Fringe – S4 Ep21, Brave New World, Pt. 1

So, All The Things happened in this episode. I mean, seriously. I laughed, I squeed at shippy moments, I squeed and cheered at awesome Olivia moments, I gasped, I screamed. Upon reflection, it’s possible that the story was a bit disjointed, and there were some clunky moments. But I still loved almost every second, and I can’t wait to see what the finale (still savoring the fact that it’s not the series finale!) has in store.

Exceedingly creepy.

We open in the Vancouver Convention Centre — I mean, some place that looks like it in ‘Boston’. People come down an escalator toward the exit. One guy stops for coffee on the way, and the fact that the story’s about him for now means he’s obviously about to die. Sure enough, after he exits the building, he suddenly gasps, falls over, and his face starts smoking. Several others around him die in the same way. It’s easier to tell with the Caucasian folks that they’re getting really hot (they turn red) before they literally burn up. People freak out, and many people die. Those who don’t, freeze because it seems like moving brings on the burning. Credits.

Before our team gets involved, Peter and Olivia are lying in bed together adorably. Peter quizzes Liv on the neighborhoods in Boston where she may want to live with him. She shoots them all down until he talks about a place in Lexington that includes a dog run and a fireplace. Olivia reads the ad over his shoulder and notes, “Nursery.” A beautifully surprised and pleased Peter echoes, “Nursery?” and Olivia repeats it with a small confident smile. They both smile and move to kiss, only to be interrupted by their phones ringing, summoning them to the scene.

There, the HazMat team confirms that there are no airborne contaminants. The whole team picks its way past the poor survivors standing afraid to move as Walter begins his examinations. One of the live ‘uns interrupts Walter’s ramblings to ask, “Am I gonna die?” She’s a pretty redhead with a British accent. She continues asking Walter questions about what’s going on and it’s clear that she’s holding herself together only through force of will. However, it’s enough to allow her to make a dirty joke when Walter requests a blood sample from her. Walter obviously likes her immediately, and compliments her on her bravery.

Apparently this actress was on LOST, but that must have been after I stopped watching. I won't hold it against her.

As he’s finishing up with the sample, he notices smudges on the fingertips of the hand she’s holding out. She guesses it must have come from the escalator. Dun dun DUN! Some time later, techs examine the escalator while Astrid looks at the woman’s blood under a microscope set up in the lobby next to the escalator. Astrid confirms that the woman’s blood has signs of a foreign incursion. They muse about what kind of virus it could be until a tech points out a weird looking piece of machinery attached to part of the escalator’s inner workings. Walter recognizes it and says what they’re looking at is not a virus at all.

He tells the others that the little machine was releasing nanites onto the surface of the escalator. Apparently when the human host moves around enough, the biokinetic energy is enough to make the nanites overload. And the longer they’re inside the body, the more sensitive to this energy they become, so that any kind of exertion could set off the ‘spontaneous’ combustion (except isn’t it not spontaneous if there’s a cause…?). So Walter needs to get one of the people back to his lab, though it will be very difficult and require a lot of care to move them without inducing the reaction.

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