Fringe Episode 1.15 "Inner Child"
Written By: Brad Caleb Kane and Julia Cho
Directed By: Frederick E.O. Toye
Original Airdate: 7 April 2009
In This Episode…
A demolition team is about to take down a decrepit building when one guy suddenly feels like he needs to do one last sweep of the building. Good thing he does, because in a hidden underground tunnel, he finds a young boy, naked, hairless, and devoid of pigment.
Charlie gets a worrisome fax at the office – an invite to a public "art show." Several years ago, he and Olivia worked a case with a perp dubbed "The Artist". He would abduct, sedate and slaughter his victims, give them a makeover, and display them in public. He stopped killing cold turkey, but now he seems to be back. Olivia is about to meet Charlie, but gets a more urgent call from Broyles about the bald kid.
We get our first peek at The Artist – a perfectly normal guy who's so average he's creepy. He comes across as a good Samaritan who lures his victims into his child-molester van. (Fun side note: his first victim in this episode was the chick who played the first Becky on Roseanne. Good to see the kid can still get work – even if it is only about 86 seconds of screen time.)
Anyway, Olivia is bonding with Baldy at the hospital when she gets the call that the first victim has been found. As she writes down the address, Baldy takes her pen and writes a name: Sam Gilmore (upside down no less). It's not Baldy's name – it's the victim's. The team immediately scrambles to find a connection between the kid and either the victim or The Artist. Another visit with Baldy, and another mysterious clue: this time, an address. The team sweeps the neighborhood, but The Artist is hiding out in his van. The victim doesn't turn up until it is too late. But while Olivia is visiting with Baldy, a guy by the name of Elliot Michaels comes by from child services – but you know he is not really from child services when he makes a phone call and says, "We found another one."
Olivia finally gets a hypothesis out of Walter. The kid spent years and years underground, which heightened his sensitivity to light, sound, even oxygen. Walter theorizes that during this time, he became hyper-sensitive to emotions. Not a psychic, but an empath.
Olivia checks the kid out of the hospital and brings him to Walter's lab, where, of course, Walter has a crazy device that will allow them to hear Baldy's thoughts. They don't get very far before the kid starts shivering and his body temperature drops dangerously low. Olivia is checking up on a lead at a meat-packing plant, and she's in the meat locker – Baldy feels her cold. Olivia rushes back to him, desperate for another clue as to the whereabouts of The Artist. Baldy's mad. It turns out Michaels is not with child services, but the CIA – they want him for research. Broyles is aware, and promises that once the child has helped them solve The Artist case, they will turn him over. Baldy is not happy with this, but Olivia has a little heart-to-heart with him, and the kid gives her an intersection.
She and Charlie set up a checkpoint at said location (strangely, with no backup around). The Artist pulls up, but Olivia can't be certain he matches the generic description she got of him at the meat-packing plant. That is until she sees the yellow pine-tree air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror – a spear shape that is eerily reminiscent to one Baldy fashioned for her out of yellow M&Ms. A chase ensues, and The Artist dumps the victim and runs. Charlie recovers the victim, still alive, and Olivia battles The Artist in a graveyard, stabbing him with his own knife.
Olivia makes an arrangement with Broyles and Baldy's doctor to put the kid with a foster family. Michaels is pissed off when Broyles explains that the kid just "disappeared," trying to hint that the kid had some sort of supernatural power. On his way to his new home, Baldy spots a man on the side of the road who looks eerily like him, but grown up….
Dig It Or Bury It?
It's funny – I didn't even realize I missed the show until it came back. It was a riveting episode that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I didn't like all the loose ends. The Artist seemed to have popped up out of nowhere, and died suddenly with no explanation. I know the focus was supposed to be on the boy, not the killer, but I found The Artist to be more fascinating. I guess I watch too much Law & Order.
Late one night, Olivia goes to the Bishops' hotel to spitball some theories. Walter is in a robe, and lets his legs fall open. Peter, embarrassed, tells his father to cover up. Walter giggles and says, "Peter, don't be such a prude. I'm sure Agent Dunham has seen a penis before."
Later, Walter relaxes Baldy before his experiment by doing a dance that is equal parts ridiculous and hilarious.
This was the first episode that I saw no X-Files in. I was just fully absorbed in the Fringeyness of it all.
The boy's empathy didn't seem far off from truth. Sure, it was exaggerated nearly to the point of psychic abilities, but I think everyone has at one point or another felt another person's stress or elation or anxiety.
Next week we have another creature feature, with the gang hunting down a creature that Walter created 20 years ago – something that resembles a pterodactyl, apparently. Welcome to Jurassic Park.