Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fringe 2.17: "Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver."

“It seems you have forgotten my very first lesson, Doctor. When you open your mind to the impossible, sometimes you find the truth.”


So remember how, back in the fall, after Fringe had done stories in a town where I once worked and my hometown train station, I said if they did an episode in the area where I live now, I’d start taking it personally? Well, that hasn’t quite happened yet, but they managed to do one better in this particular episode. They freaking name checked the hospital where I was born. Seriously. This is getting quite creepy. The beginning of the episode was super creepy and gross, too, of course. You can’t have an episode of “Fringe” without a very creepy and gross teaser. It’s just par for the course.

This particular creepy and gross teaser begins at what looks like an innocent-enough business lunch at a small café in Providence, Rhode Island. A lawyer who specializes in mass tort litigation is meeting with a man who looks very sickly. The man claims they went to school together in Jacksonville, which tells us that there’s going to be some sort of connection to the show’s mythology here. The man doesn’t want the woman to represent him, he just wants to know if she remembers anyone else from school. She does, and she gives him the name “Lloyd Becker.” The man thanks the woman and briefly touches her hand. After lunch, the woman is in her car, talking with her secretary as she’s stopped at a red light. Suddenly she’s in distress. The driver in the car behind her investigates and is horrified by what he sees. The woman seems to be covered in boils of some sort, and she’s not doing well.

Olivia isn’t doing so well herself. Ever since she agreed to keep Walter’s secret from Peter, she hasn’t been sleeping. This particular night (or early morning, as the case ends up being), she finds herself back at Sam Weiss’ bowling alley. Olivia tries to make it seem like it’s her trip to the Other Side and subsequent accident that is responsible for her insomnia, but Sam sees right through it- he knows she’s upset with a decision she made. Their conversation is cut short when Olivia receives a work phone call. It’s time to get the Fringe team together to investigate the lawyer’s death.

The investigation starts at the morgue, and the fact that the medical examiner is a former student of Walter’s leads to some amusing moments. More importantly, though, Walter figures out what happened to the lawyer. The bumps/boils all over her skin are sarcomas. The epicenter of the cancer is on her arm, which gets Walter thinking that someone must have given her the cancer, even though cancer isn’t ever contagious. Walter chides the medical examiner to open his mind to the possibilities.

Olivia and Peter take the investigation to the victim’s law office, where they discover she was preparing a lawsuit against a huge pharmaceutical company. Peter and Olivia are suspicious that the pharmaceutical company could have something to do with it. The investigation starts to take a slightly different tack, however, when they go over the victim’s appointment book with one of her coworkers, and her lunch appointment on the day of her death was with someone the coworker had never heard of.

Back at the lab, Olivia gets another phone call. The FBI just figured out that the lawyer’s credit card was used at that café in Providence. It’s time for yet another Peter and Olivia road trip. They talk to the manager, who recognizes the photo of the lawyer. He mentions that the man she was with looked very sickly, like his own uncle looked when battling cancer. This starts the wheels turning. It’s looking more and more likely that somebody gave the lawyer cancer. The culprit himself is shopping in a local grocery store, mostly health food stuff. He’s looking better than he did before his encounter with the lawyer, although as he’s checking out, he suddenly experiences a setback and has to go vomit behind the store. Since this is Fringe, it’s kind of obvious what’s going on. He must have stolen the lawyer’s health. The team doesn’t realize this yet, though.

Throughout the episode, Peter almost seems deliriously happy. He and Walter exchange excited banter about a planned ski trip, he happily tolerates Walter’s attempt to make blue taffy, and he just always seems to have a smile on his face. It’s kind of heartbreaking to see him so happy knowing what’s likely coming for him soon. Meanwhile, Olivia seems to be acting more and more distant towards Peter. She’s torn about whether or not she should tell the secret, and it’s just resulting in awkwardness. Peter notices the awkwardness and assumes it’s from the almost-kiss in Jacksonville. Peter doesn’t want to do anything to destroy the little “family” they’ve created in the fringe division, so he says they can just pretend it never happened and keep on being friends. Olivia tries her best to make it seem like that was her problem and Peter’s resolution is acceptable, but she’s still upset.

The man’s health is once again temporarily restored when he kills Lloyd Becker. The team is once again called in, since this death is very similar to the lawyer’s death. Sam stops by to play a game of Clue with Olivia, and when he says he’s not as tall as he appears, Olivia has an epiphany. All of the victims in their case (there were others who died before the lawyer) were at her freaky school in Jacksonville. The names all match up with first names and last initials she copied down from a height chart at the school. Walter thinks the killer must be targeting Cortexaphan kids, maybe because it makes the energy exchange (cancer for health) much easier.

Olivia goes to visit Nina under the pretence that she wants to see if Nina has a full list of Cortexaphan kids. She also tells Nina that she knows the truth about Peter. Nina helps her reach a little clarity on the issue of Peter. She tells Olivia that she recognizes the look in Olivia’s eyes- Olivia has feelings for Peter, and she’s afraid that if she tells him the truth, she’ll lose him. Olivia went to Nina as an excuse to get out of telling Peter the truth. Olivia returns to the lab, because she has some new information- she’s figured out which of the kids at her school is most likely the killer. He was undergoing cancer treatment at the hospital where I was born (I still can’t get over how freaky that is) when the first incident happened. The first person he killed was his own sister.

The man finds himself at the home of a relative of his next intended victim. The intended victim has moved away, and the man doesn’t have much time left. The relative is only too happy to tell him that she received a visit from Olivia recently (related to another Cortexaphan case). Right on cue, Olivia is reviewing her files when she gets a knock on the door. It’s the man, and when he sees her badge, he tries to attack. Olivia is pretty darn good at defending herself, though, and she manages to hold him off long enough to get to the phone and press the speed dial button for Peter (there’s an adorable little exchange where Peter is flattered he’s on her speed dial). Peter and a contingent of police arrive, but the trouble has already passed. The man sees the file on his sister, and he completely breaks down. He didn’t mean to kill all these people. A man stopped by his sickbed and “activated” his powers. Once the whole thing started, he couldn’t stop it. Nina and Broyles have a chat about this later. Broyles is concerned about what the other Cortexaphan kids might do if activated.

The episode ends with Walter and Olivia having a little chat. Olivia tells Walter that she’s not going to tell Peter about where he came from. She learned from her classmate that some things are just Pandora’s boxes that shouldn’t be opened. Walter responds in an unexpected way that makes me very happy. He tells Olivia that he’s going to tell Peter the truth himself. Walter wants to right the wrongs he’s done over the years, and he feels like telling the truth is the best place to start. And I say, “Here, here!”

No comments:

Post a Comment