Walter had his turn to be "The Consultant" on the other side this week. Nobody can say he has not made great strides in coming out of his shell since the return of his son. Remember the first few episodes of the season? He couldn't leave the lab, and had even slept there for years. What a difference Peter made in his life.
Although Walter went to the other side, the story was very compelling and, really, the dynamics of the characters played out just as I expected, I was disappointed that the Walters didn't have an opportunity to meet face to face. That was my one nitpick with the episode, so I thought I'd get it out of the way. Their eventual meeting is non-negotiable.
The cases were interesting, but rather irrelevant; just to the episode and not to the overall arc of the series. We finally learned some truths we've been pondering for quite some time, as well as David Robert Jones' end game: To collapse both universes. Why in the hell he would want to collapse both universes? We don't yet know, but Walter gave us a path!
Jones visited Alt-Broyles at his home. Alt-Broyles was not a shapeshifter, but held captive by Jones with experimental medication given to his son who was dying. But the way Jones said "Love makes us vulnerable and it also makes us human," I did second guess my opinion, as if Jones was planting a thought into our minds to throw us off the shapeshifter scent, but that didn't work for me. Alt-Broyles was human. That was reinforced when he asked Walter if he would ever take back his choice to save Peter all those years ago.
Alt-Broyles was doing for his son Chris something similar to what Walter did to save Peter. The question then became, would Alt-Broyles draw the line at saving his own son when asked to take responsibility for destroying their worlds again by blowing the machine? With his son, Alt-Broyles was the man I fell in love with before the "event" last season and before his life was traded for Fauxlivia's. That man was unquestionably alive, and had, quite literally, the weight of the world on his shoulders. His smile, his love, it was all there. I knew when I saw that man that he could never do what Jones asked.
That's what made his decision to turn himself into Broyles all the more courageous. By doing that, he was letting go of his life, his wife, and the life of his son. He wouldn't be there to explain to them what happened, or be at the side of his wife as she witnessed Chris' health slide again. I don't know which fate was worse. The first Alt-Broyles we knew, who died happy, knowing his son's life was improving or this one, who was desperately trying to save his son's life at a cost too great to maintain. Both endings upset me.
Although I found Alt-Broyles to be at the center of the episode, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about Walter and Fauxlivia. The scene between them at her apartment was fantastic. Check out the Fringe Quotes for some great lines. Yes, dear readers, I do have a soft spot for my Faux, and I can't hide it. Walter's feigned disdain for her was adorable, but he couldn't even pretend when she was grieving for Alt-Lincoln.
Fauxlivia's drinking made her more vulnerable, and Walter treating her to food and advice was very fatherly. In the last episode they shared together, they were flirting, but here they were exploring a different dynamic of their relationship and it was just as moving. Fauxlivia lying her head on Walter's shoulder as he was cooking was particularly touching.
- I never noticed that the other side spelled Manhattan differently than we do - Manhatan. Where have I been?
- I loved that Walter wanted to bring a casserole for Fauxlivia.
- Was Lincoln styling his hair just a little differently already?
- Astrid took Alt-Astrid coffee. They really should just haul a truck up to the bridge door. Coffee isn't really perishable, anyway.
- Walter wearing Fauxlivia's bathrobe was hilarious enough, but adding her apron to it practically took my breath away.
- Doesn't it seem like no Sherlock Holmes would have somehow altered the future of crime solving over there?
- I really thought Meana would see Fauxlivia's bluff, but she played right into her hands regarding Alt-Broyles. Did that surprise you?
I found this to be a very solid Fringe episode. It was well paced with a great blend of universes and characters and even a story of the week that did a lot to move the overall arc forward. Everyone else? Come on back next week for our Round Table discussion of the episode. I'll see you then!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.