This review contains spoilers.
4.9 Enemy Of My EnemyLast week I slapped Fringe for being somewhat disjointed, and that’s not something that was repeated this week thankfully. Enemy Of My Enemy delivered a fairly wholesome slice of exposition to form an entirely different working relationship with the two universes, using Peter as the conduit between them.
The catalyst in this transformation is the exceptionally worrying persona of Dr Jones, who is played with such Machiavellian undertones by the marvellously nuanced Jared Harris. One of his character traits is the utter confidence with which he goes about his machinations, and then on meeting Peter there was a great misstep in his personal universe, when for once he’s entirely flummoxed.
But given the quality of the cast that Fringe offers, even Jared Harris has his work cut out for most impressive scene of the week. Olra Brady (Elisabeth Bishop) twinkled very brightly when she crossed dimensions to plead with Walter on Peter’s behalf, but then she had the masterful John Noble to bounce off.
His Walter and Walternate characters are so remarkably different that it’s often difficult to remember that they’re the same actor, which is oddly the same underlying message of this episode. What Peter discovers is that in this distorted timeline he’s currently residing in, some people are completely different, like Walternate, while others are almost identical, as per Dr Jones.
Which seems an appropriate junction to talk about the two hidden enemies in their midst. I’ve got a feeling that the alternate Broyles isn’t a shapeshifter, but being coerced, and I can’t really put my finger on why. Perhaps it’s the way he reacts to some events, which seems to portray that he’s unhappy with his part in them.
As for Nina Sharp, the show has a very long track record of making her a puppet master, but then redeeming her subsequently. However, the final scene paints her in very stark noir, and she now seems to be the prime candidate as primary nemesis. I’m not sure how I feel about this, yet, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. There’s always the possibility that she’s a shapeshifter too, but that reveal might make my head explode when I try to factor all the implications of that.
Overall, I found this story a much more engaging experience than the one that came before, although I’m still rather worried that the whole alternate timeline plot hasn’t done the show or its ratings any favours whatsoever.
The idea that you have enough viewers, and newcomers can be rejected at the door due to the complexity of what they’re asked to take onboard, seems foolish at best.
That said, we are where we are, and it’s far too late to undo that mid season, I’d suggest. I can’t think of a show that would present four different versions of each main character, and get the audience to handle that, but Fringe is trying to do it.
What was almost ignored this week, other that a minor interaction between Olivia and Astrid, was the information that the dying Observer has imparted to Olivia. Being told she, or perhaps her alternate, will die is obviously playing on her mind, and in the next story the possibility of a girl who can foretell the future brings this to the foreground.
But then this is Fringe, so it’s not likely to be as straightforward as that paragraph has just suggested.
Read our review of the last episode, here.