Recap – ‘Fringe’: ‘Subject 13’ (Digital Spy)
In the past, a young Peter ties himself to a heavy brick and attempts to break the ice covering the lake that he is standing on. He finally succeeds and plunges into the icy waters, but Elizabeth Bishop arrives just in time and rescues him. Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, a young Walter works with a group of young children, including Olivia Dunham. Returning home, the scientist attempts to reassure Peter, who is convinced that Walter and Elizabeth are not his real parents. Later, Walter explains to his wife that the children he is working with may be able to cross between universes and take Peter back home. The next day, Peter argues with Elizabeth, claiming that Walter stole him from another world at the bottom of the lake.
At Olivia’s home, her brutish step-father chases and threatens her. While panicked, Olivia is briefly transported to a green field, before returning home. When Walter arrives at his lab the next day, he notices that Olivia has a bruised face, which she claims was caused by a fall. Walter notices that she has sketched an airship, like the kind in the alternate universe, and that she saw the craft when she ‘fell’. Walter becomes convinced that Olivia’s power is linked to an extreme emotional response and, when Elizabeth and Peter arrive for a visit, he explains to his wife that Olivia may be able to help Peter cross over.
Walter begins experimenting on Olivia, but her abilities do not respond to feelings of joy, exhilaration, anger or loneliness. He finally tests for fear, trapping Olivia in a dark room and covering her friend Nick in gruesome make-up. Terrified, Olivia activates her power and the room is engulfed in flames. In the aftermath, Olivia flees the lab.
Elizabeth leaves Peter in the lab while she investigates Walter’s office. While Peter examines Olivia’s sketchbook, which contains drawings of her angry step-father and the field she was transported to, Elizabeth finds Walter’s notes on his experiments. Walter returns to his office and reveals that a combination of love and terror is what triggers Olivia’s powers. He admits that he is considering returning her home to her abusive step-father in order to trigger her abilities, send Peter home and save the two universes, but Elizabeth is appalled. At that moment, lab assistant Ashley arrives and reveals that Peter has gone missing.
In a flash to the alternate universe, we see that Walternate has turned to drink in the aftermath of Peter’s kidnapping. The alternate Elizabeth begs him to help rebuild their crumbling marriage, but rather than stay at home, Walternate returns to work at ‘Bishop Dynamic’.
Back in the regular world, Peter finds Olivia back in the field. She finally admits that her step-father hits her and that she ran because she is afraid that “Doctor Walter” will send her home, but Peter insists that she should trust Walter. The pair return to the lab, much to Elizabeth’s relief. When Olivia learns that her step-father is coming to get her, she rushes into Walter’s office and tearfully tells him that she has been abused and that the violence causes her to cross over. However, Walter then appears behind her, asking what is the matter, and it is revealed that Olivia has unconsciously crossed over and actually made her confession to Walternate.
Sometime later, Olivia’s step-father arrives to pick her up and Walter warns the brute that if she is harmed again, he will use his government contacts to cause “significant troubles” for him. At the Bishop home, Peter apologises to Elizabeth for running away. He asks her one final time if she is his real mother and she repeats her earlier lie, telling him that she is his mother and that his confusion is caused by his recent illness. Peter seems to believe her and leaves the room, but an emotional Elizabeth is clearly affected by the deception and begins drinking.
The episode concludes back in the alternate universe. Now in possession of a sketch by Olivia, illustrating her and Peter sat in the field, Walternate calls his wife and tells her that he knows where Peter was taken.