On this week’s “Fringe,” Peter has a close run-in with death and someone besides Walter knows about Peter’s true origins.
The Case: An older man wipes his bloody nose in an elevator with a young man who asks if he’s OK. The doors open to the Vitas Petrol lobby and the older man collapses. His elevator “friend” tries to revive him, but there’s no pulse. Instead, the older man’s veins begin to pop and blood sprays out of his mouth and onto everyone around him.
Olivia and Peter arrive at the scene. The investigator briefs them on the victim, Dutch man Radjan Vandenkemp. Olivia questions the receptionist, who tells her Vandenkemp was wandering aimlessly. Peter notifies Olivia that Broyles is running information on the man and Vitas Petrol’s employee Ames cuts in to ask when they can be released. The receptionist points Olivia to where Mike was sitting a moment earlier, the younger man who was with Vandenkemp in the elevator, who has disappeared. We see him in the bathroom, trying to rid of Vandenkemp’s blood. But, when he looks up, his nose is bleeding just as Vandenkemp’s was.
Broyles briefs Astrid and Walter on the case. As they walk toward the building, Mike tries to open the door but Walter pushes it back, after realizing that the virus may be contagious. Mike follows the same fate as his elevator buddy, with Broyles, Walter and Astrid his lucky witnesses. Walter orders the building quarantined, even though his own son and Olivia are trapped inside. Thankfully for technology, Walter asks Peter to find out if anyone knew Vandenkemp or his condition, on a cell phone. Olivia and Peter notify everyone on the floor that the Center for Disease Control is outside, and once you get the CDC involved, it’s serious.
Normally Walter takes cases with an air of curiosity and childish intrigue, but this one’s different. Meanwhile, Olivia finds canceled appointments by Ames in the company database. Peter brushes it off, but Olivia thinks something’s there. A Vitas Petrol co-worker alerts the two to a problem and leads them to a hallway where they find the receptionist, her nose bleeding. Peter brings her into a room, closing her off to the rest of the employees.
Olivia asks Ames why Vandenkemp was there, and Ames says he was selling information from competing oil reserves, which meant he could’ve caught the virus wherever he came from. Later, Olivia and Peter have a heart-to-heart, this time about Olivia not phoning her sister Rachel about her current predicament. Peter says it best: “Even now, you’re protecting her. I thought that was the point of having people who cared about you in your life, to have someone to talk to when you’re scared.” But Peter, Olivia isn’t most people.
Olivia sees the receptionist and follows her into the room she was put in, while Peter goes into the lobby. He falls when she appears next to him and blood sprays from her mouth. Quickly thereafter, the receptionist jumps through a glass window and onto a support unit vehicle. Death count: 3.
Olivia runs out to the lobby and it is then that Peter sees blood on his hands. He rushes to the bathroom, where he desperately washes the blood from his body. But wasn’t that what Mike did — and he still died? Olivia cautions Peter but he doesn’t care. With nothing to lose, Peter digs through Vandenkemp’s pockets and finds car keys. Who said the dead couldn’t be useful?
Two Hazmat suits take a briefcase from the car trunk, which end up being samples of the virus that killed the three people. Walter gives Broyles his hypothesis: The virus needs other organisms to infect. Since Vandenkemp parked underground, it wasn’t until he was in the building full of people before he sprayed. Walter believes the virus is currently self-contained in the building but it wants to go outside to continue spreading, explaining the receptionist’s jump through the window.
Walter, Astrid and a Hazmat suit go in to test the people trapped inside. Olivia is clean, but when it’s Peter’s turn (in an earlier moment, we see his nose bleeding implying he has the virus), he swabs his mouth but gives Walter the unused side to test. When he’s deemed “uninfected,” he and Olivia gather the first group to leave. But when Peter isn’t cleared at the front door because the Hazmats notice his nose bleeding, Peter does everything physically possible (and it’s the virus talking) to leave the building.
In a makeshift lab after they decide to stay and find a cure, Walter painfully tells Astrid: “I can’t let Peter die again.” Was that lost on Astrid? Walter talks himself into finding a cure using horse radish, which is full of sulfur (Walter explains that sulfur killed a virus thousands of years ago), from the company fridge and finds a cure for the virus! Meanwhile, many of the people stuck inside — including Peter — are getting rowdy and violent.
Olivia volunteers to go in to turn on the ventilation system so they can put Walter’s cure through the building vents. Peter sees Olivia approaching the garage on the security screen and promptly follows. When the elevator doors open, Peter attacks Olivia and she has no choice but to point the gun at him. Peter still believes a cure is out there (translation: outside) and the two partners find themselves in an intense physical fight. Peter gets away and enters the elevator with Olivia’s gun in hand.
When Olivia finally turns on the ventilation system, the sulfuric concoction enters through the vents, killing the virus completely and saving Peter from death .. again.
After Peter regains consciousness, Walter leaves his son’s side too emotionally distraught over the possibility of losing him. Astrid follows Walter outside and asks him about his statement inside about Peter dying again. Walter responds bluntly: “Some things are meant to be left alone, Agent Farnsworth.”
The Conclusion: There seemed to be two cases going on here. One was the mystery of the week, which was solved pretty quickly in this week’s episode. The second was Peter’s true origin. We, as viewers, knew Peter was from an alternate universe, but now someone other than Walter is clued into Peter’s past. I hope this leads to a larger picture, since it looks like next week’s episode is heavy on the Bishop family tree.
Toning It Down: To comment on the case briefly, the lack of gruesomeness was actually quite nice. I found myself more engaged with the characters and their personal conflicts, than focusing on the “ew” factor.
Now that Astrid knows something is up with Walter and Peter, will she put two and two together?