Fringe Episode 411
Written By: Akiva Goldsman, Joel Wyman, and Jeff Pinkner
Directed By: Charles Beeson
Original Airdate: 3 February 2012
In This Episode...
The other Astrid (would it be rude if I referred to her as Bastrid?) sneaks into our universe after her father dies and she doesn't know how to feel about it. She goes looking for our Astrid in hopes of making a connection. When the other Broyles finds out, Fauxlivia volunteers to go get her but by the time she comes into our universe, Bastrid is helping our Fringe with a case that just came in.
A man is discovered dead on a park bench. He had just been diagnosed with stage 1 cancer, but the doc gave him a 95% survival rate. A man named Neil killed him with an aerosol poison because he says he could see the future and this man was part of the 5%. The next body that pops up is a woman who is struggling to overcome alcoholism. Neil tells her that her drinking won't kill her, but it will destroy everyone around her - so he offs her. Neil's third victim, Jared, is a business man who he kills because he is going to be in a car accident that leaves him paralyzed and since he doesn't have any family, he ends up in an abusive group home. When Neil pulls out his poison spray, Jared fights back, runs - and gets hit by a car and is paralyzed anyway.
Bastrid finds the connection between these three victims that no one else can: they all flew through Logan airport in the last few weeks, and were checked through by the same TSA agent - Neil. When Liv and Peter go to round him up, he ducks into the security zone and - in a less-than-subtle dig at the TSA - are prevented from going any further without prior approval. So Neil escapes and Liv and Peter go talk to one of Neil's former co-workers at MIT. Neil was an advanced mathematics professor, utterly brilliant, but also utterly crazy. He became consumed by this notion that if he could complete a particular equation, he could "unlock the secrets of the world" and essentially be able to see the past, present, and future all at once. He went into seclusion at a lake house at - where else? - Rayden Lake. He emerges claiming to have completed his equation and quits MIT. Neil is not at the lake house, but the track him down to his mother's house. He has gone there to say goodbye to her. Many years ago, his father and twin brother died in a car accident and he overheard his mom say that the wrong son died. So he was left with some issues. Liv shows up, Neil aims, and she fires - suicide by cop.
As an epilogue, a pair of Observers go to Neil's mom's house and find his light-up device. The Observers decide this was "September's" and he must have "lost it in 1985." He also didn't "obey your orders" because "Peter Bishop has returned."
Dig It or Bury It?
This was an interesting episode for a couple reasons. First, we got to find out more about Astrid than ever before. In this episode she truly goes from a background character to part of the ensemble. Because of that, this episode was more focused on emotions than science or horror or any other weirdness. There was still weirdness - this is Fringe, after all - but it was just kind of mild weirdness... which, for Fringe, is kind of like normal.
More and more, I am beginning to believe that there is no "alternate timeline." The world that Peter is living in right now is what resulted from him having essentially been erased from everyone's minds. Walter is mad at Fauxlivia for switching places with his own Liv, and feels betrayed. Why would that happen in an alternate time stream? It doesn't make sense to me.
In the Other Universe...
Bastrid's relationship with her father was a strained one. She believed that because of the way she is (Asperger's Syndrome), her father couldn't love her. Astrid assures her that their father was a distant man and hard to love. In reality, Astrid goes home to a warm, loving father who greets her with a huge hug and a home-cooked meal.
Also, in the other universe, coffee is rare and expensive and therefore she has never had it. Astrid makes her a cup.
Since this episode was largely about interpersonal relationships, there was a lot of Walter Babble going on. Most notably, he took an instant liking to Bastrid. When she helps him with a case, he ushers her to another part of his lab and not-so-subtly whispers to Liv, "I think I love her." He calls our Astrid by a number of names, including Astrix and Aspirin, and she mildly offended that he doesn't forget Bastrid's name once.
He also hasn't forgiven Fauxlivia for playing the role of Mata Hari and "tricking" him into liking her. He warms to her by the end when she shares what he thinks is a "super-secret spy gadget" - but is really just a silver tin of mints.
The laws of physics are colliding and from what people tell me, that is a bad thing.