FRINGE: Subject 13 and the Tip-off

How ironic that Olive should go running to the “Safety Czar” in her time of need. Actually, irony has nothing to do with it.

One of the most interesting reveals to come from Subject 13 was Walternate’s face-to-face with young Olivia. It was her heartfelt plea, after unwittingly stumbling between universes, that answered his inexplicable mystery; informing him of the whereabouts of his son, Peter.

How interesting that years later Walternate should capture that very same girl as an adult. He was right when he  lamented his short-sightedness, he should have considered Peter’s attachment to her.

It’s interesting to imagine events through Walternate’s eyes and consider how young Olivia’s accidental tip-off shaped his perspective of the other side and in-turn, his own world. I imagine it went a little something like this:

 

  • Young Olivia unwittingly crosses over to the other universe, where she tells Walternate about her stepfather abusing her and seeing the blimps “in the sky in the other universe”. She leaves behind her Imagination Book, with a picture she drew of her and Peter.
  • Walternate puts 4 and 7 together and realizes that the girl is from another universe and knows his son. Finally, he knows where Peter is, who took him, and why!
  • He informs Eliznate, tells her to whip up some bacon, and sets out on the long road to retrieve his son.
  • He does further research (much of it hush-hush) into the alternate universe and all things quantum, with the knowledge that another world exists. Yet he doesn’t know how Olivia travelled between universes – he would not find this out until meeting back up with Olivia as an adult.
  • At some point after the tip-off, he looks into Red World Olivia but doesn’t directly involve himself in her life.
  • Frustrated in his efforts to cross universes safely, he creates the shapeshifters, hybrids who can withstand the dangerous journey between worlds – or rather, William Bell creates them for him. (somewhat spec).
  • The shapeshifters serve as sleepers, secret spies, gathering information on the Blue World, Peter, Walter, while trying to find safe methods for humans to cross between worlds. With their help, in particular his head boy Thomas Jerome Newton, Walternate discovers that the fabric of the universe is more conducive to being opened on Walter’s side, since that’s where the ‘first’ crack was made.
  • He eventually leaves science behind to become Secretary Of Defense (though he’s still a scientist, Brandon). This gives him greater resources to fulfill his personal goal, however he genuinely believes that his world is under threat from the ‘invaders’ from the other side. He knows himself better than anyone, knows what he is capable of – yet HE would not steal a child, so his double MUST surely be a monster. This, in part, is his thinking.
  • Over the years his influence increases and his world becomes a reflection of his internal – crumbling at the seams but held together by amber – a man frozen in time, never giving up on his son, but losing hope of mending what has been ‘irreparably broken’.
  • In 1995 writes and publishes his side’s version of ZFT: “Natural Decay Of Our World”. A half-truth, a cover story in a bid to obscure the truth about the existence of an alternate universe. He doesn’t want anyone scuppering his plans to get his boy back.
  • At some point, head boy Newton loses his..head. Perhaps this was an intentional part of Walternate’s strategy, protecting the important information inside Newton’s sheep-filled mind, until he was ready to wake up him and put his knowledge to use.

That’s just a very general outline – I haven’t tried to put it into a tight timeline as that’s not the purpose of this article. I wanted to give an illustration of how this one tip-off from our very own Dunhamnator triggered a chain of events within a chain of event, and what those events consisted of, from Walternate’s perspective.

A few additional considerations:

  • Walternate and William Bell. We know that they worked together in some capacity, with Bellie later claiming that he cooperated with Walternate to keep an eye on him. I would like to know more on this, because while Bellie has been ‘redeemed’ by the story, he still has lots of ‘splaining to do if you ask me!
  • Could it be that one of the reasons Walternate took so long to discover how Olivia traveled between worlds is because he didn’t have Red World William Bell by his side? Had Bellienate not died, he may well have created Cortexiphan like Blue World Bellie. This helps illustrate what taking such a massive player out of the equation does.
  • Interesting that Walternate shouldn’t involve himself more in Altlivia’s life – at least not directly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he played a background role, though. I would find it really interesting if it turns out that her ‘sparkle-sparkle’ is largely the result of Walternate removing her stepfather from the equation shortly after hearing Olivia’s testimonial. Of course, assuming all things were equal in the stepfather regard.
  • I think there are people over there who know/suspect the existence of an alternate universe (check Lincoln’s response just before Walternate told the AU Fringe Team about it in 2.21). I suspect that Walternate’s position goes some way to protecting his interests.
  • Walternate really should have considered Olivia’s role in Peter’s life more than he did. Though I wonder if it’s a bit of a contrivance? After all, not only was she the one who drew the picture of her and Peter together, but he had hybrid sleeper agents laying down the Salt for him. Didn’t they tell him about POlivia’s blossoming relationship, or were they caught rather off guard by the whole thing? I also find it funny because that’s now Newton and Walternate who have underestimated Olivia in some capacity.
  • I wonder if the idea to kill Olivia (“Entrada”) came from Brandonate and not Walternate because he still saw her as that child who gave him the keys to the Blue Door? Not that he wasn’t going to go ahead with it once the idea was planted, but perhaps there was an in-built gratitude towards Olivia, within the confines of a wartime ruthlessness?

I think that will do for now. If you have any thoughts to add, feel free to add to the pot!

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Comments

  1. William Bishop says

    Very nice post, even thought it’s not a timeline it still helps making things a little more clear, but I think you should add this (somethings I’m just supposing): Somewhere between the tip-off and 2010, Walternate due to his researches finds out about the existence of the First People and their almost-mythological machine “The Vaccum” (a.k.a. Boom-Boom Machine) that can be used to destroy the blue universe and this way have his revenge against Walter, he also finds out about the connection between his son and the machine (which should be explained this season) and starts to look for the parts of it, under some excuse of scientific discover, or national-security threat.
    Well, this may be a little big and built out of supposicions, but it’s still has some connection to “the tip off”.

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    • says

      WB: The list is definitely open for additional items to help flesh it out, so thanks for putting the FP/BBM forward!

      As you mention, it’s interesting to consider when and how Walternate found out about the FP and BBM. I’m also interested to know exactly what he knows about them and how this knowledge, in particular, has shaped his handling of the Peter situation.

      I mean, this is his son who is somehow linked to this ancient machine, and ‘just happens’ (heh) to be at the root of an inter-reality custody battle. Who engineered all of this? Who manipulated the web of fate to help bring this about?

      Sam Weiss..can we trust ye?

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  2. says

    Nice work Detective Roco. (Or is it Detective Inspector?) I am most interested in the Bellie/Walter dynamic of both Universi. (New word.)

    Walternate is fast becoming a sympathetic character (something I will write about myself later). But I still see him a a war criminal. A war criminal in the sense that he is the intellectual author behind all the efforts against the Blue universe. Altlivia is a war criminal because she executed a man in cold blood during the “Box” episode. Therefore Walternate is culpable for her crimes. This is all predicated that they actually declared war on the Blue side. I couldn’t tell you when and where or even if they actually verbalized it. But even if they didn’t should the Blue side become victorious they would write the history and declare them as such. And, yes, if you apply this logic to Peter he could be declared a war criminal also. (Although if tried in court, I bet our side would defend Peter by saying shape-shifters aren’t human.)

    I elucidate the aforementioned in the context of the Bellie/Walter dynamic because Walter had Bellie as his counter balance while Walternate had no one to offset his tilt to the dark side. Walter said to Bellie he didn’t like what he was becoming so he had parts of his brain removed. (Although he seemed a nice enough guy when he came to the defense of Olive in “Subject 13″ even though he had one of the boys play dead.)

    Walternate had no brain removal service on his side. Therefore no counter balance to man he would eventually become. In fact once he did get a Bellie (ours) in turns out that our Bellie was a sort of enabler for Walternate that may have made things even worse.

    All this because young Olivie set in motion a chain reaction of events that we bear witness to now. Make sense?

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    • says

      Great stuff, Dave. (I’ll take Inspector Detective). I have a lot of time for Walternate, but it’s indeed interesting to examine what might have been had he a Bellie to counter his tilt, as you say. I think that’s a fair point, and perhaps gives us a more forgiving view of Bellie than the show has expressively provided thus far. I’m also interested in what you said about Bellie serving as the ‘enabler’ to Walternate’s downward spiral, and how this ties into the +ve/-ve entanglement of the multiverse.

      As for war crimes, I would throw Walter in with those you mentioned. Though I find it fascinating to consider what the removal of parts of his brain has done – essentially removing Walter’s ‘source code’, pre-empting him from what he would have become. And yet, I see Walternate in a softer light.

      Though, in fairness, neither man has had it easy.

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  3. jophan says

    I wonder how the shapeshifters’ assignment to kill Olivia in “A New Day…” fits in? Did Walternate know this was the same Olivia who had given him the picture, or did he not make that connection until she came to take Peter back? He obviously had reason by then to doubt Bell’s loyalty, yet he allowed him to go free for another year?

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    • says

      “Did Walternate know this was the same Olivia who had given him the picture, or did he not make that connection until she came to take Peter back?”

      Good question. I would like to think (for storytelling purposes) he knew that she was the same Olivia. If he did his research he really should have known who she was.

      The situation is a bit ambiguous though. I make sense of it by thinking that Walternate was keeping tabs on Bell, as Bell was keeping tabs on him. We’re led to believe that he intercepted Nina and Bell’s communique about the (Olivia) meeting, but I suppose there’s room for him not to have caught the entire message, or for Olivia not to have been mentioned by name. So I guess it could go either way with regards to when he made the Olivia connection.

      Though I also sense a dash of contrivance with some parts of this storyline.

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  4. g33k says

    I wonder if Bellie only helped Walternate on subsequent versions of shapeshifters because Newton was missing a couple features we know other shapeshifters had. 1) He couldn’t shift because he didn’t have a device and 2) He must not have had the second brain in his a** because when he was recovered and reattached to a body he was just a head.
    Because Walter figured out the second storage was there because Bellie designed them like Stegosauruses it opens up the possibility that Newton could have been a Walternate only creation, and Bellie only worked on version 2.0 of them.
    I didn’t watch closely enough to see if Newton was reattached to a regular body or a body that could have been a headless shapeshifter body Walternate sent through to be sure though. :-)

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  5. g33k says

    Oh – could also explain why Newton’s so deliciously evilly detached and calculating and the other shapeshifters seem to be forming attachments. Perhaps Bellie attempted to sabotage them by making get emotionally attached to the world their infiltrating?

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  6. mlj102 says

    “Interesting that Walternate shouldn’t involve himself more in Altlivia’s life – at least not directly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he played a background role, though.”

    How would he know who she was? All he knows is a girl with blonde hair named Olivia showed up in his office and seemed to know Peter. Her “imagination book” as you call it doesn’t even have her last name on it (as far as I can tell). Furthermore, when Olivia first crossed over while running from her stepfather, she ended up in an empty field rather than a house. That suggests that alternate Olivia was not in Jacksonville at the time. Supporting this is the fact that the Daycare Center is Bishop Dynamic on the other side. So it looks like alternate Olivia was not in Jacksonville and she wasn’t going to daycare there. How was he supposed to find one Olivia out of thousands of young girls across the country? I don’t see how he could have found her over there and had any influence in her life. And if he didn’t find her as a child, there’s no reason to expect he made the connection years later that Agent Olivia Dunham of Fringe Division just happened to be the alternate version of the same young Olivia who first crossed over and alerted him to the presence of the other side. It just seems that many viewers are expecting Walternate to make connections based on the limited amount of information he has, simply because we know the connections.

    “but he had hybrid sleeper agents laying down the Salt for him. Didn’t they tell him about POlivia’s blossoming relationship, or were they caught rather off guard by the whole thing?”

    Again, there was no reason for the shapeshifters to know about their developing relationship. Even they didn’t really acknowledge it themselves until Olivia crossed over to get him back. How could the shapeshifters know about the attachment between them in order to report back to Walternate about it? Yes, Peter and Olivia always had a special sort of interaction, but there was no reason for them to view that as any more serious or significant than any other relationship he had… certainly not something that would cause him to choose to return over here.

    Anyway, those are just minor details that I thought about while reading this article. Thanks for sharing!

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    • says

      “How would he know who she was? All he knows is a girl with blonde hair named Olivia showed up in his office and seemed to know Peter. Her “imagination book” as you call it doesn’t even have her last name on it (as far as I can tell). Furthermore, when Olivia first crossed over while running from her stepfather, she ended up in an empty field rather than a house. That suggests that alternate Olivia was not in Jacksonville at the time. Supporting this is the fact that the Daycare Center is Bishop Dynamic on the other side. So it looks like alternate Olivia was not in Jacksonville and she wasn’t going to daycare there. How was he supposed to find one Olivia out of thousands of young girls across the country?”

      Well, he had her first name and knew what she looked like. That’s all he needed to begin his search. After all, he was patient enough to reunite with Peter, I think he’d be able to find Altlivia eventually, particularly with the level of entanglement that would naturally bring them together. It’s not such a big stretch when you’re as driven as Walternate.

      I’m not saying this would necessarily happen over night, but knowing Walternate’s character as we do, I don’t think it’s as inconceivable that he would successfully seek her out. The story may go the other way, but, for me, it doesn’t play right if he never even made the effort.

      “Again, there was no reason for the shapeshifters to know about their developing relationship. Even they didn’t really acknowledge it themselves until Olivia crossed over to get him back. How could the shapeshifters know about the attachment between them in order to report back to Walternate about it? Yes, Peter and Olivia always had a special sort of interaction, but there was no reason for them to view that as any more serious or significant than any other relationship he had… certainly not something that would cause him to choose to return over here.”

      I would think the shapeshifters would take note of Peter’s relationships and pass them along, particularly given Walternate’s seeming knowledge of the BBM. As I mentioned, he overlooked the girl, but for me that’s somewhat a contrivance more than anything. If the shapeshifters were doing their jobs properly, I suspect they would keep an eye out for someone called “Olivia” would was working closely with Walternate’s boy. This is a man who has spent decades searching for his son. Who knows that a little girl called Olivia traveled universes to tell him where his boy was. He really should want updates, in my view.

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      • mlj102 says

        “I’m not saying this would necessarily happen over night, but knowing Walternate’s character as we do, I don’t think it’s as inconceivable that he would successfully seek her out. The story may go the other way, but, for me, it doesn’t play right if he never even made the effort.”

        But why? What reason would he have for seeking her out Over There? It’s not like there was any reason to think she would be able to help him get Peter back. It seems like a lot of effort for no real purpose. And while it is possible, I still think it would be rather far fetched to expect that he would track her down over there. My opinion, of course.

        Aside from my own personal opinion on the matter, I don’t see anything that suggests that it did happen that way. There’s nothing to indicate that Walternate had any particular interest in alternate Olivia prior to the events in Over There. It wasn’t until Peter reacted to hearing that “Agent Dunham” was there that Walternate seemed to see any significance in her or that he could use her to his advantage. From the way he responded in that episode, there seems to be no indication that he had sought her out when she was a child or that he was aware of any potential relationship between our Olivia and Peter prior to seeing Peter’s reaction. And that all makes perfect sense to me. I don’t see any reason for him to have connected with alternate Olivia in the past, or to have made a connection between her and the little girl who crossed between universes.

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        • says

          “But why? What reason would he have for seeking her out Over There?”

          Because her double has the ability to travel universes. That seems like a good enough reason for a man desperate to find a way to get back his son from another universe. He wouldn’t leave a stone unturned, in my view.

          Otherwise it’s inconsistent with the type of man that has been portrayed so far. Again, just my opinion. ;)

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  7. Pam says

    MLJ192,

    I totally agree with your point that Faux-livia was not in Jacksonville at that time and I think the difference in the equation was the stepfather. I think Faux-livia’s mom never met or didn’t have a relationship with the stepfather and that was the reason why Fauxlivia is all sparkly. THat is also probably the reason why she was not in Jacksonville.

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