The residual effects of this season's new time-line have started to merge with previous stories told once again. When David Robert Jones' newest experiments begin to endanger both universes the alternate universe brings in "The Consultant".
This episode had that 'what if' feel to it. For months now Fringe fans have known Broyles in the alternative universe to be working with Jones. I wasn't entirely clear if Broyles was just another villain like the alternative Nina Sharp has turned out to be, or if this version of Broyles was replaced by one of Jones' shape-shifters. Turns out that here in "The Consultant" the episode shows a third unforeseen motive for the alternative Broyles to switch sides, brought to light by Broyles' son Christopher being the main reason for his recent betrayal.
In my favourite episode of last season, "The Abducted", alternate Broyles' son Christopher was shown to be slowly dying after a brutal kidnapping ordeal by the Candy Man. The Candy Man, in a way, stole youth from the children he kidnapped by extracting certain chemicals from their bodies. Christopher was able to escape before being killed but was left significantly weakened and blinded from that nightmare. Even with this season's post-Peter time-line shift changed certain events Christopher still was kidnapped by the Candy Man in both, but what did change was Jones providing Christopher with cure like treatments. Up until this episode the alternate Broyles was only seen as a trader, but now this new reasoning restores heart to his character. My only fault to this sudden turnaround is that it all happened within one episode. Keeping this story twist contain to a single adds to the surprise of Broyles and Jones' relationship yet still felt a bit too quick.
It wasn't surprising that the actual fringe event for the episode also stemmed from Jones' handy work. This episode reveals what Jones was stealing large amounts of amphylicite for, using it to create a mirroring ripple effect between exact people and places in both universes. Like drowning a woman in one universe and have her double on the other side die by the same cause, even if she wasn't near any water at all. Walter makes the unexpected trip to the alternative universe to aid Agent Lee and Bolivia in the investigation while Peter and Olivia do the same on the other side. Having Walter over on the other side was a bonus, yet I was still hoping for a Walter and Walterate reunion of sorts.
This episode does reaffirm what was hinted at in the previous episode that Agent Lee is remaining in the alternate universe with Bolivia. In the wake of Captain Lee's death and Col. Broyles turning himself in at the end of the episode the senior Fringe Division officer is now Bolivia. Agent Lee might now switch to the alternative universe's Fringe Division full time, but I'm still hoping Kirk Acevedo could make a return as Agent Charlie Francis. Acevedo has been back and forth in the series, going from series regular, to guest star, to regular again, and then just gone. Earlier in this season both Bolivia and Captain Lee made references in passing that Charlie is alive and in Fringe Division so fingers crossed it wasn't just all talk.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.