Business guy is late for a presentation although afterwards, it appears to be a success. Then a butterfly starts flitting around the room, landing on his finger and taking a chomp out of him. And then more chomps, but more like slices actually. He swats it with a rolled up magazine but another one appears, then many of them, slicing at him until they disappear down the A/C vent. We all know what’s coming: a whole flock of the butterflies erupt out of the vent, slashing him to ribbons. The man screams, panicked, and ends up crashing through the window and falling many stories to the street below. The building he just dive-bombed out of? Massive Dynamic.
Olivia is getting decked out for some party. She cleans up nice! Then Broyles calls and interrupts – he’s got an assignment for her and is sending her to NYC. She sulks, wipes off her lipstick, and gets on the plane.
Peter and Walter meet her in NYC. Walter immediately thinks the cuts all over the dead man are suspicious because they were definitely not caused by the broken glass as his shirt is not cut. Olivia peruses the looky-loos on the sidewalk and sees her former-now-dead FBI partner/lover, John Scott, there. And then he’s gone. Shortly thereafter, Olivia interviews Nina Sharp, trying to determine why the guy might have taken a header. Nina says that in the work Massive Dynamic does, people sometimes come up against irreconcilable realities – sometimes it’s too much for them to bear.
Walter has had the dead guy transported back to his Harvard lab, where he and Astrid are examining the body. The thin slices appear to cut through to the bone. Ouch! Some even seem as though they started from the inside and cut out. Ouch again! Walter has also found a synthetic compound in the dead guy’s blood and brain – it may be migraine medication, but then again maybe not. Meanwhile Peter gets a phone call from an unidentified woman who says she needs to see him. He seems somewhat ambivalent about it.
Olivia finds the word “monarch” written in Dead Guy’s date book. She searches online, coming up with English queens and butterflies. Rolling her eyes, she shuts her computer down for the night. But it fires right back up, delivering an email from John Scott. The email gives her an address. She sighs, and goes there with her gun and her flashlight, alone of course. Thee are lots of blue plastic bins, and a horrific crashing and thudding noise – which I’m not sure is supposed to be soundtrack or actual ambient noise in the basement she’s in. She opens a bin: live frogs, lots of them. She has them sent to Walter’s lab.
The next day, Olivia confides to Charlie that she feels like she’s going “clinically insane,” having seen John multiple times, plus the phone call and now the email. Charlie asks if she’s seen the Bureau’s shrink but she doesn’t want a psych profile in her file. She asks him if she can take a leave of absence. Charlie says sure, if she thinks it’ll help. Then, Astrid gives her a call: Walter thinks she may have cracked the case! He thinks the frogs made Dead Guy jump. No time for personal time, Olivia!
Peter meets his mystery woman, “Tess,” at a café. She greets him with a kiss. (She looks like a little like Six from BSG.) Tess tells him that if she can find him, so can “they” and he should get out of Boston post-haste and never come back. There’s some gazing into eyes, murmurs about trust. Pete holds her hand and she flinches: her wrist is badly bruised. Peter seems to think it’s at “Michael’s” hand. Tess says it’ll be worse for him if he stays, and bolts from the café.
Walter explains psychosomatic phenomena while showing a 1970s era movie of one of his experiments. Olivia wants to know: “What does this have to do with frogs?” Glad you asked: the frogs are actually toads that exude a toxin that produces psychosomatic responses directly on humans’ brains. Dead Guy had a high level of this toxin in his blood and Walter hypothesizes that someone gave the drugs to him, leading to Dead Guy’s psychotic break and death (so, murder). Olivia catches up with Walter later, asking how much longer she is going to be seeing John Scott. Perhaps for years, says Walter. She is not down with that and wants him to do something to help: she wants him to put her back in the tank to purge John’s memories from her brain. Walter says yes, of course, but it’s too dangerous. Olivia insists.
Peter is surveilling Tess’s apartment when he gets a slightly panicked call from Astrid: she thinks he needs to get back to the lab. What she doesn’t tell him is that it’s because Olivia has stripped down and allowed Walter to put that probe back into her neck, readying her to get in the sensory deprivation tank. Walter tells her that this time, when she goes in, she’ll have high levels of psycho-something drugs, be put in a deep trance, and must focus on his voice which will be her tether to reality. Olivia enters the tank.
Inside the tank, Olivia gets trancey. At first she sees nothing, then hears a little music. Walter ups the electrical current a little. An image swims into focus: a door. She walks through it and climbs a staircase. She’s in a restaurant – she sees herself and John on their first date years ago. Just then, Peter comes in, upset that Olivia is putting herself at risk again. Walter asks him to monitor the IV drip. Trance Olivia tries to communicate with the John in the memory she’s in; Walter’s all “he can’t hear you! this is a memory!” Trance Olivia tells Memory John that Dead Guy killed himself yesterday and John smiles at her. Walter insists that John doesn’t see her – she’s not there in his memory - but I think he might.
Suddenly. Trance Olivia is transported outside. It’s nighttime and winter, and John, a Hispanic man, a black man and Dead Guy are having a covert meeting. Dead Guy and the Hispanic man leave and Trance Olivia follows, but they disappear out of the memory she’s watching. She turns back to John in time to see him stab the third man in the stomach. Olivia-in-the-tank panics: “Walter, get me out of here!” What’s she so worried about? It’s just someone else’s memory.
Astrid has another hidden talent: it was cryptography last episode; this time she’s a sketch artist, rendering the face of the Hispanic man who walked off with Dead Guy in the memory Olivia saw in her trance. He’s the only one of the four men still alive so they send the rendering off to Charlie for identification. Olivia says she has to go see Broyles to follow up on this lead. Peter tells her that he’s here if she needs him. “I know,” says Olivia.
Olivia tells Broyles that they believe Dead Guy was involved in selling high tech stuff to black market buyers, and the Hispanic guy moved the psychosomatic synthetic drug from Massive Dynamic’s research departments. She wants files from Massive Dynamic and Broyles says he’ll see what he can do.
Peter is back stalking Tess. He pounces on a guy (let’s call him “Michael”) coming out of her apartment, beats the snot of out him and, pointing a gun in his face, says he’ll kill Michael if he touches Tess again. I really don’t care about any of this – this is a wicked boring episode.
Back at FBI HQ, Broyles delivers a stack of Massive Dynamic files to Olivia. She figures out a phone number and calls it: the voice who answers sounds like the Hispanic guy’s voice. They trace the number and move in on the guy in NYC. His name is George – so I don’t have to keep calling him “the Hispanic guy.” Blah blah blah, driving around in New York traffic … Olivia and Charlie spot George getting out of a cab and give chase on foot. Until he runs into the street and gets smacked by another cab.
They get George to the hospital and he tells Olivia that he wants to make a deal. She’s not sure what he can offer, seeing how they’ve already got him for selling a chemical weapon and murdering Dead Guy. George says he needs protection from Massive Dynamic: it was the company who killed Dead Guy to protect their secrets. George goes on to say that Massive Dynamic is behind the grody flight from the first episode, ZFT, etc.; they are Hell and their founder, William Bell, is the devil. George says he knows he can trust Olivia because his old buddy John Scott told him he could.
So Olivia goes back to Massive Dynamic to meet with Nina again, saying that all her investigations lead back to Massive Dynamic. Cut to George, ringing the bell for the nurse; it’s not the nurse who walks in and George is scared. Olivia thinks that Nina’s “cooperation” is mere subterfuge. It’s John Scott, bathed in a strange bright light, who has come to see George. This does not soothe George in the least. Nina says she understands that the FBI’s witness is blaming her company for all sorts of wrongdoing. Bright John Scott whips out a knife and cuts George’s throat – awesomely, a real nurse walks in right then and watches George’s throat cut itself (no John Scott or knife anywhere to be seen) and bleed out. The nurse screams.
Broyles calls Olivia to tell her that George had been given the same psychosomatic drugs as Dead Guy, and that’s how his throat cut itself. He tells her to back off Massive Dynamic. Olivia gets huffy. She goes to see Walter and tells him that she needs to go back in the tank – she has oodles of questions that need answering. Walter is reluctant, reminding her of the dangers – she risks permanent damage (memory loss, seizures, aneurysms, death) with no guarantee that she’ll find the answers she’s looking for, especially since she can only observe and not interact with John in his memory. Olivia protests that John saw her but Walter insists that it’s just not possible. He asks her to give him some time and he will develop a safer technique for her. Just not tonight.
Michael meets another guy and tells him that Peter Bishop is back in town. “Really?” says the other guy.
That night, Olivia’s computer starts up on its own again and she gets another email from John: “I saw you. In the restaurant.”
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