A lot of the science on ‘Fringe’ is dubious at best. Normally, I’d call this past Friday’s storyline about an invisible man just another implausible fantasy plot device. However, with recent news that real scientists have successfully invented an invisibility cloaking device, I’m not so sure anymore.
‘Wallflower’ finds the Fringe team investigating the case of an invisible attacker who has been murdering people and draining all the melanin pigment from their bodies, thus leaving instant albino corpses. Clues put them on the trail of one Baby Boy Bryant, an infant who died immediately after birth in 1989. Of course, he didn’t, really. The child was born with a genetic anomaly that gives his body chameleon-like properties and causes him to blend in with his environment. A subdivision of Massive Dynamic swooped in and claimed the boy (called Eugene, or “U-Gene”) for military experimentation. Now the adult Eugene is loose and he’s virtually invisible to the human eye – but he doesn’t want to be.
Eugene has concocted a formula using the melanin from his victims that temporarily grants his body normal coloring. He looks like anyone else. What he doesn’t realize is that doing so also poisons his body. He’s literally killing himself to be normal for a little while, all so that he can spend a few minutes a day in an elevator with a woman he’s secretly in love with. He just wants her to see him.
The episode has a very suspenseful climax where Olivia and Lincoln track Eugene to the apartment building where he’s been squatting in the basement. They have to search the building using U/V lights that will expose him. Eventually, Eugene dies in the same elevator that he met the girl in every day.
‘Wallflower’ also has a lot of interesting character moments. Olivia has been suffering from migraines that prevent her from sleeping. Lincoln has insomnia for other reasons. They meet up in a café in the middle of the night, and start to discover some of the chemistry that their alternates in the other universe have for each other.
Peter has been allowed to leave FBI custody, but only in the presence of a chaperone named Tim. Peter wants to get back to his own timeline, and apparently plans to build a new version of the doomsday device to do that. This doesn’t seem like such a good idea to me.
Olivia worries that the Cortexiphan tests she underwent as a child have stunted her emotions. She doesn’t feel things the way that other people do. In a cliffhanger, Olivia passes out in her apartment after being gassed by Massive Dynamic flunkies led by Nina Sharp. It would seem that this Nina isn’t such a great mother figure after all. She’s even more devious than the one we know from the original timeline. They inject Olivia with something. It’s implied that this has been going on for a while, and that these shots are the cause of her migraines. Whatever Nina is up to, we won’t know until a later episode.