1.17 “Bad Dreams” – Clues & Eastereggs Round-Up

Right, just in time for the next episode, here’s our 1.17 “Bad Dreams” – Clues and Eastereggs round-up!

This Is Not Ballooney

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

Episode 1.16 could be argued to have contained 3 ‘next episode clues’ for “Bad Dreams”. One of them can be seen in the picture above. The main picture shows a keg with a “Red Balloon Lager ” sticker. “Bad Dreams” featured an actual ‘red balloon’ (inset) – the evidence that should have been enough to prove to Peter that Olivia wasn’t ‘just dreaming’.

Green, Green, Green, Red!

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

The green and red dot sequence returned in this episode on the platform sign (see inset above). This follows a growing line of green/red color sequences. You will find the others on the Zeno raft – Pilot, On the Observer’s binoculars and Rogue’s hat – “The Arrival”, throughout “The Equation”. What do they mean? Well, we know that in the show they have been used to hypnotise people. However they could have a universal meaning throughout the multiverse. Or they may carry specific significance in each world. For all we know they could even represent a company brand (MD in the alterverse?), or they could be depictions of revered planets. Outside of that I’m not sure.


"Bad Dreams" - Clues & Eastereggs

A likely clue for the next episode (1.18) – one of the most clever next episode clues to be used so far, when we consider that Peter is actually looking at the last next episode clue (the red balloon), but from our perspective, he’s looking at the word “Midnight”. This ties in with the ‘perception’ theme of this episode. Great stuff from whichever Bad Robotian thought of this. [also credit to nucleo for this observation].

Lost On The Fringe

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

April Grace (above) has also appeared on JJ’s “Lost” as Bea Klugh — one of the much revered and often misunderstood “Others” (inset).

Nick of Time

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

There seems to be a discrepancy in Nick Lane’s medical records. His date of birth is listed as 10.12.79, yet his date of admission is apparently: 3.18.78. Either he was admitted before he was born, or it’s a production mistake. Since we’re dealing with alternate realities, it’s not beyond possibility that this is a clue of some-kind, but I’m chalking it down as an error for now. [credit to Nitro2k01 for spotting this].

Flipped Universe ZFT

"Bad Dreams" - Clues & Eastereggs

The page from the ZFT flipped to make it more readable. (click to enlarge).

Pimpin Pippin

Walter talks about seeing a show, and then sings some of the lyrics to Pippin “Corner of the Sky” (listen/watch using video above). This isn’t so much of a clue, but the song could relate to any number of our Fringe characters – Walter, Peter, Olivia, The Observer..

Perception is the Key to Transformation

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

Walter mentions that Carlos Casteneda, Aldus Huxley and Werner Heisenberg all agreed on one truth – that perception is the key to transformation. It can be seen that each of these men, from different fields,  shared a similar focus throughout their work.

It’s perhaps worth noting that Aldus Huxley wrote the novel “Brave New World“, which taps into some of the underlying themes on “Fringe”.

Got Game?

"Bad Dreams" - Clues & Eastereggs

A circular symbol can be seen on Nick’s draw. Not sure what it represents but it may worth identifying for future reference. Games have played their part in previous episodes, particularly “Ability”, when Jones led Olivia to a container with 10 ZFT-approved test games inside. In this episode we see that Lane entertained himself with playing cards and chess. Are the games important aspects in testing a recruit? Didn’t we see Olivia with a deck of cards earlier in the season, saying how good she was at card tricks?

It’s also worth mentioning  Walter’s rather rueful comment upon noticing the “Torre Attack” on Lane’s chess board – “Someones been a busy bee!”. Apparently Torre Attack it’s an opening move ‘trap’. Can this tell us something about the ZFT strategy against the parallel world? The fact that Walter recognised this as a strategy (which clearly signifies more than a game of chess) is interesting.

Where’s Wall-y?

Screencaps of Nick Lane’s walls. I’m wondering whether both walls tell us the same message, or whether each wall represents the respective ‘sides’ at play?

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

Further to that, a Massive Dynamic sticker can be seen on the 2nd wall (highlighted in above screencap).


  • Some folks have pointed out that this could be William Bell’s photo on the wall. I think we could well chalk this up as Belly’s first visual appearance in the show.
  • Many of the clippings are connected by string to other clippings, perhaps suggesting that specific events or incidents are linked.
  • Peter touches one of the clippings – the Kelvin Genetic article. Ooh.


"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

Another ‘next episode clue’ for “Bad Dreams” from “Unleashed” was the Night Marchers record cover, which also ties in with the spirit walkers reference that I made after “Unleashed”. In the screencap above, Lane can be seen ‘marching’ (or spirit walking) a group of people who he has unwittingly infected with his emotions. *Note, thanks to kawaiiaicat for letting me know that the band name ‘Night Marchers’ is actually spoken as “Night Mares”. However, this still ties in with Olivia’s “bad dreams”, so I still think it was an intentional clue for 1.17.

For completeness, the other ‘next episode clue’ that we highlighted after “Unleashed” was Walter’s Menagerie song (see this post), which is about a travelling circus. This episode started off with the woman singing “Nellie The Elephant” to her child. I’d say that was intentional..seems like we’re getting more than one ‘NEC’ these days.

Observing The Observer

The Observer - Bad Dreams

The Observer can be seen walking across the street as our trio approach the building where Nick Lane and his followers are preparing to go splat.


"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

Lots of references to parallel worlds, IMO. For instance, the episode features 2 globes (one inside St. Jude’s mental hospital, the other at Olivia’s home) — perhaps alluding to the two realms at war? We see Nick Lane looking at himself in the mirror (nothing special here, but mirrors are often used to imply multiple worlds. Yes, I know this is a long shot, but don’t look at this in abstract 😉 ). Also, when Walter mentions ‘travelling between worlds’, he gets up quickly and hovers by the fridge door – the reflection and Walter’s attention-drawing mannerisms suggest a thematic reference to the parallel worlds. Lane also has a scar in the form of the “number 2” etched on the side of his head. To my mind this could be the writers way of saying that our world in the show is the lesser of the parallel worlds..it could also be the completion of the earlier “roadblock” scar mention that Peter made back in “Inner Child”. Put it this way, if Lane has a counterpart in another world, his scar will probably be on the other side of his head.

Mul-TWO-ple 2!

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

A nice shot of Dunham and Broyles as the camera leaves them in their thoughts. To my mind both the ‘doubling’ camera effect and their reflections on the floor represent a subtle way of alluding to the multiple reality rabbit-hole that we’ve poked our heads down.

Getting Hot In Ere

"Bad Dreams" Clues & Eastereggs

A comparison of the wall burns from David Jones’ teleportation and young Olive’s “incident”. As has been mentioned, the Olive incident differs in that the wall immediately around her appears to be untouched by the supposed fire. To my mind this suggests that Olive was able to emit large amounts of energy whilst placing some-kind of shield around her immediate position. Or, maybe someone else (Brenner?) started the incident and Olive procted herself?

I’m still going along with my main theory, and I feel that this direct visual comparison alludes to the idea that at one of Olivia’s powers involve energy/travel. More on that here.

The strays:

  • This episode’s color thematic seemed to be Yellow, Blue, Red. This color sequence was seen on young Lucy’s balloons and Walter’s REM lights (used to put Olivia’s ‘under’).
  • FringeBlogger Green speculates that the pine tree tattoo seen on Nick Lane’s arm could be a reference to the yellow M&M tree and the pine tree air-freshener from “Inner Child”.
  • This episode featured a lot of up and down camera movements, or situations. From the opening scene as the camera descends,  to the very last when we get a birds-eye view of Walter, we are treated with camera positioning which I can only assume lends itself to the ‘hidden dimension’ idea – the notion that these parallel worlds could be observing us from an ‘unseen’ realm.
  • Walter was wearing a cardigan very similar to the one that his ‘Alter’ was wearing in “The Equation”. Could this episode signal the de-clouding of our Walter’s memories?

That’s all for now – til next time!


  1. Elliot says

    Could Nick’s scar be where someone marked him to tell him apart from another version?

    And, his tat could be a minuteman symbol, lots of resistance army stuff would tie in with his wall of secret armies & invasions. The Pinetree flag is widely used in those circles today and the ZFT folks are patterned to some degree on the Unabomber crowd.

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    • says

      Interesting.. I would say that the scar is a visual reference for us viewers denoting the parallel world theme. As I think that anyone experimenting on his would use other methods of telling him apart from his twin or ‘double’.

      Nice point on the Pinetree tatt..

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  2. Mr. GQ says

    Well, if you consider the position the scar is in, it IS in the area of the prefrontal cortex where emotions are said to come from…maybe the scar is from some kind of experiment

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    • says

      Interesting.. that can’t be coincidence..as you say, perhaps someone tried to ‘tweak’ his abilities, or maybe Lane tried to rid himself of his ‘gift’. This would further ground things in theoretical ‘science’, which the creators are keen to do. Cheers GQ!

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  3. Lord Tuetanus says

    I´ve been thinking about the face scar… in the inner child the kid had one scar as well, if we compare both the kid is 1 and Nick is 2, both sides of the future war?

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  4. Fringeling says

    Wonderful roundup — really shows how chalked full this epi was of “stuff”. One thing worth mentioning, is the playing card we see on Nick’s deck is the 7 of clubs. When Olivia and Peter are doing magic trix in the bar back in Safe (I believe), the first card Olivia guesses when counting is the 4 of clubs. That’s the number 47 again in my book — also very prevalent as a clue throughout the show … 😉

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    • says

      Ah, nice catch with the 4’s and 7’s :D..I was going to mention the 47 on the wall, as well as the 7 train and the “4” on the wall – for some reason I completely forgot. I’m question whether the 47 just a shout-out to Alias..or is JJ looking to extend it’s relevance in the Fringeverse?

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  5. shnyc says

    for the green, green, green, red clue – that particular subway station in nyc (42-grand central) has 4 subway lines running out of it – 4, 5, 6, & 7 – the 4,5,6 are represented with green, and the 7 with PURPLE. doubting this was intended as a clue.

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    • NYYLeeroy says

      Was just about to make the comment about green / purple. There was something else that bothered me about the subway scene though, and I think I just figured it out…She supposedly got hit by the 7, but they kept showing a sign for “Track 4” and if I’m not mistaken, the 7 running through Grand Central has only 2 tracks (queens-bound and Times Square bound). Was thinking it may have been the 4,5,6 platform, which has 4 (express and local tracks for both up and downtown) or the S (Times Square-Grand Central shuttle) which runs either 3 or 4 trains I think.

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  6. yvaine says

    Great round-up as usual, Roco! :)

    That circular pattern in Nick’s drawer– folks in Fringe-Forum (e.g. Fringeling, hehe) have identified it as very very similar, almost identical, to the pattern on one of the game boards Peter was holding up as the gang examined what was inside of the box of games DRJ told Olivia to find. :)

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  7. 3ndo says

    I may not be the only one to notice this, but in regard to your “Pimpin Pippin” observations – I’m not completely convinced that they have a significant connection to any of the Fringe characters.

    Personally, I get the impression that this is more a reference to ‘Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’ where John Noble’s character (Denethor) requests that Pippin sing for him.

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  8. Anna says

    The reference to “Pippin” could be a cute call-back to when his character in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King made the character Pippin sing a song to him.

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