Fringe Recap: A Short Story About Love

By Saralyn Smith | 9 years ago

The last few weeks have felt like months, Fringies, but Olivia and the Bishop Boys are back! And with all new episodes running straight through the season’s finale. So what will happen now that Peter seems to have made up his mind to kick this Olivia to the curb and keep searching for a way home?

Cold Open.

Nina and Olivia meet for breakfast in a charming little restaurant where all the tables are set with (rather droopy) white tulips, discussing Olivia’s new memories and her love for Peter. Nina makes an amusing little joke about Massive Dynamic filing a patent to make time move faster before the pair realizes that Olivia’s new memories might be coming at the expense of her old/”real” ones.

Cut to a rather distraught woman who appears to be coming home from a funeral service. A severely facially disfigured man is waiting for and grabs her. At first it seems that he’s attacking her but, as recognition blooms in her face, they start making out. (This footage was shown last weekend at WonderCon, where the audiences let out a collective “ewwwww”.) The charming if disgusting moment is cut short, though, as he suffocates the woman by wrapping her head in plastic wrap. He takes a sample of her skin cells and heads off into the night.

Act One – Of Nanny Cams and Eye-Discs

Olivia visits Walter at the lab, where he’s dying to show her the Nanny Cam teddy bear he ordered on the interweb. It caught some footage of September’s time in the lab that Walter is going to examine with some fancy new equipment Astrid picked up for him. It’s convenient that he doesn’t have any time to chat with Olivia about her crazy brain, because she gets called away to the crime scene. Broyles fills her in on how this is the second woman killed in this fashion, with the weird bit being that both had the DNA of their recently deceased husbands on their necks.

Walter’s new toy pays off and he calls Peter to get him to come to the lab. In a move reminiscent of season one Peter, though, Peter is on his way to the bus station to skip town. He decides to delay that when Walter informs him that the Observer may have messed with his eye. The Bishops watch the super-super-super slo-mo footage of September’s disappearance from the lab, which shows him discretely placing something in Peter’s eye as the other Observers take him away. While Walter flushes Peter’s eye, the fellas have a heart-to-heart in which Walter admits that Peter is a better man than he for following through on Walter’s advice about Olivia.  Walter then discovers a little disc with writing on it that has been planted to blend in with Peter’s iris!

Act Two – Love Potion Number Nine

The writing on the disc is an address.  Walter theorizes that the disc would have eventually dissolved and planted the address in Peter’s “mind’s eye” – “organic ocular suggestion”.  This is one of Fringe‘s shakier “scientific theories”, but luckily things move on fairly quickly after Walter brings it up.

Our murderous lover from the opening squeegies disgusting fluids out of a person-sized chamber, and prepares the goop into something that (judging by the divine look on his face) must smell pretty fantastic.

At the lab, Walter performs an autopsy on the victim and her exhumed husband, who died from extreme dehydration. Lincoln stands by and makes stinkfaces at Walter as he rips off chunks of the man’s dessicated body. Walter explains that the DNA found on the wife’s neck was also a concentrated solution of his pheromones, and the team theorizes that the killer might be trying to create a kind of love potion.

Lincoln trips over Peter’s bags as he’s leaving the lab, causing Walter to let slip to everybody that Peter had been planning to leave. We get a quick, heartbreaking shot of Lincoln’s face as Olivia tells Walter she didn’t know about the travel plans.

Peter goes to the address from his eye disc, which is a sparse little apartment with little more than a couple of Observer hats.

Back at the lab, Olivia finally gets around to telling Walter that she is still losing memories and wants him to try to reverse what’s happening. He is very sweet and supportive.  In a somewhat heavy-handed moment, the scene ends with a lingering shot of the nearly-touching hands of the dead husband and wife.

Killer sits in the park with a dog (appropriately, a wrinkly-faced pug), creeping on a cute couple out taking walks. He is totally thrown when the couple turns out to have a kid, though. But it doesn’t stop him for long – there are always plenty of lovey-dovey couples hanging out at the park.

Act Three –  Beaver Hunting

At the lab, Walter makes Astrid shove strange tubes up her nose and sniff beaver roadkill. He fondly recalls “beaver hunting in eastern Canada” in the 70s, “although [in those days] ‘beaver’ meant something else entirely.” Lincoln and Olivia work on the profile and motive of the killer (targeting couples with the kind of love he wants), which is awkward considering his painfully obvious feelings for her. Lincoln even asks Olivia if she’s alright and puts himself out there as a sympathetic ear. He looks as though his heart is going to explode when she touches his hand for a few moments!

Walter finds a “rancid note” in the solution on the victim’s neck that is sold only at a very few perfume suppliers, one of which recently fired one of its employees – our crinkle-faced killer.

The poor gentleman our killer snatched up at the park is being cooked down and drained by old crinkle-face, which seems just about as unpleasant as you would imagine. During a melancholy “person perfume” montage, he takes out a photo of a dark-haired young woman. By the time Lincoln, Olivia, and the feds show up, though, he has already finished his brew and taken off to find the wife.

Peter’s major find at the Casa de Observer is a briefcase full of Observer toys, one of which leads him to a spot deep in the woods where “the beacon” from season one emerges from the ground.

Act Four – A Twist!

Olivia and the Feds get to the new widow before crinkle-face does and she is, understandably, upset at the news of her husband’s death. They set up an ambush for the lethal lothario, during which Olivia and the woman talk about her relationship with her husband while Lincoln looks on. The story is all about the difference between “love someone and being ‘in love’ with them”, with the woman essentially revealing that she wasn’t really in love with her hubby. It may be too on-the-nose to the Lincoln-Olivia-Peter situation, but it’s heartbreaking anyway.  No one shows up, though, and the wife admits her late husband was having an affair.

Of course, crinkle-face is waiting at the mistress’s house and uses his “attack then make-out” strategy once again. It seems to go well at fisrt, but the effect of the perfume quickly wears off and he attempts to strangle her. Luckily, Olivia gets there just in time!

Act Five – All You Need is Love

With the episode’s obvious pounding on the importance of love, I expected a full explanation of crinkle-face’s motives – who the dark-haired woman in the photo was, how he lost her, how these couples didn’t deserve love, etc.  Instead, we were given a beautifully understated little exchange between the killer and Olivia just before he’s taken away:

Crinkle-face:  “I don’t want you to think I did it for me. …not just for me. We’re not meant to be alone. It’s every human being’s right to know love. And, had I succeeded….had I found…the right chemicals, just the right balance….I could have given the world what you have”

Olivia: “What do I have?”

Crinkle-face: “…Love. I can /smell/ you’re in love.”

Olivia goes to visit Nina and fill her in on the case and her discussion with Walter. It seems the discussion with the woman whose husband was cheating on her changed her mind about going back to the “old her”. She’s decided that her new memories are from a “better version” of herself who hasn’t given up on love, and that she’s going to ride it out. Nina tries to talk her out of what would essentially be erasing her own personality, but Olivia won’t have it.

Peter manages to successfully turn on the beacon, which allows September to find his way back from wherever the Observers banished him. Basically, Peter helped him escape prison, so Peter expects a little reciprocity in getting back to his own universe. In a weirdly Wizard of Oz-esque moment, September tells Peter that he is home and that he believes Peter couldn’t be fully erased because Peter and the people he loves wouldn’t let each other go.

There is our answer, kids! This world is Peter’s world and this Olivia is his Olivia. Then, just when you think everything might be fine and those two crazy kids might actually get together….they do! The episode ends on an uncharacteristically “up” note, as the reunited lovers tenderly kiss in the street.

And, somewhere across town, Lincoln suddenly gets a strong urge to drink himself into oblivion.

Next week: Mutants! Genetic hybridization!  Weirdness as a matter of degree! And probably lots of sulking Lincoln (who really should just hook up with Astrid already).