Fringe begins with a hostage situation in Queens. Police surround a car at the top of a parking structure containing two tough-looking men who appear to be holding a young boy hostage. The men exit the car and are forced onto the ground, where one of them tells the police that they have no idea what they're dealing with. With the boy, Tyler Carson, looking on, one of the cops walks off of the parking structure, killing himself. Another cop shoots two police officers before turning the gun on herself.
Agents Olivia Dunham and Philip Broyles and Walter and Peter Bishop arrive at the garage. Walter has already determined that the cops are victims of hypnosis. Agent Broyles reveals that Tyler Carson's father works for Massive Dynamic. Dunham and the Bishops go to visit Nina Sharp and Dr. Carson at the Massive Dynamic headquarters.
Dr. Carson does classified aerodynamics work; Dunham wonders if the kidnappers are trying to get trade secrets out of the good doctor.Tyler says he is hungry, so the kidnappers pull into a convenience store. One of the kidnappers tells the clerk to give him all the money in the register. The clerk refuses, pointing out that the kidnapper is unarmed. A tattooed, Stone Cold Steve Austin-looking good Samaritan intervenes, trying to stop the robbery. With Tyler looking on, Stone Cold is made - via mind control - to pour a pot of hot coffee on his own head. He then smashes the pot over his head and crashes headfirst through a freezer. The clerk pulls a gun, but the kidnapper tells him that he should have just emptied the register.
With Tyler still watching, the clerk sticks his keys into a socket, electrocuting himself.Walter dissects the officers' brains and determines that it is not hypnosis, but sound-based mind control that led to the officers' deaths. Dunham tells Walter to work on a way to block the mind control for when the kidnappers contact Dr. Carson. Moments later, the kidnappers make their first contact, demanding $2 million. Dunham and Broyles are baffled: why would the kidnappers only want money? Walter develops a way to block the mind control - headphones that produce white noise to block out all sounds - and equips the FBI's team with the devices. As the team watches, the drop goes bad. The kidnappers show up without Tyler, and one tries to steal the briefcase from Dr. Carson.
The team moves in, leading one of the kidnappers to crash his car as he tries to escape. Agent Dunham finds the second kidnapper in a warehouse, begging for help while trying to shoot himself in the head. Outside the warehouse, Peter succumbs to the mind control. It turns out that the headphones do not work. It also turns out that Tyler is the one controlling minds. He tells Peter to take him to his car.Nina Sharp tells Agent Dunham that one of the projects Dr. Carson worked on was a joint effort with the pharmaceutical team to let pilots amplify their brain power. Dr. Carson fears that Tyler has taken some of the samples.
Agent Dunham looks to Walter for help, but he is distraught by Peter's absence. Nina Sharp calms him down and gets him to focus on stopping Tyler. Peter tries to reason with Tyler but he will not listen. As they drive, a cop pulls Peter over. Tyler almost forces Peter to shoot the officer, but Peter convinces him otherwise and he knocks him out instead. Peter takes Tyler to a strip club and tries to bond with him. It turns out that Dr. Carson told Tyler that his mother died when he was younger, but she was actually a drug-addled mess. Dr. Carson thought it would be best for Tyler not to know his mother is still alive.
But Tyler found out, and sets out to track his mother down. Peter drives him to Maryland, where he reunites with his mother. It is not the rosy reunion Tyler had hoped for; his mother has remarried and is not looking to run away with Tyler. The mischievous mind controller tries to get Peter to shoot his mother's new husband, but Agent Broyles storms in. Tyler forces Peter to shoot Broyles - in the arm - and they flee. Walter, Astrid and Dunham chase the escaping pair. Walter sends an electronic pulse into the car, causing Tyler to lose his power over Peter for an instant. In that instant, Peter is able to crash the car into a telephone pole, rendering Tyler unconscious. When he comes to, he has lost his powers.
As the episode ends, we see Nina Sharp sending a message for William Bell into the cosmos. She is updating him on the "Penrose-Carson" experiment, in which Massive Dynamic developed several "Tylers" in an attempt to test mind control abilities. We see Dr. Carson wheeling the unconscious Tyler - one of many Tylers - into a storage facility within Massive Dynamic. As the screen fades out, we see Nina Sharp cooly staring at her computer screen, wishing Bell well and stating that their experiment was a success.