As the van peels out, the woman struggles to get to her feet, and then staggers down the middle of the street, until she makes her way over to Holly's Diner. She wanders in, and we get our first glimpse of her in the light. She looks kind of like Eliza Dushku, only really tired and beat up. She makes her way to a seat at the counter, where a dude asks her if she wants a menu. She responds by coughing weakly.
He asks if she's OK, and seems to think whatever's wrong with her can be cured by "some wicked good vegetable soup." Heh. I love Massachusetts. Ten bucks says this guy's listed in the credits as "Sully." She nods, and the counter guy heads back to the kitchen to order the soup. The cook says, "Onion?" and Sully says, "No, vegetable. No one likes the onion." Sounds like a throwaway line, but it'll pay off later. Sully also asks the cook to call "Marty," because a woman out front might be in trouble and need some help.
The woman's fidgeting at the counter. Her hands are a mess of scars and sores. Sully comes back and drops off the soup, and then brings her some crackers, and, noticing her hands, starts rambling on about eating too many crackers when he was a kid and spoiling his appetite, and maybe he should worry about sending her completely off the deep end with this moronic story of his. He asks about her hands, and she hesitates, so he quickly says it's none of his business. "I'll leave you alone if you like," he says, but her hesitation is because she can't remember.
That's when Marty, a cop, comes in, complaining that he was "at Thurbers," which I'm going to assume is an all-night pornography store, like SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, OFFICER. Sully indicates the woman at the counter with a flick of his head, so Marty orders a soda and sits down. He asks how she's doing, if she's from the area, but her vegetable soup is much too wicked good for her to answer right away. "I know I was born in Boston," she says. He asks her where she lives now. "I don't remember," she says. "They... they did things," she adds, haltingly, and he asks who she's talking about. "I don't know," she stammers. She seems to be getting increasingly agitated, and says they gave her a red medicine. Marty asks what the red medicine was, and she, starting to sound angry, says, "I don't know. They didn't tell me," she says. There was also a blue medicine, she says, and then she babbles about how they confused her and hurt her.
"I think you should come with me, I can help you," says Marty, but the woman gets very agitated, very quickly, and he winds up handcuffing her behind her back, against the counter, which is really going to help her mood. He radios that he's got a "5150" -- isn't that a Van Halen album? -- and wants dispatch to make sure that "Hannah" is at the detachment. What about her sisters? This is when all hell breaks loose. Sully doubles over in agony (for some reason (Marty calls him "Ben." It's SULLY, dammit!), and within seconds, all the diner customers are in the same boat. And by "boat," I mean "excruciating pain that involves bleeding from the eye sockets." "What the hell is this?" yells Marty, and seconds later he's screaming in pain too, and bleeding, and he collapses on the counter. There's blood and corpses everywhere, which isn't that bad when you consider that this is what most Boston bars looked like after the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl last year. The woman, shrieking, is also bleeding from the eyes, and she backs up against the storefront window. And from outside, there's an explosion of blood that splatters the door of Holly's Diner. At which point, my two-year-old daughter, who we thought was asleep whilst cuddling with her mother in bed, pointed at the television, at the splatter of blood from the head on the door, and said, "Mommy, owie." Yeah. We're not very good parents.
So presumably the next day the Fringe team is setting up outside, or at least Peter and Olivia are; Walter is wandering around and humming at a transformer on an electrical pole, until Olivia snaps at him to stop it. She asks Peter if he doesn't find that annoying, and instead of saying, "Everything my father does I find annoying," Peter says Walter falls asleep by reciting pi to the 101st digit, so this is comparatively soothing. Walter starts humming again, and Olivia snaps at him again, all someone-pissed-in-my-cornflakes angry.
"I thought it was in my head," he says smiling, and then rambles on about how "nothing sings like a kilovolt." Well, except for Lemmy. Peter wants to know what's on Olivia's mind, like I guess it's only OK for him to bitch about everything non-stop, and Olivia just shrugs and says she has a short fuse today. Walter starts to extemporize about it, and Peter shuts him up as they cross the street where we see the entire corner of the building containing Holly's Diner has been screened off.
Broyles is already there, naturally, and he tells the team, as they stand outside looking in at all the Hazmat suit-clad investigators that the incident happened about six hours ago, and everyone in there is exhibiting high levels of radiation.
One woman in particular, the one in handcuffs, is Emily Kramer, who went missing two weeks ago and hadn't been seen until tonight. "You think she was a runaway?" asks Olivia, and Broyles says her parents say no, that Emily was happy and excited about recently being accepted into a master's program. Excited? She was positively radiant! In fact, Emily's body has three times as much radiation as the rest. "You're saying she was the source," says Olivia, which turns out to be true, but not really what Broyles is saying. But investigating is all about jumping to conclusions, isn't it?
Walter's chomping at the bit to get in, so all the Fringe team need are the white suits. They walk in, and we can see flecks of dark matter spattered in the dried blood on the door. Yeah, that would be brain, wouldn't it? On a stretcher is a blue bodybag that Walter unzips, and the horrified reaction of the squad indicates that wasn't a great idea. "There's no head," complains Peter, like who hasn't seen a headless body before? Walter says she was sick, probably with Bellini's lymphocemia, judging from the striped bruising on her neck and upper arms, and rash on her torso. Peter translates for Olivia: it's an irreversible auto-immune disease in which the body destroys its own organs and muscles. "Meaning it's fatal," says Olivia, who I can't believe isn't a doctor herself with such amazing insight.
But Walter says the disease seems to be in remission or even cured, because the rash is healing and the bruises are receding. "I'm going to hate myself for asking this, but how do you cure a disease that's incurable?" says Peter. Walter says he doesn't have the slightest idea, although he did cure it in a dream once, with opium, but he forgot how as soon as he woke up. Well, given that it was a dream, I'm not exactly sure it's science's loss. As Walter talks, he's wandering down the counter, picking up the meat thermometer that all good eating establishments keep out front instead of IN THE KITCHEN, and -- oh, man -- jamming it into the ear of Marty the cop. "Ugh! Thanks for the warning!" says Peter. Walter reads the temperature as 121 degrees, which is "counter-intuitive" for a hemorrhagic tumour, and is more likely a bunch of over-excited water molecules. Olivia looks to Peter, who says, "He means the guy's brain was boiled." "Like a Maine lobster," confirms Walter. He asks for Marty's body and the headless corpse to be taken back to his lab.
Olivia asks again about how Emily's supposedly incurable disease was in remission. Walter says it's a question for whoever was treating her, which makes three questions, t