FRINGE 4.09 ‘Enemy of My Enemy’

The two Fringe teams learn who their true enemy is as Walter receives an unexpected visitor from the alternate universe.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Enemy of My Enemy"

Writers: Monica Owusu-Breen & Alison Schapker

Director: Joe Chappelle

Previously on "Fringe":

Episode 4.08: "Back to Where You've Never Been"

Story:

In the alternate universe's Fringe headquarters, Colonel Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) has been revealed to the audience as a mole for the mad genius, David Robert Jones (Jared Harris). After warning Jones that the alternate Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) aka Fauxlivia and Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) were on their way, the Colonel figures out where they've stashed the Prime Universe Lincoln Lee and prepares to execute him. However, the Colonel's attempt is unknowingly foiled by the arrival of Secretary of Defense Walter Bishop (John Noble) aka Walternate and his son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) who get Prime Lincoln released.

Meanwhile Fauxlivia and Lincoln arrive at Jones' warehouse base and find the man himself all too willing to surrender. But first, Jones demonstrates his ruthlessness by killing one of his hybrid shape shifters. Back in the prime universe, our Olivia Dunham gives Astrid (Jasika Nicole) a vial of blood from the mysterious Observer known as September (Michael Cerveris); who appeared to be fatally wounded before warning Olivia about her own impending demise. And while September disappeared, enough of his blood must have remained behind for Olivia to collect it. Unfortunately for Olivia, now she has to confess to Prime Broyles just what she was doing at the time.

At the alternate Fringe headquarters, the team is at a loss to even identify Jones. Although Peter is eager to get back to our world, he recognizes Jones and tells Walternate and the others that he knows him. The Colonel tries to interrogate Jones, but Jones simply says that the team has 12 minutes to retrieve a hard drive hidden by his recently exposed shape shifter, Dr. Fayette. With Walternate's permission, Peter interrogates Jones as well and he successfully unnerves the man with his knowledge about his life and identity.

Peter's edge doesn't last long, as an operative working for Jones unleashes a gas attack on a hospital, killing dozens of people. Under threat of further attacks, the alternate Fringe team reluctantly lets him go, but the alternate Lincoln spiked Jones' drink with a tracer. In the prime universe, Olivia goes to confess to Broyles that she helped Peter and Lincoln cross over into the alternate world. Broyles is clearly unhappy about it, but he also tells her that Jones is now their primary problem. In the alternate universe, Prime Lincoln joins the alternate Fringe team as they attempt to track Jones.

Because the Colonel tipped off Jones, he manages to escape detection fairly easily using the lunch time crowd and a roll of bills laced with the same tracer frequency used by the team. At dinner with his wife, Elizabeth Bishop (Orla Brady); Walternate expresses his displeasure at Jones' escape. However, Elizabeth soon gets him to admit that the real reason for his unhappiness is that he can't help Peter return to his timeline as promised. Only Prime Walter can do that. In response, Elizabeth offers to help Peter get home in the only way that she can.

Back in the alternate Fringe universe, Lincoln openly questions how Jones knew the frequency of their tracer while Peter goes over the copied hard drive data with Kick-Astrid (who seems fascinated by him). Peter quickly determines that the data on the hard drive was used to locate large quantities of a mineral called amphylicite; which is harmless on its own. But in Jones' hands, it could blow a hole in the universe. The alternate Fringe team scrambles to the Mohawk Quarry that Peter predicts will be Jones' target. But too late, Peter realizes that Jones intends to take what he needs from the Prime Universe.

At Walter's lab in the Prime Universe, he is stunned when the alternate Elizabeth visits him on Peter's behalf to convince him to help this version of his son. Elizabeth talks Walter through his fears and she forgives him for taking her son away while also insisting that God has forgiven him as well. Walter seems deeply moved by her words and presence. Meanwhile, Prime Lincoln and Peter return to our universe in a race to get to the Mohawk Quarry before Jones can. They're soon joined by Olivia and a full squad of FBI agents.

However, Jones has beaten the Fringe team there and he has also harvested a large amount of amphylicite. Jones orders Seven (Michelle Krusiec) and the other shape shifters to provide cover for him as he attempts to escape back to the alternate universe. Olivia drives her vehicle after Jones and she barely stops in time to avoid the portal closing on her. Later, Walternate leads a meeting between the two Fringe teams and he declares that they now know who their common enemy is. Both Broyles pledge cooperation with each other and Peter insists that he will also help bring down Jones.

That night, Walter visits Peter and he relates the story of Elizabeth's visit. Because of her, Walter finally agrees to help Peter, who is touched by Walter's turn. It's a happy ending of sorts… until later, when Jones uses an electronic typewriter to communicate with Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) in our universe. He tells her that phase one of their plan is complete, while Nina reports that she is "working on her;" which presumably refers to Olivia. And Nina ominously notes that she will be ready soon.

Breakdown:

Aside from being an exciting episode, this installment of "Fringe" was emotionally satisfying in an unexpected way. Ever since the two universes were linked at the end of the third season, I had been waiting to see the two Fringe teams actively come together like this. There were some tantalizing glimpses of that in the first and second episodes of the fourth season, but the thread was dropped for a few episodes in order to deal with Peter's return. 

In retrospect, the pacing for the fourth season has been spot on. Peter's return wouldn't have had the same impact if it had happened any sooner or later. Likewise, the true unification of the Fringe teams couldn't have happened until they had a common enemy or someone who could fill the adversary role that Walternate provided for so long. In David Robert Jones, the show got exactly what it needed. I had forgotten just how creepy Jared Harris could be as Jones. Harris manages to come off as a truly sinister presence who might really be insane enough to destroy both universes. He's certainly smart enough.

The ending is also intriguing because now we know that Nina Sharp is in league with Jones. The questions now are simple: who is pulling the strings? Is it Jones or Nina? And what is their endgame? I'd be very surprised if Nina turned out to be a shape shifter, because the tone of her message didn't imply that she was a subordinate to Jones. It also wouldn't be very dramatic for the woman who raised Olivia to turn out to be secretly evil if it wasn't really her. I'm less sure about whether Colonel Broyles is a shape shifter, but he is clearly loyal only to Jones. I also enjoyed the low key plans that the Colonel made to kill Prime Lincoln.

The strongest emotional beats belonged to Orla Brady's Elizabeth Bishop, who shined in her scenes with both Walternate and Walter. I have to admit that I didn't expect Elizabeth to meet our Walter before this episode. But it was a brilliant story choice and the sequence where she forgave Walter was very moving. John Noble and Joshua Jackson also had a powerful scene at the end, where Walter finally came around on helping Peter. We had to wait for that payoff, but it was worth it.

As the only person from the original timeline of "Fringe," Peter seems more and more like the only main character, almost at the expense of Olivia and Walter. And while Jackson has made the most of the material, it seems that the focus is going to Peter's head. Peter was so boastful about unnerving Jones that he didn't seem to realize that it may not work again in the future. Peter also described himself as the potential edge that the Fringe teams need to bring Jones down. And after that, I half expected the knock on Peter's door to be one of Jones' shape shifters sent to kill him.

There were also some nice character beats between Prime Lincoln and Fauxlivia, as he tried to learn if she and the alternate Lincoln were a couple. Prime Lincoln is clearly into Olivia as well, but he's a little lucky that he didn't screw things up for his counterpart. How messed up would it be if alternate Lincoln had been c***blocked by himself?! I also enjoyed the subtle touch of Peter being the only person whom Kick-Astrid would look in the eyes. Now that the two Lincoln Lees have met, it's time for an Astrid face-off!

One last thought before I sign off: "Fringe" covered more dramatic ground in nine episodes than most TV series do in twenty two episodes. If that's not a compelling reason to watch the show, I don't know what is.

Crave Online Rating: 9.7 out of 10.