"Your father's Walter Bishop," she says. "The last time someone asked me that, it was an accusation," he responds, and he can't believe his father would be any help anyway. Plus, "I'd rather stay here in Iraq. That's how much I want to see my father." He moves to leave, so she actually uses the word "beg" and says his father may be able to help someone who's dying, "someone I care about very much." Peter thinks this over. "Sweetheart, we all care about someone who's dying," he says, and walks away again.
"I know why you're here," she calls after him. He stops and turns back. "I have your file." "What file?" he says, half-laughing. "The one the FBI would say doesn't exist," she says, adding a few cryptic statements about what he's done, who he's running from, what he needs while he's in Baghdad (he looks nervously around the lobby), and she says that if he doesn't agree to come with her, she'll let "certain people" know his whereabouts. "When do we leave?" he says.
On the plane ride, Peter's got all kinds of questions about his father, whom he calls "self-absorbed" and "twisted" and "abusive" and "myopic," but he doesn't really know much about him other than that he was a chemist who worked out of a basement lab in Harvard doing research for a toothpaste company, and that there was an accident and his father was arrested, beginning the first truly "peaceful" period of his life. "My gut tells me that your friend's life, the one hanging in the balance, is not going to be saved by a tube of toothpaste," he says. Unless he gets full-blown gingivitis, anyway. Shit be lethal. Olivia gets all excited because FINALLY someone is asking her about all the Googling she did!
She says Walter Bishop worked on a classified U.S. Army experimental project called Kelvin Genetics, with unlimited resources, mostly in the area of fringe science.
"When you say 'fringe' science you mean pseudo-science," says Peter. "I suppose. Things like mind control. Teleportation. Astral projection. Invisibility. Genetic manipulation. Reanimation..." she says. Peter interrupts her to ask if his dad was Dr. Frankenstein. Olivia just looks at him, and the silence grows increasingly awkward. She never said he was successful at it.
Over the snowy roads of Essex County, Massachusetts, to St. Claire's Hospital. Guards lead Olivia and Peter through the locked doors and corridors of the nuthouse, with Peter finally having his fill of the swelling strings and tells Olivia to go on ahead. She looks at him all befuddled, which is a look she's nicely perfecting already.
The orderly takes Olivia into Walter Bishop's huge cell, where he's artfully slumped symmetrically between two windows. "Hello," she says. He slowly turns around. This is the kind of mental hospital where they don't shave the patients, just so that they're easier to identify (Crazy Beard = Crazy Man). "I knew someone would come. Eventually," he croaks.
It's over to the immaculate mess hall for a little conversation about dissolving skin. He nervously wiggles his fingers (signifying: batshit!) while he asks about the timeline. She tells him the incident on the plane was four days ago, and Agent Scott was injured the next day. He says it's not good that you can see through his skin, which Olivia doesn't really require a gifted-but-insane chemist to tell her. She asks if it can be reversed. He doesn't answer. He's got bigger worries on his mind, specifically the dreadful butterscotch pudding they serve here on Mondays. "It's Thursday," says Olivia. He lights up, while Olivia looks less convinced that this conversation is going to help John at all. Then: "It can be reversed, what happened to your colleague," he says, adding that this had happened to some lab animals he'd worked with, but they were saved. She asks if he remembers what to do.
Again, he doesn't answer. He has a hard time speaking, and mutters something about the hospital's "choice of therapies." "Dr. Bishop," she prompts. And he looks at her clearly. "You came here with my son," he says. He knows that he's only allowed visits with immediate family, which must mean his son is with her. "Unless the order's been lifted, it's a simple if/then formula: if you are here, then so must he." Walter says he'd very much like to see him.
So a gloomy Olivia clomps down the hallway to Peter. "He asked for you," she says. "Thanks, sweetheart. I really appreciate that," he says. I gotta say, he's not really pulling off the "sweetheart." Olivia snaps that she didn't tell Walter that Peter was here. "And call me 'sweetheart' one more time. I really appreciate that." Peter stomps by her up the hallway and into the cafeteria, pausing briefly when he sees his father.
"Hello, Walter," he says. "I thought you'd be fatter," says his father. Hee. Peter's less amused. "You thought I'd be fatter. Excellent. First words. Perfect." Walter protests that Peter was "round" as a boy, and Peter's all, yeah, until the summer before high school, not that you'd REMEMBER, only by this point Walter is now grabbing at his son's eyes to check his pupils, and shouldn't there be a guard stepping in right about now? But Walter's satisfied his son's pupils are good, and then says he needs a first-hand look at Agent Scott, but he can't leave unless signed out by a legal guardian, which, once again, has to be a family member.
Peter's all NO WAY, and Olivia threatens a mysterious phone call again, and goes so far as to pull her phone out of her pocket, and Peter acquiesces. "You wanted my father. Now you've got my father, which falls under the category of 'be careful what you wish for.' Sweetheart." He stomps off.
Peter signs out his dad, who's chopping away at his beard in the bathroom. Maybe you could shave after you save John's life? Eventually, Walter's ready, and he steps forward, looking apprehensive, ready to rejoin the outside world.
Road trip! Woo! Olivia plays fun games like Grill the Nutcase, asking Walter if anyone else ever had access to his work. "My assistant had bits and pieces. God, I suppose." Other than that, the only person who really knew what he was doing was William. "William who?" asks Olivia. "Bell. William Bell. We shared a lab," says the doctor offhandedly, throwing both Olivia and Peter for a loop. "You shared your lab with the founder of Massive Dynamic," says Peter, but Walter doesn't know what Massive Dynamic is. "Nothing, really, just a tiny little company," say Peter sarcastically, lamenting that one of the lab partners became one of the wealthiest men in the world, while the other becomes an "institutionalized psychopath," like try being MORE of a dick to your father, Peter, first of all, and second, NICE RESEARCH, OLIVIA. I can't imagine how you compiled all this info on Walter Bishop but somehow missed that he used to work with this universe's Bill Gates. I mean, really. Oh, and then Walter pisses his pants. "Just a squirt," he says defensively. And then they pass by a billboard for, of course, Massive Dynamic. "What do we do? What don't we do," reads the slogan, juxtaposing a kid playing with a toy airplane, with a jet. Oh. So it's one of those companies with cryptic ads that are all "At Massive Dynamic, we don't make the television. We make a special type of glue for the laser welders used to put the components in the television" or whatever, which always makes me yell, "JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO BUY" at the television.
Back at the hospital, Charlie's just dropped in to see what condition John's condition is in, and Olivia says he's worse. "CDC says the Hamburg flight was caused by a synthetic compound, which is like saying rain is caused by a wet compound." Charlie wants to know what's up with Bishop.
"Left to right?" says Olivia, whatever that means, adding, "Insane. And irritating. And also my only hope." Isn't that the tagline