|Season 3, Episode 6|
|Air date||November 11, 2010|
|Written by|| Robert Chiappetta|
|Directed by||Joe Chappelle|
| ← previous|
| next →|
|Cast | Transcript|
Back "over here," the Fringe Division investigates a bizarre phenomenon when 15 people up and down the Eastern Seaboard, all suffer retrograde amnesia from listening to their shortwave radios on the same frequency. Much to Walter's dismay, Peter presses on with piecing together the mass destruction device. Just as alternate Olivia and Peter's chemistry deepens, the anticipation of Olivia's return escalates.
A man named Murray Harkins is working at a lighthouse and climbs down from the top of the tower to respond to a radio message from a ship out at the choppy sea. He then turns around to his computer and is shown chatting online with several other people.
In Chinatown, a Chinese man named Dan Liang is speaking to his friend Shen Chan. Halfway, Shen turns himself to a whiteboard filled with mysterious numbers. His friend gets irritated and leaves his apartment. Shen turns to his computer, displaying also the same chat site as the man at the lighthouse.
At a house, Laird Woomer enters his master bedroom, carrying his baby and talks to his wife Becky Woomer. They have a conversation before his Becky tells him that "it" is about to start. Laird understands that and leaves the room, saying he will prepare some tea for her. She turns to her computer, displaying the same chatting place, where she types "it's about to begin" and she tunes her radio to 6955 kHz, so did Dan and Murry. The radio wave, 6955 kHz, suddenly switches from playing music to reading out strange words. The woman listens and happily writes down the numbers she hears when she stops suddenly. She begins to have a seizure, clutching her head. It also happens to Dan and Murry too.
When 6955 kHz switched back, they all stopped having a seizure. Murry stares at the radio box, bewildered at a radio message from the same ship. Shen stares at his whiteboard. Dan returns and asks if he's alright. Shen could only turn around and stare blankly at his friend. Back at Becky's house, Laird happily makes tea when she runs down. Bewildered, she screams at him and question who he is. Laird, shocked, responded that he was her husband. Becky sees a knife on the kitchen table and grabs it, threatening her husband. She questions, all out of fear, who she is and where she was, showing that she (together with the other two men) had lost their memories.
The Fringe team is brought in to investigate the station broadcasting the signal and find its workers killed. They discover a strange box connected to the broadcast equipment, levitating due to its use of electromagnetism. They identify fingerprints on the box of a Joseph Feller, but his current location is unknown. Walter Bishop attempts to decipher the workings of the box while giving hope to some of the affected people that they will get their memories back in time.
Peter Bishop discovers that the rare book shopkeeper, Edward Markham, was part of the online group but did not listen that night, as he left the group years ago. Edward provides his theory of the numbers stations to Peter and Fauxlivia, that it is a signal left by the "First People", an advanced civilization that existed before the dinosaurs but were wiped out in a mass extinction event. He provides them with a book about the First People. As they return the book to Walter, Peter notices that numbers in the astrological charts in the book are the same as the broadcasted numbers. They give the book to Astrid Farnsworth, a skilled decoder, along with copious volumes of data from Massive Dynamic about the numbers stations.
Later, the crash of a small commuter aircraft is attributed to a similar signal from a numbers station, and when Fringe division identifies the source, they find a second box. Taking the box to Walter, Peter identifies one of the electronic components as rare and engages his contacts to find Feller's address from its purchase. Fauxlivia feigns returning to headquarters but instead travels to Feller's apartment (revealing that she has been in league with Feller), warning him that Fringe is onto him, but Feller insists on continuing his job. She throws him out the window as the Fringe team arrives, killing him and revealing him to be a Shape-shifter. Fauxlivia claims she killed the man in self-defense.
Meanwhile, Astrid has decoded the numbers as a series of geographical coordinates. The closest one is in Minton, Massachusetts, the site of where a mysterious box was found ("The Box"). Teams are quickly sent to the other sites given across the globe, and they discover many more parts of what Walter and Peter believe to be the same doomsday machine that Walternate has already constructed in the Alternate Universe, and which the First People book claims can destroy or create universes. Fauxlivia later communicates this finding to the parallel universe through the typewriter shop, and told to initiate "phase two".
The episode ends in the parallel universe; Olivia Dunham, having broken Walternate's condition to make her believe herself to be Fauxlivia, is told by Brandon that no further tests are needed. A vision of Peter warns Olivia that her usefulness to Walternate has ended and her life is in danger.
Walter: Nina! If I had known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake.
Astrid: He means that. Literally.
Fauxlivia: If you knew that only one of our worlds could survive, and if it was up to you, and you alone, to defend your side, you'd have no choice, right? I mean, you would have to do what you had to do no matter the cost to protect our world.
Peter: There are billions of innocent people over there, just like here. People with jobs, families, lives. I got to believe there's another way. And whatever my part in all of this is I got to believe there's another way. There's always hope, right?
Astrid: An ancient people who evolved before the dinosaurs just vanished without a trace? It's... it's absurd.
Walter: Wh-why should we be so arrogant as to assume that we're the first homo sapiens to walk the earth. History is full of extinction events: climate change, meteorites, Atlantis.
Astrid: Atlantis? Peter, come on. Help me out here.
- The Observer is standing outside of the building that Fauxlivia shoots the shape-shifter from. He appears in the distance between Fauxlivia and Phillip Broyles immediately after Peter Bishop pulls out the fallen shape-shifter's data storage unit.
- In this episode, Fauxlivia begins to experience 'hiccups' in assuming her new identity. These include when Nina Sharp tells her that she is "usually more direct with Walter," when Peter Bishop asks her what the numbers being broadcast were and she has forgotten (remember, our Olivia has a photographic memory), and when she is talking to Peter about 'our worlds' as opposed to 'our world'.
- The uncoded ciphers spell the word 'Decay', which is potentially in reference to the decay in Fauxlivia's loyalty to her objective as she becomes increasingly personally involved with Peter and Walter as well as how she falters in assuming her new identity.
- The number-broadcast causing listeners to experience retrograde amnesia is in Dutch; a pun reference to marijuana: the "Royal Dutch Amnesia" strain.
- Numbers Stations like in this episode also exist in the real world.
- Astrid Farnsworth suggests that Walter listen to Johann Sebastian Bach to calm his nerves while he attempts to understand the silver cubes that are found to be the cause of the listener's memory loss. This is significant because Bach was known for the numerical structures that he incorporated into his compositions.
- During the beginning of this episode, the number broadcast is in Dutch. But the numbers written down by the lady are different numbers. It is possible this is an intentional reference however as three of the numbers we see her write down are 15, 8 and 42, three of the "Lost numbers", a show also by JJ Abrams.
- There's no "Baltimore Center" in the USA, as mentioned by the pilot. In the area (DC/Richmond), an aircraft would most probably be in contact with Washington Center.
- Suite No. 3 In D Major, BWV 1068 - Air by Bach
- I Should Care by Bill Evans