Cast: Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Anna Torv, Seth Gabel, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole
Writer: Alison Schapker & Monica Owusu- Breen based on a story by Glen Whitman & Robert Chiappetta
Director: Joe Chappelle
Network: Fox, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: February 17, 2012

The FRINGE episode “A Better Human Being” is a good premise, that isn’t as fully fleshed out or as creepy as it should be.

Yet, the creepy A-story, is truthfully the B-story to the episode’s stronger mythology storyline about what’s going on with Olivia (Anna Torv) and why she’s having memories of her life with Peter (Joshua Jackson) before he destroyed himself to save the universe.

The anchor for the episode is a mentally ill patient who keeps hearing voices of other people that takes a nasty turn when those voices turn out to be a group of teenagers who kill.

When a victim turns up, the Fringe division checks up on this kid, only to find out a sperm donor fathered him – and there are more half-brothers out there with the same DNA out there. They were part of an experiment that enhanced the human experience including telepathy and herd mentality.

Again, this plot thread, even though it’s somewhat interesting, is too complicated to be burned off as an hour of television. A film or a two-parter might have been better to fully flesh this out.

Yet, it probably didn’t matter what the main story was, because it’s what’s happening with Olivia and Peter. Olivia is remembering everything about the “previous” Olivia. Walter thinks that it might be Peter projecting and Olivia picking up on that. When she starts remembering things that have nothing to do with Peter’s own memories, Peter is hopeful the original Olivia is returning.

Walter also discovers something alarming – that Olivia has been recently been injected with Cortexiphan. He and Lincoln (Seth Gabel) visit Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) to find out who has been digging into the protected vault to extra the last batch of Cortexiphan. Once they discover that it’s been taken, Sharp is now a prime suspect.

And just as Peter and Olivia reconcile their feelings for each other – Olivia disappears.

You know a show is doing something right, when you could really care less about the case of the week story and are completely engaged in the mythology elements. It’s been a long road to find the old Olivia back on the show – and I hope the series continues down this path for bringing the character back full circle (without Peter getting back to the old universe which was clearly destroyed last season).

The bigger mystery though is what Sharp was hoping to accomplish with injecting Olivia with Cortexiphan. We know it enhances the abilities in subjects, so what was she up to?

Even when FRINGE takes a couple of mis-steps, it’s still engaging and fascinating nonetheless. “A Better Human Being” thematically works, it just would have been nice if the enhanced human portion of the story were more creepy and engaging instead of feeling like a leftover THE X-FILES creep of the week episode.


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Article:TV Review – FRINGE – Season 4 – “A Better Human Being”


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