We've been dying to know more about Olivia's strange powers, possibly connected to childhood experiments, and definitely connected to a vast science conspiracy involving supersoldiers. And in last night's Fringe, we got our wish. Spoilers!
Allow me to recap briefly, so that last night's episode "Bad Dreams" makes sense. We learned a few weeks ago that Jones, a rogue German mad scientist who teleported out of prison, wants Olivia to become his "soldier." He tells her that he can help her solve a case if she'll do a series of puzzles for him, one of which involves using the power of her mind to switch light bulbs on on and off. At first, she cheats on the puzzles but when she discovers a bomb on a rooftop the only way she can turn it off is by using her mind to switch off the lights that control its fuse. And she does. While Peter watches, so we know it's real and not some kind of hallucination.
We also know that Olivia's strange powers are probably connected to an experiment done on her and a bunch of other kids in a small Florida town. Remember the episode when the bad guys kidnapped her and did a spinal tap? That was because she was one of those kids who'd been given a drug called cortexiphan during those tests.
OK so last night's episode starts with Olivia killing a woman in her dreams. It's a great, creepy scene, and leads to yet another weird investigation where Broyles gets mad more than once that Olivia is using FBI resources to literally research her own dreams. Still, there's a good reason because it turns out that when Olivia dreams about killing this lady, she was seeing an actual death. Same thing happens the next night, when she dreams she forces a woman to stab her own husband in a restaurant.
After a lot of bizarre crosstalk between Peter, Walter, and Olivia, plus a lot of surveillance tape footage from the scenes of the crimes, the Scoobies discover a common thread. A guy with blond hair and a scar named Nick seems to be at all the scenes. Is Olivia in Nick's head? How could this be?
Big reveal time from Walter (yay!). Turns out that Walter was involved in the cortexiphan experiments, and he speculates that Nick was too. In fact, he says, probably Olivia and Nick were "partners" during the drug trials because little kids were paired off during them "kind of the way you pair up kids to keep them safe at summer camp." Have I mentioned lately that I love Walter? This whole subplot with randomly experimenting on kids with mega-drugs is so great.
And when I say mega-drug, that's what I mean. Walter says cortexiphan has the power to allow people to travel between dimensions (???). Translate that into "it can mean whatever weirdass thing we want." So Olivia is transdimensionally connected to Nick, who also has the power to project his intense emotions onto everyone around him. Since his last home was a mental hospital, the Scoobies are able to figure out that Nick is suicidally depressed, and people around him have a tendency to kill themselves because they "catch" his emotions. And Olivia is trapped inside his brain, watching all of it.
To catch Nick, of course Walter has to hypnotize Olivia into Nick's head by sticking her in the machine with blinky lights. And absolutely of course, she enters Nick's head while he's picking up a stripper for sex. It sounds skeevy, but actually the scene is quite well-played - funny and strange - while also involving a long, sexy kiss between Olivia/Nick and the stripper. Unfortunately, after the stripper sex, Nick feels guilty and self-hating. Then the stripper does too, and she slits her own throat with a shard of glass. But at least now the Scoobies have his Brooklyn address, and can track him down.
Olivia and Nick finally meet in a weird and utterly Fringey faceoff on top of a tall building, where suicidal Nick has gone to jump off, along with half a dozen other people who have caught his desire to die as well. He immediately recognizes Olivia, calling her "Olive," and says that when they were going through the experiments that she always calmed him down. She can't remember anything about it, though, and just keeps trying to talk him down when he begs her to kill him. Finally he confesses that his powers of emotion-blasting were recently switched on, presumably by the arrival of Jones, who told Nick the same thing he told Olivia - that he had to be a soldier. Apparently, however, when Nick was told to be a soldier he was also warned to "stay in shape" and "wear black and grey." No mention of blinky lights.
Eventually, Olivia shoots Nick in the knees and he's put into a "chemical coma" while the Feds figure out what to do with him. And Olivia is left with the strange knowledge that a lot of twisted shit happened to her when she was a kid and she doesn't remember any of it. Also, presumably Broyles and her partner Charlie know about it now too. Charlie delivers Nick's secret file to her as the episode closes, and at the same time we see Walter watching an old videotape of the cortexiphan experiments.
In the video, we see a little girl sitting in the corner of a completely destroyed room, while voices in the background freak out over the destruction that's been caused. We hear Walter saying, "Don't worry Olive, it will be alright." So presumably Olivia's powers extend way beyond blinky light stuff. Looks like she can get pretty dangerous, and if she's been switched back on by Jones' machinations, we're in for a seriously groovy ride.