FRINGE OBSERVATIONS: 4.10 Forced Perspective


Welcome to Fringe Observations — your weekly guide to the clues, symbolism, parallels and connections throughout all four seasons of Fringe. In this week’s guide we comb through “Forced Perspective” to extract the important/interesting things you might have missed.


Olivia and Broyles look at surveillance footage of the Observers, echoing the scene from “The Arrival“:

Notably, the same surveillance photos in the other timeline were September-heavy. In this timeline, other Observers are in the mix. Whether that’s an impact of Peter’s absense or a production/editing circumstance, is open to debate.


One such Observer present in the photos is the dearly departed August. Presumably snapped ‘before’ (so to speak) his death in his titular episode.


Astrid found antibodies for the Spanish flu (last recorded epidemic 1919) in September’s blood. While the team were unable to gather this information in the other timeline, we do know that the Observers have been present throughout history. In the screencap above he can be seen before Franz Ferdinand and his wife Countess Sophie were shot dead in 1914 — an important historical moment which ‘triggered World War I’.


Nice direction with the slits heightening the sense that we’re observing Olivia and Broyles, while they are observing photos of the Observers.


An angel-like image can be seen on the wall next to Emily Mallum. She also lived next door to the Anges thrift store. Perhaps a reference to Emily using her ability to save others, or maybe a clue for the next episode.


The clue from Enemy Of My Enemy for this episode was the Mallum Insurance sign, in reference to Emily Mallum‘s role in saving (insuring) the lives of those in the Allston Courthouse. (HT Seriable reader edgesight for also making this connection, before the Mallums were introduced).


Emily’s ability to see traumatic events before they take place (vibrations from the future, according to Walter) and drawing them, has parallels with Roy McComb’s ability, as seen in The Ghost Network. Here’s what we said about it at the time:

As a result of Walter Bishop’s experimentation [..] Roy’s brain was able to pick up waves which were outside of the normal spectrum of waves. Therefore, he became prone to picking up communication on the secret ‘Ghost Network’, which was being used by Matthew Ziegler and pals to covertly discuss the pattern and other such things.


Emily’s father covers her eyes, preventing her from seeing own impending death by the lake. Not that he was aware of the symbolism this carried.


In the other timeline, I cited Olivia’s seeming ability to unconsciously ‘make things happen’. This may have been Cortexiphan-related. Interesting, that with Nina recently increasing Olivia’s Cortexiphan injections, her internal reality is starting to manifest in the world around her, in the shape of Emily’s prophecies reflecting the Dunhamnator’s ‘inescapable’ death.

The shot above helps convey the mirror in her mind.


Another Ghost Network parallel: Emily sees a vision during a bus ride; Roy McComb saw a vision of a Pattern attack on a bus.


Danny Mullum is played by the same young actor (Dylan Schmid) who portrays Rumplestiltskin’s son, Baelfire, in ABC’s Once Upon A Time. Notable only because the two shows seem to be sharing a small pool of young actors, of late, with young Peter and Olivia recently appearing in Once.


Walter hypnotises Emily as he has done with many others in past iterations.

He guided Olivia through dreamscapes and memories in similar fashion (Pilot, The Dreamscape, The Transformation).

He uses the green/red lights on Emily (top), as he did to guide Olivia through her Nick Lane-charged visions (Bad Dreams).

Which of course harks back to the larger green/red mythology that has particular ties to the Observers.


The overhead shot of Emily undergoing hypnosis resembles the Bellivia scene from “Stowaway.”


P2b = Peter Bishop #2 (if you really want).


Among Olivia’s reading material — a book about horses and “Rainforest” by Thomas Marent. Could, perhaps, be a vague reference to something.

  • In the other timeline, the term “Observer” was coined by Broyles and his team because that’s what September and co. appeared to be doing. In this timeline they don’t yet have a name for them, making it one of the more curious impacts Peter has had on the two timelines.
  • Fringe Division has been looking into the Observers for 3 years. In the other timeline, Broyles noted that it took Olivia just 3 weeks to spot them.
  • As mentioned in our review, Peter says the BBM doesn’t respond to him in this timeline, suggesting that he’s either tried to interact with it (off-screen) or strongly believes this to be the case. The former makes more sense. Walter is going to see if he can recalibrate the BBM to Peter’s DNA so that he can operate it. Peter says that Walter has done it before, so he can do it again —  reinforcing the notion that Walter built the BBM.
  • Nina mentions sending Olivia some new medication for her migraines, this may tie in with “Phase 2“.
  • The glyph code for this episode spelled MARCH. The previous code spelled DEATH. DEATH MARCH. Most likely in reference to Olivia impending doom. Could also refer to the fabled March Observer. Maybe Olivia will die in March (15th — Ides of March?).

MORE: Forced Perspective Review

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  1. edgesight says

    I connected the ANGEL on the wall as the next episode clue before knowing the next episode title. I’m getting good at this…lol.

    When I saw the RAINFOREST book I thought of the green/red myth.

    Like: Thumb up 2

    • WaySeeker says

      Good call, and I was going to write a comment about the rainforest book, you got that first too! Good play, sir. Good play, indeed. hehe

      Like: Thumb up 0

  2. nora says

    I don’t know if that could be important or relevant somehow to this ep (probably not), but there’s a ‘Blight painting’ (first seen in Grey Matters) in Emily’s apartment – around 16 minutes, when she’s argueing with his father.

    Like: Thumb up 3

  3. Underseer says

    Olivia hasn’t climbed into the isolation tank in her underwear this season. I would like to see that happen again, just for the dramatic potential, you understand, no other reason, honestly.


    Well-loved.: Thumb up 10

  4. Annie says

    I like the theory that Olivia will die on March 15th..or at least that something will happen on March 15th.

    If you remember, that is the date that ‘Os’ took place. When Peter is recording his studies of the shapeshifter disks, he says the date is March 15th. This was also the day that the had a case that defied the laws of physics, and the day that Bell ‘came back’ from the dead. So maybe it means something.

    Just a thought.

    Like: Thumb up 3

    • Underseer says

      Interesting point. Peter has speculated that the laws of time have been weakened by his manifestation in this timeline. Perhaps as Walter broke the Universes, Peter has ‘broken’ time.

      Alternatively David Robert Jones will use the amphilicite to break one of the laws of physic on the Ides of March.

      +++Potential spoilers ahead (OK probably not, I’m usually wrong, but just in case I’m not)+++

      As to Olivia’s death, since Peter now seems to have an ability to move through time, perhaps as Olivia did in the original timeline, he’ll learn to control it. And after Olivia is killed, he’ll be able to hop back to stop it.

      While the Observers can see all possible events, Peter may be the unpredictable variable here – since he’s not supposed to exist, perhaps the future they see is only what would happen without his anomalous presence. They can’t ‘see’ him because he’s now from ‘outside time’.

      If true, serves the baldy buggers right for trying to Tippex him out!

      Like: Thumb up 3

      • Underseer says

        Gah! I should read what I’ve written before posting!

        ‘laws of physic’ should be laws of physics.

        “since Peter now seems to have an ability to move through time, perhaps as Olivia did in the original timeline” Obviously I meant not that Olivia could move through time as well, but had a similar ability, to phase between universes.

        Like: Thumb up 2

  5. WaySeeker says

    Because you like clever stretched (P2B) I have another for ya! XD
    When we first see the Fringe Team learning about the extent of the Observers this was started when September witnessed the accident at the construction site involving a CRANE.

    In this episode when this TimeLine version of Fringe are looking at multiple photos of “Observers” it is after we get the 1st incident with the girl that happened on a construction site involving a CRANE!

    Obviously I wrote that horrible, sorry about that, but I hope it makes sense.

    Like: Thumb up 3

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