The Cure
Season 1, Episode 6
Air date October 21, 2008
Written by Brad Caleb Kane
Felicia D. Henderson
Directed by Bill Eagles
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Cast | Transcript

"The Cure" is the sixth episode of the first season of Fringe.


When a young woman explodes inside a diner, the team works to determine the cause. They learn of a second woman who has been turned into a human weapon by an unscrupulous drug company executive and rush to save her before she can be shipped to "the client". Agent Dunham discloses critical information about her childhood to Peter Bishop.


Emily Sits Down

Emily sits down in Holly's Diner.

A speeding van comes to a halt on a suburban street, in Milford, Mass. Two men wearing hazardous material protective clothing dump a young woman named Emily Kramer onto the street. The van then leaves the area at a high rate of speed. The disoriented woman walks into a nearby diner and takes a seat at the counter. The young counter employee Ben, who is concerned about her well-being, offers her some soup and asks another person to notify Marty Pitts, the local police officer.

When Marty asks her what's wrong, she responds that "they" took her, and gave her a red medicine, and then a blue one. Convinced the woman needs psychiatric help, Marty attempts to restrain her, but this only agitates her more. And as Emily tries to break free, everyone in the diner screams and starts bleeding from their eyes. Soon Emily is bleeding too, crying out in pain. She runs to the door of the diner, where her head explodes, splattering blood against the diner window.

Meat Thermometer

Using a meat thermometer.

The next day, the diner has been roped off as a crime scene, with investigators dressed in hazardous materials suits. Phillip Broyles informs the team that prior to last night's incident, the young woman, now identified as Emily Kramer, had been missing for two weeks. Also of note is that while all of the victims in the diner were exposed to high levels of radiation, the radiation coming from Emily's body was three times that of the others. Walter Bishop asks for a HAZMAT suit.

Walter deduces that Emily was suffering from Bellini's lymphocemia, a rare autoimmune disease. There is no known cure, but her disease appears to have been in remission. Walter inserts a meat thermometer into Marty's skull and based on the temperature he realizes that the radiation in the diner boiled everyone's brains. He demands that both Emily's and Marty's bodies be brought back to the lab.

At Patel Health Care, Olivia Dunham questions Emily's doctor, Nadim Patel. He reveals nothing regarding Emily's condition except that her recovery was a miracle. Back at the lab, in addition to noting Emily must have worn hyacinth-scented perfume, Walter finds evidence that Emily was being held against her will -- and most likely the victim of some kind of experiment. Just then, Olivia receives a call notifying her that another person has been kidnapped.

Restrained Claire

Claire Williams restrained at an unknown facility.

Claire Williams, the latest kidnap victim, also suffers from the same disease. As Olivia and Charlie Francis prepare to question Claire's husband Ken Williams, Charlie wishes Olivia a happy birthday. When Olivia tells Ken that Claire's case may be linked to Emily's, Ken says he's never heard of Emily Kramer, and he begs them to find his wife.

At an experimental facility in an unknown location, Claire Williams is strapped to a table, as Elizabeth Sarnoff in a HAZMAT suit takes her blood. She brings the sample to an observation room where she tells a man in a crisp suit that Claire is a prime candidate.

Back in the lab, Walter prepares a demonstration of what happened to Emily and the other victims at the diner. Using a microwave gun, he explodes papaya, explaining that in the diner, Emily Kramer acted as the microwave. Walter has found broken capsules with traces of radioactive isotopes in Emily's blood, evidence of a form of time-release radiation therapy. The treatment cured her disease -- but also made her a perfect candidate for weaponization. Whatever was injected into her bloodstream caused the capsules to burst all at once, resulting in a burst of microwave radiation.

Bellini Trio

Emily, Claire and Ken, who "do not know each other".

When Peter and Olivia arrive at Emily Kramer's house to ask about this mystery treatment, they discover a wake in progress. Olivia heads straight for Emily's room to rifle through her things, searching for anything that might serve as a clue. She is caught in the act by Emily's mother, Paula Kramer who is angry at the intrusion, but, when told that another woman's life is in danger, agrees to cooperate. Paula shows Dunham and Francis a photograph of her daughter with Ken and Claire Williams.

Olivia and Peter confront Ken Williams and demand to know why he lied to the FBI. Ken confesses the story of how Emily and Claire became friends. Only 3000 people in the U.S. have Bellini's, too few to constitute a profitable line of research for the pharmaceutical industry. A small group of Bellini's victims pooled their resources to find their own cure, without industry help or FDA approval. Ken also reveals that Nadim Patel had been helping them.

In the experimental facility, Elizabeth Sarnoff in the HAZMAT suit injects Claire with a red liquid, informing her that this is her cure, and then a blue liquid that will make her "special".

Olivia Watches Patel

Olivia watches Patel die.

Olivia presents Nadim Patel with Ken Williams's story and demands to know who else is involved. Patel confesses that he passed information about the treatment to INtREPUS, a pharmaceutical company, but that he never meant for anything bad to happen. Suddenly, Patel pulls a gun. As the two face each other, guns drawn, Patel gives her a name -- David Esterbrook -- then commits suicide.

Esterbrook Lecture Pin

Esterbrook's "Aleph" pin.

Charlie reports that David Esterbrook heads up INtREPUS's pharmaceutical research division and has worked on a wide range of controversial projects. Olivia decides to confront Esterbrook at a conference in Manhattan. She introduces herself as Amanda Bennett to Esterbrook, who is revealed to be the man in the suit at the experimental facility. Olivia is not yet aware of Esterbrook's activities at the facility. Esterbrook has a pin on his lapel similar to the "Aleph"-shaped symbol on Olivia's uncle's kayak. After gushing his praises and slyly probing him for information, Olivia reveals herself as an FBI agent. Esterbrook menacingly warns her to stay away.

Broyles Berates Dunham

Broyles berates Dunham.

Following the receipt of a phone call, Broyles reprimands Olivia for her reckless meeting with Esterbrook. From now on, Broyles expects to have everything run past him. Dunham replies that she will send him a copy of her report of her interview with Esterbrook.

In the experimental facility, Claire lies in bed as a rat is released into her room. The rat crawls over her, until it reacts like the people at the diner, bleeding and finally exploding. Sarnoff says Claire is ready, and that the capsules in her body can be triggered remotely. Esterbrook says they'll ship her out to their client in the morning.

Back at the lab, Peter announces that Walter may have isolated the isotopes in Emily's bloodstream. When Olivia snaps at him, Peter demands to know what's bothering her today. Olivia hesitantly tells him a traumatic story from her childhood. When she was a little girl, her stepfather would get drunk and abuse her mother. One day, when she was nine, after her mother had suffered a particularly harsh beating, Olivia mustered the courage to find his gun and shoot him, but she didn't finish him off. They took him to the hospital, and one night he slipped out, never to be seen again. Every year he sends Olivia a card on her birthday, just to let her know he's still out there. Peter then realizes that today is her birthday.

Peter suggests getting information on Esterbrook from Nina Sharp. Olivia refuses, noting that corporate espionage is illegal and Nina is unlikely to admit to it. So Peter goes off on his own, tracking Nina down at an equestrian center. He says they believe INtREPUS is holding illegal drug trials and might be holding Claire Williams captive. Nina reveals her knowledge of Peter's exploring areas with unusual minerals for superconductors in South America and offers Peter a bargain: information now, for an unspecified favor in return at a later date. Nina also tells Peter that she knew him when he was a small boy, that she and Walter were once quite close and that she and Peter spent time together at the equestrian center where they are now sitting.

Meanwhile, Walter discovers that the victims were made radioactive through a dose of methyl eugenol, the chemical that gives hyacinths their scent. And he knows how to save them; he just needs to produce the counter-agent. Peter brings the good news to Olivia, along with an address where Claire is being held. He lies, telling her he got the tip from a friend who is able to hack into the National Reconnaissance Office (not from Nina Sharp). Walter hands Olivia the antidote, informing her that it must be injected directly into Claire's jugular vein.

The FBI storms the facility. Olivia finds the observation room. Because Sarnoff has triggered the remote detonation, Olivia cannot enter the room -- so she slips the antidote through the door's safety slot. When Claire starts to seize from pain, Olivia screams at her to inject herself -- which she does just in time to keep her head from exploding.

Olivia confronts Esterbrook at INtREPUS. She says they have a statement from his employee admitting that Esterbrook supplied her with the facility and the equipment to transform Emily and Claire into weapons. Esterbrook tries to pass this information off as a statement by a disgruntled former employee. Dunham slams Esterbrook to the table and handcuffs him, informing him that she's about to walk him outside where the press is waiting to take his picture.

Olivia goes to see Broyles, who is obviously upset at the public arrest of Esterbrook. She feigns innocence, saying that "The press, they always get their pound of flesh." She then admits to Broyles that she can be emotional, but it's what makes her great at her job and he can fire her if he so chooses -- but she hopes he doesn't. Broyles tells her that they will talk more in the morning.

Thinking of You

"Thinking of You".

In Olivia's car, a radio announcer reports the news of Esterbrook's detainment causing INtREPUS' stock value to fall considerably, while the stock value of Massive Dynamic, INtREPUS' leading competitor, has risen just as remarkably. Olivia realizes that there are consequences to her actions that she did not foresee. At Peter and Walter's hotel, Olivia tells Peter she knows where he really got his information and concludes that he has placed himself in debt to Nina Sharp.

On returning home, Olivia finds an envelope inside her door bearing no postage or return address. She opens it up and removes an unsigned card that reads "Thinking of you." Concern shows in her face.


Harvard Laboratory; INtREPUS; Olivia's Stepfather; Opium

Notable Quotes[]

Olivia: Walter, her disease. If there's no cure…
Walter: Well, that's a question and one which we should pose to whoever was treating her. Which makes three questions. The other one being, what exactly happened here.
Peter: That's only two questions.
Walter: Oh, is it? Oh, the third question! Um, could I get some of this onion soup? It looks delicious.

Walter: This is it, Asterisk.
Peter: Astrid. Her name is Astrid.

Walter: Ligature marks.
Olivia: So she was being held against her will?
Walter: Either that or she had a proclivity for sexual bondage. Scientific observation, not a judgment. Some of my fondest memories…
Peter: Oh, Walter, stop. Wherever that's going, is just wrong.

Olivia: (to Broyles) I understand that you think I acted too emotionally. Putting aside the fact that men always say that about women they work with, I'll get straight to the point. I am emotional. I do bring it into my work. It's what motivates me. It helps me get into the headspace of our victims, see what they've seen,, even if I don't want to, even if it horrifies me. And I think it makes me a better agent. If you have a problem with that, sorry. You can fire me. But I hope you don't.

Olivia: I had a stepfather. And when he drank, he'd accused my mom of seeing other men and then he'd hit her. And she just lived with it. She never called the police, not once. Then one day he beat her really bad and broke her nose. I was nine. He stormed out of his house, got in his car, drove off. My mom was crying, and I can't help her. And then I hear his car - he's turned back around. He kept the gun in the drawer near his bed. When he opened the door, I pulled the trigger. Then I pulled it again. And I can still see his face, almost daring me to finish. But I couldn't. So they took him to the hospital and said that he couldn't be saved, but he didn't die. He recovered. And then one night he just slipped away. We never saw him again. And I still blame myself, because I should have done it, I should have killed him. And I know, that rationally he's not responsible for all the bad things in the world. But he is responsible for some of them. And every year he sends me a card on my birthday, just to let me know that he's still out there.
Peter: It's your birthday today.


  • The clue in "Power Hungry" which hints to "The Cure" can be found at BiCoastal Parcel Service. Next to the television displaying the news report is an INtREPUS coffee mug.
  • Bellini's lymphocemia is a fictional disease.
  • David Esterbrook's assistant was named after one of the Lost show writers, Elizabeth Sarnoff, who wrote 11 episodes for that TV series.
  • On Australian TV, the scene where Emily's head explodes was shown in black and white.
  • Although credited, Mark Valley (John Scott) does not appear.
  • When Olivia receives the card at the end of the episode, her apartment is different on the inside than in later episodes. Though never stated, we can assume she moved given the card was obviously sent to her home as a sign of aggression, possibly a threat.
  • A recurring theme in the first season is induced diseases or conditions:


  • All in 24h (Olivia's birthday) Dunham and the team: take on the new case in Milford, MA (1h away), investigate and visit the victim's families and doctor (more than once), visit INtREPUS in Manhattan, NY (minimum round trip of 5h via air or road, including airport delays), conduct experiments for a cure, raid and arrest the bad guys' lair, and finally return to Manhattan to arrest Easterbrook. Talk about a Fringe event in time dilation!
  • As Emily Kramer approaches the diner, the bearded man wearing the hat is at the counter. In the next shot, however, he's sitting at a table at the front of the restaurant.
  • In the diner, Officer Marty Pitts calls in to dispatch and says he is bringing in a "5150". A "5150" refers to the California code for involuntary commitment. The story takes place in the state of Massachusetts, which does not use this law.
  • As Agent Dunham is trying to save Claire by passing her the antidote through the door, Anna Torv accidentally says the word "there" using her strong Australian accent. She repeats the word only seconds later, correct to the character.
  • The word "Breakfast" on the diner window is spelled "Breakast".