In a small town in Massachusetts, a disoriented woman is tossed out of a van and makes her way to a nearby diner. The server, realizing she's in shock and noticing the bruises on her wrists, calls the local police. Suddenly, everyone in the diner starts screaming, bleeding from the eyes, and dying - except for the Mystery Woman, who takes the Mad Science Death Bar up to eleven when her head explodes.
When the Fringe Buddies arrive on the scene, it's to discover that everyone in the diner died of excessive exposure to radiation - and the headless woman, now identified as Emily Kramer, was the source. While examining the corpse, Walter discovers Emily suffered from Bellini's Lymphocema but appeared to be in remission - odd, considering the illness is considered to be incurable.
Olivia asks Emily's physician Dr. Patel if Emily was taking any special medications. Unfortunately, Dr. Patel's in the dark - even he couldn't explain Emily's sudden recovery from her terminal diagnosis. Olivia asks her FBI pal Charlie to see if anyone else with Bellini's was reported missing - sure enough, Claire Williams was abducted from her home. She also suffered from Bellini's, she also made a miraculous recovery, right before she disappeared.
Meanwhile, Walter and Peter discover the source of the cure - Emily's bloodstream was full of microscopic, time-release capsules of radioactive isotopes that kept the disease at bay with regular doses of helpful radiation. However, whoever abducted her injected her with something that made all of the capsules activate at once - turning her into a human nuclear bomb.
Oliva interrogates Ken Williams, Claire's husband, and discovers that Emily and Claire had been taking experimental, untested therapies - their disease is so rare that pharmaceutical companies never got around to making an official drug for it. And guess who helped - good ol' lying Dr. Patel, who helpfully gives up the name Richard Esterbrook before shooting himself in the head.
Richard Esterbrook is the head of one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, is Obviously Evil, and also knows exactly where Claire Williams is. Olivia confronts him, but he's pretty much untouchable, so Peter makes a Devil's Bargain with the folks at Massive Dynamic to spy on him and find his Mad Science Shenanigan lab. Using this information, Olivia and the FBI storm the lab with Walter's hastily-made cure for Exploding Head-itis and rescue Claire. Richard Esterbrook gets arrested and publicly shamed in the media which I guess is better than Rich People Prison but what do I know?
Olivia's been kind of a witch-with-a-B this episode, and she finally reveals to Peter how she shot her abusive stepfather when she was nine years old (whoa, hardcore). He survived and moved away, and ever since, Olivia's blamed herself for all the evil shit he's still alive to do. And because being a Massively Abusive Dickhole isn't enough, this dude pees in her eye every year by sending her a birthday card to remind her that he's still alive (and, presumably, doing Evil Shit). Sure enough, at the end of the episode, she gets that birthday card shoved under her door. Gross.
- Big, Bad Pharma
- DIY Radiation Therapy
- Human Atom Bombs
Best Death Scene: There really is no way to top an exploding head. The prize goes to Emily Kramer's literal brain burst. But pretty much everyone in that diner went out in gruesome style - with the radiation literally boiling their brains in their own fluid.
Mad Science Questions:
- Did Massive Dynamic somehow engineer this whole situation in order to get rid of a competitor and boost their stock?
- Seriously, how does Olivia's evil stepdad still know where she is?