Season 2, Episode 9
Fringe Snakehead
Air date December 3, 2009
Written by David Wilcox
Directed by Paul Holahan
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Cast | Transcript

"Snakehead" is the ninth episode of the second season of Fringe.


A damaged cargo ship washes ashore and all of the crew members seem to be infected with giant squid-like creatures that actually turn out to be parasites. While Fringe division investigates, the clock starts ticking when Olivia, Peter and Broyles discover a terrifying connection between the incident and a threatening organization.


In Dorchester, a damaged cargo ship from China washes ashore; all of the crew members seem to be infected with squid-like creatures which soon erupt from their mouths, effectively killing their hosts. Other survivors flock to a contact house in Boston's Chinatown, only to suffer the same fate in the presence of a man named Ming Che. While investigating the crime scene shore, the Fringe team discover a healthy young Chinese woman named Mei Lin, who tells them all of the passengers but her were given pills for "seasickness" and that another ship is expected in two days. In the lab, Walter Bishop posits they are gigantic parasitic worms, a modified version of Ancylostoma duodenale, that needs hosts for their gestation period, hence the distribution of parasitic pills. One of the still-living worms bites Walter, boosting his white blood cell count and making him suddenly feel better.

They discover a Triad gang member and ties to several shell companies the gang has set up in the U.S. They interview Elizabeth Jarvis, one of the companies' large investors, but she seems unaware of her investment's criminal background. While at her house, Peter Bishop observes signs of obsessive compulsive and germaphobe characteristics such as large quantities of hand sanitizer. Walter informs him the worm has a medicinal purpose, not a narcotic one as they previously believed. These two discoveries lead Peter and Olivia Dunham back to Jarvis' house, and they learn that her son Matt Jarvis has an immuno-deficiency disorder. To allow him to be able to go outside, his mother and doctor have been giving him an injection to his spleen once a month, though he is unaware of the medicine's origins.

Meanwhile, an invigorated Walter ventures out to Chinatown to find a herbalist for his research; unaware of the clerk's connection to the case, Walter casually mentions the giant worms. Walter manages to lose Astrid Farnsworth, who was sent to follow him out of worry for his ability to travel alone. She goes back to the lab but is attacked by Triad gang members intent on getting back the remaining worms. Unaware of this, a distraught Walter becomes lost and wastes all his bus money on wrong phone numbers, causing Peter to have to pick him up. Olivia talks to Jarvis, who finally admits to being aware of the medicine. She tells Olivia the whereabouts of the incoming ship, but they find it already empty. Peter and Walter return back to the herbalist shop and discover the remaining passengers. The FBI storms in and the survivors are sent to the hospital for care. Feeling remorseful about the trouble he caused, Walter injects himself with a tracking implant and gives Peter the transponder.

Notable Quotes[]

Walter: Truly, Agent Farnsworth, it never ceases to amaze me the infinite variation that Mother Nature gives us. She truly has quite a disturbing sense of humor.
Astrid: Considering your new pet, I think Mother Nature's a real bitch.

Walter: Given the high cost of transporting the creature, it must be quite a high.
Astrid: Walter, you are not smoking this thing.

Walter: Does it occur to you that perhaps I want to be alone? That perhaps I want to live my life with a semblance of dignity and self-respect? If I want to go get a hot dog, so be it. I may go grocery shopping. I may even join a gym.

Peter: So how many are there? Is it bad?
Olivia: Did you eat?
Peter: Yeah.
Olivia: Well, that's unfortunate.


  • The Observer can be seen crossing the foreground as the Triad member opens the door after he is phoned to follow Astrid Farnsworth in Chinatown.
  • The X- Files connections: The minor role of Fao is portrayed by actress Diana Ha, who played Doctor Wu, on The X-Files , in the season 3 episode "Hell Money." This marks the eighth episode out of nine so far in Season 2 in which an actor who worked on The X-Files has a role in a Fringe episode.
  • This is the first episode to feature recognizable locations within the city of Vancouver, B.C., where Fringe is now filmed. Many locations within the city's iconic Chinatown appear, while the aircraft sequence was filmed on Burrard Inlet, with Canada Place and the Lion's Gate Bridge prominently featured.
  • Although credited, Blair Brown (Nina Sharp) does not appear in this episode.
  • You can hear Walter say Astrid's name correctly 6 times in the episode: at the beginning of the episode, when he asks her to show Peter the picture of the worm, 3 after Peter picks him up from Chinatown, and 2 when he comes into the lab.
  • On the season 2 DVD there is an Easter egg where Jasika Nicole says the script originally had a scene with Astrid physically fighting the Triad gang members in the lab, but it was cut from the script (without being shot). But in the scene where Peter is being restrained (to be fed a worm), one of the men holding him down is one of the gang members who attacked Astrid, and he has a black eye. This bruise was added to show that Astrid did get some licks in when she was attacked.


  • "Juke" by Little Walter