Fringe

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I Miss You, Baby. Good Luck, Goodbye, Bobby Joyce
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
Walter's working away, not in his lab, but in his kitchen, to the sounds of that "Mah-Nà Mah-Nà" song, which has to be one of the most spectacularly annoying songs to ever enter into our collective pop-culture subconscious. It was even annoying when the Muppets sang it, for God's sake! Great. Now I'm in a bad mood.

Anyway, there are liquids bubbling away in beakers, and Walter draws an opaque green liquid into a syringe and then starts unbuckling his belt, which is when a bleary-eyed Peter strolls into the kitchen, and Walter says, "You're up early," and Peter, in a surprise twist, says something rude and sarcastic to his dad. In Peter's defence, he did wake up and come downstairs to find out that Walter, despite having a lab at Harvard and a hundred more at Massive Dynamic, has taken over the kitchen with Bunsen burners and tubing, and is currently bent over in the living room about to inject something into his arse, which is clad in boxer shorts with multicoloured guitars all over them. This is probably how Timothy Leary's kids grew up. Walter assumes that Peter is just checking to see if Walter's high, although the "Is Walter High?" test really consists of the following question: "Is Walter awake? If yes, then Walter is high."

Walter says he's making himself smarter, because maybe he feels that his life's work to date hasn't killed or maimed or infected enough people, and he reminds Peter that William Bell removed parts of his brain years ago. "And now, I'm not the equal of myself," he says, by which he means Walternate: "If I can think like him, I can figure out what he's trying to do with that device and how to keep you safe." I think maybe Walter should just try wearing a suit once in a while. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have!

Peter stops Walter from injecting himself by reminding him that William Bell took out those pieces of Walter's brain on Walter's own instructions: "Because you were afraid of what you were becoming. I don't wanna see you hurt yourself."

Walter briefly looks touched, and then says he won't hurt himself, and jabs himself in the thigh. Then there's a knock at the door: the pizza Walter ordered. He shuffles off to answer the door, pants around his ankles. "So you are high, then," says Peter, and Walter admits he is, maybe a bit. What a treat for the pizza delivery man -- Walter high, with a needle sticking out of his thigh, pants around his ankles. Probably not the Penthouse Letters scenario that pizza-delivery men concoct for themselves to make it through another shift.

Cut to another crazy old man shuffling along, but at least this one has his pants up. Psychedelically coloured pants, possibly pajamas, worn by a man slowly walking down the hall in some sort of health-care facility. In the office, a couple of nurses see this Mr. Joyce -- a sleepwalker, according to one -- wander down the hall. Then on a monitor an orange light starts flashing, along with a buzzer, signaling that there's an open door in the patient wing. On the screen, we see a young man approaching Mr. Joyce. Neither of the nurses knows who the visitor is, so they rush out to find Joyce, who's alone again.

The older nurse, Pam, asks Mr. Joyce who he was talking to. "I was talking to Bobby," says Mr. Joyce, who is played by... yay! Christopher Lloyd! Who is actually old now, instead of just always looking like he's old. The nurses put Mr. Joyce back in his room, with Pam telling the younger nurse, Joe, that Mr. Joyce definitely wasn't talking to Bobby. "He's Mr. Joyce's son. He died in 1985," she says, and hands Joe a picture of Bobby, because otherwise Joe might not believe her. She turns to Mr. Joyce and asks what the boy said to him. Mr. Joyce doesn't answer, just stares off into space looking haunted.

Outside, the young man walks up a hill to where an Observer is waiting for him. The young man tosses his shaggy hair out of his eyes so that we can see it is Bobby -- and not looking any older than he does in a picture that's at least twenty-five years old. "Did you tell him?" asks the Observer, and Bobby nods, and asks what now. "I take you back home," says the Observer. Where you're going, you don't need roads, right?

After the opening credits, a delivery man (from the fine firm of "Drop N' Dash") knocks on the door of Olivia's apartment with a big envelope. She signs for it, clearly not expecting any parcels. Inside her apartment, she opens the envelope and finds a book called If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!. Inside is a printed card that reads, "Olivia -- Because you asked. Peter."

She only has a few seconds to ponder this before her phone rings, and next thing we know she's joining the Fringe gang at the Parklane Senior Center, where she's greeted awkwardly by Peter, who says Broyles was just telling them a ghost story.

Broyles shows her security pictures of Bobby Joyce talking to his father in the hallway. "He's the son of one of the residents here. Or rather, he was. He died twenty-five years ago. And it gets more odd," he says, and hands her a security shot from outside the building of Bobby and the Observer, rather considerately looking right at the security camera.

"The Observer? It's been a while since we've seen him," says Olivia. Yeah, well, sometimes he's really easy to spot, and other times you really have to get lucky to see him, but if you look he's always in there somewhere, and I'm sure there are websites that will tell you exactly where to look... but I digress.

Anyway, Pam the nurse leads the Fringe gang down the hallway -- Walter takes a little longer to follow because he's staring contemplatively at the photo of Bobby and the Observer.

As the Fringe gang and Pam enter the rec room, she tells them that when she took a second look at the video, she recognized the boy is Bobby, thanks to the photo that Mr. Joyce keeps on his bedside table. Pam points out Mr. Joyce in the rec room. He's sitting in an easy chair, wearing a vest with no shirt on underneath, looking like he's not entirely aware of his surroundings.

Walter gets rapturous. "Roscoe Joyce!" he says, surprising Broyles, and Peter asks if Broyles has ever heard of Violet Sedan Chair, which is suddenly Walter's favorite band even though he's never once mentioned them despite constantly listening to music on this show, and I was going to say that "Violet Sedan Chair" is an aggressively stupid band name, but then again we live in a universe that includes the likes of Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Puddle of Mudd and Hoobastank. Anyway, Roscoe Joyce here is the keyboardist: "He's a hero of Walter's. He's up there with Einstein and Tesla," says Peter, presumably (I hope) referring to Nikola Tesla and not the band Tesla, or maybe he is referring to Tesla the band, in which case the missing parts of his brain may be even more tragic than we realize.

Walter has introduced himself to Roscoe, and Olivia follows suit, and gets right to it, asking about the visitor. Roscoe shows her the picture of his son and says he doesn't remember talking to him, but he remembers his son was there. "It's a curse, not... remembering a miracle. It was a miracle seeing him again. Can you imagine what that's like?" No, I don't believe that any- "Yes, I can," says Walter, quietly. Oh, right, he knows exactly what that's like. Is every case from now on going to reflect the turbulent personal lives and regrets of the Fringe gang? And then Roscoe zones out, looking at the photograph, and Pam says it's time for his physical therapy and medication.

Broyles says, "I've come to believe in some strange things, but ghosts..." and Walter says Bobby wasn't a ghost. "The Observer doesn't experience time like we do. If we can accept that he can travel from the past to the present and back to the past again, then it's not inconceivable that he could bring others back with him," he says. Here's hoping Broyles is a little more flexible on believing in time travel.

Walter says he wants to tak

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