Does David Robert Jones want to destroy both Fringeverses? Is that his ultimate game plan? In The Consultant he experiments with syncing the two parallel universes of Fringe.
Episode eighteen opens with the funeral of Captain Lee (Seth Gabel), killed on David Robert Jones (Jared Harris)’s orders with information from Col. Broyles (Lance Reddick), the mole in the alternate universe’s Department of Defence. I’d heard about this shoot filmed in Vancouver’s Mountainview Cemetary on a miserably wet February day with a hundred extras and now that I know what it was, I’m not sorry to have missed it.
Still in Manhatan (only one t), Fauxlivia (Anna Torv) confronts Meana (Blair Brown’s evil alt-Nina Sharp) in prison to try to get her to give up the name of the DOD mole, without success.
This week’s Fringe case starts at a business meeting in our universe where an executive is about to get fired when his boss suddenly levitates and then falls down on the conference table with such force that it breaks bones in his body.
Junior agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) drives Walter Bishop (John Noble) to the crime scene in the Bishop wagon, while he complains about her “wild driving”. They meet up with Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), aka POlivia, as shippers have dubbed them. “Look. It’s my son and his girlfriend,” exclaims a giddy Walter. Our Fringe family is back together and outside of Walter’s lab, filming at CBC Vancouver in mid-February.
Inside the conference room, Peter Bishop notices seat belt marks on the body which leads to the discovery that the boss’s doppleganger in the alt-universe died in a plane crash. What is causing these in-sync deaths?
Walter decides to go to the Other Side to act as a consultant to their investigation. “I always like to empty my bladder before a long trip,” he declares, before crossing the bridge that links the two universes. I missed seeing the exterior over-there scene of Walter, Fauxlivia and Lincoln Lee on the wharf east of Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, doubling as the dock at Liberty Island in the alt-universe. Our Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) has stayed on in the alt-universe to assist Fauxlivia.
Walter smuggles a severed hand from the our-universe victim, but since it’s forbidden to transport perishables between universes on Fringe, he doesn’t bring a casserole to comfort Fauxlivia, who’s grieving over her partner’s death. Using the severed hand Walter proves that the victims were synced up.
David Robert Jones meets up with an assistant on a bench at night, filmed in downtown Vancouver, to get a report of the successful plane experiment. The next one is the assistant’s choice.
Col. Broyles returns home to find David Robert Jones there talking to his son Christopher (last seen bonding with Olivia in the season 3 alt-universe timeline). It turns out Broyles has been blackmailed into helping kill Captain Lee because Jones has experimental vaccines that temporarily cure Christopher’s illnesses. So Broyles is another pawn in Jones’s game, not the shapeshifter we all suspected.
Jones’s assistant decides to plant a device in a taxi in our universe, which kills a woman when her taxi plunges off a New York bridge into the East River while her alt-universe doppleganger dies of the same injuries shopping in a pet store, where Walter discovers the alt-universe has domesticated badgers. I photographed Peter and Olivia arriving at the taxi crime scene in our universe from above on the Burrard Bridge, under which it was filmed.
If I’d gone down to see this scene at ground level, not only would I have seen Peter find a case of amphilicite in the cab (you can see the yellow Bridge’s restaurant on Granville Island in the background of a shot), I might have witnessed a reunion of Dawson’s Creek castmates Joshua Jackson and Eion Bailey. Bailey, in town to play the mysterious August on Once Upon a Time, cycled by the set on a day off.
The next scene I saw being filmed was the alt-universe David Robert Jones and Col. Broyles meetup, where Broyles is given a small device and told it to attach to the doomsday machine at Liberty Island, which has been healing the two parallel universes. It was this rendezvous that an Observer chose to witness, filmed at the downtown plaza between the Vancouver and Terminal City Clubs on a Fringe Friday.
And then we’re back in the Broyles household to give the under-used Lance Reddick a chance to show his impressive range as Broyles in touching scenes with an ebullient Christopher telling his Dad about his great day of getting picked first on a sports team and being told that a girl likes him. How can Broyles choose between his son and the fate of two universes?
Next up in the episode are the charming scenes of Walter’s sleepover at Fauxlivia’s. “I’ll refrain from sleeping naked, ” he’d promised her, but nothing about wearing a sparkly dressing gown and an apron to cook eggs for her, after she gets drunk on scotch while trying to figure out who the mole is who caused the death of her Lincoln Lee. Using a Sherlock Holmes (not known in the alt-universe) analogy of the dog that didn’t bark, Walter says she must consider Col. Broyles as a possible suspect.
Fauxlivia acts on this, faking out Meana in prison to confirm Col. Broyles is indeed the mole. Fauxlivia and Lincoln Lee rush to Liberty Island to stop him, only to discover that Col. Broyles has turned himself in. The man who sacrificed himself for Olivia in another timeline could be trusted to do the right thing in the end.
Walter returns to our universe, where he explains to Peter and Olivia that David Robert Jones wants to collapse both worlds. Is that all?
**Fringenuity hashtag #AcrosstheUniverse trended #1 in the U.S. early on Friday night and remained in the top three trending worldwide and in Canada. I didn’t expect #AcosstheUniverse to trend in Vancouver on the same night as the Vancouver Canucks’ 2nd game in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but it did for a very long time at #2, above all hockey-related topics.