|Season 1, Episode 7|
|Air date||November 11, 2008|
|Written by|| J.J. Abrams|
|Directed by||Brad Anderson|
| ← previous|
| next →|
|Cast | Transcript|
When a strange parasite mysteriously attaches itself to the internal organs of FBI Agent Mitchell Loeb, Olivia Dunham rushes to Germany to meet with an imprisoned man who may be able to help save his life. Meanwhile, Peter Bishop and Walter Bishop attempt to help Olivia by tapping into the brainwaves of Joseph Smith after he was killed .
In Weymouth, Massachusetts, an FBI special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team speeds across the water at night on zodiac boats, on their way to a sting. The target arrives, a cargo truck. The team swarms the truck and opens the back -- where they find only oversized carnival bears. The team's been had.
At the Boston FBI office, Phillip Broyles receives a briefing from Agent Mitchell Loeb, who led the operation. Agent Loeb was recently transferred to the Boston office after working abroad in Europe. He explains that the smugglers knew they were coming. He hands Broyles a dossier on Joseph Smith, who has a science background and has been traveling back and forth to Budapest. He also worked for the shipping company that handled the cargo container that Loeb was tracking; Loeb opines that Smith switched the contents of the containers. Suddenly, Loeb grabs his chest and falls to the floor. He appears to be in cardiac arrest. Moments later, Loeb is rushed into the emergency room, where Broyles does his best to comfort Loeb's wife, Samantha Loeb.
In the emergency room, the doctor tries to shock Loeb's heart back into rhythm, but it doesn't work. He opens Loeb's chest, but once he gets a glimpse of the heart, he steps back in fear. Wrapped around Loeb's heart is a large parasite that pulses with every heartbeat.
Broyles briefs Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop on the situation. The parasite is not communicable, but otherwise the doctors are clueless. Broyles asks Walter to help, because Loeb is more then just a colleague -- he is also a friend.
Walter, in between requests for breath mints, is amazed by the parasite. He admires the intricate design; he's never seen anything like it. Loeb is moved to the laboratory so Walter can find a means of removing the organism encircling Loeb's heart. After some examination, Walter suggests that the organism could be something as simple as a common waterborne parasite only much, much larger.
Samantha Loeb arrives and wants to know why her husband has been moved to the lab. Olivia tells Samantha that a member of her team is "uniquely qualified" to save her husband's life. Samantha hands Olivia a document that Loeb brought back with him from Frankfurt, Germany: a sheet of paper filled with numbers. Samantha thinks it might have something to do with what Loeb was investigating.
Walter tries to remove the parasite, but it reacts by further constricting Loeb's heart. Peter quickly gives Loeb an injection to bring his heart back into normal rhythm, as Walter takes a tissue sample of the parasite for DNA analysis.
A short time later, Walter shows Olivia the results of a DNA analysis. A specific line of the DNA sequence repeats over and over, in a fashion that is much too organized to be random. Walter posits that it could be a code or message of some kind. Astrid Farnsworth thinks it might be a Caesar Shift -- a kind of cipher Julius Caesar used to send covert messages. Astrid has narrowed down the possibilities to a three-letter combination. Olivia realizes it spells out ZFT: an organization that was mentioned in John Scott's case files (Power Hungry).
Olivia goes to Broyles and explains her theory: since ZFT was working out of Budapest, where the shipping container that Loeb was tracking originated, they must be behind what happened to Loeb. Broyles tells her that a man named David Robert Jones was arrested in Germany a month ago.
Jones has a background in biotechnology and is known to traffic genetic weaponry. He was arrested by Interpol for trying to steal state secrets. Broyles doesn't know if Jones is part of ZFT, but Loeb was investigating him in Frankfurt, and the heart parasite might be a form of retribution. Broyles explains that ZFT is a mysterious group that apparently traffics highly advanced scientific knowledge, such as the kind used in the attack on Flight 627 (Pilot). Olivia says she might be able to use a contact she has in Frankfurt to get access to Jones; and maybe Jones can help remove the parasite.
Peter notices that the parasite is growing throughout Loeb's body and is slowly killing him. When Olivia calls to say she's going to Germany, Peter tells her to hurry, there's not much time left.
Olivia arrives in Frankfurt, Germany. The Observer is seen waiting for arrivals in the terminal, then turning and walking away just moments before Olivia walks through the gate. Olivia is met by an old flame - Lucas Vogel. Now working in the German government, Lucas knows the warden at Wissenschaft Prison where Jones is being held. Olivia persuades Warden Johann Lennox to give Jones a message in the hope that he will talk with her.
Back in the lab, Broyles checks on Walter's progress and thanks him for his help. Walter responds by describing a fruit cocktail he had in Atlantic City once. Broyles solicits Peter's help in keeping Walter focused. Peter responds that he is completely incapable of controlling his father. The surreal conversation is interrupted when Broyles receives a call from Charlie Francis, who has a lead on Joseph Smith's location in Boston. Broyles immediately sets up a raid on the location to grab Smith.
In the prison near Frankfurt, the warden informs Olivia that Jones will talk with her, but not until the next morning, and she will only have fourteen minutes. Jones has one condition: he wants to talk with Joseph Smith. Olivia calls Peter to tell Broyles to find Smith, but Peter cuts her off: Broyles is already about to apprehend Smith in a raid.
Peter jumps in the Vista Cruiser and screeches to the raid, hoping to make sure the FBI takes Smith alive. However, the SWAT team is on radio silence and by the time Peter arrives Smith has begun to flee the scene. When Smith pulls a gun on an agent, he is shot and killed.
Peter explains to Broyles that Jones would cooperate only if he could talk to Mr. Smith -- the same Mr. Smith that Broyles's team just killed. Walter calls to tell Peter that Loeb's condition is continuing to deteriorate; they need to get Jones talking fast. When Peter says Smith is dead, Walter asks if he still has his head, which he does. Walter then tells him he needs the body, and that "his death might just be an inconvenience".
In the lab, Walter realizes Smith has been shot in the head, which of course is a problem. This means that Walter's procedure for questioning him won't work as planned, because the dead man's brain cannot communicate with his mouth. They will need someone else -- Peter -- to be the dead man's mouthpiece. Walter then reveals that he tried this same procedure for the government back in the 1970s, on a man who (Peter realizes) must have been Jimmy Hoffa. The process was unsuccessful, because when Walter turned on the equipment it fried Hoffa's brain.
Walter tests the device by running a current through Smith's brain to a receiving machine with a light bulb, which is standing in for Peter's brain. To Peter's dismay, the first attempt explodes the light bulb.
In Germany, Lucas and Olivia share a romantic dinner. Lucas sees through Olivia's cold shell. He admits that he failed with Olivia in their previous relationship, and he thinks they should try to make it work again. Just as they share a kiss and it looks like things might progress further, Olivia's phone rings. Peter has good news: Walter might just get the dead Smith to answer some questions. The moment is over, and Olivia leaves.
The next morning, Peter's and Smith's brains are connected by a plethora of wires and sensors in a 21st century Frankenstein lab scene. Although synaptic transfer worked in Pilot, Walter uses a different method to communicate with Smith. Astrid feeds questions to a computer that inputs them directly into Smith's brain, while Walter administers an electric shock. The outcome is a feed to Peter, who acts as the dead man's voice. Before they start, Walter apologies to Peter for the pain he is about to endure. As the first question is asked, Peter cries out in pain. He is not getting answers yet, only extreme discomfort.
Olivia finally meets Jones in a bare interrogation room. She explains to Jones that he will ask her one question, and then she will relay that to an agent back in Boston who will ask Smith. Jones finds her attempt at control amusing but plays along. This intrigues Olivia. Why doesn't Jones ask for his freedom? Jones replies, in a condescending tone, that Olivia is terribly naive; there are things more important than freedom. Jones further suggests that someone might be playing both of them.
Back in the lab, Walter realizes the process is failing because Peter is thinking too much -- a family curse. Walter drugs Peter to block his higher brain functions, so he can "hear" Smith's answers. Once Peter is semi-conscious, Walter says they're ready and they call Olivia.
Jones asks his one question: "Where does the gentleman live?" Each time Astrid poses the question, Walter ups the voltage, and Peter goes through even more excruciating pain but is still unable to hear the answer.
Back in the cell, the guard tells Olivia her time is up. Just as she is being dragged away, Peter asks for paper and frantically draws a number of vertical lines. He can't hear the answer, but he sees something. Walter realizes that Smith's brain damage is interfering with his perception of horizontal lines. Peter draws in the necessary horizontals and comes up with the answer: "Little Hill!" Olivia tells Jones the answer just as she is being dragged from the interrogation room, and Jones divulges the antidote to inject directly into the parasite. Walter performs the injection, and Loeb is saved.
Loeb, recuperating in the hospital, talks to Broyles, who asks Loeb why he would be targeted. He doesn't know. Then Loeb's wife Samantha comes in. She is plainly relieved to see him awake and recovering. Once Broyles is out of earshot, Loeb asks her if their plan worked, and if they got the answer. "Yes," she says, "Little Hill". They both smile in victory.
Walter: Excellent work, son! You may have found your true calling at last. Working with me!
Peter: I certainly hope not.
Walter: (on the phone) Uh, hello, Peter. This is me, your father. Walter Bishop.
Peter: Thank you, Walter, I know who you are.
Walter: We need to talk to that man Smith right away. He may be our best chance to save Agent Loeb's life.
Peter: I know that, but he's dead. He was shot. We're out of luck.
Walter: Well, does he still have his head? Is it still attached to his body?
Peter: Only you would ask that question seriously. Yes, he still has a head.
Walter: Splendid. Perhaps in this case death is simply an inconvenience.
Walter: He's been shot in the head.
Peter: Is that a problem?
Walter: Yes! That's a problem! Of course it's a problem! A bullet in the head would normally indicate significant brain trauma!
Peter: Well, it would also indicate that he's dead, but you didn't seem to have a problem with that.
Broyles: Dr. Bishop. What you're about to see… I don't know if you've seen anything like it before. But I'm hoping you have. I'm hoping you can help. The man lying in that room isn't just a colleague, he's a friend.
Walter: I see. Do you have any mints?
- In this episode, The Observer is seen at the German airport walking away from the crowd.
- The next episode clue from "The Cure" was at Holly's Diner, on the thermometer that Walter Bishop plunges into one of the victim's head. The initials ZFT refer to the organization responsible for the parasite.
- The prison that David Robert Jones is being held in is shown as Wissenschaft Prison. Wissenschaft is German for Science.
- Although credited, Mark Valley (John Scott) and Blair Brown (Nina Sharp) do not appear in this episode.
- The official FOX press release for this episode included actor John Boyd playing the part of "Ian Spencer". However, Boyd isn't credited or seen in the actual episode, and there is no mention of the name "Ian Spencer". The press release also had Mrs. Loeb's first name being Jessica.
- The uniforms worn by the German prison guards look nothing like real German police or prison guard uniforms. Uniforms of German prison guards don't have badges.
- All German-speaking characters speak with heavy American accents, except for the prison warden. Moreover, the announcements at Frankfurt airport are also spoken in American accent, and they don't follow the protocol for such PSAs at German Airports.
- "Let It Be Me" by Ray LaMontagne
- "Thank You Too" by My Morning Jacket