Fringe

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I Don't Hear the Train A-Comin'
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Welcome to Milton, Mass., where an evening of playing, oh, let's say, Scattergories and watching Looney Tunes has degenerated into a twisted nightmare from a less-gory Saw movie. There's a guy, in this rather nice home, searching through his toolbag until he finds a small pickaxe. The appearance of a pickaxe makes the four people in the living room widen their eyes in fear. They can't say anything, because their mouths have been duct-taped. The man with the pickaxe looks at them for a moment with an expression that's equal parts menacing and scared, and then he flicks on the nearby wallmounted television so we can all enjoy the futile antics of Wile E. Coyote. Now he just seems apologetic, but he doesn't say anything. Still, it doesn't seem as bad as playing Cranium yet again.

Meanwhile, in the basement, two other guys are digging a hole, and they've already made it through the cement floor, so I'm not sure what the point of the pickaxe is. One of the diggers complains to the other about where his "dumb cousin" got off to, but the other guy sticks up for family and says to just keep working. Immediately after that, a shovel makes a thunk sound as it hits something, and the diggers haul up a metal box with grooves and strange symbols on it.

Obviously the guys doing the grunt work are not the ones who are in charge, so there's some arguing about whether or not they should open it, since it's got to be something valuable. "That's exactly the kind of thinking that found us trouble in Texas," says the cousin-defender, but then curiosity gets the better of him and he figures they'll just have a peek.

So they open it, and we're going to go all Pulp Fiction for a while and not see what's in the box, and as soon as it's opened, the basement lightbulb shatters and the two men silently go into a trance, quivering, blood streaming out of their noses.

Then Buddy with the pickaxe -- who, honestly, really did take a long time to get downstairs -- comes strolling down the steps, only to find his cousin and accomplice zombiefied.

But hey, the man's got a job to do, so he grabs the box and runs upstairs. On his way out he sees that the four people are all vegetables now too -- milky-white eyes rolled back in their heads. Well, at least they died the way they lived: watching Looney Tunes.

After the opening credits -- blue, because we're back in our world -- Fauxlivia is meeting with Thomas Newton, who's got a little Earth-prime orientation package for her, so she can get acquainted with her new identity. "Agent Olivia Dunham, joined the Fringe Division Sept. 9th, 2008. And you also got files on both Bishops, Broyles, Bell and Farnsworth."

Fauxlivia marvels at the intel and asks where he got it. "I've been over here since you were in high school, and I've cultivated a lot of resources," he tells her. Like a book: The History of Pop Culture. I gotta say, the prop department shouldn't have left this book until the last minute. There's a picture of a '50s Cadillac, a smiley face, the statue of liberty and a doll. Yeah, that about sums it up! Comprehensive!

She flips through it while he readies a little gadget that erases the tattoo from the back of her neck. There's a picture of Bono and she asks who "Bone-o" is and he corrects her pronunciation and explains that he's a musician: "One of the few I like on this side," and Fauxlivia says he's "easy on the eyes" only this is old Bono with the hedgehog hair, and Newton warns her not to be taken in by how "alluring" people on this side are, like this is 50-YEAR-OLD BONO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT, and Fauxlivia snaps that she doesn't need to be reminded whose side she's on. She asks if he did what she told him to do, and in case she's forgotten what she asked him to do, he says, "I hired a team and sent it to the site, yes." She asks if it was his usual men, and he says no, because he doesn't want to "burn his resources." With a sarcastic edge, he asks if that meets with her approval. "I don't care how long you've been here. This is my operation. You work for me," snaps Olivia. Newton seethes but smiles and says "indeed." Stiff upper lip and all that (yes, I know the actor's really French).

Over at the lab, Astrid is reading the Obituaries page, which is where the Boston Backstory has placed the story on the death of William Bell, instead of the front page, which it would for the death of someone of Bell's supposed stature. Also, the headline? "William Bell, founder of Massive Dynamic, is dead"? Yeah, kinda cold. There's a reason newspaper obits soften the headline by adding "...after battle with cancer" or simply write a past-tense headline like, "William Bell, 80, was founder of Massive Dynamic," and besides, since this stupid prop newspaper has the story on the obit page, I'd think "...is dead" is somewhat redundant anyway.

ANYWAY, Walter moans that Bell was his best friend, and wherever he is, he'll be "very disappointed." Struggling to not cry, he tells Astrid that they're low on butter, and she goes to fetch some.

Meanwhile, Broyles and Peter are looking at the blueprints for Walternate's doomsday machine, which Peter tells Broyles was missing several pieces: "Including one very important one. Me." Big deal. Who isn't a crucial component of a doomsday device? "You think this is accurate? That you somehow can power this device?" Peter says the device seems to need a "specific human interface," and tells him about the part that responded directly to him.

Broyles is worried about Walternate needing Peter to operate the weapon, but Peter's not worried about it, because Walternate's got agents on this side, so if Walternate wanted him back, they "would have made a play already," he says, even though he's only been back for a couple of days, and switching universes isn't exactly like nipping out to the corner store for a carton of milk.

And instead of helping with all this, Walter is bitching about the cacao beans Peter got, whining that Gene will never be able to digest them. See, he's trying to make Gene produce chocolate milk, which is -- actually, that's pretty damn cool, so he should just keep at that.

Broyles asks Walter if he has any idea why this machine would be configured for Peter, like shut UP, Broyles, he's working on something important! Walter simply says that he knows the machine is dangerous, which is why Broyles says they need to understand: "If it is indeed a threat..." he begins, and Walter finishes: "...then to ignore it would be irresponsible. I've heard that argument before. That's what you people told Oppenheimer when you discovered that the Nazis were working on a bomb," he says. Yeah, and then Oppenheimer made the ultimate bomb! So that worked out great, didn't it? Or am I missing Walter's point?

Anyway, Walter agitatedly says he needs to go back to the market, and he yells for "Aspirin" to accompany him. They stomp out, as Fauxlivia comes in, with Walter asking if she needs anything, and she's sort of surprised, probably because she's been led to believe that the humans over here are all selfish, calculating remorseless skin-eaters, and meanwhile Broyles asks Peter if Walter's OK, and Peter says, "Well, he's Walter. Define 'OK,'" and I believe this is the fiftieth time that Broyles has asked a member of the Fringe team if Walter's all right and they shrug and respond with, "As good as he gets," or "With Walter, how can you tell?" so maybe we could drop this bit already. And Fauxlivia is just in time to hear Broyles tell Peter that Walter needs to be focused, and Peter asking, "What if he's right? What if we shouldn't be working on this thing?" which doesn't appear to square with Fauxlivia's war-mongering image, and then Peter and Fauxlivia head on out of there.

I guess no one thinks the doomsday machine is an imminent threat or anything, because they've decided to go get bombed at a bar, with Fauxlivia marveling that they've been back for two days, and Walter's already driving him to dr

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