|Air Date:||3 Dec 2009|
|Written by:||David Wilcox|
|Directed by:||Paul Holahan|
|Guest Cast:|| Tzi Ma as Ming Che|
Colby Paul as Matt Jarvis
Ingrid Torrance as Elizabeth Jarvis
Jack Yang as Tao Chen
|Transcript — Additional Images|
- Snakehead is the ninth episode of the second season of FRINGE. It first aired on December 3, 2009. After a cargo ship runs aground near Boston, the shoreline becomes littered with bodies hosting large parasites. The science team examines the corpses and discovers that the mysterious organisms provide remarkable immuno-deficiency qualities. As the investigation unfolds, Walter recaptures some of his personal style and begins to find his own way again in the world, only to place Astrid in grave peril.
A wet, shivering man, Wu Zhe Lan, frantically combs the streets of Boston looking for Ping-On Street. He stops a female pedestrian and gets directions. He finds the street and the address he wants and urgently presses the intercom button. He is granted entry and joins Ming Che. Warming-up inside, Lan is certain that those he was with are all dead. Che comforts him and offers him food and shelter. Che also offers hope... the morning may bring more travellers, as Lan is the first to arrive. Che shows Lan his quarters for the night, but Lan is feeling worse. His stomach is severely distressed. As Lan lays down in agony, Che puts on heavy gloves and uses shears to cut the shirt from Lan. Lan's adbomen is distended and wriggling as something crawls around inside him. A large squid-like parasite crawls out of Lan's mouth and Che retrieves it.science team arrives at Dorchester Bay Inlet where a Chinese merchant freighter is partially Walter and Peter arrive in separate vehicles, Peter in the station wagon, and the newly independent Walter, arrives in a taxi. Olivia listens to his explanation of the travelling arrangements, then leads the two to the shoreline. Broyles joins the trio on the rocky beach littered with victims who apparently died trying to swim ashore in the frigid water and strong current. Twenty-seven bodies have been recovered, most dead from hypothermia, the rest were found with large wormlike creatures, with tentacles, in their mouths. Walter examines the parasitic creature, and believes it is similar to a parasite found in livestock, however, he has never seen it this large before, or in humans. He removes one of the large parasites from a victim's throat and tells Peter he wants to take it back to the lab to study. An FBI agent finds one woman still breathing, Walter believes she is infected and the paramedics rush to take her to the hospital before she dies.
In a backroom at his shop, Ming Che collects living parasites from freighter survivors that have made it the rest of the way to his shop. He comforts a new male refugee that has arrived in duress. He assures the man that he is the first to arrive.
At the hospital, Tao Chen, from the Chinese Consulate, meets with Olivia and Peter and shares the background of the woman recovered from the inlet. Her name is Mei Lin and she is from the Hong Kong area. Her doctor says she is severely dehydrated, but does not have the parasite that the others have. Lin explains her situation, they were trying to find work, and a better life. She wants to know if she is going to be arrested. Peter answers her in Cantonese. He and Olivia are just here to help. She informs Olivia that the crewmen on the boat were giving their human cargo medicine for seasickness, but she did not take the medication, her father was a fisherman and she does not get nauseous. Mei Lin is worried about her husband and daughter, crewman told her that her family was on a boat that is scheduled to arrive two days after her. Peter suspects that they are injected too. Olivia knows that leaves about thirty-six hours to intercept them.At Walter's lab, Astrid and Walter study the parasitic worms. Astrid weighs in the largest parasite at seven pounds - ten ounces. Walter marvels at the infinite variation Mother Nature provides, and her truly disturbing sense of humor. Peter and Olivia return with news of Mei Lin and her story about the medication the victims ingested. Walter agrees, if the time of gestation were the length of the voyage, human bodies would provide a nutritious, warm, protective shelter for the parasite to grow - incubators for the worm. As Olivia asks what motive might apply, she receives a text message
← At his makeshift lab, Ming Che harvests an internal organ from the parasitic worms he has smuggled into the country. Later, he pours a fine powder into a small paper wrapper, folds the paper around the powder, then seals the package with a label.
Beacon Hill. Peter and Olivia visit the wealthy Boston residential neighborhhod to interview Mrs. Jarvis. Her son, Matt Jarvis greets them at the door and invites them in, after checking their identification. Elizabeth shares that her attorney advised her that there was money to be made with Hsu's construction company, and that she has never met Hsu. Olivia asks if Jarvis's husband might know anything about the company. She tells Olivia that her husband died shortly after her son was born. Peter wanders the first floor of the house, listening to the interview and looking around. He notices containers of tissues and hand-sanitizer everywhere, and that the windows are hermetically sealed. Olivia concludes the interview and asks for the name and phone number of the attorney. Outside the house, Matt plays basketball and as they head to the car, Olivia says she will drop Peter at the lab on her way to see Mei Lin in the hospital.Peter joins Walter at the lab and wants to know if there could be a connection between a germaphobe (Jarvis) and the parasitic worms. Astrid joins the conversation after Peter notices the bite mark on Walter's arm. She tells him Walter refuse to have the bite checked out, even though it might be infected.
At the hospital, Olivia interviews Mei Lin, with the help of the translator from the Chinese consulate. She shows her a picture of the tattoo on the Triad gang member that took his own life. Mei Lin recognizes the tattoo, a crew member on the freighter she was on had the same tattoo. Olivia tells Lin that the gang is suspected of drug smuggling into the US. Agitated, Mei Lin hands her a photo of her with her husband and daughter and pleas. Olivia assures her they will do everything that they can to recover her family.
Atlantic Ocean. Aboard a small freighter, Mei Lin's husband and daughter sit in a crowded cargo hold with other Chinese citizens. None of the people appear well and the little girl tells her father of her discomfort. Most of the infected cargo is resting. The girl plays with her small toy, then watches the stomach of a man nearby as it distorts and writhes from the growing parasitic worm within - her eyes widen in disbelief.
Olivia returns to the lab and finds Peter. He tells her Walter is out self-actualizing again, but that Astrid is keeping an eye on him. Peter explains the research he has on the computer monitor. Elizabeth Jarvis had medical quality air filtration, with hepa filters. Peter thinks Jarvis' fixation with health and germs may be connected to an immune system concern - and connected to the immune boosting quality of the worms. Olivia wants to take Elizabeth Jarvis into custody and get a warrant to search her house: Peter has a better idea.Peter and Olivia FBI agent like and Olivia, and they can talk guy-to-guy. Olivia excuses herself with the warning that she is going to phone a judge and get a warrant. Privately, Peter tells Matt that he understands the teen is just protecting his mother, his only family, he's done that too. He also adds that the people (Triad) Matt's mother paid are scary, that they will try to cover their tracks, and that his mother may be one of the tracks they try to cover. Matt accepts the validity of Peter's claim and reveals the treatments weren't for his mother, they were for him. Matt shows Peter the long scar on his left front rib cage to prove it. →
In one of the busy Asian market districts of Boston, Walter leaves an herbalist shop and absorbs the invigorating sounds and smell of the neighborhood. He continues on his mission to collect hookworm samples from other shops, checking the street vending stands as he goes. When he stops to check his list of addresses, he sees that he is not alone -- Astrid is trying to hide coyly behind a stand. She claims it is a coincidence, a friend lives nearby, but Walter knows better... Peter had her follow him. Upset with his lack of independence, Walter lashes out about his need to be alone, and his desire for dignity and self-respect. Astrid apologizes for the intrusion and Walter quickly softens his tone with the junior agent - he invites her to join him, only not as a supervisor, but as a friend. Astrid is delighted with the offer and accepts Walter's conditions.
As the investigation continues, Broyles meets with Olivia and Peter in the field to be briefed on what they have learned. Olivia tells him that Matt Jarvis suffers from a rare immune deficiency disorder that doesn't allow his body to produce enough white blood cells to fight infection. Peter tells Broyles that the immune disorder Matt suffers from would normally mandate medical confinement. According to Matt, the medicinal powder is inserted directly into his spleen once a month, and that his next surgery is scheduled in two days, with Doctor Che.Walter and Astrid look at samples in one of the herbalist shops on the list. Walter is fascinated with the plate of wiggling hookworms being weighed and prepared for him. Astrid,
Broyles continues planning with Olivia and Peter at their rendezvous spot. He wants Olivia to lean on Elizabeth Jarvis because the next freighter is due soon, and time is running out. Peter answers his cell phone and learns from a very upset Astrid that Walter had lulled her into a false sense of security and given her the slip. Peter consoles her, reminding her that Walter likes to prove his point. Walter should be fine. Astrid tells Peter she is returning to the lab to see if Walter is there.
Back at Walter's lab, Astrid enters and starts checking each room and office, calling for him. No one responds, but she hears low voices and footsteps and returns to the main lab. There stand two triad gang members that have followed her to the lab. They are preparing to take the giant hookworms Walter is keeping in tanks. The thugs turn and approach her. Astrid starts to gasp.
Peter and Olivia return to the lab and find Astrid on the floor, not moving and surrounded by broken glass and damaged lab equipment. Astrid revives and sits up, then declines Peter's suggestion to call for an ambulance. With a bloody lip and a scalp laceration, she recalls that two big Asian guys with tattoos were in the lab. She has no idea how they knew the hookworm was at the lab. Peter thinks that she must have been followed back to the lab after Walter went missing. Peter answers his ringing cell phone and starts replying in Cantonese. He translates the conversation for Olivia and Astrid - Walter is fine and he is still in the neighborhood where he disappeared. Peter rechecks with Astrid to make sure she is well, then says he is going to retrieve Walter. Peter starts to leave the lab and Olivia directs him to stay in touch... she is going to talk to Elizabeth Jarvis.
Back at the Jarvis house in Beacon Hill, Olivia follows Elizabeth into the kitchen, accusing her of withholding information. Jarvis insist she has already told Olivia everything and that she can't help anymore. Olivia reveals that her son, Matt, has already told her everything. Olivia further explains that two dozen Chinese nationals are dead, a federal agent has been assaulted, and another freighter loaded with people are about to die on it. Jarvis defends her position - Matt won't live long without the treatment she purchased. Olivia appeals further and tells Jarvis about Mei Lin's rescue, and the fact that her daughter on the next freighter is going to die too. Olivia demands to know who has been treating Matt Jarvis.
Peter finds the apartment building where Walter has found accommodation and knocks on a door. Walter's new friend, Fao, answers the door and invites Peter in. Sitting at the dining table in a silk robe, drinking hot tea, Walter is in much better spirits than when Fao found him. Peter, slightly amazed, is introduced to Walter's host. Fao tells Peter about Walter's multiple dialing failures, and that she doesn't normally allow strangers into her home, but made an exception because Walter was so upset. Aggravated, Peter reminds his father that the phone numbers are in his pocket - he put them there for him. Walter didn't remember that... but he is fine now. Walter bows, thanks Fao for the noodles, and takes his clothes to go change.Redressed and carrying his herbal samples, Walter leaves Fao's building with Peter. As they walk to the car in the cool evening air, Walter tells Peter he hopes he didn't cause Astrid too much distress. Peter avoids telling his father what happened to Astrid in the lab and simply tells him she had other things on her mind. What Peter wants to know - does Walter remember the addresses of the herbalist shops he visited? Walter doesn't remember, but he still does have his list. He remembers that the third shop on the list, Ming Che's, was the only one Astrid went to with him. He also remembers mentioning the giant hookworm too. Peter makes the connection... the mention of the giant parasite
← The freighter carrying Mei Lin's family is being moored at the pier by deckhands as dozens of law enforcers arrive on a tactical raid. Olivia and Broyles join the assault squad as it charges and boards the vessel. As the deckhands are taken into custody, Broyles orders the squad to break into smaller teams and search the freighter by decks. Individual decks are cleared one-by-one, then Olivia finds the hold where the human cargo was kept. None of the foreign nationals are there, but Olivia does find the small toy Mei Lin's daughter had been playing with.
The Bishop's drive to the herbalist shop and park nearby just as refugees start to unload from a panel truck in the alley. Olivia calls Peter to inform him that the freighter they raided was the correct vessel, but that they were too late to intercept the human cargo. Peter tells her about the refugees arriving at the shop on Ping-On Street and she redeploys the assault team to his location. Peter wants a look inside and tells Walter to stay in the car. Walter is worried and thinks going into the shop is not a good idea. Peter promises to be careful.
Peter approaches the shop cautiously, then picks the lock to gain access. Inside, he finds a dozen or so refugees strapped to tables and Ming Che is preparing a gagged woman for parasite removal. The terrified woman sees Peter sneaking in. He signals her to be quiet, then attacks Che from behind, knocking him to the ground. While Walter sits nervously in the car, singing to himself, Peter has been subdued and bloodied. He is strapped down and Che prepares a worm for him to ingest. Che wants to know who else is with Peter. Peter insists he is alone. Che doesn't believe him and forces a worm into Peter's mouth. Outside, the assault team arrives and begins to raid the shop. The team bursts into the makeshift lab and surprises the Che's. Ming steps back and reaches for the pistol in his pocket. Olivia responds to the threat and shoots Ming twice in the chest. Pan Che surrenders peacefully and Peter spits the worm out on the floor, claiming he is alright.
Back at the hospital, Olivia reports to Broyles that only time will tell in the recovery of the refugees, as some are in surgery, and others in the Intensive Care Unit. Broyles adds that the refugees will be granted political asylum by the State Department, and that financial records at the herbalist shop identifies six other immune deficient clients, like Matt Jarvis. What's more, John Hsu is just an alias that Ming Che uses for his finances. Olivia excuses herself and joins the Lin family in their hospital room. Olivia returns the toy bird that the girl left on her freighter.
At the Bishop residence, Walter rousts Peter from a nap on the couch... he needs to talk. Walter confesses that he does not want to be treated like a child anymore. He has been out of the institution for a year and is just beginning his "journey to being whole". He still fears there will be a time when he will get lost, so he has implanted a tracking device in his neck. He gives Peter a transponder to help keep track of him. Peter smiles in amazement as Walter wanders off to bed and the tracking device beeps softly . →
- The Observer walks from left to right down the sidewalk on Ping-On Street, just after Ming Che calls Pan Che to follow Astrid.
- Snakehead (shé tóu) is a term for organized criminal gangs in Southeast China that smuggle people (human trafficking) to wealthier Western countries.
- Recurring Themes
- Supersized Parasites. The exaggerated gigantic hookworms resemble similar scientific oddities, Loeb's heartworms (In Which We Meet Mr. Jones) and single cell virus (Bound).
- Comfort Song. As Walter waits nervously in the car for Peter, he returns to a favorite - "Van Amburgh's Menagerie" - the same tune he used to calm himself when facing the beast (Unleashed).
|At the motel (August) where he is protecting Christine Hollis, August retrieves a meal with a 'snakehead' emblem on the paper bag -- foreshadowing the 'snakehead' them in this episode.|
• Juke by Little Walter
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on Snakehead/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- Who is responsible for creating the genetically-engineered hookworms?
- Why is Walter suddenly so worried about having placed Junior Agent Farnsworth in peril?