Season 1, Episode 7: “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones”
Original Airdate: 11 November 2008
Written by J. J. Abrams & Jeff Pinkner
Directed by Brad Anderson
Patterns of Interference: In Frankfurt, Germany, an FBI unit prepares to raid warehouse only to find the truck they targeted contains simply toys. The unit commander Mitchell Loeb debriefs with Broyles on their target, Joseph Smith, only to suffer an apparent heart attack. Rushed to the hospital, Loeb flat-lines. When the doctors open his chest, they find a large parasite wrapped around his heart.
The Fringe team is brought in to examine the parasite, which vaguely resembles the venus flytrap monster from the Super Mario games. Loeb is relocated to Walter’s lab in Harvard. Loeb’s wife arrives and after speaking with Olivia, provides her with a curious copy of A Christmas Carol that Loeb had brought back with him, which contains a series of codes in it.
When Walter attempts to examine the parasite, it begins to constrict Loeb’s heart, but Peter’s quick thinking saves him. Walter is able to extract a sample from the parasite and perform a DNA analysis. He discovers a repeating pattern in the DNA code, and Astrid (of course having studied cryptography in a previous life) ascertains the potential combination of letters that the code represents. Olivia realizes the correct letter combination, “ZFT”, which she recalls from John Scott’s investigation files. When she approaches Broyles with this information, the letters strike a chord with him. He reveals that a British national named David Robert Jones was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany for possession of state secrets. Jones’ background is in biotechnology, namely genetic weaponry. Broyles reveals that Loeb was in Germany investigating Jones, and that his condition could be payback. When Olivia inquires about Jones’ connection to ZFT, Broyles explains that there is a lot Olivia has not been made aware of with regards to the Pattern.
Broyles explains that ZFT is one of many secretive groups around the world that harbor advanced scientific knowledge. Pattern-related events such as what happened on Flight 627 (from “Pilot”) or Loeb may be simply experiments to prove a particular theory is viable. Jones might be able to provide a way to safely remove the parasite, but the German authorities have refused anyone from seeing him. Olivia convinces Broyles to let her go to Germany to try and get to Jones.
Back at the lab, Walter and Peter are keeping watch over Loeb when Peter notices something unusual in the IV – a small root has grown through it, spreading from the parasite.
Olivia arrives in Germany and is met by an old flame, Lucas Vogel, who works in the German government. Together they head to the prison where Jones is held, but the warden refuses to allow her to see Jones. Olivia asks the warden to pass along a written message to Jones in the hopes of changing his mind.
Broyles shares an awkward conversation with Walter before receiving a call from Francis, who has a lead on ZFT. Using the code pages Olivia obtained from Loeb’s copy of A Christmas Carol, Francis’ team have determined they contain information on cases and names of FBI agents from their office – revealing a mole. They have traced the information to Joseph Smith, and an eager Broyles obtains Smith’s address. As Peter eavesdrops, Broyles calls in a SWAT team to apprehend Smith.
In Germany, Olivia receives word that Jones will see her, but it will have to wait until morning. The warden passes along a note from Jones, stating he will only speak to Olivia if he is able to speak with Smith first. Olivia calls Peter and tells him, and Peter informs Olivia that Smith is who Broyles is after right now. Olivia is adamant that they need to keep Smith alive.
Peter rushes to Smith’s address, just as the SWAT team storms the house, and Peter arrives in time to witness an armed and escaping Smith be fatally shot. Peter receives a call from the lab that Loeb’s condition is worsening and that they need to speak with Smith. When Peter tells Walter that Smith is dead, Walter curiously and casually asks if Smith still has his head intact. Peter confirms, and Walter asks that Smith’s body be brought to the lab.
Olivia is about to depart Frankfurt when Peter calls her and verifies that Jones does not know about Smith’s death yet. He asks Olivia to keep her appointment with Jones for the next morning and to keep Smith’s death a secret.
At the lab, Walter expresses frustration when he sees Smith was shot in the head, but they continue to prepare the body for a procedure. Smith’s body is placed in a vat of ice and leads attached to his head to pass an electric current through. Walter reveals he was tasked with performing a similar procedure in the 70’s per the FBI’s request to find a killer (Peter deduces that the victim was Jimmy Hoffa). The initial test before hooking the other end of the device to Peter ends poorly.
Olivia and Lucas share a romantic dinner, where Lucas determines someone broke Olivia’s heart. Olivia opens up to Lucas about John Scott. Lucas admits he was scared of committing to Olivia and regrets their breakup. They are interrupted when Peter calls and confirms with Olivia that they will have a method of extracting answers from Smith.
The next day Olivia heads to the prison to meet with Jones. In the lab, Peter is hooked up to the device that will allow him to retrieve memories and responses from Smith but encounter some technical issues. Olivia has exactly 14 minutes with Jones, and stalls him by setting the stage for only asking a question to Smith through Olivia and not being able to speak directly with him. Olivia asks why Jones only requested to ask Smith a question and not leverage his unique knowledge and situation for freedom. Jones reveals he is not the cause of Loeb’s infection and that his freedom is not of the utmost importance.
Walter injects Peter with a concoction to help facilitate communication with Smith’s mind. Jones posits that perhaps Olivia and himself are being manipulated to meet, and notes that despite Olivia’s supposed urgency, she still hasn’t asked him for the information required to save Loeb’s life. Olivia receives a call from Astrid that they are ready, and Olivia asks Jones for the question he wants posed to Smith. Jones asks it: “Where does the gentleman live?”
Loeb begins to go critical and Astrid informs Olivia she will need to call her back. Jones becomes suspicious and asks whether they really have Smith. Olivia stalls by asking Jones why he would think Smith would cooperate with him after Jones had him arrested. Jones retorts by saying the people he works with are very loyal to the end – and asks if she can say the same. Astrid calls Olivia back and attempt to use the procedure to no effect. The 14 minutes are up, and as a guard comes to collect Olivia, Peter simultaneously requests paper and draws a series of lines.
Walter examines the lines and conjectures the damage from the bullet to Smith’s brain has disrupted its ability to properly process horizontal lines and they will need to fill in the blanks. Peter begins adding to the lines and forms a phrase: “Little Hill”, which Olivia tells Jones as she is being escorted out. Jones, satisfied with the answer, provides Olivia with the chemical mixture that will disable the parasite. Walter quickly mixes the compound and administers it to the parasite, killing it safely and saving Loeb’s life.
Olivia and Lucas are riding back to the airport and Olivia reveals she is bothered by Jones’ words about loyalty. Lucas offers to use his position to help Olivia gather information about Jones. Back at the hospital, Broyles speaks with Loeb and reveals that they suspect the division has a mole and then leaves him to rest when his wife arrives.
Once the Fringe team leaves, Loeb asks his wife if it worked – revealing that the entire infection was a ruse to obtain Jones’ location and find the answer to the question – “Little Hill”.
Scientific Method: Bio-genetic weapons (in this case, a parasite that attaches itself to the heart). Stimulating the brain of a dead person to retrieve information.
Fringe with Benefits: Lucas asks Olivia to spend the night, hoping to rekindle their relationship. They share a romantic dinner, and after some initial hesitancy, begin to get hot and and heavy before being interrupted from a phone call (of course). Olivia ultimately decides to head back to the hotel.
Agent of F.R.I.N.G.E: Lucas notes something has changed in Olivia and asks her. Olivia opens up about John Scott in a way she has not before. Olivia later receives Broyles’ vote of confidence in a typical, almost backhanded-compliment way. She accepts it.
Walt’s Faults: Walt obsesses about gum, his bad breath, and fruity drinks. Walt’s forgetfulness seems to be getting worse (and occurs at an inopportune time, when Broyles is actually thanking him for his efforts to save his friend). Walt’s deflecting about how he experimented on Peter as a child is concerning.
Daddy Issues: Peter satiates Walter’s desire for gum in a sweet moment. It’s all for naught as later Peter realizes Walt used to tie electrodes to his brain that were connected to car batteries for experimental purposes (or as Walt glumly recalls, “gathering data”).
A drugged Peter calls Walter “daddy”, the first time he’s referred to Walter by anything other than his first name in the show.
Observatory: Seen turning in the crowd when Olivia first arrives at the Frankfurt airport.
Dynamic Appearances: Jared Harris guest stars as the delightly ambiguous “Mr. Jones”.
Lunatic Fringe: The prison Jones is held in is called Wissenschaft, which is the German word for “Science”.
Although not named in the episode, Loeb’s wife’s name is referred to as “Jessica” in the press release.
Endgame: A meaty episode that teases some big developments in the show’s overarching mythology. Jared Harris as Mr. Jones, even in the limited screen time, gives a solid performance. The parasitic infection looks disturbingly creepy even if you want to keep saying “Feed me, Seymour!” every time it’s on. But the real crux of this episode are the interactions between Walter and Peter. Their relationship is a slow rollercoaster ride this episode, which starts off innocently enough with Peter providing Walter with gum, but degenerates once Peter remembers how his father would experiment on his as a child. Joshua Jackson’s performance here as Peter speaks volumes through body language and it’s fantastic. And while under the influence of Walter’s drug cocktail, Peter calling Walter “daddy” is a sniper shot of emotion. The show seems to be settling into a good groove at this point, providing us with fascinating alt-science while firmly anchored in the emotional core of the wonderful cast.
Massive Dynamics rating: 9