Episode Title: "Wallflower"
Writers: Matthew Pitts & Justin Doble
Director: Anthony Hemingway
Previously on "Fringe":
Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) returned from non-existence to find himself in a reconstructed timeline in which he had died as a young boy. Therefore no one knew him. Not his old boss, Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick), nor his lover and partner, FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv). Even Peter's father, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) refused to acknowledge Peter as his son or help him return to his original timeline. Only the newest Fringe division teammate, Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) showed Peter any real regard or camaraderie.
Despite this, Peter proved himself to be very useful to the Fringe Division in two cases since his return. In gratitude, Broyles allowed Peter to move into Walter's old home on the Harvard campus. But even so, Peter remained a stranger to the people he was closest to.
In the earliest hours of the morning, Olivia takes a pill to cope with her agonizing headache and she heads out to get more pills. On her way back, she spots Lincoln eating in an all night diner and she joins him there. He explains that he hasn't slept since joining Fringe Division and she assures him that the weirdness will eventually become commonplace. She also mentions that she's suffering from migraine headaches. Elsewhere, a man named Jack frantically calls his wife convinced that someone is following him. Just as he gets to the door of his apartment complex, a seemingly invisible man tackles him. Moments later, two cops arrive at the scene to find Jack dead, with his skin and hair turned a ghostly white.
One of the officers sees a glimpse of the invisible man and he fires his weapon at him. Hours later, the Fringe team arrives (minus Peter) and the officer is reluctant to say that he shot at a ghost. But Lincoln find traces of blood and remarks that ghosts don't bleed. Meanwhile, the invisible man floats in a tank as he slowly becomes visible. We see Eugene Bryant (Tobias Segal) emerge from the tank. Shortly thereafter, Eugene is dressed for work as he gets on an elevator with a woman named Julie (Jane McGregor). Eugene seems attracted to Julie but he seems too withdrawn to actually speak with her; especially while she's chatting with another man.
Back at Walter's lab, the blood sample leads the team to "Baby Boy" Bryant, an infant who died in 1989 from an undiagnosable genetic abnormality at a hospital in New York. Tracking down one of the nurses who worked there at the time, the team learns that the nurse thought that she heard the baby cry after he was pronounced dead. They also learn that the body was taken by a subsidy of the company that later became Massive Dynamic. Soon enough, Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) confirms that a few scientists secreted the boy away from the hospital to perform experiments upon him. She also says that it was done without the knowledge of herself or William Bell.
Nina notes that the researchers nicknamed the boy "Eugene" and that he was thought to be dead in a lab fire ten years ago. From Nina's files, Walter offers a theory that Eugene is absorbing the pigment from his victims, which kills them in the process. He also notes that the same process Eugene is using to make himself visible is killing him. At the apartment complex, Eugene enters Julie's apartment while invisible to lay out flowers on her bed. But this only freaks her out, so he departs. Later, Eugene kills a man he saw speaking with Julie in the elevator earlier.
Meanwhile, Walter develops a way to see Eugene using ultraviolet light. Broyles then calls in the team to investigate the latest murder at the apartment building. Realizing that no one has left the building since the murder, the FBI locks down the area and begins evacuating the residents. Using dogs and ultraviolet lights, the team begins searching for Eugene. Olivia checks out a floor under construction and she nearly falls through. Eugene finds her (while still invisible), but Olivia is able to see him under the ultraviolet light. He pulls her up but he also keeps Olivia at bay with her own gun.
At first Eugene is incensed that Olivia and the others are trying to reclaim their military experiment until she tells him that they just want the murders to stop. Eugene explains that he just wants to exist in the world with everyone else and finally be seen by someone, if only to form a small human connection. Olivia warns him that his treatments are killing him and she offers to bring him back to Walter's lab, but he is determined to not to live in a lab again. By the time Lincoln and the rest of the FBI find them, Eugene takes off and he eludes them by becoming visible once again. Shortly thereafter, the agents find Eugene's lab filled with trinkets from each resident.
The next day, Julie gets into the elevator again, only to be joined by Eugene at the last second. Julie surprises Eugene by saying that she thought that he may have been ill and he wouldn't make their normal elevator ride together. Touched by the small kindness, Eugene introduces himself to her before she gets off the elevator. Then he slowly collapses and dies. At Massive Dynamic, Olivia asks Nina if the Cortexiphan trials disrupted her emotional development. But Nina insists that Olivia is normal and she says that a hole in her life was filled when she took in Olivia and her sister years ago.
Meanwhile, Lincoln and Peter continue to bond and Peter gives the new agent his tacit approval to see Olivia romantically, because as far as Peter is concerned she isn't his Olivia. Peter even buys Lincoln a new pair of glasses to better compliment his face in Olivia's eyes. Shortly thereafter, Olivia and Lincoln agree to meet at the diner at around 3am. When the appointed time comes, Lincoln patiently waits at the diner while Olivia gets ready at her home. But someone outside of her home releases a gas that knocks her out. Several men enter her apartment and they give Olivia an injection.
As they depart, we see Nina Sharp watching over them from the door way. One of the men remarks that Olivia won't remember the last few hours and that she'll have a hell of a headache when she wakes up.
Before we get started, let me say this to Fox: "Thanks so much for pushing the next episode of "Fringe" back to January. Would it really have killed you to air an episode the week after Thanksgiving?"
Before the World Series, the originally planned fall finale of "Fringe" was going to be the episode after this; which presumably would have had a killer cliffhanger. Instead, we're left with a slightly less engaging hook about Nina possibly being the cause of Olivia's recent troubles.
it's an interesting turn for Nina because I always expected her eventual turn to occur in the Prime universe (that's the timeline prior to Peter's erasure, in case you were curious). This calls into question Nina's entire motivation for taking Olivia in as a child. If she really loved Olivia like a daughter than it's hard to picture her doing something like this to her. It's not even clear what Nina and her men are after, but it seems likely to have something to do with the Cortexiphan within Olivia's body. Maybe Olivia is the only living subject that they have who is relatively well adjusted.
Even in the Prime universe, it was assumed that Olivia's emotional distance sprang from her abusive childhood. If the Cortexiphan really is to blame for Olivia's personality deficits, than it's a fresh angle on an old storyline. It's also interesting to see Olivia and Lincoln start to get closer after he seemed to reject her a few episodes ago. We've seen shades of this relationship in the alternate universe, where their Lincoln loves Fauxlivia (aka the alternate Olivia) in an unrequited way. In this universe, their relationship has more of a chance provided Lincoln doesn't feel too stood up by the events at the end.
Peter's acceptance of this relationship is also key, since it's also an invitation for the audience to get behind them as a couple. What Peter doesn't seem to realize is that this is his Olivia and this is his home. Peter may holding out hope that his timeline still exists, but it might really be gone. The one thing Peter could be right about is that the Doomsday Device may be his best bet to restore himself to the timeline. If it pulled him out of history, then maybe it can put him back in as well.
The friendship between Peter and Lincoln has also been fun to watch, as it's been an angle that "Fringe" never really had before. Walter and Peter had a father and son dynamic, but the potential partnership between Lincoln and Peter is refreshing. I hesitate to use the word "bromance," so let's just pretend that I didn't.
Most of his actions made Eugene a less sympathetic freak of the week, but I was relieved that the story didn't venture into "Hollow Man" territory when Eugene crept into Julie's apartment. If you can get past the murders and his slightly stalker-ish behavior, what Eugene wanted wasn't unreasonable. And Eugene was never more invisible than when he had to listen to Julie speak with another man in the elevator like they were alone. Eugene's last moments of life were kind of touching when he finally got Julie to acknowledge his existence with some kind words. But if we had a chance to get to know Eugene a little more thoroughly in the episode, it could have been an even more poignant moment.
This was still an engaging episode of the series, if not quite as good as last week's installment. But I will be counting the weeks until "Fringe" returns. Enjoy it while you can, it may not be around next year…
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.