OK, so this is an update that I actually had to stop so I could go check on/hug my daughter. The opening features an old guy shaving his head and muttering about cleansing fire and the like, and then he puts on a silver facemask and goes and abducts a kid right out of his bedroom. Sadly, the boy's mother did a less-than-thorough job of checking for monsters.
Thanks to Walter's kidnapping of Peter all those years ago, Walternate has decreed that all kidnappings must be treated as possible Fringe events, which is how our heroes come to investigate the case, and it turns out that it's the return of a kidnapper nicknamed "the Candyman," who took alt-Broyles' son four years ago. In other words, this is personal.
The Candyman takes kids for a couple of days, and then they're returned, much the worse for wear. Weakened immune systems, cell degeneration, internal organ atrophy, in some cases cancer. Alt-Broyles stonewalls Olivia when she wants to reinterview Broyles' son, who was blinded during the abduction. Part of his unease is his knowledge that this isn't the Olivia he knows, but at the behest of his wife he consents to the interview.
Olivia has a theory that the Candyman accesses the kids' pituitary glands and steals their youth to make himself young again. That turns out to be true, and Olivia's the one who eventually tracks the guy and rescues the most recent abduction through a whackjob church that believes in the cleansing fire and whatnot. And then Olivia's the one who figures out the reverend's involved too, just in time for Broyles to save his wife and son from a revenge attack.
Unbeknownst to Olivia, Walternate's planning to have her removed the next day, since Fauxlivia's mission is almost over, but she's already trying to find her way home with the help of Henry the cab driver. A verbal slipup on Olivia's part makes alt-Broyles realize that Olivia knows who she actually is, but out of gratitude he looks the other way while she heads to Liberty Island to find her way home.
Olivia breaks into the lab and sends herself home, just for a few moments until Walternate has her yanked out of the tank. But Olivia gets a message to Peter -- through a freaked-out cleaning woman at the gift shop -- telling him that she's trapped in the other universe.
AND WE HAVE TO WAIT TWO WEEKS TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
We're back Over There this week, and we open with an old guy sharpening a straight razor with a strop, which in television and movies always means the guy is crazy. Or a barber. But he's in his bathroom, not a barbershop. And he looks kind of like any random old guy that shows up in Metallica videos for whatever reason.
Then he starts using the straight razor to shave his head, thereby upping the crazy quotient. Once he's done, he pours some liquid from a vial into a wash basin and starts running it over his bald head, which has some kind of oddly shaped birthmark or something on it. As he does so, he starts talking to himself, so there's no doubt he's a wacko: "Through suffering comes redemption. Through sorrow comes exaltation. Through pitch dark comes a cleansing fire. Through the fire, we shall find a spring of new life."
Then he holds up a silver face mask, the kind a really posh hockey goalie from the '70s might have worn.
And it's over to New Yonkers ... is that an alternate-universe thing? "New" Yonkers? I suppose I could look it up ... nah. Anyway, it's night, and there's a scared little kid in bed with the covers pulled up to his face, looking at his open closet door. He gets up and goes down the hall to his mom's bedroom, and wakes her to tell her there's a monster in the closet.
Geez, talk about a cheery mom. Despite being woken up in the middle of the night, she clearly enjoys the whole checking-the-closet-for-monsters thing. She also checks under Max's bed. "Looks like your room is officially monster-free tonight, kiddo," she says. Since my daughter isn't as old as this kid yet, maybe I don't know, but if he's young enough to still be worried about monsters under his bed, does he really need a computer on his desk? Anyway, they go over the procedure for what "big boys" do when they see monsters, which, oddly, is not "grow up" but close their eyes, count to three, and when they open their eyes, the monster is gone.
Max feels immensely better as his mom leaves the room and turns off his light. He stares at the closet. Nothing. And then, almost heart-stoppingly, the door swings shut because the man in the silver mask is behind it. Max covers his eyes and counts to three, but when he opens them, Silver Facemask Man is still all up in his grill. He doesn't get to contemplate the shittiness of his mom's advice for too long, because Silver Facemask Man covers Max's mouth with a cloth, and it's not too long before Max is knocked out. Facemask Man gathers Max up in his arms and leaps out the bedroom window.