Walter’s hanging out at Massive Dynamic, watching the security monitors and getting high with the guard, played by none other than Jorge Garcia! Bless you, J.J. Abrams. Walter’s worried about what he can do with Massive Dynamic, compared to Bell’s impressive legacy. He notices an office on camera that no one enters. After learning it’s Bell’s office, he immediately heads there and starts going through the files. Nina wants to know why he’s so concerned about them; he tells her that he wants to protect our world, especially now that Peter is with Olivia and truly happy. Nina also thinks it’s wonderful that Peter and Olivia are together. It should be annoying how much they’re shipping Peter and Olivia, but somehow it’s kind of cute. Walter is still keen on thinking the way he used to, “back when anything was possible.”
Outside the Massachusetts Metal Depository, a couple of thieves rappel up the side of the building and strap on some shoes that let them walk on the ceiling. (It soon becomes clear that the boots are actually meant to tether them to the ground.) I mean, I don’t know they’re thieves, but nighttime? All dressed in black? Rappelling? Probably thieves. Sure enough, a security guard interrupts the pair and shoots one of them. The other thief is able to get away, but his unlucky partner comes out of his shoes and (along with blood spray from the gunshot wound) starts drifting upward, tethered only by his climbing rope.
At a room in the Harvard Engineering Building, Peter is going through data from the dead shape-shifters’ memory disks but not having any luck making sense of it. When Olivia calls he reluctantly answers, then tells her he’s at the gym. Lies! She wants to go to a street fair. (“Really?” asks Peter ““ and everyone watching.) Peter says he’ll head home to shower and meet her there.
Oh, but of course duty calls, in the form of our freaky floating dead thief. At the crime scene, they’re pulling the guy down. Walter’s all, “Ooh, magical! Like Icarus” but Broyles is all, “Um, Icarus had wings.” The clues are these: a police sketch of the other thief, a keycard they’ve found (the depository solely uses old-school keys), the dead guy’s atrophied leg muscles, and a missing supply of osmium, the densest element on earth.
The other thief high-tails it to a Dr. Quick (hey, it’s Alan Ruck!) at Frost Aerodynamics to tell him what happened. The thief is sick from whatever procedure he’s undergone (although he “didn’t feel like this the last time”), but Quick is more concerned with whether he got the osmium. They agree to meet up at “the lab” later and the thief clomps over to his car, still wearing the weighted boots.
Peter is going through Bell’s files on gravity while Walter examines the body, which is a little less buoyant than it was earlier. They still have no leads on the other thief, but they do learn that whatever made the dead man able to float was also attacking his immune system. Olivia shows up with news that they’ve tracked the keycard to a warehouse. Naturally. Walter adorably wonders if driving to a warehouse is the modern equivalent of going for long walks in the park, as he and the missus used to do.
Quick meets up with the thief, who’s pretty concerned about the fact that he’s, oh you know, bleeding from the eyes. Before Quick can run some more experiments, the thief dies. Back at Walter’s lab, the dead body is no longer floating but is now too heavy to move. Walter wants Astrid to run another sample of the man’s blood for osmium.
Peter and Olivia head for the warehouse, playing a “full disclosure” game that seems harmless but has the potential to get ugly. Meanwhile, Quick’s getting his dissection on when his security cameras pick up Peter and Olivia’s arrival. They enter to find the other (now also dead) thief, minus a few body parts. A walk-in freezer (these mad scientists love a good walk-in freezer) yields a lovely crop of human body parts. Perhaps most disturbingly, there doesn’t seem to be any method of cataloguing or organization, just heads and legs and whatnot tossed on shelves all willy-nilly. Damn mad scientists.
Walter discovers that all the bodies were injected with osmium prior to death and dissection. The victims also had MS, and were at one point using wheelchairs (there’s a whole pile of “˜em out back); they were likely targeted as eager volunteers for an experiment that could make them “fly.” While Fringe deals with his former victims, Quick trolls a wheelchair ball game for a new one. He offers his rather Faustian bargain to a guy sitting (in a wheelchair) on the sidelines, who isn’t healthy enough to play and seems pretty despondent about it.
While Walter leaves Astrid to dispose of the excess osmium from Quick’s corpses (somebody needs to get her an assistant of her own), Peter and Olivia take a break to go on a pizza run. As they’re leaving, Nina arrives with a file Peter requested from Massive Dynamic. Peter’s evasive with Olivia about his independent shape shifter research.
Walter’s freaking out about how their perp has made the heaviest element, osmium, lighter than air. Again, they’re dealing with someone who has defied the laws of physics. Walter tells Nina that he thinks Bell’s “soul magnets” theory might enable him to talk to them now from beyond the grave. (“Soul magnets” sounds like something you come up with when you’re high as all hell, so “¦ pretty apropos.) Nina tries to convince Walter that he’s more than capable of moving forward without Bell. I have to say, she’s getting a lot better at the pep talks.
Quick has wasted no time, and is injecting the dude from the basketball game with his osmium solution. The poor kid is so happy when it works. Quick gives him the weighted shoes and then gets the kid to ask how they can get enough material to make the change permanent. He’s clearly hooked.
Walter and Astrid experiment with the osmium and find that it’s mixed with something else. Walter gets Astrid to call Peter and Olivia in. Meanwhile, Quick is home getting his teenage son Michael (who’s in a wheelchair) into bed. I guess this is the part where we’re supposed to understand what led Quick to a life of depravity but I’m not buying. Anyway, he tells his son that he’s working on something big and is close to a breakthrough.
Peter and Olivia have arrived at the lab, and Walter explains that lutetium (another dense element) was mixed with the osmium. It’s also rare, so whoever’s behind the osmium theft isn’t going to be able to acquire the lutetium easily either. They work out that there’s a good supply at the science museum, which is (wouldn’t you know it) where Quick’s latest lab rat/patsy is breaking in now, via an opening in the atrium roof.
Broyles, Peter and Olivia arrive at the museum (with a team soon to follow) to find a pair of weighted boots outside. Quick meets up with Lab Rat inside the museum and gets the lutetium. Broyles, Peter, and Olivia burst in with a museum guard and Quick totally leaves his accomplice hanging ““ er, drifting. Peter saves him from floating away forever, while Olivia keeps Quick from fleeing. Teamwork!
Peter and Walter take Michael to see his father in jail. I’m sure FBI consultants totally take criminals’ family members in to see their loved ones all the time. Quick explains, “I did it for you, Michael.” Michael is hurt that his father felt he needed to be fixed. He leaves and Peter goes after him. Walter starts telling Quick about Daedalus and Icarus, then changes gears to ask Quick how he defied the laws of physics. I think the Fringe math goes something like heavy element + heavy element = a brand new molecule that’s “lighter than air.” Quick calls it an accident, and a miracle.
Walter calls it impossibly off-the-wall, even for Fringe. He thinks that Dr. Quick’s “accident” is proof that Walter’s actions in the past have caused the universe to start to break down. Walter tells Nina that he thinks he might be able to reverse it. He believes William Bell’s consciousness is in the bell he left to Nina in his will. Walter rings it, and is disappointed when Bell doesn’t immediately jump into Nina, but he still has confidence that Bell will “find” them.
Peter tells Olivia that he wants to come clean with her about something he’s been working on that he couldn’t tell anyone else about. Full disclosure, and all that. He takes her to the room he’s set up for his work on the machine and the memory disks. He’s wondering how they can decode the disks and Olivia’s all, “Oh, the decoder key’s in my office.” Only ““ Big Reveal ““ “she’s” talking about “her” office at Massive Dynamic, because Bell’s consciousness is now. In. Olivia. I did not see that twist coming. Well played, show. Disturbing implications and questions I don’t even want to ask aside, well played.
Next time: more of the weirdness you love, including “a woman who just can’t die.”