Synopsis: After weeks of being reported missing, a woman with a rare disease resurfaces in suburban Massachusetts and inexplicably causes excruciating pain and subsequent death to those she encounters. As the gruesome scene is investigated, dangerous levels of radiation are detected, and unusual circumstances surrounding the case point to illegal human drug trials and possibly something even more sinister. Meanwhile, Walter obsesses about cotton candy, Peter strikes a bargain with Nina Sharp and a startling piece of Olivia’s past is revealed.
General Thoughts: Similar to Power Hungry, this episode was more enjoyable on a rewatch-level than I thought it would be. I think my diluted perception of the early episodes indicate the great strides the series made in the second half of the season. Though the episode suffers from frustrating ‘episodic’ traits, there are a few sprinklings of the overarching storyline that has relevance today.
Below the jump I share my new observations and perspectives, explore the unresolved mysteries, highlight the mysteries closed by information gained in this episode and cap it off with my final thoughts on this episode retrospective.
New Observations & Perspectives
1.) The scene where Olivia’s sheer will and tenacity saves Claire, mirrors the one from “TRNT”, where she helps Nancy Lewis to control her combustive ways.
2.) Olivia believes that her emotions make her a “better agent”. I find this interesting in light of what we now know about her and Nick Lane. Emotions appear to play a big part in (both of) their abilities – perhaps Cortexiphan has shaped Olivia’s career path more than she realises. Maybe it goes even deeper than the yellow pill?
3.) Nina spent time with Peter when he was younger – Peter can’t remember. We can assume he can’t remember because it wasn’t him who she spent time with, but Walter’s original son. I wonder whether Nina knows this?..I should think she does – what doesn’t she know.
4.) As color thematics have played a fairly prominent part in the series for those of us who care to notice them, it’s perhaps worth noting the attachment placed on the red and blue medicine in this episode. “[The red one] makes you better..[the blue one] will make you special”. There’s that word again. “Special“.
5.) Olivia showed scant regard for Emily’s wake, she was simply determined to find answers that could help her save Claire. This was perhaps one of the first indications of Olivia being prepared to work outside of the law – similar to Peter when breaking into his old home. Funny how Peter was the one against rattling through the possessions of a dead girl – like Walter, he can be be surprisingly humane when he wants to be. Like father, like..
6.) There was a lot more ‘benchwarming’ action than I recalled!
7.) Olivia feels comfortable enough with Peter and Walter to not hide her emotions around them. She was very stropy throughout much of this episode (for reasons revealed) and she even took it out on Peter. For me it shows they are growing as a ‘family’ at this point.
1.) Why did Esterbrook threaten Olivia’s child-bearing organs? Is this a storytelling device to foreshadow something about her past (or future), or was Esterbrook just being a jerk?
2.) The ‘Aleph’ lapel on Esterbrook’s jacket is the same as the one from Olivia’s uncle’s kayak in her dream (1.01). What is the connection there? Was her uncle part of the same secret society as Esterbrook? Is there any relevance in the Aleph pointing sideways when we see Olivia lay the smack down on Esterbrook?
3.) Who was Esterbrook’s client and what were they “preparing for”? OK, perhaps they’re getting reading for a war with the alter’s, but are all of these seemingly disparate groups (the Zielger’s, Fischer’s, Esterbrooks, etc) really working towards the same cause, or do we have a conflict of interests? I guess we’ll soon find out!
4.) Olivia’s step father- what’s his deal? Why not face her like a man so she can put another cap in his ass? And, are his intentions becoming more malicious now that he’s delivering the birthday card’s to her home and not the office?
1.) Intrepus were curing patients with Bellini’s Lymphocemia, but only so they could “weaponize” them by activating time-release radioactive capsules into their blood stream. They targeted suffers of Bellini’s Lymphocemia because it’s a fairly unknown ‘illness’, thus reducing the chance of getting caught.
This was an important episode in my rewatch journey – it reminded me that the writers did know where they were going early on. Although this episode doesn’t delve into the heart of the mythology, it does tap into the idea that there’s something bigger happening right before our eyes. As Olivia so aptly said, “When did this become the world we live in?”.
It also raises the stakes; the suggestion that these crazy events are preparation for something..a war. But this is like no war we have seen before, or perhaps it is? People, innocent people being slaughtered by those who (I’m sure) would claim to be fighting for “our” world (which means what, exactly?). Vulnerable people being exploited by promises of cures, freedoms, liberties – all of the nice things that everyone should have as standard, not as an illusion.
The thing that really hit home with me is the idea that there are companies who actually have cures for so-called incurable diseases, yet they withhold their knowledge because it would not be profitable for them – (treating) the sickness makes them more money than healing the world. Whilst I have no proof that this actually happens, I have every faith that it does.
This run of episodes also feature some nice foreshadowing to Olivia’s own history. At this point she’s the one helping these victims, little does she know she was once a victim, and will be again. That’s when it becomes personal. That’s when the alternatives could start playing on her mind.
Best Performer: Lance Reddick
Best Moment: Olivia’s hilarious “Stab it in!”
Retrospective rating: 7/10
You can find our original Cure Eastereggs here.
Next rewatch episode: In Which We Meet Mr. Jones (Thursday ETA)