Last night's episode of Fringe brought us back to the central mythos of the show, the Pattern, and gave us all kinds of juicy clues about what's at stake - and about Olivia's "ability."
In fact the episode is called "Ability," partly because it opens up a new intriguing subplot about a bunch of mega-powered people who were treated with something called "cortexiphan" as kids. Though we don't know much about what these mega-powers are, we know one of them is turning off lightbulbs with your mind. And we know Olivia was one of the kids treated with it. Plus she has the weird lightbulb ability - kind of like a psychic clapper?
Anyway, the cortexiphan subplot helps explain why turncoat agent Mitchell kidnapped and spinal tapped Olivia a few episodes ago. He was testing her for cortexiphan. And it also explains mad German scientist Jones' interest in her too. He's trying to round up "reluctant warriors" to fight in a battle across the multiverse, and he's hoping the cortexiphan kids will be those warriors. Oh, and did I mention that cortexiphan was made by shady biotech corp Massive Dynamic. Yeah.
It was a very Jonesy episode last night. Our intrepid outlaw teleporter has at last made it to Boston where he geeks out with Walter in between bouts of physical agony caused by having his body dissolved in Germany and recreated in Boston. We discover that Jones and his mystery pals have gotten their ideas about fringe science from a rare, unpublished manuscript called ZFT, or "destruction by advancement of technology." The anonymous author of the book claims (as you can see in this clip) that there is a conflict going on between our universe and a parallel one. Call it a universe collision. It will start with creepy events (yay!) and wind up with one of the universes being destroyed (I'm rooting for our universe).
When you bring the multiverse into a story that is already full of melting people, science outlaws, and superpowers - well, it's like one of those lovely cupcakes with like an inch of gooey chocolate ganache on top. Tasty as hell. I'm really looking forward to Olivia possibly becoming a warrior in the fight against creatures from a parallel Earth. I thinks she's ready to graduate from "special liaison" to "multiverse warrior." Hope she doesn't become a victim of the psychic wars! OK, like three Blue Oyster Cult fans got that joke.
The way Jones recruits warriors is to give them a series of tests with light bulbs, and he decides to make Olivia's test very serious. He rigs up a bomb that will shoot out a biodust that makes people's orifices seal up - we got to see a couple gooey-faced results, which were gross and cool. If she can't make all the little light bulbs turn off on the bomb, everybody goes goo-faced. Luckily she's able to call upon her psychic clapper ability, and freak herself out along with Walter (who probably knows a lot more about this than he's letting on).
Meanwhile, Jones' teleportation experience has turned him into something Walter calls "unthinkable." He escapes from his hospital bed via a giant hole smashed in the wall, leaving behind only these words scrawled on the wall for Olivia: "You passed."
Of course we get no more Fringe until April, you bastards! Where will I get my body-melting, head-exploding, parasite-mutating fix until then? And what is going on with this multiverse war, and the people with abilities? I really hope that it turns out that Olivia is the only surviving person to have taken cortexiphan, because that will make the plot less of a Heroes or X-Men thing where everybody has their own special blinky light powers or something even more silly.
Overall, this was a terrific episode, and a great way to go into a show hiatus. We got a lot of payoff when we discovered why Olivia was being stalked by the ZFT weirdos, and we learned more about the Pattern than we had in a really long time. Plus, melty face bomb!