FRINGE OBSERVATIONS: 4.21 Brave New World: Part 1


In this edition of Fringe Observations, we Brave New Worlds in search for clues and connections from the first part of the Fringe Season 4 finale.


  • The Observer can be seen standing by the ambulance at the scene of the nanotech attack.

  • William Bell’s nanotech attack is foreshadowed earlier in the season during Nina’s talk about the potential dangers of nanotechnology not being Massive Dynamic’s concern, and her quip about owning the patents (“Subject 9“).

  • Olivia uses her ability to stop Jessica from exploding. She performed a similar feat in “The Road Not Taken”; helping an activated Nancy Lewis to focus her energy, which she does.. on Sandford Harris, who goes up in flames.

  • The “Light of the World” church sign seems specifically framed, and lends itself to religious themes running throughout the series, in which both Olivia and Peter have been seen as ‘saviour’ type figures. Moreover, it may lend itself to Bellie’s use of the sun as a destructive force (though it remains to be seen if that was a one-off plot device).

  • So, we find out that Bellie is in some shape or form connected to the enigmatic Man X, first seen in the animated episode. The same figure who Olivia believed would kill her. This development opens up a whole red zeppelin of possibilities.
  • With Man X linked to Bellie, it’s seems possible that he will be the one to ‘kill’ Olivia, either directly or indirectly. (I do wonder whether Olivia’s new-found abilities will come into play in that regard).

  • While there may be another answer, it’s possible that Man X was Olivia’s subconscious interpretation of the nanites due to Bellie inhabiting her body.
  • There’s also the question of whether Olivia saw ‘Man X’ as a threat because it was always Bellie’s intention to harm her using nanites, irrespective of the timeline. Or, because her unique ability gave her access into this specific timeline where her Man X-related demise awaits.

  • It’s also worth noting that Man X didn’t know who Peter was during their encounter in the old timeline, which lines up with Peter dying as a child in the new timeline, where Bellie wouldn’t necessarily recognize him as an adult.
  • What we do know in relative certainty (take that with a pinch of salt) is that Bellie’s nanites should pose a deathly threat to Olivia. Whether Man X is Bell, a metaphor for Bell’s threat, or some related element, remains to be seen.

  • William Bell has some familiar objects in his office — the golden sundial and his signifier, the bell. As we know, the bell was used to trigger Olivia’s soul magnets. The sundial gets a bit more context now that Bellie has used the sun’s rays as a weapon.

  • Some nice mirroring with Walter’s opening scene in the pilot — one of my favorite moments, when he turns round and says: “I knew someone would come...eventually.” It lent itself to the notion that he retained more knowledge about Olivia’s arrival than even he was aware. Of course, this concept grew in context as the story continued.

  • Another nice moment, as we get new insight into what was Walter’s ‘hidden perspective’ as Olivia stood at the door.

  • The Bishop is now on the other side, looking in. Just as the Dunhamnator once was when she came to scoop him up and put him back into play as a far more valuable piece.

  • Regenerating Cortexiphan — and perhaps not a moment too soon, with a couple of Fringe Division agents either in mortal peril, or about to be.

  • Evidence that William Bell (aka Dr. Simon Paris) did indeed visit Walter at St. Claire’s on New Year’s Eve.

  • Once again Peter puts the slice on the Special One.

  • Possible clue for the next episode is the EDEN sign, in reference to the religious themes connected to Bell’s seeming attempt to create a brave new world — his own Garden of Eden.
  • Etta is ‘foreshadowed’ with Olivia and Peter’s nursery talk.
  • For a moment I considered that Jessica’s 4-year old would wind up being Etta, but that doesn’t seem to line up.
  • Astrid confesses that she likes to mother hen Walter, which seems like a nod to the old timeline where they shared a closer relationship.
  • Walter mentions his uncle Heinrich.
  • Walter asks Jessica if she’s part of an alien invasion, perhaps a ‘show nod’ to the upcoming Observer invasion.
  • Jessica tells Olivia: “if you ever need help getting to the head of the line in an ER.” This might just be a throw-away line, but could also be foreshadowing, given Olivia’s apparent demise.
  • Bellie says its been about 20 years since his last move on the chess board.
  • The confirmation of the DRJ/Bellie axis seems to serve as an allegory for the Season 1 Cortexiphan arc. Bell’s chess analogy might further imply that Jones and Harris (which has long been a rather confusing plot element) didn’t know they were both on the ‘same side’. It’s still up in the air, however.
  • Walter recognized the handy work of Bellie in this episode (the “X” symbol). In  the old timeline he recognized the signature of his grandfather, Robert Bischoff (the seahorse).
  • Walter uncovers Bellie’s fingerprints on the log page. In “Letters of Transit” he removed Bellie’s hand from the amber — because he needs his fingerprints to access something important?
  • Bellie powered the sunbeam attack via an underground oil reservoir at Beacon Hill. If memory serves, Beacon Hill is referenced in “Inner Child”, “Snake Head”, “Wallflower”, and “Nothing As it Seems”.
  • The title “Brave New World” is borrowed from the novel by Aldous Huxley and lends itself to William Bell’s scientific ambitions (and possibly signpost’s the upcoming, possible, Observer take-over).
  • The glyph for this episode spelled “POWERS” .

Previously on Fringe Observations: 4.20 “Worlds Apart”

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  1. Lincless says

    Something else:
    “Heinrich is a male given name or surname of Germanic origin. Equivalents in other languages are Henry (English), Hendrik (Dutch), Hinnerk (Low German), Enrico (Italian), Henri (French), Enrique (Spanish), Enric (Catalan), and Henrique (Portuguese).”
    Heinrich, Henry, Henrietta….

    Like: Thumb up 6

    • TW says

      I thought it would be cool if Henrietta was named after Henry Jacobs …. Olivia’s friend in the original timeline who was at the first Beacon sighting lol :-) But alas …

      Like: Thumb up 0

  2. Scott42444 says

    I believe, and this is just a small clarification, that Bell says it has been 20 years since his last move, not 40. I could be wrong, though.

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • Scott42444 says

      Wow, good call on that Observer spot. I was convinced that the Observer wasn’t in this episode. I mean, it is almost impossible to see him. Even when they show a closer view as Walter is walking into the Sprint commercial, the Observer is gone. It only appears at a distance at that wide angle shot.

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    • says

      I believe, and this is just a small clarification, that Bell says it has been 20 years since his last move, not 40.

      @Scott42444 – thanks for the tip — I trust you’re right. I’ll go back and check later.

      also @starman.

      Like: Thumb up 1

  3. Scott42444 says

    Also, the episode when the science experiment was killing strippers/prostitutes for their pituitary glands was located in a warehouse with the address of 1600, wasn’t that also the address of where Bellie’s warehouse is located?

    Like: Thumb up 1

  4. starman says

    I thought Bell said it was 20 years since his last move, which would make more sense than 40 years, but I can’t be certain since the sound was a bit unclear.

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • Scott42444 says

      That’s what I just said, and we are right. I just went back and checked. “For this particular move…20 years”

      Like: Thumb up 0

  5. Charlie says

    The light of the world sign is also known as the Beginning and the End sign, Alpha and Omega, first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • fedorafadares says

      Yes and the alpha/omega with the chi-rho also signify Jesus’s birth and resurrection in Christianity.

      Like: Thumb up 1

  6. Ian S. says

    I haven’t seen anyone else point this out yet, but that room at St. Claire’s is obviously not the same one that walter was in before. The door opens a different way, and the desk is different too.

    Like: Thumb up 0

      • Scott42444 says

        I agree. I think that is more mistake than plot point. Also, the Massive Dynamic building is different in the Pilot, but I think it just a filming permit issue. That Massive Dynamic building in the pilot, and Nina’s office, is awesome in the pilot.

        Like: Thumb up 1

        • James says

          I’m not suggesting you’re confused, but if you’re thinking that Nina’s office we’ve seen in Season Four is at Massive Dynamic, it’s actually at the Bridge.

          Like: Thumb up 0

          • Scott42444 says

            No, I wasn’t thinking that. But you are absolutely right. I was just thinking more along the lines of her office and the building in the pilot is much different than the Massive Dynamic building and her office in the other seasons. But, it does make sense that she would be at the bridge with most of the action happening there this season. Plus, now they have so much more room now that Peter just got rid of half of the stuff.

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  7. Aria Mohtadi says

    Great observations, Roco.

    I didn’t notice the X on the nanobots at all! Interesting…

    “John Noble’s daughter Samantha Noble played Dr. Benlo.”

    So Walter’s closing line makes sense now:
    “I must say, you’re much prettier than your predecessor.” 😀

    Like: Thumb up 5

  8. Dave Thompson says

    The sign on the church also symbolizes “Victory over death”

    I think there’s more than 1 next-ep clue here…

    Like: Thumb up 3

  9. fedorafadares says

    It just occurred to me in your “overflow” that real-life Beacon Hill (currently where the State House sits) was originally the site of a warning “beacon” that would alert residents to an enemy invasion in pre-Revolutionary times.

    Now the tie-in with the Observers’ “beacon” seems even cooler!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  10. TW says

    That scene with the nanite-victims that the Observer showed up in here in this epi …. reminds me of the scene in TDWD where Olivia and everyone is strewn about from a blast, and the “Only September” clue is shown to us.

    Like: Thumb up 2

  11. WhiskyGeorge says

    The theories on Man X are interesting, but you need to know. Ulrich Thomsen is actually a fairly big star in Europe.

    He’s too big of a name to merely be “Olivia’s subconscious interpretation” of something. You can bet he’ll return in full form.

    Like: Thumb up 3

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