Last week’s episode of Fringe was a heart strings tugger (apparently tugger is not a word, well, it should be). In “A Better Human Being” Olivia’s memories are being taken over by Peter’s Timeline’s Olivia’s memories and her own are becoming fuzzy. Peter is concerned and a little heart broken, Walter is upset with Peter thinking it is Peter’s fault. Meanwhile, Olivia and Peter are working on a case of a killer who is somehow connected mentally to a patient of an institution.
There are two fringe events that this episode deals with, the case the team is working on, and Olivia’s new memories. The case that the team is working on has to do with a patient in a mental hospital that goes berserk and sees a crime happen that he had no way of knowing was happening. Walter examines him and discovers that he is not suffering from schizophrenia as he was diagnosed with (and actually Walter points out some good inconsistencies with usual “voices” that people with schizophrenia suffer with) but that he is receiving information telepathically. Walter takes a blood sample from him and compares it to a blood sample found at the scene of the crime and there is genetic similarities, they have some little tag on the DNA that Walter thinks allows all these men to speak with each other across distances. Walter cites to species of the animal kingdom that do the same.
Olivia and Peter discover that the patient in the mental institution was conceived through Artificial Insemination. They track down the doctor who did the insemination and interview him. He confesses that he did genetic manipulation on the DNA before insemination. Furthermore, the reason that there are familial similarities is that he provided all of the male genetic material. You know, semen. I once wrote a paper on Pre-Implantation of Genetic Diagnosis and Gestation Surrogacy, and my friend Toni got mad at me when I talked about how men have been able for the last 30 years to sell their semen for monetary compensation but women are not allowed to do the same. She didn’t think a wine tasting was the place for talking about semen. Who knew? So all of his sons with a certain genetic marker (he did different batches) had the ability to communicate to each other telepathically, and he was about to expose his work with a tell all biography. His children were hunting down anyone about to expose them and kill them. In the end the genetically modified men hunt down their maker. And the institutionalized patient looses his ability to feel the pack. Is this due to the death of the father? Or did the rest of the pack withdraw because the institutionalized patient tattled on them? It was unclear. Frankly, this whole underlying case to the episode was rather blah. It faded from mind rather quickly.
The far more interesting fringe event happening in “A Better Human Being”, is the one concerning Olivia. I give Anna Torv props for her amazing performance in this episode. As this Olivia gains the memories of Peter’s Olivia, Torv’s portrayal of this Olivia falling in love with Peter through all her memories is sweet, simple, eloquent and they made me smile. Walter is a bit of a humbug because after his electrode probing of Olivia’s brain, he theorizes that Peter is inducing empathetic feelings from this Olivia to be his Olivia to make him feel at home. Peter assures Walter that he is not trying to change this Olivia. But even as Olivia is coming to terms with these new memories superseding her old memories, Peter is worried, confused, and not sure how to respond to her loving glow. Eventually, they talk and then ::squee:: kiss!
Walter takes a snip of Olivia’s hair and his analysis shows that she has indeed been drugged. Since he can’t get a hold of Peter and Olivia, they are driving back from the case, he and Agent Lee head over to Massive Dynamics to confront Nina. Nina assure Walter that the compound he and Billy created that is in Olivia’s system could not be accessed by anyone but her. Walter demands to see the vials of the compound because he knows how many vials there should be. Nina wants to call someone, but Agent Lee wouldn’t let her. Finally, Agent Lee doing what people should do in the movies and TV don’t, he makes sure the bad guy doesn’t make the phone call!!! Nina agrees to escorts them to the vault, shows them that it takes her hand-print to get into the vault and pull out the vials, which are all there. Walter being Walter, tastes one of the vials and it is just basically Kool-Aid.
Olivia and Peter stop for gas (and a kiss) and Olivia heads into the gas station to use the restroom. After a long while, Peter goes in after her, but the store clerk never saw her enter and she is not in the bathroom. He walks back out to the car and she is nowhere to be found. Which begs the question, what is the point of giving this Olivia Peter Olivia’s memories? Who has been behind this? Is it all just Bad Nina’s idea or someone else’s? I tend to think there is a bigger purpose in having a Bad Nina and Bad Broyles, but how are they connected? Is it really wise to assume this is Peter’s Olivia now? Because if he goes back to his timeline that Olivia is going to be mad, no matter who he feels he is with in the timeline. UGH, my head hurts. ANSWER SOME OF MY QUESTIONS!!!
Olivia has been kidnapped. She wakes up in a room tied to a chair and someone is calling her name. It is Nina, also tied up to a chair in a dungeon like room. Dun Dun Dunnnnnn. So, this is finally where this episode gets good, the last 30 seconds of the show. The question, which Nina is the bad Nina? Is the tied-up Nina the bad Nina, and will she try to trick Olivia into giving up secrets? Is the Nina in the vault the good Nina and doesn’t have a clue about what is happening? Or is the Nina in the vault the bad Nina, having kidnapped Olivia and Good Nina and stuck them in the dungeon while pretending to no understand what is going on? Is the Nina in the dungeon the Good Nina having been kidnapped and the Bad Nina taken her place in the O.U. and the A.U.? WHO KNOWS!!!! Or possibly is the Nina in the dungeon from Peter’s universe? So many questions!!!!