Grey Matters

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Grey Matters
Episode210.jpg
Season: 2 Episode: 10
Air Date: 10 Dec 2009
Written by: Zack Stentz
Ashley Miller
Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc
Starring: Main Characters
Guest Cast: Jeannetta Arnette as Dr. Susan West
Sebastian Roché as Thomas Newton
Roger Cross as Smith
Leonard Nimoy as Dr. Bell / Dr. Paris

Jeff Perry as Joseph Slater
Daniel Boileau as Thin Man
Donna Yamamoto as Deb Crampton
Lindsay Collins as Nurse Holbrook
Vee Dubois as Nurse #2
Dee Jay Jackson as Security Guard
Ken Kramer as Mister Rabel
Darryl Quon as Orderly
Derek Anderson as Team Leader

Next: Unearthed
Previously: Snakehead
Transcript  —  Additional Images
Introduction
Grey Matters is the tenth episode of the second season of FRINGE. It first aired on December 10, 2009. Patients at mental hospitals undergo impromptu surgeries that take part of their brain - and cure their symptons. The leader of the hybrid army searches for what he needs in our universe and directly confronts Olivia during his mission. Peter and Walter face a difficult situation that may cost Walter his life. William Bell resurfaces under strange circumstances and raises questions about his ultimate objectives.

Synopsis

Prologue

Boston Massachussetts, Hennington Mental Health Institute. Joseph Slater calmly sits in his room trying to recollect a memory of a girl in a red dress, with flowers in her hair. Thomas Newton stands behind, politely conversing with the mental patient about his recollections. Newton is conducting unconventional brain-surgery on Slater and pulls a small piece of tissue from deep in the man's head. After securing the sample in a jar, an accomplice outside the building (Smith) warns that their secret surgery is about to be compromised. Newton's aide in the room intercepts an orderly in the hallway and shoots him just as he warns building security of the late night breach. Unable to replace the removed section of Slater's skull, the two men hurry out through a nearby exit with their medical equipment and get away in the waiting van. The attending nurse finds Slater sitting on his bed, timidly asking for help, with the rear half of his brain exposed to the elements.

ACT I

The next day, the science team arrives at the mental health facility to investigate the bizarre surgery committed on Slater. The Administrator of Hennington MHI, Doctor West, tells them that Slater has been a classic schizophrenia patient for the past fourteen years, however, within an hour of discovering the assault on Slater, his behavior changed dramatically. His condition evaporated and he is now sane. Walter wants to see Slater. Not the new man, but the old patient. West takes the team to her office and they collectively watch a session tape of Slater being interviewed by West herself. Slater is fixated on the "girl in the red dress" across the street and has a psychotic outburst when told she doesn't really exist. In person, Slater is now quite engaging, but he just can't seem to remember or describe either of the men involved in the illegal surgery on his brain. He does have the vague sense that his surgeons were polite.
Olivia and Peter access
alias "TJ Newton"
the institution's security office and review footage from the previous evening. Walter samples a pudding cup nearby. Caught on tape, Peter marvels at how quickly the intruders had defeated the advanced security system. Olivia adds that she recognizes one of the men as being from the Laston-Hennings Cryonics robbery (Momentum Deferred). The face on the screen belongs to one of the heads that was stolen -- Thomas Jerome Newton, the First Wave enemy leader that William Bell had warned about.

ACT II

Broyles asks Olivia and Peter how much they have learned about Newton. Olivia shares that Newton was the name-of-record at the cryo-storage facility, but that the name was an alias that led nowhere. She adds what she was told during her visit to the other side - that the man with the symbol on his scalp would try to open a door between universes, and that would lead to global destruction. Peter comments that Newton's action apparently cures his victims of their mental symptoms, however, Walter is still trying to figure out exactly how. Olivia is resolved. She doesn't know what Newton is doing, but she knows what she is doing - she is going to stop him.

In his lab,
Paris Patient Roster
Walter asks Astrid to research the psychiatrist Simon Paris, Slater's referring doctor. Walter has a theory and wants to know about Slater's medical history, and anything, or anyone, that would induce delusional thinking in the man. Astrid cannot find Paris in the medical database. Walter asks her to track the pharmacy records associated with Slater's initial prescriptions. He also suggests that Slater was not crazy, but was deliberately made insane... perhaps to make him resistant to interrogation. Astrid quickly discovers that Paris established an indefinite prescription for Slater - and did the same for two other patients at separate hospitals the very same week.

At Dunwich Mental Hospital, Peter and Olivia interview Deborah Crampton. She has been treated for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for the past fourteen years, focusing on the number twenty-eight - a form of Arithmomania. She feels completely normal now, just in the past week - more worried about becoming the topic of a scientific study. Olivia asks if they can look at her head. She agrees, and Peter finds a fresh scar without any suturing, more like the burn from a surgical laser. She claims she has only been visited by family at the hospital, but Simon Paris was the doctor who initially admitted her... for mild depression, not OCD.

Reconstituted Walter
← Elsewhere, Newton and Smith are attempting to keep the brain tissue they have collected viable. The first specimen they harvested only has a few hours left in the nutrient solution it is stored in. Newton tells Smith that they better get moving.

  As Olivia drives back to Walter's Lab, Peter studies the files he has and notes that another mental patient, like Crampton, has miraculously recovered just two days prior. Stuart Gordon had schizophrenia - he thought he was Sydney Greenstreet, from the movie Casablanca. Olivia takes a minute to reflect. She has always been able to understand the emotions of others, and what drives them, but the people they are up against, like Newton - she doesn't know how to fight what she can't understand. Peter assures her that this isn't just 'her' fight.

Back in the lab, Astrid takes a call from Olivia, then tells Walter about Stuart Gordon. Gordon completely recovered his sanity a few days ago... and he has a scar on his scalp. Walter continues his research on Slater, fearing that he missed something... an organ transplant. Paris prescribed Sirolumus (Sirolimus) for Slater, an anti-rejection drug for transplant patients. Is Paris a quack or a genius? Olivia and Peter arrive and Walter shares his thoughts. The anti-rejection drug was to protect the foreign brain tissue implanted in each individual. Once the incompatible tissue was removed by Newton, the host brain could process information normally... no false memories, no delusions. Doctor West calls back with information for Astrid about Simon Paris - there is none. Astrid continues to listen to West, then calls Peter over for a quiet sidebar. Peter takes the upsetting news and returns to his father. Walter says he had not had any visitors while at St. Claire's, but Peter shares what Doctor West shared with Astrid - Simon Paris had visited him six times while he was at the mental hospital. A quick check of Walter's scalp reveals an old scar.

ACT III

Concerned now for Walter, Peter returns his father to Doctor West for an MRI. She says his
This your brain...   This is your brain - on Walter
charts indicate that he has been through the procedure several times. Walter is worried that the magnetic imaging machine will rip the GPS locator from his neck. Peter reminds him that the device is silicon, not metal. Still nervous about the procedure, Walter settles for a large dosage of Valium... claiming a high tolerance, and completes the claustrophobic imaging run. Olivia joins Peter after Walter has left with Astrid. Peter is somber over having not visited his father while he was institutionalized. Olivia adds that Walter is probably a better person, and a father, because of his stay at St. Claire's. Plus, Peter is making-up for things now. Doctor West gathers Peter and Olivia to review Walter's results. Walter has had three incisions on the left temporal lobe, incisions all the way into the grey matter. Walter did not have tissue implanted in his hippocampus - he had it removed - and the hippocampus stores long-term memory and contributes to spatial awareness. Peter aligns the imaging from Slater's scan with Walter's brain scan. The pieces match perfectly.

Back in his new residence, Walter is dizzy and nauseous from excessive Valium. He wants to go to the lab to retrieve a preferred music album. Astrid won't hear of it. She will get Walter's music while he stays at home and rests.

Still reviewing the imaging scans at the Institute, Peter and Olivia deduce that Newton must be after Walter's memories. Walter is the only one that knows how to open the door between the universes, but no one knows how to interpret those memories... Walter must be the next target!

They quickly leave the building to locate Walter, and give Astrid a heads-up. Astrid left Walter five minutes prior, but immediately begins her return to protect the scientist.

Walter answers the loud knocking at his door, admonishing Astrid for waking the neighborhood as he approaches the door. Astrid has not returned. Thomas Newton stands before him.

ACT IV

Peter and Olivia arrive back at his house, only to find an apologetic Astrid with pistol drawn. Peter remembers that just a week prior (Snakehead) Walter implanted himself with a transponder chip. He grabs the tracking device for the chip and leaves with Olivia.

As the race to locate Walter begins, Walter sits in a makeshift
Finding Walter?
lab with Newton and his two men. Smith places a neural ring on Walter's head and the other man injects Walter with a mild sedative to help him calm down. Olivia drives while Peter uses the tracking device and gives directions. Broyles calls to tell her that he is sending a tactical squad to her location. Meanwhile, Newton continues briefing Walter on the brain science at-hand... removing tissue is damaging, and locating old connections - very tricky. The procedure on Walter begins. Olivia and Peter arrive with the tactical law enforcement team near a busy city intersection. The tracking device is very active and Peter directs everyone down a flight of stairs to a public restroom. With rifles at the ready, the team barges into the facility and finds no one. Peter finds the transponder chip - in a small pool of blood in the sink.
Sad Memory Revisited
← Newton shows Walter a series of photos. Walter suggests it is to locate his brain function and find his neural pathways… are they trying to fix him? The first image reminds Walter of his first semester of organic chemistry. Next is young Peter, then a photo of a glass of orange juice and a dish of custard and then a coffin - each reminds him of Peter. Smith wants to recalibrate the neural device because the brain samples in the emulsion are not responding. Newton disagrees. Walter needs something more powerful to stimulate his memory, something sensory-based where sound and smell may, in proper context, work better.

Broyles joins Olivia and Peter in Walter’s Lab. They figure Newton must be holding Walter nearby, as human brain tissue can't survive for long outside the body. Broyles says all medical facilities in the area on alert. Olivia is cautious about Newton needing any medical support, since the technology he has been using seems quite advanced. Peter uses some creative thinking, and deduces that the delusions the mental patients were fixated on might relate to one another. Twenty-eight? Sydney Greenstreet? Girl in red dress? – Of course! Sydney was a little girl in a red dress who lived across the street from Peter, when he was a boy in Cambridge. She lived at 2828 Green Street. The door to the other side at Reiden Lake is not how Walter remembers things. The old Bishop house on Green Street is. That is where Walter had the idea about the door.

At his former house on Green Street, Walter continues to be interrogated by Newton. Walter seems much more responsive in the new 'stimulating' environment. Walter remembers that the last time he was there in his house, the leaves were falling. Newton tells him that where they are now exists in both places, but on his side, the trees died long ago from the Blight. The procedure continues and the missing pieces of Walter's brain re-connect with Walter. The old Walter is suddenly present... he is in his house and wants to know where his wife and son are. Newton sticks to his agenda. He knows why Walter built the door between universes. He knows what Walter lost. He doesn't think that Walter wants to lose it again... he wants to know about the door.

ACT V

Olivia and Peter race to the old Bishop
Twitch - Or Die!
house on Green Street, in Cambridge, and are spotted by Smith, who radios the house and warns of the pending raid. Newton is satisfied with what they have accomplished, packs his equipment, apologizies to Walter - then injects the scientist with a lethal neurotoxin, before leaving through the back of the home. Peter breaks open the front door and revives his father. Olivia finds the current homeowners tied-up and gagged in the back and is told that the criminals have just left through the back of the house. Olivia pursues the trio as they attempt to drive away in their van. She shoots the driver in the head, then shoots Smith. She approaches the van and orders Newton outside. If he so much as twitches, he won't have a head left to refreeze.

Back inside the house, Peter revives Walter. Walter's first concern is for his missing pieces of brain. The pieces are dying - with memories that he will never get back. He starts to choke and passes-out. Newton tells Olivia that he has injected Walter with a neurotoxin, and unless Walter gets the antidote in four minutes, he will die. Olivia thinks Newton is bluffing, but Peter calls and verifies the threat to Walter's life. Newton tells her there is a medical kit near Walter with three vials. If Walter gets the vials injected in the correct order, Walter will live. Newton wants Olivia's phone, and for her to run back inside. Once there, he will tell her what to do. Her choice - save Walter, or capture him.

ACT VI

Olivia decides to allow Newton to escape, in order to save Walter’s life. She throws Newton her phone and runs back to the house to get the correct sequence of the anti-toxin on Peter's cell phone. When she gets inside, Newton tells her the order to give the injections... blue-yellow-red, then he taunts her as weak as he flees through the suburban neighborhood. Walter slowly regains awareness - he has a terrible headache - and a hankering for chicken wings.

Broyles takes Olivia's debrief as they walk the city streets. She concedes that she made an emotional choice, choosing
Taking Danergous Memories From Walter
her friendship with Walter over her responsibility as a Federal Agent. Broyles defends her choice as rational, not emotional. He believes she did the right thing because Walter is key in the war. Stopping Thomas Newton would only win this particular battle. Plus, they now have a face and a name for the enemy. What they don't have are answers about Doctor Simon Paris.
← After returning
Paris Wrist Glyph
to the hospital, Walter settles in for another MRI just to make certain all is well in the void between his ears. Peter humbly apologizes to Walter for not visiting him while he was in St. Claire's. The procedure begins, with Peter waiting dutifully outside, and Walter fades away into a vision of his past. He is wearing a cranial electrode ring, and an operating room technician is telling Doctor Paris that Walter is ready. In the bright, blurry light, Doctor Paris approaches Walter and is revealed to be William Bell. Walter tells William that he is frightened, and uncomfortable. Bell consoles Walter, but affirms that what Walter has accomplished, a door to the other side, is too dangerous, and that he will put Walter's memory in a place that only he can find.

Quotes

"...there's only one Walter Bishop... and we'll be needing him before this is over. Don't be so hard on yourself. We're gonna be needing you too." - (Broyles, props to Olivia about her actions, choice and value to the mission)

"The human brain is a fascinating organ. But it's not static. Removal will damage a section. It reroutes the connections and grows in new pathways. Now, figuring out where the old connections once were -- can be very tricky." - (Thomas Newton, preparing Walter to reveal his memories about the door between the universes)

Trivia

General
  • The Observer watches from across the street as the tactical team enters the public restroom, attempting to recover Walter.
  • Grey Matter (substantia grisea) is the greyish tissue of the brain and spinal cord, containing nerve cell bodies, dendrites, and unmyelinated axones.
  • The Blight. Referred to by Thomas Newton when describing conditions on the Other Side, BLIGHT was also the decoded GLYPH from August.
  • Walter and Astrid are listening to Thelonious Monk in the lab. A picture of Monk was prominently diplayed on the wall of William Bell's WTC office in Momentum Deferred.
  • Simon Paris. Leonard Nimoy's character on the popular TV series, Mission: Impossible, was named Paris. Leonard Nimoy's middle name is Simon. A. Simon Paris is a noted entymologist - specializing in butterflies.
  • H.P. Lovecraft and Re-animator. Howard Phillips Lovecraft is a famous weird science author from a century ago. Many of the names and places from this episode seem to be associated with his work: Dunwich, J. Slater, S. Gordon, West, and Crampton. Some are associated with the Lovecraft film/story - Re-Animator - where bizarre experiments center around the re-animation of dead tissue.
  • Seen on the wrist of Paris/Bell in Walter's memory/flashback, the DJED symbol is a pillar-like glyph from ancient Egypt representing stability. It has been interpreted as the backbone of the god Osiris, and a symbol for the potency of a ruler. The second plague on ancient Egypt, challenging the rulers potency, was a Blight of Frogs.
Continuity Errors
  • Entry & Apprehension Unit. Broyles tells Olivia that the Boston Police Department is providing the tactical support as she and Peter try to locate Walter, via the transponder chip. When they arrive, the tactical team is wearing FBI logos on their clothing. Boston PD SWAT would not be wearing "FBI" logos, they would have "BPD" or "POLICE" identifiers.
Recurring Themes
  • Blue-Yellow-Red. The colors associated with the neurotoxin antidote used to save Walter's life are also the colors of the prominently displayed balloons possessed by Risa & Lucy Pears in the opening scenes of Bad Dreams. The colors also appear prominently on the Opus store behind The Observer, as he looks on.
  • Red and Green. Peter starts to make sense of the nonsense the mental patients displayed when he explained that the girl in the red dress lived across from his old house in Cambridge on 2828 Green St. Also, the colored lights in the containers of Walters brain segments changed from red to green once they were synced with the rest of Walter's brain.

Previously

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    From the busy streets (Snakehead), large signage (far right) declares "Ginseng Improves Memory". This foreshadowed the main plot in Grey Matters, recovering (improving) the memories of Walter Bishop - in order to extract the technology to travel between universes, and to initiate the coming war.

Music

Trinkle Tinkle by Thelonious Monk

Glyphs


—   Plot Relevant Questions   — Address theories about questions on Grey Matters/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.

Thomas Newton
  • How did Thomas Newton know which individuals stored the brain extracts from Walter Bishop?
  • Who is responsible for storing Newton's head in the cryo-facility?
    • If Newton is key in the battle between the universes, why was he not eliminated initially, before cryo?
  • Why did Thomas Newton make the effort to repair (post-op) the individuals carrying parts of Walter's brain?
  • Why did Thomas Newton not terminate Walter directly, once Newton "had what he needed"?
  • Did Thomas Newton have the same or similar objects as David Robert Jones?
  • If David Jones was able to open a 'gate' to the other side, then why was it that Newton needed Walter's brain segments to achieve the same result?
  • When Newton is trying to coax information about "the door" from Walter in his old house in Cambridge, Newton asks Walter if he is willing to lose Peter again. Is this simply a threat, or is there a future danger for Peter that is yet to be introduced?
Bell/Paris
  • Is the man we recognize as William Bell only just Simon Paris, not the authentic Bell?
  • If Simon Paris and William Bell are one in the same...
    • What is the connection between Bell/Paris and Newton?
    • Did Bell/Paris cross over to the other universe after his sixth visit in St. Claire's?
      • Massive Dynamic was established... why did Bell/Paris fail to mention this to Walter in his six visits?
    • Did Bell/Paris travel from one universe to the other while tending to Walter in St. Claire's?
      • Did his diminished health disallow him from returning to our reality, and to Walter?
Blight
  • What is the nature of the Blight?
  • Will the Blight occur in this universe?

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