At the Milton/Staller wedding in Brookline, Mass., the groom's side of the family is wiped out when they all start choking. The cause of death appears to be asphyxiation, even though there was plenty of air in the house. The groom bites it too, but after everyone else, because his inhaler was keeping him alive. The alone clue is the groom's grandmother spotting a man she recognized but no one else could identify. The concentration camp ID number on her arm -- and the fact that all the dead are her descendents -- leads the Fringe team to speculate it was a targeted attack.
Peter, keen nose that he has, notices a cinnamon candle in among all the jasmine candles chosen for the wedding, which is too ridiculous to think about too much. Walter starts to figure it was much scientific experiment as targeted attack, a theory which gains traction when the evil guy attempts to replicate his results in a coffee shop. In this case, however, the victims weren't all related, but Walter does figure out the common bond: brown eyes. The attacks are targeted genetically. While the Fringe team investigates, the evil guy spots Walter Bishop: "He looks just like his father," he says.
While investigating the toxin, Walter discovers a unique chemical signature: a seahorse, which leads Walter back to the work of his dad: Robert Bishop. Er, Robert Bishoff, a scientist who worked with the Nazis Don't worry, though! Bishoff was actually spying for the Allies. Whoever's killing people is carrying on the work that was done back then, which Walter thought was safely tucked away in his father's old books. Unfortunately, Peter sold those both for money and to get back at an absent father, and so the two of them struggle with the guilt that they loosed this evil knowledge on the world. (Well, Walter not so much: he blames Peter.)
As the FBI closes in on evil dude Alfred Hoffman, he sets a trap for Walter -- and almost succeeds in killing him -- before heading to the "World Tolerance Initiative" to try to wipe out a bunch of non-Aryan peoples by putting his toxin in those little candle things restaurants use to keep serving dishes warm. Peter figures it out while Walter has whipped up a batch of Hoffman-specific toxin, which Broyles is a little bit cross about. But Walter stands up to him, which isn't the only bit of odd similarity with the last couple of episodes: it's an episode in which people fall prey to toxin, and Walter cryptically alludes to whatever happened to Peter all those years ago. Meanwhile, it's never explained how Hoffman is apparently as fresh as those halcyon days of the Third Reich. There may be more answers coming.
Also, Peter tracks down his grandfather's books with the help of his friend Markham. That's good! A conceptual artist has incorporated the German science into artworks as part of a "banality of evil" series. That's bad! But it does mean that Walter's father's work wasn't responsible for the current attacks. That's good!
Next week: the winter finale. That's good! And also bad!
I am aware that it's resolutely unfair to judge a show based solely on the last thirty seconds and a preview for the next week's episode that I see every week as I record the show that comes directly after it, but I'm going to do it anyway: week in, week out, Bones looks absolutely awful. Anyone want to make a case in its defense? Every week with this shit! Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz seem like perfectly lovely (not to mention inhumanly good-looking) people, but it's really starting to get to me. I will say this, though: I find it inexplicably amusing -- nay, almost endearing -- when a show is named simply after the main character, particularly if it's a nickname or not an obvious name. Your House, your Bones. I think from now on I'm just going to refer to Olivia as "Fringe."
The good folks at Cake Palace (with the slogan "Let them eat cake") unload a three-tiered wedding cake in the driveway of a nice home in Brookline, Mass. And then we get some cheesy home video footage of wedding preparations, the guests arriving, etc. And I don't mean "cheesy" in the way that all weddings are a little cheesy. This was more like cheesy if you were watching Beverly Hills 90210, like not even the remake or the reboot or whatever stupid term is being used. A woman walks in, escorting an elderly Nana, telling her: "Nana, take it easy! There's no hurry!" and Nana proudly says, in accented English, "You take it easy! This my regular speed!" and the first woman looks into the camera with a condescending, "Oh, Nana, you'll bury us all" smile on her face. And then the groom's mother is busting in on the bride, with the videographer in tow, so David can see her in the dress before the wedding but without the bad luck, and isn't the point of the superstition supposed to be that the first time the groom sees her in the wedding dress is supposed to be as she's coming down the aisle? Like is Mom going to take the footage back to her son to make sure everything checks out? "Yeah, she looks good. Guess it's on!"
Anyway, the bride thanks her future mother-in-law "for everything," and the mother-in-law says she's so thrilled that Shelley is joining the family and "David is lucky to have you" and then they hug and Mrs. Staller gets all weepy and wants the videographer to stop shooting, and maybe while he's taking a break from documenting everything he can take something to steady his spastic hands so the camera isn't shaking so badly.
So then there's some ShakiCam action of the groom having trouble breathing while one of the groomsmen grabs a bottle of whiskey and gets ready to pour -- to calm him down.