On last night's Fringe we learned that stealing dreams is not only addictive, it can make some people feel downright stabby. Plus, Walter flexes his mad scientists muscles using a naive FBI agent and a flask of chloroform.
Dream Machine: If I've learned anything from watching Fringe, it's that you should never, ever join a clinical trial. Earlier this season, it was those soldiers and their neurotoxin treatment that made them explode, and this week it was the guy who wants to hijack your dreams.
Our mystery of the week kicks off when a former sleepwalker suddenly thinks one of his co-workers is a demon straight out of Angel, and starts bashing his brain in. To add insult to crazy, the demon-seeing fellow soon dies of exhaustion. And later on, a restaurant chef walks through her kitchen at work, but instead of seeing tasty cow meat on the grill, she sees human hands and flips out, convinced her co-workers are cannibals. Much stabbing ensued.
Turns out both of these lucid dreamers received treatment for sleep disorders from a Dr. Nayak. Nayak implanted a chip in the brains of these once-disturbed sleepers (second note: if you do participate in a trial, never let them put a chip in your head). The chip was supposed to act as a sort of glandular pacemaker to regulate the thalamus, but Nayak actually used it to transmit their dreams to his brain. No dreams means no rest, hence the exhaustion deaths. But he can also trigger the dream state while they're awake, causing all those freaky hallucinations. But why steal dreams? According to Walter, it's a lot like being on LSD, but also highly addictive.
As much as a dream-stealing machine sounds like something out of a child's fairy tale, we actually get some cool visuals out of it and some classically villainous mad science. I'll take this over scorpion children any day.
Promise Me, No Students: Can we just dump Agent Jessup and adopt Agent Kashner instead? It's nice to see someone enter the lab who isn't as stoic as Astrid or Olivia (I mean, eventually someone had to vomit at the autopsy table). And he's so utterly unprepared for Walter that it's kind of adorable. Dude, he's not just some crazy old man. He's a mad scientist.
No More Nightmares: Every time Peter utters a single word about his childhood, I'm sure it's chock full of significance. Here, he tells Olivia about the nightmares he had as a child, and that Walter — in one of his rare moments of parental involvement — kept him from remembering the nightmares. I was almost disappointed that we learned the reason for this so quickly. Peter has nightmares about being snatched from his room by a man who both is and is not his father — that being the Walter of our universe.
Word Jumble: Olivia's bowling guru is still in the picture, and I guess we'll have to stick with him until we learn whether he holds the secrets of the universe. Bowling Guru has Olivia do an exercise where she obtains a seemingly random set of letters and then rearrange them into a coherent phrase — the phrase she needs to hear. I'm seriously looking for a copy of The Secret in that bowling alley. Anyway, Olivia cries when she realizes her letters form the phrase "You're gonna be fine." Sure, until that other universe comes crashing down on your head.
Astrid Watch: Did Walter just call her Asterisk again? Ouch.
Walter Moment of the Week: Definitely drugging Agent Kashner. No contest.
But it does seem odd after his heartfelt apology to hallucinogen-loving guinea pig Rebecca last week. In fact, between this and the Asterisk comment, it feels like Walter is regressing a tad.