Fringe

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Parasite Eve
opping Peter off at the lab. All this talk of logistics is riveting.

Peter finds Walter lacing up a pair of sneakers in the lab. He breezes in, asking, "Walter, what do you think the connection is between an obsessive-compulsive germophobe and our worms? Nice kicks." Walter says he has a theory, and proudly shows Peter his fresh bite-marks. Astrid tells Peter what happened, and when she says Walter might be infected, Walter assures them both he's fine. In fact, he seems somehow more together than we've ever seen him. "My white cell count is through the roof, I have several new antibodies in my blood, and even the gas I had is gone." Plus he's standing up straight, speaking in a strong, confident voice, and generally acting like he's done being a mad scientist, at least for today. He calmly assures Peter that the creature's output isn't a narcotic but medicine, and has Astrid show Peter a picture of an intestinal hookworm. Normally they're about ten millimeters long (or a centimeter, if you want to get super-science-nerdy about it), and used in Chinese medicine to treat chronic asthma. And all forms of Walter Bishop-itis, it seems. Throwing on a smart suit coat over his neat vest and perfectly knotted tie, Walter explains that their giant worm is "a new species, bioengineered from this hookworm." Sounds like someone owes Mother Nature an apology. He goes on to say that they were apparently designed to grow in humans and nowhere else. With that, he crosses to his workbench and pulls out the same gland Tzi Ma did earlier, telling Peter that it produces an enzyme that boosts immunities. Peter is starting to see the connection to germophobes. And he's not done with his brilliant deductive leaps, either, because he seems to finally realize that Walter seems to be getting ready to leave. Walter confirms he's already found three Chinatown herbalists in the phone book that sell the hookworm in question, and he's off to collect samples for genetic comparison. To their specimen, I presume. Peter quickly offers to take care of that, but Walter takes offense. "You don't believe I can do it," he accuses." Well, I can. Don't you dare follow me." Peter smiles innocently, and he and Astrid watch Walter go. But not before Walter has to beg change for the bus off his son. Which doesn't really do much for the dignified image he's trying to convey right now.

At the hospital, Olivia is showing Mei Lin some close-up photos of the dead Triad's gang tattoos, before he bled all over them. Through the translator from the Consulate, she explains her theory, which just makes Mei Lin stress out about her family some more. Olivia responds with vague promises to do everything she can. I hope the interpreter punches that up a little in the translation.

Down in the hold of the other ship, a little girl, presumably Mei Lin's daughter, is telling her father she doesn't feel well. He in turn tells her to sleep. Instead of doing that, she plays with a little mechanical bird and watches a sleeping fellow passenger whose shirt is open. And whose stomach is moving unnaturally. Her eyes widen in horror, but she keeps quiet, at least until the ads hit.

When Olivia returns to the lab, Peter tells her that Walter's "out self-actualizing," but Astrid's shadowing him. I guess Walter didn't say she couldn't follow him. Peter, meanwhile, is online doing research on air filters. He tells Olivia about all the clues he found at the Jarvis home, including oxygen tanks he didn't actually see but is sure are there. Peter tells her what Walter told him about the worm's magic lymph gland and how it might connect to Elizabeth Jarvis, and when Olivia offers to get a warrant for the Jarvis place, he says he has a better idea.

Which is, apparently, to go give Matt Jarvis some basketball pointers as he bumbles around in his driveway. "Bend your knees more," he says after watching the kid bounce one off the front of the rim. Matt's not about to talk to any FBI agents, so Peter takes off his jacket, saying they can be "just a couple guys hanging out on the court." Or, more accurately, one guy and another guy playing a kid. Olivia excuses herself, hinting, "I have to go talk to a judge about a warrant." Peter hangs back to watch Matt swish a few shots, shagging his rebounds and trying to relate to being raised by a single mom. "You're worried that if you lose her, you'll have no one." He warns that Matt's mom is dealing with some scary people who will want to cover their tracks, including possibly Matt's mom, which seems to get through to the creepy little man-child. Peter asks Matt if his mom's sick with some immune deficiency disorder. Matt says no and pulls up the side of his t-shirt, revealing a recent surgery scar. "The treatments are for me," he says. And at this point, he further reveals that he is in fact thirty-six years old. Okay, not really, but I wouldn't have been surprised.

Walter looks to be enjoying his freedom out in Chinatown, but while referring to his phone book page for the address of his next destination, he looks over and spots a familiar face peeking out from behind a vendor's cart. "Agent Farnsworth," he says stiffly. Yeah, Astrid's busted. Walter looks hurt, and isn't fooled when Astrid claims this is a coincidental meeting. "I have a...friend that lives right down...by the, uh...the Chinese restaurant." Heh. Suddenly I feel a lot better about Astrid being a lab assistant for the FBI rather than out in the field shadowing suspects or doing undercover work. Walter indignantly says he just wants to be able to do stuff on his own, like buy a hot dog or join a gym (he should probably pick just one of those). Astrid apologizes, and Walter says she can come along for the next stop. "But as a friend, not a supervisor," he insists. Astrid agrees, and Walter finally gives a childish little smile and says, "I love Chinatown." Friends again, I guess.

Broyles has apparently decided that having his meetings in the park doesn't suit the seriousness of his position, so he's having this one beneath an overpass. Olivia and Peter tell him what they learned about Matt. "Technically this kid should be living in a giant plastic baggie," Peter says, "but we just shot hoops with him this afternoon." What keeps Matt alive, Peter further learned, is a powder inserted directly into his spleen that Walter thinks comes from the worm's lymph gland. He gets monthly treatments, including one coming up in two days, which just happens to be after the next boat is scheduled to arrive. I suspect there's more that Matt isn't telling them -- namely, that his mom has a recent portrait of him hidden in the attic that shows him with an apparent age of four and a half.

At the next herbalist shop, Walter marvels to Astrid over a plate of normal-sized hookworms. "You haven't seen anything until you've seen one of these four feet long," Walter boasts to the proprietor of the shop they're in. Who is, of course, Tzi Ma. You'd think given the scale of the operation he's running, he might be able to find someone to pick up a shift on the register. But then, he also ships his priceless medicinal powder in packets of paper, so maybe his business priorities are a little out of whack. Gazing at them intensely, he charges Walter fifteen dollars (which Walter insists on paying instead of Astrid). Transaction completed and customers gone, Tzi Ma pulls out his cell phone and makes a call. Which causes a large man in a black tank top -- another Triad, no doubt -- to emerge from a doorway across the street. Oblivious to this, Walter and Astrid are outside buying smoothies from a street vendor. While Astrid's paying, and turning down the vendor's half-serious offer to throw in some fish heads, Walter is distracted by some lacquered cricket boxes and wanders over for a closer look. By the time Astrid has their goodies in hand, Walter's gone. So in addition to undercover work, we have also just learned that Astrid is also not qualified to work in the FBI's day care center.

Broyles ends his underpass meeting by telling Olivia and Peter to lean on Elizabeth Jarvis. As he gets in

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