Last night's Fringe gave us a new monster nightmare: giant, tentacled worms that live inside their host until they come bursting out of their faces. But it turns out that not everyone minds an encounter with their fearsome fangs.
The Wormy Horror: This week's bit of scientific crime centered around a bunch of vaguely Lovecraftian worms with creepy tendrils surrounding a vagina dentata of a mouth. The worms have remarkable healing powers, but they need to be incubated inside a human host. But when the worms mature, they tend to exit their host in the most painful and deadly way possible. There's a definite Alien vibe to the premise, but Fringe manages to acknowledge it (for a moment, it looks like one such worm might burst through its host's chest) while changing it up a little bit. Then next time I feel a tickle in the back of my throat, I'm going to think about those skinny tentacles snaking through my nasal passages.
Walter Grows Up: Walter is asserting his independence at last. He's gone from being unable to sleep alone to choosing his own wardrobe and insisting he can go out without adult supervision. Granted, he's acting like an eight-year-old crossing the street alone for the first time, but there's something more tragic here than Walter's childlike nature. Walter is preparing himself for the day when everyone learns his terrible secret, the day when he'll lose Peter for good, and maybe Olivia and Astrid to boot.
Never Take the Seasickness Pills: A crew of worm traffickers have found the perfect hosts for their facebursting monsters: Cantonese refugees coming to America by boat. The traffickers infect the refugees by inserting worm larvae into "seasickness" pills and turning their passengers into unwitting worm mules. It's sort of like the folks who take weight loss pills and end up with an intestine full of tapeworm, except I doubt the refugees' pills actually cured seasickness.
Walter Can Get High Off of Anything: Seriously. Walter, of course, assumes that the worms must be psychotropic because he can't imagine any other reason they'd be worth killing so many people for. But the worms' value isn't recreational; it's medical. The worms are the ultimate form of alternative medicine, boosting even the most worn-down immune system. But just because the worms aren't a drug doesn't mean Walter can't enjoy getting bitten, as we see in the clip at the top.
Agent Farnsworth, Is That You?: I get that Astrid's abilities seem to be largely linguistic and technical, but she is a trained FBI agent. She can't evade foggy Walter's notice for a few hours? On a separate note, it's telling that Walter has started calling her "Agent Farnsworth" instead of some odd variation on her first name.
Kick the Puppy: Also on the "Isn't Astrid a trained FBI agent?" note, she's followed back to the lab and fails to notice the tail, then is caught completely unawares by the worm traffickers. This wouldn't be so odd if it weren't the second time Astrid has been attacked in the lab. She was attacked and sedated last season — by Walter himself.
Doing Everything the Hard Way: Walter's experiment in independence hits a snag when he can't remember Peter's phone number. Well, to be accurate, he can remember all the digits, but can't recall the order. When Peter scolds him, reminding Walter he stuck the phone numbers in Walter's pocket, Walter barely seems to register it. Is Walter — either consciously or unconsciously — rejecting Peter's paternalistic help? Or does it not even occur to him that there might be a simpler solution to his problems?
Walter Moment of the Week: Walter realizes that it's his fault that Astrid was attacked; he gave her slip and tipped the traffickers off to the giant worm in his lab. He's genuinely remorseful, but he responds in a typically over-the-top Walter fashion: he embeds a transponder in his neck so that Peter and Astrid can always locate him electronically. I wonder how this will come into play when the interdimensional tensions heat up.