot on and turns to see for himself, which is when the co-pilot turns back, his face dissolving, his lower jaw detaching itself from his face, his cheeks tearing. I have tried, since this aired, to shake that image, and I have found nothing that works.
Fringe! Words float on the screen, like "teleportation" and "dark matter" and "nanotechnology." These are the opening credits, not even long enough to accommodate a jaunty theme song. They're not quite as "minimalist" as Lost, but we'll see echoes of the Lost opening screen soon enough.
First, though, we're at some no-tell motel, and the sound of bouncing mattress springs lets us know what's going on. Inside one of the rooms, two ideal Aryan specimens are finishing up, with the woman smilingly saying they need to stop sneaking around like this, and he reminds her that the department is not a big fan of inter-office romance. She turns her back to him so they can spoon and says she thinks Charlie knows. "If he knew, then you would be transferred," he says, adding the idea that someone making a call as to whether they live in the same city is unacceptable to him.