it gives me great pleasure to write this review. This episode was wrought with things past and references of old…it is the kind of great writing that is refreshing on TV.
Let’s first start out with the mind blowing promo for next Friday’s episode. We will finally get the answers we have been waiting for…or will we? What fate will September (Michael Cerveris) show Peter (Joshua Jackson) when he boldly goes where no man has gone before…I wish it were Friday already!
We include the Fringe Game Changer and “The End Of All Things” promotional trailers courtesy of FOX Broadcasting. Thanks FOX!
A Better Human Being:
The title of this episode had several different meanings and all of them as valid as the next. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is at the forefront of this episode, she is the source and/or inspiration for what this episode is mostly about.
When we last left Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and Olivia (Anna Torv), she had just kissed him, much to his shock. Peter’s reaction is completely understandable. This is not his Olivia, memories or not, he does ot feel it is her. Her gesture, albeit inappropriate, was meant out of the ‘love’ that Olivia has for Peter. The love that HIS Olivia has, not this Olivia.
Anna once again is brilliant in her expressions, she is conflicted, she knows what she did is wrong on one level, but on another it feels totally correct. Her confusion and frustration are very apparent in this scene. Her justification is warranted, although so is Peter’s. Josh Jackson again is able to convey his heart on his sleeve.
He has the look of sadness in his eyes, Peter wants this to be his Olivia, but alas it is not. Josh always has a fantastic way of sympathizing with whoever is in pain or doubt or conflict.
There is a certain uneasiness in this scene, it is apparent that Peter does not want to make the same mistake twice; he knows where that will lead him. Several clichés always come to mind when thinking of his current situation, once bitten twice shy just to name one of them is the most appropriate one for the present moment.
The thing about this Olivia is almost like at the beginning of Season 3 when Faux-Livia replaced our Olivia, she knew enough to get by and fooled everyone, so does this Olivia. The only difference is the intimate details are the ones that Peter is concerned about, the ones that he and he alone shared with his Olivia.
Peter is terrified that if he lets his heart open and accept this woman as the love of his life (mainly his Olivia) that the betrayal will happen all over again. That is a risk he is NOT, by any means willing to take.
There are certain things about Peter and this Olivia that are great, too. I love the fact that he offers to stay with her to make sure she is okay. Even though he doesn’t love this Olivia like his, he still cares about her…how can he not it’s a version of his Olivia. It reminds me of how Peter took care of Olivia during the first season of the show. How he always looked out for her and made sure she was cared for. Taking care of Olivia and Walter taking care of those he loves has made Peter a better human being…hence the name of the episode.
I like how this episode deals with mental illness or lack thereof in Sean Martin’s (Harrison Thomas) case. It is almost like how Walter was wrongfully (to a certain extent) sent to St. Clair’s for his mental illness. We all know that Walter Bishop (John Noble) has his moments and may not always be as lucid as he seems, but his genius is what gets him through.
Although there are the parts of his brain that William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) took out because he didn’t like what Walter was turning into. There have been times when patients have been misdiagnosed because the doctors aren’t prepared to deal with the real issues they may have, it may just be easier to medicate them and leave them alone. Harrison Thomas plays Sean well. I like his frantic nature when he is describing what is happening to Daniel Greene, how scared he is, but at the same time, completely in power.
I love Lincoln’s (Seth Gabel) comment about there are no normal days on this job. It is such a classic reaction to the weird situations that the team often finds themselves in. There are No normal days, Linc, that is the ultimate beauty of Fringe, that is what makes the Fringe division of the FBI so unique.
When Olivia is explaining the details of the crime to Lincoln, he still has that fresh faced “I’ll never get used to this” look on his face.
Walter talking to the mental patient (Tom MacNiell) about his LSD trips with Timothy Leary is brilliant. Who would have thought that Walter would find his kindred spirit in a mental hospital? The fascinating thing about that scene is what he said about the mind on the drug. It is not what the LSD can do, it is what human mind can do is truly wonderful…sound familiar?
Cortexiphan works in almost the same way, it opens the mind to the endless possibilities and makes it limitless. It harkens back to the trials that Olivia participated in as a child, all the things she can do with her mind, the abilities she has, but still have yet to discover.
There is so much to the brain and the mind that we still have yet to discover. The brain and its inner working are the least explored part of the body, there is so much we still do not understand and maybe we never will. It has always made me wonder about the power of psychotropic drugs and the affect they have on freeing the mind. Some of the best works of art, be it painting or writing, were done on drugs.
Look at something like Kubla Khan written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he was on opium when he penned that masterpiece. Countless other works of fiction were written as well while under the influence of drugs. I am in no way condoning it, but giving a little glimpse into what happens when drugs meet the brain.
The flashbacks that Olivia is having, the ‘memories are interesting…are they really hers? Are they the ones she has experienced with Peter? It seems too real at times and then at other times it doesn’t. Real is a matter of perception…in Fringe world.
I love how Walter gets angry at Bernadette and the fact that they misdiagnosed Sean. He is not a schizophrenic patient; he is indeed hearing voices…just like he said he did. I am glad that Sean has decided to help the team by going off his meds and letting his voices guide him…so to speak.
Olivia showing up at the Bishop house reminds me of the episode 6B, of course minus the whiskey. This is a great scene between Josh and Anna; they play well off each other. They are almost doing an uneasy pas-de-Deux around the subject of their shared past and all the memories that Olivia is recalling.
Peter has the dilemma of leading with his heart or his head. Does he let his unbelievable longing to be with Olivia cloud his judgment with this Olivia and go down that road? One thing I did notice, it may have just been a mistake of no significance it may not, but Olivia says shimmer instead of glimmer when referring to Peter and the first time they kissed. I don’t know if that was deliberate or if it was just something Anna herself did.
The look that Josh has on his face in this scene is perfection. Josh shows his frustration and anger and confusion all melded together into this brilliant scene. He almost takes offense to what Olivia is saying, it is as if his brain is screaming, you were not there, how could you know what happened between MY Olivia and me.
I loved the scene in the lab where Olivia is under the hood of that machine. It cracked me up because it reminded me of the 1950’s hairdryers they used to use back in the “olden days” of hair styling. I find it interesting that Olivia is fidgety sitting in the chair being ‘worked on’ by Walter.
She is definitely playing along with this scheme, even though she knows that nothing new will come of it. I found it interesting that Olivia says that she is not scared and Peter says that makes one of us. Is he really scared that he is in the right timeline or that he may never be able to get back to his? He also doesn’t want history to repeat itself. He made the mistake of not knowing Olivia was switched and he will be damned if it happens again. It seems to be a running theme throughout this episode.
I also love the dynamic of Peter and Walter in this scene, it is like they are father/son again. The way that Walter used to snap at Peter sometimes for not using his genius brain, not quite as close as HIS Walter and Peter are, but getting there.
When Olivia is recounting the first time she met Walter in St. Clair’s and she had Peter with her, Peter goes immediately on the defense. He is angered by the fact that she knows the details of something she should NOT know about, since she wasn’t there. He is clearly pissed and it shows. Josh is brilliant at this, he is staring straight at her and clenches his jaw, which he does when he is very troubled.
It is a “tell” that Peter has and as a con-man (reformed…so he says) that is a flaw. He is almost at his wits end, he wants to go home, he wants to see HIS Olivia. He wants to be able to hug and kiss and be with Olivia the way he has longed for all the time he has been gone. He wants to be back in his timeline, back in his life and Josh manifests it in a physical manner beautifully.
I absolutely am enamored with the fact that Peter keeps saying MY OLIVIA. It is just so beautiful it shows how much he loves her. Fans have been for the longest time a little disheartened with the fact that Peter has not really been emotional about or with Olivia in the past.
Olivia has always been the one that has said her feelings for him, she was the one that said ‘I Love You’ first, she crossed universes to bring him back. He was the one thing that kept her alive and the only reason to fight to get home when she was kidnapped on the other side.
But then I say to them, Peter did the ultimate gesture of love, he was willing to sacrifice himself, to die for her…your argument is moot. Don’t get me wrong, those three words are very powerful and potent and they have an immense emotional weight behind them. Thankfully due to the delicious Polivia love scene in bed he DOES say it…and with his eyes shining with that love. They love each other, that it obvious and evident and hopefully soon he will be able to tell her this time face to face.
The scene of Walter in the lab making tea cracked me up, I can’t help but think of soul magnets every time I see or even think about tea. Only Walter Bishop.
The sweet scene with Olivia and Peter and the scar. Again it shows his hesitance, but also shows his affection for her and the contact that I am sure he longs for with his Olivia.
Dr. Owen Frank (John Aylward)…somehow I can not but help to think that Frank reminds me of another scientist (two actually) who decided to play god. Not only does he remind me of Walter and Bell, but of Dr. Frankenstein and the perfect human he wanted to create, a better human being. He took the best parts and put them together and what he thought was perfect was a monster.
That monster turned on its creator, too. Bell and Walter wanted to create the perfect human with their trials, want to groom and mold the subjects of the trials. Bell even said himself to Olivia that she was the strongest one. That she was the one that they had counted on to survive. The irony of the situation with all the experiments, too much of a good thing can be bad. Too much of one genetic mutation and the creature destroys its master.
When Dr. Frank talks about the abilities we have long abandoned as human beings that sounded a little too familiar…Cortexiphan anyone? That is the precise reason that it was used on Olivia and others, to enable the hardwired instincts we shared with other species. It allows you get back into the programming that humans had always had, but because it has been genetically droned out of us, Frank wanted to get us back to our primitive nature.
The whole scenario of what Frank was talking about goes back, again, to Olivia and her abilities that Jones was trying to help her with. He was trying to conjure up (if you will) her abilities again that he knows she has. He was trying to get her to be open and free. As foreign of a concept as this may be, David Robert Jones (Jared Harris) may not be all bad. His purpose in the first season was to show Olivia her abilities, awaken them, but he was never able to complete his mission. All of them went about their goals the wrong way, their intentions are there, but the execution is flawed.
When Walter discovers the Cortexiphan in Olivia’s system, it hits the fan. He immediately becomes suspicious of Nina Sharp (Blair Brown); there is no other explanation for it. Who else would have access to them? Knowing what we know about the Cortexiphan and how Our Olivia got it into her system before, it almost seems like the pot calling the kettle black. I think that if this is indeed our Olivia and the Cortexiphan that Nina is giving her is overloading and in strange way rebooting her system as well.
When Walter confronts Nina about the fact that Olivia has been dosed continually with Cortexiphan, Nina seems surprised. Her actions, however seems a little guilty, it reminds me of Hamlet and the phrase ‘me thinks the lady doth protest too much’…guilty until proven guilty in my book! Lincoln senses that something is amiss so he absolutely insists that they go NOW to Massive Dynamic.
The scene at the Back Bay storage facility again reminds me of Season 1 when we learn about John Scott (Mark Valley) and everything that happened to him. Again Peter is hesitant because he knows that Olivia knows this situation, but adds a twist with the “synmtax” (I am assuming that is how it would be spelled!).
The great thing about Fringe is that everything always comes full circle, whether it be in the Brown Betty episode (my all time fave episode) or other episodes. There are memories leaking through, such as the fact that she had been here before, but then again that key fact of the element found was not known to Peter, so the question still remains is she or isn’t she Peter’s Olivia.
The scene where Dr. Frank is confronted by more of his subjects (I guess we can call them that) is like Frankenstein facing his monster. The creation becomes the destroyer, fights against the one thing that gave him life, but yet destroyed him at the same time.
Jasika Nicole is a revelation. She is a constant source of balance in the show. The way she comforts Sean, the way she has ALWAYS been with Walter, Olivia and Peter. She has a way of being a gentle voice of reason or wisdom, she always gives you hope in darkness.
Astrid is perfection and I applaud Jasika for being the gorgeous individual that she is and brings her to life every week. Astrid is the type of character that everyone needs in their lives, she is the one person that you can go to no matter what and no judgment only light and great advice and always a shoulder to lean on.
Now for the moment we have all been waiting for…the scene in the car is wonderful. Still a little unsure if that path they have just embarked on is the correct one, but what happens with the kiss is just beautiful.
I can tell you that all of Polivia fandom died then and there!
Nina is so busted. It figures that Walter would actually drink a vial of Cortexiphan! Only he is crazy enough to do that.
And now comes the ending…no matter how many times I see it, it floors me. When Peter goes to find Olivia and she is gone, you know something has gone horribly wrong. The next thing you see is something that made me (and I am sure a whole lot of other say wtf?).
Olivia and Nina held captive?!?! I just still cannot wrap my head around that, it was just so perfectly Fringe, because that is what they do; throw you in the deep end without a paddle! It kills me that we have to wait a week to find out what their fate is…I know it will be worth it!
Well my friends, that concludes my review of this episode. I hope you like my review! See you next Friday…to see just how far Peter will go for love!
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