FRINGE: Zero To Mythology In 16 Episodes

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With the fourth season of Fringe heading into the final straight, we thought it would be a good idea to update our original recommended ‘mythology episodes’ guide for those who need to get from zero to mythology.

In the time since we did our original guide, the Fringe mythology has expanded with new episodes adding to and recontextualizing the show’s mythos. With that in mind, not all the episodes from our original list have made the latest cut of 16. But our newly updated guide should provide a handy roadmap for those looking to get up to speed on the show’s central mythology.

Check out the list below, where you’ll also find handy links to watch the episode. If you’re completely new to Fringe, fear not, we’ve tried not to reveal too much information in our descriptions.

FRINGE: Zero To Mythology In 16 Episodes

1.01 Pilot

If you want to get into the mythology of Fringe, you need to know the origins of the story. While later episodes add greater context, this is where the seeds are buried and where the hero’s journey for Olivia Dunham and her assembled team begins. But be warned, once you go down this rabbit hole, there might not be any going back to before..

Look for: “The Pattern,” Massive Dynamic, Olivia’s dreams.
Watch: Pilot (Amazon)

1.04 The Arrival

The enigmatic Observer known as September is formally introduced along with a cylindrical object referred to as the Beacon. The Observers are central to the past, present and future of the story. This episode gives you hints at their relationship with Walter and Peter Bishop. As for the Beacon? Well, hang in there.

Look for: Observer, Beacon, John Mosley.
Watch: The Arrival

1.19 The Road Not Taken

The larger story hinted in the first season becomes reality when the show goes down “The Road Not Taken.” The episode raises philosophical questions and uses them to inform the larger conceit. Watch this episode as it will put you in good stead for what’s to come.

Look for: ZFT, Olivia’s abilities, ‘parallel events’.
Watch: The Road Not Taken

1.20 There’s More Than One Of Everything

Picking up where TRNT left off, major insight into the origins of “The Pattern” and its unmeasurable connection to Walter and Peter is revealed. An overarching foe is slain, and Olivia’s journey takes her to a whole new world of understanding. A must watch for mythos-heads.

Look for: The Observer, Dis-rey, Bishop backstory, David Robert Jones, a ‘near-miss.’
Watch: There’s More Than One of Everything

2.04 Momentum Deferred

If you’re unable to watch the Season 2 premiere, “Momentum Deferred” will condense much of what you need to know, while introducing a new overarching enemy.

Look for: William Bell, Peter, Thomas Jerome Newton.
Watch: Momentum Deferred

2.21-22 Over There (Parts 1&2)

For many, this is the moment Fringe finds itself; where it finally embraces the mythology it has been laying down throughout two seasons of story. Across these two hours, the character drama is played out alongside mythology, concepts are realized, wounds are ripped open, and there’s a twist in the tale.

Look for: Universal dynamics, natural/unnatural abilities, a sacrifice and a switcheroo.
Watch: Over There

3.06 6955 kHz

You’ll want to dial into “6955 kHz” as it links together several important mythology threads and opens new channels of exploration connected to the main story. Follow the team as they investigate a strange frequency that unearths the ‘First People’ mythology, before ultimately leading to one of the series’ central mythology items in the Machine (aka The Boom-Boom-Machine) and the mystery surrounding its origins.

Look for: Numbers station, ‘First People’, Boom-Boom-Machine, ‘Projection Peter’.
Watch: 6955 KHz

3.08 Entrada

The first part of Season 3 draws to a climactic close as Olivia embraces her purpose in a bid to save both sides of the battle. While, on the other side of the story, the larger mythology is put on notice when a seemingly important item is retrieved.

Look for: A forced exchange, quantum entanglement, the return.
Watch: Entrada

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  1. Aria Mohtadi says

    Thanks Roco.

    I’ll definitely try to catch up with the list before the ‘Fringe’ comeback.

    Like: Thumb up 4

  2. shidey17 says

    This is awesome! I’ll definitely use this guide in the offseason. I would also add Ability. I know they can’t all fit into the list, but it’s a personal favorite of mine and one that always makes me shiver with delight.

    Like: Thumb up 4

  3. mlj102 says

    “4.15 The End Of All Things”

    Just a minor correction, but The End of All Things is episode 4.14, isn’t it?

    And also just let me add my support of including 1.14, Ability, on this list. One more episode wouldn’t be too much more to ask of people catching up on the story, and it contributes a lot of valuable reference points for where the story goes. How about including it in the list, to make a nice, round, 17 episodes? :)

    Like: Thumb up 3

    • M says

      I’m impressed they even got it down to less than 20. My list would have 50. I don’t have it in me cut Ability, Bad Dreams, and White Tulip from a Fringe essentials list, but for the most part I think this list works if the goal is to catch up (at the cost of missing out on a lot of great character development).

      My favorite episode of Fringe is The Day We Died.

      Like: Thumb up 3

      • Red Balloon says

        I second that!…It’s hard to read that there’s a guide for Fringe Mythology without some of the most awesome themes of Fringe in it:
        Please Roco, expand your list to at least 25, including:
        1.14 Ability
        1.17 Bad Dreams
        2.8 August
        2.10 Grey Matters
        2.15 Jacksonville
        2.16 Peter
        2.18 White Tulip
        3.18 Bloodline
        4.04 Subject 9

        And what about Wallflower?…JKidding 😛

        Like: Thumb up 1

        • Red Balloon says

          Even if some of them like “August” or “Bloodline” aren’t near my favorites, all of these are essential to help understanding where the characters are at a certain point and the plots they’ve been in. Not to mention the spectacular as-semblance of creativity, production and acting that is shown in all of them.

          Like: Thumb up 0

  4. Pwnsauce says

    Roco, you can’t honestly tell me you think you can omit ‘Peter’ from this list. It’s the most vital and the best episode of Fringe to date. ‘Peter’ is the basis for like the whole show!

    Like: Thumb up 2

    • WaySeeker says

      He is in obviously in cahoots with the Observers trying to erase Peter from the TimeLine! 😮 Say it isn’t so, Roco Y_Y

      hehe :-p

      Like: Thumb up 1

  5. Zach Smith says

    Interesting idea, but I definitely can’t agree with your choices; you have too much season 3, and nowhere near enough of season 2. The middle to end of season 2 is still the high point of the series creatively speaking. This was where the ideas that had informed the entire series (up to that point) were reaching their peak. Also, the two best episodes of the entire series were in season 2 (Peter and White Tulip). While White Tulip is an incredible episode, it’s not exactly mythology heavy. Peter, on the other hand, is probably the most significant episode to the entire Fringe mythos, no? I get that it is largely explained through exposition in other episodes, but seeing the events that lead up to actions of that episode sheds serious light on the characters of Walter/Walternate and Nina, not to mention the Observers!

    Season 3 certainly continued the serialized ideas that were central to the show, but the events of the third season didn’t feel as if they occured as organically as the second season, and given where they are with the show right now, I feel like most of season 3 wasn’t even relevant or necessary. I see season 3 as a place where the writers were coming to terms with the story they had created up to that point, and what they felt they could do with it while still moving forward.

    Other than that however, you did a pretty good job of chosing some of the most mythologically important episodes.

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • Scott42444 says

      I think that episode 3.08 is the creative high point of the series (where Olivia comes back). No other show will EVER (and if they do, they will be copying Fringe) switch back and forth to different characters on a week to week basis (even though they are played by the same actors) and somehow tell a cohesive story like they did at the beginning of Season 3.

      Like: Thumb up 3

    • says

      It would certainly go in our ‘best’ mythology episodes list. This list is geared towards getting from ‘zero to mythology’. A lot of the “Peter” stuff is covered elsewhere. :) That said, I understand the urge to include the episode.

      Like: Thumb up 2

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