The Dreamscape
Season 1, Episode 9
The Dreamscape
Air date November 25, 2008
Written by Zack Whedon
Julia Cho
Directed by Fred Toye
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Cast | Transcript

"The Dreamscape" is the ninth episode of the first season of Fringe.


The team investigate the death of a Massive Dynamic employee who jumps out a window after being attacked by butterflies. When Olivia's interaction with Agent Scott leads to breaks in the case, she demands to be put back in the sensory deprivation tank to remove his memories from her consciousness. A former friend and some current foes discover that Peter is back in Boston.



The Employee moments before his death

A young executive, Mark Young, arrives late to give a presentation about a company called ExtenzaLife. After he has finished and the boardroom empties, Young collects his things and then spots a butterfly. It alights on his finger -- and unexpectedly cuts him. The insect flutters by his neck -- and cuts him again. After attacking him a few more times, the creature disappears into AC vent. Young peers into the vent just as a swarm of butterflies pours out. As they surround him, cutting him all over his body, he runs in a mad panic. He crashes through a plate glass window and falls to his death, revealing the location: Massive Dynamic's New York office.

In Boston, Olivia Dunham is getting ready for a night out, but before she can leave she is summoned by Phillip Broyles to catch a plane to New York. Olivia tries to tell Broyles that she needs some time off, but he repeats his instructions and hangs up.


Diverted Back to Work

At the scene of the apparent suicide, Walter Bishop notices lacerations beneath Mark Young's shirt, even though there aren't corresponding tears in the shirt itself. Meanwhile, Olivia spies John Scott -- her dead partner and lover -- in the crowd of onlookers. He stares at her for a moment, then vanishes.

Olivia meets with Nina Sharp, COO of Massive Dynamic. Nina suggests that Mark Young must have succumbed to the stresses of his job, as some small fraction of employees always do. When Olivia presses for more, Nina says that, given Olivia's recent work, she should understand how the discovery of certain unexpected realities could be too much for some to handle.

In Young's apartment, Olivia and Charlie Francis find a plane ticket that implies Mark Young was not planning to kill himself. In Young's day planner, Olivia finds a page that has "MONARCH" written on it. On the wall nearby, she sees a display of captured butterflies -- whose wings unexpectedly start to flutter. Charlie causes Olivia to turn away, and when she looks back the wings have stopped fluttering.

At the Harvard Laboratory Walter examines Young's body, noting that his wounds go clear to the bone as if they had started inside and opened upward toward the surface. Also, Young had some kind of synthetic compound in his brain, but that wouldn't explain his wounds. Meanwhile, Peter Bishop receives a call from a woman -- someone from his past who wants to see him.

In her apartment, Olivia studies the Massive Dynamic website. She performs a web search for resources on "monarch," finding only pages on English royalty and butterflies. After she shuts down the laptop, it mysteriously starts up on its own, and an email pops up -- from John Scott. It contains only an address: 1312 Labrador Lane, basement level.

When Olivia arrives at the address, she walks through the darkened basement. She hears strange croaking noises and tracks the sound to a room filled with large plastic tubs. She opens one to see that it's filled with toads.

At the FBI office, Charlie asks Olivia why she just charged ten pounds of live insect larva to the Young investigation. She describes the toads and their usefulness. Entering a private office with Charlie, Olivia explains to him that she is still seeing visions of John Scott, and she feels like she is going crazy. She does not want to consult a psychiatrist because there would be a permanent entry in her file with the FBI and wonders if taking a leave to get her wits together would help. Then Astrid Farnsworth calls with news: Walter thinks Young's death was because of the toads.


Finding an Old Friend

In a diner, Peter meets with Tess Amaral, the woman who called earlier. There is clearly a history between them. She pleads with him to leave Boston, saying "If I can find you, they can find you." Peter takes her hand -- and notices the bruises on her wrist. He infers that someone named Michael Kelly did this, and Tess doesn't deny it.

Back in the lab, Walter explains the principle of psychophysiological effects: the ability of the mind to produce physical effects in the body. He shows old video footage of an experiment he did many years ago, in which a hypnotized man believed an ice cube was burning him -- and produced real blisters. But how does this relate to the toads? Walter says these particular toads, Bufo Alvarius secrete a psychoactive compound from their skin. Properly modified, the compound is a powerful hallucinogen. The modified version of it directly affects the fear center of the brain. Walter suggests this was murder, as the concentrations of the compound in his brain were ridiculously high. Young was literally scared to death. He imagined the cuts, and his brain made them real.

Olivia admits to Walter that John Scott led her to the toads. Walter suggests that a form of repressed memory therapy could be used to raise the memories and purge them from her head. But doing so would pose serious risks to Olivia's health. Despite the warning, Olivia insists on getting back into the sensory deprivation tank, believing it could provide the key to cracking the Mark Young case.

As Olivia prepares for the procedure, Walter explains how it will work. The first time she connected in this manner with John Scott ("Pilot"), some of his memories crossed over into her brain. This time, they will attempt to bring those repressed alien memories to the surface. Walter's voice will be Olivia's only tether to reality.

Scott Dunham Dinner

Love At First Bite

In a dream state, Olivia spots a door and walks through into a restaurant -- the same place she and John Scott went on their first date. In fact, it is their first date. Olivia watches a slightly younger version of herself sitting in a booth with John Scott. The younger Olivia stands up and walks past her. Because this is only a memory, Walter says, no one can see her. Nevertheless, Olivia sits down in front of John. He's indifferent, clearly unaware of her presence. She tells him that she loved him and trusted him. Still no reaction. But when she changes direction and says that Mark Young killed himself yesterday, suddenly John Scott looks her right in the eye.

The scene abruptly changes. Now Olivia is in John Scott's car, alone. Walter says John must be there somewhere. Olivia exits the car and finds a meeting of four men: John Scott, Mark Young, and two unknown men -- one black, one Latino. Young walks away with the Latino. Olivia follows, but as she turns a corner the two men suddenly vanish. Walter says that's because she's experiencing John's memory and John didn't follow the two men. Olivia returns in time to see John brutally stabbing the black man to death. She screams to be pulled out of the tank.

Outside the tank, Olivia and Astrid use the computer to reconstruct the face of the Latino man she saw in John's memory. Olivia tells Broyles they think Young was killed for selling the synthetic compound to black market buyers. In the wrong hands, it could be turned into a cheap street drug or even a chemical weapon. Olivia wants Massive Dynamic to release information on all of Mark Young's projects.


Confronting a Tess-beater

On a street in urban Boston, Peter intercepts Michael Kelly as he exits the residence he shares with Tess Amaral. Peter dominates the confrontation and knocks a gun from Kelly's hand as he draws it from under his coat. Bishop delivers a stern message... "If you touch her again, I'll kill you" - referring to the bruises he noticed on Tess' wrist.

Back at the FBI offices, they've had no luck with facial recognition software. Broyles provides Olivia with a file of all Young's projects, courtesy of Nina Sharp. Inside, she finds Young's business card, with the phone number 877-8MSS-DYN at the bottom. That gives her an idea. She dials 212-MON-ARCH on her phone, and someone answers. Olivia pretends to be a telemarketer, and the person on the other end says to take his number off their list. Olivia recognizes the voice -- it was the Latino man she saw in John's memory.

The number is traced to a man named George Morales, a known black market trafficker. Olivia and Charlie follow his cell phone signal through the streets of Manhattan. When they hit a traffic jam, Charlie and Olivia close in on foot. Morales jumps from his cab and runs, but he is hit by an oncoming car, allowing Charlie and Olivia to apprehend him.

In the hospital, Morales says he wants to make a deal. He will tell them everything, in return for protection -- from Massive Dynamic. He believes the firm killed Young as a warning to anyone else who might try to sell the company's secrets. He denies having killed Young himself because he had no reason to do so; Young was a valuable source of amazing technologies. Moreover, Morales says the Pattern is just a hoax, a smokescreen created by Massive Dynamic to enable them to do anything they want. Morales believes he can trust Olivia because John Scott told him about her.

At Massive Dynamic, Nina says that the firm has nothing to hide. She also says that she is not surprised at all that Morales, a criminal, spun an outrageous story in which Massive Dynamic is responsible for all his foul deeds. Olivia tells Nina that now is the time for her to come clean before Morales spills everything he knows. Nina expresses doubt as to whether Morales will say anything actionable.

Meanwhile, John Scott enters Morales' hospital room. Morales, clearly frightened, promises that he won't tell anyone anything, but John Scott slits his throat anyway. A nurse walks in to see Morales' throat-slitting itself, opening from the inside out. Somehow, Morales must have been dosed with the same drug that killed Young.

When Broyles tells Olivia the news, Olivia blames Nina Sharp. Broyles says Massive Dynamic has been nothing but cooperative, so she should keep her unfounded accusations to herself.


Planning Peter's Homecoming

Olivia tells Walter she wants to go back in the tank one more time. Walter refuses. Every time she goes in, the chances of a catastrophic outcome increases. She might not even get what she wants from John Scott, because she can't just ask him. When Olivia objects that John Scott actually saw her in the dreamscape, Walter says that's simply impossible, because only his memories are in her head. But he leaves her with a promise to try and find a safer way to retrieve John's memories.

Late at night, curbside in urban Boston, outside of Beckett's Pub, Michael -- still bruised from Peter's beating -- finds and tells a nefarious street urchin that Peter Bishop is "back in town".

Olivia, in her apartment, receives another mysterious e-mail from John Scott - "I saw you - in the restaurant."


ExtenzaLife; Federal Building; Harvard Laboratory; New York City

Notable Quotes[]

Peter: Just your average multi-national corporation specializing in secret bio research and defense contracting. Massive Dynamic. Seems like such an innocent name for a corporation, don't you think?

Olivia: Walter, what's the Bible for?
Walter: Well, you're taking untested psychedelics, lying in saline with an electric charge in the base of your cranium. Among other things, I thought it appropriate to pray you don't get electrocuted.
Olivia: Praise the Lord.
Walter: Amen.

Walter: Uh oh.
Olivia: What?
Walter: I just got an erection. Oh, fear not, it's nothing to do with your state of undress. I think I simply need to urinate.
Olivia: That's good to know.

Olivia: How long is this going to take?
Walter: Miss Dunham, what we're doing, what you have asked me to do, is pushing the boundaries of all that is real and possible. We're not roasting a turkey.

Walter: There is little that makes me happier than taking drugs. Perhaps administering them, designing and carrying out experiments that bend the plane of what we consider reality. I've rarely if ever opposed to such things except now.

Charlie: Do you ever wonder how we survived as a species without drugs?

Walter: I need you to adjust the drugs.
Peter: Well, what did you give her this time?
Walter: Drugs I'd rather be taking myself.


  • A lone butterfly is evident on the side of a white trash can in "The Equation". A foreshadow of the fatal, drug-induced, leap from the Massive Dynamic Building by Mark Young.
109 butterfly pin prompt

Butterfly pin as a subconscious prompt

  • The plane ticket Olivia Dunham finds in Mark Young's apartment is for a flight on Oceanic Air, a reference to Lost though the logo does not appear on the ticket.
  • At the start of the episode when she is on the phone, Olivia is talking to a Beth about a surprise party for a Bobby. J.J. Abrams' 2008 monster film Cloverfield begins with a surprise going away party for the main character Rob, whose best friend in attendance is named Beth.
  • The street sign behind where Mark Young fell reads "Bell Plaza", most likely a reference to Massive Dynamic's founder, William Bell



  • When George Morales is being followed by Charlie Francis and Olivia in the car, the GPS map indicates he is heading east in the vicinity of 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue. However, when he is being chased on foot a few moments later, the buildings in the background indicate they are in Lower Manhattan on Murray Street. In addition, Murray Street is a one-way street traveling westbound.
  • At the end of the chase, when Morales is hit by a car and caught, a police officer is visible across the street. The officer just stands watching rather than rushing to the scene.