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Relationship Recap: Peter and Olivia, Fringe “A Better Human Being” 

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

I don’t think I ever believed there was another timeline for Peter to get back to, so I’m cautiously happy that his Olivia is bleeding through into the Olivia we know in this timeline. I completely understand Peter’s hesitation to believe what he sees and feels. As Peter says, he’s been tricked before (damn you Bolivia; we’re in a completely different timeline and you’re still causing trouble!). And even though he’s scared, Olivia’s not. She has all these feelings for him and all these memories of him and it’s hard for her not to be hurt by his reaction or lack thereof. But let’s step back for a minute and see where all this is coming from.

To save this and the altverse Peter went into the machine and effectively erased himself from both universes. When this season started, it was as if Peter had never existed. We know who he is because we’ve been on this crazy roller coaster of a ride for four years (and I’m loving every minute of it), but Peter was a stranger to everyone he used to know and love. Walter was keeping his distance because his Peter and alt Peter died as a child. He never knew Peter as an adult and refused to get to know his son as a sort of penance for the wrong he’d done in the past. Peter was a complete stranger to Olivia in this timeline even though she’d been dreaming of him for weeks before he manifested himself in this universe. Olivia still had a violent childhood in this world, but she and her sister went to live with Nina Sharp, who is the closest thing she has to a mother – which is such a scary thought.

At the end of “Welcome to Westfield,” Olivia kissed Peter when he came over to her apartment. Peter was surprised, but Olivia seemed to think she was the Olivia from Peter’s timeline. She said it felt like that’s what they do, it felt normal. Peter’s first thought is that something’s wrong with Olivia. And it would have to be, right? It makes no sense for this Olivia to think she’s the Olivia from Peter’s timeline. Peter’s concerned enough to want to stay until she recovers from whatever just happened but Olivia feels uncomfortable and wants to be alone. He makes her promise to tell Walter in the morning if she’s still feeling the residual effects of their time in Westfield. But right after he leaves we see some of Olivia’s actual memories of Peter from his timeline.

The next morning Olivia has more flashes of memories that aren’t from this timeline and at the end of the day she goes to see Peter. She recognizes his house and tells Peter things she couldn’t possibly know unless she was his Olivia. She tells him she remembers everything. I know I wasn’t the only one happy to hear that. The next day Walter’s got Olivia hooked up to one of his machines and is asking her questions to help calibrate the machine. When Walter asks her about the first time they met, she tells him the version from Peter’s timeline. But she also knows the version from her timeline – although it’s hazy. Her brainscan is normal. Walter thinks Olivia’s high level of empathy is the cause of whatever’s going on and Peter’s the problem. Olivia’s picking up on his strong need to reunite with his Olivia and this Olivia is meeting his need by becoming his Olivia. Walter’s always got some crazy theories, but I was having trouble believing this one. Was it because I really wanted to believe Peter’s Olivia was coming back to him? Maybe. But sometimes Walter’s crazy theories are just that.

Later Olivia’s looking through some of Dr. Frank’s old files when she notices a scar on Peter’s hand. She thinks maybe her memory isn’t as good as she thought, but the scar is new so she wouldn’t have known about it. And they have such a nice moment, although Peter can’t fully commit to it and Walter kind of interrupts it. That night as they’re looking for Dr. Frank’s storage unit, they each talk about how strange and difficult things are. Olivia keeps expecting him to look at her a certain way and it’s hard when she doesn’t see that. And Peter’s confused. Olivia wants him to act naturally, but is that even possible? There’s nothing about this situation that’s normal. Just as she’s about to open the unit Olivia tells him a fact from his timeline that he didn’t know. So Walter’s empathy theory can officially be tossed. It’s nice to know that whatever this is, Olivia’s not scared. She likes the feeling.

Poor Peter. I completely understand his hesitation although I want it to be true. When the case is officially solved Olivia hesitates. Usually they go back to his or her place, but she’s not sure what to do in this situation. Peter’s torn. He betrayed the Olivia he loved when he was in this situation before so he’s scared. Despite that, he can tell she’s his Olivia when he looks into her eyes. Too bad their reunion is ruined when she disappears from the gas station.

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

In the meantime, one of Walter’s tests has revealed cortexiphan in Olivia’s system. Nina Sharp is the only one with access to it and when she, Walter, and Lincoln go to make sure it’s still secure Walter discovers it’s been tampered with. We know Nina’s been experimenting on Olivia. I guess we’re about to find out why.

But what does this all mean for Peter and Olivia? Can he trust that this Olivia is really his Olivia? Why are these memories starting to emerge now? Are the memories of Olivia’s life in this timeline just blurry or are they going away entirely? Did Nina Sharp know giving Olivia the cortexiphan would bring about this result? What is Nina’s endgame in all this?

Random Thoughts:

  • The hive mind case Fringe Division worked on this week was freaky and interesting. I kind of like seeing the strange results of scientists taking their experiments too far.
  • Two Nina Sharps? I assumed this timeline’s Nina was just evil, but this makes way more sense. I love that Fringe can constantly surprise me. Now we just need to know if the Nina currently running Massive Dynamic is a shapeshifter or alt Nina.
  • I really like seeing Walter outside the lab. He reminds me of the Walter from the other timeline in a lot of ways. I’d like to see him continue to grow closer to Peter.
  • I also like seeing Peter and Olivia together in the field again. Well, I like seeing them together wherever they are. I’m so glad things might finally be getting back to “normal” for them. I really missed them.

The preview for next week’s episode looks great. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil anything but I’m very excited to see what happens.

Fringe airs Fridays at 9/8c on Fox.

—Kara Howland

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF LIANE HENTSCHER/FOX

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