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|Air Date:||October 07, 2010|
|Written by:|| Alison Schapker |
|Directed by:||Brad Anderson|
|Guest Cast:|| Michael Eklund as Milo Stanfield|
Kacey Rohl as Madeline Stanfield
Seth Gabel as Lincoln Lee
Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis
Philip Winchester as Frank Stanton
Ryan McDonald as Brandon
Kyra Zagorsky as Lincoln's Nurse
|Next:||Do Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?|
|Transcript — Additional Images|
The Plateau is the third episode of the third season of FRINGE. Timing is everything as fatal chain reactions are deliberately set in motion. The alternate Fringe Division investigates a human drug trial that intellectually enables its patients. Secretary Bishop shares his strategic plan with Colonel Broyles about the importance of Olivia. Confusing visions surface in Olivia's mind as she adapts to Bolivia's life. It first aired on October 07, 2010.
SynopsisHoboken, New Jersey, a very focused man stands and stares at the activity as he uses the fingers on his right hand like an abacus. He studies a woman strolling on the opposite side of the street as she checks her watch and donates some coins to an older street urchin. She enters a flower shop to purchase some daisies. The man, Milo Stanfield, adjusts his focus to the timing of the traffic lights at the nearby intersection, then to a city bus as it stops for passengers. He then studies a man sitting on a bench near a postal drop box. A deep pothole filled with water ruts the street not far from the mail drop. Milo has his plan in mind and walks through traffic directly to the mailbox. A car stops and honks just short of striking Milo, who continues undistracted on his path. Milo reaches the mailbox and places a ballpoint pen on top of it. He doesn't just lay it there, he stands it up vertically on end. Still focused on his plan, he takes a second to study the balanced writing utensil, and seems to be temporarily delighted with his actions. On the street, a bike messenger races from a distant intersection and down the
The detonator to Milo's planned chain reaction goes off -- a cab hits the pothole and splashes water onto the mailbox and the pen. The pen loses balance and falls to the sidewalk. The man sitting on the bench notices the rare item that has fallen from the mail drop and walks over to pick it up. The bike messenger racing on the sidewalk clips the man reaching for the ballpoint pen and crashes into a fruit stand in front of an inner city grocery store. The street urchin quickly grabs some fruit that fell on the ground. Nearby onlookers hurry to assist the two involved in the collision, and the grocer fights with the homeless man over the fruit. The ensuing commotion on the sidewalk distracts the driver of the bus as he continues after his stop. The traffic lights change and the distracted driver fails to notice the lights - and that pedestrians have started to cross in front of him. Jillian Foster crosses at the intersection, with the right-of-way, and carrying her daisies. Seconds later, the large passenger bus strikes her broadside and sends her sliding down the pavement to her death. Milo walks from the scene unaffected by the carnage - all he lost was his pen.
At the New York Headquarters of the Fringe Division, Olivia reports for her first day of work with the memories of Bolivia Dunham. She passes through a security checkpoint and rides the elevator up to the large, sleek, team Situation Room loaded with high tech support equipment. She finds Bolivia's workstation and is 'welcomed back' by Bolivia's partner, Charlie. He teases her about not remembering him, but she does... the tightwad owes her money. Kidding aside, they are glad to see one another and hug. Charlie tells her she looks rested, and she is... the free drugs were like instant 'Rest & Recreation'. Charlie says he could use some of that. The camaraderie continues - he is glad to have her back, she is happy to back (she thinks).Colonel Broyles' office adjacent to the Situation Room, Secretary Bishop joins him as Broyles studies Olivia's immersion into his workplace. Although she seems much like his Agent Dunham, Broyles worries that having Olivia on his team is too big a risk - no one can predict how she will respond in the field. Bishop tells him there is no other choice, Olivia needs to be completely immersed in her new identity so that in time, she will a reach a plateau where her new identity becomes permanent. With this Olivia on their side, crossing between universes without harm may become an advantage in the war - if they can only learn what she already knows. Bishop adds that if her new identity doesn't take hold, she will no longer be necessary.
Fringe Division deploys a response team to Hoboken and Agent Francis briefs the team as they ride in the back of their large van. A Liberty Metro bus ran a red light they day before a killed a pedestrian. Police considered it a routine accident. But then this morning, the same thing happened again. Two dead by bus on two consecutive mornings is a statistical anomaly, according to the Lookers. Francis needs to prepare for arrival at the accident scene and has Olivia continue the briefing. Forty-three year old Cole Arnett, a hospital case worker, was on his way to work when he was struck yesterday. Approaching the scene, the entire team prepares emergency oxygen bottles for use. The bottles are needed - the air quality is normal. Francis tells the team that Lincoln Lee will meet them and will be in charge of the investigation.The Fringe team arrives in Hoboken and Francis greets an officer standing watch. Lee gets out of his vehicle and walks around to the nurse that has driven him to the scene. She needs him to monitor the time - he needs to be back in his regeneration chamber in eight hours, or his healing third-degree burns will regress. Broyles briefed Lee on the situation while he was en route from the hospital... he needs Francis to get started identifying the victim. Olivia anticipates the need and brings Lincoln his field kit. She jests about him looking better, he retorts that she is looking sane. Lee asks earnestly if she is better following her breakdown. She is... first day back and all... sorry she pulled her gun on him... but she didn't shoot... so - Olivia and Lincoln are good. Peter disappears as traffic passes in front of him. Her partners see that she is the one that is now distracted and ask if she is okay. She is - just thought she recognized someone. Lee is not sure if the accident qualifies as a Fringe Event just yet, but he thinks something weird definitely happened there. Olivia concurs on the weird assessment.
In Bolivia's apartment, Frank Stanton is preparing a meal for he and Olivia and watching a news bulletin about a smallpox outbreak out West. He checks his work calendar and is on-call all week. Olivia returns to her concerned boyfriend and the nice meal he has waiting. Frank willingly accepts a hug and a kiss and asks how
At team headquarters, Lincoln Lee reviews video footage from the two bus deaths and suggests that distraction is the root of every accident. Agent Francis reviews the victim's biographies and cannot find a connection between the two: Arnett worked at hospital and Foster was with a corporation. He suggests that it could simply be that these are freak accidents, not the statistical anomaly the Lookers say it is. Lee tells Francis that Olivia endorses his theory that chain reactions led to the crashes. Francis changes the subject - does Lee feel Olivia is doing okay after her meltdown? Lee thinks she is. Francis is still uncomfortable with the whole issue of Olivia claiming she was somebody else. He ponders her claim - what if she was telling the truth and it is not his Olivia? Lee thinks he knows Bolivia fairly well... and could tell the difference if her double, Olivia, were present. Lee continues to study the visual data from the first accident scene and finds a clue - another rare ballpoint pen. They hail Olivia and join Agent Farnsworth at her work-station. Farnsworth calculates the odds for a person to use a ballpoint pen to set off a chain of events to force a bus to kill someone - twice, as ZERO percent. There are no improbable odds to calculate - the scenario is not possible. Lee suggests that someone might be calculating those impossible odds to commit murder. Farnsworth blurts out a starter's list of the basic variables involved in what Lee is suggesting and reminds him that it is a highly dynamic environment these variables occur in. She can't calculate differential equations this complex, much less manipulate the outcome to an advantage. Farnsworth's expression stiffens as she studies her monitor -- a third bus accident just happened.throws a delivery bicycle from the footbridge as Olivia gets closer. Milo stands and waits as Olivia moves in with her drawn leveled. Pedestrians give the two some room as the Fringe agent starts to make her arrest. Milo looks to the side as his escape plan continues to evolve - a large panel van slows and swerves to avoid the bicycle that Milo just threw to the street. The swerving vehicle makes its way under Milo's position on the footbridge and he times his running jump to land squarely on top of it. Olivia hesitates to shoot and has to watch as her suspect relaxes arrogantly on his getaway vehicle. DoD Hospital, Lincoln Lee leaves Olivia with the task of having Astrid search the database of their suspect. Olivia already has her working on it - she needs him back in his regeneration pod. Lee's nurse catches-up to him and scolds him about pushing the eight hour window he was alloted to work. Lee sits in the wheelchair brought by an orderly, and Olivia asks some important questions about the suspect. How did Milo know the bike he threw would cause the chain reaction. How did he know precisely when to jump from the pedestrian bridge? Lincoln tells her she should focus on why the victims are being targeted, not how they were attacked. What did the victims have in common? What connections are they not seeing? The medical staff hurries Lee into his chamber when the scarring on his face begins to pulse. Lee continues his instructions for Olivia: cross-check medical files, criminal records, job histories, tax histories.... Olivia has it covered.
Milo Stanfield returns home to his worried, pacing, sister, Madeline. She has been trying to contact him all day, but hasn't revealed a thing about his activities to anyone. Milo fills a glass with water and begins to recite properties about
In the situation room at team headquarters, Olivia continues her investigation while Agent Francis is thwarted in his - over the phone - by a child. Coney Island. Olivia's short-term memory may be questionable, but her long-term facts are clear - he vomited on the person next to him, not her... he needs to stop trying to rewrite their history together. Olivia continues her work and sees in the records that the second victim, Jillian Foster, was a consultant for Gregston Electric. The first victim, Cole Arnett, worked at Bryant Hospital, a facility that deals mostly with neurological disorders. Olivia thinks the two victims might be connected because Gregston owns a subsidiary called Ivon Medical Group, and Ivon Medical Group is listed as one of Bryant Hospital's vendors.
Dunham and Francis visit Bryant Hospital to interview Doctor Levin, the Chief Medical Director. After assuring the reception desk that Fringe Division is not at the hospital to quarantine it, they notice, during the short wait, that some of the patients are using ballpoint pens to write. Olivia notices something else, as well - Walter Bishop - who seems to be wandering around the room where the patients are sitting. Levin finds the investigators and apologizes for the delay. Olivia asks about the writing utensils and learns that many patients have trouble interfacing digitally due to their mental deficiencies... pen & paper is just an easier way to communicate.In his office, Levin shares what he knows about the victims. He knew Arnett, but didn't socialize with him beyond work. Foster was with Ivon Medical, who are conducting a drug trial at Bryant. The death of Jeffrey Mayer is a nootropics. Test subjects with an I.Q. of less than sixty-five were chosen. The intent was to increase their intelligence so they could function independently day-to-day. Olivia spots a man in the footage and asks Levin to stop - it is her suspect. Levin knows the patient well - Milo Stanfield. The footage is from five months earlier, when Milo's severe cognitive deficiency gave him a measured I.Q. of fifty-six. After one treatment in the drug trial, Milo was reciting Pi (π) to one thousand decimal places - while solving differential equations in his head. Milo received a total of five treatments, and after each treatment, his intelligence increased exponentially. The last phase of the trial allows test subjects to be released to the care of a guardian for a period of time before they are returned to their original mental condition - a necessary part of human drug trials that helps determine if there are permanent adverse side effects associated with the protocol. Milo did not want to be regressed, something that Arnett and Foster would have had an active part in. But the third victim, Jeffrey Mayer, is a recovery specialist that is contracted only once a test subject has gone missing. Doctor Levin only put the order in yesterday for recovery services. Jeff Mayer had not yet been assigned the task of recovering Milo Stanfield. Milo's guardian, his sister, lives out on Long Island.
The two Fringe Division agents return to work through a large interior mall and discuss what they have learned. Olivia can't wait to tell Lincoln Lee that he is right - their suspect can actually commit murder by deliberately starting a chain reaction of seemingly unrelated critical events. Agent Francis fears the worse, having to endure Lincoln Lee's happy dance when Lee learns that he was correct. Milo Stanfield watches the two agents from an upper level walkway as they move to the staircase below. He envisions the infinite possible outcomes as he calculates the probabilities of his next task - stopping Olivia from returning him to the drug trial, and regression.Oyster Bay on Long Island, Madeline greets Agent Francis and Olivia at the door. Fringe Division needs to ask her some questions about Milo. Inside the house, Madeline learns that her brother has killed three innocent people - those intent on cutting off the medication
Leaving the Stanfield residence, Agent Francis reviews the letter that Madeline gave to them. Milo can be reached at the Patricia Hotel on Lakewood Avenue. Olivia wants to call for back-up assistance from the Division. Francis wants to re-think that course of action. If Milo is great at predicting courses of action, maybe he wants them to arrive with back-up, it could be a set-up. Olivia makes a good point too – they can’t just stand there. Over the radio, Agent Farnsworth lends her calculation skills to the scenario modeling - she can't answer the question because there is no solution, no answer to the mathematical problem. Olivia just wants a “more likely” response from Farnsworth, do they go to the Hotel, or not. Farnsworth won’t give her one. There is no “more likely” scenario because the logic of it all is an infinite spiral of Milo predicting, and then counter-predicting, every action that could be taken against him. Olivia gets away from the circular argument with Farnsworth and makes a decision. She chooses action over inaction, they are heading to Lakewood Avenue. Agent Francis agrees to the action, but she is going to have to drive.A half dozen floors up in the Patricia Hotel, Milo stands near a window and studies the street environment below. He predicts a course of action to take in order
Olivia and Francis park their vehicle on Lakewood Avenue across from the Patricia. They exit the car and cross the street on their quest to locate Milo. As they begin to enter the Hotel, Olivia looks to her right - Milo is standing well down the sidewalk away from the entrance and is positioned and waiting for her to chase him. She tells Agent Francis and they start to walk towards Milo. He runs down an adjacent alley. The clock on the wall of the local business reads 3:59. The Fringe Division agents give chase, running under another clock that changes to 4:00 as they pass.Francis asks Olivia about her disregard for protocol. In his mind, she totally ignored the air quality alert - a blinking "Auburn Diamond" - and he knows why, she is a daredevil. He would appreciate it if she would stop pulling stunts like this. Olivia apologizes and promises to do better. She really has no idea why she did what she did.
At the facility where he is recovering, Milo Stanfield sits in a locked room in front of a large desk and whispers his prediction equations to himself as he studies the monitor. Olivia escorts Madeline Stanfield to the room for a visit with her brother.nootropic drugs have been in Milo’s system too long and can’t be reversed by the doctors. Milo has advanced so intellectually far on the drugs that the predictive patterns he sees are too complex to verbalize, only a machine can interpret them. The way Milo thinks now is not comprehensible. Madeline joins Milo in the room and holds the hand he is using like an abacus . He hesitates momentarily at her touch, then returns to his equations and calculations. Madeline leaves the token of their friendship, and kinship, on the table for Milo – the small figurine of a horse, Mother's reminder that he is loved and does not have to do more than he is capable of.
On Liberty Island, Secretary Bishop drops in unannounced to visit Brandon as he works in his lab. Bishop misses the science and envies Brandon for being able to work without distraction. Brandon has some of Peter's clothing and has been testing to see if he can use it to help spark an associative link in Olivia, enabling her to cross back to her universe. Brandon is close to determining the best way to induce Olivia's ability, but the anxious test subjects he has been using are stressed out and causing his readings to fluctuate. Bishop sees a simple solution to calming the test subjects, instead of a chair, immersion in water and sensory-deprivation will help with stress elimination during testing. Brandon asks politely if Secretary Bishop misses being a scientist. Bishop assures him he is still a scientist - he just has a much a
← Back at Bolivia's apartment, Frank, who has been waiting on call all week, is packing for a trip to the great state of North Texas to help deal with the recent smallpox outbreak. He is concerned about her first week back on the job and offers to call and have a colleague cover his mission for him. Olivia doesn't want him to adjust his plans, she will be alright in his absence. The phone rings in the front room and Frank leaves to answer it, expecting the cab driver to announce that his ride is outside. Seconds after Frank leaves the room, Olivia has another vision of Peter. She is reminded that the reason she didn't die today was because Milo couldn't have known she didn't know the protocol. She lived because she did not stop for oxygen - a factor that could not have been predicted. Her mind is telling her that she is not from this world, that is why she keeps seeing visions of Peter and Walter. She can't forget who she is or where she is from. Her vision offers another reason for remembering... a gentle kiss on the lips. Frank returns and is ready to depart. He finds Olivia with her eyes closed and chin up. She's alright, she is just going to miss him while he is away. He'll try be home soon and promises to call when he gets to his destination. After he leaves, Olivia breathes deeply and contemplates the impact of the revelation that her vision just shared with her.
- The Observer stands on the pedestrian overpass near Milo Stanfield as he throws a bicycle from it.
- Laplace's Demon is a theory that suggests, like Milo's actions, that knowledge of precise location and momentum can be used to determine an entire course of events.
- Cultural References
- Star Trek. The popular phrase "Vulcan Mind-Meld" carries similar meaning in the alternate universe when Francis chides Lincoln Lee and Olivia for thinking alike.
- Recurring Themes
- Sensory Deprivation. Secretary Bishop suggests utilizing the tank to test Olivia, much like the multiple times Walter has done so in the past.
- Butterflies & Tulips, prominently displayed on the walls behind Madeline Stanfield during her interview.
|The spray painted utility door on Blake's building (The Box) reads "The Pen Is Mightier" - foreshadowing the might that Milo Stanfield wielded by starting deadly chain reactions with his ball-point pen.|
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on The Plateau/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- Does Lincoln Lee believe any part of Olivia's original claim about being from a separate universe?
- Does Agent Francis believe any part of Olivia's original claim about being from a separate universe?
- Is Milo able to finish another persons' sentence because of his ability to predict with extreme accuracy?
- If not, does Milo have the same ability as an Observer when he completes another persons sentence?
- Are "Reduced Air Quality" zones caused by the soft spots forming between universes?