Fringe, S4 Ep13 – A Better Human Being

The Peter/Olivia SUV kiss

After Olivia shows up at Peter’s house (see below), she submits to some brain scans and other tests from Walter. She insists throughout that she’s not scared about this, but she’s the only one — unsurprisingly, since after all everyone’s working theory has been that Peter’s from a totally separate timeline. When pressed to remember, for example, going to get Walter from St. Claire’s by herself, she says she can, but it’s very hazy, like an old dream. Her memory with Peter is much more real. (YAY!)

Olivia in the Hair Dryer of Science

And this weird salon hair dryer chair + brain scanner is still not the weirdest device Walter has strapped her into.

Walter’s first theory is based on Olivia’s empathy. He think she’s intuiting these memories based on her empathy with Peter’s strong desire to return to his Olivia. She may be channeling his memories. He also later all but accuses Peter of doing this to Olivia (perhaps unconsciously), and tells Peter that it’s wrong to want something back that you love, but that isn’t yours.

Walter tests a few strands of Olivia’s hair. When the results show up, quite a bit later, he is shocked and horrified. Lincoln comes into the lab just in time for Walter to demand to be taken to see Nina Sharp. Looks like the Cortexiphan-jig is up. He and Lincoln are absolutely furious as they tell Nina that there is Cortexiphan in Olivia’s system and call for an explanation. Nina seems genuinely shocked and dismayed, and readily agrees to take the two of them to the Massive Dynamic vault where the last remaining vials are stored. Only she has access, she says, because the vault is biometrically secured to her alone.

When they get there and Nina opens the vault, it looks at first like all the Cortexiphan is where it should be. Nina rather huffily asks what’s going on with Olivia, but before Lincoln can begin to answer, Walter tastes a vial. Of course. And of course it’s not Cortexiphan — he says it’s food coloring. Under the weight of both Walter and Lincoln’s glares, Nina looks both surprised and trapped.

Elsewhere, Peter and Olivia open the storage locker I mentioned above, and it reminds Olivia (as it did me) of the last time she opened a storage locker: she got blown up with Semtex. Peter remarks that he hadn’t known it was Semtex — and therefore, Walter’s theory can’t be right because Olivia can’t be absorbing memories that he’s never had. He pauses and continues that he doesn’t understand how this can happening. Olivia doesn’t, either, but she reminds him that she’s not scared. In fact, she likes the feeling. (And who can blame her, really?) Peter doesn’t have a response to that.

Olivia after the kiss

No one blames you for wanting Peter to be your boyfriend, Liv.

That makes a decent transition for me to finally write about the meat of the episode: developments in the Peter/Olivia relationship. A still-thunderstruck Peter asks Olivia if she’s all right after she’s kissed him, and when she says she is, he asks why she did it. She laughs awkwardly and says it felt like the right, normal thing to do. (Yeah, I think it’s a normal reaction to want to kiss Joshua Jackson…) But she knows who he is and knows herself — she’s pretty sure this must just be residual effects from Westfield. Peter gallantly waves away her apology before offering to stay in case something else happens. Olivia wants some time to herself. She thinks another migraine might be coming on, and I do wonder if Peter leaving means she gets another Cortexiphan dose! Either way, when Olivia shuts the door, we see a sudden flash to Peter and Olivia’s first ‘date’, where Olivia saw him Glimmer. And that’s not the last flash from earlier episodes of Fringe that Olivia sees throughout this episode.

In fact, after the first day of the case, Olivia shows up at Peter’s house and proceeds to dumbfound him again by recognizing where Walter ‘used to’ sleep. And then she adds a recollection of what happened at the end of last season’s “6B”, how they had a drink and then went upstairs together. She smiles softly as she goes on through how much else she remembers (Jacksonville, her crossing over to bring him back, him stepping into the Machine, etc.), but Peter looks like he’s about to pass out or throw up. The lovely Peter/Olivia theme plays as she says she remembers everything.

After this development, the two of them continue to give each other searching, soulful looks for the rest of the episode. Olivia really wants to reach out to him, and he’s very reluctant to respond though he’s obviously not unaffected by her longing. A good example is when Olivia sees a scar she doesn’t recognize on Peter’s hand, so she grabs his hand and says that maybe she doesn’t remember everything after all. Peter admits that he only got that one a month ago, so she wouldn’t remember it. And they stand with Olivia holding his hand and Peter deciding how he should react, unable to not hold hers in return, until Walter interrupts them. Sigh.

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