Alone In The World
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|Talk||Alone In The World||Theories|
|Alone In The World|
|Air Date:||07 Oct 2011|
|Written by:||David Fury|
|Directed by:||Miguel Sapochnik|
|Guest Cast:|| Evan Bird as Aaron Sneddon|
Bill Sadler as Doctor Bruce Sumner
Matteo Stefan as Brian O'Toole
|Previously:||One Night In October|
|Transcript — Additional Images|
Alone In The World is the third episode of the fourth season of FRINGE. It first aired on 7 October, 2011. Two young bullies are found dead and have rotted to an advanced state of decomposition less than a day after disappearing. The team discovers an amorphous entity that refuses to be regulated. Walter's frail mental state is bolstered when he befriends the timid target of the bullies.
In his lab, Doctor Walter Bishop sits face-to-face with long-time caregiver Doctor Bruce Sumner and suffers through another monthly psychiatric evaluation. Recent events have left Walter on-edge and Sumner doesn't hesitate exploring the latest challenges Walter feels he is up against. Walter insists that he has been taking the new medications that were prescribed for him... with some personal modifications, of course. Well then, why is he so distracted? Walter dismisses the supposition - he has been heavily involved in some new experiments, that's all. Sumner knows better. The agents that are assigned to Walter have reported his fixation with his lab being haunted, covering all of the reflective surfaces in the place, and hearing strange voices. Oh that? It must be minor hallucinations from the tweaking he has done with his medications. It's been weeks since the last -- just then, the image of the man he has been seeing appears in the reflective cover of Sumner's clipboard -- weeks since the last time he saw the image that was haunting his lab. Sumner leans closer and emphasizes - it is important for Walter to be completely honest with him. He can't make an assessment on Walter's state of mind and continued care unless Walter is being honest.
Back at the point of confrontation science team gathers outside of the underground storage area and receives an overview briefing from Broyles. The bodies of two boys were just found. Lincoln studies the corpses and wants to know how many months has it been since they went missing? Broyles tells Lee why this is a Fringe case - these rotten boys have been missing less than a day. Astrid has her video link to Walter up-and-running and Broyles wants to know what his shut-in scientist thinks. Walter is in a nasty mood following his monthly psych eval and fails to render one iota of politeness over his audio link to Astrid. Sniping the whole time, Walter doesn't immediately see any environmental factors that would explain the rapid decomposition of the boys. He needs to study their remains. What happened could be viral in nature, or some type of flesh-eating bacteria. Maybe it was Bigfoot! - Check for massive fecal droppings! Relaying Walter's comments to her supervisor, Broyles, Astrid makes a monumental effort to diplomatically diffuse Walter's ire. Sir, Walter doesn't have any theories. Inside the underground chamber where the bodies were found. Agent Lee finds a clue on the ground - footprints. A third set of small sneaker treads means a third child. A witness? Another victim? If so, they need to find him fast - he could be infected. laboratory, Walter immediately gets to work on determining what caused it's rapid decomposition. The stench from the body bag is horrendous and Astrid needs to retrieve scented candles so she can continue to process the remains. Walter works on his civility and welcomes Broyles visit to his lab. Broyles is not there for the initial findings on the corpse, he is there to touch base with Walter following his evaluation with Doctor Sumner the evening prior. Sumner called Broyles, concerned with Walter's agitated state and reluctance to talk candidly. Walter wants to sidestep the issue, but loses his composure when the voice he has been hearing returns during his chat with Broyles - The voice needs Walter to listen to him - Where is Walter? The voice can hear Walter. The voice is scared and wants to come home. What Broyles and Astrid see is a colleague in the middle of what appears to be a psychotic melt-down; Walter trying to talk over a voice only he hears, flinching at the imagined, closing his eyes and unsuccessfully trying to focus on the lab conversation. After the voice stops - Walter has no problem conveying his request to his stunned colleagues, he needs the second corpse to see if one of the boys was a carrier. Broyles takes a call from Olivia. She and
Later, after Aaron Sneddon has been brought to the lab, Olivia briefs Broyles on the situation. Sneddon is ten years-old and fatherless. His mother, who works a lot, is out of the country and has left him in the care of a neighbor in their apartment complex. Sneddon's Principal says that Aaron is a quiet child and doesn't have many friends. Broyles has more tasks for Olivia and Lee - he needs them to gather the second corpse from the morgue so Walter can gain a more thorough picture on what they are up against. Before she leaves, Olivia sits and chats with Aaron. Aaron, under the close scrutiny of Agent Lee, sits and continues to draw the images that best suit his fancy. Olivia wants Aaron to let Walter examine him, even though Aaron does not like doctors. Olivia tells Aaron that Walter isn't a scary Doctor... lambda sensor over the body, which indicates that the corpse is pulling large amounts of oxygen out of the air. Walter looks closely at the torso with a magnifying glass and issues critical orders. Grab the incubation chamber and get the cadaver into it - NOW! Just seconds after they heave the rotting bully into the enclosure and seal it - the corpse explodes into a a fine, chalky cloud of mold-like spores. It appears that a very aggressive fungi is responsible. Astrid anticipates the worst possible outcome... the other dead boy may react the same way - and Olivia and Lincoln are about to sign it out of the morgue.
Approaching the elevator that will get them to the floor the morgue is on, Olivia and Lee get the excited message from Astrid... get everyone out of the morgue and lockdown that area - the body from Hype Park is going cordyceps fungi with hyper-accelerated growth and absorption qualities. It may also have routine qualities like paralytic toxins that allow it to neutralize a potential host to feed on and nurture its' spores. Of course, small insects are normally the target, not humans. Walter thinks that the instinct mechanism in the fungi is very basic. As long as you don't touch it, it probably won't react to your presence. Agent Lee continues around the room and finds the fungi is making its' way out of the room through one of the sinks. The biologist in Walter is thrilled with this extraordinary species - actively seeking water and nutrients, the strong impulse to branch-out. The public servant in Broyles isn't so thrilled - how do we kill this menace? Strong ultra-violet light kills most mold and fungi. The order goes out to get as many U.V. lamps as they can find into the morgue. Olivia thinks of the next step... that underground colony that killed the two bullies - it may be too large to go after with ultra-violet light - she is voting to go with the flame-thrower option.
In his lab, Walter shares Aaron's blood test results with him. Good news - there is no sign of infection from the organism, Aaron is free to return home. Astrid will be able to take him there shortly.
Agents Dunham and Lee join the eradication team in Hyde Park just as they are literally about to shed some light on the fungal colony that has established itself in the underground chamber. On the walls that are visible, the organism has branched out over several surfaces and doesn't appear to be much to deal with. Some odd drawings highlight a few of the tendril arms of the mold... like a child with sidewalk chalk has been there to
Aaron has collapsed on the lab floor and Walter needs Astrid to join him and help. Sneddon is burning with fever and is nearly unresponsive. Walter starts to explain how Aaron was complaining of the excessive brightness, then realizes what is happening. The ten year-old is somehow linked to the organism in the bunker - and is suffering from the eradication effort that has just been initiated by Olivia. Walter calls her on her cell phone as she watches one of her people wield a flame-thrower against the fungal colony. Walter orders her to stop - she is killing young Aaron.
After Agents Dunham and Lee return to the lab, Walter takes a few minutes to explain his new take on the threat they are facing. His initial hypothesis must have been wrong. They aren't dealing with a fungal colony, what they have encountered is a single organism with rapidly evolving communication skills. It appears the masses that it creates are like individual brain cells, equivalent to a neuron. The tendrils that link those masses seem to act as dendrites and synapses in a brain. They are dealing with a single living entity, and for the sake of clarity, Walter is calling it Gus. The reason Aaron wasn't harmed when they eradicated the morgue was because the colony growing there was unable to connect to the network... it was a mindless appendage. The science of it all excites Nina and Massive Dynamic, that should eradicate the Cordyceps entity. Broyles briefs Dunham and Lee on the updated situation. Reconnaisance teams combed the city and have already brain activity of the entity, and it seems Aaron's pre-frontal lobe is the part of his brain that is so closely empathic. Walter isn't sure how to disconnect the bond that was established - nothing he has tried has led to a disconnect. He could surgically remove the infected part of young Aaron's brain, but that would be the equivalent of giving the lonely young lad a lobotomy. There isn't much time left for any other course of action. Broyles returns with news that a Midtown subway platform has been reached by the fungus. That two hour window that Broyles promised Walter has just been cancelled - they need to move now. Walter gets the update from Olivia, then heads to his office to contemplate his next action - lobotomizing a timid ten year-old, or watching him die empathically along with the entity.
Inside of the chamber occupied by the large fungal mass, Dunham, Lee and the technician toting the toxin provided by Massive Dynamic, find a central mass to administer the lethal injection. Olivia gives the go-ahead, even though Aaron's life may be at risk. Almost immediately after the poisonous dose
Walter and Astrid return to Aaron and Walter finds that Sneddon's Limbic System is also being influenced. Aaron is the one that has been influencing the intelligent fungus. Lee's situation is nearly fatal. Olivia is trying to manage in the enclosed space while Broyles musters a medical team to help Lee - the toxin doesn't seem to have changed anything. Walter is certain that the control Aaron exerts over the entity is based on his emotional state... Aaron needs to give-up the bond he has with the organism. Aaron resists the suggestion, but Walter finally convinces him - be courageous - trust what he is saying. Once Aaron deliberately releases control of the entity, Lee is released and the fungicide begins to take effect. Lee is feeling better, but Olivia seems a little freaked-out... light-heartedly remembering her earlier offer of support, Lee is there for her, you know - if she needs to talk about it.Astrid rolls Aaron toward the exit in a wheelchair, then stops next to Walter for a few good-byes. Sneddon needs to go to the hospital to recover, and Walter has a gift for him to take along. Toys were meant to be played with and Walter wants Aaron to have the small figurine Walter of his dead son and asks if Walter is going to go to the hospital with him. Walter can't - he has things to do in the lab. He says this as another haunting vision appears in the reflection of the wall unit containing the fire extinguisher. Once Walter is by himself, he retrieves a book, prepares a few simple medical instruments, then retires to his desk to study-up on the procedure he intends to follow. Later, Olivia returns to the lab, excited to talk to Walter about the good news with Aaron. Walter isn't in earshot, or isn't answering her hails. She looks around and finds Walter in his desk chair - with a long metal probe inserted into his skull next to his left eye. Olivia calmly approaches the scientist who just started giving himself a lobotomy and begins to render first-aid. Walter, coherent and alert, tells her he knows what he is doing. He doesn't want to be recommited to Saint Claire's, but he is certain that his hallucinations are a sign of insanity. He can't make the visions, or the voice, stop. Olivia has been having a recurring dream for three weeks that features one man - she has a sketch of him, but can't find him in any database. Walter recognizes her drawing as the man he has been haunted by. A shared vision like the one they share means only one thing to Walter - he is not crazy. If their shared vision is a real person, they need to locate this man.
|Professor McClennan's professional library (One Night In October) contains the book Killer Mindscapes by S. Pores, foreshadowing the mutated fungi that established a connection with Aaron Sneddon's mind and killed through sporulation|
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on Alone In The World/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- Why does the man in the mirror appear visually to Walter, but only in dreams to Olivia?
- Does the man in the mirror appear to people other than Olivia and Walter?