Olivia leans in and asks if Charlie can set up an interview with William Bell. "Massive Dynamic William Bell?" He's surprised to learn Bishop and Bell shared a lab, and I think by this point the family of the victims on flight 627 can give up any hope of this idiot crew finding out what happened.
Olivia takes the Bishops in to see the awesomely creepy translucent body of John. He looks like a He-Man villain action figure! Walter, however, is more transfixed by the bright fluorescent light, staring at it until Olivia snaps him out of it. Another agent, a woman named Farnsworth, gives Peter a look, like it's Peter's fault his dad is a moth.
Walter takes John's medical chart, and asks for a ginger ale, because he hasn't had one in a long time. Olivia sends Farnsworth out for some. Meanwhile, Walter picks up a scalpel. Peter freaks out and grabs his dad's hands. "Does this not concern you?" he asks Olivia. Olivia tells Peter to let him go, and Peter does, reluctantly, while his dad jerks away.
Walter carefully scrapes off some of John's jellied skin (ick) and puts it in a container, and says they need to get it to his lab. Olivia and Peter point out that his lab was shut down after Walter left it, which makes Walter freak out and knock some shit over as he storms out of the isolation unit. "We need to get him back immediately," Peter tells Olivia, who looks befuddled, in a surprise move.
So it's time for a visit to Broyles. Olivia asks him to arrange access to Walter's lab in the basement of Harvard's Kresge building. "I'm sorry, what?" says an incredulous Broyles. He's rather dumbfounded -- AS AM I -- that Harvard's merely been using the lab for storage since Walter was sent off to the mental hospital.
Now it's Broyles' turn to make it personal; while he'd like to believe Olivia's tenacity in this case is a result of a "remarkable and robust professionalism," he actually thinks it's because Scott was poking her. "Get the lab for Bishop," snaps Olivia, who turns on her heel and stomps out of the room. I think that's a big fat yes, Broyles.
So the crew flips on the lights in Walter's old lab, and it's this huge cavernous room that Harvard hasn't had any use for? I mean, it's not even being used for storage. There's just dust covers over all of Walter's old equipment. "So much happened here," sighs Walter. He turns back to the Fringe bunch: "And so much is about to."
Coming back from commercial, we now get the completely-unnecessary-except-for-morons-I-suppose "HARVARD UNIVERSITY" giant floating letters. Olivia tells Walter she's ordered a "standard forensics work package" and asks if there's anything else he needs, and he rattles off a laundry list of sciencey stuff, leaving Farnsworth scrambling for a damn piece of paper. Among the items he needs: a cow, with specific breeding, weight and body fat. Olivia's all, whuh? Peter explains that, genetically speaking, cows and humans are separated by only a couple of strands of DNA. My own empirical evidence from a recent trip to the amusement park suggests he's being generous. Anyway, that makes cows an ethical test subject somehow. Perhaps "acceptable substitute for humans, scientifically speaking" maybe, but I know many people who would take issue with Peter's "ethical" comment. Olivia snidely asks him if he learned that at MIT, and Peter weirdly says, "No, from reading books. You should try it sometime." I'm not sure I get the Olivia-is-anti-book crack. Maybe it's a plain ol' "you're stupid" crack. Given how Olivia stares at him for half an hour before telling Farnsworth to get Walter a cow, maybe he's onto something. Walter gleefully says the only thing better than a cow is a person. Unless you need milk, in which case you need a cow, he adds. He does know that humans produce milk too, right? I mean, he's a scientist. He's crazy, not stupid.
Then we get the "scientist at work" montage, with Walter making notes and looking at slides, and then there's some farmer bringing in a cow and instead of, oh, I don't know, bringing it in the rear entrance or wherever it was that all this massive equipment in the lab came in to the building, he naturally leads it right down a crammed hallway full of students, like thanks for bringing your big dirty manure-dropping powerfully kicking bovine right down the hallway, Farmer Bob.
Olivia chews her fingernails and reads something (probably looking for a replacement QB for her fantasy football team after Brady went down). Peter brings her some coffee and asks her what else is in her super-secret file that she has on him, and she says she's not at liberty to say. He thinks he deserves a little more info after all he's done, and she finally admits that there is no file. He can't believe she was bluffing. "I'm really good at reading people; that's sort of what I do," he says. He laments that he could have stayed in Iraq. Olivia points out that a car bomb went off in Kirkuk this morning, so he probably owes her a thank-you. Peter laughs. "Yeah, well, I owe a lot." Olivia guesses the Mafia, and Peter admits he owes a lot of money to a guy named Big Eddie and the two of them have a heartwarming conversation about how Peter had a great system to beat the casino but the house cheated, and maybe the two of them could think about doing something useful instead of flirting with each other.
Later, Walter tells Olivia about a synthetic contagion worked on by the Pentagon for use against the Vietcong, and he thinks John's been exposed to the raw materials and not the finished contagion, which means he could synthesize a counter-agent. The only problem is he needs a precise inventory of what was in the storage locker.
No good, says Olivia, because John was the only one who saw it all before the storage locker went up in flames. She wants to know how long John has left. At the current "rate of crystallization," twenty-four hours. Olivia looks downcast, clearly not familiar, via Jack Bauer, with just how much can be done in twenty-four hours. "I'm so sorry that I can't offer you a less dangerous solution," he says, confusing Olivia. "Whatever you think you said, you didn't say," says Peter. So Walter starts in with the "synaptic transfer stimulation" and "shared dream state" and says the human mind gives off a quantifiable electric field. He posited way back in '76 that it's possible to synchronize the fields of two different minds and share information across the unconscious state, like a string between two tin cans. Well, here's hoping it works better than that. "You know, the great thing about that is that it's completely insane," says Peter. Olivia asks Walter if he means she can talk to John in his coma, and he can tell her what the suspect looks like.
"It's not an exact science," admits Walter. "It's not even science," yells Peter, playing Statler and Waldorf all wrapped up in one. Or Tom Servo and Crow. Or just the viewer. Walter says he used this technique to extract information from a corpse once. "You can do that if they haven't been dead for longer than six hours," explains Walter. "Right, because after six hours, that's when they're really dead," says Peter.
Walter says Olivia can access John's memories this way. Of course, she'll need an electro-magnetic probe implanted in the base of her skull whilst floating naked in the tank. "And you'd be heavily drugged," he says. Well, there's gotta be a down side she can't see, right?
Walter rattles off the drug cocktail Olivia would need to take (which includes LSD, which they'll have to make), and a skeptical Peter tries to make Olivia see how ridiculous it all is, by warning her that his father will kill her. Olivia considers it. "John would do it for me," she finally says. I don't see what John also being an idiot has to do with anything. "Excellent. Let's make some LSD," says Walter.
Presumably very soon, given the tight time frame, an ambulance carries John's crystallizing body (still with full head of hair, I note -- some guys have all the luck) t