Episode: Fringe 2.10 – “Grey Matters”
Original Air Date: December 10, 2009
MYTHARC EPISODE!!!! Not only that, but a Walter-centric episode to boot! Without a doubt, this was one of the best eps this show’s ever had. Definitely my favorite.
Show opens up with Cryo-head Guy doing a little brain surgery on a mental patient, and proving once again that if you do it with your pinkie extended it makes whatever you’re doing classier. He takes a piece of tissue out and leaves the guy with his brain exposed (can’t get caught whilst in the middle of nefarious doings, you know). However, later scans showed that the guy had nothing wrong with his brain. Also, he was no longer insane. When the team goes to investigate this, Olivia recognizes Cryo-head Guy from her obsessive combing of all the stolen heads (his name turns out to be Newton). She’s determined to find him and kill him before he can open the door between the two realities.
Walter correctly supposes that the brain surgery patient wasn’t really crazy to begin with, but that someone made him crazy — a Doctor Paris, to be precise. He also did this to two other people (who had already had their brains worked over by Newton). Everyone’s like, why would you cut out brain tissue, and Walter tells them that you can keep the tissue alive for a while in a nutrient solution while giving it electrical stimulation (which Newton and his Shifters are doing with their little chunks of brain).
Dr. Paris implanted foreign brain tissue into the the three “crazy” people to keep the tissue alive for an extended period of time. This is what caused the patients to develop mental disorders — their brains weren’t capable of making sense of the information stored in the foreign brain tissue. Dr. Paris also visited Walter 6 times while he was institutionalized. An MRI reveals that the foreign brain tissue was from Walter’s brain (his hippocampus, to be exact). This is why Walter went nutso (the brain is super sensitive because apparently just adding or subtracting tissue from it always results in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). Peter tells Olivia, “He’s just sane enough to know how much he’s lost.” To which Olivia points out that Walter seems to be a better man/father now that he is insane.
Of course, Newton and his Shifters kidnap Walter while Astrid’s away (dude, I feel bad for Astrid in every episode because Walter clearly needs more than just one babysitter) so they can hook him up to the removed brain tissue. Peter and Olivia try to track him with that GPS chip he put in himself last episode, which, is insane that something that happened just an episode ago came back in the next episode. Too bad Newton removed it and left it in the scuzziest public men’s WC he could find. Newton is trying to access the memories in those little bits of brain, so that Walter can tell him how he created that doorway between the two realities all those years ago. At first, it doesn’t work. So they take Walter to the house he, Peter, and Peter’s mom used to live in.
What a fantastic actor John Noble is. I mean, it was practically a split second scene, but the change in Walter that happened once they reconnected the brain bits to Walter was chilling. Walter goes from lovable mad scientist to total dick in a heartbeat. However, Newton trumps Walter in the Biggest Dick Move when he threatens to kill Peter if Walter doesn’t spill the secret (it’s alluded that he does, but we don’t ever find out what exactly he tells Newton). After they get the info they wanted, and before Olivia shows up, Newton injects something into Walter and they hightail it out of there.
Olivia and Peter make it to the house just in time. Peter tends to Walter while Olivia chases after Newton, and let’s just say that she’s a quick study (both Shifters got head shots, both one-timers). Peter calls Olivia to frantically tell her Walter’s dying while she’s got Newton at gun point. Newton tells her that Walter’s poisoned, but that he left the antidote there. He’ll only give them the correct combo of injections if Olivia gives him her phone, goes back to the house and talks to him over Peter’s phone. She gets to pick saving Walter or ganking Newton. She picks Walter, and they save him. Newton’s parting words to Olivia are: “And Olivia. Now I know how weak you are.” BURN. You just know that’s going to eat at Olivia until she’s put a fist-sized hole in Newton’s forehead.
Man. This was a crazy episode, but the ending? *Whew* Dr. Paris was William Bell. He tried to hide the knowledge Walter had “where only [he] could find it.” This brings up the question, how did Newton know about all this? Also, what happened to the alternate reality’s versions of Walter, Bell, and Olivia? I think this almost qualifies as Nerd Torture putting an episode like this right before the winter hiatus.
Here are this week’s glyphs! And since this was the last episode before the hiatus, after the glyphs is a list of the first 10 episode’s glyphs decoded. I’m not sure if these actually have a bigger meaning for the show (pretty sure they don’t), but call it my inner Ralphie to want to decode them.
2.01 – TOWER
2.02 – MIRROR
2.03 – BURIAL
2.04 – MEMORY
2.05 – BETRAY
2.06 – DEJA VU
2.07 – ARRIVE
2.08 – BLIGHT
2.09 – HIDDEN
2.10 – PORTAL
Fringe starts back up again on January 14, 2010.