FRINGE OBSERVATIONS: 4.11 Making Angels

fringe-obs-making-angels


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 “Making Angels” for the story within the story.

EPISODE CLUE

  • As speculated, the foreshadowing clue from the previous episode was the thrift store sign and angel symbol, in reference to Neil’s religious quest to save those whose futures amounted to great suffering.
LIFE’S A BEACH

  • A juxtaposition of contrasting states (paradise/death).
TEARS OF RA

  • The episode contained a few nods to 1.06 “The Cure,” particularly in relation to the eye bleeding.
ADDICTED TO BLUE

  • Universe toggle lens a hand.
PLAYING WALTER

  • In the absence of Lincoln, Walter plays chess against himself, as he doesn’t think Peter’s much of a challenge. Symbolism?
MARCH OF THE OBSERVERS

  • Some more insight into the Observers ability to pass through time and space. If you look closely you can see the frame of the glass expand and then retract as March passes through.
TECH IT IF YOU REALLY WANT

  • A close look at the now familiar Observer communication device. March is presumably talking to December, re-raising the question: are all previous communications to December, or a ‘big boss’ of some kind?
DETECTIVE MARCH

  • Neil was able to mix the mythical poison because he had September’s dimensional device (we’re calling it the flatliner), which allowed him to see the future.
  • Walter describes the flatliner as giving a person “God-like powers.” So, rather than an ‘innate’ attribute of the Observers, this future-seeing ability is achieved through a piece of technology. (though, as we know, the Observers are more highly attuned than normal humans).
FLATLINERS

  • As contrasted by the caps above, the flatliner device glows when in close proximity to someone whose future doesn’t look so bright. (there’s also a number 47 reference above for you Bad Robot Number-holics).
A LINE UNDER LINEAR

  • Neil reiterates the true nature of time on Fringe:

“There is no future, no past. Everything happens, right now”.

  • His ‘angel making’ spray-gun also offers a nod to the show’s blue/red color code.
HE CAN TRANSFORM YOU

  • The autopsy scene is somewhat reminiscent of the one from 1.13 The Transformation.
POSSIBLE NEC

  • Possible next episode clues?
FUTURE SCOPE

  • Nice reflective shots to silently mirror Neil’s ability to see the future.
TALK BOT

  • Neil empathetically predicts what his mother is going to say. An ability we’ve seen the Observers display on a number occasions.
  • This scene is important because Neil is not holding the flatliner at this time, yet is still able to predict his mothers words. This might ‘explain’ why we’ve not previously seen the Observers holding the flatliner while seeing/predicting the future.

  • Intriguingly, this ability is mimicked as Walter remotely observes Peter pre-empting his comments. A similar thing happens between the two Astrids.
  • Is this purely to parallel the Observers ability, or does it inform a larger idea — one that implies that the Observers are avatars?
REIDEN LAKE ACTION

A very nice ‘internalising’ shot of Peter looking at the scene of the crime — Reiden Lake. So much happened here.

TWIN PEAKS

  • Another reflective shot, highlighting the significance of Peter and his double in Fringestory. It also foreshadows the reveal that Neil was a twin. His brother died in a card accident. Like Peter, Neil was the sole survivor.
OBSERVATION OVERFLOW
  • Astrid is wearing a blue top while Altstrid has red highlights in her hair — as per the show’s thematic color coding system for the two universes.
  • Olivia says that everyone has someone who wants to kill them. A nod to both Man X and her deathly warning from September (which could be one in the same).
  • Walter calls Altlivia Mata Hari in reference to her espionage. Of course, he made the same reference in season 3.
  • Altstrid references Deus Ex Machina. The notion of a plot device can also relate to Peter, the BBM, and a number of other elements that have entered the storyline from the ether.
  • Altstrid points out that Astrid is “summoning” Walter remotely. Conjures images in my mind of Walter as some kind of mythical deity in an RPG game.
  • The episode seems to hint towards an attraction between Altlivia and Walter/nate. With Peter not in the equation at the time, who experienced the vagenda?
  • Jarred Collins: “Call me back when you get a personality I can deal with.” Sounds like a nod to multiple reality concepts.
  • The alternate universe doesn’t have Logan International Airport. They also don’t appear to have TSA screening.
  • Neil’s TSA badge was 0047 — yet another 47 reference.
  • Neil’s ability to see past, present and future expands on Emily’s ability to see the deathly futures in the previous episode. Concept building like the days of old?
  • Collins wearing the head brace reminded me of the halo and the mini Observer.
  • Olivia picks the lock of Neil’s beach house, which is a cute touch given her and Peter’s lock-picking backstory.
  • Olivia notes Neil’s gallery of saviours. Olivia was said to be the saviour in the parallel Earth war. Peter has also risen to such lofty status, within the Fringe mythology.
  • Olivia ties up the procedural with a pretty ribbon, explaining that Neil couldn’t kill himself otherwise he wouldn’t be allowed into heaven, before telling Peter that “as long as you’re stuck here, you make a good partner.” Seems like a nod, nod to the ‘saviour’ theme.
  • The glyph code for this episode was EMPATH — which is basically what Neil became (also informs the Observers ability). For a refresh on this concept rewatch the season 1 episode “Inner Child” or take a look at our previous thoughts on the episode.

 Previously on Fringe Observations: 4.10 “Forced Perspective

Comments

  1. says

    Wow! Incredible post, Roco. I NEVER think this deeply about Fringe, I just really enjoy the interactions between the characters and let the storyline carry me where it will. That said, I loved the insight and conspiracy in the post – amazing work!

    Like: Thumb up 3

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words, Gerard. The show can be appreciated on many levels, so nothing wrong with just enjoying the interactions!

      Like: Thumb up 1

  2. david says

    I don’t think your correct on the device. I think that he did figure out the equations and having that ability he saw the past present and future of the area around his lake house, he saw that September dropped the device in the past so new where to pick it up. the device is just a high tech weapon, he probably had it along in case peter survived but wasn’t supposed too. He watched, peter drowned, he didn’t need the device, he didn’t want it, he lost it.

    your usually spot on but i’d bet money your wrong about this one! :)

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • says

      david, are you referring to March or Neil?

      OK, I think you’re referring to Neil and September? You could be right, the flatliner might enhance the Observers pre-existing ability. That would be interesting to know.

      Like: Thumb up 1

  3. Schwakamole says

    In regards to the flatliner device, they note that September lost it in 1985 but he obviously still carries the ability to know past/present/future. So I wonder if it, in a sense, opens a door in their mind that once open, never closes. As you noted, Neil did not need to be holding the flatliner to be doing the famous double-speak. So had he lived, would he go bald and start liking spicy things?

    I also thought that the bench in the beginning showing the word Paradise might be the next episode clue.

    Great observations, Roco!

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • says

      “So I wonder if it, in a sense, opens a door in their mind that once open, never closes. As you noted, Neil did not need to be holding the flatliner to be doing the famous double-speak.”

      That sounds about right, Schwakamole. I also get the sense that since they see time as a convergence, in many respects, losing the flatliner in 1985 is somewhat similar to losing it a second ago, which might also explain the ‘door’ being open.

      I also thought that the bench in the beginning showing the word Paradise might be the next episode clue.
      Definitely worth a shout, thanks for sharing!

      Like: Thumb up 1

  4. Sofia says

    Great observations, Roco! Always amazing!

    About “The alternate universe doesn’t have Logan International Airport. They also don’t appear to have TSA screening”

    I’m not familiar with American airport procedures, but I know that since the attack to the WTC, they did increase security, specially in airports. Maybe that’s why in the alternate universe, where the twin towers are still there, they don’t have this concern and TSA.

    Do you think that it’s possible that the boy in “Inner Child” could be September, and that’s why he has this bond with our team? We know that space/time is not a problem for the observers. And in a time travel or time foreshadowing, if you see the past or go to the past, you’ll see yourself as child, like he did at the end of the episode…

    But I think that I’m just crazy, I’ll stay with my theory that the First People (Walter and the others) made the observers in the future, a evolution of the shapeshifters, capable to escort the machine through time, so the FP could make sure that what should happen, will happen. Only observing, but sometimes putting them on the right direction.

    Like: Thumb up 4

    • says

      “I’m not familiar with American airport procedures, but I know that since the attack to the WTC, they did increase security, specially in airports. Maybe that’s why in the alternate universe, where the twin towers are still there, they don’t have this concern and TSA.”

      Yeah, it definitely seems like a consequence of the different choices that were made on that day. It’s interesting to see how it all interconnects.

      “Do you think that it’s possible that the boy in “Inner Child” could be September, and that’s why he has this bond with our team? We know that space/time is not a problem for the observers. And in a time travel or time foreshadowing, if you see the past or go to the past, you’ll see yourself as child, like he did at the end of the episode…”

      I’d be surprised if he’s not September or the the fabled January Observer. As you note, the time-loop and time-flux scenarios make it work workable. Whether they come back to it remains to be seen, but at the time I think they had him earmarked as a potential September/Jan.

      “But I think that I’m just crazy, I’ll stay with my theory that the First People (Walter and the others) made the observers in the future, a evolution of the shapeshifters, capable to escort the machine through time, so the FP could make sure that what should happen, will happen. Only observing, but sometimes putting them on the right direction.”

      I wouldn’t rule that out. I think it would make sense if the FPies had something to do with the deployment of the Observers — the FP conceit makes it all the more possible. Nice ideas Sofia!

      Like: Thumb up 3

  5. He_knows_not says

    Well done sir. As far as the device and how , if the show lasts long enough, Neil relates to it, it may be showing how the Observers were created in the first place. Even though it was September’s device, it may just be another paradox. Especially when you consider that the BBM still exists in the first place.And the last scene too. I think this episode was to raise more questions than answer them. It was great. They’re writing as if they’ll keep going after this season, and still showing the difference between the other universe and the one seen now. A lot of things have to be answered, but I believe that they’ll try to do so by the end of this season, especially since they know it may be the end. Maybe they’ll explain it, maybe they won’t; but they’ve still did a better job of any other not-new show of anyone for one fact: they dare. Fringe dares to cross the line. And it’s desperately needed. Quality actors with quality stories… It may not always be what we want it to, but fans of an actual story should love it. Despite it’s flaws. Thank you.

    Like: Thumb up 5

  6. FringeCharacter says

    The lost/discarded flatliner explains why September needed to build a device “to erase someone from time,” rather than using his standard-issue gizmo. Also, the flatliner seems to be trackable by other observers. Did September go off-the-grid, like Alstrid in this episode?

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  7. Zara says

    “The episode seems to hint towards an attraction between Altlivia and Walter/nate. With Peter not in the equation at the time, who experienced the vagenda?”

    Like: Thumb up 0

  8. Zara says

    “The episode seems to hint towards an attraction between Altlivia and Walter/nate. With Peter not in the equation at the time, who experienced the vagenda?”

    I think you may be right about the possible relationship between Walter and Altlivia. In the ‘previously on Fringe’ section if you listen closely you can here that Walter says “and I fell right into her vagenda,” instead of “and HE fell right into her vagenda,” meaning Peter.

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