"Bad Dreams"

Season 1 Episode 17 (Aired: April 21st, 2009 on FOX)



Olivia thinks she's murdering people in her sleep, Walter thinks that's fantastic, and William Bell speaks to us from the past.



FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) wakes from sleep with a start. In her nightmare she just threw a woman in front of a subway train.

In the morning news she sees a picture of the woman from her dreams. It's reported that the New York native committed suicide in front of her daughter's eyes by throwing herself in front of an incoming train. At work she asks permission to go to New York. She gets 24 hours to sort things out since she's reluctant to give her real reasons to her superior and requests that he trust her instincts instead that something is foul about the alleged suicide.

Dr. Walter Bishop (the series mad - take that literally - scientist played by John Noble) gets a kick out of theorizing that she could have teleported herself to New York and really given the woman a good push when Olivia tells him about the dream. Peter (Walter's son and his full time mad scientist sitter for the FBI, played by Joshua Jackson) argues that there is a rational reason for the events. It was a nightmare, no more, no less. Olivia is not convinced. It felt, smelled and sounded all too real to her and she saw the face of the woman before it appeared on TV.

She and Peter travel to New York to look at the crime scene and talk to the victim's husband. He is convinced that his wife would never commit suicide. But the security camera shows only her at the moment she jumps. Walter, always trying to be helpful, has another idea: maybe Olivia used her mind to compel the woman to throw herself in front of the subway. After all, killing with a thought is one of mankind's dearest dreams. What if it was made possible? Peter thinks his theory total rubbish but Walter reminds him that it's only rubbish for as long as it's not going to happen again. To be on the safe side, Olivia buys pills to keep her awake and sits down at a restaurant.

The Italien restaurant, strangely, appears to be frequented by couples only. At a table she's been observing the wife starts a fight that rapidly escalates. Olivia goes over to the couple but instead of diffusing the situation she guides the wife's hand to repeatetly thrust her knife into her husbands body. Scared out of her wits, Olivia wakes up at home on her couch, where despite the precautions she took, she fell asleep over her book.

At the scene of the crime the wife has no explanation why she suddenly was adamant that her husband was going to leave her or why she got into a murderous rage about it. Olivia asks if she had help, if it felt like somebody was in her head, making her stab him. Peter suggests to Olivia that her behavior is getting erratic from too much caffein and not enough sleep. As if to prove his point, she fast looses her temper with the owner of the restaurant when he doesn't cooperate. She identifies the table she sat at the night before, but the owner tells her some blonde guy with a scar sat there. Olivia suddenly knows who that is. She saw him on the tape from the subway station.

What if she wasn't dreaming about herself, Walter suggests, but of him? They identify the suspect from his last known address as a mental health patient. With the blessing of her superior, who takes her confession that someone is coming into her dreams and he's either making her kill people or he's killing people and makes her watch in stride, she and Peter interview the man's former doctor. At the clinic they learn that he was there on a military insurance policy and that he displayed an astounding ability to light up a room when he was happy and drag everybody into a black hole with him when he was sad. He was hyperemotive, his affact highly contagious. But they didn't consider him dangerous, since he leaned more to self-contempt and the suicidal. He also had paranoid episodes, believing he'd been recruited as a child for top secret experiments where he was prepared to act as a soldier in a coming war against the denizens of a parallel universe. While the psyciatrist talks, Olivia looks more uncomfortable and alarmed by the minute. Going through his file on their way back, Peter remarks that their suspect Nick (David Call), like her, is from Jacksonville. Olivia asks him to look up Nick's date of birth, concluding that they have to talk to Walter immediately.

Walter tells her about the Cortexiphan experiments he and William Bell conducted. It was a highly experimental drug designed to enhance perception in prebubescent children. To hear the word experiment and children in the same sentence makes Peter shudder. Walter says he was against it and that he and Bell argued about it. Perception, he continues to explain, is the key element to transformation. Nick could change reality with his thoughts as a result, or rather emotions, unwittingly. Which leaves the question why Olivia can see him in her dreams. Walter breaks it as gently as he can to Olivia that she was one of their test subjects in the drug trials. Often, when he and Bell experimented on children they used a buddy system like in summer camp to keep them from feeling frightened or isolated. Sometimes a bond could form, amplified by the drug.

Deeply disturbed Olivia backs away from Walter while Walter sees the bright side of the unexpected developement. They now have a way to find Nick and because she, too, was treated Olivia is most certainly immune to Nick's powers.

The showdown takes place on the top of a roof where Nick holds people emotionally hostage. He begs Olivia to kill him. He desperately wants to stop hurting people - but if he jumps, they all will jump along with him. Unlike the other children he couldn't forget about the experiments as he was supposed to. He waited for the soldiers, both natural and unnatural, to come, he tells her. He did what they were told. He stayed fit, and focused, and ready to be called upon. But the call never came. Until now. A man came to see him. He told him they were coming and that he needed warriors, and that he knew how to wake him up. But sometimes what we wake, Nick regrets, can't be put back to sleep.

Olivia shoots him in the legs and Nick tumbles back onto he roof. The people who followed him there are released from their emotional shackles. Last we see him in drug induced coma at an undisclosed location.

In his lab Walter goes through some of his old stuff and finds a tape which shows Olivia as a child. On it he can be heard talking to the frightened girl while William Bell (Leonard Nimoy, voice only) tries to assuage the damage the "incident" has caused.