A woman (Ms. Donavan, I don’t know if we ever got her first name and she’s not listed on IMDB so sorry, Toots, no credit for you) stands beside her daughter’s hospital bed as the daughter receive last rites. They unplug the teenager, pronounce her brain-dead, and wheel her into an operating room. They are going to harvest her organs, starting with her kidneys. They make the first incision and she sits up, shouting. (As would anyone who wasn’t dead, I’m sure). She is shouting some kind of code. At this point, if I were in the OR, I don’t think I’d care what she was shouting so long as she stopped.
Boston General. Team Fringe arrives. The patient, Lisa Donavan, slipped into a coma a week ago. Someone in the OR recognized her ramblings as US Navy code. The first half of the sequence was a petty officer’s ID (His name is Andrew Rusk). The second half was a launch code. They talk to Lisa but she doesn’t even remember shouting, let alone what she said. When Olivia tells her Rusk’s name, Lisa starts babbling in Russian. The mom kicks them out of Lisa’s room. Yes, because if your daughter came back from the dead and behaving strangely, God forbid you let someone try to help her.
Peter tells Olivia that the Russian words mean “my star”. He picked up some Russian while dating one. (Keep track now. Russian, plus Farsi, Arabic, German and Cantonese. The man has a talented tongue.) When Olivia asks where Walter went, Peter finds him in the coma ward, where he is listening to the patients. And the first thematic debate on whether coma people are basically dead, or if their consciousnesses are paying attention even if their bodies are dormant. Walter thinks coma patients can have out-of-body experiences and experience things that they shouldn’t be able to know since they weren’t “there”. So Peter hypothesizes that Lisa floated above Rusk and heard him talking? Yup.
While Olivia approaches Toots to ask for permission to have Walter examine Lisa, the teenager takes herself to the bathroom. Lisa freaks when she looks in the mirror and sees Rusk standing behind her. The poor girl is having a rough day. Olivia and Toots bust in and Lisa insists Rusk was in the loo with her.
Boston Federal Building. OMG!! HI CHARLIE!! (For those who have missed a couple episodes… Charlie died earlier this year. Twice.) Toots has requested that they stay away from Lisa. In the meantime, Rusk’s wife Teresa is there. She tells them that “my star” was a nickname her husband had for her. What’s going on?
In the lab, Walter plays a film of test subject #6. (Peter asks what happened to subjects 1 through 5. The university settled out of court.) The point is that Walter believes Lisa’s aneurysm made her psychic as it affected the psychic portion of the brain. However, that doesn’t explain why she fixated on Rusk.
Olivia approaches Toots and Lisa at church to see if they have changed their minds about having Walter examine Lisa. Toots thinks that her daughter’s recovery was a miracle and that they shouldn’t look for further answers. The priest gives Olivia the evil eye. He’s creepy.
Back at Harvard, Olivia and Peter read up on case studies of aneurysms and psychic development. They discuss Lisa’s case. Peter doesn’t believe that she is alive because God changed his mind. Olivia leans back as she waits for God to strike the blasphemer dead. Peter doesn’t mind other people’s faith but he’ll trust to science. Olivia isn’t much on faith either; it didn’t protect her mom from her step-father’s fists.
A phone call interrupts the episode’s second thematic discussion. It’s Lisa. She’s not at home. And Andrew Rusk is with her. She had to go to this place she kept seeing. They head out. Peter is the first to find her in the garage/impound lot. Lisa closes her eyes and says she sees Rusk and a man with a gun. She sees the other man shoot Rusk. Peter finds a 9mm bullet. The CSIs and EMTs arrive. Peter wraps Lisa in a blanket. Charlie calls Olivia over to a car; they’ve found Rusk in a trunk. Lisa starts seizing and Peter calls for help.
As Peter, Olivia and Walter wait at the hospital for news of Lisa, they learn that although Rusk has been missing for a while, he’s only been dead for 3 days. The doctor comes out to tell them and Toots and the priest that Lisa’s seizures are not related to the aneurysm. They have no explanation. Walter asks for the exact time of Lisa’s resurrection. The phrasing upsets the priest. Walter says that Lisa came back from the dead at the exact same time that Rusk died. Walter and the priest get into a whole debate about possessions and the Catholic Church’s stand on them. Toots doesn’t care. She asks Walter if he can rid her daughter of Rusk’s memories. Maybe, says Walter, but he doesn’t think it’s the memories that are causing the seizures.
Off to the side, Olivia asks Peter if he thinks that if Lisa could have absorbed Rusk’s physical ailments as well as his memories. Peter wants clarification: what does he think, or what does he think Walter would think? Either. Both. Olivia’s asking because she has Rusk’s naval medical record and it gives him a clean bill of health… Peter needs no more convincing. “If you tell me the U.S. government is covering something up, I’ll tell you it must be Tuesday.”
(Note: last year, when this was filmed, “Fringe” aired on Tuesday. It is also a callback to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, with its annual apocalypses, not to mention “So, Dawn’s in trouble… must be Tuesday“)
Olivia corners Navy Guy (sorry, imdb really let me down this week) and asks why she got a phony medical record. Navy Guy says that Rusk was shadowing a Russian sub somewhere they shouldn’t have been. There was a leak and he was trapped in a radioactive compartment for 16 hours. The navy flew him to Pearl Harbor where he received an experimental treatment.
Peter gives Walter Rusk’s real medical file. Walter theorizes that the radiation and synthetic treatment kept Rusk’s energy from dispersing. With this knowledge, he believes he can help Lisa. As they prepare to strap Lisa down and pump her full of drugs (hey, this is Walter we’re talking about), Lisa tells Peter she is glad that he is not afraid of her like her friends are. Peter tells her that the lab is freak-friendly. He also clarifies that Olivia is not his girlfriend; she is a friend who’s a girl… and has a gun. Olivia asks if, since Lisa can access Rusk’s memories, if she could tell them who shot him.
Walter dopes up Lisa and then tries to get her into a hypnotic state. He studies her brainwaves and says, “This is surprising.” Peter takes a quick look and asks if Lisa is seizing again. No, that’s not it. Toots wants to stop the experiment but Walter insists that they see it through. Peter wants to know where Lisa is if she has Rusk’s consciousness in her head. “Suppressed” says Walter.
Lisa “wakes up” and starts asking questions in a deep, male voice. Olivia asks what happened but all Rusk wants to do is see his wife. Finally, he tells them that he was going to the bar but there is someone in his backseat. The guy had a gun, ordered him to his knees, and executed him. But Rusk got a hit in first; the guy has an injured left arm. Lisa falls unconscious.
Charlie calls from a hospital. A guy on SEAL Team 6 (Those guys get picked on for everything. There are other teams, you know.) has a matching injury. Olivia and Charlie go to check him out. They spot him but he makes a break for it. However he does not get away from our intrepid FBI agents.
Meanwhile, Lisa wakes up in the lab. Is he gone? Yup, says Peter. She stares at Rusk’s corpse but Peter draws her away. She asks for something to drink and Peter goes to get her some soda from Walter’s office. (Really, Team Fringe, falling for that old “can I have a drink” thing? You should know better by now. Oh, right, season 1.) Walter is there, studying the brainwave printouts. Something is hinky. He shows Peter. They realize that Rusk’s brainwaves did not disperse. He is still in control of Lisa’s body. They run out of the lab but, of course, she is gone.
Olivia and Charlie question SEAL guy. Charlie wants to know why he killed Rusk. Olivia asks if it is part of a cover-up regarding the radiation leak. SEAL guy says he’s spent six years in the navy and never killed anyone, but Rusk deserved it for what he did to his wife.
As Olivia and Charlie get the story of how Rusk abused his wife and how she hired SEAL guy to kill him, Lisa/Rusk takes a hidden key and sneaks into Rusk’s house. She opens a gun safe, pulls out a handgun, and goes hunting. SEAL guy says that the last thing he did before pulling the trigger was to let Rusk know that Teresa hired him. Lisa/Rusk sneaks up on Teresa.
Guess he remembered that part.
Olivia gets hold of Peter on his cell phone and they trade notes. Olivia is still a few minutes out but Peter is at the Rusk home. He enters the house and finds Lisa/Rusk pouring gasoline around the living room and a terrified Teresa on the floor. Rusk says that he is not going to waste the second chance he’s been given. But Peter starts talking to Lisa, telling her that he understands how she felt when her friends thought she was a freak. He was really sick as a kid in school. Rusk wants to know why Peter keeps calling him “Lisa”. Peter tells Lisa that she’s been given a second chance too but she has to fight for it. (He’s trying to reach her subconscious, like Walter said in the coma ward.) It doesn’t work. Rusk is about to pull the trigger when he is shot from behind with a tranquilizer dart. Olivia’s home.
Lisa wakes up as she’s being loaded into the ambulance. Peter and Olivia tell her that she’s being taken to the hospital and then back to the lab. Once she’s gone, Olivia wants to know what Peter was doing. Basically, Peter admits, it was a Hail Mary.
Walter shows Toots the scan which proves that Lisa is once again alone in her own head. She blesses Walter. Walter says that even as a man of science, sometimes he has to go on faith. Peter and Olivia watch as Rusk’s body is removed. Olivia notes that the navy refused to let them do an autopsy on Rusk. Peter doesn’t care; he’s just glad the guy is gone.
But he’s not. Elsewhere, at the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident, a paramedic checks a guy who’s obviously dead. But the dead driver opens his eyes and takes a gasping breath. And says, “My star.”