Episode 13: A Viral Way to Alter DNA

FROM ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER KIMBERLY ROOTS: We open on a plane, where a passenger writes in a journal. We see the phrases “advanced technology,” “avoids capture,” and “seems dangerous” before his nose begins to bleed onto the page. He hightails it to the lavatory, where he swabs his mouth and drops the sample into a vial of clear liquid that instantly turns red. This, apparently, is a bad sign, because he accosts a flight attendant and demands that she restrain him right away. Sedatives, tasers—he wants them all at the ready: Something really horrible is about to go down. The flight crew treats him like he’s insane as he informs them he’s going to lock himself in the bathroom, and they shouldn’t open the door for any reason. Once inside, his teeth fall out and his back breaks into a mat of big purplish spikes. He’s screaming and causing a ruckus as the alarmed passengers wonder what’s going on. It grows quiet, and as the stewards are wondering what to do, a giant spiny creature bursts from the bathroom, creating general terror. The porcupine-plagued plane crashes and burns. Man, what does “the pattern” have against air travel?
At Olivia’s apartment, Ella plays with her aunt’s makeup and jewelry, including the engagement ring found in John’s effects after his death. Rachel pries about “partner John”— apparently Olivia kept her relationship secret even from family — and Olivia testily responds that “Everything between us was a lie.” Soon after, she meets Phillip Broyles and the Bishops at the crash scene. Their task force is taking command because of the presence of the giant porcupine’s charred corpse. Charlie brings over the passenger manifest and as Olivia flips through, she recognizes one of the men on board. She has a flash of memory, but it actually belongs to Jack, courtesy of their mind-meld. The guy’s name is Marshall Bowman, she tells Charlie, who looks perplexed.
At the lab, Walter, Peter, and Astrid slice and dice the airplane monster. Walter notices something hard inside the man’s palm; when it’s cut out, it’s a small plastic disc like the one taken out of dead DEA agent Evalina Mendoza’s hand. Meanwhile, Charlie and Olivia find out more about Marshall. He took care of high-end clients for a credit company, and perusal of his client list prompts Olivia’s Jack-memories again: She recognizes client Daniel Hicks as a man involved in Bowman’s shady business.
Back at the lab, Peter lets her know that the giant prickly beast was, indeed, Marshall Bowman, infected with a designer virus and carrying the disc under his skin. Hicks is brought in for questioning and is pretty standoffish until Olivia shows him pictures of Marshall’s remains. Just then, Hicks’ nose starts to bleed. “We must have been dosed,” he gasps, falling to the ground, but Olivia won’t allow him to be sedated until he coughs up the name of who dosed him. “Conrad!” he cries.
Walter works on an antidote while Hicks is strapped to a table in the lab, dozing in a drug coma. Olivia asks Broyles to dig up John to see if there was a disc in his hand, too, but he admits that John’s body didn’t go to the NSA. “Where did it go?” Olivia demands. Cut to Massive Dynamic. Nina Sharp escorts the pair into the lab where John’s body has been hooked up to electrodes since the pilot episode. She assures Olivia, who looks completely gobsmacked, that John is dead. He’s been kept alive in part because the palm discs go bad after their host bodies die; the little bits of info Massive Dynamic has been able to glean points to John being part of a bioterror cell. Based on information from an FBI snitch, Conrad has set up a meeting to sell his virus. Needing answers, Olivia drives back to the lab and calls Peter to have him prep the tank: She’s going back in.
In her mind, Olivia goes to the motel where she and John had their trysts, just in time to see her and him come through the door and fall on the bed, kissing. When Memory Olivia gets up to use the bathroom, it’s clear that Memory John sees the real Olivia. She grabs his gun and tells him she knows about his bioterror plot, throwing in that Bowman is dead and Hicks is sick. She even shoots him, but then they fade to another memory …
They’re in an alley and he points to a car that drives by. “That’s Conrad,” he says, then points to a nearby rooftop, where yet another Memory John is decked out in sniper gear. “It was my most important mission, and I failed. I let that monster get away. I didn’t know it was him,” he says sadly, adding that no one knows what Conrad looks like, making him that much harder to catch. Bowman and Hicks, he adds, are NSA agents on a black ops mission to stop Conrad—as was he. She doesn’t believe him, but it doesn’t matter: Her vital signs start going crazy, so Walter and Peter pull her from the tank.
The NSA, of course, has no record of anything John said. After the FBI nabs Conrad’s scheduled buyer, Olivia and Peter go to the meeting in his place. Hicks listens in, but the virus takes hold just as Conrad arrives at the meeting and orders Olivia and Peter killed. Thank goodness Charlie busts in with his entire team to capture Conrad and save the day. Back at headquarters, Broyles tells Olivia that the FBI still considers John a traitor. She looks content, though, now that she knows the truth. Walter administers Conrad’s antidote to Hicks and then acquiesces to Olivia’s request to go in the tank again.
He warns her that it may be the last time she “sees” John; her brain waves show she’s nearly purged herself of his memories. They meet up by a lake. She tells him she trusts him. He puts the ring on her finger. They kiss, then he disappears.
BOTTOM LINE: The show alludes, again, to the idea—and dangers—of “playing God,” this time by introducing a man-made “designer virus” that changes its victims’ DNA and turns them into monsters.

Category: Fringe

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