Fringe – S4 Ep15, A Short Story About Love

Fringe is back! Fringe is back! I’ve been quite busy since it went on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t miss it keenly every Friday, sort of like Olivia without Peter, or vice versa. Ahem.

Anyway, this episode does what it says on the tin, and it’s a solid episode. It’s a Monster-of-the-Week, and yet it is definitely part of the arc, and I appreciate how well this show usually does that mix.

I was going to make a joke about this plotline "wrapping up" quickly, but I grossed myself out.

Said case of the week is about a man with a creepy-looking disfigured face who, the Fringe team discovers, stalks couples who are in love. His MO is to kill the husband (or boyfriend) by dehydrating them in a tank, and draining and distilling his pheromones. Then he uses those pheromones to steal kisses from the man’s wife/(girlfriend) and render her peaceful before killing her, too. Eeeww. It’s quite disturbing, especially the first murder we see, which is by plastic wrap.

We also see how he picks his victims: he sits in a park holding his dog, and watches for couples who are doing cutesy couple-y things together. Then he chats them up to find out where they live. He won’t go after couples who have a child, though. Because you’ve got to have some standards when you’re killing people and harvesting their bodily fluids.

Lincoln keeps wanting to offer comfort (but not like that!) during the course of the day, and Olivia is kind, but it’s pretty clear she’s focused on someone else. One of those times, the little moment between Olivia and Lincoln is interrupted when Walter announces that the killer’s pheromone concoction also contains an oil derived from a beaver. This is important because it’s hard to find, so they should be able to track any buyers.

And so they do, although they’re not in time to stop the killer from dehydrating his next guy. Gah. (Huh, does it mean anything that we’ve already had an episode this season with a serial killer removing happiness from people, and now we have a serial killer trying to distill love?) When Lincoln and Olivia get to the killer’s lab, they can at least identify the guy so they can go protect his wife. Yet things aren’t as they seem. Though the woman is certainly sad to hear her husband is dead, when Olivia starts to talk to her about her marriage, the woman says her husband was the guy who comforted her for years when she had her heart broken. Basically, she wasn’t in love with him, though they were friends, but eventually she got tired of looking and settled for him. How… sweet. Olivia realizes that the killer couldn’t be seeking the wife after all if there’s no love there — however the husband was having an affair.

And indeed, we see another woman alone in her house. She gets cornered by the killer, and it isn’t until the pheromones seem to have started to wear off so that the woman freaks out again while he puts his hands around her throat that Olivia shouts for him to get away from her. Later, Olivia asks why he’s caused so much pain. He says something about how everyone deserves the chance to know love, and if he’d succeeded in finding the right balance of chemicals, he could have given the world what Olivia has. Olivia is taken aback, and he adds that he could smell that she’s in love. Creeeeepy.

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