A New Day In The Old Town
Season 2, Episode 1
Air date September 17, 2009
Written by Akiva Goldsman
J.J. Abrams
Directed by Akiva Goldsman
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Cast | Transcript

"A New Day In The Old Town" is the first episode of the second season of Fringe.


Olivia Dunham travels to an intriguing Alternate Universe to meet with Massive Dynamic founder William Bell. Her shocking return to this perplexing alternate reality, while Peter Bishop, unknowingly in a race against time with an ominous mobile force, pursues information about Olivia's visit. Walter Bishop reenters the lab to cook up a bit of fringe science, and of course, some custard for Peter's birthday.


A mysterious man involved in a downtown Manhattan collision with an SUV flees the scene to a nearby apartment building. He enters the building and attacks Lloyd Parr, hooking up equipment to the man's inner mouth, which allows him to adopt his external appearance and shapeshift. The crashed SUV is discovered to be Olivia Dunham's, though she is not inside. Peter Bishop and Walter Bishop arrive and investigate the scene while being

Amy jessup 1

Amy and Peter.

accosted by a new junior agent, Amy Jessup, who wonders what they do for the FBI. After Walter searches through the SUV, he shuts the door and Olivia is suddenly ejected through the windshield. She is rushed to the hospital and declared brain dead. Peter and Phillip Broyles drink at a bar together in sorrow, and Broyles reveals the Fringe Division is being shut down because of their


Olivia ejected from the car.

failure to provide "usable results". Suspicious and curious of Fringe Division, Jessup begins a personal investigation into their past activities. After talking to Rachel Blake about her sister, Peter visits Olivia, who is scheduled to be taken off life support the following morning. However, Olivia

Olivia 2x1

Olivia wakes up.

suddenly wakes up, crying the Greek phrase "Einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toy". She does not remember getting injured, and incoherently tells Peter there is something they need to do, and their "lives may depend on it," but cannot remember who told her this, or why. Peter tries to enter the FBI building but is denied until Jessup agrees to accompany him. She questions him about Fringe Division, and they begin investigating the driver who hit Olivia and discovers his name is George Reed. When they arrive at his apartment, they discover what appears to be the driver's body, but he had died before the accident took place. The shapeshifted man makes contact with his group via typewriter and is told his mission to prevent a "meeting"

Shape shifter


was unsuccessful, as Olivia is still alive. He is told to interrogate her, and then kill her. Meanwhile, Peter introduces Jessup to their lab at Harvard, and upon performing an autopsy on the man found in the apartment, they find three holes in the roof of his mouth. Walter shows them archived footage of one of his 1970s experiments of a drugged up Rebecca Kibner who says she sees shapechanging soldiers from a parallel universe that can "look like any of us".

Charlie F

Charlie Francis.

After being visited by her partner, Agent Charlie Francis, and given a gun, Olivia is unsuccessfully questioned by the shapeshifter, who has adopted the appearance of a female nurse. The nurse attempts to kill Olivia but is shot and flees from Jessup. Peter, Charlie, and Jessup follow her into nearby tunnels, but the nurse manages to kill Charlie and secretly shapeshift into him. Peter returns to Olivia and tells her the


Peter hands Broyles the device.

Greek phrase means "Be a better man than your father," and was told to him every night by his mother.

After being told by a panel of Senators that Fringe is not worth the human or fiscal cost, Broyles is given the transformation device by Peter so Broyles can justify Fringe Division remaining active. The final scene shows the shapeshifted Charlie disposing of the real agent's body.

Notable Quotes[]

Walter: Agent, I need this body taken back to my lab.
Paramedic: Hey, lunatic, this body is going to the morgue. Is he crazy?
Walter: Peter?
Paramedic: Who is the agent in charge here?
Jessup: I am. Take it wherever he wants.
Walter: Lovely.
Jessup: Is he crazy?
Peter: Oh, yeah.

Olivia: So who was she?
Peter: Walter thinks that she was a shape-changing soldier from another universe. He thinks that might be where you went. Hmm. Do you think it's a bad sign that I can say that out loud and neither one of us thinks I'm crazy.

Walter: Peter! Peter! They said I can ride in the back with the body. Can I?
Peter: Sure. Of course you can. Stay out of the medications, though. Please.

Walter: We need to celebrate and make sure that Agent Dunham can attend. I want to see her face when she eats my pudding.
Peter: That's disturbing.


  • The Observer crosses the street near the crash.
  • The X- Files connections: When the "three prong device" is first used, on the television in the background there is a shot of Mulder and Scully from The X-Filesspecifically shown are clips taken from a scene from the beginning of the sixth-season episode "Dreamland, Part I".  They are holding hands- which COULD be a symbol for the "togetherness" of the "other" universe where W. Bell is living. Or it could simply be a completely different meaning. One of the senators, Senator Kenneth Taylor (credited as Old Senator), is played by Ken Camroux-Taylor, who played the assistant to Section Chief Scott Blevins in the pilot episode of The X-Files ([1] ) and while commenting on Fringe Division's history to Broyles , he casually mentions a previous "'X' designation", indicating a possibility of being in the same 'reality' as the The X-Files. The X-Files was filmed and produced in the Vancouver area in seasons 1-5, and is known for utilising locations around the area. Fringe also moved production from New York to Vancouver at the beginning of season 2.
  • A reference to Tim Leary; the "guru" of LSD. Walter mentions, briefly, that he had met Leary, and drugs were of point and interest. This correlation could be the fact that Tim Leary was, in fact, teaching at Harvard and gave his students LSD as a "homework assignment".
  • At the end of the episode, Peter Bishop provides Phillip Broyles with the transformation device. A montage of the principal characters is shown. The new character FBI Agent Amy Jessup is hard at work at her laptop. She is reviewing photos and notes from past Fringe Division cases. In a separate window, she is writing notes. The notes are Bible passages. Her notes are I have not figured out the four digits and FD notation. Her note is the first line and the following lines are from my Bible research.
    • 2548EA-FD – Eat the Flesh, Revelations R19:18 "that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free[a] and slave, both small and great." I believe this is the clue to the next episode when the scorpion/mole child eats people underground. ("Night Of Desirable Objects")
  • The second season saw the show's production move from New York to Vancouver.


  • This episode is one of several in both Seasons 1 and 2 that appear to ignore the fact it takes several hours to drive between Boston and New York City, as Walter and Peter are notified of Olivia's accident, yet the accident investigation is still underway when they arrive in New York what must have been several hours later. The following episode compounds the error by having Walter indicating to Olivia that only one hour elapsed between the accident and her crashing through the windshield.
  • In Olivia's hospital room when the nurse interrogates her, the nurse's ID badge moves from behind her sweater, to its front, and then behind it again with each change in the camera's point of view during their conversation.
  • The nurse is shot by Agent Francis and is lying dead when the others arrive. Later we see the shapeshifter Francis dumping the real body of Charlie Francis in the incinerator. This adds up to three bodies: one nurse and two Agent Francis - one too many. (Either that or the FBI did not secure the scene and account for the not dead inter-dimensional shapeshifting soldier.) EDIT: The dead nurse the Shapeshifter originally took the form of, must have been in the area of the incinerator. When Francis tried to shoot the shapeshifter and failed, Shapeshifter quickly killed Francis, took his form, hid his body and put the dead nurse in the place of the supposed dead Shapeshifter. Leaving the team one body short and none of the main characters or the FBI team thinks to check to see if the "real" body of the Nurse is nearby in the very convenient bin in the corner, or ever wonder why they didn't find the body like they found the others.
  • When the shapeshifter is shot it bleads red. Should be silver (mercury).
    • Still, it should also be noted that as Walter theorized that the shapeshifter actually is a shapeshifter from the alternate universe, it also seems odd that the dead body was not autopsied by Walter - which would, of course, have led to them finding out that it was the real nurse.


  • "Can't Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith


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