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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Episode 17: Notion of Shared Emotion

FROM ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER KIMBERLY ROOTS: A mother pushes her daughter’s stroller in a deserted subway station and just misses the train as it pulls away from the platform. The little girl’s balloon comes loose from her stroller and flies up toward the ceiling. The mom reaches for it as the next subway rolls in ... and then all of a sudden, Olivia’s behind her, pushing her into the path of the train! In Boston, Olivia wakes up from the nightmare and can’t get back to sleep. Imagine her surprise when she sees a news report of the young mom’s suicide on the morning news.
After asking permission to travel to New York, Olivia and the Bishops examine the crime scene and talk to the victim’s husband. She had no reason to kill herself, he asserts. But security camera videotape shows only the mom and her baby on the platform before she takes a header into the tracks. Still, when Peter, Walter and Olivia return to Cambridge, she’s still convinced that she responsible for the death. Walter posits that Olivia’s able to influence people with her mind, and when Peter objects, his dad says they’ll know for sure if it happens again.
Which, of course, it does. Olivia pops some caffeine pills and sits down at a restaurant, watching a loving couple a few tables away. All of a sudden, the woman accuses the man of flirting with the waitress and picks up a knife from the table. As he begs her to calm down, Olivia walks over. We think she’s going to intervene, but she grabs the woman’s wrist and helps her plunge the knife into the man’s stomach. Olivia wakes up with a shock on her couch in Boston and calls Charlie: There’s been another murder.
Olivia and Peter go back to New York, where they find out that the man didn’t die, though he’s not in good shape. His flummoxed wife tells them she has no idea why she sliced her husband up. The restaurant owner has never seen Olivia before, but he can describe the man who was sitting in “her” seat the night prior, and Olivia realizes that the man, who has a scar on his temple, was also in the subway security footage. Walter thinks maybe Olivia has some connection with the man, who Charlie identifies as former mental patient Nick Lane, that allows her to see things through his eyes.
The asylum director says that a solicitor showed up months before to tell Nick he’d inherited a windfall, prompting the voluntarily committed Nick to check himself out. Why was Nick there in the first place? He had a crazy story about being recruited as a child by a secret group and “being prepared to serve as a soldier in the coming war against a parallel universe,” the doctor relates, inadvertently quoting the ZFT Manifesto. Olivia realizes that Nick’s backstory is sickeningly close to hers, right down to his age and hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.
Olivia demands that Walter tell her what he knows about cortexiphan, the drug that Olivia learned she’d been dosed with as a kid. Walter confesses that his lab partner, William Bell, thought it might “enhance certain abilities in predisposed children.” It’s possible, he continues, that Olivia and Nick were paired during the experiments, giving them an intense bond that would allow her to read his emotions. It’s also possible that Nick is unable to control his emotions from affecting other people like a virus, leading the mom to jump and the wife to stab.
At Nick's apartment, Charlie, Olivia and the Bishops find his giant shrine to "pattern"-esque happenings; if you look closely, you can see an article mentioning a government shut-down of last episode’s Kelvin Genetics. A security guard calls the police to tell them that Nick and a band of people are poised to jump off the top of a downtown building. Olivia goes up, and Nick is happy to see her. He calls her Olive. “You heard me. You came,” he says, adding that the “man with the glasses” came to see him and told him “What was written will come to pass.” Though Olivia has no idea what he’s talking about, she snaps to it when he hands her a gun and begs her to kill him so he’ll stop hurting people. She hesitates, and a man falls from the roof to his death. She shoots Nick twice in the leg, making him—and everyone else—collapse on the roof. “You’ll wish you’d killed me,” he tells her sadly.
Later, in Cambridge, Walter finds an old videotape and watches it with a sinking feeling. We see a little girl crouched in a corner while William Bell’s voice asks if “the incident” has been contained. A younger-sounding Walter assures him it has, and, as the camera gets closer to the girl, he assures her that everything is fine. “It’s all right, Olive,” he says softly. “Everything is going to be OK.”
THE BOTTOM LINE: Before Walter cobbles together the made-for-TV reason that Olivia and Nick are bonded, he says astral projection may be responsible for Olivia’s nocturnal journeys. Though there’s little scientific backup for the idea, astral projection was popular with the ancient Egyptians, who saw it as the soul hovering outside the physical body.