The forthcoming Observer invasion, in which Observers from the distant ‘possible future’ travel back to rule the Earth and oppress humanity, means (as some fans have pointed out) that Colonel Raymond Gordon from Season 2’s “Fractured” installment was right, on some level. In that episode, Gordon mounted an early fight against the Observers by recruiting soldiers to sabotage the data they were receiving from their couriers.
While Gordon didn’t know who the threat was, he believed that:
“The enemy is among us and nobody’s doing anything about it. We don’t have any idea the end is coming. So we had to take matters into our own hands. We had to send them a message. … They are here. Collecting data. Making observations. They’ve been planning for war. And they’ve been passing the information via courier right under our noses.”
At the time Gordon was deemed crazy by the Pentagon, while his views on the threat posed by the Observers didn’t carry as much weight as they do post-“Letters Of Transit”.
Was this always the plan? Not necessarily. Season 4 is a good example of how early seeding can allow for a ton of later story alignment. In addition, Gordon’s bit about the Observers ‘using our science against us’ and wanting to exterminate humanity doesn’t seem to ring true at this stage (though the former could in Season 5, particularly with Etta’s abilities).
On the other hand, it’s certainly not impossible that Gordon’s statement was a rough approximation of where the creators planned to eventually take the story.
How did Gordon know the Observers represented a threat?
Military intel probably put him on September and Co’s trail, while it’s easy enough to see why he might have felt threatened, even with his very limited knowledge, by their abilities and keen interest in human history. In short, Gordon could have been wrong, but ultimately he got a bit lucky in that ‘the Observers’ became corrupt like so many before them with too much power.
- It’s worth bearing in mind that Gordon was presumably referring to who we now know as being the scientist arm of the larger Observer nation. As far as we know at this time, they were unaware of the ultimate intentions of their fellows until “Brave New World” (in linear time terms), so this further makes Gordon’s claim rather lucky.
- In addition, September’s briefcase (retrieved from his courier) contained photos of Walter Bishop. So again, Gordon was arguably off-base at the time.
- The serum Gordon had his soldiers inject themselves with activated into a hardened, crystallized substance — rather like the amber used throughout the series and to transport/preserve the Fringe team to 2036, where they would have a better chance of defeating the Observers. It’s not an exact connection, but an interesting coincidence, perhaps.
In conclusion, while I’d put the Gordon ‘foreshadowing’ on a similar rung as the ‘bad Observers’ in my favorite episode “Brown Betty”, it’s hard to deny that it does sort of connect to where the story heading in its final chapter, even though it might not have been wholly intentional.
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