‘Fringe’ episode: “Snakehead”
This one is virtually 100% mythology free, but that’s OK. The high squick factor almost makes up for it.
There’s a sweaty young Chinese guy running panicked through the streets of Chinatown, looking for a particular address. A kindly old guy lives there. The sweaty young guy – we’ll call him Anonymous Victim – asks if any of the others have made it? No – the kindly old guy informs him that he’s the first. Anonymous Victim doesn’t feel so good, and the kindly old guy encourages him to lie down. Then the kindly old guy whips out some elbow length industrial latex gloves and his Hostel torture kit. That looks bad enough, until the Anonymous Victim hatches a live squid-type squiggly thing from his mouth. In retrospect, maybe the hunting knife with the serrated edge from the kindly old guy’s Hostel torture kit would have been a walk in the park in comparison. But also, maybe we shouldn’t refer to him as “kindly old guy” anymore.
Peter and Walter show up at a crime scene where a Chinese merchant ship has run aground, and the smuggled slaves on board mostly appeared to have drowned. Well, er….some of them caught a severe and advanced case of squid-hatch-face. But a survivor is found amidst the carnage.
A representative from the Chinese consulate meets Olivia and Peter at the hospital to help them question the survivor from the boat crash. She explains – in Cantonese, which Peter speaks, by the way – that they were all given medicine for sea sickness, only because her father was a fisherman, and she’s used to the sea, she didn’t take it. She’s worried about her daughter and husband, who were put on a different ship.
Doctor Death Hostel is now cutting open one of the newly hatched parasite thingies. He removes something from it (I know it can’t be a testicle, but it sure looks like one), and then is pouring and wrapping up a mysterious white powder.
Agents found a ne’er do well type guy at the shipyard. He was trying to destroy all the incriminating paperwork. Peter identifies him as a Triad gang member based on his tatts. They’d like to ask him some questions about the weird parasite squid hatchling whats-its, only this guy is super loyal to his employers. So loyal, he brings his own razor blade with him wherever he goes, just in case he needs to slit his own throat rather than be forced to talk. Hopefully this will at least earn him a posthumous “Employee of the Month” plaque on the boss’s wall. Doesn’t he deserve that much?
Walter and Astrid are playing with the giant sucking parasites. Walter mentions that yes, some parasites are known to secrete opiates. Oh goodie! “Walter, you are not smoking this thing!” insists Astrid, ever the voice of reason. The creature decides to smoke Walter instead – or at least give him one hell of a hickey. “This is rather pleasant!” Walter admits.
Based on the forensic accounting trail, Olivia and Peter go to visit an address of a person who had recently wired a giant glob of money to the Beijing shell company run by the Triad. They find themselves at the yuppie door of one Elizabeth Jarvis and her capricious teenage son Max. She claims to be shocked that her money was going toward nefarious business dealings! Damn stupid financial advisors! As Olivia questions her, Peter cases the joint. He notices a boatload of hand sanitizer, air filters, and hermetically sealed windows. Do you suppose it’s all connected somehow? (Hey, Broyles isn’t asking, so I will.)
Walter is feeling SUPER GOOD since being on the receiving end of that parasite hickey, by the way. He’s figured out it’s been bio-engineered from a more common intestinal hookworm which has an immune boosting enzyme. He decides to visit some Chinese herbalists in Chinatown to pick up samples of the original 1.0 version hookworm, so he can run some tests and stuff.
Meanwhile, the daughter and husband of the survivor from the boat crash are huddled in the cramped quarters of another boat. Nearby, some guy’s stomach starts doing the John Hurt thing.
Peter and Olivia pay another visit to the Jarvis household. Seems Matt Jarvis is sick with way more than a common cold. But that parasite powder inserted into his spleen has given him a new lease on life! That makes it OK that Mrs. Jarvis is willing to pay a boatload to have a boatload of Chinese immigrants sacrificed as lab rats, surely. Yuppies can always afford the “at any cost” option.
Walter visits Dr. Death Hostel, who, it turns out, is also a run of the mill herbalist. As Walter pays for some samples of the tiny parasite variety, he boasts about his four foot specimen back at the lab. Dr. Death Hostel perks right up upon hearing this, and makes an important call to a lingering hoodlum nearby. When Astrid has her back turned, Walter wanders off, because he’s still easily confused. Astrid heads back to the lab to find Walter, and runs smack dab into the path of two Chinese Triad dudes who are parasite-napping Walter’s new lab pet/girlfriend.
Walter has used up all of his bus fare trying to call Peter, but he can’t remember Peter’s number. He’s sad. On a bus bench. All by himself. He’s crying. (I’m crying. Awkward.) An old Chinese woman takes pity on him.
Peter and Olivia find Astrid unconscious on the lab floor, and Walter’s pet worm is gone. Peter gets a call. Peter goes to Chinatown to retrieves his dad. Walter’s wearing a silk robe and eating noodles. Peter is exasperated ’cause Walter didn’t remember that he always has a list of emergency phone numbers in his pocket, which Peter put there for just such an occasion.
The next ship has docked. Swat team fiesta! Only there’s no smuggled slaves/human parasite carrying cases in the cargo space below. Huh.
Peter and Walter retrace Walter’s steps and return to the workplace of Dr. Death Hostel. The latest shipment of slaves are being unloaded. Peter calls Olivia, then sneaks inside, grapples with Doctor Death, and loses. He regains consciousness, strapped to a chair, with Doctor Death dangling a parasite over Peter’s mouth, which is held open by a Triad minion. The worm is deposited, but Olivia bursts in and plugs Doctor Death with the bullet-shaped equivalent of a malpractice suit. Peter spits out the would-be hatchling! Happy ending!
Wsalter rushes back to lab. He feels bad that Astrid was jumped by Asian gang members due to his wandering off like a doddering ex-mental patient. He cries some more. So does Astrid.
Later, Peter wakes up with Walter hovering over him again. Walter wants to be independent, yes, but not “independent yet lost without any memory of how to get back home again” independent. He’s implanted a tracking device in his own neck. He gives Peter the transmitter. Awwww. Just one of those touching, father-son bonding moments, Fringe-style!
The Gooey Moments!
Faces exploding with squid-like parasites! Spaghetti face! Also, the Chinese gang member slitting his own throat with a razor wasn’t too pretty, either.
Walter getting an opiate-like rush from a parasite hickey was really more amusing that gross.
Word of the Day
Leaf + Daisy + Apple + Apple + Seahorse = hidden (OK, I must have looked away for a second and missed one of the secret symbols, because “hidden” would make slightly more sense here.)
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