Recap / Fringe S01 E06 "The Cure"

Season 1, Episode 6:

The Cure

In Milford, Massachusetts, men in Hazmat suits drop a woman out of a white van, who then enters a nearby diner. Suffering from memory loss, the woman becomes irritated under a cop's questioning and causes the other patrons' brains to boil and then explode; she dies soon after in the same fashion.

The Fringe team, consisting of Olivia Dunham, Walter Bishop, and Peter Bishop arrive, and Agent Phillip Broyles briefs them that the woman, Emily Kramer, disappeared two weeks previously, and that her corpse exhibits three times the radiation as the other victims. Upon further examination of her body, Walter concludes she was suffering from a rare and incurable disease, "Bellini's lymphocemia," but was mysteriously cured. Further tests reveal Kramer was held against her will, and given nootropic drugs intravenously that makes her brain emit a microwave burst, then set loose by her experimenters as a test.

Another woman with the same disease, Claire Williams, is reported missing soon after. Before her disappearance, Claire's husband tells them she also was recently cured. Her captors are shown, commenting that "the last one was a test, this one counts". While rifling through Emily's house, Olivia and Peter learn Emily and Claire were friends, and that Emily's husband also knew her despite denying it earlier. He admits that they and other victims of the disease undertook private research and discovered a cure with the help of a physician, Dr. Nadim Patel. Before committing suicide, Patel tells them David Esterbrook, the chief scientist employed by one of Massive Dynamic's competitors, is the one responsible. Olivia confronts Esterbrook at a medical conference to discover his motivations, only to be threatened by him; Broyles admonishes her for attempting to question such a high-profile individual in a public setting.

To get close to Esterbrook, Peter makes a deal with Nina Sharp, who tells him where to find Claire before she can be turned into a radioactive bomb. The FBI storms the building, and Olivia is able to give Claire the cure before her head explodes. Esterbrook arrogantly tells Olivia his lawyers will spring him out of any trouble, and she publicly arrests him to ensure the press finds out, causing his company's stock to dramatically decrease in value. After Broyles lectures her again, Olivia tells him her emotions make her a better agent.

In the midst of the case, Olivia reveals that she shot her abusive stepfather when she was nine years old, but he survived and disappeared soon after. Olivia exhibits stronger emotion than usual because it is her birthday, and her stepfather sends her an unsigned card every year to let her know he's still out there. The final scene shows Olivia opening a birthday card from her stepfather.


  • Artistic License – Chemistry: Strontium 90 does not emit microwaves and it is unclear what the smell of hyacinths has to do with anything; See this link for more information
    • According to Walter's description, the hyacinths have a chemical used in the formula used to turn the cured women into microwave human bombs. Obviously, the real process of creating said formula, as with many of the other formulas in Fringe, is kept unrevealed or unspecified, so to let Willing Suspension of Disbelief play its part.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Bellini's lymphocemia.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Patel
  • Birthday Hater: Olivia. Justified because her stepfather, who disappeared after she nearly shot him for beating her mom(and she regrets not finishing the job), sends a nameless letter on each birthday to let her know he's still out there. And at the end of the episode, she receives another one under her entrance door, reading "Thinking About You", and she keeps looking around as if afraid he might be there.
  • Cassandra Truth: Emily's attempt to explain herself results in the police officer calling in a 51/50.
    • Which, for those uninformed, means crazy and possibly violent.
      • The cop probably considered the possibility that she was some escaped asylum patient. Considering she was suffering from amnesia and was acting rather erratically, treating as potentially unstable isn't so illogical. They would still need to evaluate her.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Subverted as Olivia's step-father is still alive, and she regrets not having killed him
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Walter
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Peter
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: We know that this makes you better (injects red solution). But this… this will make you special (injects blue solution).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: David Esterbrook, who leads the INtREPUS' pharmaceutical research division.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:"Was I humming? I thought it was in my head."
  • Harmful Healing: The cure.
    • Well, kind of. The cure itself doesn't seem to be harmful, but when added with another special formula...
  • High-Pressure Blood: Blood squirting against Diner door. Granted, the woman's head just exploded.
  • Magic Antidote: Istantly stops the radiation from rising, and like most medicines given in dramatic shows like this must be injected in the neck for unspecified reasons.
  • Sick and Wrong
    Olivia: So she [the victim] was being held against her will.
    Walter: That, or she had a proclivity for sexual bondage. Scientific observation, not a judgement. Some of my fondest memories-
    Peter: Oh, Walter, stop! Wherever that's going, it's just wrong.
  • Slave to PR: Olivia can't openly accuse Esterbrook at first because of his contracts with the federal government. However, he still answers to the director board, and when Olivia arrests his scientist and drags him out in front of the press (which she anonymously tipped off), he ceases to be untouchable and is arrested.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Apparently, Olivia's stepfather, who she nearly killed for beating her mother, sends her a letter every year on her birthday. And at the end, she receives yet another one that says "Thinking About You".
  • Tears of Blood: Used as a sign that the radiation levels are increasing.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Those who receive the cure.
  • Your Head Asplode: Emily