|Season 2, Episode 8|
|Air date||November 19, 2009|
|Written by||Jeff Pinkner|
|Directed by||Dennis Smith|
"Of Human Action"
|Cast | Transcript|
When a peculiar abduction occurs in Boston, the Fringe team uncovers details of the mysterious man known as The Observer. While the bizarre case takes center stage, Walter, Peter and Astrid hit the lab to analyze unusual evidence and deal with Walter’s insatiable appetite for a milkshake.
An Observer, "August" abducts Christine Hollis, a 27-year old art student in Boston. Olivia Dunham and Peter Bishop learn of the events and realize the assailant matches the description of the Observer. However, after viewing video footage they find that it is not "September", the Observer known for observing Pattern-related cases and who previously saved Peter and his father Walter Bishop in 1985, indicating there is more than one Observer. Olivia is confused as to August's motives, as Observers are known to only observe events and not interfere with them. After questioning Christine's friend, Olivia learns she was to take a flight to Rome, Italy. Peter finds a picture of Christine from her childhood before her parents were killed in the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, and sees August in the background, indicating he has been observing her entire life. The plane to Rome would later crash, killing everyone on board. Because of this, the team realize August, in fact, saved her life.
At Massive Dynamic, Brandon Fayette theorizes to the team that Observers are time travelers, as they have been documented during several major events in history. They write in an incomprehensible language, and the number of Observer sightings has increased over the past few months, leaving the team wondering why. Meanwhile, August visits the other Observers, September, December and July. They are not happy that he saved a girl who was supposed to die in the plane crash. To correct his mistake, they send Donald Long, an assassin affiliated with the Observers to correct August's actions. In an attempt to save her, August sends a secret message to Walter. During the meeting, August reveals Christina will die because she is not important; Walter tells August that he has to make her important.
The team are later made aware of Christina's location at a motel outside the city. However, Donald is on the trail also. August attempts to stop him, but Donald shoots him several times before Peter and Olivia arrive to kill the assassin. September picks up August and while driving, September asks August why he saved Christine. August reveals that he is in love with her, and asks if she would be safe. September informs him Christine will stay alive because she is now important; she was responsible for the death of an Observer. August cries before succumbing to his wounds. In the end, Olivia takes a day off to spend time with her niece, Ella Blake, at an amusement park. Two Observers watches the two, and they remark that everything is about to get worse for Olivia.
September: Who is she? Why did you save her?
August: I saw her many years ago. She was a child. Her parents had just been killed. She was crying. But she... she was brave. She crossed my mind... somehow. She never left it. I think... it's what they call... feelings. I think... I love her.
Astrid: Walter, I've got the results of the blood sample from the book.
Walter: Oh. (chuckles to himself) High concentration of capsaicin! Which means it's not blood at all. It's chili pepper juice. He must have spilt some in the book.
Peter: Well, that's great news. So, we'll add "messy" to the APB.
Walter: No, it is good news. A concentration of 970 thousand on the Scoville scale; that's one of the hottest chili peppers there is. I hypothesize that a Naga Jolokia from India, otherwise known as the King Cobra Chili. I once ate one. The flatulence was... horrible. Very embarrassing.
- The concept of an "observer" becoming emotionally involved has appeared in other television programs. "Dance of the Dead", an episode of The Prisoner featured a female assigned to observe Prisoner No. 6 compromising herself when she develops an attachment to her subject. The lead character in Doctor Who is from a race dedicated to observing, never interfering, but refuses to conform to this philosophy.
- Besides the "original" Observer, no less than three additional Observers, along with an assassin accomplice, are introduced in this episode.
- Although credited, Blair Brown (Nina Sharp) does not appear in this episode.
- When Walter Bishop meets August to plead for the observers not to take his son, they meet in the Slocan Restaurant. The real Slocan Restaurant is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where many scenes in Season 2 were filmed.
- In the opening sequence of this episode, 'the Observer' receives a United States flag lapel pin from a veteran. Then it disappears and reappears several times between shots.
- In the long shot of Olivia on the roller coaster, it is clearly someone wearing a poor blonde wig, and not the actual actress.
- When a shot of The Observer's message decoded by Walter is shown, the symbol for "As" is identical to "N" and the symbol for "Ti" is identical to "Ge".
- August holds the girl captive in a motel in Lowell. Lowell, Massachusetts, rather famously has only one hotel: the downtown UMass Conference Center.
- "Jamaica Say You Will" by Jackson Browne
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