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Fringe: Enemy of My Enemy

“You don’t know me, or what I’m capable of.”

Peter has finally succeeded at what he intended to do: bridging the gap between Over Here and Over There. At the end of Season Three, Peter put everything on the line to broker a peace between the two universes—and we all know how that turned out. Now, Peter’s wildcard status has brought both sides together to fight a common foe. As the saying goes, the enemy of my…oh.

Tensions between the two sides have been undeniably high ever since the season premiere. Remember the fraught conversations between Olivia and Bolivia about the new shapeshifters? Even without the events that we remember, we know that enough badness has happened to these ret-conned (or whatever-ed) heroes that they blame each other even if it’s just out of habit. But the threat of Jones’s shapeshifters transcends universal boundaries. Literally: the man makes slipping from one universe to the next look as easy as moving from the sofa to the comfy chair. An interuniversal enemy requires interuniversal cooperation.

Interestingly, Lincoln “Clark Kent” Lee seems to be a boundary-crossing kind of guy. After last week’s “No wonder you’re a detective” bickering, Lincoln “CK” Lee now refers to himself and his Superman counterpart as “us” when talking to Bolivia about the possibility of romance. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Lincolns were dressed so similarly and without glasses for so much of the episode—frequently, the only way I could distinguish them was by how they were interacting with various characters.

Lincoln “CK” Lee and Peter, on the other hand, keep butting heads. I’d like them to be friends, because that’s just the sort of person I am, but their goals and their desires—not to mention the complexity of their respective relationships with Olivia—have kept them at cross purposes. I have to wonder, too, if Peter doesn’t still feel like he’s been interloped by Lincoln. Is Peter fully on board with his own theory about being in the wrong universe? It seems like a lot to take in, even with his background and experience.

The highlight of the conversation scenes was, undeniably, Walter’s discussion with Elizabeth. Orla Brady is incredible. She’s brought a tremendous depth to a character that we really haven’t seen much of, and it’s a delight to see her in action as Walternate’s wife and Walter’s former wife’s doppelganger.

In the midst of these touchy-feely interpersonal moments, though, “Enemy of My Enemy” also provided some nice distrust, trepidation, and enmity. Jones is scary. Killing an entire ER just to prove a point and get out of jail takes guts, and we know he’s willing to go even further. That he’s wily and crafty just adds to the potential peril.

I’m going to stick with a theory I hinted at last week: Jones and Peter are two sides of the same coin. Jones said, “You don’t know me, or what I’m capable of.” But Peter could say the same, especially in the context of these people who don’t know him. Both sides seem to be growing to trust him in their own ways, but they haven’t experienced his unique skills, whether it’s speaking Arabic (probably not that useful in this context) or reinventing/renovating/creating a new set of paired universes.

Alt-Broyles, Possible Shapeshifter, could also utter that line. We know he’s working with Jones, as does Jones (obviously), but no one else does. We know what the world used to be like, or what the other universes are like, just like Peter does—but no one else does. We know Nina is behind some plot with Olivia’s brain, but no one else does…unless Jones and Alt-Broyles do. Peter warned Olivia of the danger of driving through the gateway, but she didn’t really understand what he’d meant until she almost experienced it. The difference between knowing and really knowing or understanding seems like it will be crucial in the episodes to come. If Fringe keeps up the delightful mix of action, conversation, and really confusing universe stuff, we’ve got a lot to look forward to.


• Jones: “Take me to your leader.”

• Lincoln Lee: “I lost a partner.”
Peter: “I lost a universe.”

• I assume Alt-Broyles is a shapeshifter. But whenever I assume anything about Fringe, I feel stupid. Who wants to bet me five bucks that he’s a person?

• Speaking of Broyles and his “alter ego”: I love the idea of the two of them having a deadpan conversation about anything. Cupcakes, unauthorized universe-jumping, whatever.

• Walter never got a white tulip. How’s that for crushing dramatic irony?

Three and a half out of four liquefied, algae-bathed pieces of meat.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

1 comment:

  1. "... really confusing universe stuff." Tee hee! I certainly feel that way. Every week I read more ideas and theories about what might be going on, and every week I come away with my own new set of thoughts.

    This week I'm wondering whether the show doesn't actually buy into the "many worlds" theory after all. It has just been making it look like it does all this time. In other words, there are only the two universes, which formed for some unknown reason and have to be reconciled or they will tear both worlds apart. The Observers have been tweaking the two universes, seeing how things play out, then resetting and changing up the variables. (Initially, they thought Peter had to live, but once they saw how that played out, they decided instead he had to die.) And apparently September has now reached the conclusion that the only way to fix things is for Olivia to die.

    Or something like that. Every time I try wrapping my brain around it and writing it down, it starts to seem nuttier and more confusing. Erg!

    I know a lot of fans (like Peter) are pining for *our* Olivia and Walter, but I've come to realize that if Peter and we do somehow get them back at the expense of the current versions of the two universes, I'm going to really miss Lincoln "CK" Lee. I've become quite attached to this particular version of him, and I feel like in many ways, the focus has been on his journey this season. We started the season with him as our POV character, and they just reminded us again what this iteration of events has cost him (his partner). I was quite concerned that he might die this week, and it kept me on edge throughout the hour. Not CK Lee!

    Seth Gabel does such a great job making CK distinct from the other Lee. I know you said you had trouble telling them apart this week, Josie, but I think he manages to do something with his eyes to convey the difference. E2 Lee is harder, whereas CK Lee has a more hopeful, inquisitive look to him. His face just seems more "open." It's weird, but I could always tell them apart just by looking at his face.

    Great stuff between E2 Elizabeth and Walter this week, and the closing moments with Walter and Peter made me tear up slightly. Even though I don't understand the overall direction of things at the moment, I certainly still enjoy the resonant character moments sprinkled throughout.


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