Fringe

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Daniel: A- | 2 USERS: A
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Every Day is a Winding Road Not Taken
Gut-churning photos (of people with extra skin grown over their orifices, and people whose spines are getting a little air) accompany Broyles' no-nonsense intonation as he briefs a room full of FBI agents on the plan to take down William Bell and ZFT. Which is really all about connecting Bell to ZFT, because all they have right now is the deathbed confession of a man who turned his wife into a syphilis-ridden she-beast (not to sound like Agent Harass a little later). The agents have before them packets containing the ZFT manifesto, and some Earl Grey tea for caffeine jolts for long work nights ahead. "What we do know is that these bizarre acts seem to be increasing in frequency, and that their targets are unpredictable, and therefore unprotectable," says Broyles.

While Broyles continues the briefing, we see a frantic woman running from an apartment building in New York City, failing to catch a taxi, because there are only eight million of them in the Big Apple, and then rushing to catch a bus (which has an ad for Massive Dynamic on the side, naturally). She asks the driver if the bus goes past Lennox Hill Hospital, and he says it does, and asks if she feels all right. "Fine. Let's just go, please," she says.

Back in Boston, Broyles is telling the assembled agents that they have a single goal: "to provide actionable evidence establishing a link between William Bell and ZFT." He introduces Olivia and Charlie (who stand up theatrically and turn to face the agents) and says they'll be assigning teams (at which point Charlie yells out "first captain first pick!") and coordinating the investigation.

Back on the bus, the frantic woman is panting, clutching at her collar. She looks hot, especially when she leans her head against the window and it immediately steams up. Looking scared, she looks at the seat in front of her, and the folded up newspaper there starts to smoulder and smoke. Aw, come on! The crossword's not even done! She yells for the driver to stop the bus, and he tells her to sit down, but she freaks out badly enough that he stops and she runs off. I don't wish to add to her troubles, but I'm pretty sure she forgot to ask for a transfer.

She spins around, gasping, asking for help. She can't breathe. Her face goes beet red, and then suddenly there are flames in front of her ... no, I'm sorry, there are flames on her. I think maybe the special effects budget is almost depleted (or perhaps is being saved up for the final episode of the season). She's on fire. Not like Bruce Springsteen, but literally on fire. And then she explodes. So it was over quick, which isn't too bad in a sense.

Over at the Fringe lab, Walter's going through the ZFT manifesto (and circling the superscript y's) when Peter comes in to ask if he's found anything "new and exciting" in there: "You've read the manifesto about a dozen times cover to cover. So just wondering." Walter says he needs to show Peter something.

He gets out his old typewriter and rolls in a piece of paper while Astrid strolls in to ask what's going on. "Show and tell, apparently," says Peter. Walter types a few letters, then rips the paper out and hands it to Peter. It's the word "prophecy," with an elevated "y," just like in the manifesto. See, he had to type something ominous, so it seems worse, right? He couldn't have just typed "cuddly."

"The typewriter's Belly's. I remember the day he purchased it. It was raining," says Walter. Peter disbelievingly says Walter's saying William Bell is not only the funder of ZFT, but he wrote the manifesto and is responsible for everything that's happened.

But Walter doesn't believe it: "William Bell was many things. He was ambitious. He was egotistical. He was temperamental. But he wasn't a madman." Walter points out there are references throughout the manifesto to the chapter on ethics, but there's no such chapter in the copy. "It is missing. And I believe that someone has removed it to suit their own evil purposes. And I can prove it," he says. While Astrid goes to answer the ringing telephone, Walter says he aims to get another copy of the book. Since Bell wrote the manifesto right there in the lab, Walter figures the missing chapter could still be in there. "And what if you're wrong?" asks Peter. Walter says he's not, and when he finds the chapter, it will absolve William Bell. He looks quite distraught over this. But before Peter can do anything about it, Astrid comes back in to say Olivia's on the phone.

So it's over to New York City, where the Fringe team checks out the combustion scene. There are two charred figures on the pavement as the group strolls up. And it should be noted that Walter's carrying a Slusho. Which can only mean that while they were en route to the scene, Walter made them stop at a convenience store so he could have a SLUSHO.

Charlie explains what they know (which is what we all saw), "If there's something strange in your neighbourhood..." says Peter. "Who you gotta call!" finishes Walter, incorrectly, perhaps for legal purposes? Sorry, Ray Parker Jr. No royalties for you. He says it sounds like a case of spontaneous human combustion. Peter says he thought that was just a myth, and Walter preposterously says, "A myth is just an unverified fact." He says he won't know anything until he gets the body back to the lab. "All right, I'll get the coroner to prep the bodies for transport," says Olivia, and Walter's all, "'Bodies'? Is there another somewhere?" Confused, Olivia looks down at the two bodies, and her vision seems to shake, and then there's only one body. Peter asks if she's all right. Sounding not all right, Olivia says she is.

Over at the federal building, Nina Sharp comes in to see Broyles in his office. He doesn't look overly surprised (or pleased) to see her there. "I won't play coy, Phillip," announces Nina, who says she understands the FBI has opened an investigation into Massive Dynamic. "As you can imagine, we spend a lot of money on counterintelligence, and any probe into our finances raises red flags." She asks him point-blank what they're fishing for. Broyles, who has been glaring at her hard enough to burn holes through her skull, says they have evidence that indicates William Bell may be involved with several biological attacks this past year. Which they really don't. Nina sputters that that's preposterous. "Perhaps. But as long as you're here, if you have something to offer, now would be the time," he says. She says she's not one of his street thugs that he can bully. Psst! Nina! It's Broyles. Not Daniels! She says Bell's not a terrorist, and Broyles says he'd prefer Bell tell him that himself, and Nina says something about Bell currently traveling, and also that Broyles is wasting his time.

"Is there something else?" he says. Nina turns on her heel and stomps out. Glad you came all the way down for that, Nina.

Over in the Fringe lab, Walter's doing his best to dissect the charred corpse and explaining to Astrid that "the average adult at rest contains enough potential energy to explode with the force of five very large hydrogen bombs." More, on Super Bowl Sunday after I've had my chili. Peter says that Walter's theoretically right, and his dad gets all jubilant over his son finally agreeing with him about something. "We're just not very good at releasing it," continues Peter, which Walter agrees with as well. He says we need a trigger. Astrid asks what would have released it in her. "Some say a particle is to blame, the appropriately named 'pyroton.' Maybe we could finally prove that it exists!" He tells Peter to fire up the electron microscope, and Peter says he took it apart for a project he's working on. This really pisses Walter off, but he gets pissed off when you get him the wrong brand of root beer. So he takes out his frustrations with a bone saw on the corpse.

Olivia walks into Broyles'

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