Observations, clues, easter eggs and interpretations from the Fringe season 4 premiere — “Neither Here Nor There.”
The alternate universe FBI had been defunct for more than 10 years in the original timeline. The opening scene suggests the same is true in the new timeline (NT).
Peter makes three appearances in the episode, seemingly triggered while Olivia and Walter experience moments of contemplation or familiarity. Future episodes should help determine whether there is indeed a pattern.
The major fringe sciences being explored in this timeline are: Existence, Quantum Entanglement, Philosophers Stone, Psychometry, Viral Therapy, Etheral Plane, Gravitons, Time Paradox, Psychogenesis, Bilocation, Psychic Surgery, transgenics.
The “Observers Are Here” clue also remains embedded within the sequence.
Could the new Observer (listed as the much sought-speculated “January” in the credits”) be a matured version of the child (inset) from Inner Child?
Walter as a remote Observer.
ONE OF THESE THINGS
At Nadine Park’s crime scene Lincoln says “one of these things is not like the other,” which is a reference from a Sesame Street Sketch.
It’s also a callback to “Stowaway” when Lincoln said the same thing to Peter in reference to a book called The Afterlife of the Soul. The saying also featured in “Momentum Deferred,” referenced by both Rebecca Kibner and Walter.
The Observers association with everyday ‘old tech’ continues as September uses old parts to construct his Peter Erasing Machine (PEM). Among the components he buys is an electron gun from a television set. Interesting that Peter should appear in a TV at the end of the episode.
They also made a point of showing him spark the soon-to-be switch for his PEM. We’ve seen similar abilities before.
There are symbolic implications of Walter hiding from Peter inside the Bra & Panties Tank. Given its OT associations with connecting Olivia to memories and propelling her across universes, it seems appropriate that Walter would seek refuge in the tank.
The tank also acts as a kind of rabbit hole (a very wet one – awakening), representing the beginning of Walter’s journey to rediscovering Peter.
MAN IN THE MIRROR
I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change
The point of Peter’s “sacrifice” was for them to fix the problems in their worlds, to find another way and to change things.
Does ‘Peter’ need Walter to initiate a change? In some respects he’s gone backwards from the progress he made in the original time.
Olivia calms Walter down through touch — much like Peter was able to do in the OT. This is an interesting detail and something to watch out for as the story continues.
Olivia tells him: “Whatever it was, we’re all here now, you’re ok.”
Similarly echoing her speech at the end of season 3: “Whatever you’ve both done, we’re here now. So maybe it’s time we start to fix it.”
A spooky connection is made between the pair.
PATTERN & BREAKTHROUGH
FOLLOW THE TRACKS
“Brain Freeze” is grafftied on the train behind Lincoln — a possible next episode clue?
The butterfly glyph makes its first season 4 appearance.
The human shapeshifters appear to possess additional abilities. In the above capture we see a spark coming from Robert’s body as the shifter touches him.
We later see a second shapeshifter torch his research papers, seemingly by striking his hand over them.
As foreshadowed earlier, the human shapeshifters make the breakthrough they were looking for — they are now able to appear more human. This is clarified through the above shot of the third shapeshifter whose skin gradually becomes less translucent.
She then turns and walks up some stairs, perhaps a symbolic hint in its own right.
While examining the human shapeshifter, Walter finds a piece of tech (power device) resembling the memory discs found inside the biomechanical shapeshifters in the OT. He suspects Walternate, claiming that the tech isn’t from here.
The leaf glyph appears on the security scanner outside the BBM room entrance. Famously seen in the pilot (inset) as John Scott’s ‘dead’ body is wheeled deeper inside the bowels of Massive Dynamic for “questioning.”
The second Massive Dynamic clue is not long in coming..
Inside the BBM room we see the Massive Dynamic logo, confirming that the company was still created in the NT irrespective of Peter’s absence.
- Prominent focus is given to the bell above the door of the restaurant upon September’s arrival. Traditionally used to signify William Bell. Walter also utters another bell reference.
- Green and red color-coding inside the restaurant, thematically playing into the Observers relationship with the green/red pattern mythology.
- The scene with Robert and Lincoln searching for the runner is reminiscent of the shapeshifter chase from the season 2 premiere.
- Lincoln, with a gun to his head, pulls a quick reversal – another intentional parallel to Peter when he encountered the Observers assassin in August.
- Walter tells Astrid: “..there has to be another way. The thing about playing devil’s advocate is that your client is the devil himself.” Astrid replies: “Walter, we’re fixing the world, what other choice do we have? Thank God that Machine didn’t blow everybody up, you know it could have.” Some additional insight into their perspective on how the Machine created the bridge, and a callback to Peter’s famous words from 6955kHz.
- Walter brings the dead bird “back to life” (momentarily) — several parallels can be made there.
- The soul gets its first season 4 mention when Walter tells Astrid that he’s looked into Walternate’s eyes “into his soul,” and doesn’t trust him.
- The episode contains several references to signals. Might be nothing, but could relate to Peter attempting to break through.
- Lincoln ends up killing the shapeshifter who stole his partners body, much like Olivia when she killed shapeshifter Charlie in Momentum Deferred.
- Book Reference: Walter mentions “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” in reference to the shapeshifter burning his research to cover his tracks. Here’s some background on the book:
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold occurs during the heightened-alert politico-military tensions that characterised the late 1950s and early 1960s of the Cold War, when a Soviet–American war in Europe (Germany) seemed likely. The story begins and concludes in East Germany, about a year after the completion of the Berlin Wall.
- The process of entering the BBM room has shades of Alias‘ SD-6 biometric scan.
- Zeppelins still mark the AU skyline in the new timeline
- September presses four red buttons to power-down his PEM — as opposed to three green and one red.
- The glyph for this episode spelled: APPEAR, primarily in reference to Peter.
- The episode title “Neither Here Nor There” seems have several possible meanings, as is usually the case. Strong shouts include the timeline, Peter, the BBM room, etc.
If you missed our review for this episode you can find it here.
Additional Observations for this episode can be found here.