The Same Old Story
Season 1, Episode 2
The Same Old Story
Air date September 16, 2008
Written by J.J. Abrams
Jeff Pinkner
Alex Kurtzman
Roberto Orci
Directed by Paul Edwards
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Cast | Transcript

"The Same Old Story" is the second episode of the first season of Fringe.


A woman conceives, carries to full-term, and births a baby in the span of minutes, dying in the process; the baby dies after aging 80 years in three hours. This leads the investigators on a search for a serial killer harvesting brain parts for his own survival and raises questions about biotech cloning of 'cultivated soldiers'.


The same1

Lorain in the hotel.

In Room 112 at the Scarlet Red Motel in a Boston suburb, Christopher Penrose is getting out of his bed after a one-night stand with a stripper, Loraine Alcott. Just as the man steps into the bathroom and opens a medical bag filled with instruments, he hears Loraine scream. She has suddenly suffered severe pain, seizing her stomach and crawling out the door. Christopher abandons his mysterious preparations - but takes the medical bag - and helps Loraine into the car.

En route to the Wallace Bromley Medical Center, Loraine's stomach is growing and undulating. Christopher moves her to the curb outside the hospital and leaves. In the emergency room, doctors ask how far she is into her term; she has no idea she's even pregnant. As she goes into labor and the doctors prepare to deliver the baby, they hear a nauseating tearing sound. Loraine dies. The doctors quickly perform a caesarian section. When they see what is inside, their eyes widen with fear and a nurse screams in horror.

In downtown Boston, Special Agent Phillip Broyles meets with the members of a top secret committee whose mission is to investigate The Pattern. Total membership of the committee is unknown, but it does include Nina Sharp, who is senior enough to criticize Broyles about his selections for a special team to cover Pattern cases. Broyles looks through a folder that includes pictures of Olivia Dunham and the Bishops. Shortly thereafter, Broyles calls Dunham, a Special Agent of the FBI, whom he recently appointed to lead the investigation, and tells her to assemble her team. When Olivia arrives at Walter's and Peter's hotel to pick them up, Peter finds Walter Bishop huddled in the closet. Without the familiar sound of "Row Row Row Your Boat" sung by one of his fellow inmates at the mental asylum where he spent the last 17 years, Walter just can't fall asleep.

At the hospital, Broyles explains that the Jane Doe (soon to be identified as Loraine Alcott) died shortly after


arrival, and the baby she birthed grew into an old man and died of "natural causes"... all within a three hours. As Walter inspects the body of this bizarre man-baby, Olivia and Peter head to the hotel to investigate the crime scene.

Peter Bishop finds a strange orange gel in the bathroom. In the bedroom, Olivia recognizes the tell-tale signs of a serial-killer case she had worked with her former partner (and secret lover) John Scott.

Upset about the trust she placed in John, Olivia explained to Peter that the previous serial-killer, in New Jersey and New York, would take a woman to a motel, paralyze her, then use surgical tools to go through the nasal cavity and remove her pituitary gland. If Olivia's right, this is the same murderer -- and he's going to kill again.

Meanwhile, the killer enters a club and picks up an attractive young woman, his next victim. He brings her back to a warehouse loft. While she looks at the view of a bridge through the window, the killer prepares a syringe - which he suddenly jabs into her neck.

When Peter returns to the lab, Walter says that he has fantastic news: he remembers where he parked his car seventeen years ago. Together they head to a locked garage, where they find Walter's station wagon parked exactly where he left it - with Walter's files stashed inside for safe keeping. Peter reveals his mechanical skills by bringing the old car back to life.

His memory jogged by his old files, Walter finally recalls having worked with Dr. Claus Penrose on experiments dealing with rapid growth thirty years ago. It turns out Claus is currently a professor at Boston College. Meanwhile, the killer continues his gruesome work, finishing off the young woman at the warehouse.

At Boston College, Olivia and Peter question Claus Penrose. He remembers the work he did with Walter, and to this day feels it was morally wrong. As a result, he quit working for the U.S. government after only one year. Charlie calls to inform Olivia that they've found the latest victim, and she was right: this must be the same killer, because the victim's pituitary gland has been removed.

With the latest body back at the lab, Walter finally remembers the specifics of his project with Penrose. The U.S. Army had tasked them with finding a way to cultivate soldiers, who could mature to prime fighting age in a short period of time. But the project failed because they could never stop the aging process. Walter hypothesizes to Peter and Olivia that someone must have made a breakthrough, and the killer is in fact the product of the experiment. The killer must extract the pituitary gland from his victims' brains in order to keep his own aging process in check. And he transmitted his own rapid-aging condition to the child he conceived with Loraine during their one-night stand. He goes to admonish that condoms are not always effective and that "you two” should be aware of that.

Back at the loft, the killer meets with a confidante, and it's none other than Claus Penrose, revealing the killer's name as Christopher Penrose - his son. Christopher is in increasing pain, and he needs the pituitary from another victim.

In the laboratory, Walter posits that they may be able to recover the last image the previous victim saw from her optic nerve. But to do so, they will need a sophisticated piece of equipment - equipment for which only one company, Massive Dynamic, holds the patent.


"Pregnant" Olivia

Olivia heads to Massive Dynamic to meet Chief Operating Officer Nina Sharp to ask to borrow an electronic pulse camera. While waiting in a reception area with Phillip Broyles, Dunham asks him if it is true that she was not randomly selected to work on the case of Flight 627. Broyles responds by asking Dunham if she was "safe" the last time she was intimate with John Scott. When Dunham hesitates, Broyles asks, "You weren't, were you?" At this point Dunham is overcome with pain. Her belly begins to expand in a manner similar to Loraine Alcott's. An employee of Massive Dynamic announces that Nina Sharp will see Dunham and Dunham realizes that she was imagining the pain. Broyles is not in the room. Just before loaning Dunham the camera, Sharp comments that others must have assumed that Dunham and Scott were intimate.

Olivia takes the camera to the lab. Walter and Peter assemble the machine and start the process of extracting images from the victim's eye.

Christopher enters another bar, Henry's, and finds his next victim, bringing her back to the loft. Meanwhile, Olivia's team manages to extract a single image from the last victim's optic nerve: a bridge, which they are able to identify as Sergeant Bridge in Stoughton, Mass. They match the angle and triangulate the location to a building in a warehouse district.

Olivia and Peter race to the warehouse loft, where they find the next victim strapped to a table - and Claus Penrose waiting for them. Olivia hears a rattle and moves to chase Christopher, leaving Peter to guard Penrose. Penrose adjusts the victim's IV drip and her vitals spike, giving him just enough time to run. Peter, forced to choose between going after Penrose or saving the victim, assembles a make-shift defibrillator (with Walter's help via cell phone) and shocks the victim's heart back to life. Elsewhere, Olivia corners Christopher. But he no longer looks at all like the man who murdered all those women. He's a gray-haired man now, aging decades right before Olivia's eyes. With his dying breath, he confesses that he was an experiment - that someone made him. And blinded by love, his father refused to let him die.

Later. Olivia returns the pulse camera to Nina - who surprises her by offering her a job heading up security at Massive Dynamic. Back at the FBI, Broyles reminds Olivia that everything associated with these cases is strictly confidential, and even though people such as Nina Sharp do have some clearance, she is not to discuss cases with anyone.

At some point, Walter begins to ask Olivia to keep secret what she knows of his file regarding Peter's background. She says that she does not know what he is talking about, and he indicates that Peter was also the result of some sort of experiment. Realizing that his secret is safe, he drops the subject.

That night, Peter and Walter are in their hotel room. Walter again struggles with insomnia, keeping his son awake by reciting the Fibonacci numbers with omissions. In an attempt to lull his father to sleep, Peter offers an annoyed rendition of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." As Walter closes his eyes, the scene shifts to an undisclosed location, where there are three young adult men in what appears to be a hospital room. One man is lying in a hospital-type bed; the two on either side of him appear to be in incubators that bear the logo of Massive Dynamic. The men look exactly like Christopher Penrose.


Boston; Boston College; Cocaine; Electronic pulse camera; Boston Federal Building; Fibonacci numbers; Gene; Harvard Laboratory; Quincy; Scarlet Red Motel; Stoughton; The Pattern; Wallace Bromley Medical Center

Notable Quotes[]

Peter: (over the phone) Walter, I am with a woman in her mid-twenties, she is going into cardiac arrest due to an overdose of anesthesia. (pauses) Her heart just stopped.
Walter: Do you have any cocaine?
Peter: Cocaine?! No, I don't have any cocaine.
Walter: Oh, that's too bad. You'll have to shock her heart.

Walter: About my former colleague and his son. It's one of the inherent pitfalls of being a scientist, trying to maintain that distinction...between God's domain and our own. Sometimes I forget myself. But then, you already know that.
Olivia: What do you mean?
Walter: If you've read my file, then you know the truth about Peter's medical history. I've been meaning to ask you-
Olivia: Walter. There was no mention of any medical history. Just his birthday.
Walter: Oh. Uh-I was going to ask you to keep it between just the two of us, but-uh-I suppose then there's no need.

Peter: And the killer's condition was passed on to the baby.
Walter: Even condoms are not 100% effective. You two should be aware of this. That night he was going to kill her. But first they fornicated. Had intercourse, sex.
Peter: Okay, we get it.

Olivia: She offered me a job.
Broyles: And what did you say to that?
Olivia: I told her you were going to give me a raise.

Phillip: What they realized was that the child wasn't just growing... it was aging.
Peter: Okay... hang on a sec. It's four a.m. so I'm a little foggy but we're supposed to believe that grandpa here was born four hours ago.

Olivia: I need a cross check of recent unsolved homicides. See if any bodies have turned up with a missing pituitary gland.
Charlie: Oh, you say the sweetest things.
Olivia: Only to you, Charlie.


Observer - The Same Old Story
  • In this episode, The Observer stands at the hospital desk where the aging man lies dead, he can also been seen at the dance club were the killer gets his second victim (36:34).


  • The device borrowed from Massive Dynamic is referred to as an 'Electronic Pulse Camera', but the Closed Captioning reads 'Millimeter Wave Camera'.
  • The motel room where Christopher Penrose takes Loraine Alcott is room number 112, a reference to the Fibonacci number sequence (0, 1, 1, 2).
Insulin Pen and Rose Flower
  • The clue for "The Same Old Story" can be found in the previous episode, "Pilot" - on a flyer opposite the Massive Dynamic building. The rebus of a pen and a rose, alludes to Dr. Claus Penrose.


  • The laser was still flashing even after they removed the safety glasses.
  • Stoughton, Massachusetts is completely landlocked and as such has no bridges. It is also several miles away from Sudbury, Massachusetts.
  • When Olivia hands Peter her back up gun in the warehouse she tells him that the safety is on the right.  The handgun is a Glock 26, this model does not have a manual safety.


  • "Young Men Dead" by The Black Angels
  • "Skin Head" by The Black Angels