Fringe, S4 Ep13 – A Better Human Being

The Peter/Olivia SUV kiss

Never fear: this episode starts right where the last one left off. However, to make the recap flow better, I’ll start off with the case of the week.

Sean hears the murder

I guess those old robes are part of the uniform at mental institutions.

It begins at a mental hospital. There’s a young man who’s been hearing voices for years, who hears the voices of three young murderers in his head as they kill a reporter (only he doesn’t know that it was real until his doctor calls the police upon seeing the murder in the news). It really looks like he’s reading the thoughts of the leader of the three guys as it happens — and it turns out that is the case. In fact, poor Sean (that’s his name) isn’t schizophrenic after all. His voices are real.

Walter is the one to discover this, of course. (He also looks much less uncomfortable to be in a mental hospital than you’d expect when he joins the Fringe team to interview Sean.) He convinces Sean to go off his meds for the duration of the investigation, and since Sean was admitted voluntarily, that’s allowed. (Also, later on it leads to a cute interaction between Sean and Astrid in which he hits on her — and rightfully so. More people need to notice the hotness of Astrid.)

It comes out that Sean is a half-brother to the murderers — because though he’s an only child, he was born through IVF through a sperm donor. And further, this donor is a doctor who did gene recombination on the embryos that he then implanted at the clinic. The murdered reporter was doing a story on IVF, so the pieces seem to be falling into place.

They speculate that not only can the half-brothers communicate via some kind of telepathy, but they may have formed a kind of collective identity — a hive mind. (At this point, I am forcefully reminded of the S1 X-Files episode “Eve”, a delightfully creepy case about genetically modified identical girls who can read each others’ minds [and are homicidal].) This is somewhat confirmed when they meet the doctor who created the boys. A contrite Dr. Frank admits that he combined DNA from other species into the embryos, which was somehow supposed to ‘reintroduce’ abilities humans don’t have — abilities like telepathy. He says the boys have a heightened protective instinct, and think that if anyone finds out about them (such as through a reporter’s article) their existence will be threatened.

Astrid takes notes

"Dear Diary: Should I be worried how often I hang out with crazy people?"

Meanwhile, Astrid notes down what Sean is hearing from the voices. He says they feel threatened now. When Olivia and Peter go to get more of Dr. Frank’s info from a storage shed, they’re attacked by the half-brothers. But our favorite duo are able to subdue them quickly… and that’s basically the last we see of them. They’ve already killed Dr. Frank by the time the police go check on him, unfortunately.

And then we see Sean afraid to turn off his very loud TV. It turns out he can’t hear the voices anymore, and it frightens him to be alone in his head. Astrid gently tells him that this is how it is to be normal. We don’t learn why his link is severed, which is rather anticlimactic — however, I barely noticed this while watching the first time because of the EXTREME Peter/Olivia awesomeness.

But more on that at the end of the recap. Another important development is that doesn’t take very far into the episode for me to be 100% sure that this Olivia is in fact Our Olivia, and she’s getting all her memories back.

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