Recap – Fringe 2.03: Fracture

Philadelphia, PA.

Officer Gillespie sends his partner on a coffee run. While the cop’s in the donut shop, Gillespie gets a mysterious phone call telling him to go to the train station, meet a man in a black trench coat and pick up a briefcase. Gillespie takes off, leaving his partner stranded.

At the station, Gillespie spots his contact. However, the man won’t give up the briefcase. Gillespie gets upset and the electronics in the area – TV schedule display monitors, etc – go wonky. Gillespie begins to freak as his hand, then arm, begin to metamorph into some kind of rock. The crystalline infection quickly spreads through his body. The now-statue vibrates for a few seconds… then explodes.

Olivia doesn’t know this yet. She’s back in the bowling alley debating the merits of bunny-ears vs. over-under-and-through shoelace tying techniques with Sam Weiss, the man who Nina Sharp said could help her after her accident. He is surprised that Olivia isn’t having headaches yet and Olivia seems a little put out that he wants her to experience more pain than her current bruises and limp. He can’t even help her tie her shoes. He does it for her and she leaves.

In the lab, Peter desperately searches for a 2-bedroom apartment so he and Walter can get out of their hotel room. Astrid quickly jumps to Walter’s defense when Peter says Walter woke him with his singing but she remains quiet when she discovers Walter was singing while doing jumping-jacks naked. Dear Fringe, you can traumatize Peter with that but must you traumatize us with that information too? Walter does not want to move but if he does the apartment must face east. Astrid interrupts the location-location-location discussion with a news article that talks about a bomb that left no residue.

The bomb site is a mess. Unfortunately the security tapes have been wiped, presumable by magnetic static, and the images are gone. But Peter knows a guy who may be able to recover the data. Walter determines that the shrapnel is as hard as a diamond and – he tastes it – is salty. Ew, Walter, that’s a people part, even if you don’t know it yet. Broyles says that no terrorist group has claimed attack.

Peter gets an idea. He searches the area and finds Officer Gillespie’s badge. But no body. Walter comes up with another piece of crystalline shrapnel – an ear. Peter knows where Gillespie went. All over.

Walter and Astrid sort the person pieces by anatomy in an attempt to reconstruct Gillespie. His foot is intact. I guess it was protected by the boot. Still, Walter notices 47 injection sites around the toes, a spot addicts use to keep the visible signs of shooting up hidden. Walter believes that Gillespie purposefully injected himself with the agent that made he blow up; he made himself into the bomb.

Peter’s friend isn’t able to do much with the video. They see Gillespie enter the station then the images are gone. Olivia raises a good question. If the bomb erased the images, why do they vanish twenty seconds before detonation?

Peter and Olivia interview Gillespie’s widow. She tells them that Gillespie was doing well after serving in Iraq. The interview is cut short when Olivia is hit with her first headache. It’s a doozy. She has another hallucination/memory; the flashes of images include William Bell, the intact World Trade Centre and an oxygen mask. She races to the widow’s bathroom and while she is calling Ralph, she spots a not-flush tile in the bathroom wall under the sink. She removes the tile and finds a drug kit with several vials still full. A clue!

Oak Park, Illinois.

A mom named Diane Burgess gets out of bed in the middle of the night, sneaks into the bathroom and gives herself an injection between her toes. I’m thinking that’s not insulin. The next day, she gets into a vehicle where a military man asks if she has been taking her serum; she has. He tells Sergeant Burgess that she has been recalled to active stats and will be making a trip soon. He gives her a cell phone and tells her to keep it on her. He leaves her with the warning that TINMAN parameters are in effect.

Olivia is back in the bowling alley. Sam is thrilled that the headaches have started. She’s not; they hurt. Sam tells her that the headaches are an indicator that her brain is rebooting itself. He tells her the next step in her recovery is to keep score for a children’s bowling league. How will that help? It will teach her patience.

Back in the lab, Peter, Walter and Astrid go over the drug kit. Walter theorizes that for the amount of serum in Gillespie’s body, he would have had to be giving himself an injection every day for over a year. Peter is surprised; that would mean that the injections started before Gillespie left Iraq. But Walter has more news. The injection itself would not cause the explosion. There is a secondary reaction that causes the bonds to break apart. Considering the magnetic static, they wonder if it could be radio waves.

Broyles listens as Olivia and Peter fill him in about Walter’s discoveries. They can’t get any information on Gillespie’s service, or on any of his fellow soldiers. His unit was exposed to a chemical called cryogen chloride. They became part of a military experiment in Iraq called TINMAN that looked for a cure but it is all classified. Peter says that he can find the doctors but he has to go to Iraq to do it. Broyles sends him and, reluctantly, Olivia to Baghdad.

Once in country, Peter tracks down a former contact, Achmed, who is not happy to see him. It seems that Peter was a bit of a cockroach – he always survived and scurried away while others paid the price. Peter appeals to Achmed to help him save innocent lives. Achmed believes that Peter may not be the self-centered roach he used to be and agrees to help find the doctor. When he leaves, Olivia asked Peter what happened. Peter says he “had to leave a few times.”

Back in the lab, Astrid chastises Walter for setting up another fruit experiment. She’s tired of cleaning up after him. (Remember Mr. Papaya? He was the happiest of fruit before Walter got to him.) Walter injects a watermelon with the serum. It crystallizes. They test various radio waves and discover via BOOM! that the detonation frequency is 331.6MH.

Achmed finds the doctor doing dishes in a restaurant. Nobody wants to hire someone who helped the Americans. He tells Peter and Olivia that Gillespie’s unit was exposed to a synthetic neurotoxin. They tried to develop a treatment but only four people survived: Gillespie, Burgess and two others. Unfortunately, the treatment had a side effect. Victims survived the exposure but turned into bio-shrapnel if they got too close to the wrong Radio Shack. Lots of people knew about this but the doctor believes that Colonel Raymond Gordon would be the only one who would blow up his own soldiers.

Back in the States, Broyles briefs his teams. They have the other two survivors in custody but the F.B.I. is looking for Diane Burgess and Colonel Gordon. Burgess has been spotted at the Federal Center and they are prepared to jam the signal so she doesn’t explode. However they really want to catch Gordon so they will use her as bait.

Burgess gets the call telling her to look for the man in the black trench coat carrying the briefcase. Really, in a downtown environment I would have expected more than one man to fit the description. Anyway Peter and Olivia are on site, looking for Gordon. Gillespie spots her contact and is off. Meanwhile, in the surveillance van, Broyles and Walter realize that they are being jammed and cannot stop the radio-wave trigger from being broadcast. Walter tells them that Burgess only has 30 seconds of exposure to the radio wave before she will completely crystallize and explode.

Burgess is stonewalled by the man holding the briefcase. Gordon looks on from across the room. He activates his handheld transmitter. Peter tackles Gordon and they beat each other up. Olivia destroys the transmitter by breaking it with her cane. Burgess’s arm starts to crystallize but it stops and she is saved.

Epilogues:

Peter covers up Gillespie’s remains. The incident with Burgess reminded him that Gillespie was a victim not a human jigsaw puzzle. Walter shows Peter and advertisement for a place they can look at.

Olivia is back at the bowling alley. Today’s treatment involved measuring her hand for the perfect fit for a bowling ball. She snaps. She draws her sidearm and aims at Sam Weiss’s head. “I’m not here to play games. Fix me.” He stares pointed at her, then at the cane she left across the room when she stormed over to him. He got her to walk without her cane, and she didn’t even notice.

Broyles listens to Gordon spout his manifesto of doing whatever it takes to defeat the enemy coming from the other side. He’s not crazy. Not crazy! Broyles wants to know what was in the briefcase. Gordon doesn’t know exactly; the briefcases contain information that the couriers pass to enemy observers. As he speaks, we see The Observer receive a briefcase. He opens it and extracts photos of Walter. “What’s in the briefcases will destroy us all.”

THOUGHTS AND THEORIES:

They did a great job with the briefcase. At first I assumed that the briefcase held the transmitter. Then, after the Burgess incident, I assumed that the man holding the briefcase had instructions to keep the would-be bomb stationary long enough to activate the bomb. It was only in the Broyles interview that we discovered the truth. The briefcase couriers did not work for him at all. They are couriers for the other side. Gordon was using his human bombs to destroy both the courier and the information they carried. Convoluted, but good.

But this raises two serious questions. Why not just grab the courier and the briefcase? And how did he know the location of the couriers in advance?


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