An analyst, Mark Young, at Massive Dynamic throws himself out the window of a very tall building. Not on purpose or anything, but to get away from the vicious attack of a swarm of butterflies that are made of razor blades. Death from a thousand cuts, except the cuts all seem to have come from the inside, since his clothes aren't cut up. Stymied by a lack of co-operation (surprise!) from Nina Sharp, Olivia's fortunate to get an e-mail from one John Scott, leading her to an address with some frogs in a bin that are the source of a drug with some powerful mind-altering properties. Essentially, Mark hallucinated the butterflies and his body ripped open his own skin.
Olivia goes back into the tank to get into John's memories and find out what's going on, and she comes across a meeting with John, Mark and two other guys, one of whom Olivia witnesses (in John's memory) being stabbed by John himself. She manages to track down the fourth guy, who says he's got dirt on William Bell, chairman and CEO of Massive Dynamic (also: William Bell is the devil), but before he can back Olivia up as she goes on the warpath against Nina Sharp, he hallucinates good ol' John Scott slitting his throat. Pity the poor nurse who walked in on the poor guy (who once upon a time stole Elaine's armoire and went after Kramer for not wearing an AIDS ribbon). Olivia's still going nuts with the John Scott hallucinations, and wants to go back in the tank some more. Walter tells her it's not a good idea. Let me repeat that: WALTER thinks it's not a good idea.
And Peter's past may be catching up with him: an old flame gets in touch, and warns him that if she can find him, so can they. Peter practically goes Sonny Corleone on one of them, but he goes crying to his boss, so Peter's troubles are just beginning.
There's a woman standing in front of a long table droning on about "Extenz-A-Life" and its remarkably stable market, and blah blah blah. You know, I was told there'd be tap-dancing. So You Think You Can Dance is months away, and I'll take it where I can get it. Charlotte smoothly hands things over to Mark, he says, "I'm late," like they didn't already know, and he thanks them for their patience. "It's quickly fading," says Gruff Businessman, all, "This better be good, chinless." So Mark gets right to the slides already set up, and we dissolve to Mark wrapping up, and Gruff Businessman has magically transformed to Grudgingly Impressed Gruff Businessman and says he'll tell the board they're in good hands. The suits all file out, and Mark Young exchanges a glance with Charlotte, and he breathes a sigh of relief. He takes off his jacket and heads over to the other side of the table to pack up the slide projector.
Just out of his vision, a butterfly flits past, and he spins around just catching the shadow on the projector screen. And it's gone. And then it starts flying around again, and comes to rest on Mark's finger. He holds it up and takes off his glasses to look closer. It starts to flutter its wings and lifts off, cutting a startled Mark on the wrist. Then it zooms around like a biplane attacking King Kong and slices him on the neck. "Ow! Little bastard!" he says.
The butterfly lands on the table. And he creeps forward to swat it with a magazine. He picks it up and gingerly touches a wing, cutting his finger. And suddenly he's been dive-bombed by two more of the little bastards. He flails away until the butterflies fly away and into the ventilation grate on the counter, flattening themselves to fit through the slats. And I can't say that I've ever been attacked by razor sharp butterflies, but I know that if I hadn't already, by this point I would have run for the door. I know that I would not have PUT MY FACE DIRECTLY OVER THE GRATE WHERE THE RAZOR BUTTERFLIES ARE. That's what Mark does. And the grate erupts in a swarm of the little buggers, enveloping Mark. He screams and spazzes, rolling onto the board table and off again. Some of the butterflies pull back and then attack again, and a frantic Mark runs away from them, right through the plate glass window and out over the street, a few dozen storeys up. Which is when the slow motion starts up, and the symphony, in what I can only hope is an homage to Alan Rickman in Die Hard (hey, Col. Stuart was in the last episode!) and Mark looks up at the glass shards following him all the way down to the dark car parked outside the building. From the looks of the crash, he disintegrates into ASH. The camera pulls back to show us where we are: Massive Dynamic: The Only Corporation.
Olivia's getting cleaned up real good, and I could not love her any more because she's listening to the new Ryan Adams album as she does so. She's on the cellphone with a woman telling her that "Lauren and Craig will be there" and they chat about Craig, and some guy named Bobby and whether Bobby is going to like the surprise, but he loves being the centre of attention, and BLAH BLAH BLAH, and Olivia's call waiting beeps, and we all know what's coming.
It's Broyles, who says, without even saying HELLO or anything, "I need you to pick up the others and get to the Marlboro Airport." Olivia waits a second before telling him that she quits: "Only just for the next couple of days, and I'm happy to rejoin the others after the weekend." Broyles ignores this and says, "Runway fourteen. The plane will be waiting." Olivia takes out a tissue and starts wiping off her lipstick. "So, where are we going?" she asks, defeated.
The Fringe team is examining Mark Young's body, which is still lying on the car, and Peter makes a sarcastic comment about Massive Dynamic being "your average multinational corporation specializing in secret bio-research and defence contracting. Walter, meanwhile, is actually doing what he's getting paid to do, which is WORK, and notes that several of the gashes on the body were no doubt caused by the glass, but the cuts under his shirt... and Peter fills it in pointing out that the shirt isn't ripped. Walter says the wounds are too delicate to have been caused by the fall. Peter asks what he thinks did cause them. Walter says it's too early to tell: "It's a shame I don't have a lab. I'd like to examine him," he says. Peter puts a little extra eye-roll into his voice to point out that Walter does have a lab at Harvard. Walter, eyes twinkling, knows that: he's just messing with Peter, who smiles at the ... well, "joke" is a bit strong.
As for Olivia, she's too busy hallucinating John Scott in the crowd gawking at the crime scene to investigate much of anything.
But now Olivia's inside, talking to Nina Sharp, because no one else but Nina Sharp out of a company of 300,000 can talk to Olivia. She says, "Mark Young was a capable executive who displayed no signs of emotional dysfunction." Wow, someone's going the extra mile for a heart-wrenching eulogy. Nina sounds callous, but, essentially, shit happens and a small percentage succumb to the stress of their responsibilities, "and, on occasion, the nature of our work." And Olivia's all, "What work would THAT be?" and Nina's evasive and mutters something about delivering results. Then she makes another subtle pitch at hiring Olivia, who isn't having it, and gets really annoyed about only getting "the polite appearance of co-operation." Nina rattles off some nonsense about being on the cutting edge of science and the risk of "exposure to ideas that aren't easy to reconcile," whatever that's supposed to mean.
We go over to Mark Young's apartment, where Charlie is checking out a mill bottle and wondering how the human race survived without drugs, and thankfully Olivia and the forensics team are just outright IGNORING him. Some forensics chick tells Olivia that the hard drive is password protected, but they'll send her the data after they break it.
Olivia and Charlie keep looking around, and Olivia finds a plane ticket Mark bought three years ago, suggesting he wasn't planning to kill himself, except Charlie points out that it's "Christmas in Nebraska" which is depressing for some reason that he doesn't care to elaborate on.
They keep looking, and Olivia picks up a day planner on a desk. She flips it open and finds the word "MONARCH" written on a page. Then she notices the mounted butterflies on the wall behind the computer. As she watches them, they start to rustle their wings. She's mesmerized. She needs to stop staring at things! Charlie startles her, and she says she hasn't found anything. Technically that might be true, as she's been going crazy all season.
Back at Walter's lab, he's saying that his suspicions are correct: the wounds go down to the bone itself, as if they originated on the inside and pierced their way up through the body tissue, and of course no one has any idea how that could have happed. Walter studies the blood sample data Peter gives him so he can see anything untoward. There are no illegal drugs in the dude's system, says Walter, but one of the medications could be used as a carrier to "transfer the foreign compound to the victim's brain," and of course no one in the rest of the lab ever heard him say ANYTHING about a "foreign compound." And before he can explain, he just rambles on about how Peter only ever wanted "coffee yogurt" when he was 13. "Walter, that wasn't me. That was you," says Peter. So it w