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Complete Recap and Spoilers of Fringe Season 1 Episode 12 The No Brainer
A teenager talks to someone on his cell phone while in front of his computer. He hangs up and gets an IM: “What’s that noise?” A scene of shaky images starts flashing on his screen, he stares into it. Deeper and deeper. His mom comes to say good-bye, but he doesn’t hear her. He’s transfixed. He starts to cry, immobilized. Something starts to come out of his monitor, reaching for him. It’s full-on poltergeist. It’s a hand coming at him reaching for his face. It grabs the top of his head and…
Cut to credits.
Olivia (Anna Torv) plays Operation with her niece, Ella (Lily Pilblad), who’s still saying there with her mom Rachel (Ari Graynor), Liv’s sister.
At Harvard, Walter Bishop (John Noble) rags on Darwin. Peter (Joshua Jackson) half-listens as he looks at the mail. He looks at a letter hand-addressed to his dad.
Olivia calls Astrid (Jasika Nicole), telling her to get the guys outside, ready to examine a body she’s dropping off. Peter tosses the letter to his dad in the trash. With the boys gone, Astrid looks at the note.
With the grieving parents, Olivia and Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo) ask if they noticed anything odd. He didn’t use drugs and he only had asthma. He spent all his free time on the computer. The parents mention his friend, Luke Dempsey (Noah Fleiss).
At the lab, Walter saws open the poor boy’s head. Walter reports that his brain matter was completely liquefied. Astrid checks the boy’s computer. She notices something wrong, the hard drive is toast. She’ll keep on it.
Olivia goes to talk to Luke. She finds him at a garage, working on a car. (Possible Observer sighting behind him.) He was IM’ing with Greg (Jake O’Connor) last night.After a few hours Greg stopped answering. Their dads worked together when they were kids.
Olivia gets a call about another body.
Broyles (Lance Reddick) is there. The victim is the general manager of a car dealership. They find him with caked brains oozed out his nose. So, closed coffin. Olivia talks to the guy who found him. They were at a strip club last night. Olivia doesn’t judge.
Walter jams a swab up the corpse’s nose, grossing out Peter.
At the lab, Astrid shows Olivia the fused platters they found on Greg’s computer are just like the toasted ones on the car salesman’s computer. They both downloaded huge files before they melted.
There’s a ringing. It’s the lab phone. They didn’t know it even worked. Peter answers, and gets upset, saying there’s no one there by that name. He hangs up.
Peter has a guy who can help with the computers. Olivia doesn’t want to know who. Astrid stops Olivia after Peter walks out. She thinks she might know who was on the phone. She shows Olivia the note.
Peter meets with his computer friend, who isn’t exactly thrilled to see him. Peter shows him a coin. Akim (Gbenga Akinnagbe) can’t believe he kept it. Akim can have it back, but first Peter needs some help.
Akim works on the computer parts.
At HQ, Olivia is intercepted by Agent Sanford Harris (Michael Gaston), who wants to know what she’s up to. He wants her to pass the case on to the CDC. She’s already talked to them. It doesn’t look like flu. He thinks it looks like another excuse to justify the allocation of FBI resources to a rogue division. He’s there to remedy that. She has 12 hours before he takes the case away.
Akim finds an “insanely complex” program sent by someone trying very hard to cover their tracks.
Olivia cross references the two cases.
Akim can’t tell Peter where it originated, but it’s being downloaded right now in Brighton, a neighborhood in Boston. He pulls up the address. Peter recognizes it. He calls Olivia.
It’s happening again right now. In her apartment.
Ella turns on her computer to paint a pony.
Olivia races home, dialing. Her sister doesn’t hear the phone. Ella picks a pick pony.
They’re five minutes out when Ella gets the “What’s that noise?” message. The images start flashing. Ella looks deeply. Her mom cooks in the other room, unaware. Olivia tears down the street. The hand starts to come out of the laptop. Olivia pulls up and busts in the door. She pulls her niece away from the screen, but Ella remains catatonic for a moment. Then she blinks and asks her aunt Olivia when she got there.
While Olivia talks to Charlie, Peter plays with Ella and talks to Olivia’s sister. Ella remembers a “weird, floaty and scary” hand that came at her. Her mom doesn’t believe her. Olivia checks out the laptop. There’s a green light at the top but the screen is black.
Somewhere, a man looks back, telling her he’s the one she’s looking for. He’s startled by someone coming in. It’s his son Luke. Greg’s friend Luke.
He asks if his dad has found a job yet. He’s not looking. But he’s working on a computer program that he thinks will really impress people.
At HQ, Olivia checks in with the doctor, who says Ella is doing fine. She tells Broyles and Peter she thinks someone was watching, the camera light was on. They think they might be dealing with a computer program that can kill people. Peter wants to know why.
In a house outside Chicago, a woman calls for someone named Mark (Randy Kovitz) to help her with the groceries. She checks on him and finds him slumped over at his computer, brains on his shirt.
Charlie calls Olivia, telling her the next death is a day trader nowhere near Boston. Walking across campus, Peter sees a middle-aged woman and goes to talk to her. He asks if she’s Jessica Warren (Mary Beth Peil). He read the letter. He understands why she wants to see Walter, but he says Walter can’t right now. Nothing will bring her daughter back. She says she needs to see him, it’s between her and Walter.
In the lab, Walter thinks he’s figured out how the deaths occurred. He has a long scientific explanation, but Astrid translates: “It’s like a computer virus that infects people.” The outstretched hand is a hallucination.
Peter comes in and Olivia says she thinks she knows who that woman is, the mother of the lab assistant killed in the fire 20 years ago. Peter says Walter doesn’t know, he couldn’t handle it. Olivia thinks he can. Peter underestimates his dad she says. Peter leaves.
Charlie finds the last victim just got married a year ago to Marian Dempsey. Luke’s mother. Olivia remembers Luke said his and Greg’s father worked together.
In the lab, Peter rips the telephone out of the wall. Olivia presents the suspect, Brian Dempsey (Chris Bauer). He worked for Greg’s dad, until he fired him six years ago. He was a programmer. No connection yet on the car salesman.
Olivia relays the news to Charlie. There was no sign of Brian at home, they bring Luke in instead. Olivia and Charlie watch from the observation room. Harris comes in and bullies them to break him, despite the fact Olivia thinks Luke knows something up with his dad and a soft touch will work.
They go talk to him, following Harris’ bad orders. Luke says he last saw his dad a few weeks ago, they aren’t close. Olivia shows him the picture of his step father and Greg, mushy. Luke asks for a lawyer. Game over.
Peter asks Olivia if it’s any consolation knowing she was right. Olivia tells Francis to wait five minutes, then release Luke. Screw Harris.
Luke calls for a cab from the FBI. Olivia listens in to the call and gets the address he’s going to. (Yes, he’s that dumb, he’s 19, Olivia tells Peter.)
They follow the cab. Peter says he doesn’t underestimate his father, he understands him. The woman is just going to accuse him of causing her daughter’s death. Olivia thinks he might get resolution. Peter says it’s none of her business.
The cab stops. Olivia tells Peter to wait in the car. She won’t call for backup because Harris wants her to screw up and he’ll do whatever he can to make her look bad. At HQ, he proves her right, demanding someone trace the GPS in her car.
Olivia walks up slowly on Luke confronting his father. Brian’s security system goes off. He sees video of Olivia approaching and runs his son off. Olivia walks slowly into the computer central nervous center. It doesn’t look like anyone is there. Suddenly, all the monitors go on with the death video then Olivia sees herself on a screen and a gun put to her head.
Peter waits anxiously in the car.
Brian disarms Olivia, telling her she ruined everything and his son hates him because of her. He holds the gun to his own head.
Peter still sits in the car.
Brian goes on about wanting people to feel the pain he felt.
In the car, Peter hears sirens approach. He gets out.
Inside, Brian starts to look at the video screens. Olivia yells at him to stop, but he wants to see his creation. Luke confronts Peter inside and they both hear a shot. They run to find Olivia with Brian. He shot himself.
Luke runs outside where Harris and his squad arrest him.
Olivia and Peter wait in the car. Peter wonders why Luke would protect a murderer like that. “Because it’s his father,” Olivia says.
At HQ, Sanford Harris drops in on Broyles, telling Broyles his agent went against his direct orders. Broyles backs Olivia, telling Harris if he goes against her, Harris is going against Broyles too.
In the lab, Peter brings in Jessica Warren to meet Walter, telling him he’ll be there if he needs him. She mentions her daughter. Walter remembers her. She wanted to see him because he was the last person to see her daughter alive and she wants to know if there’s anything else he can tell her about her daughter. He remembers her smile. He misses her. He hugs her as Peter watches, changing his mind.
Olivia shares some wine with her sister, who doesn’t really want to know about her day job. Her doorbell rings. It’s Peter. He’s had a few drinks. He wanted to say he’s never had Walter in his life and now thanks to her “insane freak show of an operation” he does. He’s sorry, she was right. He thanks her. Rachel comes to the door, happy to see Peter.
Peter will see Olivia tomorrow.