Season 2, Episode 20:
The episode begins with Walter smoking his own strain of marijuana called "Brown Betty" while Olivia attempts to find Peter, who has disappeared after learning Walter stole him from the alternate universe. Because Olivia's sister Rachel is unavailable, she brings her niece Ella to the lab for Walter and Astrid to look after. To pass the time, Walter tells Ella a detective noir story in which Olivia is a private investigator.
In the story, Rachel approaches Olivia to find her boyfriend, Peter, who has gone missing. During the investigation, Detective Broyles leads her to Massive Dynamic, where the CEO Nina Sharp informs her that Peter is a conman and industrial spy. Later, Rachel is found murdered, with her heart taken. Olivia finds a check signed by Walter Bishop, an inventor that has created "everything that is wonderful in the world" in order to benefit humanity (hugs, rainbows, bubblegum, singing corpses). Questioning Walter, Olivia learns that Peter worked with Walter, who treated him like a son. One day, Walter made a glass heart but Peter later stole it. Were the heart not to be found, Walter and his ideas would die. To help find Peter, Olivia calls her assistant, "Esther Figglesworth."
Later, Olivia follows Nina Sharp, only to find herself kidnapped by a "Watcher," working for Sharp. The Watcher attempts to kill Olivia by placing her in a wooden crate and sending it out to sea. Fortunately, Olivia is rescued by Peter. After taking her to his hideout, he reveals that the glass heart was his by nature of having been born with it, and that after working with Walter, Peter loved him enough to donate it to him. However, he took it back after learning a terrible secret behind his inventions: they were stolen from children's dreams and replaced with nightmares. Later, the house is under attack by an army of Watchers. Olivia fights them off, but not before they manage to take Peter's heart with them. After placing batteries in his heart cavity to act as a temporary measure, Olivia discovers that Walter set up the attack. In the confrontation, Walter apologizes for his misdeeds and promises to change. However, Peter cannot forgive Walter and leaves him, ending the story.
Ella is disappointed by the ending, so she proposes an alternate ending: when Walter says he can change, Peter believes him and splits the glass heart in two, and together they "lived happily ever after." Olivia returns, having found no leads on Peter's location. Astrid returns Walter to his home, where the Observer watches from a distance and notes Peter's disappearance.
Tropes found in this episode:
- Accidental Misnaming: Of the C Variant.WALTER: Be careful, Stella (to Ella).
- Affectionate Parody: Of Film Noir
- All Animals Are Dogs:WALTER: Gene, Gene, no licking. no licking.
- All of the Other Reindeer: We find out that Walter was roughed up in school because his mother would dress him up as parts in musicals.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Gene's polk-a-dots.
- American Accents: Anna Torv seems to have a little trouble with Olivia's Noo Yawk accent.
- Anyone Can Die: Lampshaded.ELLA: That's not how it goes. She can't be dead.WALTER: Why not?ASTRID: Probably because it's her mother, Walter.WALTER: Oh.ELLA: No, that's not it. Because that's not how stories work. She's in love — true love. She can't die.
- Anachronism Stew
- Artistic License Chemistry:
- Walter spells MnSO4 as manganese sulphate, ignoring IUPAC guidelines, but later spells H2SO4 as sulfuric acid
- Artistic License Medicine:
- The cricoarytenoid muscles do not actually contract the larynx. They are muscles intrinsic to the larynx. The posterior cricoarytenoid muscle laterally rotates the arytenoid cartilages, opening the vocal folds. The lateral cricoarytenoid muscle internally rotates the arytenoid cartilages, closing the vocal folds.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The singing corpses.
- Bizarro Episode
- Call-Back: Picture of John Scott on Olivia's desk.
- While explaining Peter's disappearance to Olivia Rachel claims he's in debt to Big Eddie, who the real Peter was trying to avoid back in the first season.
- The Cast Showoff: Oddly averted in September's case. Michael Cerveris is both a musical theatre actor and a rock singer, but he doesn't get a song.
- Cell Phones Are Useless: No signal in the crate.
- Continuity Nod: Ella plays operation with Walter as she previously played with Olivia in 'The No-Brainer' and Teddy played with Astrid in 'Johari Window'.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Astrid
- Deliberately Monochrome: We see black and white photos and Bell on the Viewing device appears like a black and white television.
- Dream Stealer
- Drugs Are Bad: Inverted Trope
- Fantastic Drug: Brown Betty
- Fantastic Noir
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted Trope. They actually show a bong on network television.
- Functional Addict: Although how functional Walter is could be debated.
- G-Rated Drug; Marijuana Is LSD: Given Walter's typical ingestion of psychedelics, sedatives, and various other drugs, the effects of marijuana are a bit overplayed in this episode.
- Hardboiled Detective: Olivia's character.
- Happily Ever After: With Ella's help.
- Heart Trauma
- Love at First Sight:RACHEL: We met only a few weeks ago, but... it was love at first sight.
- Musical Episode
- The Nicknamer: Walter decides to change some names, to protect the innocent:
- Astrid Farnsworth becomes Esther Figglesworth.
- Instead of calling the Observer by a Month name, he is called by the Zodiac sign Gemini.
- The Observers are called Watchers.
- Noir Episode
- Not That Kind of Doctor:ELLA: (playing the board game - Operation. to Walter as the buzzer repeatedly sounds) You're killing him. You're not supposed to touch the sides. What kind of doctor are you? You're not even trying.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: A Film Noir Musical Episode in a Science Fiction show.
- Once Upon a Time:WALTER: Once upon a time... there was an accomplished detective.
- Product Placement: Red Vines get a label.
- Schizo Tech: An episode set in a 40's Film Noir...with cell phones.
- Separate Scene Storytelling
- We find out Walter's mother loved Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
- "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" by The Bee Gees
- "Head over Heels" by Tears for Fears, maybe a reference to another story of time travel with an unusual character - Donnie Darko.
- The search for the glass heart seems to reference the Tin Woodman's quest in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
- The dramatic shadows during Leonard Nimoy's appearance suggest he may have facial hair recalling Mirror Universe Spock.
- Something Completely Different
- Stoners Are Funny:ELLA: All you've done is eat all my snacks and talk about weird stuff and everything makes you laugh.
- Storybook Episode
- Title Drop:WALTER: I'd hardly classify what I've just smoked as marijuana. It's — it's a hybrid. Of Chronic Supernova and Afghani Kush. I call it Brown Betty.
- That Reminds Me of a Song:
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The man stabbed in the back at the Hawaii themed jazz bar.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?:WALTER: I never told Peter stories. I was always... too busy with my work.
- Would Hurt a Child