Friday, September 06, 2013

Fringe 1x19: "The Road Not Taken"

The Fringe Buddies are called to the scene when a frantic young woman named Susan Pratt abruptly catches fire and explodes on her way to a hospital. Olivia has a mild freak-out because she can see two charred corpses while everyone else only sees one. Later, while asking Broyles a question in his office, she notices his furniture is completely rearranged and he starts asking her about the two victims - but in a flash, Olivia abruptly "returns" to the real Broyle's office.

In regards to the Exploding Lady, Olivia uncovers that she was being "tested" for something by a Dr. Isaac Winters, and her apartment is full of burned furniture. Walter theorizes that she might have been genetically engineered to possess pyrokinesis, but when her power was "activated," her inability to control it caused her to turn it inward upon herself.

Meanwhile, since learning from Dr. Boone in "Midnight" that William Bell has been funding the Mad Scientist Terrorist organization ZFT, the Fringe Division has started a full-scale investigation into Massive Dynamic. Walter even discovers that William Bell wrote the ZFT manifesto while they shared a lab - although he's convinced that crucial pages have been removed. Neither Nina Sharp nor Agent Rapist are happy about the investigation, and Agent Rapist demands Broyles shut it down.

Olivia: Are we seriously going to stop--

Broyles: LOL NO.

Broyles is a bad-ass. Anyway, Olivia finally goes to Walter with her visions, worried that she's going bonkers. Thankfully, Walter can always be trusted to come up with a somewhat-believable, pseudoscience explanation: Olivia, thanks to her childhood treatment with Cortexiphan, might be able to see more than one reality. Walter theorizes that every decision we make creates two realities - the road taken, and the road not taken. The ZFT manifesto stated that our reality was at war with another's, so perhaps Olivia is catching glimpses of that other reality, and she should use her glimpses into the other reality to find answers in her own.

When she gets another flash of the Alternate FBI Headquarters, she questions Alternate-Charlie and discovers the second victim was Susan's twin. Back in her own reality, Olivia finds out Susan ran away and changed her name - but her twin, Nancy Lewis, is still alive. Unfortunately, she's already been kidnapped by Dr. Isaac Winters who intends to activate her powers.

Thankfully, Peter comes to the rescue - apparently, he's been cannibalizing all of Walter's equipment to create a device that will digitize Walter's water-damaged record collection. Awww - Walter and Peter share an adorable moment when Walter realizes Peter made the most Mad-Sciency homemade gift ever. Another use for Peter's machine? When Nancy was kidnapped, she melted the glass in her window in a panic, and apparently the soundwaves in the room made indentations on the melted glass. Peter uses his machine to read those grooves and translates them into sound - and we get the sound of screams and a dial tone.

Olivia uses an app (for reals, just an app) to call the dial tone - and it's Agent Rapist's phone! So, yeah, he's apparently been a traitor this whole time! Just don't expect any actual explanation or follow-through on this discovery - he gets cooked from the inside-out by Nancy during the FBI's rescue when Olivia tells her to focus her powers outward. Agent Rapist goes out in a massive flamey explosion and it's delightful.

So all's well in the universe - well, not completely. The next time Olivia sees Walter, she unleashes the full brunt of her outrage on him for abetting in William Bell's experimentation on children. Two people subjected to these experiments are dead - Susan Pratt and Nick Lane from "Bad Dreams." She tears several thousand (well-deserved) strips off him and demands to know what he and William did to her with the Cortexiphan. Walter bursts into tears and says he can't remember.

When he returns to his lab, Walter discovers the missing pages of the ZFT manifesto - that supposedly contain the good reasons why William's against the war of realities - in his record collection, but before he can do anything with them, the Observer appears and tells him it's time to go.

The episode ends with Nina Sharp staring at the wrong end of a gun barrel as she enters her apartment - right before it goes off.

Mad Science!
  • Pyrokinesis
  • Alternate Realities
  • Reading Soundwaves from Melted Glass
Best Death Scene: Agent Rapist's glorious and completely-deserved immolation! 

Mad Science Questions:
  • So, wait, was Agent Rapist a traitor all along? How does that work? I'll admit, I'm as happy as anyone that they found out he was an obvious bad guy and that he met a deliciously gruesome death but they don't really explain how he came to be a traitor. They just go, "Welp, we don't need this obstacle anymore. Let's just stick him to the Pattern, kill him off, and never mention him again."
  • So which reality was Olivia having visions of? Just one that was slightly different? 
  • Is Nina Sharp okay?
  • So Walter and the Observer are just going on a really awesome roadtrip, right? He'll be back, right?

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