“Once you’re given the order to put on the headphones, do not remove them under any circumstances. If you do, you may die a gruesome and horrible death. Thank you for your attention, and have a nice day.”
– Walter

Massive Dynamic has developed a lot of crazy inventions over the years, but the weirdest – and most dangerous – of them all might be mind control. In “Of Human Action,” a crazy, hormonal, mind-controlling teenager is on the loose, and it’s up to Fringe division to stop him.

Lately, Walter has been thinking a lot about his past and how his life used to be before St. Claire’s. When he visits Massive Dynamic’s headquarters for the first time, he is struck by just how huge and impressive it is. It makes him feel ashamed. While he was locked up in a mental institution, his former lab partner, William Bell, was building one of the greatest multinational business empires of all time, and during that time, Walter lost contact with his son, the only thing he had left to live for. St. Claire’s was a dark time for him, one he’d rather forget. Luckily, Peter is back in Walter’s life now, so even though Walter may have lost his wife, he at least has his son in his life. Dr. Carson is in a similar situation. His wife had left, so all he has left is his son, Tyler. Unfortunately, Dr. Carson neglected him and led him to believe that his mother had died in a car crash. When Tyler found out the truth, he felt betrayed, and with the cocktail of mind-control drugs that Massive Dynamic had developed, he went off on a crazy crime spree in an effort to find his mother. In the process, he kidnaps Peter and forces the man to do his bidding.

Walter is devastated when Peter is kidnapped. He can’t bear the thought of losing Peter again. At first, he blames Dr. Carson for being a reckless parent. As a devoted father – at least to the extent that a former mental patient can be devoted – neglectful parenting strikes a nerve with Walter. But then Walter starts to lose hope, thinking that he has lost his son for good this time. After all, how could Peter fight mind control? Olivia tries pulling Walter out of his funk, but doesn’t succeed. However, Nina does. It’s interesting that Nina can do that with so few words, which seems to hint that Walter and Nina know each other well, probably from before Walter’s time at St. Claire’s. With renewed hope, Walter begins working on a way to put a stop to Tyler’s mind control.

“I need a driver, alright? Not a big brother.”
– Tyler Carson

In the meantime, Peter realizes that his circumstances aren’t all that different from Tyler’s. Both of them have fathers who are or were more dedicated to their jobs than to their families. Peter tries to reason with Tyler, but Tyler will have none of it. So Peter is forced to take a different tack. In the brief second where Walter interrupts Tyler’s mind control with an electromagnetic pulse disruptor, Peter crashes the car that Tyler commandeered, knocking both of them unconscious and putting a stop to Tyler’s mind control.

So, Peter is safe, and everything goes back to normal. Still, Walter is worried. Tyler’s mother left because she was a drug addict. With all the parallels between Tyler’s life and Peter’s, Walter is worried that Peter will think ill of his own mother. Thus, Walter provides Peter with a reassurance. He tells Peter, “She was a strong woman.” It’s a curious statement to make, especially about someone who committed suicide. But in less than a dozen episodes, we’ll find out exactly what she had to be strong about.

For more information on the Fringe rewatch project, please click here.

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