Fringe

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Every Day is a Winding Road Not Taken
office, and grins when she sees he's moved his desk, because she had him pegged as a creature of habit, but he's changed his office. He's all, "come again?" She points out that he moved his desk. He just stares at her, until she finally starts talking about what she came in for: they know what stop the victim got on, and the bus driver has worked up a sketch, so they're going to canvass the area.

Broyles asks if the bus driver saw the other victim get on as well. Olivia's surprised, and then she says there was only one victim. "I'm confused," says Broyles, and he picks up a folder on her desk with a photo in it. It's of two bodies, just like Olivia saw in New York. She looks at him, and then they both glance toward the door as we hear someone come in. It's Broyles, and there's a shimmy and Broyles' desk is back where it was. Also, the room is warmer, tones of yellow as opposed to a more austere blue wash a moment ago. Broyles asks where they are on the investigation, and a bewildered Olivia explains again about the bus driver doing a sketch.

The briefing is interrupted by a furious Sanford Harass, who wants to know why the 13th floor is trying to link William Bell to biological terror attacks. Broyles tells him they have evidence that Bell might be implicated. But Harass, unlike Nina, knows that all they have is testimony from a "dead man who himself was an admitted terrorist." Harass goes on to point out that William Bell and Massive Dynamic are the Defense Department's largest contractors: "These waters are much too deep for a fishing expedition." He orders them to drop the case, and stomps out. "Are we really going to--" says Olivia, and Broyles doesn't even let her finish "No. Get more evidence," he says. Olivia looks ready to kiss him.

In the Fringe lab, Walter's sawing off the jaw of the burn victim, and Astrid remarks that it's amazing the sort of the things you get used to, working with Walter. Like hypodermic needles in the neck? I probably would have requested a transfer. Astrid takes the lower jaw (saying, "Wow. Looks like somebody could have flossed better") over to a computer where she's going to try to match dental records on file. Her use of the word "file" gives Walter an idea that maybe he put the manifesto in his filing system. "You mean like how you sealed things in the walls of your old house? Or how you squirrel things away in random deposit boxes around the country? I would hardly call that a 'filing system,'" says Astrid, and Walter says he hid things because he didn't want someone to unlock all his secrets, and maybe someone should remind Walter that most of the cases they've looked at involved someone carrying on his work, so maybe a better system is in order.

Anyway, he's looking for his Geiger counter, which concerns Astrid, but he says it's merely because the rhythmic ticking helps him think. Well, that's news to everyone. Guess he hasn't had to think up until now. Oh, no, the real reason he's looking for it is so that Astrid can tell him Peter cannibalized it for his project too, like WHAT IS PETER'S DEAL wrecking all the lab equipment? I'm just going to assume by "cannibalize," Astrid means "sold for crack." Not surprisingly, this sets Walter off on a tirade about how you do not take Walter's equipment without asking, and thank god Astrid can shut him up by saying they got a match on the victim. She pulls up the New York State driver's licence for Susan Pratt.

So Olivia and Charlie are let into Susan's apartment by the building superintendent. Charlie rattles off the particulars: 29 years old, single, worked for the New York Highway Department as a tollbooth operator. "That's a lonely line of work," says Olivia, who lives a life of parties in her brownstone.

Olivia looks at the books on the shelf, which include, ominously, Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, and something called The Peter Prescription, like NO THANK YOU, but actually that's written by Dr. Laurence Peter, who said, "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." Yeah, that sounds like Peter.

The apartment bears out Olivia's "lonely," remark, as it's only furnished for one person. Little kitchenette, etc. Charlie asks if Olivia thinks there was something wrong with Susan. This would be besides SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTING? What Charlie means is she was a good-looking woman in the prime of her life, with no evidence of a boyfriend, or any friends: "Just doesn't exactly strike me as being normal." Since the death of John Scott, that could easily describe Olivia is well, but she just says it depends on what the definition of "normal" is. Translation: shut up, Charlie.

In a drawer, Olivia finds a receipt for a certified cheque for $30,000 from someone named Isaac Winters. Charlie tops her in the discovery department, though: he brings Olivia to the bathroom, which is charred and blackened beyond any use. There are fire extinguishers in the bathtub. "What the hell happened to her?" asks Olivia. Whatever it is, that damage deposit is staying right where it is.

Back at Harvard, Walter's going through his boxes when Peter comes in with bags of groceries, and he's carrying them in paper bags, like who even USES paper bags anymore? I miss paper bags. Walter asks if Peter got it, and Peter says he told his dad they didn't have it. And Walter insists that he needs Frankenberry, because that's what he was eating back then, so it's crucial for him to recreate the sense memory if he's to remember where he put the manuscript. "For all we know, they don't make it anymore," says Peter, who got his dad something called "Boom Berry," which he calls "all the artificial sugary sweetness a growing scientist needs."

Olivia comes in, and Walter guesses that she's a "Corn Flakes" girl, and Olivia's all, "yeah, why not," since she's learned by now not to ask too many questions when Walter's off on one of his little tangents, and she just wants to work. She tells the Bishops about the evidence of other fires in Pratt's apartment. Walter says that changes everything: "We can rule out spontaneous combustion. For one, I mean, that's strictly a one-off event, as you can imagine." He thinks it might be pyrokinesis, which has Peter complaining that there's no time for jokes, which is HILARIOUS coming from Peter. "It's not even a real word. It was made up by Stephen King. You ever see Firestarter with Drew Barrymore? Little girl who can start fires with her mind?" I think you're thinking of Boys on the Side, Peter. Walter says Stephen King (who he calls "Mister King") coined the term, but "the phenomenon existed long before that." He says it's not really complicated, just a form of telekinesis. Which also totally exists, I suppose? Then he uses the box of Boom Berry that he's holding to demonstrate how you excite the molecules (in this case, individual Boom ... berries?), so they vibrate more quickly, generating heat and then eventually you spill Boom Berry all over the laboratory. Peter calls it a fascinating demonstration. "But it still doesn't explain why it is that Susan Pratt blew up." Walter says it must have been a newfound ability, as it takes training to generate a heat source outside of the body. Ah. So she should have gone to Human Torch School. "Without proper control, the energy is turned inward. You see? She had no other options," says Walter. Peter summarizes Walter's theory as: "You think that she had a choice to either blow somebody else up or blow herself up." That's it; Walter says the woman was a powder keg, and emotional stress or agitation would have set her off. Olivia asks where the ability came from: "Is it that she was born different or is it something that someone did to her?" Walter calls that the real question.

Olivia's phone rings. It's Charlie, telling her they got a hit on the cheque she found in Pratt's apartment. It came from a law firm, signed by Isaac Winters, who has an office in Charlestown.

So the two agents head over to Winters' office. They knock on the door, but there's no answer, no movement inside. Oliv

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