After three whole weeks, we’re back for what they’re calling the “Season Finale Countdown.” Walter’s hooking Bell (still inhabiting Olivia) up to some kind of electronic halo as Astrid and Peter ice down a body they’ve gotten from the medical school. Walter asks “Astro” if they’re ready and she’s all, “Just about, Wally!” Hee, I love snarky Astrid. Anyway, the plan is to run an electrical current and sort of nudge Bell’s consciousness into the new body. Walter assures Peter the procedure is totally safe. When he hits the juice, Bell flinches, the body flops around, and the lights go out “¦ but it doesn’t work.
Peter confronts Bell. “What now?” he asks. Bell seems optimistic that they’ll figure something out. Peter’s more than ready to get Olivia back. He suggests that Bell mosey along, dammit, and Bell asks, “Are you suggesting I die?” Before Peter can say, “Whatever works,” a lone bulb blows out, startling them both. Olivia emerges, gasps, “Peter, help me,” and collapses.
In the E.R., Walter frets over how they treat Olivia; he thinks Bell’s possession may have somehow changed Olivia’s physiology. Sure, why not? She’s been having seizures for 25 minutes, which seems like an awfully long time between the collapse and their arrival at the hospital. A doctor prepares to use paddles to resuscitate the patient and Bell comes around long enough to tell him that a second electrical jolt in one day could kill him ““ “and the young woman I’m living inside of.” That medical chart should be interesting.
Broyles is pissed; he gave Bell and Walter 48 hours and now their time’s up. Bell says his soul magnet experiments were completely safe when he ran them on rats, which is why he assumed they had a two-week window to get him out of Olivia. He explains that at some point, the host’s consciousness will be permanently lost. And now Bell can’t leave, so he says, because his consciousness is the only thing keeping Olivia alive. Wait, what? Oh, science. Got it. The bottom line is, they only have a day to get Olivia back.
In the lab, Bell and Walter are brainstorming ways to retrieve Olivia. Peter and Astrid discuss whether Bell and his “super ego” would let Olivia die. Bell decides that instead of trying to pull Olivia out, they go in after her. Bell and Walter plan to download Bell’s consciousness into a computer after they have Olivia back. Walter suggests hooking Olivia up like they did to go into Agent Scott’s mind back in season one. Peter recalls that the procedure required, you know, a brain probe and a bunch of hallucinogenics. He’s not terribly enthusiastic about doing it again. So then, of course, Walter’s all, “Yes! 2000 mg of LSD, stat!” He wants Peter to be their guide inside Olivia’s mind because he knows her better than anyone. Which is sad, really, when you think about the whole FAKE OLIVIA debacle.
Peter confesses his worries about Olivia to Astrid. Then he starts tripping (Walter’s added an accelerant to the LSD) and accuses Broyles of being an Observer because he’s bald. It’s actually pretty funny. Bell (in Olivia), Walter, and Peter are hooked up and go under “¦ and then Peter is standing on a city street, dressed in mindscape-appropriate black and donning a pair of shades. Walter is sitting atop a bus for some reason. He calls out to Peter for help as the bus pulls away.
After the break, Peter helps Walter down by and realize Bell’s nowhere in sight. They notice someone using lights to send a Morse code SOS from the top floor of Massive Dynamic. Walter discerns that it’s Olivia, and uses a pudding cup lid to tell her they’re on the way to get her.
Meanwhile, Broyles keeps Astrid company while she preps the computer for Bell. Broyles starts acting weird and Astrid realizes he accidentally got dosed with some LSD when he was helping her clean up. Broyles is totally high and fascinated by Walter’s red licorice. This should be fun.
Inside Olivia’s mind, Walter spots Olivia’s stepfather glaring at them from across the street. Then everyone on the street starts staring at them. Walter suggests they run, and everyone ““ literally, everyone ““ gives chase. Walter and Peter stumble upon an empty cab, which Walter bad-assedly drives all the way up to the front door of Massive Dynamic. They meet Nina in the lobby and she takes them to an express elevator. At the last minute, Peter stops Walter from boarding it, because there’s no elevator there. Mindscape Nina, tricksy and false, tries to push Walter in but is instead pushed to her “death.”
They take a regular elevator to Bell’s office, where they find Bell (the real Bell, not Bell-in-an-Olivia-suit) hanging out as a cartoon. When Walter asks why he’s a cartoon, he says, “I’d ask yourselves the same question.” And lo, now they’re animated too. Bell admits to pretending to be Olivia because he didn’t think Peter would come to rescue him otherwise.
Bell tells them when he didn’t find them out on the street and was nearly run down by a car, he went to take refuge in his office but encountered Nina. He thinks Olivia’s ego is “confused” about what she can only perceive as an attack (she has no idea Bell’s taken up residence in her head). Walter theorizes that she’s “initiated the darker parts of her subconscious” and allowed her fears to run rampant. Peter realizes that that means she’s hiding rather than lost. Bell says that will make it almost impossible to find her. Peter knows she’ll have gone somewhere she considers safe.
In the lab, Astrid brings Broyles a tray of food and tries to reassure him that he’ll be coming down from his high soon. He argues that it’s “never-ending” and says death ““ or Death, rather, from the way it sounds ““ is following him. He asks Astrid to hold his hand. Poor Astrid. I don’t think “nursing your boss through a bad acid trip” was anywhere in the job description.
Bell, Walter, and Peter have come out onto the roof, where an airship is tethered. Peter thinks Olivia’s gone to Jacksonville because it’s the last place anyone would think to look for her. Down on the street, everyone starts heading into Massive Dynamic like a bunch of crazy ants, and a horde of animated zombie scientists spill out onto the roof. Bell and Walter board the airship while Peter releases the zeppelin tether and fights the zombie scientists, managing to grab onto the ship’s ladder only at the last moment.
Walter and Bell chat as Bell pilots the ship. Walter tells Bell that he needs him to help Peter and figure out the machine and save the world and whatnot. Bell says they used to need each other as checks and balances, but now Walter has “the wisdom of humility” to help him make the right decisions.
While they’re talking, someone cuts the fuel line. The ship sounds an alarm and Peter goes to investigate. A man wearing a shirt with a stylized “X” on it bursts out of the engine room after Peter removes the chains on the door. The man asks Peter to introduce himself, which is weird and perhaps significant, then uses a flare gun to blow a hole in the side of the ship. Walter, who’s come to check on Peter, is sucked out. The man parachutes away and Walter ends up falling to his “death.” Once he realizes he’s in the lab, he says, “Oh, damn, I’m back.”
In mindscape-Jacksonville, Peter tethers the airship. Bell tells him they’re on their own, as Walter would never be able to find his way to them. Peter asks who the man on the airship was and Bell says it’s “someone unpleasant from the past, I would imagine.” Bell is interested in commandeering a vehicle, preferably a motorcycle, and going to the daycare center. Peter says Olivia won’t be there. Well, wherever they’re going, they’re getting there by motorcycle.
In the lab, Broyles watches cartoon birds flit about as Walter and Astrid prep the computer. Walter’s hands are shaking, and he accidentally smashes an irreplaceable component. After freaking out momentarily, he starts ripping apart his phonograph for a part he can modify.
Peter and Bell go to the military base where Olivia lived as a child, which is now strangely absent of people. Peter thinks Olivia is hiding out on the day before she started the Cortexiphan trials, the last time (she told him) she felt “normal.” They’re looking for a house with a red door. (Olivia’s real father painted it, against Army regs, for good luck.) They arrive at the house and Peter pauses, worrying that he’s wrong. Bell’s all, well, too late now. Peter heads inside, where everything is live-action again, and Olivia is waiting. There’s a family ““ mother, father, young girl ““ sitting in the room behind her. Peter tells Olivia it’s safe to come back, then realizes the woman before him is not really Olivia. (Oh, so now you can tell. Fantastic.)
Olivia’s disguised herself as the little girl at the table (younger than the little Olivia we’ve seen in flashbacks) because she knew the real Peter would realize the fake wasn’t her. (She’s got more faith in him than I do, let’s just say that.) Suddenly, the couple at the table is gone, and Olivia’s stepfather comes charging at them from out of nowhere. Peter grabs Olivia’s hand and they run out in to the street, where everyone’s a cartoon again. The wicked stepfather leads a small army (literally, the Army) in chasing Bell, Peter and little Olivia. Olivia’s hand slips and she’s nearly hit by a truck, but Peter pushes her out of the way and is kicked out of her mind. “I lost her,” he moans as Walter holds him in the lab.
Bell and Olivia keep running from the Army, until Bell falls and tells Olivia to go on without him. She stands still with her hand out and tells them she’s not afraid anymore. Then she becomes an adult again (though everyone is still animated). Bell tells her she’s her own worst enemy. She should have been safe in her own mind, but then again, she’s never really been safe. Bell tells her she’s as strong as he and Walter always thought she was. Aw, that’s real nice, dude, but you and your buddy were still experimenting on children. Bell tells Olivia that she has to go back without him. He tells her to tell Walter, “I knew the dog wouldn’t hunt.” It starts raining. Olivia looks up, and when she looks down again, she’s alone. On cue, as arranged by Walter, Olivia awakens in the lab, fully aware. Peter, Astrid and Walter are there waiting for her. Broyles is still spaced out and blowing bubbles. Why am I not surprised there are bubbles in Walter’s lab?
Astrid has to tell Walter that the transfer of Bell into the computer failed. Olivia passes on Bell’s message and Astrid asks what it means. Apparently the phrase was what Bell would say when he knew an experiment would fail; Walter realizes that Bell knew he wouldn’t make it out. Later, Astrid offers to sit with Walter but he asks to be left alone for now.
Peter visits Olivia after having gotten some much-needed post-LSD-trip rest. She thanks him for coming in after her and says she’s not afraid to move forward anymore. Peter sees that she’s sketched the man with the “X” on his shirt. He tells her he saw him in Olivia’s mind and asks who he is. Olivia says she’s never seen him before. Then she casually says, munching on a piece of toast, that she thinks he’s the man who’s going to kill her. Ooooo-kayyyy then.
Next time: the doomsday machine has been activated by Walternate, who’s prepared to sacrifice his son (or so he says) so Fauxlivia’s son can live.