The Wife:

I’m glad to see Fringe return after a three-week hiatus (in fact, my first note about the show is “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”), and last night’s heavily myth-arc laden episode made my brain hurt a little bit. I wasn’t quite ready to dive so fully into conspiracy after a three-week break from the show and so many monster-of-the-week-y episodes before said break. Frankly, I’m going to be low on insight and analysis on this post, as, hours later, I’m still not ready to process the whole of this episode. That said, let’s get to recapping:

In Broyle’s office, Agent Mitchell Loeb delivers his report from a failed raid in Germany just before he collapses in spasms on the floor. At the hospital, the surgeons open his chest, thinking he has suffered a heart attack, and instead find a strange roly-poly-type organism coiled around his heart. Broyles calls in the Bishops and Dunham to help, and Walter acquiesces providing someone can get him some mints or gum. Even he isn’t sure what the thing in Loeb’s chest is, but it appears to encase the entirety of the human heart and latches on to it with a system of deep roots. Walter posits that it could be a parasite.

Peter: You said two things occurred to you. What was the other one?
Walter: Oh, yes, I would still really like some mints.

Broyles and Dunham go through Loeb’s personal effects when they meet with his wife, Jessica. He returned from his mission in Germany with an illustrated copy of A Christmas Carol that had a list of numbers stuffed inside. Astrid, the lab’s resident linguist, begins running some basic code cyphers to try to decode the document. She believes that the document is coded in a simply Caesar Shift (a code in which one letter of the alphabet is substituted for another and the remaining letters are reassigned from that point in alphabetical order). As she goes through the potential combinations of letters, Olivia recognizes the pattern ZFT as a sequence she saw in one of the late Agent Scott’s files. When Olivia questions Broyles about ZFT, he is forced to reveal to her more than he had previously said about the pattern. ZFT is a code for a terrorist cell that traffics in scientific progress and that those sorts of cells are responsible for the events that make up The Pattern. Groups like ZFT are not interested in the ramifications of their results, merely in obtaining them.

At this point, we as an audience have to step back for a moment and ask ourselves which of the cases we’ve seen were really for the purposes we thought they were for (Joseph Meegar, the cancer-ridden highly radiated ladies) and which seemed to have no purpose (the bus crash, the plane from Hamburg). It seems that at this point Fringe has presented us with a way to clearly define what types of cases we’re seeing based on that criteria, and this is something I’ll be looking at more in the future (Pattern events vs. other nefarious deeds).

Broyles also tells Olivia that at this point, the one person who might be able to help save Loeb’s life is David Robert Jones, who is currently locked up in a maximum security facility in Germany that will not allow any American visitors. Despite that warning, Dunham decides to fly to Frankfurt, hoping to use her connections with an old flame, Lucas, to get her in to see Mr. Jones. He does indeed get her in to the prison and charms the warden enough that he lets her write a note to Jones requesting an audience.

Back at the lab, Walter and Peter discover that the roots of the parasite have started to spread upward into the IV, in a shot that definitely reminded me of my recent viewing experience of The Ruins. (See it. It’s pretty cool, and better than you think it will be.) After looking at the ciphered document, Agent Francis realizes that the ciphered document is a list of case files and the corresponding agents who worked those cases. Broyles suspects that Loeb’s illness is now an inside job, as only someone with level two clearance could have possibly had access to such files. His suspicions immediately go toward one Joseph Smith, whom Loeb himself had mentioned in his earlier discussion with Broyles. Broyles and co. set out to take Smith down.

Joseph Smith must be an exceptionally popular guy as Olivia receives word that Jones will give her a 14-minute audience the following morning if he gets to speak with Mr. Smith. She calls Peter to tell him the news, and he gives her the bad word that Broyles just left to go kill the one man that can keep Agent Loeb alive. Peter follows Broyles to Smith’s house hoping to convince the agents to keep him alive but he is too late: Smith runs, and receives a fatal bullet right between the eyes.

Walter requests the use of Smith, as well, hoping that he holds the key to saving Loeb. He doesn’t care that he’s dead, but he does care that he may have brain damage from the bullet.

Walter: He’s been shot in the head.
Peter: Yes, is that going to be a problem?

Peter calls Olivia to tell her that she may still be able to have her meeting with Mr. Jones if Walter can manage to turn Smith’s dead brain back on. This means that Olivia can actually respond to Lucas’ request that she spend another night with him in Germany, in the show’s continued effort to humanize her. The procedure will hopefully work, considering that Walter performed the same procedure on Jimmy Hoffa to ask who assassinated him and constantly used to shock his son in miniature test experiments. Thought: If Smith had been dead for less than six hours, couldn’t they still access his mind as they’ve done to corpses in previous episodes? Other thought: wouldn’t this all be a lot easier if Ned from Pushing Daisies came by to help them out?

Where is that charasmatic piemaker when you really need him?

Where is that charasmatic piemaker when you really need him?

The next morning, Olivia meets with Jones and tells him that he may as Smith only one question and that she will relay the questions and answers back and forth. She does her best to stall, considering that Walter’s test brain info transfers were not working as planned. In her conversation with Jones, he tells her that he is not responsible for what happened to Loeb, but that there are higher powers responsible. I don’t really know how to take this cryptic message, but it would be easy enough to say that Jones is aware of The Pattern and those who create it. However, I doubt his meaning is that simple. (Like I said, I’m still unpacking a lot of this episode.) When Dunham finally makes the call, Jones asks the following: “Where does the gentleman live?”

Walter and co. try three times to get an information transfer from the dead man’s brain to Peter’s, but it isn’t until the third go that they receive any results:


Which, if you connect the horizontal lines that are missing due to Smith’s brain damage, spells out “Little Hill.” It takes Peter almost until the last minute to fill out the missing lines, barely getting the answer to Olivia as she is dragged out of Jones’s cell. He calls after her the formula that must be injected directly into the parasite in order to save Loeb’s life.

Broyle’s visits Loeb in recovery and asks him about Agent Scott, specifically noting that whoever did this to Loeb was a mole from inside the agency. Somewhere deep within him, I feel Broyles knows that Loeb himself might have been the one who leaked the information, which is why Reddick’s line reading in this scene felt so laden with subtext. If I’m correct about Broyle’s intuition, then the revelation that follows will not be so shocking when it finally catches up to him: Loeb and his wife apparently orchestrated his entire illness in order to get the answer to Jones’ cryptic inquiry.

While I doubt it will be a shocker to Broyles, it’s clearly a bit of a shocker to me, especially because I know nothing about these two characters. I’m extremely interested to see where this inside man conspiracy goes, and I’m very pleased that Fringe is finally starting to build up a consistent, long-running mythological narrative. As for “Little Hill,” that means nothing to me now, but I’m reasonably sure that the gentleman is not a gentleman at all. (But if he is, I sure hope he’s The Observer!) It’s far too vague to even begin to guess at.

In closing: Apple, Butterfly, Apple, Apple, Hand

And a good quote from Walter:

“I had a fruit cocktail once in Atlantic City. Mind you, I’m not a fruit cocktail kind of guy.”

The Husband:

So, wait, Loeb and his wife orchestrated his illness in order to get “Little Hill”? Care to explain that, Fringe? He would perhaps die for that two-word answer? If all Jones wanted to do was ask Smith the question, could perhaps Loeb have asked him on his own and not infected himself? Waterboard that fucker and get the info! (Yeah, just kidding.)

Or has Smith been brainwashed all MiB style and can only access the information, “Little Hill,” by means of someone else doing their own extraction to a part of his brain that he cannot get to on his own? Jones couldn’t have possibly known about the mind-reading technology and that the Bishops would use it, or that Smith would have been captured. Or could he have?

It just all seems like such a roundabout way of getting things done, but then again, I’m not an evil genius and don’t think like that.

What the eff, final 10 seconds of episode? What the eff?