Prior to the fourth season of Fringe, we compiled our list of 30 unanswered mysteries from the sci-fi serial’s first three seasons. With Season 4 now at a close, we thought it would be interesting to go back to see exactly how many of those mysteries have been answered and which ones continue to mock us with just 13 episodes to go in the fan-favorite story. Find out below.
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[wptabtitle] 30-29[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
30. Why did Broyles send Olivia to the storage facility?
Unanswered: No further insight was coughed up in Season 4, though it’s still possible that he was putting her through her paces, ‘testing’ her as it were.
29. Who was Sanford Harris working for?
Allegorical Answer: This plot element is still somewhat muddy, but if the fourth season is used as an allegory for events in the first, it’s reasonable to assume that Sanford Harris was working for William Bell, as was David Robert Jones — though they may not have known they were working for the same man. While this may never be confirmed one way or the other, it seems the writers were making efforts to retroactively provide an answer.
[wptabtitle] 28-27[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
28. William Bell’s Decoder Key?
Unanswered: Season 4 offered no follow up on Bell’s decoder key.
27. Olivia Predisposed?
Answered: Walter’s early-series reference about Olivia and the other Cortexiphan kids being “predisposed” to something which made them viable candidates for the clinical trials, was answered when Nina tells Olivia that she was hand-selected for the trials due to her huge natural capacity for feeling. In other words, Olivia was immensely compassionate as a child, and we can assume that the other subjects each had heightened traits that made then viable for Bell’s Cortexiphan plans.
[wptabtitle] 26-25[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
26. Detroit What?
Unanswered: As the story did not return to 2026, the mystery concerning what Peter and Broyles “lost in Detroit” remains a mystery.
25. 2026 Broyles’ Eye?
Unanswered: Ditto above, the story didn’t revisit 2026 or provide much in the way of allegory, although we did get a reference to Simon Foster getting ‘new eyes’ in the 2036 episode “Letters of Transit“.
[wptabtitle] 24-22[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
24. Alternate Nina?
Answered: Alt-Nina was finally introduced in Season 4 as the accomplice of David Robert Jones.
23. Altlivia’s Memories Completely Gone from Olivia?
Unanswered: Olivia was not fused with Altlivia’s memories in the new timeline, however, she did regain her original memories thanks to Peter and Cortexiphan. During this time there was no indication that her old memories still contained remnants from her doppelganger.
22. What Became of Brenner?
Unanswered: While Olivia was treated with Cortexiphan in the new timeline, further light was not cast on Brenner’s disappearance following Olivia scorching the day care center room as a little Cotexi-girl.
[wptabtitle] 21-19[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
Unanswered: The significance of the kayak and the word ZENO remains a mystery.
20. Recurring Red Balloon?
Unanswered: No further follow-up or sighting of the curious red balloon was made in Season 4.
19. The Pattern?
Allegorical Answer: The Pattern was given additional context in Season 4. Pattern events illustrated in the first season were directly linked to William Bell in the fourth season. Given that we’re dealing with a new timeline, this doesn’t necessarily mean this was the case in the first chapter of the story, but it does indicate Bellie’s possible intent.
[wptabtitle] 18-17[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
18. Gone Bellie Gone?
Answered: Our question of whether “Bellie [would] become another Man X-type entity – a consciousness embedded inside Olivia’s mind?” was answered right at the death of Season 4, as Bell turned out to be the man behind David Robert Jones’ earth-shattering schemes and the enigmatic Man X, who would be responsible for Olivia’s ‘death’.
17. Number of Observers
Answered, kinda: The fourth season revealed that the Observers seen most commonly throughout the story are scientists from the distant future with code names based on months of the year. A slew of Observers were introduced in the future-visiting “Letters of Transit” episode. So, not answered exactly, but there are lots and lots of them, which is a good enough answer.
[wptabtitle] 16-14[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
16. Little Observer?
Unanswered: No follow up on the little Observer from “Inner Child”, though a fifth season return to the story’s future could yet yield answers on this front.
15. Peter’s Consciousness 2026?
Unanswered: The methods by which Walter drew Peter’s consciousness to 2026 remains open to speculation.
14. Sam Weiss?
Unanswered: The Sam Weiss storyline was completely benched in Season 4. There are said to be “no plans” to bring the character back. Looks like fans may have seen the last of Samuel Weiss.
[wptabtitle] 13-12[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
13. The Beacon?
Answered: The Beacon is a.. beacon. It enabled September to find the right universe after the other Observers hid it from him as punishment for helping Peter return to the timeline. How this ties in with its appearance in “The Arrival” remains to be seen, but given the nature of past, present and future essentially occurring at the same time for the Observers, it’s not ridiculous to think that this aspect of the mystery can be explained in Season 5.
12. Green/Red Sequence?
Unanswered: The green/red color sequence reappeared on many occasions throughout the fourth season but no specific explanation as for their meaning has been divulged.
[wptabtitle] 11-9[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
11. Who Took The Boom-Boom-Machine Back In Time?
Unanswered: No follow-up on this mystery due to the new timeline focus and the BBM rarely featuring (side from a few moments).
10. Who Created The Machine?
Answered: Upon emerging in the new timeline, Peter confirms that Walter built the Machine. Not all fans are happy with this answer because there’s seemingly no explanation as to how Peter came to know this. It seems like this is the show’s way of letting the audience know their intended answer to this mystery without really explaining it. Peter may be unreliable, but we can take this as an answer for now.
9. Rogue Observers?
Possibly Answered: There’s a whole heap of totalitarian Observers coming in the story’s future, could they be related to the possible Rogue Observer John Mosley, seen in “The Arrival”? It’s also worth noting that technically, September himself went ‘rogue’ when going against the orders of his fellow Observers in order to reunite Peter with his loved ones. By no means a full answer, but we seem to be getting there.
[wptabtitle] 8-7[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
Answered: Man X is William Bell. In “Brave New World: Part 1”, it was revealed that Bell was the designer of the nanite compound bearing the X signature — the same that Man X was seen wearing in 3.19. Therefore, Man X was the representation of Bell that Olivia’s mind projected.
7. How Many Time-Loops?
Unanswered: Time-loops were touched on in Season 4, particularly in the episode “And Those We’ve Left Behind,” but the number of cycles our heroes have travelled was not answered. It remains to be seen if this a question the writers want to tackle.
[wptabtitle] 6-4[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
6. Observer Objectives?
Answered: The Observers are here to Observe their beginnings. However, due to September’s naivete, they went about their plan to erase Peter to correct the timeline, to put things back to how they were supposed to be. The invading Observers seen in “Letters of Transit” apparently have other, more aggressive goals.
5. Observer Origins
Answered: The Observers are from the distant future. Their abilities are based on future technology. “Making Angels“, “The End Of All Things” and “Brave New World: Part 2” provide helpful explanation of this.
4.. Is Peter?
Answered: Yes, Peter exists following his disappearance in the BBM. While the fourth season didn’t explain where he went, it was illustrated that he was brought into the new timeline courtesy of Olivia/Walter’s subconscious love for him and the Cortexiphan energy dispersed by Cameron James.
[wptabtitle] 3-1[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
3. Who is the Narrator?
Unanswered: No real follow-up, though September does serve as an exposition guide for Peter in “The End of All Things” and we do get an opening crawl in “Letters of Transit”.
2. Science or Faith?
Unanswered: As it probably should be. However, the fourth season offered continued food for thought on this front.
1. New Timeline Motivations
Answered: We’re led to believe that differences in the new timeline are predicated on Peter’s death in Reiden Lake, coupled by the different choices that stemmed from this circumstance. As for Walter’s motivation for “shattering” Walternate’s universe, this was the same as the original timeline — his Peter died, so he tried to save/kidnap alt-Peter.
[wptabtitle] RESULTS[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
- Unanswered: 16
- Answered: 11
- Other: 3
In terms of pure numbers, that’s not bad for a season’s journey. It we add the partial/other answers to the ‘anwered’ list it’s almost a 50/50 split between resolved mysteries and those that remain open. There are certainly some open questions from this list that could use answering before the series ends — as well as additional questions that have been raised in Season 4. Likewise, there are some unanswered mysteries are not overly important to the satisfying resolution of the story. What say you?
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