Manhatan. A man is working late in an architecture firm office. A female coworker comes over, led by the fumes of real coffee. (Hmm, says Featherlite. Real coffee? That’s a strange comment.) The man, Ted Pratchett, tells her that he gets his secret coffee stash from a cousin in Hawaii. The office is rocked by an earthquake. The woman comments that it is the sixth quake since yesterday. They laugh at the news reports which claim the earthquakes are caused by global warming. As Pratchett returns to work on his blueprints for Pentagon Annex VI, another quake hits. It’s the big one. The building falls down around him and he slumps to the floor against a support column.
Pratchett regains consciousness and something is a little off. The support pole is now going *through* his shoulder. Also, he now has 4 arms and 4 legs.
And I thought the coffee remark was weird.
Olivia calls Peter from her car. She teases him, making it sound like she’s a telemarketer who’s informing him that he has won a trip to New York City. Peter and Walter get moving.
Team Fringe arrives at the building. Olivia just stares at it. Like she’s seeing something we’re not. Emergency crews are searching the building for survivors but Broyles tells Peter that they haven’t found any yet. Olivia wonders what the odds are that something like the building collapse would happen naturally. There are none — it wouldn’t happen. And then someone finds a survivor.
It’s Pratchett. And they find the 4-armed, 4-legged man still pinned by the support beam, which is not a wound and not bleeding. Pratchett begs them to call his wife and Broyles steps away to try and get hold of her. Olivia asks Pratchett what happened. He tells her that it was a tremor, like the others only bigger. Peter and Olivia share a brief aside where they confirm with each other that there have been no announced quakes in New York City.
Meanwhile, Walter finds the Pentagon blueprints. He forces his way over to Pratchett and begins questioning him.
Walter: What year is it?
Walter: Who’s the president?
Pratchett: Obama. (Hey, this is good, he must be a doctor or something and I’m getting the answers right. I’m gonna LIVE!)
Walter: This is important. On September 11th, which buildings were hit?
Pratchett: The Pentagon. And the White House. (Wait, he’s looking at me funny. Was that the wrong answer? Am I gonna die?!?! I don’t wanna die!)
Pratchett: Gurgle, gurgle, exhale. *slump*
Walter informs Peter and Olivia that he believes he knows what happened. But before he can expound on his theory, Olivia sees something moving under Pratchett’s shirt. It’s another Pratchett — his face anyway. The chest-mouth takes a couple breaths and stops breathing. Walter closes Pratchett’s eyes. And his other set of eyes. Walter says that they are standing in two buildings. Their original… and one which came from the Other Side.
Olivia looks at some security stills taken before the weird-o-meter hit the red zone. She sees a man who looks like Newton scoping out the building. She says that Bell warned her that the Other Side was trying to open a doorway. This is the result.
Walter has the body/ies delivered to the lab. Astrid pulls back the sheet, and in a very shocky voice informs Walter that this is that “little bit too much” for her and that she doesn’t think she can handle working on the corpse. Walter is surprisingly empathetic and tells her she can work on the evidence from the building, which she is happy to do. “What am I looking for?” she asks. “Anything that doesn’t belong.” Nixon on a silver dollar qualifies. So does the toy double-decker car. Walter gets a strange look when he sees it. “I’m afraid I just remembered what will happen next.” He calls Peter and orders him back to the lab.
Olivia and Peter get back to the lab. Walter shows them a headline from an old newspaper article. “MIT Finally Goes To Far.” There is a photo of a car wrapped around a statue. Peter remembers the story. Some students wrapped a car around the statue and nobody could figure out how they did it. Eventually, they had to cut it off.
Walter tells them that he and William Bell succeeded in sending a car “over there.” But in keeping with the laws of physics, “over there” sent a car of equal mass back. Peter suggests that it was the same car, but Walter informs him that the car which returned had a CD player — the one they sent over didn’t. Walter hypothesizes that Other Side sent the building over. And, as Newton’s (different Newton) third theory isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law, logically that means that a building from over here will be pulled back in the next 35 hours.
Which building? Walter doesn’t know. But it will glimmer. Things that travel across the doorway between universes do. Unfortunately, Walter tells them that the glimmer is not visible to the naked eye. We can’t see it. But Olivia can. “How?” she asks suspiciously. And really, she should be. Last year, in order to see things, she let Walter shoot her full of LSD and put her in a sensory deprivation chamber. The answer’s probably not going to be good.
Walter tells her that she should be able to see it because she’s done it before. Twenty-six years ago, of the 30 children Walter and Bell experimented on, Olivia was the first one to identify objects from the other side. However, when she saw it… bad things happened. He doesn’t elaborate. Anyway, Walter tells them that they need to return to Jacksonville, where the experiments were first done on Olivia. Bell bought the entire site and shut it down. Everything they need is there.
Broyles is skeptical but gives them permission to go. There isn’t much choice. He will try to identify the building from New York City. Nina Sharp (hey, Nina, long time no see! How are you doing?) will work with them. They do have a few clues to go on, thanks to Ted Pratchett. Howling dogs and small earthquakes. It’s better than the nothing they usually have to work with.
Jacksonville Family Daycare Center. Walter and Olivia get out of the car in front of the abandoned building. Walter opens the combination lock on the door – 5 -20-10. “I always use same combination but can’t remember the significance,” he tells her. I’m betting that line is going to come back to haunt us later.
Walter was being literal. They didn’t close up shop. They locked the doors and walked away. Everything is still there. Chairs, toys, fingerpaintings on easels. Olivia stares and the life-size time capsule from her infancy. She’s not happy. Neither is Peter. Walter leads them out of the playroom into a classroom. He asks Olivia if she sees anything. No. He tells her that 16 items in the room are from the other side. She wanders the room, looking where Walter tells her to look, but she doesn’t see anything special. Walter is disappointed and says that, in that case, they should get started on the experiment.
Walter and Peter go through a storage area. Walter finds the box containing the file notes of the experiment in a box marked “1983”. He is also thrilled to find a pair of his old spectacles. He digs around some more. Peter goes and finds Olivia on the swing set outside. “I have a freakishly good memory. I remember everything,” she tells him. But she doesn’t remember any of this. Peter thinks it might be a good thing.
Walter starts the experiment. He hooks Olivia up to an IV of Cotexiphan, the drug she was exposed to as a child. He reminds us that perceptions are an emotional response. How we feel affects how we see the world. Walter warns Olivia that once she is under, she will come across an obstacle. He doesn’t know what it will be, but it will generate the emotional state she needs.
Olivia ends up in a deep dark forest. She sees a little girl cowering at the base of a tree. The little girl says that she “doesn’t want to do this anymore.” Olivia tells her that she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do. The little girl Olive runs away when she hears a monster coming. Olivia chases after her. She promises to protect Olive. Olivia looks over her shoulder at the monster, but when she turns back, Olive has vanished from her arms.
When she wakes up, she is pissed at Walter. “What the hell is wrong with you? You did this to little children?” Walter is offended; Peter, upset. Walter says that they should get to work while Olivia is still in the right state. Olivia goes through the classroom. Walter tries to hide his smile when she approaches something that came from the Other Side, but she passes them all by. She doesn’t see anything. The experiment is a failure.
Olivia has crashed in a dormitory on the sight. She’s woken by a phone call from Broyles, who tells her that the quakes in New York City have started. She goes down the hall to get the others but is distracted when she finds Walter watching a video, which we’ve seen before. We hear video-Walter talking to Bell, saying that Olive was reacting in fear. “That’s me.” Walter tells her that it was the first time she’d seen the other side. She was so scared that she lit the room on fire with her mind. Olivia doesn’t doubt that she was pyrokinetic as a child. She focuses more on the fact that Walter and Bell abused her and the other children by pumping them full of drugs and then traumatizing them in the name of science. Walter tries to excuse his actions — the trauma wasn’t deliberate, but rather was necessary in his attempts to make the children *more* than they were. Olivia doesn’t excuse him. “You were searching for answers to questions you shouldn’t have been asking,” she angrily accuses.
Her anger gives Walter the answer he was looking for. He assumed that in order for the recent experiment to work, Olivia needed to have an emotional reaction. But he realizes that she needed to have the *same* reaction she did as a child — fear. And she is not afraid anymore; as an adult she’s channeled her fear into anger. It’s what makes her such a good agent.
Olivia heads off looking for Peter but stops outside a familiar room. It’s the room from the video. The walls are all soot-covered and burned, except for the pristine corner where she was huddled. She crouches down in the corner, trying to remember the fear she knew as a child. Peter finds her there and asks if she’s alright. “No. I’m not afraid of anything anymore.”
Nina Sharp and Broyles compare notes. There have been more micro quakes in the last two hours but so far they are all small. Olivia and Peter arrive. Olivia apologizes to her boss for not being able to spot the building and he rightly tells her that she isn’t the one who sent the Other building to New York City. Peter offers to be another set of eyes in the lab. Nina takes him down. The Massive Dynamic technicians are trying to plot the epicentres of the micro quakes but Walter tells them that it is a waste of time. Peter does his now-famous out-loud brainstorming and, with Walter’s help, they realize there is one way to know which building will disappear. Like the car in the original experiment, the building which will disappear will be the same mass as the one that appeared. They must eliminate every wrong building in the greater New York City area. Walter helpfully takes the Empire States Building off the list first.
Peter calls Olivia and hopefully tells her that they now have a plan. They’ve eliminated all but 147 buildings. Unfortunately, Broyles informs her, that number includes several medical facilities which they can’t evacuate, the largest of which holds 500 people. Olivia is upset but Broyles reminds here that sometimes the only choices they have are bad ones. It doesn’t matter, says Walter. Time’s up.
Olivia goes to find a quiet place. She finds Peter on the mainframe, trying to speed up the computer’s processing speed. Olivia finally cracks. She tells her friend that she failed. She was supposed to be the one to stop this whole thing. But she can’t and now people are going to die. She’s not afraid of monsters in the dark anymore. The only thing she can fear is failure that will hurt the innocent lives she’s sworn to protect. “I’m scared, Peter.” Peter tries to comfort her, reminding her that she didn’t do anything wrong. At this point I shout, “Kiss her, you fool!” at the television. He’s about to listen to me when she repeats, “I’m scared.” Only this time she says it like it’s a good thing. Olivia rushes out to a balcony and scans the city skyline. She sees a building glittering in the distance. Gotcha.
Olivia calls Peter on her cell phone. She’s in the car, heading towards the shimmering building but she doesn’t know the address yet. Peter and Broyles try to narrow it down by direction. The men get shaken up by another quake. Olivia sees the building in the distance. It’s on Washington. The men figure out that it is a hotel. Broyles calls the hotel for an immediate evacuation, as well as calling the cops, the fire department, and everyone else he can think of.
Olivia arrives at the hotel. People are racing out like rats deserting a sinking ship. She bumps into a man who loses his glasses. She recognizes him. It was awfully quick cut I think it was Newton. She lunges at him but he gets away just as the hotel *really* gets her attention. Olivia grabs the doorman and they race across the street, hitting the ground at the far curb. Unfortunately, it’s not far enough. They are pulled back towards the shimmering hotel by the vacuum which is pulling the building to the Other Side. Olivia snags a lamppost, and the doorman grabs her. Seconds later, the hotel building is… gone. Olivia and the doorman dust themselves off as they look into the crater where the hotel used to stand. All that’s left is a whole in the world.
Broyles and Olivia watch a news broadcast where they call the hotel site an “unscheduled demolition.” Olivia laughs and says that the conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day. What — you mean the unscheduled middle-of-the-night demolition of a hotel that was filled with people and didn’t leave any rubble? That demolition? Broyles thinks that the majority of people will believe the press.
That evening at home, Peter arranges for Astrid to come over and play some board games while he goes out for drinks with Olivia. Walter spies from down the hall when Peter opens the door. He seems happy that Peter is developing a social relationship with Olivia. Olivia enters and just stares at Peter. When Peter goes to get his coat and she continues to stare. We see Peter from Olivia’s point of view. He glitters. Walter’s smile fades away as he realizes what exactly she’s seeing. He approaches her once Peter is out of earshot.
“Please don’t tell him,” Walter pleads.
“Fringe” is on hiatus now until Thursday, April 1st and according to the preview it will be Peter’s story. I’ve only been waiting for this for a season and a half. I hope it’s as good as it looks.