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Recap: Fringe, Episode 3.17, “Stowaway”

We open with Peter looking thoroughly grossed out at the prospect of “Bellivia.” So are we all, Peter. As Astrid attaches electrodes to Olivia’s ““ well, Bell’s – skull (let’s just go with “Bell” for now ““ Bell explains that Olivia is “resting” and “totally safe.” He tells them what we’ve already learned about the soul magnet business, and the doctored tea he gave Olivia when she came to see him on the other side. Walter’s brain wave test verifies what his erstwhile partner in crime is saying. There are two patterns of activity, one active and one inert. Bell wants to find a “suitable home” for his consciousness and says Olivia can play host for several weeks with no problems. (Except for extreme physical and emotional violation. Again.) Astrid is weirded out, Peter’s pissed off, and Walter is just jim-dandy with the whole turn of events. Broyles gives them 48 hours to find a new host, or he’s going to have Walter forcibly evict Bell. Peter is more than happy to go retrieve the files at Massive Dynamic that Bell is going to need.

We turn to Roxbury, MA. It’s night, and a blonde woman emerges onto a rooftop as thunder rolls. A guy named Jim is sitting down, apparently expecting her. He talks about how she told him to expect rain, and said, “There is hope in raindrops.” She starts talking about rain and how our lives have purpose, just as the rain does. Jim jumps up onto the ledge. He accuses the woman of also being suicidal, and asks what her reason is for sticking around. He leans back but she grabs him, and they teeter on the ledge. He says he has no hope, and that “we’re all going to die.”

She lets his weight carry them over the side, and they crash onto a taxi parked below. Jim is dead of course, but the woman gets up, with only a little blood on her face. She walks away, and we see that the whole thing was witnessed and filmed by a crowd of people across the street.

After the credits, Peter’s returned with the “re-entry” files. Bell asks for access to medical and social services databases so they can conduct a host search. He tells Peter that Walter may not be able to save Peter, even with more information on the doomsday machine. Peter says he doesn’t believe in fate, and definitely won’t be getting in the machine.

Broyles has sent over footage from the blonde woman’s miraculous crash-landing. Walter thinks they’re looking at another “soft spot.” Bell wants to get out there with a Geiger counter. Peter would rather Bell just hide under a rock or something, but Bell says they need his unique expertise. Besides, the database searches can run themselves.

In Hartford, CT, FBI agent Lincoln Lee (finally, this side’s Lincoln!) is informed about the woman who survived the fall. (Of course he’s going to be brought on board, mostly so Peter has a partner while Bell’s on desk duty. Just go with it.)

At the scene of the suicide, they determine there’s nothing special about the area. Bell and Walter happily collect blood samples. Walter is positively giddy. Lincoln (and his adorable Clark Kent look) arrives with information about their mystery woman. (Bell introduces himself as Olivia for the sake of convenience.) The blonde woman is Dana Gray, who was killed in a home invasion 18 months ago. (The man responsible was later killed in a shootout with cops.) Dana’s body disappeared from the morgue, and it was deemed a theft “¦ until they found footage and physical evidence of her at the scene of three other double suicides. Lincoln concludes that, as odd as it may seem, it looks like they’re dealing with a woman who can’t die. Walter says it’s their lucky day.

Lincoln arrives at the weird, wonderful Fringe lab. Bell invited him, so maybe Broyles needs to be running some interference here? One of the DNA samples from the scene shows that Dana’s molecules are held together (by magnetism) a lot more strongly than the average person’s. Walter suspects that Dana’s stealing the “life force” from the suicide victims, who had all attempted suicide previously. Lincoln’s all, “So we’re dealing with a compassionate soul vampire?” and Peter’s all, “Yep, pretty much.” They’re off in search of people who have attempted suicide.

Dana Gray visits her husband and kids’ graves. She answers a call as crisis help line counselor “Joan.” She tells the caller, Brian, that she wants to help him. Over at the crisis center, they learn that “Joan” hasn’t been in for a few days. The center has a habit of forwarding the most difficult calls to her, and she’s saved 37 people in three months. Apparently she survived being hit by lightning ““ twice ““ and her “perspective on hope” helps her connect with people who have none. Peter and Lincoln are confused about why she helps some people and not others.

Meanwhile, Dana arrives at Brian’s place to find him brandishing a gun. He says he always hurts people, and doesn’t like his “purpose.” He asks her if the raindrops she spoke of “will help those people on the train” and says she has to save them. He tells her about a bomb in a duffel bag on a train, including all the details, right down to the car and seat numbers. She calls 911. Brian says, “Like Azrael, let his angels carry my damned soul to heaven,” and shoots himself. Dana hangs up without saying anything. As she goes to put the phone down, she notices drawings Brian’s done of angels carrying a man. (What is with all the damn meaningful drawings on this show?)

At the lab, Walter and Bell research potential hosts. Well, Walter conducts research and gets high. I was wondering who his supplier was, then I remembered they’re on a college campus. Bell contemplates transferring Bell’s consciousness into Gene. Walter disagrees but thinks it’s just the funniest thing ever. Oh lord.

Peter and Lincoln are going through Dana’s things. They come upon a book, The Afterlife of the Soul, with highlighted passages about what happens to the soul after death. Peter wonders if Dana actually wants to die, rather than live forever as they’ve been assuming. In the other room, the resident mad scientists are debating using an EEG machine to communicate with Bell if he’s transplanted into Gene. Walter doesn’t want to have to milk him, so Bell suggests they get Astrid to take over milking duties. Oh, he is just the worst kind of old man. Peter interrupts the creepery to ask if Dana getting struck by lightning twice would supercharge her molecules and make her death-proof, and of course the answer is yes.

Lincoln gets a call about a sighting of Dana in Dorchester. He, Peter, and Broyles go to Brian’s apartment, where a neighbor reports hearing one gunshot and seeing a woman fitting Dana’s description leaving the building. They theorize that she’s trying to “hitch a ride” and stowaway on a departing soul. Only one gunshot was heard, though, which leaves them wondering why Dana didn’t try to kill herself this time.

Elsewhere, Dana’s sought out a nun, claiming to be doing research for a night class. The nun tells her the story of the sinner Azrael, whose soul was condemned to purgatory but later rescued by angels who thought he’d suffered enough. The “combined innocence of the angels’ souls outweighed Azrael’s sins.” Thank you, helpful nun! I’m sure that story will become very pertinent in just a little bit.

Back at Brian’s, the investigation leads to a creepy serial killer trophy room in the basement, and a conveniently placed receipt for 20 pounds of plastic explosives. Meanwhile, Dana gets on the train Brian told her about and finds the duffel bag full of explosives. One of the passengers tells her that he’s going to Providence to see his sister’s baby, and Dana says she’s on her way to see family too.

Broyles puts the bomb squad on standby. They find timers in Brian’s apartment but no bomb. Lincoln figures Dana’s gone after it, to try to increase her odds of success by “hitching” a ride with a group. Peter finds her number stored in Brian’s phone and calls her, but she sees “unknown caller” and doesn’t pick up. They change the caller ID (TV FBI, what can’t you do?) to read “Henry Gray” and for some reason Dana falls for it. Peter tells her he and his scientist friends can help her. She says going through with the bombing is her best chance and hangs up. Aaaaand the FBI somehow screwed up getting a trace on the phone call. (Oh, so I guess this is what the fictional FBI can’t pull off.)

From the recording of the phone call, they can tell that she’s on a train going to Norwood. Bell and Walter do some word problem magic to find out which train Dana’s on. The man going to Providence asks Dana to watch his stuff while he’s in the bathroom. Broyles and Co. stop the train and Providence guy tells them what car she’s in. They’ve determined the bomb is going to go off in about eight minutes, so they send in bomb-sniffing dogs and start evacuating the train.

Dana’s already walking away from the train, crying, with the duffel bag in her arms. She sets it down in a field, and says, “I don’t understand!” Then she walks away. While the team is searching the train, they see and hear the bomb go off. They go to investigate, and find Dana, dead. Lincoln’s all WTF just happened and Peter sums up Fringe thusly: “Every answer you get just leads to more questions.” Lincoln doesn’t mind The Weird, and says to call him if they need any more help.

Chez Bishop, Peter finds Walter asleep on the couch with a glass of milk on his chest. It’s sweet, until you realize it’s Walter and God only knows what’s actually in that milk. Bell walks out in a robe ““ Walter has asked him to stay there ““ and invites Peter to have tea with him.  It’s just as disturbing as it sounds. Bell is of two minds with regard to Dana Gray: the energy from the bomb “reset” Dana’s body and allowed her to die. Or, maybe it was Dana’s “destiny” to be around so she could save the people on the train. Bell says that every event has some message, “You just have to be able to listen closely enough to hear it.”

Church bells ring in the distance, and Bell smiles at how fitting it is ““ then something happens and Olivia emerges momentarily. She doesn’t seem particularly well-rested. Then she slips away, and Bell says things may be more complicated than he first thought. Of course.

Next time: Fauxlivia’s being stalked and kidnapped, and appears to be having some kind of Alien baby thing. Gross.

10 replies on “Recap: Fringe, Episode 3.17, “Stowaway””

I hate the Bell-voice that Olivia does. It would’ve been much better (and creepier) if Olivia’s voice was used with Bell’s speech cadence and vocabulary. It’s like they didn’t have enough faith in Anna Torv’s acting. I mean, come on! She’s capable of portraying two Olivias so well that I’m left in no doubt as to which Olivia she is, simply by her body language alone.

Also, WTF is up with making Bell a lecherous old man? There was never a hint of him being like that before. I think Bell can be portrayed as morally ambivalent without making him be a creepy old man.

The best thing about this episode was Lincoln Lee. He’s a wonderful character and he needs to be a regular in both worlds. Let’s hope that happens. Also, if there any way we can get a Henry Higgins in “our” world too?

Was Bell ever that creepy before his death? I was so busy being skeeved out this episode that I could hardly follow the super special inanity of the plot.

I’m almost glad to see Fauxlivia again so I won’t have to listen to Anna Torv’s Leonard Nimoy impression all ep again. Love her, but that shit is painful and must be hard on her throat.

I don’t remember Bell being this creepy before. Poor Astrid. I think the voice Anna Torv is doing is hilariously over-the-top (kind of like Christian Bale’s Batman), but I guess they wanted us to be able to easily distinguish when Bell was the one running things. If you look at certain screen shots, though, you can tell just by looking at the actress’ face. It’s funny, considering how many people panned her performance in the first season.

I thought it was quite clever to wait until Olivia is not around (mentally) to introduce Lincoln. Also, the moment when Bell suggested that Astrid could milk him is when he could not be redeemed and I wanted to punch him in the face.

The rest of this episode really touched me. I think it’s one of the best Fringe episodes. I’m scared for alien baby next week. I don’t know if I can let Fringe take me there.

In Hartford, CT, FBI agent Lincoln Lee (finally, this side’s Lincoln!) is informed about the woman who survived the fall. (Of course he’s going to be brought on board, mostly so Peter has a partner while Bell’s on desk duty. Just go with it.)

———–

Bell invited Lincoln in. I assumed that we’ll find that Bell knew the Lincoln on the other side.

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