Earthling

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Earthling
Episode206.jpg
Season: 2 Episode: 6
Air Date: 5 Nov 2009
Written by: Joel Wyman
Jeff Vlaming
Directed by: Jon Cassar
Starring: Main Characters
Guest Cast: Ravil Isyanov as Timur Vasiliev
JR Bourne as CIA Man
Gerard Plunkett as Dennis Van Horn
Karen Holness as Diane Broyles
Yaroslav Poverlo as Aleks Vasiliev

Joe Towne as Randy Dancik
Michelle Harrison as Natalie Dancik
Linda Ko as Nurse Darla
Jeanettea Antonio as Hospital Security
Blaine Anderson as CSI Officer
Megan Charpentier as Tara (child)
Charisse Baker as Tara's Mom
Chris Shields as ND Agent
D. Neil Mark as ND Agent #2
Matteo Mazziotti as Playful Boy
Dean MacKenzie as Rob
Linnea Johnson as Nurse #1
Angela Moore as Addtnl Nurse
Veena Sood as Jerry Larsen

Next: Of Human Action
Previously: Dream Logic
Transcript  —  Additional Images
Introduction
Earthling is the sixth episode of the second season of FRINGE. It first aired on November 5, 2009. The Fringe Division takes on a puzzling investigation of victims who inexplicably disintegrate into ash. The shadowy case casts a light on Phillip Broyles’ past and entices the team with the possibilities of foreign fringe science.

Synopsis

Prologue
Randy Dancik is at home preparing a surprise dinner for his wife, Natalie, on their anniversary. She calls him on his cell phone to check and see how his business trip to Hong Kong is going, sad that they have to be apart on the special occassion. She says that she will be home soon and not to worry about the short separation. He has fibbed about his week long travel plans and further embellishes the lie - he is at the airport, and his flight has just been called for departure. Somehow during the phone call the television powered on, and shortly afterwards hallway lighting switched itself off. Randy turns the TV back off and restores the lights to on. A shadowy entity appears behind him in the hallway. Randy walks around the house to check on the baffling anomalies. The lights go off again, but this time after he restores the lights, the dark figure marches directly towards as he backs away from it. When his wife arrives home, she is pleasantly surprised at the gift and note he has left her. She realizes his ploy and finds him sitting on a chair in the living room... she becomes increasingly worried by his lack of response to her, his blank stare. She touches him, and he immediately begins to disintegrate. His head falls to the floor in a cloud of ash.
Anniversary Surprise

ACT I

In a tongue-in-cheek lighter moment, Phillip Broyles sits alone in an upscale restaurant studying the menu. Two tables away, a young lad of class, sits, facing him, studying him - imitating him. Broyles realizes he is under serious surveillance and a world class game of monkey-see, monkey-do commences. Saved from defeat by his ringing cell phone, the Senior Federal Agent flees the facility before the young victor has time to gloat. Fringe science calls.

The science team is already at the Dancik residence, and ankle deep in Randy dust. Walter draws a mental picture for everyone... firelogs that burn so hot they retain their basic shape after they have cooled. He also observes that there were no scorch marks on the seat - ruling out a fire, or spontaneous combustion. He must have the ashes taken back to the lab to study further, several vacuum cleaners should handle the job. Broyles arrives, and asks if Dancik worked at a hospital, or had visited a hospital in the last twenty-four hours. He adds that this is not the first time he has seen this phenomenon.

Broyles takes Olivia and Peter to his secure storage unit full of boxes, files and other items. He hands over some paperwork and reveals that he worked on a case four years prior, where the victims had turned to ash. There were five deaths by the time that the killings ended, and each victim had worked at, or visited, the same hospital. At the time, he was contacted by an Eastern European man who knew details only the killer could know. He offered to turn himself in if they could decipher his formula - a molecular model with complex organic compounds. Broyles adds that the CDC and NIH had not been able to solve the case. Peter takes a copy of the formula to Walter, to study. Olivia receives a phone call informing her that Dancik had visited his mother at Latchmere General Hospital, within twenty-four hours of his murder.
Alias Identity

It is evening time at Latchmere and Darla stands, on-call, working at her dimly lit duty-station. In the quiet halls behind her, the shadowy entity makes its way towards her. As it passes, she looks up and sees nothing. None the worse for the encounter, she returns to work, and the entity continues on its way.

ACT II

At Latchmere, Broyles and Olivia serve a warrant to the Hospital Administrator that gives them access to her network servers. They intend to review all of her employee records to locate someone of Eastern European descent who may have worked in a D.C. area hospital four years prior. They commandeer the administrator's office in the process, bringing in additional agents for the effort.

In Walter's lab, he confirms that Dancik has been reduced to very elemental components - Carbon and Calcium, which should have very low radio-activity. Astrid brings in a Geiger counter so Walter can test to see if high radio-activity contributed to Dancik's death. When Walter checks, the ashes have no radio-activity at all, not even the trace amounts that occur naturally. Oivia calls from the hospital to check on the teams progress with Dancik and formula from Broyle's unsolved case. Walter begins to tell her about the complex nature of the formula -- a puzzle that he intends to breakdown into organic and inorganic parts. As he is explaining, a segment of the formula catches his eye - Titanium Tetrachloride.

At Latchmere General, Broyles and Olivia decide to remain into the evening while their investigators continue to search the hospital records for the suspect that fits Broyles previous case. Olivia asks if he was taunted by the killer in the previous case. Broyles says he was the opposite - the suspect was distraught and he couldn't control how the victims were being killed. He just wanted it to end. Down a darkened hallway, as hospital staff continue to perform their duties, a computer monitor is disrupted by interference and static. In a nearby room, a nurse draws fluid into a hypodermic needle and the dark shadow figure quietly enters the room behind her. Seconds later, a patient in bed becomes the next target of the shadow. The nurse turns and screams as ashen parts of the victim fall to the floor. Broyles and Olivia follow the commotion in the hallways to the room and find the top half of the victims skull collapsed. Broyles orders Olivia to have the hospital floor sealed. One of the investigators reports they have a lead... Tomas Koslov worked at Tyson General in D.C., then quit the week the murders stopped. Koslov is now a night nurse in the Latchmere General coma unit, and he did not show-up for tonight's shift.

A tactical assault team raids the apartment of the missing Latchmere night nurse. Olivia suspects the criminal saw them at the hospital and cleared-out. Broyles remains silent, having lost the suspect again.

ACT III

Peter joins the investigation at the apartment. He and Olivia overlook the widely scattered electronics debris field and they note that some elements have Cyrillic lettering, a sign that the suspect may be Eastern European as they were originally briefed by Broyles. They then get the word that the name Tomas Koslov is alias, not a part of any databases, and his medical and employment records are forged.

Broyles
Cold Cases Can Cost Marriages
makes it back to the Federal Building and sits, surrounded by evidence, and listens to a tape recording of a phone conversation he had with the suspect, years before. The suspect doesn't know how many more people will die... only solving the formula will stop the bizarre deaths. Broyles assures him that the top people are trying to solve the formula, but they need more time. He offers to met with the man, but the suspect hangs-up before the call can be traced. Broyles turns off the tape and learns from an assistant that he has a call from Senator Van Horn.

In Washington D.C. Senator Van Horn meets Broyles in a public park and tells him the fingerprints submitted by Fringe Division received alot of attention. The CIA wants the case and is demanding that Broyles cease and desist his involvement. Broyles doesn't want out of the case, it has been his for four years. The Senator gives Broyles more background - the suspect is under investigation by the Russian government for removing property owned by the Russian Federation. Van Horn knows how much the case means to Broyles, but he doesn't have the influence to help Broyles keep the case.

At a small motel, the suspect opens the doors to the back of his van and removes a large car battery. He carries it to his room and puts it down next to a half dozen more heavy duty batteries. He looks around the room at some of the electronics he has created, then leaves the motel.

At Latchmere Hospital, Olivia has stayed behind to review security camera fooitage. Broyles calls her and informs her about the new CIA authority, and Russian interest, in the case. Broyles says he intends to continue, but he needs her to stop formally documenting her efforts. She is worried about who will protect Broyles for breaking the rules - he tells her not to worry. The security technician calls Olivia to the monitor. They both see a man's shadow travelling down the corridor to the victim's room just before the murder... but there is nobody in the hallway casting the shadow.

ACT IV

At Walter's lab, Broyles has joined the science team to review the security footage from Latchmere General. Walter studies it and deduces that it is clearly its own entity, since it has no reflection, highlights or translucency. Peter wants to know if it was some sort of Russian fringe science experiment. Walter remembers that he was always amazed at Russian scientific advancements - even forty years ago.

At the Federal Building, an assistant locates Broyles in the lobby
Cosmonaut Vasiliev
and delivers classified files sent by Senator Van Horn. Broyles reviews the files and meets with Olivia to discuss the information. The suspect, Timur Vasiliev didn't steal technology from his homeland, he stole his brother from a secret quarantine facility where he was being studied, six years earlier. His brother, cosmonaut Aleks Vasiliev, had been declared officially dead by the Russian Space Agency after returning from his mission in a coma. Olivia thinks the team should return to Latchmere in case the cosmonaut is admitted as a coma patient. Broyles is one step ahead, he already has a large team assembled and waiting.

Still in the lab, Walter and Peter explain to Astrid that they believe the shadow entity is targeting patients that are undergoing radiation treatment, in order to drain them of their high concentrations of radio-activity. Dancik was targeted unintentionally, he was not receiving radiation treatment, but, he had just taken a cross-country flight in a window seat, exposing him to a higher level of radiation than normal.

At Latchmere General Hospital, the lights and electronics in the coma ward unexpectedly become inoperative and the staff prepares to switch to back-up power. One of the nurses heads into the ward to check on the coma patients. She is startled when Timur steps out from behind a curtain -- it is not his shift and he is in street clothes. Vasiliev explains that he has to disconnect a patient, confuse the monitors, and that he can't be seen. The tactical team charges into the coma ward and asks for an accounting of all patients. All of the patients appear to be in their beds, but the duty nurse is missing now. Olivia starts checking faces and finds the nurse sedated in Aleks Vasiliev's spot. Timur has escaped with his brother.

ACT V

Broyles joins the science team in Walter's lab to learn Walter's hypothesis on the exotic formula. Walter has been listening to classical opera for hours and refining the formula on several chalkboards around the lab, oblivious to those around him. Walter doesn't think the cosmonaut is the culprit in the deaths. He does think that the cosmonaut may have returned from orbit with an organism, perhaps collected during a spacewalk. Walter believes the organism is capable of projecting itself without ever leaving its host. Broyles wants to leave a message for Vasiliev telling him the formula can be solved, but Broyles needs Walter confirm that first. Walter assures him that he dominate the formula.

In Vasiliev's motel room, Timur tends to his comatose brother. He has the cosmonaut strapped to a gurney and has attached much of the homemade electrical equipment he built for their move. Timur listens to his phone messages and learns from Human Resources at Hartswell Medical Center, in Minneapolis, that they are impressed with his résumé -- they are interested in hiring him. Timur tells his brother they are going to get a new home. Vasiliev listens to his next message... it is Broyles. He reminds Timur that he was the agent he talked to four years before. Broyles tells him he has information about the formula, then leaves a phone number to contact him. The shadow entity becomes active again within Aleks and Timur hurries to get an electrical charge started to restrain the organism. He apologizes to his brother for the inflicted pain, but manages to subdue the shadow. The entity attempts to break free again and Timur recaptures it with a more powerful electrical charge. Aleks, temporarily free of his coma, pleads to his brother (or invading organism) to stop. His vital signs drop to zero for a few seconds, then return to normal. Timur is exasperated with his success.

Bishop (molecular) Bonding Exercise
In Walter's lab, Astrid sets-up the computer equipment she needs to trace the call the team expects from Timur Vasiliev. Olivia consults Broyles privately, she is curious why this case is so important to him. He confides in her that the case occurred when Fringe Division had fallen out of favor, four years prior, and the government was siphoning funding away - for lack of public results. He stopped caring about promotions and his profile - just focusing on make the world a safer place. Ultimately, his obsession
Needs Housekeeping
with the cosmonaut case caused a rift with his wife and ended their marraige. Without the time needed to return to the lab, Peter and Walter generate a large Tinker Toy model of the complex molecular structure of the shadow entity. Walter studies the model closely and realizes the bonded elements cannot be separated into separate elements.

Timur calls from his motel room and Astrid initiates the phone trace. Broyles begins to negotiate with Vasiliev while Olivia gets the Bishops on the line. Broyles stalls Timur while Walter relays the bad news back to the lab. Broyles shares Walter's findings on the formula with Timur... his brother and the organism inside of him are one and the same and can't be separated. Broyles tries to convince Vasiliev to surrender anyway, assuring him that if anyone can help his brother, it is the people he works with. Disappointed, Timur sits in his room and tells Broyles he doesn't want his brother harmed - Aleks Vasiliev is not going to hurt anyone else. Broyles admits that he wants this to end as much as Timur does. Sometime during the conversation, the shadow entity escapes the cosmonauts body and passes through Timur -- and the rotating fan in the room begins to blow him down.

ACT VI

Kill The Cosmonaut - Save The Girl
Astrid has an open line to Vasiliev's phone and stays at the lab to triangulate its' position while Broyles and Olivia start there drive. The two arrive at the motel and find cosmonaut Aleks strapped down and loaded into the van. Half of Timur's ashen remains are sitting in the motel room chair. Peter arrives with Walter and helps Walter don his body armor before they approach the crime scene. Walter inspects the cosmonaut and determines his vital signs are normal, for someone who is comatose. Peter wonders about the excessive electrical equipment and Walter suggest that electrical shock was being used to keep the shadow entity in-check. A lead case for the cosmonaut would help too. Walter looks at the radiation gauge next to the cosmonaut and sees no radio-activity - meaning that entity is currently projecting itself elswhere. Peter remembers that stressing the host may be a way to pull the entity back into the cosmonaut. In a nearby motel room, the entity has projected itself into close quarters with a young girl that is alone, watching TV. She sees the shadow man and screams. Broyles knows what to do... he stresses the host by firing his pistol point-blank into the left temple of the cosmonaut. The young girl is joined by her mother and asked what had happened. The shadow man disappeared.

Broyles and the team watch from a distance as several men, wearing bio-hazard protective suits and filtered breathing masks, load and escort a casket-sized container back to the Russian Federation.

Broyles visits his former wife's house, he has something to share. She greets him at the door and assumes he wants to see the kids. He doesn't, he just wants to tell her he closed the case that disrupted and ended their marriage. She is sincerely happy for him. She invites him to join her and Rob for dinner, but he declines and says goodnight. As he leaves her house, a man addresses him from the shadows. He reminds Broyles that he has a real friend in Senator Van Horn, intervening on his behalf after the CIA had said to cease and desist. The CIA man also reminds Broyles that there isn't going to be any report. Curious, Broyles asks what happened with the cosmonaut. The man glances up to the stars and tells Broyles that they had no choice - once he started breathing again.

Quotes

"I believe the Russians have tried to remove the organism from the cosmonaut -- they couldn't. It is not possible. The two have become one. Bonded at a molecular level. They can't be separated. You can't kill the organism without killing them both." - Walter (to the team about the chance of saving the oddity)

"Four years ago, when this case happened, it was at a moment in time that Fringe Division had fallen out of favor. The government was siphoning money away from us for things that had more... public results. But at a certain point, I stopped caring about my profile or promotions. I just wanted to make the world a safer place. Anyway... I became obsessed with this case. And for my wife... it was the straw that broke the camel's back. It ended our marriage." - Broyles (to Olivia, satisfying her curiosity about his extreme interest in this case)

Trivia

General
  • The Observer walks under the Gate 43 sign, behind Broyles at the airport.
  • Timur Vasiliev called his brother three different Russian names - Alexander, Alexey and Leonid.
  • A reference to LSD, Walter mentions purple blotter. LSD has been used in many of Walter's experiments over the years.
  • The hospital interior is where the The X-Files Pilot and The X-Files: I Want to Believe was shot.
Production Notes
  • Director Jon Cassar mentioned in an interview that the man from the CIA was noted as "Mystery Man" in the teleplay.
Continuity Errors
  • Broyles stands-up to leave Senator Van Horn at the end of a riverside meeting and a male bicycle rider (brunet/gray sweat jacket/dark jeans) rides nearby. Five seconds later, the same bicyclist rides by as Broyles turns to say his final words.
Recurring Themes
  • Red and Green. Walter Bishop and Peter Bishop reconstructed the molecular structure using red and green TinkerToys
Literary Techniques
  • Pathos. Broyles finds the time to have fun with the young boy in the restaurant, followed later by the awkward exchange with his former spouse - missing his absent children, represents an appeal to our sympathies and imagination.

Previously

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    The large W+ in the signage is shorthand for a fundamental particle in "subatomic particle" science - the Weak Force Boson. Weak boson, a theoretical product of weak interaction and positron emission, perfectly foreshadows the condition of the ill cosmonaut.

Music

Una Furtiva Lagrima by Mario Lanza (Donizetti, Elisir d'amore: Aria)
Freezing by Mozella
Straighten Up and Fly Right by Nat King Cole

Glyphs


—   Plot Relevant Questions   — Address theories about questions on Earthling/Theories   Ask minor questions on the Talk Page  

 1) Do not answer the questions here.
 2) Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.

  • Why was the cosmonaut's condition dormant for four years between the clusters of deaths?
  • Was Vasiliev looking for a new employer before this round of deaths began?
  • Was the entity/cosmonaut returned to space?
    • If so, will he be allowed to work/contribute there?



Episodes

Season 5 : Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11In AbsentiaThe RecordistThe Bullet That Saved The WorldAn Origin StoryThrough The Looking Glass And What Walter Found ThereFive-Twenty-TenThe Human KindBlack BlotterAnomaly XB-6783746The Boy Must LiveLibertyAn Enemy Of FateSeason 4 : Neither Here Nor ThereOne Night In OctoberAlone In The WorldSubject 9NovationAnd Those We've Left BehindWallflowerBack To Where You've Never BeenEnemy Of My EnemyForced PerspectiveMaking AngelsWelcome To WestfieldA Better Human BeingThe End Of All ThingsA Short Story About LoveNothing As It SeemsEverything In Its Right PlaceThe ConsultantLetters Of TransitWorlds ApartBrave New World, Part 1Brave New World, Part 2Season 3 : OliviaThe BoxThe PlateauDo Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?Amber 314226955 kHzThe AbductedEntradaMarionetteThe FireflyReciprocityConcentrate And Ask AgainImmortality6BSubject 13OsStowawayBloodlineLysergic Acid Diethylamide6:02 AM ESTThe Last Sam WeissThe Day We DiedSeason 2 : A New Day In The Old TownNight Of Desirable ObjectsFractureMomentum DeferredDream LogicEarthlingOf Human ActionAugustSnakeheadGrey MattersUnearthedJohari WindowWhat Lies BelowThe Bishop RevivalJacksonvillePeterOlivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.White TulipThe Man From The Other SideBrown BettyNorthwest PassageOver There, Part 1Over There, Part 2Season 1 : PilotThe Same Old StoryThe Ghost NetworkThe ArrivalPower HungryThe CureIn Which We Meet Mr. JonesThe EquationThe DreamscapeSafeBoundThe No-BrainerThe TransformationAbilityInner ChildUnleashedBad DreamsMidnightThe Road Not TakenThere's More Than One Of Everything

Transcripts

Season 5 : Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11In AbsentiaThe RecordistThe Bullet That Saved The WorldAn Origin StoryThrough The Looking Glass And What Walter Found ThereFive-Twenty-TenThe Human KindBlack BlotterAnomaly XB-6783746The Boy Must LiveLibertyAn Enemy Of FateSeason 4 : Neither Here Nor ThereOne Night In OctoberAlone In The WorldSubject 9NovationAnd Those We've Left BehindWallflowerBack To Where You've Never BeenEnemy Of My EnemyForced PerspectiveMaking AngelsWelcome To WestfieldA Better Human BeingThe End Of All ThingsA Short Story About LoveNothing As It SeemsEverything In Its Right PlaceThe ConsultantLetters Of TransitWorlds ApartBrave New World, Part 1Brave New World, Part 2Season 3 : OliviaThe BoxThe PlateauDo Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?Amber 314226955 kHzThe AbductedEntradaMarionetteThe FireflyReciprocityConcentrate And Ask AgainImmortality6BSubject 13OsStowawayBloodlineLysergic Acid Diethylamide6:02 AM ESTThe Last Sam WeissThe Day We DiedSeason 2 : A New Day In The Old TownNight Of Desirable ObjectsFractureMomentum DeferredDream LogicEarthlingOf Human ActionAugustSnakeheadGrey MattersUnearthedJohari WindowWhat Lies BelowThe Bishop RevivalJacksonvillePeterOlivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.White TulipThe Man From The Other SideBrown BettyNorthwest PassageOver There, Part 1Over There, Part 2Season 1 : PilotThe Same Old StoryThe Ghost NetworkThe ArrivalPower HungryThe CureIn Which We Meet Mr. JonesThe EquationThe DreamscapeSafeBoundThe No-BrainerThe TransformationAbilityInner ChildUnleashedBad DreamsMidnightThe Road Not TakenThere's More Than One Of Everything