Recap: ‘Fringe’- ‘If You So Much As Twitch, You Won’t Have A Head Left To Refreeze!’



Fringe Episode: Grey Matters

It’s not impossible to find doctors who will still make housecalls in this day and age. Why, tonight’s Fringe episode opens with a medical professional who specializes in mobile brain surgery! Don’t worry, though – he’s a trained medical professional. The kind that travels with a getaway van and gun-toting henchmen. Say, he looks familiar……

Olivia, Peter and Walter are soon visiting the mental health facility where the involuntary brain surgery patient, Joseph Slater, has been a resident. Slater has not only recovered from having a piece of grey matter extracted from his noggin, but he’s also managed to get over that nasty bout of insanity he’d been suffering from for well over a decade. Kind of a miracle given that there’s no known cure for insanity, but Walter would just as soon see video footage of the guy when he was still whacko. Slater’s doctor, Dr. West, complies – and we witness footage in which Slater babbles incoherently about a girl named Sydney who lives across the street. This resonates with Walter – but then again, what doesn’t? The plot thickens when it is soon revealed that Slater isn’t actually missing any portion of his brain.

Walter sadly notes that in 17 years, he had no visitors at St. Claire’s. But – ahem – he doesn’t want Peter to feel guilty about that or anything.

Olivia’s more interested in the surveillance camera footage of the two guys who were responsible for breaking and entering (into Slater’s cranium, and into the facility in general). We get a close-up of the shifty ninja surgeon. Olivia recognizes that guy! Well, she recognizes his head, anyway.

It’s Thomas Jerome Newton! The frozen headed leader of the time-traveling supermen! The one Bell warned her about, whose name was bandied about along with phrases like “global destruction of biblical proportions”! Newton cleans up nicely, what with that body now attached to his cranium.

This can’t be good.

Walter is trying to figure out how Newton has cured Slater. He asks Astrid to investigate Slater’s admitting doctor, prior to Slater’s admission into the asylum. Seems it’s a fellow by the name of Dr. Simon Paris. Back in the day, he put Slater on an “indefinite” prescription that was meant to counteract organ rejection. And guess what? He wrote two similar prescriptions for two other patients around the same time! And they’ve recently been cured of raging insanity as well! Peter and Olivia go to visit one of these two miracle cases – a Mrs. Crampton. She was feeling quite OK those many years ago when Dr. Paris first saw her for postpartum depression. That whole weird psychotic obsession she developed with the number 28 just kinda popped up randomly later on. Peter checks the back of her head – there’s a scar there! Evidence of more recent fly-by-night brain surgery! Ditto the third patient, Stuart Gordon. Apparently he’s feeling loads better now too, and he’s no longer quoting Casablanca like a nutter.

Meanwhile, Newton and his henchman are playing with their three brain fragments in jars. Whee!

Walter realizes that the anti organ rejection drug, combined with the fact that none of these three patients were missing parts of their own brains, means that the three patients were storing foreign brain fragments in their own brains. Having someone else’s thoughts in their heads made them all a bit loco. Just then, Dr. West calls Astrid. Astrid pulls Peter aside. They start looking at Walter worriedly. Walter wants to know whassssup?

When Walter said he had no visitors in the nuthouse, it seems that wasn’t actually true. Dr. Paris visited him. Six times, to be exact. Alas, Paris didn’t come bearing Hallmark cards or cheerful balloon bouquets. Rather, Walter has three brain-surgery-scar-shaped souvenirs to remember the good times by.

Hmmmmm – three scars on the back of Walter’s head. Three mental patients who have recently had foreign brain fragments extracted from their heads.

Dr. West is examining Walter and running an MRI. He gets a heavy dose of valium to help him cope with his claustrophobia. Afterward, Astrid drives him home. Walter asks her to go back to the lab and retrieve one of his favorite albums to help calm him down.

Sure enough, Walter’s MRI reveals that Walter is missing three pieces of his brain. Ahhhhhhhh, it all makes sense now (well, Peter seems to think so). This is why Walter can’t remember building that portal to the other side, and a bunch of other stuff! Peter points out that Newton is going to need to implant Walter’s three missing brain pieces into a brain that’s smart enough to actually interpret all the mad scientist goodness contained therein. Hey, why not put the three pieces back into their original carrying case?!?!?

Uh oh.

With Astrid running that errand, there’s no one to save Walter from the knock on the door. That would be Newton, rogue brain surgeon from the alternate dimension on the loose.

Oh well – at least that GPS tracking device that Walter had implanted in his own neck will come in handy right about now! Or not. Newton’s no dummy. If he can figure out how to perform brain surgery in a pinch with just some stupid henchmen and a ray gun, he can probably figure out how to remove a tracking device easily enough. This proves to be the case.

Meanwhile, Newton is showing Walter a slideshow that is supposed to trigger his memories and help remap Walter’s brain functions. Newton is making Walter cry.

We hate Newton.

Only the slideshow isn’t working! Newton is going to have to take Walter someplace familiar, where his memories might be triggered more readily.

Just about now, Peter realizes that the three mental patients, during their crazy phases, were recalling Walter’s memories. The girl named Sydney across the street…the number 28….this was their old house!

Where Newton is now playing with Walter’s brain – both the parts inside his head, and the parts outside it, in jars. There are some wires that make it all work as one! It would be neat if Newton’s henchman was played by a Marty Feldman look-alike, and/or if Peaches and Herb’s “Reunited” was playing in the background, but I guess we can’t have everything.

Peter and Olivia race to the scene. Newton’s fled the scene! Walter’s unconscious, but OK! Olivia chases Newton’s fleeing van down the street – she shoots two of the henchmen and has Newton right where she wants him. Wait – Walter’s not OK! Yeah, that might be on account of the neurotoxin that Newton gave him. Newton’s left behind an antidote kit with three syringes in it. If Olivia wants Walter to live, she’s gonna have to let Newton go – and then he’ll call her with the correct injection sequence that will save Walter’s life.

Walter’s OK! For real now! Newton taunts Olivia over the phone as he flees – “Now I know how weak you are!”

Broyles thinks Olivia made the right call. Their enemy now has a name and a face (and a body, let’s not forget!)! Besides, there’s only one Walter, and they’re gonna need him when this shit really starts hitting the fan. Which is inevitable since Newton probably now has the blueprints for how to build the alternate dimension portal.

The episode ends with Walter having a flashback. He’s on a table, and Dr. Paris is being summoned by the nurse. Paris is Bell. And Bell is really sorry to have to do this to Walter, but that portal Walter built is just too dangerous. Also, he wishes there was another way to do this……you know, besides with a scalpel.


The Gooey Moments

The open brain surgery on Slater, and the extraction of those brain fragments, was pretty juicy. But hey, at least Anthony Hopkins wasn’t there with a frying pan, ready to saute and eat it.

Word of The Day

Butterfly + Butterfly + Frog + Smoke + Leaf + Daisy = PORTAL

If Walter Were A Head Waiter, Tonight He’d Be Recommending The…..

Pudding cup and chicken wings.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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