Episode: Fringe 2.04 – “Momentum Deferred”
Original Air Date: October 8, 2009
Most of the screencaps were done by In A Dream Caps.
A lot of mytharc stuff happened in this episode. Secrets come rushing out into the open, Olivia’s meeting with Bell is revealed — seriously, a lot of stuff happened! Unfortunately, I found the episode to be surprisingly boring despite all of this.
The show opens up at a cryo lab in MA, and, OMG, it’s the cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney! Not really, but a head is being prepped for transport by two delivery guys and two serious-looking security guys. After they get the truck loaded up with heads and are getting ready to roll out, this really big dude drives up and asks for directions. He totally blows the guards away when they tell him to take a hike. The delivery guy is taken out by his partner. Shapeshifters! Really Big Dude takes off with the truck full of heads after the other shapeshifter is shot by one of the guards (who was just mostly dead that whole time). We all know that doesn’t work, and the shapeshifter keeps getting back up every time the guard plugs one in his body. The last shot (right between the eyes) takes him down, and that’s all she wrote for the guard, too.
At Harvard the next morning, Walter wants Olivia to drink a bunch of flatworms. So, you know, that’s pretty gross. As it’s explained, Walter and Bell did an experiment back in the day that used flatworms. They trained one set of worms to respond to light, crushed them up, fed them to a second group of flatworms, and then those worms responded to light without being taught to. I’m stupid because I don’t see how that’s supposed to help Olivia get her memory back. Maybe Peter’s with me on this one, because he doesn’t think Olivia needs to do this. While he and Walter are fighting, Olivia reveals the party girl side we all knew she had and chugs the worms. So, you know, that’s really gross. No time to think about it, the Bat Signal is lit and the team must assemble!
Turns out that three cryo labs had been hit in so many days, all with stolen heads. The creep factor on stolen human heads is pretty high, but Walter is wetting himself to check out the shapeshifter’s body (which they don’t know is a shifter yet) because it’s bleeding mercury. Broyles lets Walter and Peter go check out the body, and continues to go over things with Olivia. While Peter is walking back to Olivia to tell her about the mercury blood, Olivia starts to have flashbacks in red. Nothing coherent, but it’s starting to come back. Back over at the dead shifter, Faux Charlie shows up and Walter notices that he’s not looking so good (apparently, if you smoke a bowl before bedtime, you get wicked good rest — thanks, Dr. Bishop!). They discover the shapeshifting device on the dead body; it’s still intact and may prove useful to them later on.
Cut to Really Big Dude shaving the backs of all the heads he stole. I can totally make a classless, immature joke here, but I’ve restrained myself this far. Whatever he’s looking for, he doesn’t find, and the head goes rolling down a little hill with the rest of the unwanted heads. Faux Charlie shows up (he does that a lot: just shows up). Turns out he’s dying from being in that shape too long (dang, my theory is wrong) and needs to get back to his reality to be fitted with a new device (they only work for the shifter they’re fitted to). Faux Charlie tells Really Big Dude that he thinks Olivia is starting to remember her meeting with Bell and that she probably knows where the head they’re looking for is. He better work Olivia faster than he has been because he doesn’t look like he’s got much time left.
Broyles and Olivia take some time out for pie and coffee as they have a little sit-down in an eating establishment. Topic of discussion: What the crap is going on around here?! Olivia speculates the thieves are looking for a specific head, but who’s head is unknown at this point. the cryo labs, despite the thefts, are unwilling to give them a client list. Broyles says the other shifter device hasn’t yielded any useful intel yet because it’s busted, but that Massive Dynamic is working on it. Olivia tells him that the one they just found isn’t broken and Peter can work on it because he’s way smarter and way more equipped than Massive Dynamic I guess (or Olivia is still having trust issues with Nina despite all the help she’s been giving them). Broyles is worried Olivia is still in danger, but Olivia’s pretty certain that if a shifter wanted her dead she’d be dead already. Oh, if only she knew the truth!
Walter gets the shifter body to examine, and while he’s explaining to Astrid that shifters are really “human” (he calls them “mechano-human hybrids”) and that the mercury helps change their shape (they’re kind of like a low-tech T-1000), he becomes spooked and asks that she contact Olivia right away. I think Walter just had a lightbulb moment.
Cut to a different part of Harvard, and Peter and Olivia banter about Invasion of the Body Snatchers while he works on turning on the shifter device. This is also the second time/episode where he’s said “you’re the one with the gun.” Not sure if that means anything other than he’s running out of things to say to Olivia, but there you go. Before he actually does anything with the device, the notices that it’s streaming a lot of data. And before they can go into that revelation any further, Olivia gets the text from Astrid that she needs to get to the lab ASAP.
Good news and bad news from Walter. Bad news: The shifter’s blood is 47% mercury. This caused Walter to re-examine the body of the the previous “shifter” (the dead nurse) they thought Charlie killed, and it had no mercury in the blood stream. They all think the shifter could be anyone now, except the person who supposedly killed it. Good news: Walter thinks if they get in contact with the drugged-out hippie from the VHS, they can use her to find the shifters. She was able to identify them once, perhaps she can do it again.
This is were Olivia calls Faux Charlie and tells him everything. He’s the first person I’d suspect of being the shifter since he was the last person to see it! Anyway, Faux Charlie is literally falling apart. To get a quick fix, he buys a crap ton of thermometers, breaks them, then drinks the mercury. Just in time, too, since his face was melting off his skull.
Olivia decides that Massive Dynamics might be able to get a little further with the shifter device than Peter did and stops by there (still having mini-flashbacks). Nina tells her they came to the same conclusion Fringe Division came to (one device per shifter, the device holds info on who the shifter last changed into, shifters can’t change without the device). Using the intact device, they can repair the broken one and figure out that Charlie is now Faux Charlie. The Massive Dynamic techno-nerd is sweet on Olivia and offers to give her live streaming data on her phone of the process so she’ll know immediately who the original shifter looks like.
Peter and Walter head over to Rebecca’s (the hippie girl), where Walter starts acting like a giddy schoolboy. I think he and she must have had a thing, and it looks like Peter suspects the same because he looks really butthurt about his father being all ants in the pants for a woman. He’s worried that Rebecca won’t recognize him, but she does as soon as she opens the door and blows past Peter to hug Walter. Inside the house, she tells them that she started spotting alternate reality people without the experiments (they have a certain glow about them). She also tells Walter that she tried to find him but no one knew where he went (Peter covers and says he was traveling). Back to the subject, she tells them that the ability to spot these people comes and goes, but she is more than willing to let Walter pump her full of drugs again in order to help him.
They take her back to the Lab to start the experiment immediately. Olivia shows up and has Astrid log into the Massive Dynamic secure server for the data updates. At 19%, it already looked like Charlie so I don’t know why they weren’t making the connection still, but they load the program onto Olivia’s phone so she’s up-to-the-minute with the progression. Once they get Rebecca strapped in and suspended face-down, the drugs hit her pretty fast (loose lips sink ships and she spills that she met Peter when he was a baby, but something was different). Walter does this hypnosis thing to get her ready to find the shifters and has Peter ring a bell that looks remarkably like the one Bell has in Olivia’s flashbacks. As soon as the bell is rung, Olivia passes out and all her memories of meeting Bell come rushing back.
Really quickly, their meeting unfolds in brightly colored light flares in one of the Twin Towers. Bell knows her from childhood (the experiments), and seems as fond of her as Walter is. He tells her the he and Walter weren’t trying to hurt the children. They were trying to prepare a “guardian” to watch “the gate” between their two realities because there’s going to be a war. The First Wave of the war are the shifters. Olivia is super grouchy with Bell, demanding “the truth” from him. He tells her a storm is coming and that the shifters are looking for their Key Master to open the gate. Olivia is the Gate Keeper because she’s the strongest of all the kids they prepared. Bell shows her a symbol and address to find the Key Master before the shifter do. He also tells her to go to Nina because she will help Olivia in any way she can, and the Greek phrase to tell Peter in order to keep him “by her side.”
Before it’s all over, Bell warns her that “physics is a bitch.” It’s why she ended up flying through the car window and where the title of the episode comes from. In the real time, Peter and Walter Pulp Fiction Olivia in the chest, and she’s painfully brought back saying she needs to speak with Nina.
Rebecca ends up not helping so much with the shifter problem, and Walter wants to ride home with her. Peter lets him, seeming to get over his butthurt about his father having a thing for this lady. Before they leave, Rebecca notices Peter has that certain glow, but brushes it off as an after-effect of all the drugs.
Just missing all the fun, Faux Charlie shows up at the Lab. He notices the image program running, and Astrid tells him that Massive Dynamics is rebuilding the image from the broken shifter device and that’s the real-time results. Uh-oh, Shaggy!
Olivia meets back up with Nina and shows her the symbol Bell showed her in her flashback, but Nina doesn’t recognize it. So Olivia goes on to tell Nina about the Gate Keeper/Key Master part of the Bell convo, and it’s the “a storm’s coming” line that clicks with Nina. She then has to explain (with visuals) to Olivia that both realities can’t occupy the same space. Everybody knows that, I don’t know why they felt the need to dumb stuff down for us there. However, it’s then that Olivia realizes Bell also gave her an address without telling her it. Before Olivia can tell Nina this, Faux Charlie texts her with a message that Nina is the shifter and that she needs to get out of the building now. Nina reminds her that Massive Dynamics is at her service before she leaves.
Here’s my problem: why would Nina willingly fix the broken device, find out what the image is, then send it to Olivia if she’s the shapeshifter? Also, if the program was done rendering the image, it would have notified her on her mobile. Seriously, it’s like the easiest math on the planet, Olivia! You may have been the strongest of the kids, but you clearly weren’t the most logical one.
Olivia meets Faux Charlie outside the building (I spot The Observer!) and he gets her to follow him around to the alley where there’s an interesting portrait of van Gogh on the wall. She tells him everything. Again. Her mobile finally lets her know that the shifter is the dude standing in front of her and she realizes her brains have been in her rear end this entire episode. Now that he has the intel he needed, Faux Charlie proceeds to give Olivia a cross-dimensional beatdown while phoning Really Big Dude to tell him where the head is. Olivia finally manages to kill him (headshots: universal AND transdimensional enders of life), and I’m really kind of pissed that Charlie is gone. May be they can get the alternate reality Charlie to come over and play?
At Rebecca’s, Walter seems to be getting cold feet with his follow-through. He tells her what he did was wrong and that he took advantage of her all those years ago. She kisses him and tells him he made her special, he didn’t take advantage of her. He tells her that she was always special and walks to his bus stop with a smile.
Broyles is left with consoling Olivia about killing Faux Charlie. They didn’t make it to the cryo lab with the special head before the shifters did. They took everything there. Olivia feels she epically failed, but Broyles is a BAMF and reassures her they will find the shifters.
Best part of the show as far as effects go: the head they were looking for and find attaches itself to a body!! It looks like they use mercury to help it attach to the body, so is this guy going to be a super soldier version of the shapeshifters? Should be interesting.
Here’s this episode’s glyphs! Remember, you can use this cypher to decode the message.
Rating: 3 / 5 stars