As the investigation into Jones’ latest sinister scheme played out, Bolivia pushed Colonel Broyles to let her conduct an internal probe of Fringe division for the Jones mole whose treachery had contributed to the death of her pal and partner, Captain Lincoln Lee, in last week’s episode. (Plane crash + Bolivia’s list of 108 potential suspects for traitors = Fringe making coy Lost references?) Of course, the mole was Colonel Broyles himself, so he was Catch-22 screwed: If he stonewalled her inquiry, Bolivia would suspect him; if he permitted her inquiry, Bolivia might smoke him out. For those of us who figured Broyles to be a shapeshifter (present company included): WRONG. Jones was controlling a very human Broyles by supplying the colonel with experimental vaccines for his son, Christopher. (Before the reboot, Chris had been messed up years earlier by an encounter with a youth-sucking sicko called The Candy Man; see: “The Abducted.”) Bolivia tricked Jones-loyal alterna-Nina into outing Broyles, just as Broyles had been tasked by Jones to execute a potentially apocalyptic mission. Operation: Waffle Iron Sabotage. Bolivia and Lee raced to The Bridge to arrest their bad boss, only to learn they didn’t need to: The colonel had decided to stop playing for Team Jones and surrendered himself to his own doppelganger, Special Agent In Charge Broyles.
Credit The Consultant with an indirect assist. Earlier in the episode, Walter apologized to Col. Broyles for setting in motion the series of events that produced the current circumstances that Jones was trying to exploit for his own purposes. Broyles wanted to know: If Walter could do it all over again — would he? Walter explained that if he had been asked that question a few years ago, he would have said no. But now, with Peter restored to him via some wondrous miracle or inexplicable science, Walter confessed that he didn’t know if he’d do things differently. Broyles – torn between his son and bringing potential ruin to two worlds — must have realized he couldn’t live with Walter’s kind of regret or moral ambiguity. And so he did the right thing. And I do think it was the right thing, even if Christopher suffers as a consequence. (Agree? Debate!) Would Broyles have made the same choice If Walter hadn’t crossed over to goose his conscience and facilitate the epiphany? Debate that, too! (By the way: Nice work by Lance Reddick, who reminded us that he can do much more than just glower and bark.)
My favorite scene of the night had to be Walter’s sleepover at Bolivia’s apartment. Seeking to satisfy a late-night craving, Walter sauntered into the kitchen wearing a hilariously skimpy ivory robe (out of respect to his host; otherwise: naked) and found his frenemy drowning her alterna-Lee grief in booze. She wanted desperately to tell Lee’s parents that she had closed the case on their son’s murder. Walter — once again earning his keep as a consultant — gave her the idea that proved to be the breakthrough she needed by invoking a certain violin-playing, drug-addled (or enhanced, Walter might argue) great detective (Shocker! No Sherlock Holmes in the “over there” world!) and reminding her that “no evidence is evidence unto itself.” Meaning: Boss man Broyles should not be above suspicion. Yet the best moment in this sequence was the shot of Walter making scrambled eggs for both of them as woozy Bolivia leaned against him for support. Both of them beamed from the shared warmth. I dug the implicit parent-child subtext. Bolivia appreciated the nurturing; Walter appreciated being able to nurture. The last of his “vagenda” resentment and suspicion of her was whisked away in a fluffy mound of comfort food. In this way, “The Consultant” modeled some great values, including forgiveness, grace and how the mistakes of the past can produce wisdom for the present. I also loved how it formally restored to Walter, the veritable paterfamilias of Fringelandia, the identity he wants most: To be a father again. And this time, a good one.
Your turn. Opinions? Complaints? Theories?