Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fringe recap S1E7 (11/11/08)

The FBI and sundry other law enforcement types patrol the harbor in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Night vision goggles focus on a white box truck upon which the law converges. The truck is carrying stuffed animals, toys. Oops. Afterwards, Broyles is updated on the op from his buddy, FBI Agent Loeb, when suddenly the agent collapses, screaming. They rush him to the hospital. “I’ve never seen anything like it!” says the ER doc. They crack him open and find a massive pronged something pulsating in his ribcage. It kind of looks like Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors, except stuck in a man’s abdomen, not a flowerpot.

Why does nothing weird in any other part of the country need investigating? Does the Pattern only happen in Massachusetts?

Broyles brings Olivia et al. up to speed: the “thing” in Loeb’s chest isn’t communicable, at least. Broyles is hoping that Walter has seen the “thing” before and will be able to help them out; Walter is hoping that someone is carrying some breath mints. The Fringe team takes a peek at the “thing” that is actually wrapped around Loeb’s heart. It’s like a giant centipede and seems to be growling a bit. Walter postulates that it is some kind of genetically manipulated organism designed specifically to infect the host’s heart. He thinks he might be able to remove it but wants to go back to his lab. Tell me they’re not going to take this poor agent out of the sterile high-tech hospital and operate on him in Walter’s grungy basement laboratory.

Back at Walter’s grungy basement lab, they hook Agent Loeb up to the various “vitals machines.” Walter recalls that he had hoped to create such an invasive parasite at one time; they’ll have to remove it to be able to figure out exactly what it is. Before they can get started, Loeb’s wife shows up, asking WTF is happening to her husband, here of all places. Olivia intercepts her, saying that here there’s a doctor here who is uniquely qualified to help her husband. The wife also drops off a sheet of paper she found in her husband’s things: there seem to be rows of letters or numbers on it.

As Walter begins to try to remove the parasite, it constricts around Loeb’s heart – not good. While Peter injects some chemical to make the parasite relax its coils, Walter gleefully extracts a tissue sample. After analysis, Walter confirms that the organism has been purposefully genetically manipulated and, when they print off the lines of DNA markers, Astrid (who minored in ciphering) figures out that there’s been a code implanted in the lines of DNA. The coded sequence: ZFT. Which Olivia has seen before!

Olivia and Broyles walk and talk: Olivia has been searching through Loeb’s case files and found reference to an organization known as “ZFT.” Broyles knows of an individual of interest, name of “Jones,” in custody in Frankfurt, Germany, who may be affiliated with ZFT – terrorists who traffic in scientific progress, not weapons. You know, Pattern-types. Olivia wants to talk to Jones and thinks she can get in to see him.

Peter and Walter are concerned that Loeb is not doing all that well. When Peter notices a filament in the I.V. bag – a tendril of the parasite that is growing all too quickly – they get even gloomier. Olivia calls to let them know she’s headed to Germany; Peter tells her to make it quick.

This show is foolish. I’m finding it awfully difficult to reconcile that the same guy responsible for both Alias and Lost is also responsible for this. At least those shows had really strong early seasons before they got just nuts.

In Frankfurt, Olivia is met by “Lucas,” who knows her and kisses her on the cheek somewhat awkwardly. He’s not sure he can help her – she didn’t get him much time to reach out to his contacts in the prison where Jones is being kept. They arrive at the prison: the official is helpful until he finds out whom they are here to see. Lucas speaks at length in German, as does Olivia, leaving me completely in the dark. The official tells them that Jones generally speaks to no one; Olivia is certain he’ll speak with her and asks if the official will give Jones a message from her.

Broyles is checking on his buddy Loeb at Walter’s lab, saying that while he’s not hoping for miracles, he’s grateful for whatever Walter can do. Walter gets a little weird, rambling about fruit cocktail, and Broyles goes directly over to Peter and says, “We need to talk about your father.” Hee. This pushes one of Peter’s buttons and he goes OFF on Broyles, but friendly-like: fruit cocktail again well my father’s a nut and barely lucid and I’m not a puppeteer don’t ask me to control him blabbity-blah. Luckily Broyles is amused by this mini-rant. His cell rings: it’s Charlie who has analyzed the paper Loeb brought back from Germany. It’s a code relating to case files coming from the Boston office. There’s also a lead on one “Joseph Smith” in Saugus whose name came up in another recent Pattern investigation. Broyles orders up a SWAT team and heads out to Saugus.

Olivia and Lucas wait and wait. Finally, the prison official comes back with good news: tomorrow morning, Olivia may have fourteen minutes with Jones. And, he’s brought a note back for her. After reading the note, Olivia calls Peter, looking for Broyles: Jones’s note says that he'll only speak with Olivia after first speaking with Joseph Smith. Peter informs her that Broyles just went after him with the SWAT guys and she freaks out: Smith must not be killed! Unfortunately, Broyles is on radio-silence so Peter has to go down to Saugus in person to deliver Olivia’s message. He is too late: Smith bolts out a second story window and runs for it, waving a pistol at all the federal agents. As Peter shouts “no-no-no!” an FBI agent takes Smith down with one shot to the head.

After the shooting, Broyles asks Peter what he’s doing here. Peter’s all: I just got off the phone with Olivia who is headed back to the airport since her prisoner would only speak to her after he’d spoken to the guy you just killed. Broyles: “You’re kidding.” Peter: “That’s the first serious thing I’ve said all day.” Broyles: Oops. Then Walter calls Peter, also wanting to talk with Smith. When Peter tells him Smith is dead, Walter is unfazed and asks his son to bring Smith’s head back to the lab with him. And hurry!

Frankfurt: Olivia is trying to hide her frustration. Lucas mentions that she seems different – what happened? She sidesteps the question. So Lucas amps up the charm a little, trying to get her to stay over: “I’ve become a spectacular cook!” they're interrupted when Peter calls Olivia back: Does Jones know Smith is dead? Because if you can get in to see him tomorrow morning, he might not have to. So Olivia decides to stay over and makes Lucas cook dinner for her.

When Peter brings Smith’s head (body attached) back to the lab, Walter is angry that he’s been shot in the head. This produces brain damage! Peter notes that it also tends to kill people and since he’s never had a conversation with a dead person before, it never occurred to him that it might be an issue. Walter says he’ll have to adjust the procedure … and I totally zone out, uninterested in the wonky nonsense happening on-screen. They hook electrodes onto dead Smith’s head – and Peter suddenly remembers that Walter used to do this to him as a child: experiment on him by hooking him up to car batteries. Dude, that’s sick. They give Smith a little test first: Smith’s body shimmies and shakes. Test successful!

After dinner, Lucas asks Olivia who it was who broke her heart. She gives him the short version. Then there’s some conversation about how Olivia and Lucas used to be together, and it ended badly, and he thinks about her a lot, and I am SO BORED that I don’t even care when they start making out and undressing each other.

Coitus interruptus by Olivia’s cell: it’s Peter, telling her that he thinks they can get the dead guy to answer some questions tomorrow morning. After she hangs up, Olivia thanks Lucas for the evening and scurries back to her hotel.

The next morning, Walter hooks Peter up to dead Smith and the machinery: apparently Smith will only be able to speak through Peter’s voice and hear through Peter’s ears. Also, it’s going to be quite painful for Peter what with all the electrical current and all. Olivia calls, ready to go, and they tell her to stall as they can’t get the dead guy to talk yet. She’s like, um, I’ve only got fourteen minutes.

The prison officials let Olivia into an interrogation room to see Jones. He is creepy. She wants to know why he won’t try for his freedom from prison or at least extradition; he sneers that she’s making two assumptions – that his freedom is important and that he was responsible for infecting Agent Loeb. He goes on to insinuate that both he and she are being manipulated by outside parties and wonders where her loyalties lie.

Back at the lab, Walter sedates Peter to mellow out his higher brain functions. He also gives Astrid some stimulant to shoot into his son in case the sedative mellows his heart out a little too much. Just then, Broyles and Mrs. Loeb burst into the lab. Broyles: “This can’t possibly be scientific.” Hee. You just wait, my friend.

Finally, Walter et al. are ready. Jones’s question for Smith, as relayed to Astrid over the phone by Olivia: Where does the gentleman live? They ask Peter/Smith the question and just then Loeb starts convulsing, putting everyone in a fluster as they try to smooth him out. After a brief pause to reset and increase the machine’s voltage, they try to ask Smith again and again. Finally, just as the prison officials are set to kick Olivia out for running over her time, Peter shouts for paper and slashes eleven vertical lines on it: I I I I I I I I I I I. “What is that?” asks Astrid. Peter: “I have no idea.”

The German prison guard is pressuring Olivia … as the lab crew tries desperately to figure out what the drawing means. Walter hypothesizes that the bullet caused damage to the portion of Smith’s brain that processes horizontal lines: Peter just has to fill in the crosshatches. Peter grabs the pen, stares at the drawing for mere moments and then like a GENIUS puts in enough horizontal marks to spell L I T T L E H I L L. Astrid gives the answer to Olivia over the phone; Olivia shouts “Little Hill” to Jones as the prison guards are dragging her out of the room; and Jones, appeased and impressed, shouts back the correct dosage to be injected into the parasite to kill it. At the lab Walter mixes up the concoction and injects the beastie. Looks like the Fringies save the day again!

On the ride to the Frankfurt airport, Olivia muses that Jones mentioned something about loyalty, and how the FBI may have been betrayed. Lucas says that he has other means to get information out of Jones; if she’ll allow him, he’ll do some digging on her behalf. Plus that’ll give him a reason to call her.

Back in Boston, Broyles has some questions for the recuperating Agent Loeb: in the course of his investigations, did he come across anyone whom ZFT might have on the inside here at the FBI? Loeb suggests Olivia’s dead lover/partner but otherwise has nothing. Broyles tells his friend to rest. Out in the hall, Olivia catches up to Broyles, peppering him with questions like, “what do you suppose ‘Little Hill’ means?” He won’t answer any of them and instead gives her a backhanded compliment about how her never being satisfied with the answers she gets makes her such a good agent. Broyles leaves and Peter shuffles up to Olivia. They congratulate each other on a job well done and head out for a beer.

In Loeb’s hospital room, his wife is beaming at her healing husband. They peek out into the hall as Peter and Olivia leave. So, asks Loeb, did it work, what we did? Wife: Yup, it led them to Jones. “Did he ask the question? Did we get the answer?” Mrs. Loeb leans in, smiling, and whispers: “Little Hill.”

No comments:

Post a Comment