Fringe Summer Rewatch: #209 "Snakehead" ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Summer Rewatch: #209 "Snakehead"

      Email Post       8/15/2011 12:01:00 AM      

Join us for our Fringe Summer re-watch, where we review every episode of Fringe during the summer hiatus. Comments are welcome as we dig into the connections made over three seasons.

"Mother Nature has a real sick sense of humor." - Walter Bishop

The opening scene takes place in China town when a Chinese man is searching for someone who can help him as he is clearly in a lot of pain as he stumbles down the street. Eventually he is given directions to a shop where he finds the man he's been looking for. The man offers him a bed and shelter and tells him that it'll all pass. Unfortunately for him, it does not pass and a octopus/snake/worm thingy pulls itself from the man's mouth. On a scale of hybrid monsters, melting people, goo-ifying brains, and porcupine people an octopus/snake/worm thingy - not too bad in the realm of Fringe. It is slightly disturbing the method of which this creature make it's appearance. Moving on! We then switch to a crime scene where Olivia is waiting for the Bishop's to arrive and is curious when Peter shows up before Walter who has taken a taxi. Walter has finally gotten to a place in his life where he wants to be more independent and make more decisions on his own without consulting Peter. In short; he's tired of being the child in the father/son duo. Then comes one of my favorite Peter/Olivia banter scenes on the show:

“So how many are there? Is it bad?” - Peter

“Have you eaten?” –Olivia

“Yeah.” – Peter

“Well that’s unfortunate.” - Olivia

Pretty much explains the scene they find when they arrive down by the water side to see a surprising number of people dead on the shore with varying degree in stages of the creature breaking free from their bodies. Their inspection of the bodies and creatures is both disgusting and humorous, but they manage to find a woman still alive and she is rushed to the hospital. We learn when Olivia and Peter go to interview her at the hospital that she never took a pill given to everyone else for "sea sickness" and also that Peter can speak Cantonese. Walter and Peter later pose that the pill was hosting the larva that later grew into the creatures they have now by using the human body as an incubator.

They manage to get a triad member into custody and make the link that the triad is using immigrants to smuggle in the worm. Back at the lab, Walter and Astrid are doing tests on the worms when one latches onto Walter and Broyles sees it all. His lack of surprise speaks volumes. Olivia and Peter then run off to explore a financial lead to the suburbs to find a single mom to a teenage boy and what seems to be a dead end. Walter makes the leap after testing his own blood after the worms bite that the drug is in fact medicinal and not recreational uses. This leads Walter to want to explore China town to gather a few samples from herbal shops to compare to. Peter tries to persuade Walter into letting him do it, but this only upsets Walter and he is obstinate on going alone. Astrid is easily coaxed by Peter to keep an eye on Walter as he practices his "self actualization" in China town.

While they're off in China town, Peter and Olivia go back to the suburban house to talk to Matt (the teenager) in hopes of getting him to talk. Peter opens up about his past and how he was raised by his mother and knows Matt is just trying to protect his own mother. We learn that it is actually Matt who has an immune deficiency and he's been receiving treatments for awhile now. In China town, Walter catches Astrid following him and instead of being completely offended he invites her to tag along with him as a friend. Unfortunately Astrid loses Walter while they were buying refreshments and after consulting Peter, Astrid decides to head back to the lab to see if he'd headed back already. What she walks in on though is definitely not Walter, but a couple triad gang members who render her unconscious while they steal the worms from the lab. Walter is still in China town and uses all his money to try and call Peter, whose number he's forgotten, when an elderly Chinese woman takes pity on him and takes him home to use her phone to try and get a hold of Peter.

Astrid is later discovered by Peter and Olivia who finally return to the lab and she tells them about the big Asian guys with tattoos that took her out. They deduce that she must've been followed back from China town. Peter then gets a phone call from the Chinese woman who found Walter and he breaks off from the group to pick him up. Walter then tells Peter about bragging to an herbalist about the worms they had back at the lab. Peter calls Olivia to tell her about the herbalist shop while she is already at a raid that is in motion. The raid on the boat is a bust though and they find they are too late. Lucky for team Fringe and the boat load of Chinese people, Peter has spotted them being loaded into the herbalist shop and relays the information to Olivia. Deciding that he can't wait, Peter picks the lock of the shop and goes in without any backup. Meanwhile, Walter is singing his Lion's Den song back in the car, which is the second time in the Fringe series. Not sure if it means anything, but it seems he only sings it when they're in a hostile situation.

Peter, in typical Peter fashion, manages to get himself caught while trying to save a woman from being opened up. The Chinese men, in an attempt to get Peter to spill information forces a larva into his mouth. Olivia is right on time though and shoots Peter's captors. At the risk of sounding like an idiot girl, the way Olivia immediately rushes to Peter in the meelie of people says more than "meh, we're friends". On a side note, I thought it was interesting that they used the exact same location for Henry the second's debut via fauxlivia later on in season three.

The episode finishes up with a touching Walter/Peter scene where Walter informs Peter that he has implanted a tracking chip into his neck and gives the tracker to Peter so that he can always find him even during his moments of independence.

If Peter Bishop Never Existed...
Seeing as he played a VERY large role in this we may just have to break it down into points.

  • The connection between the sterile suburban house and the drug ring would never have been made which would've seriously delayed the investigation.

  • Olivia wouldn't have been able to get any answers from Matt about being the immune deficient person in the family and about how it was done.

  • They never would've found the Chinese immigrants after they were unloaded from the boat since they were spotted by Peter in China town.


cortexifan said...

-Chinatown. 3.18 Bloodline happens in Chinatown as well.
-favorite line: Olivia to Peter: “Did you eat? … That’s unfortunate.”
-Peter says to Olivia: “Get to know me a bit.” In 3.10 The Firefly Peter says: “I know I’m not the easiest guy to get to know. It’s always been easier for me to keep people at arm’s length…”
-This is by far the grossest episode of S2.
-As Olivia leaves the Jarvis’s house there is 4488 as their house number. Triple 8, so to speak :)
-Second time Walter dials the wrong number, the guy speaks German.
-It’s the same phone booth Fauxlivia used to call Lincoln in 3.18 Bloodline. It’s got a chip on one side.
-I don’t think I’ve seen Walter that lost before.
-Why was he wearing a robe and not his clothes?
-Red and green lights flashing behind Walter as he is sitting at the table.
-Walter’s concern for Astrid is really touching. It reflects her reaction in 3.04 DSDOES after Walter gets assaulted by Ray. So different from when he drugged her in 1.04 The Arrival.
-Olivia is very good and patient with kids. Ella, little observer, the little girl here and Christopher Broyles. It’s kind of ironic because she’s so not patient with herself.
-The shop Peter is standing in front of is the same store Fauxlivia knocked on the window to be let in when she escapes in 3.18 Bloodline.
Walter is singing the same song he sang in the sewer in 1.16 Unleashed.

If Peter never existed in this episode…
-who would have told Astrid to follow Walter, or would anyone have followed him?
-who would have discovered Walter in Chinatown?
-would Mei Ling’s husband and daughter and the others on the boat have survived?
-Olivia would have had to get the warrant to talk with Matt and his mom and would she have gotten the information she needed?
-would they have known to look in China town for the passengers from the second boat.
-who would have Walter given the receiver for the tracking devise to.

fringeobsessed said...

Love the numbers, cortexifan. :)

Adding to your "If Peter Bishop Never Existed":
Peter also identified their man in custody as a Triad gang member before he slit his throat.
It is interesting to note Broyles didn't seem to have a clue what that his tattoos signified he was a member of the Triad gang. So if Peter had not existed,that whole industry of smuggling worm-incubating Asians into the US to make immune-boosting, blackmarket drugs might still be going strong. Also, without Peter making the connections, that poor woman may have never found her husband and daughter again.

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