|Air Date:||09 September 2008|
|Written by:|| J.J. Abrams|
|Directed by:||Alex Graves|
|Guest Cast:|| Mark Valley as John Scott|
Jason Harner as Morgan/Richard Steig
Peter Outerbridge as Dr. Reyes
Rick Parker as Cow Delivery Man
|Next:||The Same Old Story|
|Transcript — Additional Images|
Pilot is the first episode of the first season of FRINGE. The episode first aired on September 9th, 2008. When Glatterflug Flight 627 lands at Logan International Airport, and the passengers and crew are all dead, the Federal task force assigned to investigate the incident recruits a new science team to spear the effort. After some success, one of their own may be behind the mass conspiracy and bio-terrorism.
SynopsisFlight 627 is caught in an electrical storm. Most of the cabin lights are off, and flashes of lightning illuminate the cabin area. Various passengers are speaking German and English. Elsewhere on the plane, a nervous-looking passenger cradles his head in his hands, his eyes wide. He sits back and takes a few breaths, then, opening an attaché case and taking out an dosing pen, injects himself in the fleshy portion of his stomach.
Unable to control himself, he vomits all over the hostess, who screams and turns to look at the other passengers. Everyone begins to panic as they realized their own flesh is degenerating as well. Another cabin attendant telephones the captain and reports a problem. The co-pilot opens the door to find out what is causing the noise from the cabin. He sees the passengers of the craft in their decaying state and stands in shock. The pilot asks him what is wrong, while engaging the craft's auto-pilot system and turning to look at his co-pilot. The co-pilot turns as his own skin begins to decay, and lets out an agonized moan as the skin around the bottom of his face dissolves and his jaw falls off. The auto-pilot engaged, Flight 627 flies on through the storm.
Olivia Dunham and John Scott lie in bed together. Olivia tells Scott that she would prefer not to be so secretive about their relationship. Scott remarks that their department frowns upon office romance, but reminisced about when he found himself attracted to her for the first time. Olivia says that one of their co-workers, Charlie, might know about their involvement. Scott jokes that if Charlie knows he would transfer Charlie. He tells Olivia that he loves her. Olivia smiles and kisses him, but the kiss is interrupted by Olivia's mobile phone vibrating. She answers the call, which is from one of her superiors, and hastily begins dressing. Once off the phone she tells Scott there has been an incident involving an international flight at Logan Airport and that Charlie is on his way there. They kiss once more, then Olivia takes her FBI badge from the bedside table and leaves. Just before the door closes behind her, Scott's phone rings and he answers “Agent Scott.”At Logan International Airport, Boston, various emergency crews have gathered to surround Flight 627, parked on the tarmac. Personnel from various agencies – CDC, CIA, FBI – are gathered under marquees discussing the situation. Olivia arrives and is greeted by Charlie Francis, who informs her that the flight was from Hamburg, that it carried 147 passengers, contact with it was lost three hours into the flight, and once the plane entered US airspace, it was radio-silent and had to be escorted by two Navy F-18 jets. He also tells her the pilots of the jets reported blood stains
A dark van pulls up at the airport checkpoint. The driver lowers his window, keeping his face in shadow, and asks what happened. The guard at the gate tells him the tarmac was closed and to move along. The driver leans out of the window to look, appearing to be the nervous passenger from Flight 627, alive and well. He pulls back into the car and drives away.
At the Federal Building CDC. Inside the main office, Broyles orders Olivia to follow a lead involving a sighting of “two middle-eastern men handing a white guy a briefcase”. Olivia protests but Broyles is insistent, and a vexed Olivia leaves the office.
Olivia and Scott arrive at the place their suspect was sighted - the U-Case Storage facility in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
Olivia wakes up in a hospital and goes to find Scott. A doctor informs her that while she was lucky to escape relatively unharmed, Scott has developed a tissue-damaging condition which is decaying his skin – just like the passengers of Flight 627. The hospital is keeping him in a state of drug-induced coma to slow the degeneration of his body.
Olivia searches the FBI archives for anything that could present a solution to Scott's condition. She finds references to Walter Bishop, a former scientist who did research into tissue regeneration. She takes his file to Broyles, who notes that Bishop is in a psychiatric hospital and is only allowed visits from his next-of-kin. Olivia decides to follow it up to help Scott, and goes in search of Walter Bishop's son, Peter.Olivia tracks down Peter Bishop in Baghdad.
Olivia, escorted by Peter, goes to meet Walter Bishop at St. Claire's Hospital. Peter elects to stay outside while Olivia interviews Walter, who initially greets her with the words “I knew someone would come, eventually”. At first he seems mentally disparate and distracted, sometimes answering her questions about Scott's condition directly but other times following his own train of thought. After repeated questioning he asks if he can see Peter. Peter grudgingly goes in to see his father. Walter tells his son he was expecting him to be fatter and attempts to check his pupils. Peter recoils and snaps at his father and Walter returns to talking about Scott, saying he cannot give an accurate judgment without seeing the damage first-hand. Peter must become Walter's legal guardian to sign him out of the hospital. He initially refuses but again Olivia threatens to call people who might be interested in his whereabouts. Peter reluctantly agrees.Massive Dynamic, a multi-million-dollar corporation, and remarks upon the irony of one scientist becoming a millionaire while the other becomes a mental patient. Walter accompanies this with a yelp, declaring that he has just urinated on himself. As the car drives on it passes a billboard advertising Massive Dynamic, bearing the slogan “What do we do? What don't we do.”
Back at the hospital, Olivia tells Charlie that the CDC have confirmed the incident on the plane was caused by a synthetic compound, but complains this is of no help to her investigation. She asks Charlie to set up a meeting with William Bell. Walter examines Scott, whose condition is only getting worse, and picks up a scalpel – to the initial horror of Peter. Walter calmly takes a skin sample from Scott and says he must take it to his old Laboratory. Olivia tells him the lab has been shut down and Walter takes the news very angrily, pushing over a hospital cart and storming out.
Olivia goes to see Broyles to get Walter's lab reopened. Broyles hints that he knows about the relationship between Scott and Olivia, but Olivia ignores this and tells him to get the lab reopened.Flight 627 chemical was developed for use in the Vietnam war and that the version used on the plane was derived from that research. Scott, however, has reacted to the raw ingredients of the compound and not the compound itself so he cannot produce a cure for Scott without first knowing what substances were used. Walter predicts Scott has only 24 hours left before his body ceases to supply his brain with oxygen. With the garages containing the ingredients destroyed, and Scott being the only one who has seen the suspect, Olivia is ready to give up until Walter suggests a Synaptic Transfer forming a mental link between her mind and Scott's mind so she can use his mental picture of the suspect to track him down. Walter explains it can be used even to gain information from people who have been dead for up to six hours. Despite this being a dangerous procedure, Olivia agrees.Astrid Farnsworth joins them and the equipment is set up for the Synaptic Transfer.
Charlie arrives to bring word on the meeting with William Bell – he is out of town and it will be 48 hours before the FBI have the jurisdiction to do anything about it. Charlie is shocked by the procedure Olivia is about to undergo and warns her to be careful. Olivia strips down to her underwear while Walter and Peter anesthetize her, attach electrodes to her and inject her with a mixture of different drugs. Olivia begins to lose consciousness as the Bishops lower her into the lab's water tank. Before they close the tank doors, Walter tells her it is good to feel like someone trusts him again.kayak, and questions why it is there. The scene changes and she is standing in a room with a flowered rug, a doll's house, a bed and a chair. The scene changes again and she is standing in a graveyard. Someone walks behind her again, and she turns. This time she finds John Scott standing opposite her. Back at the lab, Walter observes that their brain patterns have synchronized.
Peter and Walter open the tank and pull her out just as she awakens from her drug-induced sleep, with the suspect's face fresh in her mind.
Back at the Federal Building, Olivia puts together a reconstruction of the suspect's face. While the reconstruction is being cross-referenced with the FBI databases, one of the agents brings over a photograph of a passenger from Flight 627 – the nervous-looking passenger, identified as Morgan Steig. Looking through his records, they discover his identical twin brother Richard Steig, and the name of Richard's last known employer – Massive Dynamic.Olivia visits Massive Dynamic hoping to talk to William Bell. Instead she is met by Nina Sharp, an Executive Director. Olivia explains that Richard
Olivia flies back to Boston and calls Peter at the lab, asking him to bring Walter and meet her at Steig's address.
When they arrive an FBI team is already waiting to enter the building. They break into Steig's flat and begin checking the rooms. Initially they find nothing, but Olivia discovers a trapdoor to a cellar that houses similar equipment to the U-Case garages. Steig is nowhere to be seen. Walter is waiting outside in a car with Peter and asks to check his blood pressure, telling him his skin tone suggests he may be suffering from Hypertension. Peter protests that there are no visible symptoms of hypertension. Walter asks his son not to send him back to the psychiatric hospital after Scott has been cured, saying that he has already endured enough punishment. Peter sees Steig exit the building by a back door and run away. He gives chase, with Olivia soon appearing close behind. Olivia chases Steig up fire escapes, through a building, across rooftops and finally back down into the street, where he is tackled by Peter. Olivia catches up, puts a gun to his head and demands the information.Back at the lab, Walter Preview Comic) - were found in 2008, halfway around the world, and with no visible signs of having aged at all; a low-flying plane in Sri Lanka emits a high frequency sound which blows out any nearby windows, then an hour later an earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale hits,
Back in the lab, Walter and Peter finish administering their cure. Scott soon returns to consciousness, and is transferred back to the hospital. While there, Olivia checks on Richard Steig, asking why he would sacrifice his own brother and why he would sell his work. Steig replies that he wasn't selling it and that he can prove he was threatened by someone from the FBI office. He tells Olivia there is a recording buried under a trash can by his house. She finds it, plays the recording and hears Richard being threatened over the phone by a man who finishes the conversation by saying “Let me assure you we'd be happy to treat you as family too”. Realizing those were Scott's final words as he stepped onto the runway at Logan Airport, Olivia frantically calls the hospital. Back at the hospital Scott, acting alone, visits the room where Steig is being held. He takes the pillow from under Steig's head and suffocates him with it.Broyles sent her to the storage facility. She asks him who he is really working for but he does not answer; he finally succumbs to his crash injuries and dies in her arms.
A short time later, Charlie and Olivia are travelling in a car. Charlie tells Olivia that he knew about her relationship with Scott, muses on the protecting people from dangers of today's society, and claims the FBI are obsolete now that corporations have higher clearance than they do and they are barely briefed on half the incidents they investigate. Returning to Harvard, Olivia meets Walter and Peter outside. She speaks to Peter, asking him to remain in Boston since Walter has to stay to help the FBI explain The Pattern. He says that all his instincts tell him to leave Boston, but ultimately he decides to stay.
At a facility that looks much like the Massive Dynamic building we saw earlier, a man is wheeling a body on a trolley through a white corridor. Nina Sharp walks up to the trolley and removes the cover from the body; it is John Scott. She asks how long Scott has been dead. The assistant replies he has been dead for nearly five hours, and Nina simply responds: “Question him”.
- The female illustration is The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli.
- The male illustration is Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci.
- Walter refers to returning to his laboratory, the ratio of its dimensions and the necessity of understanding the proportions of his space.
- He refers to 1.618 (phi) both in the ratio of LSD to serotonin and the ratio of musa acuminata (bananas) to sucrose (sugar) in his banana bread.
- The Observer walks past the Massive Dynamic building
- The pilot episode has attracted its fair share of enthusiasm and criticism since its leak onto the internet. Some viewers dismiss it as boring while others believe it to be the beginning of another cult smash hit, comparable with J.J. Abrams's previous work on Lost and Alias. A common criticism is that the music for the pilot draws heavily on cues from the aforementioned Abrams projects
- Comparisons have also been drawn to The X-Files, which also centered on FBI agents investigating supernatural occurrences. However The X-Files focused on the occurences being the work of extra-terrestrial forces, whereas Fringe seems to be grounded in theoretical science and the power of the human mind
- It was co-created by J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. On or around July 15, 2008 the episode was leaked onto the internet. The pilot aired on network television on September 9th 2008.
- Morgan Steig is passenger number 108, a possible reference to the Lost mythos
- Production Notes
- The premiere episode ran 1 hour 35 minutes, including commercial breaks, and reportedly had a budget of $10m (USD)
- Continuity Errors
- Charlie Francis and Nina Sharp, each in several instances, referred to Massive Dynamic as Massive Dynamics. Closed captioning mirrored their errors. In addition, a sole roadside billboard also used the plural term. All other references were to the singular term
- Cultural References
- Walter and Astrid watch SpongeBob SquarePants and Walter notes that it is "Quite profound, for a narrative about a sponge"
- Literary Techniques
- An image on a newspaper dispenser depicts a Pen and a Rose, foreshadowing Doctor Claus Penrose in The Same Old Story
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on Pilot/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- Who told John Scott to go to the U-Case Storage facility?
- Was Morgan Steig supposed to use his doctored injector pen on the plane?
- Why does a Massive Dynamic employee have access to information about The Pattern, but not a government investigator?
- Why did Broyles choose to send Olivia to the U-Case Storage facility, and why did John Scott want her to question this?