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Recap: Fringe S01 E08 "The Equation"
aka: Fringe S 01 E 08
Season 1, Episode 8:

The Equation

A young boy, who has developed a genius-level aptitude for music after surviving an accident, is kidnapped by a serial abductor who has been responsible for the kidnapping of several geniuses in the past using a flashing light combination that hypnotises people. All the previous victims of the abductor have been driven insane before their return, and one of them is locked up in St Claire, the mental asylum where Walter spent 17 years.

Meanwhile, the abductor is forcing the young boy to work on an equation in music form, using hypnotism that makes him believe his (deceased) mother is encouraging him. To find out more about the abductor, Walter agrees to go back into the asylum and speak with Dr. Kim, one of the previous victims. Kim remembers very little, just a "red castle" and a "dungeon". Peter has difficulty getting Walter back out of the asylum, because the administrator feels that Walter is still a danger to himself and others, but he uses his new FBI credentials to secure Walter's release. Using Kim's information, Olivia is able to identify a house where the boy is being held. She and Charlie save the boy, but the abductor escapes — with the completed formula — by using the flashing lights to hypnotise Olivia.

The abductor gives the formula to Mitchell Loeb, who uses it in conjunction with a device that allows him to move through solid matter. Once he has the formula, Loeb kills the abductor.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Joanne. If her abduction and subsequent manipulation of Ben is any indication, she first shows up like a troubled lady needing help, then hypnotizes and kidnaps the person. Then, she asks them to complete the equation their own way, using her Mind-Control Device to put them in Lotus-Eater Machine, promising gifts and the return of deceased loved ones. When they can't solve it, she resorts to Mind Raping them into insanity.
  • Cat Fight: Olivia vs Joanne. She gives a well-deserved beatdown.
  • Convenient Coma: Ben's coma after the accident
  • Fore Shadowing: Walter's hallucinating with a clone of himself in the asylum. It's the first clue to the Alternate Universe plot, but also of how the Big Bad will be his alternate version, Walternate.
  • Go Among Mad People
  • Karmic Death: Joanne managed to complete the equation and escape Olivia. Just after she gave it to Loeb, he shot her for unknown reasons. After mind raping Ben, Dr. Kim and so many others, she totally deserved it.
  • Mad Mathematician: Dr. Kim
  • More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks: Peter
  • Mind-Control Device: Green and red lights
  • Mind Rape: Once Joanne can't get what she wants out of Ben, she sets the machine to turn his dream into a nightmare by watching his mother slowly dying. As seen with Dr. Kim, this usually drives a person insane.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Photo of murder scene. Basically, Kim's wife bludgeoned to death, and the equation painted on the walls around her, apparently with her blood.
  • Shout-Out: Okay, tell me with a straight face that hypnotism using a pattern of four isn't a reference.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Ben's mother isn't real. Joanne kidnapped Ben and strapped him down on a equipment that puts him in a Lotus Eater Machine. The machine makes Ben think his mother is alive, so Joanne can convince him to complete the music/equation. Once he can't, she programs the machine to turn the Lotus Eater Machine into a Psychological Torment Zone, inducing Mind Rape by forcing Ben to see his mother slowly dying. She did the same thing to Kim and the others she kidnapped, driving them insane.
  • Themed Aliases: Joanne Ritz. Peter claims he also used these, centered in chess pieces(Peter Knight, Peter King, etc.).
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Ben's musical abilities after the accident
  • You Have Failed Me: Joanne's reaction to her victims being unable to solve the equation is Mind Rape them into insanity. And since she seems to do it at the first sign of hesitation or difficulty, it's no wonder it took her ten years to finally solve it, and just short of driving yet another victim crazy, a child even.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Probably the reason Loeb kills Joanne at the end of the episode.

Fringe S01 E07 'In Which We Meet Mr. Jones"Recap/FringeFringe S01 E09 'The Dreamscape"

alternative title(s): Fringe S 01 E 08
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