Fringe

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Parasite Eve
a customer satisfaction survey. In more immediate concerns, Olivia and Peter quickly realize they've got about thirty-six hours before another boatload of passengers arrives, with passengers of their own.

Back at the lab, Astrid throws a dead worm on the scale that weighs in at seven pounds, ten ounces, their largest yet. "Parasitic worm, to be precise," Walter corrects, busily dissecting one and rhapsodizing about Mother Nature's "disturbing sense of humor." "Considering your new pet, I think mother Nature's a real bitch," Astrid says, casting a look at the giant worm looping gracefully yet somehow malevolently back and forth in the fish tank. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Mother Nature is kind of getting a bum rap here. Peter and Olivia arrive, and while Peter and Astrid banter about the worms' possible utility as bait, Olivia updates Walter on what they learned from the survivor about the "seasickness medication." Walter says that despite the size of the adult worm, a larva could be small enough to fit into, say, a drug capsule, which would be a handy method for implanting them into the human hosts they need to gestate in. This as Walter drops a bloody little knot that might be a larva into a petri dish. Now they know the how, but while Olivia's wondering about the why, she gets a text from Broyles: the ship's manifest has been found, and an arrest has been made. No explanation as to what the arrest was for. As usual, this show isn't about the police work, which is good because it probably wouldn't hold up. She and Peter rush off while Peter tells Walter to keep working on the worm. "Parasitic worm," Walter corrects again.

Tzi Ma is doing some dissecting of his own, gutting a worm (excuse me, parasitic worm), reaching in, and pulling out some kind of gland the size of a garbanzo bean that he drops into a beaker of slime to join a gruesome little collection he's got going. And the next thing we see him doing is tipping a flask of white powder onto some wrapping paper, which he then folds closed and seals with a sticker marked with Chinese characters I can't read. So apparently it only takes a matter of hours to distill pure powder from pure nightmare fuel.

At the Federal Building, a very rotund bald Chinese man in a wifebeater is shackled to a table in an interrogation room. In the adjoining observation room, Broyles is telling Olivia that the manifest led them to the place where the boat was headed, which is where they found this dude. "He'd just finished burning every document in the place." Peter tells Broyles the man won't talk, being a Triad gang member and all. How does he know that? Peter points out all of the suspect's tattoos, which apparently he can read like a personal ad. I don't know what he's talking about, but I do notice that the same characters that were on Tzi Ma's packet sticker are also on the inside of the suspect's forearm. They're also on his neck, and that's the one Peter translates as marking him as a member of the Soon Hong Triad. Olivia recognizes that as the name of a heroin-smuggling gang. "They're expanding their business," Broyles guesses. While Peter starts babbling a theory about how some parasites secrete opiates and this just might be the more Soon Hong smuggling but with a Fringier M.O, suddenly the suspect manages to pull an entire razor blade from his mouth. Nice searching protocols, FBI. Olivia and Peter rush for the door while Broyles hangs back, snatching up the phone to call in a code blue. Olivia bursts into the interrogation room, and the suspect smiles at her -- twice, if you know what I mean. And if you don't, I guess I could explain that the second smile is a wide, self-inflicted gash across his throat that begins spilling blood all down his front. But I'd rather not have to. It's kind of gross.

The floaty letters reading "HARVARD UNIVERSITY" are reflected in the placid waters of the Charles River as the Harvard crew team rows beneath them. In less picturesque news, Walter and Astrid are down in the lab struggling with their squealing live specimen as Walter grunts, "If only all parasitic worms were full of narcotics." Astrid uses a syringe to extract a clear fluid from the creature, which makes it look awfully easy. While Walter's talking about how they'll analyze the fluid to find the active ingredient (and then Walter will snort it, no doubt), the creature suddenly wraps its long tail around Walter's arm and latches its horrid, four-toothed mouth onto his wrist, then commences a pumping, sucking motion, like Walter's a giant mad-scientist smoothie and his arm is the straw. Astrid hurries to try prying it off, but Walter tells her to wait. "This is rather pleasant," he says, and is still smiling as Astrid manages to peel the thing off him. When they look up, Broyles is standing there starting at them impassively. He asks where Olivia is, and Astrid directs him to the back, where he goes without bothering to offer any help with or even asking any questions about the writhing hellspawn Astrid's currently struggling to keep subdued. Below his pay grade, I guess.

In the back office, Peter and Olivia are speculating on who the buyer for the still-hypothetical drug could be when Broyles enters with a folder on the Triad and its suspected leader, John Soo, whereabouts unknown. It looks like a lot of shell companies. And there's no official word on the second boat, either, even though the Coast Guard has been boarding and searching incoming ships, because I guess they can do that. They still have about 20 hours, but it occurs to me that if the bad guys know the FBI is onto them, which they clearly do, they might just redirect the second boat of immigrants to another port city. There probably aren't many other destinations that would be less convenient for a vessel originating in China, after all. Duluth, perhaps. Sorry, I'm overthinking, aren't I? Looking at the papers Broyles brought, Olivia finds a record of a wire transfer of a half-million dollars from somewhere in Beacon Hill, at about the same time the first ship left. "Sounds like someone is financing those shipments," Broyles duhs.

Olivia's car drives under the BEA in the floaty letters reading BEACON HILL, BOSTON across a suburban street. Good thing they didn't take the SUV or she would have lost her roof. Pulling over to the curb and looking up at a fancy house, they wonder how this could be the source of a sizable wire transfer to a Chinese Triad. Well, maybe they order a lot of takeout.

When they ring the front doorbell, it's answered by a ten-year-old kid named Matt. At least, I assume that's his age, because that's how they treat him. They ask if his parents are home, and after he asks to see "like, a badge," and Olivia shows hers, he calls back into the house, "Mom, some FBI people are here." Peter and Olivia share a smile over the adorable little moppet as he invites them in. All of which is kind of odd, because this "little kid" is as tall as Olivia, looks like a blond Tom Welling, and has a voice like a radio DJ.

Cut to the living room, where "mom," a rather severe-looking patrician woman named Elizabeth Jarvis, is explaining how the money was an investment suggested by her financial advisor. Olivia ends up telling her more than she tells Olivia, including their suspicion of this being the work of notorious human-smuggler John Soo. But the real point of this scene is the snooping around that Peter's doing while Olivia does the interviewing. As usual. This week's clues: large and numerous bottles of off-brand hand sanitizer, air purifier units built into the walls, and little stickers on the windows that read "hermetically sealed." Meanwhile Elizabeth refers Olivia to her financial adviser and promises to help in any way she can, just like guilty people on TV always do.

When they emerge, Matt is out playing basketball in the driveway as Olivia wonders what Peter was looking for. He doesn't share yet, but they decide Olivia will go to the hospital to check on Mei Lin after dr

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