Fringe: You Should Get That Mole Checked Out

By Tim Surette

Apr 16, 2012

Fringe S04E18: "The Consultant"

There is a scary truth we all need to face even though we don't want to hear it: Fringe might only have four episodes of left...forever. And that point was driven home in "The Consultant," Friday's great episode. We've been through a lot this season, seemingly more so than in others. Much of it was spent figuring out where Peter was, where he belonged, and which Olivia he should be going home to. There have also been hints of a shapeshifter war on one or both universes as maestro'd by David Robert Jones, but only now do we have a clear sense of an endgame: DRJ wants to collapse both universes like empty soda cans. I'd say that's a pretty universal problem that all Olivias, Astrids, and Walters can get behind to stop.

One thing that made "The Consultant" work so well was the way it unfolded, moving from a (relatively) simple case to the exposure of Broyles as the mole to the episode's bombshell ending. There was a lot to cover, and it was all done without feeling patchwork in any way, and that's a product of the build-up that's taken place over the last several episodes.

But let's start with the episode's case. In our universe, a jerk boss found himself tossed in the air just as he was Trumping an employee, but the wounds that killed him didn't match what'd happened. Soon Walter figured out that the guy's death was linked to the other universe, and sure enough, a quick text to the Other Side confirmed his man's injuries, along with the injuries of a few other people, were consistent with injuries that occurred to their counterparts in the other universe. Basically, what affected these folks in the other universe (a plane crash) also affected their doppelgangers in our universe. The needle on our implication meters bounced so hard that it broke the darned thing.

Later, a similar event took place in reverse; a woman traveling via taxi in our universe plunged over the guardrail of a bridge into a river, and her counterpart on the Other Side drowned while shopping in a pet store. As if being gouged by the price of gourmet dog (or domesticated badger) food wasn't enough.

Both instances were orchestrated by DRJ, who's created devices that can auto-tune the frequencies of a nearby area to match those of the other universe so that the effects of what happens in one universe also exist in the other. The reach of the devices isn't yet clear; in this week's cases they were attached to a plane and a cab, and only those vehicles were affected. But holy moley! That's a pretty nifty way to increase efficiency if you're planning on killing two universes. David Robert Jones may be a bastard of epic proportions, but at least he knows how to save time.

We've known for some time that DRJ had a mole in the other universe's Fringe Division, and that Colonel Broyles was somehow in his employ. What we didn't know was whether Broyles was a shapeshifter or not, and that answer has now become clear. Broyles isn't a shapeshifter, he's just another dad trying to help his kid. DRJ has been supplying Broyles with medication for his son in exchange for Broyles tipping DRJ off so he can stay a step ahead of the Fringe Division. It's pretty standard television storytelling, the ol' "bad guy keeping someone's loved one alive so he can have that someone in his back pocket" trick, but things went off the rails at the end of the episode when Broyles turned himself in. If you ask me, that's pretty hardcore. Broyles' kid was just getting a taste of the popular life at school, and I never thought Broyles would do anything to jeopardize his son's good fortune. We all know it's wrong to keep one kid alive while the rest of the world suffers, but we've been conditioned by television to think that parents' love for their children is insurmountable, and that they'll do awful things to protect them. But not so with Colonel Broyles, who said, "Sorry, kid!" and turned himself in. Good work, Broyles...even if your kid gets picked last in kickball, then I'd say it's a good trade. Hook Walter up with a phat joint and some Peruvian psych-rock on vinyl and he'll whip up a concoction that will be even better than what DRJ was giving you. There's no need to jump in bed with the enemy's pharmacy when you have top scientists at your disposal.

Also of interest was Alt-livia's fiery drive to catch the persons responsible for Captain Lincoln's death. The Other Side has always been looking for a strong central character, and an Alt-livia motivated by revenge is just what it needed. In partnering her with our Lincoln, the writers have established a greater connection that's transformed the Other Side from "cool gimmick" to "essential element of the show." And that's going to be more and more important as the two sides work together.

"The Consultant" was a grand set-up for what's likely going to be Fringe's end. It seamlessly jumped from universe to universe, answered lingering questions, and most importantly, established an endpoint. Next week is the season's "weird episode," but after that it's going to be a three-episode bullet train to the end.

Notes From the Other Side

– It was great to see Walter get back in on the action and take on a role of importance. But ever since he accepted Peter there's been a lack of gravitas on his part. I love seeing Walter walk around in a robe and make eggs, but there's been such a focus on his lightness that he's almost become a caricature of what he used to be.

– We have now seen a fifth version of Olivia. Alcoholivia!

– How adorable are the two Astrids together? They should totally be BFFs.

– There wasn't a mention of the fate of the black cab driver. But a white woman drowns and a multi-universe search party is dispatched!

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • xstm Aug 02, 2013


  • funfuzgirl Apr 22, 2012

    Henry -> Henrietta! :)

  • Nakama Apr 21, 2012

    I like Bolivia/Fauxlivia with Lincoln! She is awesome with Walter too! I have grown fond of her, so much so, that I have a sneaking suspicion that its the Bolivia/Fauxlivia that will end up dying instead of Olivia... Maybe that is why the writers are making her more likeable, so that when she is gone we will feel the loss even more?

    DRJ wants to collapse both universe so that he starts a brand new one, that is probably why he is making his "Noah's Arc"...

    Hope there will be a season 5, whether its 13 episodes short or longer!

    I keep reading comments on a spin-off, is it just rumors?

  • MikeUK123 Apr 20, 2012

    I don't think we should be so hard on Fox. They backed this show for 4 seasons, even through the low ratings. Probably because it's just so good. Also I think it will do very well on DVD sales, and also syndication as a complete package.

    I say good on Fox and WB for bringing Fringe to us in the first place.

    And I will also give whatever J J Abrams creates next my full attention. Whatever day it's on.

  • bluemorphotat Apr 19, 2012

    I just loved this Walter-centric episode! His one liners were as good as ever! Kudos to Mr. Noble, Ms. Torv & Ms Nicole, they were excellent!

    The show does feel like it is ending! If so, I just hope it ends with a Bang!

  • CliaSousa Apr 18, 2012

    First off all i'd lke to say that i'm really sad that there might be only four episodes left. I'm in equal parts mad at the Fox people who don't believe in such a good show. Actually i'm pretty sure that the people who want to cancel it never watched it, because if they did they wouldn't. But it's all about money and not quality, they just care about numbers...

    Regarding this weeks episo, i think it was one of the best yet this season. And we were presented once again with great performances from the actors - Anna Torv waswonderfull - i'm i the only one who really likes Bolivia? Since the beginning of season 4 she has been different in a good way, right? Maybe that's because what happened while the Olivias were switched (without Peter in the middle) wasn't so bad has the "first" time. And she and Walter have a really great relationship, i love seeing them together :)

    The Broyles part was very good also, i really thought he was a shapeshifter! And turning himself to our Broyles was a very important to the character because it proved that even after everything he did he knows what's right and it was a nice game changer!

    For what's to happen next i'm very confused... For the first time i don't have any theories... But I guess we will be seeing some time travelling or people freezed in the ambar for years. Next episode could be revealing and probably will change everything... as usual :)

  • MikeUK123 Apr 18, 2012

    I get the feeling DRJ exists, or is doing what his doing, because of the main trio of characters.

    In season 3 finale, when future Peter went in the machine, the arrvied in the present, he said he understood now - that Walter, Olivia, himself were the first peoples (as stated in the book)

    So, doesn't that mean the book, ZFT, and all that was because of those Peter / Walter / Olivia?

    If so, that means the same most likely applies to DRJ.

  • Phoenix1781 Apr 18, 2012

    What the hell is DRJ's plan? I don't get it (maybe I'm slow). If he destroys both universes where does that leave him?!? He seems smarter than this, but I don't see what the end game is for him.

  • AssadAmin Apr 18, 2012

    yeah this didn't quite make sense to me. I feel there's something more to this whole plan of his that they haven't quite let on! Plus he probably is a megalomaniac/psychopath/crazy-evil-genius but WHY does he want to do this! There must be some reason!!!

  • Cranky_Old_Batt Apr 18, 2012

    That was my first impression, too.

    But the ultimate weapon is ultimate power in the hands of a megalomaniac.

    The only thing is, if someone called his bluff "Dude, if you use it, you are as toast as we are!" I get the impression he is twisted enough to use it out of spite.

  • Big_Pecks Apr 18, 2012

    A very good set-up for the final four episodes (of the season, hopefully.) I can still see this going anywhere, but at least we have an idea of what the main threat is.

    This show deserves better. It should have at least one more season, knowing when it's going to end so it can make up a suitable one. Get it to 100 episodes.

  • CharmedOneP391 Apr 18, 2012

    I think this episode may be foreshadowing why Peter and Olivia's baby was important, and why September told Peter that he had his son with the wrong Olivia. Maybe David Robert Jones is working for the other Observers, to try and find a way to merge two people's Universe-Frequencies because that's the key to their eventual-existence. September messed up by distracting Walternate in 1985, which led to Baby Henry, which led to The Observers messing up by erasing Peter after he built the bridge because now Olivia is fated to die in any possible future. Peter and Olivia's baby would've had both the Redverse and Blueverse frequencies in him..which is most likely the key to the Observers coming to fruition.

  • krinks Apr 19, 2012

    This comment triggered something. I've been kind of wondering what the deal is with the baby, since it's hardly been mentionend since the delivery. Could DRJ be the baby?

  • CharmedOneP391 Apr 19, 2012

    The baby has to be somewhat important to how the Observer's come to be. I don't know how they become like tyrants in 2036 but I guess we'll see on Friday. I dont see how DRJ could be their baby though..unless hes from the future but I sure hope they dont take that angle.

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