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Fringe 2-10 Grey Matters

”I see London, I see France.
I see Margaret’s medulla oblongata.“

Fringe 2-10 – Grey Matters

Airdate: December 10, 2009


Patients at a mental institution are getting better after brain surgery. And something is discovered on a surveillance video.

Key Points in this week’s mystery:

  • The operation involves opening a patient’s (Mr. Slater) brain and removing it part of it, and is interrupted before they can close the head, freaking out the nurse who discovers the conscious Slater with his brain exposed.
  • Slater is conscious during the operation and obsesses about a girl in a red dress.
  • Peter, Olivia and Walter arrive to study the clandestine operation.
  • The hospital director says that Slater is no longer schizophrenic and they can discover no damage done by the operation.
  • Walter asks to see video of the patient in his schizoid state, in which Slater also obsesses about the ‘girl in the red dress, with chrysanthemums in her hair who lived across the street’.
  • Slater is now lucid and talking normally, talking remorsefully about his treatment of his wife while he was still crazy.
  • On the security video, Peter notices the ease with which the intruders got through a high security door lock.
  • On the security video, Olivia notices that the head intruder is one of the heads stolen from the cryo facility, and gives him a name – Thomas Jerome Newton.
  • Walter asks Agent Astrid to track down other patients of the psychiatrist, Dr. Paris, who admitted Slater.
  • The psychiatrist is not listed in the AMA database, but she locates two other patients admitted in the same week by the same doctor, Deborah Crampton and Stuart Gordon to two other hospitals.
  • Peter and Olivia interview Crampton, who suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, and who also has miraculously recovered from her illness. She was obsessed with the number 28. They examine her and find a scar under her hair in the same region of Slater’s operation. No sutures, just healed.
  • The leader and his henchman now have two slices of brain being kept alive in a nutrient but the henchman says they only have five or six hours before the first one dies.
  • Peter and Olivia speed to a third hospital, where a third patient Stewart Gordon, a schizophrenic, has mysteriously recovered. Gordon was under the delusion that he was actor Sydney Greenstreet. Gordon also turns out to have a fresh scar on the back of his head.
  • Walter find that Slater was receiving anti-rejection drugs normally given to persons with transplants. He deduces that the vanished Dr. Paris was storing brain tissue in the only place brain tissue can be stored long term without dying - inside the living brains of his patients. And Newton has been retrieving them. And the foreign tissue was the cause of each patient's mental illness.
  • Agent Astrid receives a disturbing phone call. Dr. Paris visited Walter six times when he was in the mental hospital. Sure enough, Walter has a scar under his hair as well.
  • Peter has a nervous Walter scanned in an MRI machine.
  • Peter and Olivia wait for the MRI results while Agent Astrid takes Walter home. Peter agonizes over never having visited Walter in St. Clair's. They discover that Wilson has had three pieces of his brain removed some time back. And the pieces removed are an exact match to the ones implanted in, then removed from the other three patients. Peter concludes that Walter's memory of how her once broke through to the other dimension has been removed, and that to access the memories, Newton will have to emplace them in Walter.
  • Agent Astrid leaves Walter alone while she goes to run an errand for him. Peter phones Agent Astrid and tells her to get back to Walter - he's in danger. Newton gets there first. Agent Astrid finds the apartment deserted when she gets there. Peter remembers Wilson's locator chip and uses it to find Walter. But they find the transmitter discarded in a public restroom with a bloody sink.
  • Newton and henchman operate on Walter. The connect him to a machine to map his neural pathways and find the proper locations to reinsert the brain tissue. To do this they show Walter images and tell him to say the first thing that comes into his mind. After a few innocuous images, they show a picture of a young boy. "Peter," Walter says. A custard dessert. "Peter." A small coffin. "Peter," with tears in his eyes. The process isn't working, and Newton says they need another stimulus, involving more senses than just sight.
  • The FBI is searching all hospitals with surgical facilities, though Olivia wonders if Newton's technology level might not need a facility. Peter, in a flash of insight, realizes that all the patient's obsessions related to him. There was a little girl named Sydney who had a red dress and lived a 2828 Green Street in his childhood. Walter, of course, has the same memories and Peter intuits that maybe Newton has taken Walter to Peter's childhood home to stimulate his memories.
  • Newton has indeed take Wilson to the Green street house and obtained the information he needs to reconnect the brain pieces. But he does so via electrical means without actually inserting the slices back into Walter's brain. Reconnected Walter is a more arrogant personality, but doesn't seem to realize he's not in the time years ago when he made his portal and his wife was alive. Newton ask Wilson how he built "the door", and by way of threat says "I know why you built it - the door - what you lost. Are you going to pretend that you're willing to lose it again?"
  • Peter and Olivia arrive at the house but are spotted arriving by one of Newton's henchmen. Newton says they have everything they need and begins packing up equipment. He sedates Walter.
  • Peter breaks down the door to find an unconscious Walter on the floor. Olivia finds the homeowners tied up in another room. They tell her the perps just left out the back. Olivia runs after their departing van shouting "Freeze, FBI!" [Does that ever work?] She gets off a shot that spills silver fluid out the head of the shape-shifting driver, and the van crashes. She plugs another as he emerges from the back door of the van. She surveils the interior and order's Newton out. Newton emerges passively and Olivia pats him down.
  • Back in the house, Peter helps Walter up. Walter examines his brain tissue in the jars of nutrient and says it's dying and he’ll never get "whatever was in there" back. Walter collapses a second time.
  • Newton tell Olivia that he injected Walter with a neurotoxin and Walter will die in four minutes. He'll tell her how to administer the antidote if she lets him go. Olivia agonizes then hands him her phone and dashes for the house. Inside, over Peter's phone, Newton tells her to inject Walter with the contents of three vials, in the order blue, yellow, red. Ad Peter does so Newton tells Olivia "Now I know how weak you are." So, for all his courtesy, he is an evil overlord, but at least he's an honest evil overlord - the antidote works and Walter recovers.
  • Olivia confesses to Agent Broyles that she made an emotional choice, and now they have nothing to show for it. Broyles reminds her that Walter is a unique resource they're going to be needing, and says hers was a rational choice.
  • Walter has another MRI, and Peter apologizes for never having visited him in the hospital. As Walter slides into the MRI, he has a memory of another hospital room long ago. William Bell is there. Bell tells him that "What you've accomplished is just too dangerous." And he’ll put Walter's memory in a place only he (Bell) can find.


Key points in the ongoing story arc:

  • The review at the head of the program reminds us of William Bell’s predictions concerning the coming interdimensional conflict, the presence on our side of a leader of the opposition identifiable by a secret mark who would lead the conflict, the fact that this leader was a head stored in a cryogenic facility, the opposition shape-changers getting to him first and supplying him with a new body.
  • A clandestine operation takes place in a mental hospital, performed by the very Leader, now owner of a perfectly coordinated body.
  • For an evil overlord, Newton is very courteous and caring to his victims.
  • Newton reveals that "on my world" something killed the trees and grass a long time ago.
  • Walter asks Newton how things are on his side. "Worse, they tell me," is his reply.
  • Bell removed the brain pieces from Walter.

Key points in personal stories:

  • Walter observes that in 17 years in his mental institution he never had a visitor.
  • Peter is distressed by Walter’s observation.
  • Walter philosophizes to Agent Astrid that there is no cure for madness – the only road back is struggle. He is speaking from experience.
  • Peter apologizes for never having visited Walter, but Walter assures him he probably wouldn't have remembered it anyway.



For the first time we're given a hint that some sort of ecological disaster has taken place on 'the other side'. Could this have been a result of Walter's portal being opened? If so it would explain the other side's hostility to our side. If the other side has to kidnap Walter to earn the secret of the portal, how is it that Newton and their other agents got here? They all seem to be shape shifters, so do they have a means of sending shape shifters here, but not anyone else?

If Bell is the one who removed the three pieces of brain tissue from Walter, does that mean "Dr. Paris" was working for him? If so, how did the other side get the information of the three patients holding pieces of Walter's brain. Did Bell cooperate with them?

Admittedly we've only seen city pictures of Bell's new dwelling, but what we've seen didn't appear to have suffered an ecological disaster. Does that mean Bell's in a inter-dimensional location?

Is Walter's original portal still open? If not, how did Bell get to wherever he is, and how did he bring Olivia there? And why isn't the other side attempting to get information from Bell?

Remains to be answered:

  1. What is Bell's relation to the "other side"
  2. What caused their trees and grass to die. Were there any other effects?
  3. Can Walter duplicate his original research?

Tonight’s Secret Word: "Portal"

Fairly obvious meaning, I think, but the ones from a few weeks back are still obscure to me.

Next: "Unearthed"

A teen-age girl thought to be brain-dead awakens - with memories of being a completely different person.

My sources tell me this episode will be broadcast on Monday, January 11th, followed by another new episode three days later on Thursday Jan 14.


Regular Cast:

Anna Torv _________ Agent Olivia Dunham
Joshua Jackson _____ Peter Bishop
John Noble ________ Dr. Walter Bishop
Lance Reddick ______ Agent Phillip Broyles
Blair Brown ________ Nina Sharp

Guest cast:

Jeanetta Arnette ______ Dr. West
Roger R. Cross ________ Smith
Jeff Perry ____________ Joseph Slater
Sebastian Roché ______ Thomas Jerome Newton
Leonard Nimoy _______ William Bell
Derek Anderson ______ Team Leader
Daniel Boileau ________ Thin Man
Lindsay Collins ________ Nurse #1
Vee Dubois ___________ Nurse #2
Dee Jay Jackson _______ Security Guard
Ken Kramer ___________ Mr. Rabel
Darryl Quon __________ Orderly
Donna Yamamoto _____ Deborah Crampton

Posted by Cecil on December 9, 2009 1:34 PM
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