TV Recap: 'Fringe' Episode 404 - 'Subject 9'


Fringe Episode 404

"Subject 9"

Written By: Jeff Pinkner, J.H. Wyman, and Akiva Goldsman

Directed By: Joe Chappelle

Original Airdate: 14 October 2011

In This Episode...

Olivia is being chased by a strange blue light. No, really. Every time the blue light appears, it causes disturbances among metal objects. Walter supposes the blue light is some kind of temporal disturbance that might be caused astral projection. Walter remembers a boy from the cortexiphan trials who could astral project and had similar side effects. The boy, Cameron James, lives in New York - and Walter insists on accompanying Olivia to visit him.

Cameron is furious with Walter and what he did to the children. He is happy to see Olivia though, and softens towards Walter when he sees his remorse. Olivia explains the situation, but Cameron swears he no longer can astral project - that stopped when he stopped getting the cortexiphan. He still suffers the negative side effects of wrecking havoc on metal objects when he gets stressed out. When the three are attacked by the blue light, Cameron repels it involuntarily. So he's not causing it, but Walter thinks that, since Cameron can manipulate energy, he may be able to destroy the blue light.

The trio travels to a nearby power station... and wait. When the blue light appears, it is bigger than ever. Cameron starts to manipulate energy, but Liv gets a strange feeling. A body starts to take shape in the blue light... a face... (yes, it is Peter). She tries to get Cameron to stop, but he is too deep. Liv discharges her gun into the air, scaring away the blue light and breaking Cameron's spell. She apologizes to Walter, but says she was just going off a gut instinct. The man from his visions and her dreams didn't mean them any harm.

As Walter and Liv say goodbye to Cameron and head to the car, Broyles calls. It seems that a naked man was found in Lake Reiden. A boy and his father were out fishing and picked him up. This man knew everything about Fringe division, stuff that required the highest security clearance - and he knows everyone by name. Walter and Olivia meet Broyles at the hospital where they took this man. He asked for Olivia specifically, so she goes in to see him. Peter is relieved to see her. She has no idea who he is.

Dig It or Bury It?

Hated the science part; loved the interpersonal stuff. The science part felt half-assed, cobbled together to get us to Peter. Which is great, because I am happy he is back. A large chunk of this episode was really a bonding exercise between Olivia and Walter. She cares for him like family, and it is really sweet. We also get to see a little more of Walter's insanity - and at the same time clarity, and he seems more vulnerable than ever. He accidentally-on-purpose saw a letter from St. Claire's in Olivia's jacket, which is why he leaves the lab for the first time in three years: he wants to prove that he is a capable, useful member of society. Later, after Olivia may have ruined any chance of destroying the blue light, Walter ponders this. "You acted irrationally," he muses, a fact which Olivia cannot dispute. "When I do that, people say I'm crazy. Crazy is a lot more complicated than people think." It is likely that this rationalization sealed Olivia's decision to recommend that Walter not be hospitalized.

Walter Babble

This episode is largely Walter babble. In New York, Olivia leaves him in his hotel room obsessing over every bit of germs and filth that may be in there. She is gone mere moments before she hears a commotion. Racing back in, she finds Walter in the middle of a manic episode, trashing the room in true rock star fashion. Olivia calms him down the only way she knows how: by treating him to root bear floats at a nearby diner. He repays the favor by teaching her the perfect way to drink a float: stab the ice cream down to the bottom of the glass with your straw, then suck from there so you get the perfect mix of "two sugary delights" in every sip.

By far, my favorite line of the night is when Walter is heading out for New York with Olivia. Astrid is astonished he is leaving. Walter tells her, "You stay here and man the cameras, Claire." "Really? Claire? C'mon - that doesn't even start with an A!" of course, now we know he was preoccupied with the idea of going back to St. Claire's but it's still funny.


Fringe division seems to approach Peter with caution, but they haven't imprisoned him... yet. I can't wait to see how this goes.