The Firefly

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The Firefly
Episode310.jpg
Season: 3 Episode: 10
Air Date: 21 January 2011
Written by: Joel Wyman
Jeff Pinkner
Directed by: Charles Beeson
Starring: Main Characters
Guest Cast: Christopher Lloyd as Roscoe Joyce
Michael Cerveris as The Observer
Eugene Lipinski as December
Olivia Cheng as Victoria DiMiro

Nicolas Quellette as Bobby Joyce
Marci House as Pam
David Quinlan as Joe
Gigi Jackman as Nurse
Arvind Johal as Courier
Owen Kwong as EMT
Nancy Bell as Adorable Old Woman
Ivan Vance as Adorable Old Man
Kory Grim as Man #1
Rob Boyce as Tough Man
Rhys Williams as Tattoo Man

Next: Reciprocity
Previously: Marionette
Transcript  —  Additional Images
Introduction

The Firefly is the tenth episode of the third season of FRINGE. It first aired on January 21, 2011. The Observer contacts Walter to help him correct a mistake he believes he made decades ago. Walter befriends musical icon Roscoe Joyce, a keyboardist for Walter's favorite band, Violet Sedan Chair. Walter learns why they disbanded and realizes that their lives overlap in strange and unexpected ways.

Synopsis

Prologue
In the middle of the night at the Bishops' residence, Walter has been concocting a home remedy in the dining room with his lab equipment. Just as he is about to inject himself, sleepy-headed Peter joins him and asks him what he is doing. Walter explains that he intends to recover some of his diminished intellect. The parts of his brain that were removed years ago (Grey Matters) have left him at a disadvantage when compared to his counterpart, Secretary Bishop... making him not equal with his equal. With his intellect restored, Walter feels
Brain Food - Better Living Through Chemistry
he can figure out what his counterpart is trying to do with the device he has been assembling, and how to keep Peter safe in the process. Peter reminds his father that he, Walter, was the one that asked William Bell to remove portions of his brain... because he was afraid of what he was becoming. Walter continues his quest for restored intellect and injects himself with his home remedy, then he answers the door to pay for the pizza he ordered.

At Parklane Senior Care in Boston, retired musician and Parklane resident, Roscoe Joyce sleepwalks through the dimly lit corridors. Two of the staffers notice the errant resident on the security monitor at their duty station. A security door is breached and the two attendants notice a young man enter the corridor and approach Roscoe. They hurry to the hallway to find their retired rock star and his visitor, but only find Joyce standing alone. Back in his room, Joyce tells his attendants the man that approached him was Bobby. One of his caregivers knows better - Bobby is Bobby Joyce, Roscoe's son who died two and half decades ago.

Later, on a forested hillside near Parklane Senior Care, Bobby Joyce is joined by the man who brought him there - The Observer. Bobby says he told his father what he was supposed to tell him. The Observer tells Bobby that he will take him back home now.

ACT I

At Olivia's apartment
Considering "re-gifting"
the next morning, she answers the door and is greeted by a courier delivering a package for her. She studies the envelope, opens it and extracts a book titled - "If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!". Inside the book is a simple message on a nice note card. - "Olivia... Because you asked. Peter." - She puts the book down when her phone rings with a call to work.

At Parklane Senior Care, Olivia joins the Bishop's and Agent Broyles, who has photo images to help start investigating their new case. In one photo is Roscoe Joyce talking to a young man in the hallway the previous night, during a bout of sleepwalking. The odd thing is the young man appears to be Roscoe's son Bobby, who died more than two decades ago. The second image makes it a Fringe Division case. Bobby Joyce was seen on security camera footage after the visit at Parklane - and he was talking with the Observer. Roscoe's attendant from the previous night, Pam, confirmed that he was talking with his long-lost son, but Roscoe doesn't remember what Bobby said to him. Walter immediately recognizes Roscoe Joyce as one of his favorite musicians: the keyboard player for Violet Sedan Chair. Practically giddy at meeting an icon, Walter befriends the confused man. Roscoe is sad and happy. He knows that his son visiting him is miraculous, but not remebering what he said is a bit of a curse. Walter empathizes with Roscoe's memory woes and concerns about a son. After Roscoe heads-off for some therapy and medication, Walter assures Broyles that Bobby Joyce was not a ghost. If The Observer can travel through time, it is conceivable that he may be able to bring others, like Bobby, through time with him. Peter wants to know why a dead son from the mid-1980's was brought to see his father. Walter isn't certain why, specifically, but does know that any time The Observer shows up, it usually has something to do with Peter... and it's not always a good thing.

Broyles makes arrangements for Roscoe Joyce to spend some time away from Parklane, with Walter in his lab. Peter takes control of the medication that has to accompany Roscoe back to the lab. Roscoe gets a little cranky also, without regular feeding. Peter understands that - he has a lot experience with cranky. While they are waiting to get out of Parklane and back to the lab, Olivia returns the book from Peter that she received earlier that morning. The date the book was ordered was when she was still in the alternate universe, she knows - Peter bought the thoughtful gift for Bolivia Dunham... not for her. Peter doesn't
Karate - - - C H O P ! - - -
know what to say.

At Hanna's Jewelry on Skelton Avenue, the owner is dead and three men have tied-up and gagged an employee in order to rob the business. After sneaking into the shop unnoticed, The Observer violently overtakes and defeats the three men. The third man manages to fire his pistol several times, only to see the bullets plucked from the air. Seconds after his assault is complete, The Observer calls on his handheld communication device and reports his location and what has happened there. He hears the employee, Victoria DiMiro, wheezing from the tape over her mouth. He stops and removes the tape, retrieves her inhaler from her purse and gives her a blast from it. She breathes easier and thanks him. The Observer exits the store before law enforcement can arrive, puts the inhaler in his pocket and quietly walks off.

ACT II

In Walter's lab, Peter escorts the men that are delivering the upright piano that Walter ordered for Roscoe. Walter has been preparing to conduct hypnotherapy on Roscoe by having him listen to ocean waves to put him in a peaceful state of mind, so he will have better access to his memories. Astrid teases Walter about his red and blue spectacles, but he defends his fashion choice - the lenses will allow him to see Roscoe's aura and better
Now... Cluck Like a Chicken
measure the depth of his hypnotic state. He has the piano waiting for Roscoe because his creative side is expressed through his music, and may help him recollect the conversation he had with Bobby Joyce the previous night. Peter puts his spin on Walter's hypnotherapy technique - Walter just wants a private concert from his musical idol. Walter admits he is okay with that too, then gets Roscoe's focus and attention away from the ocean sounds and begins to guide the musician's imagination toward a serene, tranquil and safe place. Astrid starts recording the activity while Peter grabs the gym bag with his gift and moves to one of the inner offices.

In her office at the lab, Olivia chats on the phone to find out what else has been discovered. There is no additional footage of The Observer from the traffic cameras. Peter takes the book that was delivered to Olivia's house and starts to explain the circumstances. The woman that was impersonating her asked him about his favorite book. He never meant for Bolivia to have the book. The book was meant for Olivia - the woman the he has spent the last few years of his life with. He wanted that Olivia to read the book - she is the person that he wanted to share it with. Olivia is still in a dark state, feeling out of place like Rip Van Winkle. Everything in her life is different, and the book reminds her of all the things that she missed, all of the conversations that they did not have together. Astrid interrupts the pity-party with the news that Walter's hypnotherapy is working.

Back in the lab, Roscoe sits at the piano and Walter brings him out of his hypnotic trance - eyes open, receptive and open to suggestion -- but not awake. Roscoe is delighted, but pensive, then starts to play a thoughtful tune. Walter gets closer and initiates his line of questioning. On the night he saw Bobby, what happened after he went to bed and fell asleep? Roscoe slowly recounts - he didn't believe that it was Bobby, he hadn't seen him in so long. He asked him if he were real. When Bobby touched his hand, Roscoe knew that Bobby was real. Bobby whispered something... embarassingly, Olivia's cell phone rings and breaks Roscoe's focus. He can't remember what Bobby said. Olivia starts to rush-off with Peter close behind - The Observer was spotted in Brookline. Walter is despondent from Roscoe's recollections of his son - Astrid will look after him though. More of his memories return after Olivia and Peter leave, and Roscoe adds - Bobby was wearing a brown shirt that his mother gave to him, and Bobby told him that he was supposed to meet and help him, Walter Bishop - even mentioning Walter by name. Perplexed, neither man knows how Roscoe might be able to help Walter.

ACT III

On the bustling streets of urban Cambridge, The Observer tells his colleague December that he has set everything in motion. The two men disagree. December has watched Walter as long as he has and believes Walter will not do it. The Observer believes that Walter has changed. Regarless of who is correct - they will find out soon enough. The Observer approaches a recently parked pick-up truck. He touches the keyhole
Hello. ONStar? You are not going to believe what just...
, opens the door and drives off.

Roscoe sits and plays the piano in Walter's Lab, still curious about what he is supposed to do to help the team. It's what his son told him to do. Walter has no idea, but just hearing Roscoe play makes him feel young again. Roscoe tells Walter and Astrid why the band broke-up - they were having creative differences and needed a break from one another before regrouping. Before he knew it, years had passed and it just seemed easier than trying to get back together. Walter knows how hard it is to spend years away from the things he loves.

Olivia and Peter interview Victoria Demiro at Hanna's Jewelry. She tells them about her asthma attack and how she was helped. It was like The Observer just knew what she needed. He never said a word, nothing affected him and he was very calm. He saved life her life, but he didn't seem real.

Back in Walter's Lab, Roscoe asks about all of Walter's elaborate experimentation and equipment. Walter explains that he invented a liquid to aid in the process of brain-mapping. That might be a good name for a music album, but Roscoe needs a simple explanation. Walter shares that he is missing parts of his brain, and that he needs to rejuvenate his brain to rise to the intellectual challenges he faces. Walter mixes his serum with milk, to act as a bonding agent for the compounds, then puts it in the refrigerator. Roscoes knowledge of science begins and ends with strawberry milk shake recipes, his number one drink since he quit alcohol. Walter has a similar passion for the shake and tasks Astrid to go to the grocery and retrieve the ingredients they need. Walter spent six years perfecting his recipe. The door to the lab opens, but Astrid hasn't forgotten something and returned... The Observer needs to speak with Walter.

ACT IV

Outside, Walter fretfully asks about Peter and the device. The Observer sees many possible futures but can't tell which will occur. Every action causes consequences, both obvious and unforeseen. For instance, when the Observer rescued the Bishops from the lake, he couldn't have known that Peter would later catch a firefly, setting off a chain reaction ending with a truck skidding through the rainy intersection at Harvard Yard and killing a pedestrian. They've both upset the balance, and now the Observer needs Walter's help. "When the time comes, give him the keys and save the girl," he says mysteriously.

Peter phones Walter about the girl at the robbery. The girl?! Walter needs to talk to her! OK, after the cops take her statement.
T-Bone Wreck

Roscoe remembers Bobby phoning him, years earlier, about a strange dream: A bald man in a dark suit took him to see Roscoe as an old man, in a nursing home. Walter realizes it wasn't a dream. That night, Roscoe continues, the band had a gig in the Harvard Yard. It was raining, hard. Walter knows what's next: A truck skidded through the light, killing Bobby.

Distressed, Walter tells Astrid that Roscoe lost his son because he wasn't willing to lose Peter. He phones Peter, who's with Olivia, following the police car carrying the salesclerk. They're almost to the lab. It's raining. Suddenly, a pickup truck - the one the Observer stole - rams the police car! Olivia chases the Observer as Peter tells Walter what happened.

ACT V

Olivia and Peter arrive at the crash scene near Porter Square to tend to the injured and come face-to-face with The Observer. He runs off and Olivia follows on foot, while Peter checks the damaged vehicles. Walter is listening on the cell phone, but Peter has to help Victoria with her asthma attack. Her inhaler is not in her purse, The Observer took it with him when he helped her in the jewelry store. Peter carries her back to his vehicle while Olivia continues the chase on a crowded sidestreet. Walter and Astrid arrive and Peter leaves them to take care of Victoria while he gets in the station wagon to try and catch-up to Olivia. Peter tells his father to give him the keys and save the girl - exactly what Walter was told Peter would say. This was the plan, exactly what The Observer wanted. Walter understands the master plan now - this is a course correction - a chain reaction that started from the moment they went to Parklane to meet Roscoe. Walter fears a terrible consequence - that Peter is going to die. Peter is not deterred. Give him the keys. Save the girl. The Observer can't predict the future.

Stunned With A Blast Gun
← Olivia continues the chase onto State Street, loses visual contact and calls Peter on her cell phone. Peter has caught up in the car and has found The Observer going into a hostel on Main Street. Olivia continues on foot toward the hostel. Peter exits the station wagon and is nearly struck by traffic, several times, as continues pursuit on foot. Astrid and Walter help Victoria to breathe with a plastic bottle and constant pressure on her ribs. Peter finds The Observer on a nearby rooftop and asks to know what is going - everything - the picture of him and the device. What's going to happen to him? The Observer states simply that it must be very difficult being a father... then fires his pulse pistol and knocks Peter to ground. Olivia catches up to the two, but can't follow The Observer quickly enough before he escapes. Walter looks after Victoria and the paramedics as they prepare to take her to the hospital. He gets a call from Olivia that they lost him... not Peter - The Observer. Walter can't make sense of any of it - why would The Observer do all of this?

ACT VI

Back at Parklane Senior Care, Astrid and Walter escort Roscoe back to his room to help him get settled in and to say goodbye. Roscoe is glad to have met them both and expects a visit. He will play some piano, in exchange for a strawberry milkshake, of course. Roscoe, forgot what it was like to be in the presence of his son, but now remembers. Nobody is supposed to have a second chance like that.

Back at Walter's lab, Peter tells Olivia that his encounter with The Observer makes no sense.
Worst - Brain - Freeze - Ever
It seems like everytime they get close to figuring things out, someone changes the questions. The book he sent her is a favorite because it talks about not depending on other people for answers, and that you can only find the answers inside yourself. Peter's head is still aching, but he rejects Olivia's offer to see a doctor. He pops a pill for the pain and washes it down with the milk concoction Walter has stored in the refrigerator. Peter collapses in a seizure and Olivia immediately gets Walter on the phone as he and Astrid prepare to depart Roscoe's facility. Walter suspects that the organometals in the serum must have reacted with phosphates in the milk. He needs Olivia to grab his medical bag and find an anticoagulant to stop the seizures. She needs to mix magnesium sulfate with saline and inject Peter with a syringe full of it in his leg. The remedy works and Peter's seizure ends. At the Bishop home, Walter puts on some soft music and prepares some rosemary chicken soup for Peter, as he recovers on the
Yep. Yep. Walter's Our Man. Yep
couch. Peter is feeling better and Walter wants to thank him. The serum he mixed into the milk that Peter drank was flawed... if Walter had taken the serum, he would have died. Walter has the impression that The Observer may haved saved his life - creating a chain of events that led to Peter drinking the milk instead. Peter doesn't sound convinced - there must have been an easier way that what transpired. Walter mentions that The Observer may not be human, so you can't expect him think like one.

Outside of the Bishop's house, The Observer and his colleague, December, stand and stare at the home. The Observer admits that he feared his experiment might have failed. December sums up the encounter... he has changed - he was willing to let his son die. Now they know that when the time comes - he will be willing to do it again.

Quotes

"There are things that I know. But there are things that I do not. Various possible futures are happening simultaneously. I can tell you all of them, but I cannot tell you Which one of them will come to pass." - The Observer (to Walter, insight and perspective on his mission)

"You and I have interfered with the natural course of events. We have upset the balance in ways I could not have predicted, which is why now I need your help." - The Observer (to Walter, maneuvering toward the current desired course of action)")

Trivia

General
Production Notes
Recurring Themes
  • Chain Reaction. Like Milo Stanfield (The Plateau), The Observer plans to manipulate on-going events to a desired outcome with one action, Bobby Joyce whispering to his father after a 25 year absence.
Cultural References
  • Twin Peaks. When Walter explains that his red/blue lensed glasses were created by his friend from Washington, Doctor Jacoby... he appears to be referencing the popular occult/sci-fiction classic telelvision program from the early 1990's. Set in Washington, 'Twin Peaks' also had an eccentric man of science, Doctor Jacoby, who wore red/blue lensed glasses very similar to Walter's.
  • Buddhism. The book Olivia receives, apart from it's psychotherapeutic theme, also roughly addresses the imperfectness of reality... the title is a metaphor that the road to enlightenment, and what appears correct, must be wrong and consequently avoided.
Storyline Analysis
  • The Butterfly Effect. In this case, the Firefly Effect. By virtue of the fact that young Peter was abducted by Walter, saved by the Observer, then subsequently cured by Walter, all led to young Victoria's failure to apprehend a particular insect in the summer of 1986 - that led to a divergent path for many lives and to the course correction now being implemented by The Observer.

Previously

NextEpisodeClue310.jpg
NextEpisodeClue310.jpg
NextEpisodeClue310.jpg
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NextEpisodeClue310.jpg
    The name of the rail system (Marionette)... hints at the title and theme of this episode

Music

If I Only Had A Brain by Jeremy Little
Mah-Nà Mah-Nà by Piero Umiliani

Glyphs


—   Plot Relevant Questions   — Address theories about questions on The Firefly/Theories   Ask minor questions on the Talk Page  

 1) Do not answer the questions here.
 2) Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.

  • What was The Observer referring to when he said "It must be difficult... being a father" to Peter?
  • How did The Observer know that Roscoe would be at Parklane Senior Care, if he is unable to pinpoint which of the many futures will come to pass?
  • Has The Observer meddled in the lives of Roscoe, and others, since 1985 to ensure that this experiment will happen?
  • Why did Roscoe address Astrid as Kelly?
  • What does the tattoo on the left wrist of The Observer represent?
  • Was Peter's adverse reaction to Walter's modified (organometals) milk solution because of the unique magnetic characteristics he displayed during his stay in the alternate universe?
  • Will the serum Peter accidentally ingested in the milk have an effect on his brain function, as Walter intended it to have on his own?



Episodes

Season 5 : Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11In AbsentiaThe RecordistThe Bullet That Saved The WorldAn Origin StoryThrough The Looking Glass And What Walter Found ThereFive-Twenty-TenThe Human KindBlack BlotterAnomaly XB-6783746The Boy Must LiveLibertyAn Enemy Of FateSeason 4 : Neither Here Nor ThereOne Night In OctoberAlone In The WorldSubject 9NovationAnd Those We've Left BehindWallflowerBack To Where You've Never BeenEnemy Of My EnemyForced PerspectiveMaking AngelsWelcome To WestfieldA Better Human BeingThe End Of All ThingsA Short Story About LoveNothing As It SeemsEverything In Its Right PlaceThe ConsultantLetters Of TransitWorlds ApartBrave New World, Part 1Brave New World, Part 2Season 3 : OliviaThe BoxThe PlateauDo Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?Amber 314226955 kHzThe AbductedEntradaMarionetteThe FireflyReciprocityConcentrate And Ask AgainImmortality6BSubject 13OsStowawayBloodlineLysergic Acid Diethylamide6:02 AM ESTThe Last Sam WeissThe Day We DiedSeason 2 : A New Day In The Old TownNight Of Desirable ObjectsFractureMomentum DeferredDream LogicEarthlingOf Human ActionAugustSnakeheadGrey MattersUnearthedJohari WindowWhat Lies BelowThe Bishop RevivalJacksonvillePeterOlivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.White TulipThe Man From The Other SideBrown BettyNorthwest PassageOver There, Part 1Over There, Part 2Season 1 : PilotThe Same Old StoryThe Ghost NetworkThe ArrivalPower HungryThe CureIn Which We Meet Mr. JonesThe EquationThe DreamscapeSafeBoundThe No-BrainerThe TransformationAbilityInner ChildUnleashedBad DreamsMidnightThe Road Not TakenThere's More Than One Of Everything

Transcripts

Season 5 : Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11In AbsentiaThe RecordistThe Bullet That Saved The WorldAn Origin StoryThrough The Looking Glass And What Walter Found ThereFive-Twenty-TenThe Human KindBlack BlotterAnomaly XB-6783746The Boy Must LiveLibertyAn Enemy Of FateSeason 4 : Neither Here Nor ThereOne Night In OctoberAlone In The WorldSubject 9NovationAnd Those We've Left BehindWallflowerBack To Where You've Never BeenEnemy Of My EnemyForced PerspectiveMaking AngelsWelcome To WestfieldA Better Human BeingThe End Of All ThingsA Short Story About LoveNothing As It SeemsEverything In Its Right PlaceThe ConsultantLetters Of TransitWorlds ApartBrave New World, Part 1Brave New World, Part 2Season 3 : OliviaThe BoxThe PlateauDo Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?Amber 314226955 kHzThe AbductedEntradaMarionetteThe FireflyReciprocityConcentrate And Ask AgainImmortality6BSubject 13OsStowawayBloodlineLysergic Acid Diethylamide6:02 AM ESTThe Last Sam WeissThe Day We DiedSeason 2 : A New Day In The Old TownNight Of Desirable ObjectsFractureMomentum DeferredDream LogicEarthlingOf Human ActionAugustSnakeheadGrey MattersUnearthedJohari WindowWhat Lies BelowThe Bishop RevivalJacksonvillePeterOlivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.White TulipThe Man From The Other SideBrown BettyNorthwest PassageOver There, Part 1Over There, Part 2Season 1 : PilotThe Same Old StoryThe Ghost NetworkThe ArrivalPower HungryThe CureIn Which We Meet Mr. JonesThe EquationThe DreamscapeSafeBoundThe No-BrainerThe TransformationAbilityInner ChildUnleashedBad DreamsMidnightThe Road Not TakenThere's More Than One Of Everything