Fringe

Episode Report Card
Daniel: A- | 1 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
You'll Never Make a Monkey Out of Walter
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

We're starting this episode off at some sort of music festival out in the middle of nowhere, only it doesn't appear to have started yet, because it's dark and there's a mini-convoy of SUVs headed towards the large cylindrical dome which is where I assume Girl Talk will be playing. And security is ridiculous! Actual soldiers at checkpoints with assault rifles. The window of an SUV rolls down. It's Philip Broyles and Olivia, with the fabulous Bishop Boys in the backseat, and they're asked for their clearance and ID. Walter's got a request of his own: chewing gun, any flavour will do. The soldier looks at him blankly, and Peter explains that his dad has a "thing" with his ears, and Walter hotly explains that he's got a blocked Eustachian tube.

After the soldiers are done rolling their eyes at the crazy old scientist, the SUV is waved through. Inside the hangar, a scientist is conferring with Nina Sharp, telling her that they've tried a dozen different power sources, with no reactions at all. An aide strolls up to tell Nina that her guests are here, kinda making it sound like the party's about to start. In a way, I guess it is. She tells him to "expand the telemetry parameters and run the tests again." I was just going to suggest restarting the machine. That usually works on whatever problem I'm having.

Nina guides the team through the hangar, and says she understands they broke the encryption on the computer "the other Olivia" left behind. That was thanks to Peter, Broyles says, who gave them a number of password suggestions, one of which worked. "It was a song lyric. And Fauxlivia ruined U2 for all of us," says a grouchy Walter. Well, at least you still have Violet Sedan Chair! Well, I guess you don't. Speaking of "Olive Can Read This," I should say that despite me mocking the "sudden" reference to Violet Sedan Chair as Walter's favorite band, it's been pointed out to me that they actually have been mentioned before, a couple of times, neither time I actually remember. But really, given the staggering attention to detail this show has, I really should have known better.

Anyway, since I was busy thinking "the last few U2 records have ruined U2 for me," it took a second or two to register that Walter actually said "Fauxlivia," and then Nina asks about it, and Peter explains it for her and for everybody, and I'd like to commend the powers that be on this show for seeing the light, and it's clear that our long national nickname nightmare of Bolivia vs. Fauxlivia is over.

That out of the way, Nina asks what actually is in the computer, other than subpar forgettable rock that is a shadow of its former self, and Broyles is all, "It's one big file, mission details buried in hundreds of pages of mundane observations about our world," by which he actually means that he recently discovered Frisky Dingo and hasn't actually gotten around to looking at Fauxlivia's computer.

Meanwhile, Walter has walked on ahead into the hangar bay, and he now stands transfixed before the almost fully built doomsday device. It takes his breath away to see it realized -- and the reactions from the rest of the team are similar. "It's bigger than I imagined," says Olivia, which is a line she has said in every single piece of Fringe fan fiction I have written myself into. Peter notes that it's just big enough to destroy a couple of universes.

So the scientist that Nina was talking to before tells them they haven't been able to figure out how the machine works, despite having the top people at NASA, the CIA, the NIH at their disposal. Walter awkwardly interrupts to find out which acronym the scientist belongs to, and Nina introduces Dr. James Falcon as Massive Dynamic's lead scientist on the project. "Oh. Well, I suppose that makes me your boss," says Walter, who introduces himself. "Now that I've established who the alpha dog is here, please continue," says Walter.

Anyway, now that we've drawn attention to a supposedly minor character, Dr. Falcon says there doesn't seem to be an energy source or anything that suggests the machine can hold or transmit any kind of power. Peter stares at it.

Nearby, a couple of scientists type away, until their screens start to go screwy and wavy. "Some kind of electromagnetic spike," says some scientist named Jack, and now objects on desks start rattling and a chair rolls by of its own accord.

Things are starting to shake, but that hasn't made its way to the Fringe team. Nina's saying she thinks the problem might be the missing piece stolen by Fauxlivia. Stolen? I mean, it's not like this thing actually belongs to Massive Dynamic. Peter says that could be right, given the missing piece goes right in the centre.

Dr. Falcon asks if Fauxlivia mentioned the machine in her files, and Broyles starts in with the excuses like the slacker he is, but he's interrupted by loud mechanical screeching noises, as parts of the machine start moving. Panels on the top encircling the device move in and down, with everyone in the hangar, watching amazed. Except for Peter, who actually looks a little blasé, and he finds that his nose is bleeding just a little bit. "It's like something triggered it," says Falcon, after the machine's movement grinds to a halt. "Something did trigger it. Me," says Peter.

After the opening credits, we move to the Bishop household late at night. The deadbolt on the front door slowly turns and then a gloved hand gently opens the front door. It seems like it's someone who's not supposed to be there ... and then it turns out to be Peter, wearing dark clothes, slipping into the house and setting down a tote bag. It seemed odd at the time, and then I forgot about it as I was watching the episode. Turns out to have been a big ol' clue!

In the kitchen, Peter settles in at the island with the fixins' for a peanut butter and jam sandwich, and he's a little startled to see Walter stroll in, carrying a book. "Peter. You've been out?" says Walter. Peter lies and says he just came downstairs, unable to sleep. For that excuse to work, Walter has to accept that Peter decided to get fully dressed before coming downstairs. Instead, he says that he thought he heard the door, and Peter chalks it up to a dream. Walter says he wasn't sleeping, but he doesn't sound suspicious. He's probably distracted by the sandwich preparation going on, and he asks Peter for one. Then he asks if Peter's had any more nosebleeds or headaches, and the answer is negatory. "But you're unable to sleep?" says Walter, and Peter says it's not because of the machine.

Walter plops the book down on the counter. It's that book on the First Peoples, and Walter says he's read it cover to cover a dozen times, looking in vain for something that might suggest how the device works or how it's connected to Peter, who tells his dad that he needs to stop: "I want answers too. And I know you want to help me, but I don't think that you can this time. You can't protect me from everything," he says. And just to show his dad that there's no hard feelings, he hands over his PB&J sandwich. Walter solemnly accepts, looking like he's trying to keep from crying.

Over to Massive Dynamic now, where the suddenly ubiquitous Dr. Falcon is placing electrodes on Peter's temple, preparing to slide him into an MRI-type device, with a fretful Walter saying that he's not convinced this is necessary. "Every human being gives off a unique electromagnetic signature. We're testing to see if it was indeed your son's that triggered the machine," says Dr. Falcon, explaining a couple of things to Walter, who explodes at Falcon's impudence for doing so, what with Walter's own graduate degree from MIT. Walter says he doesn't need a test to know how unlikely it is that this has anything to do with electromagnetics. It's a good thing Nina's there to keep Walter from taking the guy's head off.

Anyway, Walter asks Peter if he knows just how much radiation he's about to be exposed to. "Well, I do now, Walter," says Peter. Nina tells Walter that he's overreacting, and Walter wants to h

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Fringe

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