FRINGE OBSERVATIONS: 4.16 Nothing As It Seems

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Welcome to Fringe Observations — your weekly guide to the clues and connections throughout all four seasons of Fringe. This week, we comb through “Nothing As It Seems” for the story within the story.

THIS EPISODE CLUE

  • The clue hidden in the previous episode foreshadowing the porcupine mutates in this episode, was indeed the porcupine calendar seen in September’s apartment.
DR. ANDERSON, I PRESUME

  • Olivia has a session with Dr. Anderson, the doppelganger of the Red World therapist from “Olivia.” She’s wearing red-framed glasses as a nod.
  • The theme of the two sessions contrast somewhat. Over there, Olivia defiantly held on to her memories. Here, she’s willing to forget the details of her life.
CON-RADICAL

  • In the original timeline, John Scott failed to take out Conrad Moreau, the scientist behind the designer virus.
  • In this timeline, Conrad died 5 years ago in a car crash. It seems Scott got his man this time around.
LETTERS OF TRANSFORMATION

  • A look at Bowman’s letter in this timeline illustrates that he was fascinated yet wary of travelling in the “uncharted waters”.
  • The tone of his letter was different in the previous timeline, where he noted the ‘danger’ of such advancements. As we know, he was trying to stop the movement of the virus but was unwittingly dosed.
OBSERVING THE OBSERVER

  • The Observer can be seen walking down the street before Olivia, Peter and Lincoln investigate Daniel Hicks’ house.
THE OUTSIDER

  • Peter asks Markham for “Lake of the Long Sun” by Gene Wolfe — a reference that helps inform David Robert Jones’ guided creation of new species. Here’s an outline:

The saga begins with the attempt of Silk, a young priest, to save his manteion (the equivalent of a neighborhood church and school) from being destroyed by a ruthless crime lord. Silk soon, however, becomes a revolutionary leader and prophet as he learns more about his world (a vast generation ship called the whorl): its origins and fate, and the nature of the pantheon of gods he worships. Silk soon learns to distrust those gods and grows to revere the supposedly minor god known as The Outsider, who has provided him with enlightenment.

CHESS MATE

  • Lincoln makes for a good chess partner, but are all his pieces on the board?
HICK UP

  • Daniel Hicks and his partner – both believers in Jones guided evolution. In the old timeline, Hicks was unwittingly dosed with the virus, but the Fringe team prevented him from transforming.
  • Like Bowman, he represents the fine lines that hinge (largely) on Peter’s existence and Jones’ resolve.
REBIRTH

  • One of several looks at the “rebirth or renewal” symbol that Jones is using in association with his guided evolution project.

  • This connects with one of the more obscure Jones references from Season 1 — the “infinity” symbol briefly seen in “Dreamscape” and again in “Safe,” as he teleported to Little Hill.
  • His philosophy may have detoured slightly, depending on how you want to view rebirth vs infinity.
So Cyc

  • A couple of cyclical references visually reinforce Jones’ human ‘renewal and rebirth’ plans.
THE ARC OF JONES

  • Bowman’s sister and her friend are willing “to be born anew. The two of us, together. We can be children of the new world.” And so it goes..

  • As mentioned in our review, this provides an allegory for what Jones may have been planning in Season 1 through his ZFT cells and “The Pattern.”

  • Adam and Eve, Serpent god, Celestial ship and Noah’s arc references (throughout the episode) all help convey the actual (and seriable) arc of David Robert Jones.
OBSERVATIONS OVERFLOW
  • Vertis Flight 718 plays into the overarching time-loop concept and illustrates how some events have been pushed to different points in the timeline as a result of Peter’s death.
  • Olivia’s grandfather was called Eddie. Not THAT Eddie.
  • ‘a better species” vs ‘a better human being.’ Hmm.
  • “Science delivers these tools and mankind gains dominion over all he surveys.”
  • The glyph code for this episode spelled FUTURE.

Previously on Fringe Observations: 4.15 “A Short Story About Love”

 

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Comments

  1. mlj102 says

    “The LDP Institute is in Beacon Hill on the 12th floor — Beacon Hill is where Jones teleported when he escaped from the Wissenschaft prison (“Safe”).”

    You mean, Little Hill, right? Unless, of course, Little Hill is located in the area known as Beacon Hill, which I wouldn’t know.

    Beacon Hill, however, has been referenced in the past, in Inner Child (perhaps foreshadowing a return to that storyline?) and Snakehead (again, maybe a subtle reference to the worm creature featured in that episode and briefly seen here).

    I do hope they return to Little Hill at some point. I always thought there must be some significance to that particular place, as it was so prominently featured and that it seemed there was a reason why that was the place Jones was able to transport to…

    Like: Thumb up 1

  2. ?? says

    Is that the same ship from the first episode of the season? the one the surviving shapeshifter went to (pretty asian-ish girl)

    Like: Thumb up 3

  3. edgesight says

    I watched both episodes side by side, (The Transformation and this one) and noticed the Bowman asked for sedatives and weapons (only a taser on the plane) in the former which goes along with his letter in that episode about his fear of the change. In this episode he only asked for sedatives since he was accepting the change, although not quite yet.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  4. HSA says

    Wow! If you do not read this, you are missing much of the detail, complexity and layering that make Fringe unique and wonderful. Kudos to the writers.

    Like: Thumb up 3

  5. edgesight says

    In the beginning of the episode, just inside the plane, on the wall in front of the first passengers is a picture of Obama that says 2012 Election Coverage. This is shown so that we know it is present day instead of 5 years ago when the original scene happened. On the episode The Transformation, it is only a poster for the airline on that wall. In the subsequent scenes in this episode, that wall is shown again but it is the same poster from the old episode. Partly a set error and the Obama picture goes by so quick that no one would even notice.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  6. edgesight says

    I checked Google for the “sleeping indian defense” that Walter mentions near the end but I only found the King’s indian defense. Maybe the next episode clue.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  7. jade86 says

    All these “rebirth” references made me think Peter’s rebirth at Reiden Lake. I wonder if Peter is somehow behind what was written in ZFT and Jones’s plans.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  8. Brian says

    Ok, I know these are so old now. I hope people are still around, keeping the love for what Fringe was alive. Even if they aren’t, at least I can.

    “Peter asks Markham for “Lake of the Long Sun” by Gene Wolfe — a reference that helps inform David Robert Jones’ guided creation of new species. Here’s an outline:

    The saga begins with the attempt of Silk, a young priest, to save his manteion (the equivalent of a neighborhood church and school) from being destroyed by a ruthless crime lord. Silk soon, however, becomes a revolutionary leader and prophet as he learns more about his world (a vast generation ship called the whorl): its origins and fate, and the nature of the pantheon of gods he worships. Silk soon learns to distrust those gods and grows to revere the supposedly minor god known as The Outsider, who has provided him with enlightenment.”

    I never knew this was based on a real sci-fi book. I am just wondering, how many spotted the parallel’s between DRJs (Swoon!) journey and that of Mr. William Bell, especially in season 4?

    “The saga begins with the attempt of Jones, a younger scientist, to save his universe from being destroyed by an interdemisionasl war. Jones soon becomes a revolutionary leader and prophet as he learns more of the truth about both universes. As well as there origins and fate, and the nature of the truths he once worshipped. Jones soon learns to distrust what was once truth and grows to revere his mentor (god) William Bell, who has provided him with enlightenment.”

    Like: Thumb up 1

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