FRINGE: 4.18 The Consultant — REVIEW


Did “The Consultant” serve as a satisfying bridge to David Robert Jones’ endgame? Read our take..


  • The death of Captain Lee felt rather insignificant in the previous episode, but witnessing his funeral gave his arc better closure.
  • The continuation of the David Robert Jones *swoon* story arc was good to see, providing further insight into his relationship with Broylante, and his endgame.
  • The episode touched on some heartfelt themes that allowed me to overlook some of the more awkward moments.

  • Some of the dialogue and exposition felt a bit too on the nose.
  • Walter’s motivation for going over to the other side wasn’t as solid as I would have liked.
  • Some of the plotting and pacing felt a bit awkward, particularly the dissolution of the Broylnate/DRJ axis.

  • We begin the episode by bidding farewell to Captain Lee. I poured a glass for him last time out, but it was good to see the show find room for his burial.
  • I had some problems with the forced dialog from his ‘mother’, over-telegraphing Broylnate’s motivation for working with Jones.
  • I liked the predominantly steely nature of Ninate in her interrogation scene. Given what Jones has planned, she’s already detached herself from the world she’s in:

“It’s your world you ought to be concerned about. Because as bad as you think things are now, things are gonna get much worse.”

  • Walter is finally willing to lend a helping hand over there, such is his concern for Olivia and Peter getting some alone time. As opposed to, I don’t know, the fate of 16 billion lives! This remains one of my biggest hurdles when it comes to our protagonists — they barely care about the bigger picture.
  • By contrast, DRJ (and to a lesser extent these days, Walternate) are deeply committed to their cause. This is partly why these characters rarely disappoint. The Dunhamnator was an unstoppable force when she had this kind of commitment.
  • One of the most interesting lines of the episode saw Walter comment on DRJ’s ambition and vision:

“If Jones caused this, he’s conceived of something Bellie and I never did.”

  • While this might also say something about the morality of DRJ in comparison to Bishop and Bell (themselves, no saints), it plays into DRJ’s “specialness” — a theme that has underlined his arc since he was introduced way back in Season 1.

  • Interesting to see Jones taking his time throughout the episode, soaking up the days he has left before he and his follows depart this world, or perhaps more specifically, create a new one from the ashes.
  • Jones has never been one to stay in any one place for too long. If he’s not beaming up like hotty, he’s crossing universes — all in aid of his master plan.
  • I still maintain that Walter is the show’s ultimate villain, with Peter skewing dangerously close in the apathy stakes (better man, perhaps, but beyond the fuzzy framing, his actions are brutally selfish in the cold light of day).
  • The key difference is that Jones has committed callous acts with absolute intent and scant remorse. His love, from what I can see, is science above all else, even though it may be filtered through his own lens as the best path for our continued existence.

  • DRJ is another representation of man playing god. It seems he’s prepared to spare billions of lives for perceived evolution. But Peter essentially killed billions (reset or otherwise) for the love of one woman, and Walter because he loved his son.
  • Even before it was verbalized, Fringe always asked the question: “How far would you go for someone you love?” Tellingly, Jones notes that “love makes us vulnerable..but also human, I suppose.”
  • While we got further insight into Jones’ view of humanity, it was interesting to examine how far Broylante was prepared to go for his son Chris.

  • Like every human-being, the gaps in Broylnate’s morality armor were there to be exploited — as hinted in Season 3’s “The Abducted.”
  • As we’ve noted before, it has a lot to do with the conditions that our heroes find themselves in. A sentiment echoed by Walter, when acknowledging his role in creating the rift.
  • His act left two universes and everyone in it vulnerable, and while Peter’s creation of the Bridge has initiated restoration, his act has changed the circumstances that Broylnate finds himself in, while expressing the personal vs macro themes in play.
  • I find it quite fitting that the Machine that made this timeline possible is now being pursued by Jones, and that it is also configured to exploit the vulnerabilities of the human heart.

  • I found myself flinching at Walter’s admission that now, after meeting a living version of Peter, he’d likely do the same thing again. I appreciate his honesty, though there’s a sense of regression from the progress he’d made.
  • But it’s important to bear in mind that the Walter of “the Day We Died” is still buried in the palimpsest. He hasn’t consciously experienced the realizations that the previous Walter did — at least not under the same conditions.
  • At any rate, this helped bring out the best in Broylnate. I like to think his internalization was similar to Sayid’s in the final season of LOST, where he reflected on how his actions would be viewed by the loved one he was doing them for.
  • While the BBM lives another day on the line between the two universes, Jones’ endgame looms. Hopefully the threat of both sides collapsing will rouse our HEROES to invest every sinew to the cause.

  • Altstrid and Lincoln watched Lincalnate’s funeral from the car. For the former, this is a nod to “Making Angels”.
  • Nice to see Altrid’s beaming smile at the sight of coffee.
  • “Broylnate’s “I’m sorry” – heartfelt.

  • Broylante is not a human shapeshifter. He worked for DRJ in return for his son’s treatment.
  • It seems Jones’ endgame involves using the BBM to collapse the two universes.

  • Will Jones really come for Ninate, or is she a “broken puppet”?

Best Moment: Walter telling Altlivia to keep an eye on her universe.

Best Performer: Lance Reddick

Best Quotable: “Don’t judge him. No-one can be certain, exactly, what they’re capable of. How far they’ll go to save the ones they love. I know this more than most..” (Walter to Red)

8/10 Seriable Stars


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  1. JM says

    ROCO love the review. However i am gonna have to go off on a tangent and tell you it appears for some reason whatever i post on fringeblogger is “awaiting moderation” its quite annoying :(

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • JM says

      “Some of the dialogue and exposition felt a bit too on the nose.”

      It has been from the very beginning of this season and im very worried that after 18 episodes it still is.

      Like: Thumb up 2

    • says

      Poor Lincoln, Superman and Clark Kent versions. He just won’t get his girl. Though Superman Lincoln can do betetr than Fauxlivia. Honestly I really wasn’t into this episode much. There were parts I liked. Astrid got to spread her wings a little again. I loved the Scornful looks Walter gave to Peter and Nina. But overall this one didn’t engage me as much as the previous five episodes have. I love Olivia and Peter’s relationship but in this episode it didn’t resonate with my inner sappyness. Next episode I’m just gonna say this. I watched Heroes, I watched Lost, I know Fringe has a superior track record for this stuff but forgive me for being sceptical. I’ve been burned before. Anyway. I think that the Nina’s are alternates not Shapeshifters. May just be me but I get the feeling that Jones was reporting to her at the end of “Enemy is my Enemy.” so it seems odd that he would answer to his Shapeshifter. I won’t be surprised if the Nina’s are in cahoots (love that word) and the one who is with Olivia hasn’t been kidnapped but is there to help the ruse. A few of other theories that I’ve seen circulating round the net but these are ones I like. Nina and Jones are some type of precursors to the End of Days group from “The Day We Died” Apparently The Glyph code from the last episode was Henry so maybe the Child of Peter and a Olivia is the key to saving the universes. Newton will be restored to help the Fringe teams in thwarting Nina and Jones. Not very likely to happen but two great Fringe Villains going head to head would really cause me to geek out a lot.

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  2. Jim says

    I agree with a lot of your points. I don’t really think the characters were not concerned about the world though. At least not in this episode. :p Olivia and Peter really were needed in the blue universe, like Walter was needed in the red one. The fact that the lovebirds could get some alone time (examining corpses no less) was just an added bonus. That’s mainly why I liked this episode so much; every character played their part in solving the case.

    I do wonder what Walternate was doing during this episode. They can’t say the actor was unavailable, because I know for a fact that he wasn’t. 😉

    Like: Thumb up 3

    • says

      “The fact that the lovebirds could get some alone time (examining corpses no less) was just an added bonus.”

      I agree, but in the main they don’t strike me as all that concerned about the threats to their world. That creates an in-balance, for me anyway.

      “I do wonder what Walternate was doing during this episode. They can’t say the actor was unavailable, because I know for a fact that he wasn’t.”

      True. His insight would have come in handy. His day off? 😉

      Like: Thumb up 3

  3. says

    Roco, I always had the impression that DRJ was a very meticulous person, showing great attention to detail.
    When he met with the man in the suit and glasses (who reminded me of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, btw) on the park bench, Jones told him to surprise him with the next one, the next experiment. Why would he be so nonchalant and detached, especially in these circumstances ?

    Like: Thumb up 3

    • says

      Betty, interesting catch. Jones strikes me as a guy who gets bored easily, so I think it speaks to his playful and adventurous nature. It also makes sense in regard to his experiment — using external choices might make for more accurate readings.

      Like: Thumb up 2

      • Aria Mohtadi says


        What if DRJ is actually trying the heal both worlds,
        through ashes rises the phoenix…or something like that. 😐

        Yes, Peter’s bridge has helped both sides…but with a new realm born of clashing the two…

        BTW, thanks for the great review.

        Like: Thumb up 2

        • says

          “What if DRJ is actually trying the heal both worlds,
          through ashes rises the phoenix…or something like that.”

          Aria, I think that’s a possibility to bear in mind. It could make his goals more ‘noble’, so to speak. Somewhere along the line he might very well use that as his excuse, arguing that humankind can’t exist in its current state despite the Bridge. That said, his motivations do seem god-complex-driven thus far.

          While I expect our beloved Jones will fall on his sword (or the Dunhamnator’s heel), it will be interesting to discover his statement of intent.

          Like: Thumb up 1

  4. mlj102 says

    I thought your review of this episode was more superficial than usual. There are aspects of the episode that you didn’t even mention here. I’m not used to that, but whatever… What you did cover was still an interesting read.

    “This remains one of my biggest hurdles when it comes to our protagonists — they barely care about the bigger picture.”

    I really think you’re being too hard on them. Sure, grazing day was a bit much. And I agree that they haven’t done as good a job of continuing to portray Olivia as the committed investigator that she is. But I feel like that’s a direct result of them shifting the focus onto other characters the last couple of episodes. They’re just not giving as much focus to our team — it doesn’t mean they are ignoring the seriousness of the situation they’re in.

    As for this episode, I agree with what was said by someone else here that they were not neglecting their responsibilities by staying here while Walter went to the other side. The case was taking place on both sides, therefore they needed people investigating from both sides. They were just as involved in the case and figuring out what was going on as Alternate Olivia and Walter were. I don’t think there’s anything negligent in their actions in this episode. Give them a bit of a break.

    “DRJ (and to a lesser extent these days, Walternate) are deeply committed to their cause.”

    Honestly, I was a bit confused by Jones’ actions in this episode. He has always been very calculated and precise in his actions, accounting for every tiny factor to ensure that things unfold in the way he intends them to. But this episode he seemed more careless. It seems odd that he would leave such a crucial step in his plan dependent upon someone he clearly sensed was not completely reliable. Throughout the episode, it seemed that he was aware that alternate Broyles was having doubts about helping him, and he felt it necessary to remind him and continue to coerce him to follow through with his wishes. But knowing alternate Broyles was less than committed, why would he trust something as important as sabotaging the machine to alternate Broyles? He easily could have had one of his shapeshifters take the form of someone with authority to get close to the machine. So either he got careless, or this wasn’t as big a deal as they made it out to be. Perhaps this was more a test of Broyles’ loyalty and if it worked, all the better, but if not, he has something bigger planned, and it will work better knowing alternate Broyles is out of the way.

    Like: Thumb up 8

    • Red Balloon says

      “I thought your review of this episode was more superficial than usual.”

      I see that his review was short, but it really touched the most important issues, not only from this episode, but from the latest developments in a very assertive way.

      “Perhaps this was more a test of Broyles’ loyalty and if it worked”

      I like to think that too. It was too easy for his plan to get so screwed up at the end, having his top moles in jail.

      On the other hand, I would expect that the team could use Alt Broyles to catch Jones, or at least try, since they know Broyles is really against him. Maybe it’s a bit dangerous to play a bluff with Jones?

      Like: Thumb up 5

  5. lizw65 says

    It’s also at least partly a case of “real life writing the plot”: Joshua Jackson was in South Africa for some weeks, filming a movie, and was thus available only for short scenes in the last two episodes.

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  6. ramona says

    Is it just me, or did anyone else feel that the Broyle imprisoned next to Ninate is Agent Broyle, not the Colonel? I also think DRJ’s ultimate plan for this episode was for Walter to get his hands on the device.

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  7. Red Balloon says

    TY Roco, You’ve touched a nerve of mine that I didn’t want to accept before

    “The Dunhamnator was an unstoppable force when she had this kind of commitment”

    How does the writers expect us to believe that Olivia Dunham is not behind every little detail of Jones’s case since the first hint about DRJ appeared in Novation?. As an example, I have this picture of Olivia in her office getting her hands in all these boxes of files and files about EVERY weird case related to soft spots, and she got to the same conclusion (Reiden Lake) as MD’s techs and Walter in “There’s More Than One of Everything”. That’s just so uncharacteristic of her roll.

    Walter being all confused again about his decision, drives me nuts. I guess it runs in the family.

    I think it’s a little contrived that someone like Broyles would be corruptible. I guess my perception of law enforcement, most of all if you are an DOD agent, is a bit high. I mean, they take a bow to protect their nation before any family member (I learned that from the series 24 with Jack Bauer :) ), so I find it hard to believe he would sacrifice an entire world, and his son’s future anyway, for his son to have a good teen days. Well, I’m not a parent so maybe that’s why I just don’t get his betrayal.

    I loved Lance Reddick in every scene, he was awesome. And my favorite character of this episode remains Altivia. She’s been a big help lately to restore my faith on why our characters should show PASSION for their jobs. She’s my tether to the hero concept until I see Dunham play her roll again.

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