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Fringe 203 - Fracture

Walter discovers a crystallized human ear.

Fringe 203 - Fracture

Airdate: October 1, 2009

[Reviewer’s Note: I’m playing catch-up here after two recent hospitalizations. Accordingly, and after several readers’ suggestions, I’m adopting a new format here, similar to Mac Slocum’s “Key Points” in the Lost blog.]

Key Points in this week’s mystery:

  • A Philadelphia policeman, Officer Gillespie, gets a call (“Hello, Colonel”) on his cell phone and speeds off abandoning his partner, goes to a crowded metro station, relieves a surprised citizen of his briefcase, then his body begins to crystallize – and he explodes!

  • Agent Astrid clues the team into the transit explosion – the curiosity being no explosive residue found at the scene.

  • The team arrives in Philly while bodies are still being cleared. Walter finds strange crystalline debris, which turns out to be human body parts. Peter finds a policeman’s badge.

  • Radio interference blacks out the surveillance tape of the station approximately 20 seconds before the explosion.

  • Walter pieces the officer’s body back together from its crystallized parts, and finds drug injection sites between the toes (a favorite place for drug abusers to hide tracks.)

  • Peter and Olivia interview the officer’s wife, discovering he served two tours in Iraq before his police career. Olivia begins having memory flashbacks to her trip to the other dimension(?) and asks to use the bathroom. There she finds a drug injection kit hidden behind a tile.

  • In Oak Park, Illinois, a lady wakes beside her husband, goes to another room, and injects herself from a similar kit. Later she’s approached by ‘the Colonel” in a supermarket parking lot. “We need to talk, Captain Burgess.” The Colonel says she’s being recalled to active status, and sends her to DC on a mission.

  • Walter’s research in the lab indicates the officer began injecting himself when he was still on active duty in Iraq.

  • Officer Gillespie’s military personnel file indicated that he, and other members of his unit were exposed to cyanogen chloride, a deadly chemical weapon, and were part of a secret experimental military project, Operation Tin Man. The names of the other project members are unknown, but the files list the names of Iraqi doctors who were part of the project.

  • Peter thinks he can find the doctors faster than the Army if Agent Broyles will send him to Iraq under a false name. Broyles sends Olivia with him.

  • Walter and Astrid experiment on watermelons with the serum found in Gillespie’s house. The watermelon crystallizes and explodes when exposed to the right radio frequency.

  • Peter’s contacts in Iraq lead him to one of the Iraqi doctors, who turns pale at the mention of ‘Tin Man’, but eventually begins to talk. The doctor gives them the names of three other persons besides Gillespie who survived the project – John Crump, Chris Cavanaugh and Diane Burgess. He also tells them of a Colonel Gordon who argued the project should not be shut down – a vicious man with no regard for human life.

  • Agent Broyles briefs a group of agents, including Olivia. Two of the three remaining potential human bombs have been accounted for, leaving only Diane Burgess, known to be travelling to Washington, D.C.

  • Olivia briefs the agents that Burgess is an unknowing victim of Col. Gordon, whose description and photo are provided.

  • Burgess is located in a cab headed to the Federal Center metro station. The team makes the decision to let her enter the station in order to locate Gordon. They have to leave the detonation frequency open in order to locate Gordon by his transmitter.

  • The radio signal inside the station is both ‘too powerful to jam’ and ‘not able to locate’ so Peter and Olivia turn to more primitive methods (eyesight) to locate Gordon before Burgess explodes. Peter tackles him and Olivia smashes the transmitter with her cane.

  • Broyles interrogates Gordon, who says “the enemy is among us and nobody is doing anything about it so we had to take matters into our own hands. We had to send them a message.” Paranoia, or does he know something about the uber-mystery?

  • Broyles asks Gordon “What was in the briefcase?” Gordon says “They are here, collecting data, making observations – that’s what’s in the briefcase. They’ve been planning for war. And they’ve been passing information by courier, right under our noses.”

  • ”Who are they?” Broyles asks. “We don’t know who they are. But I can tell you what they want. They want to exterminate us, so they are studying us – out technology, our culture, our science. And they plan to use it against us, one way or another, we’ll find out who they are. But by then, I suppose it won’t really matter. Because whatever is in those cases is going to destroy us all.”

  • Over the above, we see the second courier delivering his briefcase to an observer in a diner. The observer dumps a whole jar of pepper on his sandwich. The briefcase contains telephoto pictures of Walter.


Key points in the ongoing story arc:

  • Olivia receives “instruction” from Sam Weiss. It consists of tying her bowling shoes.

  • After her headaches have begun, Olivia returns to Sam Weiss. He tells her that her memories are being flushed out. He assigned her to keep score for a kid’s league.

  • Another day, Weiss merely measures Olivia’s hand, saying he’ll find her the perfect bowling ball, then tells her to go home. Exasperated, Olivia draws her gun on him and says she’s not there to bowl, she’s there to get “fixed.” Her anger fades when she realizes she’s not using her cane yet walking just fine.


Key points in personal stories:

  • Peter is looking for a new apartment for himself and Walter. He wants his own bedroom. Walter woke him up that morning singing an aria from Il Pagliachi while doing jumping jacks… in the nude. Walter likes it fine where they are.

  • Agent Astrid lives ‘mostly in the lab’, but has an apartment nearby.

  • Walter chides Peter for eating a cheeseburger with too much enjoyment in front of the cow (who seems to agree.)

  • Adventures over, Walter hands Peter an ad for a suitable apartment with two bedrooms.



There’s a bit of technobabble about “EMP Detectors” in the transportation facilities, which apparently are supposed to be a security measure that somehow interferes with radio transmissions. But EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse, and is usually meant to signify the pulse of energy associated with a nuclear explosion, not a useful security measure inside a building.

The triggering radio signal is described as “VHF” but the frequency is given as 331.6 MHz, which is in the lower end of the UHF band.

The means of converting human tissue into explosive is of course completely glossed over, especially in as much as most of officer Gillespie’s body seems to have been recovered as projectiles – so what exploded?

Remains to be answered:

  1. How is Gordon supposed to have become aware of the agents from the other world ?
  2. What’s the other world’s motive for such hostility to ours?
  3. Is the hostile world the one William Bell is now inhabiting, or yet another one?

Next Week: "Momentum Deferred" Walter thinks he can restore Olivia’s memory. Faux agent Charlie is concerned and communicating with other agents from the other side.


Guest cast:
Michael Cerveris ______ The Observer
Kevin Corrigan ________ Sam Weiss
Stephen McHattie _____ Colonel Raymond Gordon
Navid Negahban ______ Dr. Malik Yusef
Claudette Mink _______ Captain Diane Burgess
Patrick Sabongui ______ Ahmed
Barclay Hope _________ Andrew Burgess
Kirsten Robek ________ Susan Gillespie
Aaron Pearl __________ Agent Tevez
Keith Dallas __________ Slim Joe
Phillip Mitchell ________ Officer Gillespie
Cam Cronin __________ Tech #1
Leanne Adachi ________ Medical Examiner
Dalila Bela ____________ Jenny Burgess
Miles Meadows _______ Ponytail Man
Walcott E. Morgan _____ Transit Cop
Ian Rozylo ____________ Nocifaro

Posted by Cecil on October 14, 2009 11:27 PM
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