|Air Date:||21 January 2011|
|Written by:|| Joel Wyman|
|Directed by:||Charles Beeson|
|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
|Transcript — Additional Images|
The Firefly is the tenth episode of the third season of FRINGE. It first aired on January 21st, 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.
SynopsisWalter 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 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. (to 1985 from where he was borrowed).Olivia's apartment
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
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.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
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.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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Walter puts on some soft music and prepares some rosemary chicken soup for Peter, as he recovers on the
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.
- Production Notes
- Title. The episode was originally announced as "Firefly". A month later, when the official schedule was released, the confirmed title was amended to "The Firefly".
- 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.
|The name of the rail system (Marionette)... hints at the title and theme of this episode|
• If I Only Had A Brain by Jeremy Little
• Mah-Nà Mah-Nà by Piero Umiliani
|— 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.
- What was The Observer referring to when he said "It must be difficult... being a father" to Peter?
- 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?