The “previouslies” are all about David Robert Jones, so get ready for an episode full of the guy. We pick up almost exactly where “A Better Human Being” left off: Olivia’s missing. Broyles has agents checking traffic cams near the gas station, and Nina’s been taken in for questioning. Lincoln and Peter are checking out Olivia’s apartment. Peter looks for evidence that Olivia was being watched, as she must have been dosed with Cortexiphan while she was alone. Lincoln whines about how Peter is “robbing her of her identity.” Dude, you had like one almost-date. Chill. The hell. Out. Peter finds a closed-circuit camera with a backup memory disk, but it only records a 60-second loop. He plans to see if he and Walter can get more information from it, while Lincoln questions Nina.
Nina (one of them) tells Olivia that she was abducted weeks ago by a group of people that included Nina’s double. DRJ waltzes in and Olivia informs him that they’ve already met, and she watched him die. He informs her that she’s been dosed recently with Cortexiphan, and now they just need to trigger an emotional response in her for the drug to kick in. Then he goes after Nina’s bionic arm with a drill.
After the credits, a group of Observers meet in the middle of Boston to discuss September’s transgressions. They decide to wait for him to surface and “face the consequences.” They should probably meet somewhere more secluded; they’re not the most inconspicuous bunch.
Broyles tells Nina (one of them) to cooperate so they can find Olivia, since she’s so concerned. Lincoln brings in a file of evidence that Nina accessed the vials of Cortexiphan several times in the past few months. She claims the logs must have been tampered with, or the person going into the vault was a shape-shifter. Broyles said she’d be dead if that were the case. Nina lawyers up.
In the lab, Walter is spreading something on bread. Are those … are those sprinkles? Dear God. This is one of his concoctions I cannot get on board with. I am, however, still awaiting the mass production of Hot Cinnamon Roll. Mmm, breakfast cocktails. Peter is busy trying to find older, covered-up images on the memory disk. Walter blames him for “letting” Olivia leave the lab. Peter is able to find some older images on the disk and prepares to “dig deeper.”
DRJ has his minions escort Nina out of the room where he’s holding Olivia. He says she’s Olivia’s “incentive” and turns Olivia around so she can observe Nina in the next room. He brings out the light bulb test from “Ability,” which Olivia instantly recognizes. He’s sort of annoyed she keeps stealing his thunder like that, but insists she doesn’t know her full potential. Nina, strapped to a metal rack, begs Olivia not to do whatever DRJ asks. She’s gagged and electrocuted several times, but Olivia is still unable to light the bulbs. She pleads exhaustion and DRJ generously decides to give her an hour to rest.
Meanwhile, Peter finds a faint image of a man checking the camera in Olivia’s apartment. Astrid goes off to run it through the trusty facial recognition software. Peter thinks that if someone’s been dosing Olivia with Cortexiphan, DRJ is probably behind it, trying to “activate” Olivia again. Suddenly, September shows up, still bleeding from a gunshot wound. He confirms Peter’s theory and tells him, “She needs you,” before collapsing.
After the break, the lab rats go to work trying to extract the bullet and reinflate September’s (presumably extant) lungs. Lincoln calls to say they’re trying to identify the man on the memory disk. Also, Nina’s in with her lawyer and Lincoln doesn’t think it’s likely she’ll talk. Thanks for checking in, Lincoln.
DRJ has put Nina back in the room with Olivia, who apologizes for involving her. Olivia tells Nina that she doesn’t remember the details of their relationship and that’s why she can’t feel enough fear to light the bulbs. Nina tells her about the day she and her sister came to live with Nina. She was happy when Olivia finally called her by her first name after she tucked her into bed that night. Olivia says the only person the fear trigger has ever worked with is Peter. Nina starts having/faking an attack of some sort and some henchmen come to wheel her out. She gets up from the gurney, hilariously gets a drink from a water cooler (being devious is thirsty work) and tells DRJ that Olivia needs Peter.
Broyles arrives at the lab and informs them of September’s recent visit to Olivia at the opera house. Peter thinks the Observer might know where Olivia is. Walter reports that he’s going into septic shock. Astrid comes in to tell them that Leland Spivey, the man in the surveillance footage, died in a car crash three years ago. Astrid wonders if DRJ is bringing people over from the other universe to help him. Peter wants to go into the Observer’s consciousness, convinced he’s their only hope of finding Olivia. Walter warns him that if the Observer dies, Peter could too.
After the break, Peter finds himself in a sort of glass box, witnessing “the beginning of all things.” September knows he’s dying but says the identity of his killer isn’t relevant. He also won’t say where Olivia is … yet. He’s got some explaining (and recapping) to do. He (finally) introduces himself, although “September” is a code name. He’s part of a scientific team from humanity’s distant future. September allows Peter to view Walternate’s lab, back when September distracted him from finding a cure for Peter.
The rest of the story we know: in trying to make up for his error, he caused “further corruption of the timeline.” September informs Peter of the erroneous existence of his son Henry, who was “born to the wrong Olivia Dunham.” Hell, I could’ve told him that. Peter’s sacrifice caused him (and Henry) to cease to exist, and September thought “that would be the end of it.” Which … doesn’t make sense at all, if Peter is (as he says) “important.”
Then he says he can’t explain how Peter “managed to return.” Um, remember when you built that machine to prevent just such an occurrence? And then you DIDN’T USE IT? Yeah, maybe that did it. So either September is lying to further some as-yet unexplained agenda or the writers have been watching a different show.
September tells Peter he has to find a way to be with Olivia. Even though she’s fated to die? Yeah, good luck with that. Then he tells Peter “they’re coming” and he has to go. He says all Peter has to do to find Olivia is “go home.”
Peter gets kicked out of the Observer’s consciousness as September’s heart rate spikes. He starts convulsing and then he disappears, knocking over a table for some reason. Lincoln’s all what the hell you guys? Astrid is concerned about the table, which Lincoln rightly says is kind of a strange detail to fixate on. Peter says the Observer advised him to get back to his timeline and his Olivia. Well, that’s one interpretation. Lincoln is pissy about the “his Olivia” part. He leaves with Broyles to have another go at Nina. Peter wonders if September meant “go home” literally, and heads there. He finds the house dark but not empty. DRJ’s henchmen knock him out and haul him off to their master’s lair.
Olivia realizes Peter’s in the next room, where Nina is still strapped to the rack for some reason. DRJ pretends to have been monitoring Olivia and heard she needed Peter. He could have actually done that, bugged the room instead of extracting Nina, but then we wouldn’t have known for sure that she was evil.
One of the henchmen (Leland Spivey, as it so happens) holds a knife to Peter’s throat and Olivia starts lighting up the bulbs like crazy. Then she starts overloading the circuits in the room where Peter’s being held. She tells Nina that she actually called her “Miss Sharp” until the day of her high school graduation. Oops. Evil Nina and DRJ flee the room, but Leland gets fried. Olivia collapses, exhausted.
Elsewhere in the building, DRJ sends another henchman to “occupy” Peter and Olivia while he escapes. That seems kind of unnecessary, as Olivia is busy having a seizure. Peter fights the man and knocks him out just as Olivia comes to. DRJ activates another of his portals, and Nina casually strolls through, easy like Sunday morning. Olivia shoots DRJ, but it has no effect on his reassembled body and he escapes, closing the portal behind him.
Olivia staggers again, but Peter catches her and helps her outside. He calls Lincoln to arrange for an ambulance with plenty of diazepam for Olivia. Then he starts blathering about how this Olivia isn’t his Olivia, and he needs to get back to her. “I know she’s out there,” he says. Um, what? The hell? He says he has to keep looking and stay away from this Olivia in the meantime. He walks away as the ambulance arrives and it starts raining. Of course it does. “I have to go home,” he insists.
What? No, for real, what? Bad robot, indeed. I can almost accept that this Olivia isn’t his Olivia, because we’ve been told that she’s fated to die, and that would be a nice little out. But that would mean there are more than two universes/timelines, wouldn’t it? And that would mean the writers have outright lied to us. I don’t mind chasing red herrings, or being kept in the dark, but lying is unnecessary, and just makes me suspect they’re winging it.
Also, how does this Olivia have his/our Olivia’s memories? They explained ONE EPISODE AGO that she had her OWN memories rather than just things Peter was projecting, so what the hell? Maybe Peter’s just mistaken, and September did mean “go home” literally. It led Peter to Olivia, after all. I don’t even know what’s going on, and not in a good way. Theories?