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Friday, September 23, 2011

Recap: Fringe Season 1 Episode 3, The Ghost Network

The episode opens outside of St Anne's Cathedral. Inside there is a man in a confessional speaking to a priest. He asks the priest if he thinks that God is able to speak to him. The priest says he believes that God will speak to anyone who is willing to listen. He also asks him if he thinks the devil can speak to people as well. The priest asks if there is something he would like to tell him.

The man explains that he tries to be a good man, but he sees bad things. As he talks we see people on a bus, going about their normal bus-riding activities. There is a man on the bus who is looking around, in a suspicious manner.

The man in the confessional continues to speak about visions that he has and there is a woman on the bus that puts a gray backpack down beside her seat. The man talking to the priest says that he's scared, he wants these visions to stop. While he continues to work his way through his feelings the man on the bus opens a black bag and takes out a gas mask and a silver cylinder. He puts the mask on and the cylinder starts to emit a smoky substance. He puts the cylinder on the floor and it rolls down the aisle of the bus.

As people begin to panic the man gets up, and starts to leave the bus. He reaches down and grabs the backpack that the woman put beside her seat on his way by.

After he gets off the bus he jumps into a waiting car and the car speeds away.

The man exits the confessional and hurries out of the church as the priest calls after him, "Roy, I know it's you." The priest picks up a piece of paper that Roy had dropped and uncrumples it. On it there are drawings of distorted faces screaming.

A police squad car pulls up near the motionless bus and a cop gets out and approaches the bus. When he gets close enough we can see people on the bus, they appear to be frozen in place. Most of them with stricken looks on their faces.

At Mount Briar Cemetery Olivia, Charlie and other law enforcement personnel are attending the funeral of John Scott. Olivia looks stoically on as final words are said and Amazing Grace plays. John Scott's mother is given the flag off of his coffin.

When it is over Olivia walks away through the cemetery. Charlie catches up to her and she let's Charlie know she doesn't think it was right that Scott got a hero's burial when he was actually a traitor. Olivia thinks John's mother blames her for his death, but Charlie doesn't think so.

Olivia says that John used her and told her he loved her. Charlie looks at her and says, "I wasn't gonna tell you this ... but he said he loved me too." This gets a chuckle out of Olivia.

Broyles walks up and promptly whisks Olivia away.

In a diner Walter and Peter are sitting across from one another in a booth. Walter is mixing something from a packet into his drink. When Peter questions him about it Walter informs him that he has been self-medicating with psychotics because after being in St. Claire's he's been thrown out of balance.

Peter gets up from the table and tells Walter to stay put. When Walter wants to know what will happen if he has to go to the bathroom Peter tells him to hold it. After he walks away from the table Peter's phone starts vibrating against the tabletop. Walter eyes it and manages to slide it open before putting it to his ear. We hear Olivia's voice in a questioning, "Hello?"

Peter crosses the diner and accosts a man who has been following them all day taking pictures. He swipes the memory card from the camera and pockets it. The camera guy makes a comment that Peter was supposed to check in before coming home. Peter threatens to come after him first if he let's it slip that he's back.

Peter walks back to the booth and takes his phone from Walter's hand. After getting out of Walter he was going to order blueberry pancakes, Walter remembers the phone call as having something to do with a bus.

Broyles briefs Peter, Olivia and Walter as they walk through the tunnel where the bus is. He let's them know that it has been confirmed that whatever this is, it wasn't biological.

Upon viewing the disaster in front of them, Walter observes that it is like mosquitoes trapped in amber. Peter says that by using this method that whoever did this was trying to garner attention.

Walter wants to study the amber back at his lab.

In a building the man who originally gassed the bus and his get away driver are emptying the contents of the backpack on the table. Whatever they are looking for is not in there. The driver makes a phone call in another language and then leaves.

Now we see Roy sitting at his desk at work. He is getting glimpses of things in his mind. He grabs a piece of paper and starts drawing. A co-worker comes by and asks what it was. He just looks at the paper and his smudged hands and says he doesn't know.

At the lab at Harvard, Walter is staring into a microscope at a slide of the amber. The only thing he really knows is that it's starts in a gas form and then hardens. He wants Peter to play Bach for him on a piano that he's sure "that young lady down there" will procure for them.

Peter points out that after 100 times of being reminded that her name is Astrid, Walter will not be getting a piano.

Then Walter asks Peter what was up with the man in the restaurant? Peter plays it off and says he was bothering the waitress. Walter accepts that although he doesn't look like he believes it.

Walter does such a good job of ping ponging back and forth from loony-forgetful-old-guy to astute-I-don't-miss-anything-scientist. He is such a great character. So why no Emmy Love for John Noble? (Anna Torv too, while I'm at it.)

Olivia is in the area where they have taken the people who were amberized. She finds a camera and has someone run the video. She wants the people on the video cross-checked with the bodies. When she spots the backpack on the video they are unable to match that up with the items recovered from the bus.

She finds out the woman who had the backpack was named Evelina Mendoza, and she was D.E.A. (At this point, as I do anytime I hear D.E.A. I flash back to Con-Air, when the guy stands up and yells DEA Motherfucker! I can't help it.)

Olivia says Mendoza was undercover and she and Broyles have a meeting with her handler, Grant Davidson. Olivia prompts him for details on what she was working on. He said after she heard members of a Nicaraguan drug cartel she had infiltrated discussing something called The Pattern she wanted out. He doesn't know what The Pattern is that she was referring to. He has no idea what she may have been carrying that someone else would've wanted.

He asks to ID the body and when he expresses that it is more difficult than he thought it would be, Olivia sympathizes because she says she has also lost someone close.

Davidson enters the room with her body as Olivia observes through a window. He gently strokes her arm and lifts her hand into his.

Olivia walks through the lab's doors to find Walter sitting behind a piano and a melody filling the air. Astrid tells her that when Peter was playing earlier it helped Walter recreate the material they found on the bus.

Walter explains that once the Nitrogen in the atmosphere and the gas came in contact with one another, they turned solid. Which took up all the air and space in the bus.

Of course, Massive Dynamic is the company that has the technology to produce this kind of commodity. Walter throws in a well-timed Dah, Dah, Dah, Dummm on the piano here, which is grin-worthy.

Charlie calls and he and Olivia go to Roy McComb's apartment. They were tipped off by the priest, saying that Roy had knowledge of the bus situation before it happened.

The background on Roy makes him seem like a fairly harmless guy, until Charlie leads Olivia into a room covered with drawings depicting the incidents of the cases they have been working on for the past year. The renderings are dated previous to when the actual instances happened.

Roy McComb waits in a room while Peter, Broyles and Walter observe him through a window. Although Broyle's doesn't really think that McComb is responsible for the tragedies he wants to know how it is that he knew about them before they even happened.

Charlie goes in to talk to Roy.

Olivia is at Massive Dynamic talking to Nina Sharp about the compounds that were found. Three of them were made by subsidiaries of MD. Olivia requests a list of the labs that the compounds were supplied to. Nina offers her anything that she needs.

Olivia points out to Nina that every case she has investigated has pointed back to MD somehow. Nina tries some fancy double speak to make MD look like it's not shady. Then, she tries to turn it around on Olivia, saying that at least three of the cases Olivia has been investigating has "occurred right in your own backyard" and perhaps Olivia herself had something to do with them.

Someone comes in and gives Nina the information Olivia needed. In true Nina style, she waves her red flag in front of Olivia's nose by informing her that there was an attack like this before, but not on such a large scale. But, of course, if Olivia had access to the case files, she'd already be aware that MD divulged all they had to the government.

Olivia thanks her and leaves.

Broyles watches as Charlie talks to Roy about his drawings. Roy explains that he gets a feeling and the only way for him to expunge it is for him to try to draw it. Occasionally he can get rid of it by building things. It's been going on for about nine months.

The nine month time frames fits in with when The Pattern became something they were aware of.

Peter says based on his ability to read people he thinks that Roy believes what he is telling them. Which still leaves Broyles answerless as to how he is getting his information.

Walter theorizes that maybe McComb is linked psychically with people who are talking or thinking about these incidents.

He wants to do an experiment to see if he can prove that McComb is hearing someone else's thoughts. When Walter asks, Olivia informs him that Yes, it would probably be for the best if he kept Roy alive.

Olivia catches up with Broyles and questions him about Nina's having said the amber was used before. He admits that she is correct. Olivia is taken aback that she has not been given full disclosure on the cases that she is investigating.

Broyles tells her it is for her own protection and when pressed by Olivia wanting to know more he says, "And you will, when you're ready."

Walter and Peter watch Roy get put into an MRI machine. Walter thinks that if there are thoughts in Roy's head that are not his own then they should show up. Peter asks him if he will be able to identify whose they are and Walter looks at him as though he has said the most absurd thing in the universe(s). "That's preposterous. But I may be able to intercept them." Uh-huh. 'Cause that's not preposterous at all.

Roy lies in the machine as the MRI bumps and dings through it's chorus line. The veins in Roy's face and forehead start to bulge and he grunts in pain.
They shut the machine down and run in to remove him. Apparently Roy has metal in his blood and had he not been removed from the MRI he would've been ripped apart. Astrid asks a very good question. "Why would there be metal in his blood?"

This question isn't really answered at the moment. The next scene finds Walter, Astrid and Peter digging through boxes looking for files from 1989. Wait, no, never mind. Walter needs from 79 instead. Uh, well maybe.

Luckily for Peter and Astrid he finds just what he needs right in his hand. Okay, somewhat shortened, non-scientific explanation: Years ago Walter and Belly thought there was a way things could be communicated on a wavelength that hadn't been discovered. The government was interested in this because they could send their top secret info out without fear of it being sabotaged. It would be called The Ghost Network. The government wanted Team Welly to come up with a way for humans to do this directly with each other.

Walter thought if he could admit a certain special metallic compound into a subject's brain that it would work. (I definitely didn't do it justice, Walter used lots of big words.)

At about this point Peter makes a discovery that Roy McComb was one of Walter's test subjects once upon a time.

Peter and Walter get into it because Peter is outraged that his father conducted an experiment like this without bothering to explain what was happening. Walter does have a funny comeback though ... he says: "Well it wouldn't have been a very secret experiment if I had."

Olivia comes in as the Bishop boys are squaring off. Peter turns and stalks away from Walter and tells Olivia that Roy will be fine, although Walter is not responsible for that.

Something Peter sarcastically says kicks Walter's understanding of what is going on into high gear. Walter says that with the metal that was injected so many years ago having multiplied it has turned Roy into a receiver. Someone else has managed to make The Ghost Network viable and Roy is picking up those transmissions.

Walter uses some visual aids on a slide projector to attempt to help explain how his experiment on Roy will work. One of them is a picture that seems to look like a three dimensional tunnel although it isn't. The next one is a picture that humans consider to be a duck or a rabbit, depending on the colors used. The purpose of Walter's slide show was to demonstrate how the brain tries to make a connection or pattern out of random bits of information.

Peter pretends to understand what Walter is talking about just to get him to stop talking about it.

Walter thinks that with some "minor" brain surgery he can redirect the messages Roy is getting so that he will be able to hear them rather than have to draw what he is feeling.

To do this Walter needs a Magnetic NeuroStimulator that he built before his trip to St. Claire's. Surprisingly enough, this device is not held under lock and key at Massive Dynamic, but buried in a wall of Peter's old childhood home in Cambridge. (It may not have been at Massive Dynamic, but you didn't think it would be easy, did ya?)

Peter and Olivia head to the house in Cambridge where their knock is unanswered. As Olivia starts to call to try to track down the owner so they can get permission to go in the house, Peter saunters over to the door with a pocket knife in his hand. About five seconds pass before Peter has the door open. When Olivia asks him 'What're you doing?' he replies with "What? This is barely even a crime. I used to live here."

An invaluable lesson from Peter Bishop on B & E. Another one involves kicking the hell out of a door so it flies open and nearly off it's hinges. But that's for another episode, as that comes later in the series. With plenty of opportunities for that particular lesson.

Back at the lab Walter is giving Roy a pre-op examination and questioning. On the issue of having used elicit drugs Walter assures him he will not pass judgment if Roy has partaken of such. Walter being Walter even suggests if he hasn't that he should.

Astrid proceeds to literally strap Roy into his chair with seat belt looking apparatuses. Roy and Astrid have a sweet exchange where Astrid once again provides calm and reassurance to someone who is scared/vulnerable/disillusioned ... take your pick. I love Astrid's calming effect on people.

In Cambridge, Peter is removing a vent from the wall as he and Olivia talk a little bit about themselves. The only thing we really learn about Peter is that they had to move out of the house in Cambridge after Walter was put in St. Claire's, that he isn't ready to talk about where his Mom is now (and of course now we know why), and when he was nine he wanted to be a Brontosaurus.

Olivia says she knew she wanted to be in law enforcement since she was nine. At this point I want to raise my hand and be called on because I know why ... but she chooses to ignore me and does not tell Peter either. There's something deliciously fun in knowing things about these characters that they don't even know about each other yet.

Peter's hidey-hole turns up empty, but he remembers a dumb-waiter he used to hide in when he was little.

Walter is prepping Roy and Roy tells him he looks very familiar. Walter just says he hears that a lot.

Peter and Olivia arrive and Walter inquires about the welfare of the house and of Rufus. Peter lets him know the house is about the same, but Rufus, well, he was put to sleep about 20 years ago. Walter is a bit disappointed to hear this, but Olivia informs him they found his contraption.

Roy is reclined back with a metal headband on his head with wires coming out of it. Walter decides it's time for intracranial penetration. Two words in my opinion that should never, ever be used together.

As Walter is just about to drill into Roy's head he is interrupted by a pounding on the door. Olivia answers to find two Freshman who are obviously in the wrong place. I'm sure if they had wanted to stick around Walter could've found a use for them somehow.

Walter goes ahead with the drilling process which looks unbelievably painful, although Walter said to Roy he wouldn't feel any pain.

Walter is going to try to move the metal in Roy's brain to the areas that process sound. Peter will be showing him pictures and Roy is to inform them of any sensations he has during this process.

The first image is a horse, and Roy says that. Walter has Astrid turn on the current that Roy is attached to. Walter lets Roy know he might have an unexpected bowel movement during this.

The next picture is a car and in response to that Roy starts to taste dirt and gasoline. Walter says they are almost where they need to be.

Roy says the next image is a beach but doesn't get any sensations with it. Well, other than being scared, but that could be because Walter started yelling at him for not feeling anything else. Peter tries to get Walter to calm down a bit, but Walter tells Astrid to crank the voltage to 200 Gauss.

As Peter tells her not to do that, Roy starts spouting off Latin that he is hearing in his head. Astrid is able to translate what he is saying. It sounds like someone is meeting at South Station to make an exchange in an hour. Roy also picks up something approximate to the phrase "She had it on her the whole time."

Olivia looks at one of Roy's drawings of a woman with bleeding palms. She makes a connection in her mind and goes to check Evelina Mendoza's body at the morgue. It turns out that when Davidson wanted to ID the body, he was really cutting something out of the palm of her hand.

On her way to South Station Olivia calls Broyles and tells him about the information from Roy and also the cut in Mendoza's hand. Broyles says he will send back-up her way, plainclothes only as per Olivia insistence.

At the lab Walter observes that with a little demodulation Roy could probably receive free satellite TV. On that happy note, Peter says "Alright, fun time's over. Astrid, let's get him unhooked." I don't know, as expensive as cable is nowadays, Roy may've wanted to take Walter up on that.

At South Station, Davidson's phone rings. Roy can hear the conversation with his special powers and he relays it to Walter, Peter and Astrid. Peter calls Olivia, who is also at South Station now, and tells her Roy's latest forecast.

Olivia walks through the station looking around and in the meantime Davidson gets another call telling him to go to the Dewey Square exit. Roy passes this information along, and Peter in turn calls Olivia with it.

Olivia catches up to Davidson, but when she tries to apprehend him she realizes he's been shot and the briefcase he was carrying has disappeared.

Charlie and Olivia take off after the person who took the briefcase. When they chase him down they make him put the briefcase and his gun down. Before they can take him into custody he steps backwards just as a bus comes roaring by, effectively being the equivalent of a bug to their grill.

In a clinical looking room the briefcase is opened revealing a white oval shaped tube. The tube itself is pulled apart and an object is removed that is about the size of a nickel and clear. This is the same object that we saw Davidson remove from Mendonza's palm in Olivia's flashback.

Olivia meets with Broyles, feeling a little discouraged that they don't know anything about what the chip is for, and over all the bloodshed. Broyle's tells her they have made some headway because they were able to identify the guy who threw himself in front of the bus as Matthew Ziegler. His fingerprints connected him to two other Pattern related cases. And in going through Roy's disaster models they found three incidents that appear to linked to the Pattern that they didn't even know about.

Later at the lab they get ready to send Roy home. Peter is seated at the piano and asks Olivia if she has any requests. She requests Bach, but Peter plays her some Jazz instead. Walter stops what he is doing and comes over to lean on the piano and listen to his son play.

From what I've read, Joshua Jackson actually learned to play that bit of music for this episode.

In a darkened corridor Broyles walks up to someone sitting on a bench. He reaches into his jacket pocket and as he sits on the bench he deposits what was in his jacket between him and the other person. A hand reaches down and closes over the white tube that was in the briefcase. The camera pans up and Nina Sharp is shown to be the owner of the hand.

She and Broyles speak about Olivia and Nina's interest in her. The conversation doesn't reveal much, the biggest question would be why are Nina and Broyles meeting on the DL?

Later Nina takes the chip to a lab technician who says hopefully with it they will be able to crack the encryption. He says they have stabilized a link and have been pulling information from the disk. We see that John Scott is lying in a chamber and there is a computer screen with his name on it and a heading saying

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