Fringe, S4 Ep3 – Alone in the World

Fungus-infested morgue

This is writer David Fury’s first episode of this show, and I have to say, as a big Buffy and Angel fan, I was really looking forward to what he’d do with it. I was not disappointed. It’s not as monumental as last week’s, but it’s a wonderful standalone with, as usual, fantastic acting.

Peter on the clipboard

Nope. Not still hallucinating at all.

So we begin with Walter looking very uncomfortable, sitting in his room/office with the doctor we last saw at St. Claire’s in season one (played by William Sadler). He was really unpleasant then, so I can’t help mistrusting him here, even though he’s just here to do an evaluation of how Walter’s doing. We learn that him coming monthly for this was a condition imposed when Walter was released from the mental institution. We also see that Walter is doing his best not to talk at all about the hallucinations he’s been having, both seeing and hearing Peter (without knowing that it’s him, of course). The agents who guard Walter also write reports on him, and the doctor wants to know why he’s reading about Walter covering all the reflective surfaces in the lab. Walter has no good excuse, of course. Eventually he admits that he’s hallucinating, but he adds that it was just because of his own self-medication and it’s over now. As he says this, we look down at the back of the doctor’s clipboard and there’s Peter!

Now we’re looking at a little boy running away from two bullies. They’re shouting the usual TV/movie bully things, like, “You’re dead, you rat!” and “Yeah, you better run!” The little boy runs into an abandoned tunnel of some sort. It’s very dark inside, but there’s nowhere for him to successfully hide. The bullies follow him, but just as they’re about to start beating up on him, one of them cries out that something is touching him. And then the other one seems to have something gross and plant-like growing on his face. And then as the first boy, their would-be victim, watches in horror, they keep crying out in pain and we… can’t really see what else is happening to him. The first boy runs away. Credits.

It’s Olivia — and she’s… at the FBI building. Huh. We never see her there anymore. There’s another call-back to season one, although she does have her hair in a braid, which is more like S2. Anyway, she’s filling in the finishing touches on a drawing. We can’t see much of it, except that it appears to be the sketch of a man’s face. She’s in front of a computer that’s running a facial recognition program.

Olivia in glassesOur Lincoln comes up to her. When he sits down across from her and asks what she’s doing, she quickly puts away the drawing and closes the program. He’s there because he got word she wants to see him, and he asks about the shape-shifter tech, but she’s just checking in to see how he’s doing. He’s been reading the Fringe case files, and she wants to make sure he’s not feeling overwhelmed by it all. When she tells him that she’s here if he needs to talk about it all, Lincoln looks like he thinks she might be flirting with him. I don’t think she is, though, despite the fact that they’re both wearing matching adorkable glasses at this point — she really just wants to help, and she’s a little awkward about offering it. Lincoln tells her that if he freaks out, she’ll be the first to know. It’s cute.

Then Olivia gets a call from Broyles, because they’ve found two dead bodies in the tunnel. Two skeletons, of kids about twelve years old, would be more accurate, because they’ve decomposed almost completely despite the fact that the kids were only missing for about ten or twelve hours. At the scene, Broyles asks Astrid if Walter has any theories yet about how this could happen, and Walter rambles in Astrid’s ear for a while, suggesting everything from Bigfoot to aliens. Astrid finally says he has no ideas. Hee.

In the tunnel, Lincoln notices a third set of footprints going both in and out of there, so he, Broyles, and Olivia speculate that there might be another kid, a witness — as long as he isn’t dead already, too. Back at the lab, Walter unzips a body from its bag and he and Astrid remark that it smells terrible. Astrid goes to get some scented candles, and if I were in the lab, I’d complain, because then I’d just have a headache on top of smelling the nasty decomposed body.

Walter blocks it out

What do you mean, I'm not doing a good idea of pretending I'm not hallucinating?

Broyles is there, and Walter says it’s nice to see him. Broyles says he came to check in on Walter (everyone’s checking on everyone today, I guess) after hearing from the doctor that Walter seemed unusually agitated at his evaluation. Walter starts to deny this, but hears an echo of Peter calling his name right in the middle of his denial. He ignores it as best as he can, and asks Broyles where the other body is. Broyles thought one would be enough. Walter disagrees, saying he needs both, and then Peter is calling him again and Walter asks, “What?”, sounding and looking distressed. Broyles, of course, also asks, “What?”

Walter tries to explain that he needs to compare the two, but he is constantly being interrupted by Peter’s voice, and he can’t hide his reactions to it. What Peter is saying includes, “Do you hear me? I can see you!” and “Listen!” and “I’m scared, Walter — you have to help me!” and, most painful of all to me, “I wanna come home!” By a few moments into this explanation, Walter is flinching, speaking loudly, and putting his hands over his ears — and both Broyles and Astrid (returned with candles) look very concerned. Finally an almost in tears Walter says, “I’m not losing my mind!” But of course, it looks a lot like he is. Poor Walter — and poor Peter! Then, the voice silent for now, he calms enough to repeat to Broyles that he needs the other body to be sent here, before leaving the room.

Olivia calls, letting him know that she and Lincoln have a pretty good idea who the third kid is based on talking to the school. Sure enough, the two of them are approaching the rather angelic-looking child we saw in the episode’s teaser. He’s by himself in the cafeteria, drawing in a notebook. When they bring him back to the lab, he continues drawing quietly as Olivia exposits that his name is Aaron, he has no father, and his mother is away on a trip so he’s been staying with a neighbor. Also, he claims it was dark in the tunnel and he didn’t really see what happened. Broyles tells Olivia and Linc to go get the other body, and he’ll tell Walter about Aaron.

Walter's not scary

Walter's not scary at all.

Before they leave, Olivia tries to talk to Aaron. He’s not very forthcoming until she tells him her friend Dr. Bishop needs to examine him to make sure he’s all right. Then he says he doesn’t like doctors because they scare him. Olivia assures him that Walter’s not scary — and then Walter comes out in his bloody autopsy apron and brusquely tells Aaron to take off his shirt. Heh.

On the table, Aaron says, “Please, I don’t want a shot,” to Walter, who starts to say he’s actually withdrawing something (blood) rather than depositing it — but then realizes that isn’t helping. More gently, he promises it will only be one time, and praises him for doing a good job when it’s over. As Walter puts the vial of blood in the centrifuge, Aaron hops down and looks around. When he finds the GI Joe toy we remember from season one, Walter snaps at him not to touch it. Poor Aaron’s face falls. Walter apologizes for shouting and says it belonged to his son. At Aaron’s question, Walter explains that he died. Aaron looks sad.

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