A Short Story About Love
|Talk||A Short Story About Love||Theories|
|A Short Story About Love|
|Air Date:||23 Mar 12|
|Written by:|| Joel Wyman|
|Directed by:||Joel Wyman|
|Guest Cast:|| Michael Cerveris as The Observer|
Michael Massee as Anson Carr
Ona Grauer as Dianna Sutter
|Next:||Nothing As It Seems|
|Previously:||The End Of All Things|
|Transcript — Additional Images|
A Short Story About Love is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of FRINGE. It first aired on 23 March, 2012. Peter is ready to abandon Boston and set-off for New York, wanting to avoid any influence he may have on Olivia's memory. A serial killer is using his proprietary knowledge of pheromones to lure and kill, all for want of love. The Observer finds a way to manipulate events and recontact Peter.
SynopsisCortexiphan. Still, it baffles Olivia. How does Peter know of investigative details and confidential case work that he was never a part of? How? Olivia finds the whole situation intimidating. Nina reassures Olivia that they will figure this out. Olivia suggests this is nice, brunching together - something they should do more often. That catches Nina's attention - Olivia confounds her - they always have breakfast together on Saturday mornings, in fact, they were here in this same restaurant just last week. Does Olivia not remember? Nina is worried that Olivia's residual memories from a timeline she never genuinely experienced is taking a costly toll. Now Olivia is worried - so she promises to consult with Walter on the issue.
Jane Hall returns to
Walter’s Lab, but Olivia makes good on her promise to Nina and has arrived to consult with Walter on the emotional turbulence she is Observer, September, seemingly vanished from the laboratory while being treated for his serious injury. A quick, blurry ‘blip’ in the recording suggests something more nefarious occurred. Almost on cue, Astrid and ‘Agent Tim’ return from nearby M.I.T. with the high-tech apparatus they will need to study the anomaly captured on the ‘Teddy Cam’ camera. The device, which required substantial security assurances by Agent Farnsworth to obtain, will be able to playback the less sophisticated recording at such a decelerated rate that they should be able to identify what happened in the few microseconds that it took for the Observer to vanish. Walter heads-off to get started and Astrid takes a few seconds with Olivia – how is she feeling? Olivia’s claim is that she is well enough, but qualifies her declaration with the fact that she was in the Lab to consult with Walter about the matter. But that issue can wait since Walter seems to be firmly vectored-off on this new tangent. Astrid is supportive of Olivia, then heads-off on her own tangent to the adjacent room to mollify Walter’s declaration that the waffle iron is now inoperative. Alone on the main floor of the laboratory, Olivia studies the footage Walter captured, then answers her phone… FRINGE Division has a new case that needs her immediate attention.
At the crime scene and ready to investigate, Olivia has Astrid in-tow as they meet Broyles, who has Agent Lee at the scene too. A half dozen forensics and support personnel are going through Mark Carr). Dunham is curious why this qualifies for FRINGE-level attention. Broyles shares his reasoning… this is not the only time this has happened. It has only been a month since the first victim was found - and all of the surrounding circumstances are identical. Both victims were recently widowed, both of their husbands died under mysterious circumstances where they were dumped in fields, plus, both men were completely dehydrated. Olivia assumes that the killer was targeting couples, but Broyles has one more fact for her to ponder – the DNA of each deceased husband was found on their wives' neck – suggesting the women were killed by their dead spouses. True or not, that is where the evidence is pointing. Strangely enough, Hall had just left her husband's funeral and his body was exhumed just in the past few minutes.
Sitting alone in his lab, Walter starts to work to dissect the video surveillance with the high-tech gear delivered from M.I.T. The revelation Peter, who is sitting in the back of a taxicab heading for the bus station with the intent of voyaging south to New York. Walter needs Peter back in the lab so he can share his discovery. Peter is honoring Walter’s suggestion – leaving the team to allow Olivia to recover from any undue influence he is projecting on her. That won’t do. Walter believes that The Observer may have done something to Peter’s vision before vanishing – something the other Observers did not detect. Once Peter returns to the lab, Walter plays the enhanced video at the moment of the disappearance – while multiple Observers fleetingly arrive and transit the area, it looks as if Peter received a quick, undetectable implant from their colleague. Walter prepares an ophthalmic solution for Peter and places a few drops in his eye. Walter expresses his admiration for Peter’s resolve to allow Olivia to recovery beyond his unique influence. Peter feeds Walter an old familial line, a philosophical constant he shared with the Walter he experienced in his original timeline – ‘Be a better man than your father’. As Walter digests the poignant anecdote, he also finds, under considerable magnification, the remnant that was left by The Observer for them to detect. It is a tiny corneal disc – and it has miniscule writing on it.
In his private lab, Anson Carr has donned a shower cap, a disposable HazMat jumper and some heavy-duty protective gloves. The job at hand, squeegee clean a rather damp and slimy dehydration chamber following his latest experiment. With the final filter rinsed clean, he is free of his safety gear, and squeezes a few concentrated droplets into a test tube of his new chemical concoction. A sniff of its aroma sends his eyes and head rolling backward with satisfaction, or pleasure.
Still in the Boston area,ancient newspaper articles taped to them, stacks of newspapers, and an old calendar with a nature theme – the image of a fully quilled porcupine. The closet is appropriately filled with Observer garb… simple black suits and plain black Fedoras.
In Walter’s Lab, Olivia finally gets the few minutes she needed to consult with Walter. It seems as if her memories, the ones she generated in this timeline, are starting to fade away permanently, she is just now realizing it, and hesitated to bring it up earlier because it seemed as if she was destined to be with Peter. It’s getting worse
In a local park, Anson Carr sits on a bench with his chubby Pug dog, Omar. Nearby, an affectionate young couple hold each other and watch the ducks swim in the pond. He takes notice of his next set of potential victims and approaches them as they start to take a handheld image of themselves with a small camera – he can snap the photo for the romantic duo… if they want. Sure. That would be swell. Small talk reveals that the two are from the area – Brookline. Carr politely seems to rate them as acceptable candidates for his next crime, until they summon their young son playing at the edge of the pond. The presence of the child appears to be a deal breaker for Carr’s twisted ethic, and he moves on to locate other prey. Not far away, Linda Greeley and Andrew Sutter seem to be childless, and in need of a friendly photographer as well.
Peter continues his search of the Morrow Street apartment and hears beeping coming from a phonograph console. After fiddling with the back of the turntable, a secret storage area pops up. The brief case inside contains high-tech binoculars and an active tracking transponder. →
Astrid has been continuing her investigation from the laboratory while Dunham and Lee have been running down the leads Walter gave them from the field. Astrid calls the two field agents as they are departing Scentax for their next stop - KJS. Astrid cancels that errand and reroutes Olivia toward Empire World Fragrance. They fired an employee a few months back for theft, and guess what he nabbed? Castoreum.In Chelsea Massachusetts, Carr has Andrew Sutter locked in the dehydration chamber he recently sanitized. The tube Sutter is laying on his back in is increasing in temperature to the point that he is begging for his life and his freedom. As the window into the chamber grows humid with the dampness that was Andrew, Carr calmly turns a valve to pump some of that moisture up to his work bench where a little ‘easy listening’ music makes the event much less bothersome. With his eyes closed, he visualizes the work ahead of him to purify the 'Essence of Andrew' he will create. When he opens his eyes, he takes a small wooden box from below the counter and removes the tattered old photo of an attractive young women. The fondness, admiration and adoration on his face, scarred as it is, is unmistakable – this is someone he loved intensely.
Not much later, Agents Dunham and Lee arrive at Carr's home in Chelsea with a Tactical Response Team directly ahead of them leading the forced entry into the multi-level house. In the basement, Olivia finds the sophisticated
An hour or so South of Boston proper, Peter Bishop forges through a clearing in a dense thicket beneath the towering forest. The handheld tracking device he found at the Morrow Street home he was directed to by The ObserverFoxboro, Massachusetts, the alien looking screen in his right hand is highlighting the surrounding topography, his position, and, just ahead, a clearing in the thick woods with a flashing red symbol suggesting his preferred destination. With the briefcase he recovered in his other hand, Peter pathfinds his way ahead, and within a minute, finds the leafy clearing he was supposed to find. The beeping cadence of the tracker increases when he hits the target geo-locale, and immediately the ground starts to vibrate and shake the remote glade. Just seconds after he arrives, the Beacon comes spiraling up through the forest floor and stops, partially exposed in the rich loam. A quick look around confirms that Peter was not followed, ambushed or otherwise placed at undue risk. He is alone with the unworldly object and prepares to extract it.
Milton, Massachusetts, Dianna Sutter returns in the early evening to a dark house. After lighting the place up and dropping off the groceries in the kitchen, she disappointedly notices that one certain, not-so-special, 'life partner', has failed to take out the trash, as was directed. A frustrated march to the side door to accomplish the simple chore herself makes her suspicious when a neighborhood dog barks the local 'intruder alert' for everyone in earshot. Concerned, but still willing to venture outside, Sutter is confronted at her door in a manner that startles her... Dunham, Lee and the Tactical Response Team are waiting for her and are briskly surrounding the building. They need to talk.
Once back inside the house with the area secure, Olivia sits with Sutter at the kitchen table and delivers the fatality news. The last time Dianna talked with her husband was that morning. His car was in for repair, but she dismissed his request for a ride home from work because she wouldn’t make the time to accommodate his schedule. Olivia assures her that her squad of LEA officers will protect her from whatever Carr had planned for her. Lee reports that the squad is ready to intercept Carr when he shows… now all they need to do is wait. Olivia’s interview, knowing that Carr only targeted those he considered ‘deeply in love’, turns to the Sutter’s history together. Dianna talks around the issue – they’ve been married for fourteen and a half years following a strong friendship in college. He had always been supportive of her when
Later, outside of Greeley's house, Anson Carr sits in the police vehicle that will expedite his rendition to FRINGE prison, Olivia loiters over him in the open door with no small amount of intimidation directed at him. 'Do you know how much pain you caused?' Carr defends: He quibbles that his actions were not purely personal, but that if he had succeeded, every human would have the option to experience love... something she obviously knows about. What?? His expert senses can smell it in her pheromones -- SHE is in love. The car door in his face tells him that particular conversation is finished.Late that night, after Olivia has finished with Anson Carr and has consulted again with Walter, she pays a visit to Nina at her posh uptown Boston penthouse apartment. Nina has some healthy snack treats out
In his Cambridge house, Peter Bishop is trying to make sense of the futuristic subterranean probe he retrieved in the woods. Spread out on the living room floor with a half dozen electrical connections to it, the high-tech probe has baffled Peter, for the moment, on how to power it up, or otherwise interact with it. Frustrated with it, Peter stands, nibbles a snack and studies the Beacon with bewilderment. Not certain what to do next, the device activates by itself. Peter moves in to examine the apparently benign contraption, and as he goes to touch the top of it, an intensely focused beam of light erupts straight upward, zorching Peter’s hand along the way. Peter looks up and sees that whatever is happening will be on the second floor of the house, or higher, where the focused beam has penetrated the ceiling above it. After racing upstairs, Peter finds ‘the man with the plan’ waiting for him, standing with his Fedora in hand in the center of the emanating beam. The Observer thanks Peter, just before the beam extinguishes. Still standing in front of Peter in the relative darkness of the hallway, September shares what he can about the events following his abduction from Walter’s Lab. His fellow colleagues from Observerville hid the universe from him, essentially locking him out. The clues he left for Peter, to eventually activate the Beacon, allowed him to find his way back from banishment. That’s just great – now Peter needs September to reciprocate: Peter has tried everything he can think of to return to his original timeline… to no avail. Please help. The Observer, stoically shares his finding on the matter – 'You have been home all along.' How is that possible considering that he was ‘erased’ from the timeline so long ago? September cannot offer a scientific explanation for what is occurring, but he theorizes about why Peter has returned and is influencing the memories of those around him – a uniquely human principle - Love. The people that cared for him prior to his erasure wound not let him go, and vice versa. And this Olivia? Yes. She is Peter’s true Olivia. Peter’s chest swells with the grand news just seconds before the entire house starts to rumble and shake. It sounds as if the Beacon has decided to leave the premises. As Peter starts downstairs to determine what is happening, the Observer dons his hat. When Peter looks over his shoulder to check on September, the bald trans-dimensional traveler has vanished from sight, apparently free of whatever kept him in bondage since his disappearance. Downstairs, the smoking two foot wide hole in his foundation confirms the device’s departure.
- Cartoon Equivalency. In the background, as Walter initially discovers the incursion into his lab by multiple Observers, a popular cartoon from decades ago - Scooby-Doo - airs. The haphazard sleuths, a sentient Great Dane dog and his less than sophisticated human sidekick, Shaggy, tiptoe across the screen. The two rarely solved any investigations outright, but typically stumble into a solution through their own incompetence, or via the buffoonery of the offenders.
- Subtle Easter Egg. In the work review from Carr's prior employer sent to Astrid, his attendance was nearly immaculate. In the three years prior to his dismissal, Anson only missed three days of work. He was out for only one day each year on Leave/Sick status, during his tenure from 2009-2011. Each year it was the same day and the excusal was 'unknown illness'. The date suggests that Carr was out with Chronic Coronary Disease, or a broken heart, as he only missed February 14th annually... or the ever romantic - Valentine's Day.
- Fauxshadowing. Like Foreshadowing, where production, continuity and placement on set can provide clues to plot points further along in the episode, or series, Fauxshadowing essential promises the same viewer satisfaction, but deliberately decoys and fails to deliver that token reward to the attentive. Jane Hall's face was wrapped with plastic to murder her. When Dianna Sutter returned home with groceries, the first thing she removed from the bag was a roll of plastic wrap... foreshadowing her demise at Carr's hand too, which appeared to be where the plot was leading. The amusing production trick fauxshadowed the real intended victims assault.
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on A Short Story About Love/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- If Carr was genuinely committed to giving mankind a method to establish and maintain an authentic loving relationship with a person of ones' chosing, why did he hatefully murder those he tested who possessed those relationships when his bio-chemical substance failed?
- If not, was he psychological manifested in the personal loss he endured?
- Or, was he ultimately fixated on the potential financial/social gain he was bound to profit from if he had succeeded?
- Why did the observation Carr made about Olivia's romantic fixation with Peter make such a profound impact on the course of her life?