Season 4 Episode 13

A Better Human Being

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 17, 2012 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
322 votes
  • Creativity booster, authentic acting, fascinating topics, freaky guest, Lord of the Bees, thrilling but flawed ending (Spoilers)

    The people who viewed this episode and the previous one, Welcome to Westfield, when they aired are lucky because they had a whole week to think about Olivia's kiss and dream of the infinite outcomes. Peter slapped her ? How dare you, parallel freak ! Peter turned into a poison dart frog ? Then she died ! Olivia became a giant, destroyed the whole building she lives in and had to drink some wine to get back to her normal size ? I told you she was a freak ! Of course the real outcome wasn't as silly but it proves how much Fringe can be stimulating.

    So, they talked. If the past installment hadn't prepared us for Olivia's transformation what she said would have seemed badly calculated. Instead Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson's chat felt authentic and their chemistry seemed stronger. I mean two episodes ago Peter was still a stranger to Olivia's eyes but now she looks at him like the cosmic love of her life ! Her performance was so moving that it made me chill of happiness. And as usual the episodic story brilliantly served the main one. Her mind evolved as the investigation progressed. The closer they were to solve the case, the more she knew about him and her alt-self. Was the writers intention to compare Olivia to a bee ? When the scientist mentioned his sons were acting like a living organism, a collective intelligence, I instantly considered the possibility that Olivia could be a queen. I'm probably influenced by novels like Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) and Starship Troopers (Robert A. Heinlein) but pure science can't be ignored when it comes to sci-fi and it's specially true for Fringe. But my theory of one livia to bind them all didn't work even if during the whole season 3 she was able to travel between both worlds using her psychic ability. Even Walter mentioned how special she was as a child and his speech about empathy was quite interesting. Indeed our growth is influenced by our interaction with other people, our environment in general, so doing everything to be loved isn't absurd at all. In fact it could actually be the best solution to become A Better Human Being !

    It leads us to the other topic covered in this episode, genetic engineering. I don't even have to cross it out from my title sequence checklist because I'm sure it's in. Moreover it couldn't be more actual considering the number of articles published about boosting the brain or manipulating organisms. Of course it's fascinating but also quite frightening because in this case the scientist didn't feel guilty. These was also nothing Frankensteinesque about him. However the young actor was one hell of a freaky guest ! At first I thought he was able to mind control other people like in a RTS video game because he was acting like someone using a virtual reality device. That's why I was disappointed he was only hearing voices but at least what Astrid said about loneliness was smart. We can't escape reality by listening loud music or reviewing TV shows. One day or an other we have to dance with the other honeybees in order to achieve our goals in life. Yes because Walter only talking about pheromones made me skeptical considering these social insects are also known for dancing in the air in order to indicate the approximate position of a field of flowers for example. You go, bees !

    As for the last minutes I was absolutely thrilled by them but also noticed a few questionable elements. The first would be the obvious kidnapping. I mean the last time a girl told me she had to pee I never saw her again ! More seriously the event could have been better staged to make it more dramatic. When Peter entered the shop I already knew she was gone and in fact I found the sequence and others anecdotic. But of course it's easy to criticize when my reviews are probably flooded by spelling mistakes and boring remarks like this one. Still an other con was Lincoln. I have never been a fan of Seth Gabel even if he had his moments but he wasn't a match for Blair Brown, specially knowing Nina Sharp was actually a shapeshifter probably capable of running on walls like Trinity and high jumping like Morpheus. However it didn't ruin the visit he paid her with Walter. From the white room futuristic design to the red-orange fluid and her black outfit that magnificiently contrasted with it that part was epic ! And Walter "teasting" the medicine seemed absolutely natural. Only John Noble can mix geeky humor with hardcore sci-fi ! The mind of a genius and the curiosity of a baby.

    Note : This review was first posted on Kritikenstein, my weblog.