Fringe “A Better Human Being” Review

Fringe "A Better Human Being" Review

After last week’s exciting episode, Fringe is back with an episode that looks at the telepathic connection between a mental patient and a group of killers. As the team tries to figure out how the connection works they find the answer lies in a more familial bond, but the closer they get to the truth, the more dangerous things get. We also see Olivia continuing to get back memories from Peter’s original Olivia, and some people (Walter!) are not too happy about it. At least by the end of the episode we find out what’s behind Olivia’s new memories and why it’s tied in to Evil Nina’s behavior this season.

I’m adding Telepathic Killers to my Things I Hope Never Happen board on Pinterest.

I’m sure that the telepathic killer thing has been done before in sci-fi TV, but I thought that the way the Fringe writers approached it was very cool. Having a mental patient (Sean) act as a conduit between the Fringe team and the killers was a nice story element that helped tie in Olivia getting the alternate timeline memories (remembering Walter being in the institute in Season 1). It also gave Astrid a few nice scenes with Sean that were fun to watch.

The whole background as to how did Sean and the killers develop their ability was also good but a little creepy. It was interesting to see that it was based on a genetic mutation that indicated they were all half brothers, but the weird factor comes when you find out that their father was a fertility doctor performing genetic experiments. John Aylward did a nice guest starring role as the fertility doctor, especially when he explains why he did his experiments after being confronted by Peter and Olivia.

So Olivia’s memories are now coming in stereo?

I thought Olivia’s flashbacks to the original Olivia’s memories was some kind of a side effect of what happened in Westfield last week. The fact that she’s actually seeing the original Olivia’s memories overlap with the present is very curious. When I saw this I thought we were actually seeing a reverse effect to Peter’s disappearance last season, the longer Peter stays in this timeline and interacts with it, the more it will change to the original timeline. I also liked Walter’s initial hypothesis, that Olivia was empathizing with Peter’s predicament and was creating fake memories to help him. I’m still not sure why Walter acted like this was Peter’s fault, but it was kind of funny to see him give Peter the “I’m on to you” look a few times this episode.

I don’t think that either scenario is the case anymore due to Walter’s discovery (more on that in a moment), but the other possibilities are very tantilizing. Just like she could travel between universes in the original timeline, could this Olivia’s memories be crossing over to the other timeline and back? The other possibility is that we are seeing a similar event to what we saw in the Westfield episode, but instead of two places in two universes trying to occupy the same space, we are getting two sets of memories (this Olivia and Peter’s original Olivia) trying to occupy the same mind? Both cases mean some pretty heavy consequences for this Olivia, especially considering how Westfield ended up after the two locations converged.

What does cortexiphan tastes like? My guess is Strawberry Kool Aid.

Walter’s discovery of Olivia receiving doses of cortexiphan immediately led him to thinking Nina was at fault. Apparently Massive Dynamics has the remaining stores of cortexiphan and Walter thought Nina had been secretly doping Olivia. For someone who was barely functioning and possibly insane at the beginning of this season, Walter is very quick on the uptake on this one.

With the help of Lincoln, they confront Nina and ask to see the stores of the drug. When they visit the vault (which looked straight from the Men In Black set) it appears that all the vials are present. Then Walter opens one up and chugs it, announcing that it was potassium iodide and red food coloring (red #4 to be exact). This confirms that Nina was injecting Olivia with cortexiphan, and puts her in the running of worst parental guardian ever. It also shows us that Walter is both crazy for chugging a vial full of chemicals and very talented at identifying food coloring dyes.

So if Evil Nina is with Walter and Lincoln, who took Olivia?

I was actually caught by surprise on Olivia being kidnapped, I thought we were halfway to a big “joining of the minds” between Peter and Olivia. Then the Fringe folks did what they do best by giving us a cliffhanger showing Olivia being held in a basement with none other than Nina Sharp to keep her company. So this brings up an interesting question: Who is Evil Nina? Is she an alterverse Nina Sharp or is she actually a shapeshifter? Is the Nina held with Olivia the actual Evil Nina and the one with Lincoln and Walter the original one that is confused about the cortexiphan robbery? My head hurts after thinking that through, so Fringe writers please get us some resolution ASAP.

My Favorite Parts from “A Better Human Being”:

– “Tim, it’s not what the LSD can do, it’s what the human mind can do that is truly wonderful.” – Walter recounting something he told Tim Leary (noted psychologist who was a proponent of the use of psychedelic drugs like LSD)
– “I lost the thought. Too many drugs of my own. It happens.” – Walter
– “Can you imagine that? The hubris of trying to improve upon god.” – Doctor behind genetic experiments
– Slusho! pops at the gas station where Olivia is taken, nice shout out to other JJ Abrams shows/movies.

Next week’s Fringe is the last new one for a month, but it’s shaping up to be a good one. Why? FRINGECEPTION! Once again the Fringe team is going to be visiting someone’s mind to solve a mystery. The real key here is that they are getting into the mind of an Observer. This promises to be one of the best episodes of Fringe ever and give us answers as to who are these mysterious beings! Make sure you tune in for the next episode of Fringe, “The End of All Things”, next Friday at 9PM on FOX.