Fringe
A Better Human Being

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Daniel: B+ | Grade It Now!
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Bathroom Breakup

We go over to a retirement home, where ER stalwart John Aylward is watching a television newscast discuss the death of "local hero" and "acclaimed author and journalist" so we know this is some sort of alternate timeline where a journalist is some kind of local hero. One of the orderlies notes the picture of Greene and says, "Hey, that's the guy who was here, the reporter." The orderly jabbers away about the details of the story, and then asks the old guy, "You were a doctor. How long does it take someone to suffocate?" like nice clunky way to let us know this guy is Dr. Owen Frank. Anyway, the doctor looks perturbed by the news, and not just in the usual way of old people who think the world's going to hell around them. "I want to go back to my room," he says.

Back at Deerfield, Astrid's sitting with Sean in the cafeteria, as eight or ten people mill around, muttering audibly in the background. On second watch, the noticeable background chatter seems like an obvious clue for the upcoming reveal, but it's something I just found annoying on my first time through.

Anyway, Sean's wolfing his food down, and apologizes to Astrid for being such a pig. He says he doesn't know what's happening, but it's like he hasn't eaten in years. She explains it's a side effect of the detox program Walter has him on to wean him off the medication.

Then he tells Astrid that she's pretty. Well, now we know his eyes aren't crazy! She thanks him, and then he asks if she trusts "the scientist." She says she does, adding that when he starts to hear the voices again, that's how he'll know this is working. He glances around a little, and says, "Well, in that case, it's working now." He can hear them again. Astrid asks what they're saying, and Sean listens for a moment before saying he doesn't know, because there are too many of them. And that's when we pull back to see the whole cafeteria again, only this time it's empty save for Astrid and Sean -- but the muttering continues.

After the commercial break, Walter's in the lab, putting Olivia's hair on a slide -- wasn't that what he asked Peter to do? Maybe Peter got in a snit and didn't want to do it. Then he seems to remember something, and then rushes to retrieve the tea that's brewing in a beaker over a Bunsen burner.

Meanwhile, Olivia's in the office, trying to track down Dr. Frank, who hasn't left a current address with the American Medical Association. She asks Peter -- coming in with a drink for her -- to go through some old utility bills from his clinic in the hopes of finding a contact in there that they can follow up on. Then she spots a scar on his hand and almost hopefully says that maybe she doesn't remember everything because she doesn't remember having it. He says, though, that she wouldn't, because he got that only a month ago. Then they hold hands for a good twenty seconds while Olivia looks beseechingly into Peter's eyes, and Josh Jackson does some fine work as he struggles with his feelings and finally breaks her grip just before Walter clears his throat. He's standing in the doorway to the office. "I think I've had a breakthrough," he says. Olivia walks out first, looking hurt as she goes.

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