Inner Child was an episode that threw all of us for a loop in season one. We’d gotten so used to gory episodes with bodies being put the through the metaphorical and physical ringer and our favorite fringe team trying to solve the murder. Outside of having an innocent, albeit weird, looking boy, there was an “old” case of Olivia’s that was reopened involving a killer known as the artist, but these are perhaps the least disgusting bodies we've seen so far.
The show starts off at a construction site with a demolition crew checking each part of a building for squatters before the wrecking ball goes through the building. Two men are just leaving the building talking about their plans afterward when one of them pauses, looking very confused. He then makes an excuse to back track to an area he wasn't sure they thoroughly checked and after looking more closely he discovers a cavity. Inside the cavity is a wild looking boy who is half starved and has never seen daylight.
At the same time as Olivia is notified that past unsolved case has been opened, Broyles puts the Fringe team in charge of finding out where the boy came from. At first Olivia spends most of her resources trying to solve the case of the Artist, working tirelessly to find clues and follow evidence to solve the case and the boy recognizes this and tries to help her by giving her hints and clues. It takes a mention from Walter about how he theorizes that the boy is an empath picking up on her feelings mostly and only wants to help her to wake her up more to the boy who's mystery she is supposed to solve. The boy senses her guilt over the matter and her desire to keep him safe and to give him a good home and helps her out one last time. This ends up being the final hint they need to save the latest victim from the Artist's planned fate. Olivia then begs Broyles to pretend to lose the boy so that the CIA won't take custody to run tests on him and for him to be put with a family so he could have a normal and happy life, despite his bizarre past. Broyles eventually agrees and I think looking back this is a big hint to what Broyles is really like. After having given his word to the CIA agent we would expect him to deny Olivia's request, but he doesn't, and I think this reflects Broyles soft spot for children and also for Olivia whom he is growing fond of despite their rocky start.
Things of special notice:
- The striking similarities between the boy and the Observers. Both their appearance and methods of relating to others. He even writes like the observers; not in the foreign language, but without looking at the paper.
- Olivia should've maybe considered going into a children's division with as good as she is with not just Ella, but other children as well. The found boy is only the first of several examples of how easy it is for her to relate to children and make them feel at ease.
- The child's first encounter of sadness and anger is through Olivia when she hears of the boy being taken away and the boy goes into a panic attack that only she can bring him down from. He obviously isn't used to feeling such strong emotions which begs the question how long has he been hidden and alone?
- Amala and Kamala, the feral children of India. http://www.learninginfo.org/amala-kamala.htm
- How many others are there? The CIA agent suggests that this boy is only one of several that are already undergoing tests.
- Who put the boy into the cavern?
- How old is the boy? Walter theorized that he is "much older" than he appears and that he could not put an age on him.
- What medicine did Olivia have to take as a child that was yellow?
- What role does the CIA have in Fringe related cases and the Observers?
This episode really didn't have much Peter drama in it, but they might not have discovered the relation between plastic and cow's blood without Peter's meat packing facility experience. I guess Walter may have done some more strange stuff to the boy without Peter there to supervise if Astrid wasn't able to stop him.