Fringe: S4E13 “A Better Human Being”

9.0 Overall Score
Main Plot: 9/10
Episode Plot: 6/10
Reveals: 9/10

A lot of reveals | Character Development | I'm very excited for what's to come

Episode Plot was a throwaway

I’m really digging this new format to Fringe. They now seem to have completely cut out throw away episodes. It seems like every episode now has its “crazy story of the week”, but main plot details are woven in and out throughout the episode. Where as shows like Alcatraz seem to just do a 2 minutes at the end relating to the main plot, Fringe has now developed an almost perfect balance. Main plot developments are almost seamlessly added into the episodes.

And man were the developments fun. We are now slowly coming to the conclusion that there is no “home” for Peter to go back to. This universe is the same universe we’ve seen throughout the series and Olivia is slowly having the memories of when Peter still was a part of our universe. Yes it is somewhat confusing, but this is expected from Fringe.

Having Olivia recount the scenes from the first episode of the series was great and was thrown in unobtrusively, though the John Scott reference was probably lost on a lot of viewers since its been a full 4 years since we have heard his name. At the same time though it never felt like the episode was forcing this new concept down our throats and it gave us a nice insight into the confusion going on in Olivia’s head and her futile attempts to ignore them. The scene where she emotionally recounts to Peter the details of their past relationship and her memory of it was very well acted by Anna Torv. She was able to keep a good balance of sappiness and fear that simply worked.

The best scene though was definitely Walter trying to figure out the reasoning behind Olivia’s recounting of old memories. Unlike the characters in the show, we as viewers know that Nina Sharp has secretly been injecting cortexiphan into Olivia, and this can obviously be seen as the reasoning behind Olivia’s new(old?) memories. With this knowledge we get the great pleasure of seeing Walter be completely wrong for once, all while insulting Peter in the process. It is a scene executed perfectly with the savant-like genius of Walter being beaten down by simple human emotions.

This scene helps even more later on when Walter realizes that Olivia has cortexiphan in her system. Walter and Lee squaring off with Nina Sharp was excellent. Finally we get to have someone call her out on her shit after having weeks of Olivia blatantly (and annoyingly) keeping it to herself. The final drawn out scene of Nina going through the rigorous security and getting the vials with the eyes of Walter and Lee constantly fixated on her was extremely tense. So when she pulls out the vials and all are accounted for, I was about to get really angry because I assumed that Fringe was once again going to pull another security blanket out and ignore the confrontation, but luckily Walter realized the vials were fake and this allowed for even more fun.

The final reveal of Nina being a shape shifter I did not see coming. Note: because this is Fringe I realize that it also might be an alternative-Nina (and actually probably is since most of the time the host has to be killed to shape shift), but for the sake of the article I am going to refer to it as a shape shifter. Calm down. Ok, end note. I’m sure others probably predicted her being a fake, but I honestly thought she was just naturally evil and malicious. I hope they expand on this and don’t simply have the Fringe division find Nina, save her and kill her shape shifter. They really could do something great here and they are setting up perfectly for a great reveal interrogation scene with her.

And of course I can’t go without mentioning that Olivia and Peter finally collapse and start making out. I’m sure all the female viewers of Fringe are going wild. Hey, it was expected and was somewhat cheesy but I’ll take it. Add in that Olivia gets kidnapped right after they give into each other and you get the usual dark Fringe twist on what is otherwise a sappy scene. I must be honest though and say it I laughed out loud when right after they finished making out Olivia states beautifully that she “just has to go pee”. It was pretty obvious from there that she was going to get into trouble. Hence it felt a little forced since there was no middle between the make out and her having to use the restroom, but I’ll let it go. They must have just been forced on time.

The actual side story was kind of a throwaway to be honest. The concept was alright, having telepathic brothers communicating with each other, but overall it was nothing special. It felt more like filler than anything. That’s why I’m so pleased that so much was revealed throughout the episode instead of making it a simple throwaway. Once again, the reason people watch this show is to find out what the hell is happening in the main plot, and hopefully the writers are finally realizing this. It was almost better that this side story was underdeveloped because it allowed for extra time to dwell into the main plot.

Next weeks episode seems to be a crazy one with focus on the Observers, and it seems like this episode was a nice building block for some major revelations. Ignoring the side story, this episode was great and it is really getting me excited for whats to come. Lets hope the momentum doesn’t stagger.

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Author: Chris Fadeley View all posts by
I am UF alumni and a computer engineer. I know virtually every useless fact about videogames ever. I like computers and potatoes.

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