Meanwhile, McFadden is telling Broyles that the Cambodian outbreak of 2004 killed 7,300 people, which could have been avoided if the Chinese authorities had moved quicker. "That was Level Four. This is classified as Six. Right now, it's the only option," he's saying. It sounds somewhat disingenuous for him to say "it's being classified as Six" when really he ought to say "I've classified it as Six" but the point is he's a suit who has to make tough decisions, right?
Olivia comes in to tell Broyles that the tox screens are finished, and McFadden already knows: "Eleven civilians infected, and your colleague. I'm sorry." Olivia asks what they do now, but she's not going to like McFadden's answer: "Extract the rest of the ones that tested negative, and the State department has authorized us to have the Army move in and contain the rest." Olivia's all, "'Army'?" and Broyles can see this going south in a hurry, but Olivia takes no notice of his warning "Dunham" as Olivia snaps, "There are still a dozen people in that building. You cannot tell me that killing them is our only option."
McFadden tells her to follow him, and he takes her over to a computer screen where a tech runs an outbreak simulation, showing what happens if just one person gets out and infects someone on the outside. The map quickly goes from street level to a view of North America that shows the continent being overrun in just two weeks. Naturally, I look at the map for places I've lived. Amusingly, you can see a big outbreak between Fort McMurray, where I lived for six years, and Fort Chipewyan, which is more than 200 kilometres to the north. I say "amusingly," because the outbreak is growing in an area of northern Alberta where nobody lives. And by "nobody" I don't mean a bunch of small towns, I mean "nobody." Well, apart from the scattered hunter and trapper, I suppose. But to get from Fort McMurray to Fort Chip, you have to either fly or wait until the winter to drive, because a portion of the ground trip happens over an ice road that's built in the winter and unusable by the spring. So I love that one of the epicentres for the spread in Canada is in this no man's land. Other viewers might have seen similar incongruities in parts of the map based on their geographical knowledge.
ANYWAY, the point is that there are a bunch of angry circles depicting sick people -- and then we go to the world view as the world slowly turns red. On the plus side, it looks like the sea people of the Atlantic Ocean will be immune. "We have no symptom blocker, no cure. What solution do you propose, Agent Dunham?" Olivia just stares at the screen.
In the office building, Walter removes, to Astrid's horror, his vacuum-sealed helmet. He grumpily tells her that it doesn't matter, because the virus isn't airborne, and is transmitted through bodily fluids. Yeah, and twelve people in that office have managed to contract it, so I think all things considered, I'd rather have the helmet, but of course Walter's also reckless because his son has been exposed, and Astrid recognizes that and tells him that they're going to figure out a solution and Peter's going to be fine. Walter doesn't say anything.
The CDC guy comes by to tell them they're taking all non-infected people out of the building. Astrid tells Walter that they're going to have to help Peter from outside the building, and Walter just stands there, so then Olivia gets a phone call from Astrid, who has removed her helmet, telling her that Walter won't leave: "He thinks he can come up with a cure." Not that he has a plan yet, or anything. Olivia tells Astrid that the CDC doesn't want to risk contamination, so they're going to kill everyone inside. Astrid starts looking like she wishes she'd had that information before she decided to stick it out with Walter, but she says they're gonna be fine and hangs up, despite Olivia trying to convince her what a dumb idea it would be to stay there. Walter asks what Olivia wanted, even though Astrid phoned Olivia, and Astrid says, "Nothing." I don't think this information would change Walter's mind, but I do think it's information he deserves to have...
So Walter gets Astrid to help him drag the Dutchman into the kitchen, where there's a table and a sink. "Homo sapiens persevered 100 millennia ago, so something must have killed this virus," he says, and starts thinking out loud about possibilities.
Astrid asks what she can do, and Walter is quiet for a long time before he finally says, "I can't let Peter die again. He's going to. They all will. There's nothing I can do about it." Astrid's a little stunned at Walter's bleak attitude, and then she reminds him about Magellan's crew, who he was talking about at the science museum that morning, pointing out that 18 of them survived: "That's what you said, Walter. Despite the odds, 18 of them came back to their families." "The rest died of scurvy," says Walter, who starts listing the symptoms of scurvy: "uncontrollable diarrhea, pustulous bleeding." When I was in college, I saw a show by a band called Pustulous Bleeding. Better than you'd think! They all died, Walter says again, except Astrid's point was that they DIDN'T all die. And then he perks up: "Except ... we're still here. Seventy-five thousand years ago, our virus here wiped the planet clean. Then life resumed. So something must have killed the active virus." Then it occurs to him: "Ash!" Ash from the Evil Dead movies? THAT WOULD BE AWESOME. Astrid's so conditioned to Walter getting her name wrong that she corrects him to "Astrid" but we're both wrong. Although I maintain my idea is better. No, he's talking about actual ash, and says the biggest volcanic eruption in the last 25 million years was Mount Toba, and it blocked out the sun. "Sulfuric ash rained down all around the world," says Walter, waggling his fingers for rain like he's singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" to Astrid. Walter figures sulfur could be the culprit. Astrid wants to know where they get sulfur, so he tells her to check the break-room fridge and tell him what they've got. Astrid starts rattling off the random things that appear in office fridges, and mentions horseradish, and Walter tells her to grab that, because the glycoside in horseradish is high in sulfur, so if he's right, it should attack the virus. He takes a blood sample and then mixes up a little horseradish in a vial, and then he holds up his little vial and holds it up and his hands are still trembling so Astrid grabs them to steady him, and then takes the vial, shakes it up, and uses an eyedropper to drip a little solution on the blood, and the solution turns amber. Walter's relief washes over his face, and he thanks Astrid. I think the two of them need to leave a note for the horseradish owner saying they'll replace it, unless they want to find themselves the target of a randomly capitalized and punctuated note on passiveaggressivenotes.com.
So then Olivia is taking down the recipe from Walter, although I don't know why they don't just go over to Costco and get a big vat of horseradish. Meanwhile, the infected people in the building are angrily trying to get out. One dude throws a chair at the glass wall, and the chair just breaks off. Nice of the construction company to use the indestructible glass on the ground floor, but sixteen storeys up, anyone can just throw themselves through the window.
McFadden's making his own plans. He's on the phone, dictating instructions: "After we've notified the families of the deceased, we'll release a statement: 'The virus has been controlled. And we don't have any fear of a further outbreak.'" A giddy Olivia rushes up to tell McFadden that Walter found a cure, and McFadden, not exactly giddy, hangs up the phone and pooh-poohs the list of things Walter needs: "Sulfide base, neuraminidase blocker. We'd need a chemical supply lab. The closest one's in Wellesley ... and several hours to synthesize the antidote." McFadden says they don't have that much time: "That glass isn't gonna hold much longer." Indeed, Peter has picked up a f