We open on a man looking at a picture of himself as a little boy. Another man asks him to talk about the day the picture was taken. It’s a happy memory. The man holding the picture is trembling with cold, his breath coming out in white puffs. A machine is pumping some kind of blue liquid through a tube into his head. As the other man watches, the man hooked up to the machine quickly freezes to death.
In his lab, Walter is supposed to be explaining things to Lincoln, but he’s on a rant against the shapeshifters and everyone else from the Other Side. He’s also covering up all the reflective surfaces in the lab. Astrid reminds him that they’re supposed to be leaving the past in the past, but Walter’s still angry about how Fauxlivia “bought my ignorance with baked goods” and “pranced” around his lab. Guess there was no vagenda this time around. Walter asks Kennedy ““ that’s what he’s calling Lincoln at the moment, hee ““ to help him cover things up in the lab.
Olivia arrives, surprised Lincoln’s already taken her up on her offer to learn more about the other universe. Astrid hints that he’s both lonely and cute, but Olivia’s sure going down that road will just make things awkward. Besides, she says, he’s not her type. Astrid wonders if GEE MAYBE HER TYPE JUST DOESN’T EXIST. So we’re in for another episode of this, then.
Olivia gets a call to report to the Federal Building in Boston. Broyles briefs her on a serial killer case: 23 victims with holes drilled into their brains, who all died by freezing from the inside out. No one’s heard anything about it because it’s happening Over There. Broyles asks if Olivia will have any problems assisting with the case.
They meet up with Fauxlivia for details. The killer, John Louis McClellan, slipped up for the first time in five years, leaving a stray hair at the scene of the last crime. The guy has no priors, is incredibly intelligent, and was in the wind by the time they got to his house. Fauxlivia wants Olivia to escort the killer’s counterpart, a forensic psychology professor specializing in serial killers, Over There to provide insight on the case. Colonel Broyles ““ still alive in this reality ““ and Olivia aren’t thrilled with the plan. Our Broyles knows it’s a crappy situation but asks Olivia to suck it up.
She talks to the Professor, who’s worked with law enforcement before but is really excited about his first FBI case. Olivia warns him that the case is highly classified, and that he has to be sedated for the “long journey.” This is pretty much irrelevant now, but I was kind of expecting an alternate universe scenario when Juliet had to be sedated for her trip to the island on LOST. Like I said, irrelevant. Anyway.
In Norristown, PA (Over There), Fauxlivia dons a blonde wig while waiting for Olivia and McClellan to arrive. Agent OtherLee is obviously nursing a crush on her, even though she’s still with Frank in this reality. When Olivia arrives, she instructs Fauxlivia to button her jacket. Petty, petty. McClellan is wheeled in on a stretcher. Fauxlivia follows him into the house while Olivia and OtherLee prepare to observe from a surveillance van.
Meanwhile, at a gas station Over There (WHERE GAS IS ONLY 99 CENTS), a little girl cleans the car windows while her mom pumps gas. John Louis McClellan nurses a coffee while watching them from a nearby park bench.
At Walter’s lab, he’s blasting Mozart from a wall of stacked speakers. Astrid comes in and turns off the record player. She asks him what’s wrong and he says he just hasn’t been sleeping well. She knows the counts on his meds are off, and he admits he’s been “experimenting.” Walter insists he just needs to rest and goes to lie down.
Professor McClellan wanders around the killer’s house, profiling him for Fauxlivia. He’s unable to make anything of the schematics the killer left behind. In the van, OtherLee assumes Olivia must be going crazy waiting behind the scenes, because Fauxlivia would be. Naturally, when she hears that, Olivia claims she’s fine.
Inside, McClellan comes across egg-hatching lights among the parts the killer ordered online. He recognizes the lights because his father worked on a farm, but can’t imagine why the killer would need them. He is, however, able to deduce that the killer hunts during the day.
Like right now: he’s still nursing that coffee at the Gas Station Where Gas Is Only 99 Cents. I would totally brave the other side, Amber and all, to get some of that 99 cent gas. The woman pumping gas lets her little girl go to the bathroom alone.
Everything seems to be going fine with the profiling, even after the Professor discovers that the killer has the same chair the Professor loved when he was a kid. Surely it’s just a funny coincidence. The Professor concludes that the killer is somehow trying to take his victims’ happiness for himself. He kidnaps people when they’re happy. At the 99 Cent Gas Station, the little girl returns to find her mother is gone. The cup of coffee on the picnic table has been abandoned.
Then Professor McClellan spots a picture of his father leaning on a tractor in the killer’s Photo Collage of Serial Killerdom. He (understandably) flips the fuck out. He storms out of the house, to find Olivia rushing toward him. (“He’s my responsibility,” she tells OtherLee before jumping out of the van.) McClellan sees the two Olivias and a nearby Ambered-over area, and demands to know where he is.
After the break, Fauxlivia beats herself up for not removing the pictures. She keeps scratching her head, like it matters if she takes the wig off at this point. As she and OtherLee debate the point (the pictures, not the wig), we learn that Charlie ended up marrying the “bug lady” in this reality. Aw. OtherLee gets Fauxlivia to back off for a minute while Olivia talks to the Professor.
She’s trying to explain how a person making a different choice in this reality could change everything. McClellan says, “I don’t just understand him. I am him.” He knows he’s always had a “darkness” in him that even his father’s “heavy hand” couldn’t drive out. Olivia confides, with Fauxlivia watching, that she was also abused as a child.
McClellan says he went into his line of work to try to understand himself and help others like him. He credits a woman named Marjorie with helping him. Her kindness, he says, taught him he could come out into the light. OtherLee comes in to retrieve Fauxlivia at this point. Professor McClellan wishes he could tell his counterpart that he doesn’t have to be this way. Olivia is emphatic that John Louis can never meet the Professor.
Outside, OtherLee is telling Fauxlivia about Noreen Miller, who was kidnapped from a gas station (a 99-cent gas station) an hour ago. John Louis McClellan is clearly seen on the security footage. Olivia, who has come outside for no reason other than to leave the Professor alone, leads OtherLee and Fauxlivia back inside. The Professor has taken the picture of his father and slipped out the bathroom window. Nice one, elite government agency security guard.
At headquarters, Fauxlivia and OtherLee trip over themselves trying to explain what happened to Col. Broyles. Olivia tells him that the Professor is out to stop John Louis. Altstrid determines that it will be a bit easier to track the Professor, due to his unfamiliarity with their world, but they’re still basically dealing with a needle in a haystack.
Olivia tells Fauxlivia that they can use the tractor plates ““ which she memorized from the photo of John Louis’ father ““ to track the farm, where the killer might be holed up with Noreen. Wherever he is, he’s about to drill a hole in Noreen’s head when the Professor shows up. Meanwhile, Fringe gets the address of the farm, which has been abandoned for years. Fauxlivia tells Olivia to ride with her.
The Professor’s busy freaking John Louis out, first by having his face and then by knowing exactly what kind of gun John Louis is going to retrieve. He tells John Louis about “one night in October” when he was ten years old. His father “found the dead things” (ew) while the little boy was at a fair. Of course John Louis knows the story, because it happened to him too. Both boys hid, but where John Louis was caught and beaten “for three days straight,” the Professor managed to get away. He ran into Marjorie, who taught him how to control himself. He offers to help John Louis “step out of the darkness.” John Louis appears to be listening, but it’s a ruse so he can smash the Professor in the head with a tin can.
In the car, Fauxlivia asks if Olivia lied about being abused in order to bond with Professor McClellan. Olivia says no, and when Fauxlivia asks what happened to her stepfather, she’s all, “Oh, I killed him.” And then she gets out of the car. Olivia is awesome.
By now, John Louis has the Professor hooked up to his machine. He hooks the other end of the tubing to a port in his head. Well, if drilling a hole into your own head doesn’t put you off gore, I don’t know what will. Then John Louis tells the Professor to share his memories of Marjorie.
A Fringe SWAT team descends on the farm, but the place looks empty. Agent Obvious, aka OtherLee, says, “We’re in the wrong place.” The team searches the grounds, and OtherLee and Olivia (funny how he’s working with her and not Fauxlivia) find an area where several structures once stood. Nearby, they find a pair of cellar doors. OtherLee and Olivia go down the stairs first.
The Professor is telling John Louis about Marjorie. We see images of her with McClellan as a little boy, playing with him and reading to him. McClellan’s body is starting to freeze. John Louis has an expression of guilty horror on his face.
Olivia and OtherLee enter the basement. OtherLee finds Noreen, tossed in a corner but still alive. Olivia tracks John Louis into another room. He’s standing in a corner with a gun and experiencing the empathy Marjorie instilled in McClellan. “What have I done?” he asks, and shoots himself in the head.
Back on our side, Olivia and Broyles are at the hospital where Professor McClellan is a patient. He has no memory of the past three weeks, and has been told only that he was injured while doing profiling work for the FBI. He’s also missing his memories of Marjorie, and the doctors believe the loss is permanent. Olivia is concerned that McClellan might be dangerous now. Broyles says they’re going to be keeping an eye on him.
Olivia goes into McClellan’s room. She confirms that he saved people’s lives and thanks him for his work. He says he’s glad he could help, but has a nearly flat affect. Olivia asks if he remembers Marjorie and the answer is still no. He says that “things are pretty dark right now.” Then, as Olivia is about to leave, he says even when it’s the darkest, “You can step into the light.”
Olivia marvels that McClellan can recall what Marjorie taught him, even if he can’t remember who she is. Broyles’ theory, which he admits is rather sentimental, is that “there are people who leave an indelible mark on your soul, an imprint that can never be erased.” An indelible mark? Whatever could that mean? As Broyles and Olivia walk away, we see an Observer standing in a doorway behind them.
At the lab, poor Walter is again getting into bed. He cautiously turns off the light “¦ and starts hearing Peter’s voice all over the room: “Walter “¦ I’m here “¦ I’m right here.” Walter stammers that it’s just a figment of his imagination. He turns on the record player, but can’t drown out the voice: “Can you hear me? Help me “¦ Walter.” It’s pretty creepy, even though we know what Walter’s hearing. Actually, maybe that makes it even creepier.