Recap – Fringe 2.02 “Night of Desirable Objects”

Lansdale, PA. A construction crew works clearing drainage ditches and laying culverts on a gravel road beside a corn field, replete with scarecrows. The radio is on in one of the work trucks; the local news announces that there are no new leads in the disappearance of six Lansdale residents. One construction worker notices a crow sitting on the obviously faulty scarecrow. He walks off the road into the corn, perhaps guided by the unheard-by-the-audience laughter of children. He sees a blueish object half-buried in the soil. He bends over to try to pull it out, but a hand erupts from the dirt, grabs him, and pulls him under, leaving no trace he was ever there.

New York City. Olivia is being released from the Head Injury Institute after her amnesia-causing accident. Peter is there to drive her home. Not-Charlie watches from the shadows. Peter feels eyes on him but doesn’t spot the spy.

Somewhere under the cornfield of dreams and nightmares, Construction Worker Guy flicks his Bic and finds himself in an underground cavern, surrounded by rotting, half-eaten corpses. He himself is covered in blood, and half of his leg is missing. Gollum crawls out of a tunnel and drags off the screaming construction worker for a second course.

Boston. Peter and Broyles talk. The broken insta-disguise device from last week impressed the hell out of the committee. Thanks to Peter, they’ve pretty much given Fringe Division a blank cheque. Peter and Broyles got everything they wanted, except the jet. Peter’s been looking for cases that involve disappearances similar to Olivia’s and has zeroed in on Lansdale, where seven people have vanished; four of them in front of witnesses. Broyles gives him the go-ahead to investigate.

Meanwhile, back in the lab, Walter and Astrid (he even gets her name right!) are trying to recreate Olivia’s accident. Olivia was missing for at least an hour between the car crash and when she came flying through the windshield. The general consensus is that she was in an alternate reality. Walter has an emotional moment when he tries to explain how distraught he was upon learning of her death. He also warns her that she will suffer side effects from the trip.

Lansdale, PA. Walter continues to introduce himself to everyone he finds at a crime scene; such a polite man. Sheriff Go-lightly doesn’t want the F.B.I. horning in on his disappearances. Personally, if seven people disappeared from my hometown, I’d be screaming for help. I digress. He does, however, allow Walter to keep the blueish object he found in the cornfield. Eventually, Peter charms the sheriff by bonding over fishing lures – the night-of-desireable-object referred to in the title. (I Googled it – no such thing, by the way.) Sheriff Go-lightly eventually hands over the files. While in his office, Olivia experiences her first flash of hyper-sensitivity when her hearing goes off the chart and she can hear the individual footfalls of a fly walking on the edge of the desk.

Olivia calls Not-Charlie and gives him the names of all the missing people to run through the various F.B.I. databases. He promises to get right on that after he runs an errand…

to the Selectric shop. The typewriter-store owner doesn’t recognize him, since Mystery Man is now wearing Charlie’s face, but he hands over the key to the back room. Not-Charlie, in some kind of intestinal distress, grabs the key and sits down in front of the inter-dimensional typewriter.

Not-Charlie: Target trusts me completely. She still believes I’m her partner. Awaiting your instructions.

 

Back at the lab, Peter and Olivia go over the sheriff’s reports, which are asinine and filled with useless information and are an affront to small town sheriffs everywhere. Walter announces that he will have to urinate in 23 minutes, which is not the non-sequitur he usually spouts. He’s been examining the blueish, gooish object from the field and it appears to contain a paralytic. The files do contain one piece of useful information. One man named Hughes was spotted at more than one of the disappearance sites.

Somewhere under Lansville, a light sways in a tunnel. Hey, maybe Construction Worker Guy got away. Nope, this guy has two feet. Who is it, I wonder?

Peter and Olivia arrive at the Hughes residence. The porch is covered in dirt. Mr. Hughes comes up behind them, also covered in dirt, and informs them that he’s been working on water pumps – a very dirty job. He invites them in. Olivia’s hearing kicks in again and she thinks someone is hiding in the house, although Hughes said that there was nobody else home.

Olivia goes upstairs, trying to locate the noise she’s hearing. After searching one bedroom, which has been turned into a lab, she’s startled when she hears something in the hall. She turns and fires before she sees Peter standing in the doorway. There is a bullethole in the wall about an inch from his head.

Mr. Hughes is now a guest of the F.B.I. He admits to checking in on the families of the victims because he knows what it is like to lose family; his wife died during childbirth almost 20 years ago, and his son survived for only minutes before passing away too. That is when he quit being a doctor. He refuses Olivia’s request for a blood sample and Broyles agrees to hold him for 24 hours, giving them time to investigate his lab.

Olivia goes in for a medical check-up. She has a huge bruise on one of her shoulders. Nina Sharp pays her a visit and gives her the number for Sam Weiss, a man who helped her deal with her changes. Olivia tells her the F.B.I. has psychologists, but Nina informs her that Sam isn’t that type of doctor. (Gollum and Sam Weiss/Samwise in the same episode – LOTR rulz!)

Junior Agent Jessup is part of the team searching Hughes’s house. She pays significant attention to the religious icons. In the family Bible, she finds an article that indicates that Hughes’s wife and son may not have had the natural deaths he described. Astrid has no trouble getting exhumation orders for Mrs. and Baby Hughes.

Hughes does not respond well to F.B.I. custody. He starts chewing on the furniture. Or, at least, the light fixtures. He’s removed the safety cage from the ceiling and is retwisting the wires into something else.

The exhumation is gross. Mom’s skeleton looks likes it’s grimacing in pain. The baby’s casket… is empty. There is a hole in it. It appears that something burrowed it’s way in. Or out.

While Peter and Olivia are at the cemetery, Mr. Hughes does some fancy rewiring and turns the safety cage into an noose. Oh, the irony. He hangs himself in the interrogation room.

 

Olivia is escorted to the interrogaton room where she finds Mr. Hughes. She wants to know why he wasn’t watched.

During the autopsies, Walter discovers that Mrs. Hughes had Lupus, an auto-immune disease that makes it almost impossible to maintain a pregnancy. He also becomes quite upset every time somebody mentions the little boy’s grave.

Lansdale. Sheriff Go-lightly is winding crime scene tape around the Hughes house. He doesn’t notice the ground rising up behind him, a la Bugs Bunny.

Olivia and Broyles talk in a parkade, where Olivia overhears a phonecall from a man who hasn’t even entered the parkade. He asks why she discharged her weapon. Misfire, she says. Olivia also suffers from some kind of visual hallucination/flashback.

Walter’s investigations reveal scorpion DNA. He hypothesizes to Peter and Astrid that Dr. Hughes dosed his unborn son with scorpion DNA, which is highly resilient, in order for it to survive his mother’s womb. This would also account for the paralytic agent (scorpion venom) and the tunnelling under the coffin. Olivia hears this conversation from across the lab.

Back to the sheriff. He finally notices the tunnelling under the ground when he’s standing beside his car. But instead of getting in the car, he just stands there and watches whatever-is-under-there come at him. Obviously, he’s not a Kevin Bacon fan. He gets sucked under without leaving a trace.

Olivia and Peter arrive at the house and notice the abandoned cruiser. As they search the house for Sheriff Go-lightly, Peter finds a papered-over door leading to an abandoned nursery. Olivia finds a door which leads to a cellar. They find a loose brick in a wall and pull it out, revealing a tunnel. Olivia, in the tradition of bad horror movies everywhere, sticks her head into the hole to see if the monster is there. She sees the partically-masticated body of the sheriff. Gollum didn’t attack her then; it waits and grabs her from behind after she stands up and pulls her into the hole.

With a deadly grip on her bruised shoulder, Gollum pulls her down the tunnel. Peter dives in after her but cannot wrestle her away. Eventually they stab the scorpion baby with the femurs of one of its victims. Gollum tries to tunnel away but comes up under the cruiser, which collapses the tunnel, falls in, and crushes Gollum to death.

Olivia and Not-Charlie ruminate on the case. It seems Hughes was trying to catch the monster; he was digging traps all over his property. Not-Charlie asks her how she is doing and if her memory has returned. She says no; perhaps she doesn’t want to remember. Not-Charlie says that perhaps a trip to an alternate universe is worth remembering.

Back at the lab, Peter goes through his old fishing box and digs out a night-of-desireable-object lure. He tells a story of how a boy saved up and bought it in the hopes that he and his father could go fishing. Walter doesn’t understand the “boy and father” part and assumes Peter got it from a friend. He asks if he can go fishing too, and a humoured Peter tells him he’s welcome to come.

Olivia experiences another hyper-sensitive flash. She hears the individual bubbles in her bath pop. Then she hears a fly on the wall, then her neighbours, the cars in the street and noises from farther and farther out. The cacophony is deafening. Suddenly, it stops.

She goes to the address listed on the note Nina Sharp gave her. After a weird test of some sort, she finds Sam Weiss, who asks her if the headaches have started yet. No. They will, he informs her.

Not-Charlie has returned to the Selectric shop.

Not-Charlie: Target visited other side but remembers no details. Please advise.

Mirror: Unacceptable. If she can’t remember on her own then do something to help her.

 

THOUGHTS AND THEORIES:

The mutant baby thing has been done before, but as a vehicle for the other stories (Olivia’s biological changes/superhearing after her trip to the otherside, Peter gaining the upper hand for Fringe division, Walter’s emotional growth) it served very well.

I have no idea why they chose the name of a fictional fishing lure to be the title of the episode, unless it is because Peter is going fishing in the dark looking for cases related to Olivia’s accident.

Any idea why Not-Charlie stopped being in pain after he made contact with the other side?

Was Olivia’s shoulder bruise from the car accident? Or was it a weirdo time-travel anomaly from the bite she was going to get from Gollum?

Lesson of the week: Science is patience. And slimy.

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