Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive clues and easter eggs round-up for episode 3.14 “6B”.
We dive deep into the mythology, symbolism and resonating factors to explore the meaning and unlock the interconnected mystery of Fringe.
As we speculated, the “Immortality” episode clue for “6B” was the “APT6B” licence plate, referencing the otherworldly goings-on that would take place in Apartment 6B.
“Tulip Food” shop sign could be a nod to the episode “White Tulip”.
There are also white tulips beside Alice in the above picture.
In Fringe mythology, tulips represent forgiveness. They also signal ingenuity, in the manner that Alistair Peck and Walter conspired to send Walter a sign of forgiveness from ‘god’.
Essentially, we’re seeing the emergence of destiny versus free-will. Notions of how much we are defined by outside forces shaping our paths vs our ability to create our own futures.
The thematics are attempting to translate these ideas, and it’s clear that choice and the natural course of events will come under further scrutiny. How much are these concepts mere illusions (particularly with time-travellers, Observers, and the alternate universe knocking around)? And within that, should we doubt the value of such illusions?
Perhaps they need to be packaged as ‘illusions’ for a reason? After all, do we doubt that, in some form, Walter’s white tulip was not a message from God, even if it had to come via Alistair Peck? It’s interesting to consider and will no doubt depend on our own interpretations of the story, and thus our individual beliefs.
Observing The Observer
The Observer makes another early appearance for the second episode running.
Fringe is known for its spirals – these repeating patterns are prevalent in nature, they represent the cyclical design of the story with themes, events and choices coming back around in familiar echoes.
The spirals (above) depicted from this “high plane” also resemble the classic heart-shape – an intentional nod to the entanglement of hearts, the positive and destructive nature of human emotions, or as this episode put it – feelings.
Some very opportunistic and every bit intentional directing there.
Another spiral appears later, this time using stairs to reflect the ‘heightened’ tension which sees our characters faced with yet more repeating patterns; cycles they are given the opportunity to break on this new level.
Walter manages to put a serious crack in his personal cyclical battle, as he once again relinquishes his Peter – this time to the amber that would stop the top from spinning and hold his son in time. Fortunately, Peter and Olivia did their own bit of cycle-breaking by helping convince Alice to stop her reign of molecular terror, and thus preventing them from going all amber brick road.
I wasn’t sure about this initially, but on further examination it appears that Chris didn’t fall to his death (one of the guy’s who did looked kinda like him).
As he grabs Silvia’s purse, you can see the unfortunate souls on the balcony begin to fall.
So basically, Silvia’s choking saved Chris’s life. That’s love right there.
Twenty 4/7 Clue Hunters
We haven’t seen this in a while. It’s known that Walter’s left hand trembles during moments of high anxiety. We initially saw it in the Pilot and have seen it a few times since.
In “6B”, this small action represents a painful echo of the past, brought on by Walter’s grapple over using amber to hold his world together.
A nice journey to the other side reference. Doors and shimmering yellow lights are recurring thematics in Fringe, put them together and you have a cocktail of otherworldly goodness.
Being able to truly ‘see’, is much like a door opening in one’s mind. – RocoBot.
Call You Back
As mentioned, this episode contained several call-backs. Some of the most interesting where those from the episode 14s of the first two seasons.
Above we can see that the episode 14s have involved strange goings-on inside buildings, calling upon Olivia to use her ability, or interact with the link to her ability – the alternate universe.
It’s also interesting how her responsibilities have evolved somewhat. In “Ability”, it was her role to turn off the lights (deactivate the bomb) by believing in her own ability. In “Jacksonville” she had to find the light by giving into the fear. In “6B”, she has to teach someone else to turn out the light, but breaking the cycle.
Other episode 14 call-backs include Olivia and Peter going for out for drinks (or in the case of “Jacksonville”, almost going out for drinks).
Helping Alice In Wonderland
Above I spoke about Olivia’s gradual evolution to becoming a teacher, a mentor, if you will. While I suspect she still has a long way to go in that regard, it is interesting that a character often referenced as being the “Alice” In Wonderland of our tale, ends up helping Alice (Merchant) to see reality. This in turn leads to Olivia’s own catharsis. By helping others she is able to begin to repair the problems in her own life.
“All of this is happening because of you..and you can stop it if you just let go..” – Olivia
I’ve spoken extensively about Olivia’s ability to manifest the solutions to her problems into reality – an example of how we can all affect our own realities, perhaps? And the story is increasingly bringing this idea to the surface with the alternate universe and the ‘fringe cases’ that emerge in our characters paths.
Imagine Me Up
Another example of ‘self help’ in this episode would be Walter’s solution to the cracks in his universe. Amber 31422 was devised by Walternate to patch his world together, a need borne out of Walter smashing through the alternate universe and ripping Peter from Walternate’s heart. So if we boil it down, Amber was a temporary solution to Walter’s destructive act. Boil it some more and its clear that Walter is root cause of the creation of Amber in the AU (did this reverberate over to the ‘Pattern Attacks’?).
As I’ve speculated before, in many ways we can look at the alternate universe as a manifested world, born on the curve of the subconscious mind. For those willing to accept the premise, it’s as though Walter created an entire universe, interacted with that universe, taking part in a scenario: a sequence of events that would serve as a cautionary tale, while providing solutions and threats to his own world.
Imagine, if you will, an incredible man who felt incredible guilt for something he was about to do. The deepest part of this man conjured up a scenario where he would play the opposite role, a vengeful version of himself who held the keys to forgiveness. Imagine if these feelings of guilt and vengeance became simultaneous to the point where both worlds existed equally, at the same time. Suddenly imbalance is averted, yet balance is threatened.
While I’m not certain that the writers are going to explicitly reveal something like this, I suspect that they are already playing with these ideas – at least thematically, under the surface of the story. As I’ve said before, Walter is both the hero and the villain, in more ways than one.
Green Me Up, Scotty
We get a dose of the “green, green, green, red” color sequence – purpose built by Massive Dynamic.
I think this furthers my belief regarding the overall relevance of green, green, green, red in the Fringe mythology. That it’s some kind of stasis, or means of preserving consciousness on a meta-level. If we look at one of the first time’s the sequence appeared (“The Equation”), it tied in with hypnagogia (the state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep). As we know, Fringe layers its themes, deepening them season after season – sleep and wakefulness being particularly prominent.
So, looking at the what the sequence in “6B” was going to lead to – that is, Amber – a form of stasis, preserving consciousness at a point between sleep and wakefulness. I think that’s fairly consistent with the clues that have come before.
Blue Light Nights
The blue light bursts through to mark the switch to the alternate universe.
What really caught my eye during the transfer, was the difference between the tree over here vs over there. Over Here the leaves have mostly fallen off, as you would expect due to the time of year. However, Over There, the alternate version of that tree is fluttering with green leaves, despite the wintery time of year, and the little matter of the Blight.
While this could hint towards something larger, the discrepancy could be explained by the alternate universe planting more artificial trees to compensate for those that have perished because of the Blight.
Still, it’s a clever detail.
A-U In There
Poor alternate universe Derek. Spare a thought for him. He thinks that the ghost of his wife hates him, denying that they ever had a life together. And he’s wearing red for our thematic pleasure. (as is little Mrs. Merchant, by the way).
Hand On Heart
The closing glyph contains a glowing heart-shaped orb, to further ring home the episode’s core theme.
- “6B” is episode 3.14, as in “Amber 31422″. Is it coincidence or design that the name of an alternate universe episode helps foreshadow the amber call-back in “6B”? Definitely design.
- The Rosencrantz building is possibly a reference to the Tom Stoppard play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead“.
- Mrs Marcello said she was going to the Schrodinger Hotel – a suitable reference to Schrödinger’s cat. This relates to the episode’s theme of “quantum entanglement”, what with Derek being both ‘alive and dead’ from a certain perspective, etc. It could further be argued that Peter, Olivia and Alice would have been both alive and dead (like Schrödinger’s cat to those outside the box) had Broyles triggered the amber. This ties in with my above comments on the amber and the green, green, green, red symbolism.
- Peter’s mystery song that plays on the jukebox is “For Once In My Life”. Olivia sings this song in “Brown Betty”, bringing Peter back to life.
- The glyphs for “6B” spelled HEARTS. As in feelings. As in entanglement.
Our previous Fringe Observations can be found on our Fringe Bloggers website.
Here’s our review for “6B”.