|Air Date:||27 January 2009|
|Written by:|| David H. Goodman|
Brad Caleb Kane
|Directed by:||John Polson|
|Guest Cast:|| Michael Gaston as Sanford Harris|
Ari Graynor as Rachel
Chris Bauer as Brian Dempsey
Noah Fleiss as Luke Dempsey
Mary Beth Peil as Jessica Warren
Lily Pilblad as Ella
Gbenga Akinnagbe as Akim
Mark Lotito as Paul Wiles
|Transcript — Additional Images|
The No-Brainer is the twelfth episode of the first season of FRINGE. It first aired on January 27th, 2009. Olivia, Walter and Peter are called in to investigate the deaths of seemingly unconnected individuals found in a pool of 'goo' that is their own brain matter. Olivia almost loses Ella when she is playing on the laptop computer during a cyber attack. As the deaths pile up, the investigation reveals a common thread linking the victims to a single disgruntled man. The Fringe Division continues to be challenged by the consultant sent to rectify their rogue nature.
Seventeen-year-old Gregory Wiles is working at his computer and chatting with a pal on the phone, when a message appears prompting him to click a button. Strange images begin to flash before his eyes, and the teen is drawn in, seemingly mesmerized. Then something begins to protrude from the middle of the screen and impossibly takes the form of a hand. The appendage slowly reaches forward and without warning grasps his head.Olivia enjoys a game of Operation with her niece, Ella. But the light-hearted moment is interrupted when Rachel catches Ella in a lie - she hasn't brushed her teeth this morning and Rachel isn't crazy about being lied to.
In his lab, Walter pontificates about Darwin's theory of human sexuality, Peter shuffles through the mail and finds a letter addressed to Walter that disturbs him. He throws it in the trash can, but not before Astrid notices the look on his face. Olivia calls and says she needs Peter and Walter to meet her outside because they have a new case. As the two stroll out, Astrid retrieves the letter from the trash can and reads it.
Charlie and Olivia talk to Gregory Wiles's parents, trying to find a motive for what was done to Gregory. Both parents are at a loss, but they admit that their son spent much of his time on the computer chatting with his friends, notably Luke Dempsey.
In the lab, Walter drills a hole in Gregory's head and drains his cranial cavity. Walter has determined that Gregory's entire brain was liquefied, but he's not sure how. He hypothesizes that Gregory may have contracted an advanced form of syphilis that cooked his brain. Olivia says that if he caught something from a girl or took some kind of drug, there might be a record of it on his hard drive. Astrid is already on it, but she says the hard drive's platters have been fused together. Astrid will continue to try to get information.
Olivia pays Luke Dempsey a visit at the auto repair shop where he works. Luke is clearly shaken by the news of his friend's death. He says the two of them were talking on the night of Gregory's death, but Gregory had stopped responding. He also tells Olivia that he knew Gregory because their fathers had worked together. As she's leaving, Olivia gets a call from Peter to let her know that they got a call about another death that appears to be related.At a car dealership, Broyles briefs the team on the death of the dealership's General Manager, whose head rests in a puddle of melted brain matter. Walter quickly deduces that the cause of death is the same as Gregory's. Walter and Peter gather samples while Olivia questions the witness trying to find a motive for what
← In the lab, Astrid finds that the new victim's hard-drive has been damaged in the same manner as Gregory's. Although unable to recover much data, she has determined that both victims downloaded an enormous file just before their computers crashed. Astrid needs a couple of days to find out more information. The conversation is interrupted by the unfamiliar sound of the laboratory's wall mounted rotary dial phone ringing. Peter answers but hangs up quickly. He claims the call is a wrong number, but his demeanor says otherwise. He leaves with the hard-drive, saying he knows a guy who might be able to recover more data from it. Once they're alone, Astrid tells Olivia she thinks she knows who called and shows her the letter Peter threw away earlier.
Peter pays a visit to Akim, an old acquaintance, and persuades him to help identify the mysterious program downloaded by both victims. Akim leads Peter into a back room, where he has a fully functioning high-tech computer lab. Peter wants to know what the program is and where it came from.
Meanwhile, at the FBI office, Sanford Harris trashes Olivia's investigative approach, saying the case should be turned over to the CDC. Olivia replies that she has contacted the CDC but they have no record of a disease giving these results. She will be cross referencing databases looking for links between the victims. Harris claims that Fringe has become a rouge division and will shut down her investigation if the case isn't solved in twelve hours.
In the computer lab, Akim tells Peter that the program in question is incredibly complex, and some of it is not even computer code. In her office, Olivia searches the FBI database and cross-references medical records for the two victims. As Olivia awaits the results, Akim says he can't find the source of the program -- but then realizes the program is being downloaded at this very moment. He narrows down the destination, which Peter instantly recognizes as Olivia's apartment. Peter immediately phones Olivia to let her know what is happening. Meanwhile, at the apartment, Ella sets up Olivia's laptop and begins playing a child's color the pony game.
After getting Peter's frantic call, Olivia races to her apartment. She calls her sister, but Rachel can't hear the phone. While Ella plays her computer game, a familiar mysterious window pops up. She clicks it, and the same series of images begins to play. Ella appears drowsy, hypnotized. Outside, Olivia jumps the curb with her car, squeals to a stop, and dashes into the apartment. Peter is right behind her. Olivia pulls the laptop away from Ella's hands and wakes her from her trance.
Later. Olivia tells Charlie about the video on the computer that hypnotized Ella, and Charlie agrees to call computer forensics to come and look at it. Meanwhile, Peter plays with Ella while Rachael watches. When Olivia asks what happened, Ella says there was a hand reaching out of the computer. When Olivia inspects the computer, she sees the light next to the video camera is on. She looks right into the camera...
And her face appears on the screen of a man, Brian Dempsey, who sits behind an array of high-tech equipment in an undisclosed location. He talks to the screen, telling Olivia's image that she'd better back off or she won't be so lucky next time. Just then a proximity alarm goes off and someone enters the building. It's Luke Dempsey, Brian's son, who came by to check up on him and bring him some food. He tells his dad that he knows he hasn't been home. Luke spots a pillow and some blankets and realizes his father has been sleeping at the warehouse. Brian says he's been busy working on a new computer program that he thinks a lot of people will be very impressed with.
At the FBI, Olivia regroups with Broyles and Peter. Olivia theorizes that whoever is responsible for these deaths was watching her through the computer's video camera. Broyles suggests that the killer may be aware that Olivia is on the case and hacked into their system to track her. Olivia says she has yet to find any connection between the victims, which makes finding a motive difficult.
Evanston, Illinois. Miriam comes home to find her husband, Mark Rosenthal, dead in front of his computer. His liquefied brains have spilled out of his ears and nose onto his shirt.
While walking to the lab with Peter, Olivia receives a call from Charlie informing her about the next victim. As Olivia heads inside, Peter spots an older woman staring in his direction. He walks up to the woman, who turns out to be Jessica Warren. Peter says that he read her letter and understands why she wishes to see his father, but Walter isn't ready, and meeting him won't bring her daughter back. When the woman says the issue is between herself and Walter, Peter ends the conversation by saying it's not going to happen.
In the lab, Walter explains how he thinks the victims died - the program created visual and susonic aural stimuli that amplified the victims' neural impulses and trapped their brains in an endless loop -- much like a computer virus - only one that attacks people.
Later, Olivia talks to Peter about Jessica Warren. Olivia knows she's the mother of the lab assistant who was killed in the same fire that put Walter in the mental institution nearly twenty years ago. Olivia thinks Peter should let Walter and Mrs. Warren talk, but Peter disagrees and walks out. Astrid enters and presents Olivia with background on the latest victim. It shows he married Miriam Dempsey, Luke Dempsey's mother. But why would Luke kill his own friend Gregory? Then Olivia remembers that Luke's and Gregory's fathers had worked together.
A short investigation reveals that Gregory Wiles' father used to be Brian Dempsey's boss, but fired him. Brian is apparently going after people who hurt him by targeting their loved-ones.
In the Federal Building. Olivia, Charlie, Harris, and Peter stand behind a one-way mirror, looking at Luke Dempsey in the interrogation room. Olivia suspects Luke knows there's something wrong with his father, and that if they interrogate him aggressively he may shut down or ask for a lawyer. She wants to wait for the right moment, but Harris disagrees, ordering her to get in the room and break him.
During interrogation, Luke says it's been a few weeks since he's seen his father. Olivia and Charlie aren't getting what they need, so they show him crime scene photos of Mark Rosenthal and of his friend, Gregory Wiles. When they explain that the only connection is his father, Luke shuts down and asks for a lawyer. Outside the room, Olivia tells Charlie to wait five minutes and then release Luke.
Back at the Federal Building, Harris discovers Luke has been released and that Olivia is gone. He orders a trace on her vehicle.
Inside the warehouse, Luke confronts his father about the killings. Brian says he couldn't let himself be walked on. Then the proximity alarm goes off, and Brian sees Olivia on his monitors. He orders Luke to leave. Olivia moves silently through the building, unaware she's being watched. As she reaches Brian Dempsey's program development lab, all of his monitors light up with the familiar flashing images. This distraction enable Brian to sneak up on Olivia and put a gun to her head.
Brian disarms Olivia and accuses her of ruining his life. He puts his own gun under his chin and holds Olivia at bay with her gun. Back in the car, Peter hears sirens in the distance. Olivia tries to reason with him. Peter hears the sirens coming closer and enters the building. Brian focuses on the screen images saying that he wants to experience his creation. As Peter walks through the building, Luke surprises him and threatens him with a pipe. Peter tries to calm Luke; then a gunshot is heard and they both rush to see what happened. They discover Brian lying dead on the floor. A distraught Luke tries to flee, but he is caught by Harris and the agents he has brought with him.
In the car as they watch Brian Dempsey being loaded into a van, Peter asks Olivia why Luke would protect a murderer. Olivia gives the obvious answer - because it was his father.
At the task force Office, Harris tells Broyles that Dunham violated his direct orders by releasing Luke. Broyles responds that Olivia closed the case in spite of Harris's obstructions. Broyles tells Harris that if he continues his personal vendetta against Olivia, he will put his career on the line to protect her, and threatens him that if he doesn't back off "all the red tape in the world won't protect you." Harris retorts that he has a lot of red tape.
In the lab, Peter has changed his mind. He tells Walter there's a woman who wants to see him -- but that he can end the conversation any time he wants. Jessica says her daughter's name was Carla Warren, and that lands hard on Walter. The sad look on his face says he remembers her. Jessica wants to know if there's anything Walter can tell her about Carla, since he was the last person to see her alive. Walter says he remembers she had a wonderful smile. Walter awkwardly comforts Jessica and says he'll tell her everything he remembers about Carla.
Back at home, Olivia talks with Rachel. The doorbell rings, and it's Peter. He tells Olivia that she was right about Walter... and more importantly, that he's grateful to Olivia for bringing Walter back into his life. He was scared that letting Walter talk to Jessica Warren might compromise that. As Rachel comes out and greets Peter, there's just the hint of chemistry between them, and Olivia's expression shows she notices. But Peter simply says good-night and goes on his way.
- Walter ponders what was seen in the final moments before cyber death and critiques Ryle and Koestler for Ghost in the Machine.
- Walter then shares that he has a Ghost in his machine. One that walks through walls... that leads him into sealed areas - and leaves him... until the orderly finds him and hoses him down.
- The last paragraph
- That is, of course, the motivating [factor(?)]...
insurmountable odds faced by those...
-- but such will not be my fate if...
Never! Behind every swinging door...[Once more(?)]
into the breaches, dear friends, once [more(?)]...
Our pattern-seeking minds, searching...
but not to be found in a college to[day(?)]
- That is, of course, the motivating [factor(?)]...
- • "Once more into the breech..." is from Henry V by Shakespeare
- The Observer stands on a corner while Olivia is driving to save Ella
- Broyles, who once dismissed Olivia because of her investigation of Harris, tells Harris he will put his career on the line on her behalf.
- This is the first episode where action within the U.S. occurred outside of the northeast/New England region. (Evanston, Illinois)
- The malicious computer program displays several rapidly moving distorted images on screen. However, many of them are recognizable:
- Continuity Errors
- Weapon. As Dempsey takes Olivia's pistol and threatens to shoot himself in the neck with his own revolver, his right hand is shown holding a different weapon in consecutive scenes. Eventually, her pistol finds its' way to his left hand, where it should have been to avoid the continuity discrepancy in the first place.
- Recurring Themes
- Hallucinogenic Death. Extreme psychosomatic events.
|As Olivia and Ella nap (Bound) - a book titled 'What's That Noise?' rests on them. This foreshadowed the killer computer program that utilized aural methods to kill, and started with a pop-up graphic that said - 'What's That Noise?'.|
• Spaceman by The Killers
• Single Ladies by Beyoncé
• Insight by Fort Knox Five
• Bandits by Midlake
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on The No-Brainer/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- Why was Ella not killed by the computer program?
- Why was Ella targeted by Brian Dempsey?
- If she was not the intended target... who was?
- What "cruelty" did Wiles inflict on Dempsey to merit this level of revenge?
- Where did Dempsey obtain the knowledge to kill people in the way he did, using a "program" to do it?
- Was anyone helping him?