Fringe

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It Takes an Equation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Up in his office, he explains that 1027 means "criminally insane with knowledge of state secrets." Turns out Kim had a sideline, consulting the defense contracts for JPL. It's going to take six weeks for them to go through the proper channels to talk to Kim. And he's skeptical anyway, handing over a photo of a dead woman, with a mathematical formula scrawled on the wall behind her. "I don't know how a man who can do that to his wife is going to help you find a missing kid," he says.

That missing kid is being led through a corridor filled with pipes and red fluorescent lights by Joanne Ostler, apparently. (Not dead.) She takes him into a room with a piano, and sheets of music taped to chain-link fencing. "You've never looked at it in that order, have you?" says Joanne. No, says Ben, who then whips around when a woman behind him says, "Hi, Bean." "Mom?" he says. She smiles and steps forward, kneeling down to embrace him. She has an ugly scar around her right eye. Gives her face some character!

Peter looks at the photo of the murder scene. "He did this to his own wife?" he asks, because even with all the crazy shit he's seen in the last little while, Peter's surprised at a simple murder. Olivia says they were happily married for thirty-two years, until he was abducted, and then he beat her death.

That's when Walter shows up, all jovial. Did someone say "beat her to death"? Must be talking about my old friend Dashiell! He looks at the picture, and says he'd recognize Dashiell's handiwork anywhere. Of course, he's talking about the equation on the wall: "Dashiell was obsessed with it." He explains that he couldn't complete it. "I tried to help him solve it once and he came at me with a plastic spork," he says, laughing at this tale of psychotic attempted murder like he's recalling the time he and his college roommates moved a neighbor's bedroom set out into the quad. Over on the nice flat-screen television is the DVD of Ben playing the piano, and Olivia says Ben was obsessed with this piece and couldn't complete it either.

Peter ignores Walter, saying that Ben is light years ahead of where Peter was at his age, because he's looking at the photograph, and notes a recurring function scattered across the walls. "It just keeps repeating over and over," he says, and wonders if it's a "rhythm." A light bulb goes off over Walter's head, and Peter asks if he can convert the equation into standard musical notation. Walter's absolutely giddy as he goes to work, while Peter explains to Olivia that music is a mathematical language, which is true, although the rapidity with which Walter translated a complex mathematical equation into nine bars of piano music seems rather preposterous. But we might as well gloss over it quickly, because everybody's long ago figured out that the equation is going to translate into Ben's piece, which Peter starts playing on the piano. Peter asks how it's possible that Ben's piece is the musical equivalent of Dashiell's mathematical formula, if they've never even met each other. Walter says curious minds often converge on the same idea. "Newton and Leibniz, independently, without knowing each other, invented calculus," he says. This, not coincidentally, is the basis for my billion-dollar lawsuit against Apple, which they owe me for inventing the iPod. Anyway, the real question is what were Ben and Dashiell trying to solve?

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Fringe

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