Grey Matters

Season 2, Episode 10
Aired: December 10th, 2009
Written By: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz
Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

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Resources: IMDb | Wikipedia | Transcript
Listen: The Fringe Podcast
Grey Matters

The Glyphs

This episode's glyphs spell: P-O-R-T-A-L

Thomas Newton's goal was to get Walter to remember details about his portal between universes.

Glyph symbol PGlyph symbol OGlyph symbol RGlyph symbol TGlyph symbol AGlyph symbol L
Glyph symbol P
Glyph symbol O
Glyph symbol R
Glyph symbol T
Glyph symbol A
Glyph symbol L

The Observer

The Observer can be seen across the street as Olivia, Peter, and other FBI units go down to the men's restroom looking for Walter.


Timestamp: 27:09

Episode Clues

Previous Episode Clue

Signage in Chinatown in 'Snakehead' says "Ginseng Improves Memory!", foreshadowing the plot of 'Grey Matters' where pieces of Walter's brain are recovered to help restore his memories.

Previous episode clue

Timestamp: 00:10

Next Episode Clue

Colorful butterfly drawings hung up at Dunwich Mental Hospital in 'Grey Matters' foreshadow Walter's discovery of Edina's permutation secret in 'Johari Window' when he captured a butterfly for Astrid that later seemed to change its appearance.

Next episode clue

Timestamp: 11:55

Items of Interest

  • Thomas Jerome Newton was named after the character played by David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth.
  • Olivia pulled up a list of the frozen heads found in S02E04 'Momentum Deferred' and they were all marked with "2E204", a reference to the episode they came from. (Image 1)
  • William Bell used the alias Dr Paris. From 1969 to 1971, Leonard Nimoy played a character called The Great Paris, himself a master of using aliases, in Mission: Impossible.
  • Leonard Nimoy's middle name is Simon. A. Simon Paris is a noted entomologist specializing in butterflies, a symbol that appears multiple times in Fringe.
Item of interest: Frozen head list
Image 1: Frozen head list
Timestamp: 08:02

Fringe Division Case File

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
121 105th Street • Washington, DC 20735
Phone: (202) 555-2100 • Fax: (202) 555-2101


FRINGE EVENT: Miraculous mental disorder recoveries





WITNESSES/CONTACTS: Nurse Holbrook, Dr. West, Thomas Jerome Newton (suspect)

LOCATION: Hennington Mental Health Institute, Boston, MA; 2828 Green Street, Boston, MA

VICTIM(S): Joseph Slater, Deborah Crampton, Mr. and Mrs. Rabel


Dr. Bishop tracked stealth surgeries on three separate patients who suffered from acute disorders that were miraculously cured. Joseph Slater was diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia, suffering from delusions, false memories, and severe emotional swings. Within an hour after finding his brain exposed from surgery, Slater related his mind was "suddenly free." Deborah Crampton suffered from a severe form of obsessive-compulsive disorder called arithmomania, and post-rogue-surgery, was also improved. Stuart Gordon was referred to a mental hospital with a minor psychiatric complaint, which then developed into full-blown schizophrenia. He then miraculously recovered. Their connection was treatment by a Dr. Simon Paris (an alias of Dr. Bell). Each unknowingly had a piece of Dr. Bishop's brain implanted in his or her head for safekeeping, which caused their afflictions. As soon as the foreign tissue was removed, they healed.
 Shapeshifter Thomas Jerome Newton found the patients and extracted the brain matter. He injected Dr. Bishop with a neurotoxin and left the antidote in a separate place, ensuring his escape from capture.

Walter's Food

Walter ate some pudding, had some tea, and had a craving for chicken wings.
Connection: Pudding cup
Pudding cup
Timestamp: 07:12
Connection: Tea
Timestamp: 10:47

Connection Chart

A visualization of all the ways this episode connects to other episodes. Scroll down to see the actual connections.

Episode Connections

S2E09 - Snakehead

  • Walter implanted a tracker in his neck in 'Snakehead' which is used in 'Grey Matters'.
Connection: Tracking fob
Tracking fob
S2E09 - Snakehead
Timestamp: 42:04
Connection: Removed tracking chip
Removed tracking chip
S2E10 - Grey Matters
Timestamp: 27:24

Spoilers for future episodes below!

S2E15 - Peter

  • Walter thought of Peter when he saw the image of a coffin in 'Grey Matters' because his Peter died in 'Peter'.
  • NEWTON in 'Grey Matters': "I know why you built it, the door. I know what you lost. Now, are you going to pretend that you're willing to lose him again?"
      Newton was referring to the events of 'Peter' where Walter's Peter died and Walter crossed universes to kidnap another Peter.
Connection: Coffin image
Coffin image
S2E10 - Grey Matters
Timestamp: 28:43

S2E20 - Northwest Passage

  • In 'Northwest Passage' Peter said that the bad guys removing brain parts was like a case he previously worked, the case in 'Grey Matters'.

S2E22 - Over There (Part 2)

  • A flashback at the end of 'Grey Matters' revealed that it was William Bell who removed the pieces of Walter's brain. In 'Over There (Part 2)' Bell said he removed the pieces at Walter's own request due to fears about the man he was becoming.
Connection: Bell as Dr. Paris
Bell as Dr. Paris
S2E10 - Grey Matters
Timestamp: 42:35

S3E10 - The Firefly

  • Walter wanted to listen to his favorite band Violet Sedan Chair in 'Grey Matters'. Roscoe Joyce, their keyboard player, is the subject of 'The Firefly'.

S3E20 - 6:02 AM EST

  • NEWTON in 'Grey Matters': "On my side, the trees died long ago. And the same thing killed the grass. They call it 'The Blight'."
      Similar phenomena started happening in '6:02 AM EST'.
Connection: Blight phenomena
Blight phenomena
S3E20 - 6:02 AM EST
Timestamp: 08:46

S4E19 - Letters of Transit

  • In 'Grey Matters' Walter's brain pieces were stored the heads of living people. In 'Letters of Transit', in the altered timeline, they were stored in Massive Dynamic.
Connection: Walter's brain pieces in Massive Dynamic
Walter's brain pieces in Massive Dynamic
S4E19 - Letters of Transit
Timestamp: 24:46

S4E22 - Brave New World (Part 2)

  • WILLIAM BELL in 'Brave New World (Part 2)': "Walter, this was all your idea. Peter died -- twice. You hated God. 'What kind of God would cause so much suffering?' That's what you said. So much pain. You decided to create a universe that would operate by your rules. And then, when you realized that you were smart enough to do it, you got scared. You asked me to cut out a portion of your brain."
      William Bell removed pieces of Walter's brain at Walter's request as seen in flashbacks in 'Grey Matters'.

S5E01 - Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11

  • ASTRID in 'Grey Matters': "Why would someone do that, Walter -- make someone crazy?"
    WALTER: "Any number of reasons. It would make them insusceptible to interrogation."

      In 'Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11' Walter's brain was partitioned to keep Observers from reading his mind and learning his plan to combat them.