Fringe Review: Hello, Alt-Nina Sharp...

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We had another sideshow case of the week on "A Better Human Being." I understand the need to continue cases, because they are an FBI task force after all, but they never fully meet the overarching story of our characters, where they were and who they have become. You'll get a mention of the case here and there in this review, but you won't miss anything as I gloss it over.

The change in Walter continues, as he just naturally leaves the lab for investigations. Nobody seems to even notice anymore that he's not frightened of his own shadow. With Peter here, he is a different man. This man also has a fatherly instinct, and that tells him that his son is somehow forcing his own memories onto Olivia in a desperate need to get "his" Olivia back.

He was just blindly tossing out ideas, like empathy, and Olivia sat there with a serene look on her face, knowing deep in her heart that whatever she was feeling was true.

A Better Human Being Scene

I mentioned last week that I think Walter is experiencing memories of his own of his life with Peter, but they are different. It's more of an emotional and philosophical bond with him that propagates itself in his actions. It's much easier to overlook than Olivia remembering everything that happened with Peter's Olivia in his world.

As confusing as it is, this world, I believe, is the world that remained after Peter was erased. Thus, the same timeline without Peter in it. Since he forced himself back into it, he brought with him all that he influenced from the time he died until the time he was erased. How I wish I had a scientific mind, because the idea of quantum physics and trying to figure this out makes me all aflutter.

Is it a coincidence that I mentioned "6B" last week and Olivia remembered it this week? I don't think so. I believe Fringe is trying to get us to think outside the box. Or, inside one of the many boxes they've already created. The steps to where they are taking us have been set and it's like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be put together. I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn I can get vexed at puzzles and try to force pieces in where they have no business being.

When our dynamic duo was at the storage facility and Olivia said she wasn't scared and Peter realized he couldn't be projecting his memories onto Olivia, did anyone else expect the storage locker to explode? I had my hands on my face, my mouth in the shape of a big O, similar to that of the dead dad of 200 genetically-altered mutants.

I wish that had been it. It would have been so much easier to forgive than Alt-Nina kidnapping her. I had to go back and revisit several episodes to determine where the never-before-seen Alt-Nina took over our Nina. I think she was already gone in "Forced Perspective." She was trying to take her gloves off when she got to Olivia's place, and offered to give her the medication for her migraines. That one is easy. Additionally, the Observer was watching, so he knew Olivia was in trouble.

However, in "Wallflower," it was the first time we ever saw Nina not quite understanding about Olivia's past and what she had been through with the Cortexiphan trials. So where did things start to fall apart in this episode? My first thought was at the "A-Ha!" moment Walter had about Nina when he asked Lincoln to take him to the bridge to see Nina. Why did Walter have to go to the bridge in order to see Nina? Somehow I completely missed that she had moved her office to the link between our universes.

Immediately I noticed that she was wearing open fingered gloves. Our Nina never wore those, because of her metallic hand. I double checked to ensure that in this new timeline perhaps she didn't have the shape shifter skin covering her hand, but in all real Nina scenes, she wore two gloves.

The vault was bio-metrically secure, with her using her left hand. They showed the right, skin up wearing a ring. I'm sorry that I lost faith in Nina and thought ill of her, that she might be working with David Robert Jones and Broyles. She looked quite disheveled. Who knows how long she has been held captive?

There is nothing about this season that is a letdown. The scene between Olivia and Peter in the car at the gas station was classic material. A die-hard fan could not complain and even a new one had to be moved by their exchange. I am more ready for next week than I have a right to be. Give me more Fringe!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (144 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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As you know Dave . i am all for the argument that Nina is up to no good here. During the Wallflower ep she was just so rotnradictocy. I mean, one minute she is saying that she doesnt recall anything about Eugene and then in the very next breath she is telling Lincoln all about him! Having the resources of Massive Dynamic behind her i have no doubt that she played a part in Olivias mother death .and i agree with lemoneyes on that. Who's to say that she didnt have a hand in William Bell not being alive in this timeline either. Yes i know, im being a bit Peter Bishop and conspiracy theories here!Of course there will be people who disagree and thats ok. But if Nina has no hidden agenda then why is she treating her surrogate daughter so poorly. Shes ok with Olivia having massive migraines .. and memory loss! Although i think, to be fair to Nina, Olivia doesnt know she has memory loss! haha! Nina is having Olivia injected with cortexifan without her knowledge and if this is all in the name of helping Olivia, then why didnt she tell her? Why knock her out with one drug and then inject her with another? What kind of mother does that to a child?The one thing i love about the character of Nina is that we still dont know which side she is on or what her agenda is. And thats awesome that Joel and Jeff have been able to keep Ninas character ambiguous! They have kept us guessing and we are in season 4!

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The BEST show on Television! Please 'like' "The Fringies Page: We Want a 5th Season of Fringe" on Facebook and help us get the 5th season that this masterpiece deserves!

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I loved this episode. Anna Torv is amazing. The slight nuances she gives, as we get to see her portray, not one, not two but three different versions of Olivia is just perfection.
It restored my faith in mankind, to know that Nina wasn't Nina. I really didn't want to believe that someone could raise a child, as their own, and yet be so cold and calculating to her.
I agree this world IS Peter's world and the changes occurring to the characters, are because of Peter's existence.
Bring it on JJ Abrams , keep em coming!

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I must agree with the ones praising Anna Torv,she was wonderful like always and Fringe is an amazing show.

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Did anyone else think the convenience store looked a lot like the store set from NYC where Olivia would travel back and forth when she was being held captive by Walternate? I kept thinking maybe it was just that they reused the set or maybe that was meant to be a soft spot between Universes and when she walked into it, after all those Cortexiphan treatments by (alt?) Nina, that it dumped her into the amberverse.

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I agree that Nina with Walter&Lincoln is actually the good one, and that DRJ paired with alt-nina and betrayed her or she is double playing to get Olivia's test done. I don't care which Olivia is playing because they are all wonderful, but if this is our Olivia, I'm glad that she is easier on the smile, and "liking the feeling", like she did when eating that toast in "LSD". I almost never comment on the actors, but since there are some comments about Anna...I think she did some tremendous scenes in these two recent episodes, well, she has done some serious achievements with her Olivias, specially since season 2, so no doubt there, but Josh really surprised me in 4.13, I was never impressed with his acting until now. I think John has taken a step back to give Josh some room, and I like it. Thanks for the review, I truly enjoyed it, and hope for more Fringe like you said.

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JJ Abrams shouldn't be allowed to make tv shows. he is too cruel!

Fortyseven

Anna Torv is amazing. The scene at the gas station was great. I don't know which Nina is which.

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@Roberto I think your mostly right about Olivia. She overdid it a little, trying to show us the distinction between the two. I did not mind most of the almost bubbly way she acted, but she seemed to move around to much. As if she were playing alt-Olivia from when we met her in the end of season 2 and the beginning of the third season.

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I think Cest is on to something. Two mild disagreements. I think most would disagree that "there is nothing about this season that's a letdown." They are getting us back to where we should be, BUT, is it too little, too late? No bigger fan of Anna here, but the constant smiling is really awkward. I know she's about exhausted her repertoire of different Olivias, and is trying to make a distinction with the new memories. But these two Olivias were never all that different. Just play her normal, maybe a little more upbeat when around Peter.

Fringe Season 4 Episode 13 Quotes

Lincoln: There really aren't any normal days on this job, are there?
Olivia: Nope.

Peter: Just be straight with me. Are you okay?
Olivia: Yeah, I'm fine.
Peter: Then why did you kiss me?
Olivia: I don't know. It just felt like that's what we do. It just felt normal.

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