Previously, on Fringe - Olivia was kidnapped and drugged by some Nefarious Men in Black SUVs. In this episode, she wakes up in a creepy lab, where masked men give her a delightfully non-consensual spinal tap. One of those men is Mitchell Loeb, because of course it is.
Back at the FBI, Broyles rouses the cavalry to rescue Olivia, all of which turns out to be unnecessary because Olivia breaks herself out of the Creepy Lab in about five seconds flat because she is fucking AWESOME and SMART. She also manages to steal some specimen vials and buries them in a secret location. Because, again, she is AWESOME and SMART and takes NO shit WHATSOEVER.
Until she is met by a squadron of FBI vans and is shot with a tranq gun again. WTF. She wakes up in a hospital and is greeted by Agent Sanford Harris, who shall ever after be referred to as Agent Rapist - because that's what Olivia had him convicted of, back when she worked as a legal liaison for the Marines. Of course, due to Reasons, his conviction was overturned and he's inexplicably been assigned to evaluate Olivia's performance and the effectiveness of the Fringe Division.
Not that he carries a grudge or anything. I have tolerated a lot of Mad Science Shenanigans for this show but my suspension of disbelief stops far, far short of buying that the FBI would assign a dude to oversee the woman who had him convicted of rape. Objectivity, what's that?
Anyway, because It Is What It Is, Agent Rapist tells Olivia that she's forbidden from investigating the circumstances of her abduction.
At least the Fringe Buddies have a new case to investigate - a world-famous immunologist had a fit while giving a lecture and asphyxiated when a giant, spiny slug forced its way out of his esophagus. Walter examines the slug and determines that it's actually a single cell of the Common Cold Virus, magnified about a bajillion times. Killing an immunologist with the Common Cold - at least the Pattern Peeps don't lack for humour.
Olivia, meanwhile, finds out the immunologist had been recently hired to head a governmental council on epidemics. They track down the government's second choice - but Mitchell Loeb gives him a Giant Cold too (ha!) when their backs are turned and he dies before Walter can design a large enough Cold FX capsule to cure him. The Fringe Buddies begin to suspect the immunologists were killed off to keep them from preventing a Mad Science epidemic the Pattern Peeps might be planning.
However, Olivia's starting to catch on to what happened to her. She recognizes Loeb's shoes from the Creepy Lab where she was spinal-tapped, and even though Agent Rapist has forbidden her from investigating, she still has those specimen vials she'd hidden away - and they match the material Walter took from the Giant Cold.
Olivia goes to Loeb's house to investigate while Peter and Charlie try to tap Loeb's phone to gather evidence against him. Olivia reaches the house and runs into his wife, Samantha Loeb, who's involved in the Mad Science Shenanigans, too. They have a Supremely Suspenseful Tea Party, until Peter intercepts a phone call from Loeb ordering Samantha to kill Olivia before she leaves the house.
But Olivia? She's smart. And awesome. And really pissed about being spinal-tapped - and before too long Samantha winds up sharing the fate of a Spinal Tap drummer. When the apprehended Loeb learns of his wife's death, he's grief-stricken at the loss of his Little Woman (yes I went there) and lets slip that they're involved in some Mad Science War, Olivia's abduction was supposed to save her, and that they had been planning to let her go all along. Which only creates more questions.
- Giant Cold Virus Slugs
Best Death Scene: Mrs. Loeb's single shot to the head, just for pure shock value. Her own bullet missed Olivia by inches.
Mad Science Questions
- Um, Walter invented a freakin' time-travelling teleporter and everyone seems to have forgotten this ENORMOUS MIRACLE OF SCIENCE. WTF.
- And speaking of unbelievable bullshit, the US government would let a man oversee and evaluate the work performance of a woman who had him convicted of rape? Excuse me? In what universe is that okay?
- What did Mitchell Loeb mean when he said that he saved Olivia? That there were two sides at war?