Synopsis: As a suicide incident occurs at New York’s iconic Grand Central station, Agent Dunham simultaneously witnesses the event while asleep and dreaming in Boston. Rattled by the extraordinary and coincidental circumstances, Olivia, Peter and Walter investigate further, but keep coming up empty-handed. As these violent occurrences continue and worsen, Olivia is sent into an unthinkable direction and shocking details emerge about the ZFT manuscript, the highly experimental drug Cortexiphan and Olivia’s childhood.
Below the jump I share my new observations and perspectives, and take a quick look at the unresolved and closed mysteries from “Bad Dreams”.
New Observations & Perspectives
1.) Olivia was comfortable telling Peter about her nightmare, but not Broyles. Perhaps she didn’t want to appear mentally unstable in front of her boss. The last thing she needed was him doubting her judgement all the trust they’d built up.
2.) Walter says that mankind’s biggest ambition is the ability to kill with thought. Interesting, perhaps this is one of the few ways to kill the Observers, seeing as they are empaths and Lane is essentially a reverse empath? Perhaps whoever reactivated Lane’s ability wanted to use him to counteract the Observers and their policing?
3.) Olivia man-handling the restaurant owner: yet another moment where Olivia totally flips and does whatever the hell she wants in order to get answers. No wonder she started the fire when she was younger, with a temper like that..
4.) Broyles shows great compassion towards Olivia – a genuine moment of care for the intrepid agent. I got the sense, however, that Broyles was looking at Olivia through knowing eyes – almost as if he’s seen it all before with previous agents? The trappings of Cortexiphan. Who knows.
5.) Lane has a military insurance policy – someone obviously has a vested interest in him. They probably wont be happy that he’s locked away in a drug-induced coma. Makes me wonder whether Olivia has a similar ‘insurance policy’ – Bell or whoever must see her as an asset.
6.) I liked that Olivia was the one who figured out what was going on with Lane. Walter and Peter helped her to that truth, but in the end it was Olivia who put the final piece in the puzzle. For me this represented important character development because Lane is pretty central to her own mythology – it’s appropriate that Olivia, more than anyone else, should understand what Lane had been going through.
7.) Often overlooked but it’s worth mentioning that Lane’s ability could also make people happy, or excited. Essentially his own mood was the key.
8.) “What was written will come to pass”. The writing is literally on the wall – IMO the ZFT prophecies WILL happen, or have already happened.
9.) Those treated with Cortexiphan are seemingly immune to the abilities of other Cortexiphan kids. I find this to be one of the most useful pieces of information from the entire episode. I fully expect to see Cortexiphan kids on BOTH sides of the war in future seasons.
10.) Lane says that Olivia was “always the strong one”. I love this, because we can clearly see that in her life today – looking after her annoying sister, bringing the Bishops back together, backing her instincts, fighting her corner, unflinching in the line of fire. It goes to show that her childhood has shaped her into the person we see before us. As I mentioned earlier in the rewatch, she’s an FBI agent at the heart of these fringe cases, but I don’t think she had much choice in her path up to now – it’s just too coincidental to be coincidence – this is shown in full effect when her abilities help her to meet her ‘creator’ in the season finale.
11.) When Lane mentions wearing the “blacks and grays”, he gestures towards Olivia because he sees that she has also (subconsciously) followed the rules.
12.) According to Broyles’ report, Lane’s parents died years ago in a car accident. Hmm…
1.) Who ‘reactivated’ Nick Lane – who is the man in the glasses who visited him in the mental hospital?
2.) Why were Lane and Olivia made to forget aspects from their past – specifically the clinical trials, and how does this reconcile with Olivia’s memories of her childhood? Are there any fabricated memories there?
3.) How did Walter know that Peter’s touch would calm Olivia down? Was this a normal friendship thing, or is there something more fringey to it? Methinks it’s the latter.
1.) Lane killed people through his negative emotions – they literally “caught his mood”. Olivia saw herself killing these people because she has a bond with Lane from their time together in William Bell’s clinical trials. She was dreaming..translating Lane’s emotions.
2.) The fact that we, the audience, saw Olivia at the scene of the crimes is just creative license – a way of bringing us into the mystery whilst illustrating how Olivia perceived the events.
Best Moment: As Walter explains to Olivia that Cortexiphan is rooted in her past, he can’t help but tenderly stroke her cheek – a reflex action with echoes from the past. This is the moment Olivia realises that Walter is also central to her history – coincidence no more. Perhaps the best darn moment of the whole season.
Best Performer: Anna Torv (honorable mentions to John Noble and the dude who plays Nick Lane).
Retrospective Rating: 9/10
Our original “Bad Dreams” posts can be found here.
Next Episode Rewatch: “Midnight”.