FRINGE REWATCH: 3.02 The Box — First Piece. Then War


Our Fringe Rewatch continues as we search for new perspectives ahead of the fourth season. Up next: The Box – or what we’re calling: “First Piece. Then War.”

Please note: these rewatches may contain references to later episodes.

In case you didn’t manage to rewatch this episode, here’s a promo to give you a sense of where the story was:

This retrospective is focused around two main areas: NEW PERSPECTIVES, where I look at the episode with new eyes. And FINDING PETER, where I share my speculations and thoughts in relation to Peter ‘ceasing to exist’ and the new timeline.

As mentioned previously, I’ll be making an effort to avoid going over old ground, but there will be links at the end to my previous rewatch articles should you wish to drill down on my previous thoughts.


  • The first relevant connection is the location of the buried Boom-Boom-Machine piece — part of Walternate’s plan to set our heroes on the trail, eventually leading to the discovery of the all-important piece that he was unable to find/replicate over there. It takes on additional context now that we essentially know who buried it.
  • The existence of Machine parts on both sides is still a mystery, but there are potential answers. I particularly like the possibility that when Peter/The First People buried the Machine in the way-waay back days, there was only one universe — that it hadn’t yet separated.
  • There are a few other possibilities, including the notion that two universes = two BBMs ‘independently’ created. But in retrosepect of who sent it back through time, and the fact that over there BBM was presumably destroyed by Peter, I would say my favored option makes more sense at this stage.
  • Unless something drastic happens we can safely assume that Altlivia’s tattoo was just a device for the ‘Olivia identity’ storyline.

  • The ‘silent but deadly’ piece also gives us some early information on the BBM’s function, though we don’t find out what this specific part does in relation to the Machine. I’m guessing it was part of its power source.
  • Indeed, when we later see Peter BBMing in TLSW/TDWD, he kinda strikes the same ‘trance pose’ as the victims in this episode. Nice follow-thru.
  • The blood from the Box’s victims was “mixed with spinal fluid.” Were they heading towards a BBM/Cortexiphan connection at this point?
  • Another cyclical part of the story is introduced with the final will and testament of William Bell. Both his “don’t be afraid to cross the line” message for Walter and the “memento” for Nina come back into play in significant ways.
  • Nina must have felt real special when she discovered that the memento for “the precious few that we spent in Tuscany” was in fact a device of self-interest. Though it’s still possible that he felt he had to return to set certain things in motion.

“Walter, we gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom. By now I trust you have ample reserves of both. I hope you’ve forgiven me.” — W. Bell

  • Of course, the notion of crossing the line has also grown in stature since this episode first aired. Peter crashing the future and shifting (crossing) the story over to a new timeline could be another sign that Bellie knew what needed to be done.

“He was over there, he saw what I did, all that I destroyed. How could he tell me to cross the line?” — Walter

  • Walter says he “didn’t plan to” kidnap Peter from the AU. But it’s his statement that underpins so much of the ongoing storyline:

“If I had to make the choice all over again, I am not sure that I am strong enough to act differently.”

  • Significantly, that choice has now been removed from him in the new timeline. Or perhaps (depending on the exact context of “he doesn’t exist”) he was presented with that same choice, but finally chose not to cross over for Peter.
  • We know that Walternate still blames him for “shattering” his world, so he still did something, though the motivation may have been differently crouched.
  • And while I’d prefer it if Peter was never born in the new timeline (it fits “doesn’t exist” more snugly, in my opinion), I would find it interesting to look at Walter facilitating Peter making a different choice with the BBM, as also granting himself the strength to make that different choice in the new timeline.
  • I like the concept of reaching a point where something is sacrificed in one reality/time to liberate oneself elsewhere.
  • It would have a kind of knock-on effect significance, illustrating that what our heroes do in one place has an overall bearing on their journey. And it is very much a journey.
  • How about the symbolism of Peter on the train tracks — he’s literally walking the (time)line at this point, his destiny hurtling towards him at 108MPH. Thankfully he had an Olivia to shove him out of the way.
  • Given the relationship between the FPs and the BBM, it will be interesting to find out what the symbols mean. Perhaps it’s an indication that it wasn’t created by Walter or Walternate? Many possibilities.
  • We also get the 6:02 reference at the train station — this would later swing back around in, well…6:02 AM EST.

Retrospective Rating: 7/10 Seriable Stars

Want more? Check out my previous The Box write-ups:


Is Your Show Cancelled Or Renewed?
Get free email alerts when serialized shows are officially cancelled, renewed or revived!


  1. OldDarth says

    Peter dying twice, and both times with Walter trying to save him, is the more powerful, dramatic choice. And such choices always trump any other considerations for me.

    Including ‘snug fits.’ 😉

    Like: Thumb up 0

  2. g33k says

    First, maybe I’m grasping at straws, but I still think that the tattoo was an advanced method of birth control from over there that Newton not only hid with his little laser thing, but removed entirely.

    And then he goads her into sleeping with Peter. Mwah haha! The Newt’s dying revenge for Fauxlivia lording it over him!

    Second, with the whole time travel arc, and Bell’s final words “my good friend Isaac…” I did find myself wondering if he was referring to Isaac Newton, or maybe even Newton the shapeshifter in an offhand way since his name is obviously an homage to the scientist. I want to find out who the mysterious Isaac is now.

    Like: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *