|Air Date:||18 February 2011|
|Written by:|| Robert Chiappetta|
|Directed by:||Tom Yatsko|
|Guest Cast:|| Phyllis Somerville as Alice Merchant|
Seth Gabel as Lincoln Lee
Ryan McDonald as Brandon
Ken Pogue as Derek Merchant
|Transcript — Additional Images|
6B is the fourteenth episode of the third season of FRINGE. It first aired on February 18th, 2011. The sudden death of a half dozen party-goers brings the team to a building in Brooklyn and the home of a woman grieving her late husband. Peter and Olivia bridge the emotional gap they share. Walter grows burdened by the physical damages that are manifesting in this universe.
SynopsisPark Slope, Brooklyn, young urban couples converge at the Kimball's apartment in the Rosencrantz Building on a brisk winter night. Sylvia and Chris approach the front of the building and gain access from Doorman Jimmy Smith... they are headed-up to Apartment #7C. Chris is nervous about meeting Sylvia's close friends for the first time. Sylvia assures him that he will be just fine - as long as he doesn't discuss religion or politics. Inside the lobby, the couple waits for the elevator and watches as long-time resident, Missus Marcello, drags her hefty luggage down the stairs to the front exit. Is the elevator inoperative? No, it works, Marcello just doesn't trust it and offers good luck to the couple. Outside, Walter is in a good mood as he assembles a huge breakfast feast in his dining room. Peter is Olivia arrives to a warm Walter greeting and wonders what the important topic is that Walter needs to share with her. His ruse worked on her too... breakfast is the important topic - the most important meal of the day. Blueberry pancakes on this particular day - a Bishop family specialty. Walter slips into an adjacent room and puts some easy listening music on the phonograph. Peter and Olivia stand politely next to the food, waiting for Walter to return, then figure out that the meal is just for the two of them just as Walter sneaks out through the front door. Olivia wants to head out to the office, but Peter offers her an olive branch... using this opportunity to talk about what's really bothering her. Olivia opens up - she doesn't think that Peter has been completely honest with her. He admits that he has been holding things back about his relations with Bolivia Dunham, but not because Olivia can't handle learning about the affair - he has been silent because he knows that she struggles with 'trust issues', and has a difficult time letting people into her life. Peter doesn't want to be someone she struggles to trust, or let into her life. He only thinks of Bolivia when he visualizes how beautiful life might be with her - Olivia. Peter challenges Olivia. Who is keeping them apart now? She is. Agent Dunham answers her ringing cell phone and reports that they will be on the scene shortly. Broyles have made the long trip and are waiting when Peter and Olivia arrive. Walter shops at a nearby street vendor's stand and finishes his snack as Peter collects him to start the investigation. Walter is more concerned with his match-making efforts... did it work? Peter briefs him - if his intent was to make things more awkward and painful with Olivia, then yes, Walter's plan worked like a charm. Walter second guesses his breakfast planning, maybe a frittata would have had more success. The science team gathers around Broyles and learn that there are six dead following a nearly simultaneous fall from the seventh floor, and that the emergency crews who responded did not detect any damage to the balcony that they all fell from. Peter questions the possibility of suicide... jumpers don't normally take the patio furniture along with them. Olivia finds the doorman and asks him about the event. Jimmy is still shook-up. The bodies hit the sidewalk nearly all at once... he also thinks that some of the rumors about the building might be true. A concerned Alice Merchant studies the activity below, then moves away from her window in #6B.
Upstairs in #7C, the Kimballs sit and share the details of last night's gathering, and their crisis with a friend's peanut allergy. Walter and Peter inspect the balcony. Peter doesn't think the Kimball's guests jumped... going over the railing would have caused them to land farther from the side of the building. The dead landed directly below the balcony. Walter suggests that the victims passed straight through the solid floor of the balcony. But how? Olivia joins them and shares what she has been learning. The residents in the building suspect that it is haunted. Unexplained phenomena have occurred: Water pipes are replaced, then explode days later, the electricity goes on and off without explanation, and odd sounds are being heard all over the building. Half of the tenants have already moved out. Walter has quietly been busy testing a theory during the conversation. He has flipped a coin ten times and gotten heads each time. He suspects the laws of physics are being disrupted... to the extent that the balcony can be there one second, and gone the next. This universe is coming apart at the seams - just like the alternate universe.
In Walter's lab, the doctor is disgruntled with the misplacement of his seismographs. He needs to measure the micro-quakes! Everyone is better focused than Walter, who is upset about the universe coming apart at the seams, not the seismographs. Astrid volunteers to collect the equipment Walter needs. Olivia questions if they are dealing with another soft spot between universes or not. Walter assures her it is not another soft spot - it is a hole that could lead to a vortex, but he can't prove it without more data. He needs Peter and Olivia to return to Brooklyn and set-up his monitoring equipment at the apartment building. After the two leave, Walter tasks Astrid to get the file, and his notes, about the chemical attack (The Ghost Network) on the Boston commuter bus a few years back. Astrid doesn't appreciate Walter's curt attitude.
Across the street at the bar, Peter puts some money in the jukebox and returns to Olivia, his beer and his fries. Olivia wants to continue the conversation they started at Walter's breakfast feast... what it felt like for Peter when he thought he was with her. Olivia wants to know how that feels too, to be with him. She kisses him sweetly, then leaves the bar abruptly - she needs air - he glimmered again. Peter takes care of the tab then joins her outside after a few moments. Olivia is intimidated by the implication of what Peter suggested earlier, she is the one blocking the relationship - she is incapable of being vulnerable. Olivia looks away, then up
Upstairs in Apartment #6B, Alice Merchant sits and thumbs through her photo album. The room in front of her lights-up and she looks up with a smile. Walter's monitors get very active and he immediately calls Peter to confirm the readings he is seeing from Brooklyn. Olivia and Peter race up the stairs in the apartment building and Peter tells Walter he will have to call him back - he doesn't know what is happening. Olivia bangs on the door of Alice's apartment, but Peter won't wait... he kicks the door open and they both rush in. The lights in the house are flickering when they find Alice sitting in her living room. Peter can't see it, but Olivia can - the luminous outline of a senior gentleman standing ten feet in front of Alice. Merchant is convinced that she is seeing the ghost of her deceased husband, Derek.
Later that evening, Walter wanders through the apartment with a geiger counter and fails to find what he is looking for - radiation from the alternate universe. Peter is amazed to learn that there is actually something Walter does not believe in... ghosts. Walter explains that he and William Bell constantly argued about what happens to the body's energy after death. Bell theorized that the energy could be gathered using soul magnets. Alice Merchant explains her situation to Olivia - she has been viewing her husband since he died a few months earlier. The Merchants had been together for nearly forty-five years. They never had children, they enjoyed traveling and they dabbled in photography. Derek died while trying to repair an electrical fuse. Whenever there was a chore that neither of them wanted to do, they would flip a coin to see who got the tasking. Derek lost the coin toss and died instantly from a short in the wiring. Alice had been despondent following the funeral, but a few days later, around dinner time, is when she started seeing visions of her deceased husband. Derek owned apartment #6-B and Alice moved in after they were married, forty years ago.In the hallway, after the interview, Olivia asks Walter what he was gettng at when he asked Merchant how long she had lived in the apartment. Walter figures that her husband's counterpart in the alternate universe has the equivalent apartment. The universe must be breaking
Back in his lab, Walter demonstrates with a mounted glass pane how each little incident at a soft spot between universes... pecks away and weakens that spot a little more each time, until a vortex obliterates everything around it, just like what has happened in the other universe. Astrid joins the team with the files she was tasked to recover about the Amber attack. The files had been transferred to Massive Dynamic for additional research. Walter thinks that he might utilize the same methods as the alternate univerese to plug a vortex, if it were to occur here.
At Massive Dynamic, Nina Sharp walks through a lab filled with amber-encased victims and briefs the team. Massive Dynamic was asked by the government to analyze Amber for its military properties. Walter suspects that the encasing material they have is similar in composition to the substance used in the alternate universe. He wants Nina to gather a half a dozen of their best scientists... and Brandon. Broyles questions what Walter is suggesting - that the FBI encase the Rosencrantz building in Amber. Walter thinks that it may get worse than that... they may need to encase the entire block around the building. The concern is raised about trapping so many people, public reaction and the potential for mass hysteria. Walter raises a valid counterpoint - What if a black hole swallows up half of Brooklyn? Amber should be the last resort.
In a separate briefing room, Olivia explains the protocol used in the alternate universe to deploy the aerosol. Broyles needs time to get approval from the President and leaves to begin his efforts. Peter and Olivia continue, trying to brainstorm a solution. There has got to be another way of stopping the soft spot from weakening further. If they can figure out why that specific building is a weak spot, maybe then can figure out how to stop the vortex without Amber. Maybe there is something in the geological reports from the Rosencrantz that they are missing.Back in the amber research lab, Brandon shares his thoughts Secretary Bishop - an evil man willing to use any means necessary to achieve what he wanted. Now, Walter himself is facing a moral dilemma that may paint him as evil. Nina comforts him... at least he is questioning his own ethics, before the fact. Brandon is ready and tests a sample of the amber aerosol mixture.
Peter and Olivia continue their research through the geologic reports at Massive Dynamic. There is nothing unusual beneath the surface of the apartment building. There are no subway tunnels or major utility lines. Peter's mind wanders to Alice Merchant. Why can she see through to the other side? Is her emotional grief for her late husband a trigger like emotions are for Olivia? What makes Alice unique? Maybe alt-Alice died in the alternate universe and Derek is grieving for his dead spouse too. Maybe alt-Alice lost the coin toss and was electrocuted fixing the fuse in her universe. The weakening soft spot in the Rosencrantz Building isn't about physics, it's about people.
Olivia proposes the theory to Walter: Where two people, both grieving for a version of each other in the exact same spot are causing the soft spot. Perhaps - some form of emotional quantum entanglement. In theory it is possible, but Walter will need to figure out how to test for it. Astrid calls Olivia from the lab in Boston - there is all kinds of seismic activity occurring in Park Slope, Brooklyn.Cortexiphan. All that Walter can add is quantum entanglement is a tricky business, and he is not sure on this one. As the building is being evacuated, the call comes in that Merchant is the only one refusing to leave. Walter becomes certain that proximity is irrelevant to the connection the Merchants share. She doesn't have to be in her apartment to connect to Derek, their subatomic connection is the same. Merchant doesn't have to be removed
Peter and Olivia race past the amber dispersal device and up to the sixth floor. The building grows less stable as lights flicker, bulbs shatter and chandeliers shake. They find Alice sitting in her living room with the image of alternate-Derek standing before her. Alice wants to be left alone. Olivia spells it out for her - everything that is happening in the building is because of her. She needs to let go of her feelings for Derek. Alice won't be persuaded. Olivia makes a more persuasive plea. Alice! That man is from an alternate universe - he is not your Derek. The tremors grow worse and the residents and personnel outside are moved back to a safer distance. The fabric separating the universes grows even thinner. Derek and Alice can speak to one another, and Peter can see Derek. From the street below, Broyles and Walter spot the shimmering of the alternate universe through the window in Merchant's apartment. Broyles has seen enough - he radios Olivia and Peter with orders to evacuate. Inside, Derek tells Alice that he never got the chance to tell her all the things he wanted to. Windows from the top stories of the building shatter and fall to the sidewalk below. The vortex is starting. Walter solemnly hands over the remote trigger for the amber device to Broyles.Broyles prepares to employ the last resource. He exposes the remote trigger, pulls the pin and gives one final order to evacuate. Inside, Olivia continues her bid. The man Alice sees is not her husband. Alice resists what they ask of her... giving-up a lifetime with someone she loves. Peter assures her that she has what she needs right there in her apartment... mementos, photos, etc.... Derek adds to the confusion - he misses her, and the girls miss her. Then it dawns on Alice. This isn't her husband, they never had children. Alice resolves her emotional state and gives up the notion that what she was seeing was her Derek. The tremors subside and the pending vortex evaporates. Broyles safes the remote trigger he was about to squeeze. Olivia sits quietly with Alice in the aftermath. Alice doesn't think she will ever really understand what happened, not that it matters, but if the impossible is now possible, maybe she will see Derek again someday.
Late at night at Massive Dynamic, Walter stares out over the brightly lit skyline and thinks. Nina joins him with a supportive word. He saved many lives today, and should feel proud. Walter doesn't consider today a victory - today was a vision of things to come. If he had used the amber device to seal the vortex, a larger one would pop-up somewhere else. He would seal that, of course, but larger cracks would find their way, and so on. Continuous ambering won't work because when the universe starts to unravel, there'll be no stopping it. Walter doesn't know how to stop that. Nina suggests that maybe he needs to learn how. The longtime friends hold hands.At the Bishop's residence, Peter answers a late Olivia is the there instead. She has a bottle of "the good stuff" and is hoping to make amends. Peter is up for a chat and a drink. They pour a shot and toast their victory - narrowly averting a disaster... or at least postponing it somewhat. Olivia has been thinking about what he said to Alice Merchant... about her full life with her husband - Olivia wants what Peter wants. Peter smiles and asks what they should do about that. Olivia has his answer. She kisses him deeply, several times, then takes him by hand and leads him upstairs.
At the Rosenkrantz Building in the alternate universe, a dirigible airship plods along overhead as Lincoln Lee and Bolivia Dunham investigate a reported Class Four fringe event on the sixth floor of the building. Readings are normal and test equipment is functional. Bolivia knocks on the door of Apartment 6B and asks the occupant, Derek Merchant, if he has noticed anything strange in the area. Derek claims to know nothing, and his family can't help either... he has lived there alone since his wife died a few months earlier. Bolivia excuses her intrusion, and reminds him about the hotline, if he does notice something. Lincoln calls in and cancels the quarantine protocol. If there was a rift in the area, it is closed now. Inside his apartment 6B, Derek Merchant sits and looks through his photo album with his pictures of his Alice Merchant.
- The Observer walks past Chris and Sylvia as they approach the Kimball's building.
- The yellow dot for the last glyph of the episode is replaced by a yellow heart.
- Name Dropping. Walter defied the laws of probability in the Rosencrantz Building by flipping a coin ten times with the same outcome. This roughly parallels the tale "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", where Rosencrantz accomplished a similarly improbable feat. Missus Marcello's objective is the Schrodinger Hotel after she abandons her home in the Rosencrantz Building. Erwin Schrödinger is a famous (founding) quantum physicist.
- Recurring Themes
- Fall To Death. Guests on the balcony of Apt. 7C fall from a high-rise building to their death. (The Dreamscape), (Bad Dreams), (What Lies Below), (6955 kHz)
- Glimmer. People and objects from the alternate universe display a noticeable glimmering energy signature. (Jacksonville), (Northwest Passage)
- The Circles. Three green lights and one red light appeared on the Amber dispersal device when the remote triggering switch was initially activated.
- Song. The song that plays on the jukebox that Peter randomly selects is "For Once In My Life" (Brown Betty).
|The plate number of Jerry Bissell's car (Immortality) foretells the location of the pending vortex event.|
• Feelings originally by Morris Albert
• Pale Blue Eyes by The Velvet Underground
• For Once In My Life by Stevie Wonder
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on 6B/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- Why was the effect of the emotional quantum entanglement is not as bad as it is in the parallel universe?
- Was Chris supposed to die in the initial fringe event of the episode?
- Did he create a new set of probabilities when Sylvia started choking?
- Did Derek Merchant see Olivia while he was talking with Alice Merchant?
- If so, did he recognize Bolivia Dunham when she questioned him about the Class Four event in his building?