Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fringe recap: S1E16 "Unleashed"

Boring domestic scene: Olivia reads Ella a bedtime story.  Peter calls, oddly enough to chat with Rachel whose giggling and laughing makes her big sister look slightly put out.

Cut to distressed lab animals as animal rights activists break in and start opening cages.  Did these kids never watch 28 Days Later?  As they break into a back room, a silent alarm goes off, notifying some middle-aged guy who rushes over to the lab.  One of the activists enters that back room, undeterred by the ominous red lights.  When Middle-Aged Guy gets there, he heads to the back.  The activist is standing in the doorway of the back room.  MAG asks, "You didn't open that door in there?"  Activist: "You bet I did."  MAG goes to check things out and is grabbed by something large and unseen.  Blood spurts and then he's gone.  All the little activists run but the last one out the door is snatched up and dragged back inside, screaming.  The three remaining activists jump in their car and take off, but something attacks the car, causing it to flip.  Afterwards, the two still-conscious (or still-alive, tough to say) activists wonder what it was that attacked them as they try to free themselves from the wrecked car.  Then whatever it was moves in towards them and the girl activist screams and screams.

The next morning, Peter and Walter argue about Walter's carelessness in leaving dangerous stuff lying around the lab.  Astrid interrupts the shouting match to send them off to Olivia's case.  They rendezvous at the activists' wrecked car.  Broyles brings them up to speed, saying that the three bodies were apparently killed by a large animal not indigenous to New England; Charlie pipes up, saying that wherever this thing is indigenous, he doesn't ever want to go there.  Walter notes that the critter had massive claws.  As they poke around the crime scene, they find fast food debris: four drink cups but only three bodies.  Peter notes that the fast food is from a late night joint near MIT - maybe they should check out the undergrads.

Olivia goes to MIT to interview one of the dead activist's roommates who, when he can manage to speak articulately in the presence of the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, tells her about the animal rights activism bit.  She returns to Walter's lab where the gang is examining the bodies: the wounds indicate that hte critter has the claws of a lion, the fangs of a giant snake ... they have no idea WTF this thing is.  Astrid starts calling local labs who do animal testing to see if any break-ins have been reported.  Walter has meanwhile pulled some sort of spine or stinger out of one of the bodies and gets a troubled look on his face.

Out in the woods, two animal control officers investiage a "monster" sighting, bitching that "monster" is usually "housewife for 'racoon'."  Heh.  Then they hear the slobbering snarls in the underbrush and they too get troubled looks on their faces.

Walter paws through his old files, reading one and sighing, "Good heavens."  When Olivia heads out to look into that monster sighting, Walter tells her to be careful.  Charlie gets out to the animal control van first and finds one of the officers inside, shredded like cole slaw.  He calls it in and then hears something in the brush.  He draws his gun and bravely heads towards the noise, looking scared.  He finds the other officer - dead - and as he stares, a scaly prehensile tail unfurls from the tree behind him.  Olivia shows up in time to hear Charlie shooting.  She finds him, wounded but alive, and asks, "What was it?"  Charlie: "Big."

The EMTs pull a spine/stinger out of Charlie's should and Walter eagerly collects it.  He asks Charlie several pointed questions about the critter which arouses Peter's suspicions: "What do you know about this thing, Walter?"  Walter 'fesses up that this is probably a transgenic animal, created by man and comprised of several different species - using the best of the best of their characteristics.  Peter's like, dude, a giant transgenic fanged rhino is just wrong on so many levels.  Astrid calls to tell Olivia that Swift Research got broken into last night.

Swift Research does animal testing for pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies.  Olivia tells Dr. Swift about the animal activists who were killed nearby, possibly by a genetically-altered critter.  Dr. Swift is like, we just do testing AND we didn't have a break-in, no matter what you heard.  Then he tells her that she'll need a warrant if she wants to look around more.

At the Fringe lab, Peter tries to get his very distracted dad to focus.  Walter says that he thinks he may be to blame: he tried to create a similar creature twenty or so years ago.  He failed - all his creatures died - but someone must have finished his work.  Peter starts to get mad at his father again until Astrid is all, um, the bodies are moving!  They unzip the body bags to find the bodies swarming with critter larvae.  Olivia:  "You mean baby monsters?"  Yup.  Walter asks for a petrie dish and then, when the bodies burst open and larvae pour out, amends that request to "a bucket."  Astrid thinks she's going to be sick.  Walter: "Two buckets!"  Heh again.  Walter surmises that the spine/stinger is what plants the eggs in the bodies.  Olivia: "Oh, God, Charlie!"

Speaking of Charlie, he and his wife are about to get busy when their doorbell goes nuts.  It's Olivia and she makes him come back to the lab with her at once for an ultrasound.  "You trying to tell me that I'm pregnant?" asks Charlie.  "We're hoping not," replies Olivia.  Bad news: he's totally knocked up with critter larvae.  Walter, trying to look on the bright side, notes that at least the creature doesn't mate in the traditional way.  They don't know what to do next: there's no way to extract the larvae now that they've spread through Charlie's system.

Walter freaks out a little, then has an idea.  Astrid draws some blood from Charlie while Peter mixes up some kind of poison.  They try it on the larvae but no go: the poison kills the larvae but also poisons the blood.  And Charlie's system is shutting down as the larvae start to feed on him.  Walter has another idea: transfuse Charlie with the parent critter's blood, possibly convincing the larvae that Charlie is one of them so they'll stop eating him.  All they have to do is find the big critter.  Olivia thinks it may be traveling in the sewers.  They're making progress but not fast enough: Charlie starts to scream as the larvae squirm under his skin.

Then Olivia gets a call from that MIT roommate, saying that one of the animal rights activists is Jonathan Swift - the son of Dr. Swift.  Olivia goes back to Swift Research and browbeats Dr. Swift into coming clean.  The critter is made up of gila monster, parasite wasp and bat.  Astrid suggests that now they know what it's made out of, maybe they could entice it with bait.  Walter goes one better: bats are extremely maternal so they can wave its larvae around and lure it out ... and then kill it with a .50 caliber incendiary round.

They pack their gear, Walter reminding Peter to be gentle with the larvae.  Right, says Peter, 'cuz we don't want to hurt the monster babies.  Olivia and the Bishops head to the sewers but not before Walter slips a vial of the poison into his pocket.

Ah, the sewers - just like The X-Files and BtVS.  They set themselves up in a defensible spot, opening the box of larvae.  Walter excuses himself to go take a leak but sneakily locks Peter and Olivia into the room.  Peter pounds on the gate and shouts at his dad.  Olivia pleads that Walter isn't prepared so he pulls out the poison and chugs it.  He says that when the critter snacks on him, it'll get poisoned and then they can take its blood to save Charlie.  And there's an antidote to the poison at his lab, but they'll need to give it to him within the hour.  Walter toddles off and Peter flails away at the locked gate, swearing that if Walter survives this, he'll kill his father himself.

Walter wanders through the sewers, singing to himself.  The critter finds him.  It is big!  And does kind of look like a cross between a bat and a gila monster.  Peter and Olivia catch up just as the critter moves in on Walter.  Peter shouts so the critter lunges at him instead; Walter shoots the critter dead.  He also is hoping that someone noticed what time it was when he mentioned that bit about the antidote.

Back at the lab, Walter takes the antidote and is just fine, and they transfuse Charlie which for some reason kills off all the larvae.  "Now you'll just crap 'em out!" says Walter happily.  But when Olivia goes home that night, she decides to leave the light on while she sleeps.

Previously on Fringe / next time on Fringe

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