Mark Watches ‘Fringe’: S04E09 – Enemy of My Enemy

In the ninth episode of the fourth season of Fringe, the return of an adversary from many years ago (and another timeline) brings about a violent and dangerous challenge for both Fringe divisions. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Fringe.

I’m at a point with this show where I just want to hug it tight and let it go. I think I’ve told all my personal friends to take a week off from life and just binge the show from the beginning because you don’t understand THIS IS PERFECTION. This episode in particular is such a clever and rewarding example of why this show works so well as a serial narrative, rewarding all of us who’ve kept up with the story. So many character beats and plot twists carry weight because of the history attached to them.

I also recognize that while Fringe certainly isn’t lacking in mind-melting twists and turns, a huge reason why I enjoy the show is because it doesn’t mind taking time for small, subtle emotional moments, sometimes using a whole episode just for one crescendo. We’ve repeatedly seen how the writers for the various episodes are willing to take risks not only with the narrative, but with the audience. They introduce highly-detailed alternate worlds. They introduce numerous versions of the same character. They bring back a villain we haven’t seen since season one, and it’s not done in a way that ignores his death or his impact.

“Enemy of My Enemy,” however, is one of those Fringe episodes that is remarkably thrilling and fast, full of intense action sequences and a seemingly non-stop set of plot reveals. Bringing back David Robert Jones ia brilliant choice for this show, not just because HE IS SO TERRIBLY FUCKED UP, but also because he’s one of the main reasons season one ended on such a high note. That was when Fringe started moving towards existing as a serialized drama, and his appearance was particularly shocking and satisfying. It’s not merely a case of bringing back a character just for the audience to go, “A-ha!” This is a strategic chance to not just use Peter, but to explore another side to the character of Jones.

However, the most impressive thing the writers have done in season four is to make this new version of Walternate a sympathetic character who is decidedly not evil. It was my favorite twist in “Back to Where You’ve Never Been,” and it’s explored further here. Even if the two versions of Walter in this new timeline certainly have a lot in common with their counterparts in seasons one through three, we all fell for the misdirect of Walternate. We expected him to be evil, to be behind the shapeshifters, to have killed Brandon because he’s an awful person. Instead, this turns into a WONDERFUL chance to unite both universes.

On that note, I’m glad the show has done this. We saw in season three how two universes could come into conflict with one another, and I honestly don’t know how else the writers could further that idea. Seriously, how rad is that scene where both universes sit at that table, looking at their alternate, wondering how they’re going to catch someone who is threatening both of their universes? On top of that, this episode utilizes Walternate and Elizabeth to explore the idea of chances lost and grief. It was nice to see Elizabeth back in such an expanded role, and her visit with our side’s Walter was just HEARTBREAKING FOREVER. Truthfully, though, her character has become this example of selflessness. A version of her son has appeared in her life, and she doesn’t hesitate to help him go back to where he came from, assuring that she’ll never see him again.

She also helps Walter approach forgiving himself. This version of Walter has been forced to live a life in the shadow of his errors, and he’s never allowed to forget what he’s done. Why should he forgive himself? Why should the world forgive him? He’s so far into his own shame and despair that the idea of moving on is just so alien to him. He killed Peter in the other universe, and it’s more sensible to him to accept that this version of Peter is just a punishment from some sort of deity. But it’s Elizabeth who helps him see past that, and I was just so touched that she did this by telling him that she forgave him. Not forgive; this happened some time ago. She moved on, and she wants him to as well.

BUT CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT DAVID ROBERT JONES??? Oh my god, I’d forgotten just how violent he always was, and this episode is a fine example of a character who just accepts that they’re a one-note antagonist. I am perfectly okay with his character lacking a sympathetic depth; this man gets what he wants by doing whatever he pleases, including killing his own shapeshifter just as a demonstration. He’ll kill sixteen people in a hospital just because he can. What I’m most interested by, though, is his history in this new timeline. Clearly, Peter riled him in some guttural way, but we don’t yet know the logistics of this. How much is similar to the story of Jones from season one? We know that he’s still interested in traveling between universes, but is his collection of amphilicite an attempt at creating a terrorist event? Why would he want to create another hole between the universes if he can just travel between the two with the help of his shapeshifters?

Honestly, though, this episode leaves me with a whole lot of questions and a painful anticipation for what’s to come. What was the blood sample from that Olivia gave to Astrid to test? Why is alternate Broyles working with Jones? (Oh my god, I love this twist to alternate Broyles, because in season three he also acted as a spy of sorts, but that was for Olivia when she was trying to return to our world.) Will Olivia and our Lincoln finally just form a relationship because they are so adorable? What was in the syringe that alternate Broyles prepared for Lincoln?

Of course, the one big shocker in “Enemy of My Enemy” is that we are given confirmation that Nina Sharp’s experiments with Olivia that we saw at the end of “Wallflower” ARE TO HELP DAVID ROBERT JONES. WHAT THE HOLY LIVING HELL IS GOING ON?!?!?!?!?

I love this show. I just love it so much.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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26 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Fringe’: S04E09 – Enemy of My Enemy

  1. Sadie_TARDIS says:

    Okay, my mind-ramblings…

    Am I the only person who's really starting to wonder about Astrid? Four years in and we still know nothing about her life outside the lab; no friends, no family, never a hint of a love interest… even when she seemed to find Lincoln attractive, she was only interested in getting him together with Olivia. I wonder if it's a possibility that she's asexual, or so wrapped up in her work that she doesn't want or need many relationships. Perhaps it's simply that I personally find her fascinating (and gorgeous … ahem), but I'd love to see more of where she comes from. And with Lincoln having met his double, surely it's Astrid's turn? It would be amazing to see the two vastly different versions of her coming in contact with each other, particularly to observe how Alt!Astrid's atypical mind would perceive the version of her from over here. The Astrids were also the only prominent pair of doubles missing from the conference scene at the end of the last episode – why wasn't she there? Why is she such an enigma? WHY IS SHE SO COOL?

    <img src=""&gt;

    And if I were to actually pair off any of the doubles together, it would definitely be the Lincolns; they have this cute, hesitant interest in each other, none of the history and animosity that exists between the Walters and the Olivias. They met just as negotiations between the universes seem to be taking off successfully; I'd be really interested to see them form a closer relationship.

    Also, the "free money" scene? YES.



    Peter/Walter reconciliation!

    The front sliced off of Olivia's car – cool and SO DISTURBING.

    Peter now gives inspirational speeches. YES.

    This has to be the best episode of the season thus far.

    ETA: I assumed that the blood sample that Olivia gave to Astrid was the result of her sneakily lifting a few drops of the wounded Observer's blood before he vanished in the last episode. Just me?

    • fieldofwhitetulips says:

      I need more upvotes to give your Astrid commentary above. This was mentioned in last week's review/discussion but regarding Astrid (rot13 for spoilers), va gjb jrrxf gurer jvyy or na Nfgevq-pragevp rcvfbqr gvgyrq Znxvat Natryf. Gur cerff eryrnfr fnlf gung bhe Nfgevq jvyy trg na harkcrpgrq ivfvg sebz ure nygreangr.

      Honorary adorable Jasika gif
      <img src="; />

      And yes, I also guessed it was probably September's blood.

    • platoapproved says:

      YES re: Astrid, I completely agree.

      Also, that GIF. <3 <3 <3 <3

    • rabbitape says:

      I also assumed the blood sample Olivia gave Astrid was from the Observer who spoke to her last episode. I don't know how she got her hands on it — maybe he bled into the upholstery of the theater seat he was in?

  2. Sadie_TARDIS says:

    Other ~*thoughts*~ which I happen to feel like transcribing…

    Something that occurred to me a while back is that there's a pattern which seems to occur relatively unbroken with regard to the two-versions-of-each-character thing; each pair has one fundamental, unchangeable personality trait in common, and the two are then in all other respects complete opposites. Both Olivias are dedicated and incredibly driven, but our Olivia is stoic, sombre, and awkward, while theirs is quick, witty and humorous. Both Lincolns are empathetic and clever, but theirs is dashing, humorous and talkative while ours is quiet, shy, and nerdy. Both Walters are incredible geniuses, but theirs is a powerful businessman and political leader, while ours can't remember how to use a telephone. Our Astrid is warm, loving, and outgoing, while theirs appears to have Aspergers and relates to computers more readily than people… but then, our Astrid is a computer wiz too. The two Broyles are very similar on a surface level, but ours tends to play by the rules, while theirs is obviously prepared to break the rules for anyone he sees fit. It's these little things, brilliantly consistent character moments which are never directly spelled out for us, that make Fringe such a great show. Hats off to the writers.

    Oh… and there are all these super-complex, nuanced multiple versions of the entire cast, and then there's plain ol' original-flavor Peter.
    Yeah…I find this more amusing than I probably should.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Oh… and there are all these super-complex, nuanced multiple versions of the entire cast, and then there's plain ol' original-flavor Peter.
      Joshua Jackson is so lazy.

      • Sadie_TARDIS says:


        I actually wonder whether he enjoys the less stressful work, or finds it frustrating to not have as many opportunities to play different characters as his co-stars do.

        Oh, and on another note – why is there no Alt!Nina? Has her absence ever been explained?

        And on THAT note –
        Dear writers: your flimsy excuse to never have Alt!Charlie around by claiming that he's with "bug girl"… I see through it. Love, Sadie.

        • fieldofwhitetulips says:

          LOL poor Josh Jackson. In most interviews he seems grateful for the extra time off he gets, but he also comes off as a real fan of the show that seems a little disappointed by the lack of work he gets in comparison to the rest of the cast. I do think he’s a much more interesting character than ever before this season, and that’s partially due to some acting improvement.

          The EP’s discussed Alt-Nina at the beginning of season 4 here. “She’s a special character and we want to make sure she gets her due.”

          I really miss original Charlie, and Scarlie was great, too. V oryvrir Xvex Nprirqb erprvirq n ynetre ebyr ba Cevzr Fhfcrpg ohg vf fgvyy fhccbfrq gb nccrne va n pbhcyr bs Sevatr rcvfbqrf guvf frnfba.

        • ivorychopsticks says:

          One of the things I've actually liked about Josh Jackson is his tireless cheerleading for the show. There's a couple of interview where he talks about being only one iteration of Peter, and trying to give his character a through-line. Pretty much every week he is giving interviews and "sneak peeks" and teases about the show. (him and John Noble, really).

          One of the things I think is INTERESTING about Josh Jackson is the way he talks about the show and his character. A lot of actors, when interviewed about their characters, will talk about the character motivation, or relationships with other characters, that type of thing. He often talks about these things as well, but generally in terms of how they serve the thematic arc of the show. It's a more critical approach than you generally see actors take about their jobs.

          I especially thought this quote from the IGN article about this weeks episode was interesting. (For the spoiler-averse regarding the interview– if you click through the link, it's mostly only spoilery through what we've already seen–there's some speculation, if you skip over the question about "upcoming episodes" on page 2 and the very last question on page 3 about Peter and Walter reassessing their relationship you will avoid references to the future). Now on to the quote:

          In the second half of Season 1 and Season 2, when this show was more about the family dynamic and less about the star-crossed lovers, he was really the reflection for Walter so you could see his humanity coming back. Because without Peter, you don't get to see the other side of the mad scientist. But also in Season 2, and definitely in Season 3, Peter's job was to reflect Olivia back to herself so we could get to the bottom of her crisis, which was feeling unseen, unknown. So her crisis last year was, "I cannot love you until I know that you see the real me," right? But Peter's job in that was only to reflect back to her her own crisis. So this year, I think what the thrust of the story seems to be so far is Olivia doesn't know herself. So Peter's job is to reflect back to her herself, so she can come to know herself. In Season 2 I thought this was going to be about the bizarro family, but now I think this show is really about the Olivia character discovering herself. In a bizarre way I think this show now is a coming of age drama for a woman.

    • fieldofwhitetulips says:

      I'm curious if you're discussing the current new timeline or the original one's characters and their alternates? (LOL Fringey words) I just really love seeing how these characters interact together in comparison to our originals (We've examined in depth four different Peter/Walter relationships now. How awesome is that?); just like when they introduced the Redverse characters, they have been utilized so well to recontextualize what we already know about our characters, and I've really grown attached to these as well. I'm invested in these characters too because they are our characters but having gone through very different experiences and I just really love seeing that play out onscreen. No other show has the balls to do something so out there and pull it off so incredibly well.

    • @Kaza999 says:

      The minus-Peter timeline characters, altverse or no, all seem to be subtly different than the plus-Peter timeline ones, too. Not in major ways, but just smaller differences.

  3. What was the blood sample from that Olivia gave to Astrid to test?
    That has to be from September.

    What was in the syringe that alternate Broyles prepared for Lincoln?
    I don't know! My first thought was that he was going to kill him and shapeshift into Lincoln. Assuming he's a shapeshifter.

    I was really afraid that the free money business was going to involve a whole lot more civilian deaths, but the actual plan was more fun and less deadly. Although I had to laugh at the ER scene. It's really not enough to kill a bunch of people, so let's make sure that there is a LITTLE GIRL involved as well. I almost expected Olivia to say, "Sixteen people died in the ER. Including a LITTLE GIRL."

    • dcjensen says:

      I was hoping it was Olivia's own.

    • aurelia says:

      Agreed. The blood sample must be from September.

      I wondered if the syringe was to turn Lincoln into a shapeshifter. This brand of shapeshifters all started out as human, right?

      Was the ER thing a call back to the pilot? What with the flesh just kind of sliding off like that.

  4. teel77 says:

    Alt-Broyles is evil!
    Nina is head evil!
    Walternate is good!


  5. Ryan Lohner says:

    Jared Harris is one of my current favorite villain actors after seeing him here, and in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It'll be kind of weird seeing him as friendly, timid Price again when Mad Men comes back.

  6. dcjensen says:

    Also? Newt Gingrich is on the alternate $100 bill.

    Does that mean he's dead over there?

  7. Alex says:

    This was definitely one of the best episodes of the show in my opinion. I've definitely felt like this season has been dragging on a bit, with too many MOTW episodes and not enough serial aspects. It reminded me a lot of season one, which I wasn't as big of a fan of. However, last week's episode and this one have 100% revitalized my interest in this show, and I now I'm back to being unable to bear the week long wait between episodes. I thought DRJ was one of the few amazing parts of season 1, so his being back makes me super happy. Plus, it gives Peter a chance to really shine in this episode.

  8. monkeybutter says:

    Yeah, I'm so happy to see David Robert Jones and his "I don't give a fuck" attitude towards villainry; he's just so above it all. And Elizabeth! Her scenes were beautiful, as were Peter's with both Walters. I'm a sucker for emotional family moments. I hope this season is going somewhere amazing (and that it ends with Peter back with his real family), but I'm enjoying the ride so far. I care about these characters, but I'll be okay letting them go.

    I didn't really think anything about the amphilicite during the episode (I pretty much ignored the name), so I'm thankful you wrote out its name here. This probably falls under the THEORIES ABOUND category, though it's not really out there. The amphi- root means two or both, and I'm in turn reminded of Iceland spar (and who doesn't like a story about Iceland spar?). What if the plan is to somehow snap the two universes together using this mineral, not just create holes? And Olivia–whose knowledge of her cortexiphan powers or the powers themselves are being repressed–has some role to play in this, and that's why DRJ is so obsessed with her. I swear I'm not just saying all of this because it would allow all of my LincolnxKennedy dreams to come true.

  9. Dee says:

    Peter: Do you mind if I take a look at your list of locations.
    Other Astrid: I don't mind.

    Other Astrid: Are you really from another timeline?
    Peter: Yeah, I think so.
    Other Astrid: Cool…

    Oh Other Astrid!!..

  10. Esther says:

    I still want to know who Olivia’s killer is.

  11. aurelia says:

    It was nice to see Elizabeth back in such an expanded role, and her visit with our side’s Walter was just HEARTBREAKING FOREVER.

    Oh, my heart.

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