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Recap / Fringe S02 E07 "Of Human Action"

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Season 2, Episode 7:

Of Human Action

In Queens, New York, police chase a car driven through a parking garage by two men keeping a teenage boy named Tyler Carson in the backseat. Police officers surround the car and draw their weapons, demanding that the men exit the car. They do, and Tyler stays in his seat. Without explanation, one of the officers goes to the parking ramp and jumps to his death. Another officer shoots her two remaining co-workers, then herself. The kidnappers' crime spree continues on the road. One of them, Hickey, demands that a convenience store clerk hand over all his cash. Another customer tries to intervene, but then takes a pot of hot coffee, pours the coffee over his own head, and beats himself with the pot. The cashier then electrocutes himself.

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Examining the policewoman who shot herself, Walter) concludes that she was the victim of mind control rather than hypnosis. Theorizing that the mind control works on an auditory basis, he develops a method of combating the effects through the use of white noise. The tactical team led by Olivia traces the kidnappers—both of them car salesmen with no serious criminal record—to a warehouse. One of them drives the car through a large door, but burns to death in the explosion when the car flips. Olivia gets the drop on the surviving kidnapper, who points a gun at his own chin and begs for her help. Peter, wearing headphones that broadcast Walter's white noise, follows the ransom payment. It leads him to Tyler, who says, "You can take off those stupid headphones. They won't work."

Peter is now forced into helping Tyler, who has mind control powers due to his father James working on thought-controlled weapons systems for Massive Dynamic. Peter tries to get into Tyler's head by sharing his own stories of his father not believing in him, but Tyler rejects the attempts to bond, as he only needs a driver. Their destination is the home of Tyler's mother, whom Tyler had been told was dead. When the two of them meet, Tyler wants her to run off so that they can be together again. She refuses, and Tyler becomes enraged at her husband when he returns home.

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Tyler tries to force Peter to shoot the husband, but changes the target to Broyles when he arrives at the house with Olivia. Peter is forced to shoot Broyles, but manages to pull the gun off-center so that the agent is only hit in the shoulder. After Peter crashes the car that both he and Tyler are in, Tyler is brought unconscious into custody. Nina Sharp writes a message to the absent William Bell updating him on the status of the "Carson-Penrose" experiments (Claus Penrose is a scientist seen caring for a genetically engineered killer in "The Same Old Story"). Tyler is one of many identical boys placed with foster families, and James was his assigned handler, not his father.

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Tropes in this episode:

  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The brain Walter examines appears to have been preserved in formaldehyde, which takes weeks, but this was supposed to be the brain he just removed from the body.
    • "Conflicting nerve impulses" do not cause hematomas. Of course, getting shot in the head or head trauma from the fall after being shot likely did cause hematomas.
    • It is unclear what is meant by amplifying brain waves. Amplifiers increase the power of an electrical signal by using another power source and transistor. I am not sure what pharmaceutical would do this. Even if the signal had an increased voltage or current it does not explain why these brain waves would affect other people or other brains. Amplifiers that are used in recording brain waves through electrodes (EEG recordings) do not affect the signal produced by the brain, but instead increase the power of the signal recorded by the electrodes.
  • Ax-Crazy: Tyler is highly unstable, and doesn't take much for him to start making people kill themselves.
  • Briefcase Full of Money
  • The Chosen Many: The Tylers
  • Enfant Terrible
  • Faked Kidnapping
  • Insanity Defense: Unclear why a 15 y/o who goes on a vicious killing spree with no sense of remorse and appeared aware of the consequences, would not serve any time.
    • Well, he IS serving time, really. Just not whilst he's awake...
  • Missing Mom
  • 90% of Your Brain
  • Phone-Trace Race
  • Pistol-Whipping
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide
  • Tinfoil Hat
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