Fringe Observations: 2.01 A New Day In The Old Town


Fringe Observations - 2.01 A New Day In The Old Town

Welcome to Fringe Observations: the Clues and Eastereggs Round-up for the season 2 premiere – A New Day In The Old Town.

Below the jump we explore the various clues and eastereggs from the season opener and try to figure out what it all means.

Eye-Opener

New Day Clues

The classic opening eye-shot returns, as borrowed from sister-show, LOST.

Flashes Before Your Eyes

nd_blue

We see a blue flash when first introduced to the shapeshifter (and it appears from the cap above that he sees it too, although I suspect that’s not the case).

Observing The Observer

nd_observer

The Observer can be spotted at the crash scene as the shapeshifter runs off to find a new identity. Looks like he’s wearing a new suit.

Next Episode Clue?

nd_night

Since I know the title for the next episode, this could well be the built-in ‘next episode clue’.

I Wanna Believe

nd_xfiles

A nice X-Files shout-out – the episode “DreamlandII, in which Mulder switches identity, was seen on the TV of the shapeshifter’s second victim. (thanks to RedViking4 in the comments for pointing out that the episode was Dreamland and not Dreamland II).

Numbers

nd_47

We get two number “47” references in this episode – on a crime scene marker and the license plate of the car the shapeshifter was driving. The number 47 is a popular number in the Bad Robot world, stemming from JJ. Abrams previous show, Alias.

Exit Wounds

New Day Clues

At the hopital Walter is positioned underneath an “Exit” sign. Later, in the basement, Peter is seen by another well-positioned Exit sign. Initially I thought this could be an indirect reference to the exit points between realities – tying-in with Olivia’s exit from Earth 2.

Outside Looking In

nd_reflec

A nice reflection showing Peter on the outside looking in at Walter and Olivia. As an ‘outsider’, this is a suitable illustration of the unseen gap between us and them.

Over There

nd_2

The patch on Peter’s snazzy new jacket has a “2” on it (02 to be precise). This is no doubt a reference to Peter being from “Over There” (although not necessarily the parallel world we’ve glimpsed). There have also be other No. 2 references, such as the number “2”-shaped scars on Nick Lane and alter-Charlie (“Bad Dreams” and “Road Not Taken” respectively).

Heaven And Earth

New Day Clues

When Peter mentions that Amy doesn’t seem scared by what she has seen, she begins to respond with a quote from Hamlet:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt (of in your philosophy)”

Hamlet said this to Horatio when he complains about the ghost. The meaning behind of the quote is that human knowledge is limited – when something appears to be wrong or confusing, there is often more to it than meets the eye: there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Amy, is appying this quote to her own ability to accept what she has just seen, showing just how open-minded she is.

Communication Station

New Day Clues

Fringe’s Selectric 251 and the real Selectric typewriter (above inset).

New Day Clues

The ‘magic mirror’ kinda resembles the circular object seen in the hallway to William Bell’s office (1.20). Is it for decorative purposes, or does it hold a connection as to who the shapeshifter was communicating with? I doubt it, but just putting it out there.

Incidentally, could William Bell have used such a mirror to write the ZFT manifest? Did he get instructions on what to include in the manifest, from someone in a reality ahead of our own? Is that why the ZFT prophecies are so seemingly accurate? Again, throwing it out there.

Other clues:

  • Title “A New Day In The Old Town” – the assumption is that over here is the “old town” referenced in the title. Can this give us an indication as to which world is the original?
  • George Reid (shapeshifter’s first victim) lived at 524 Little Field Road. Could be a reference to Little Hill, which is where David Robert Jones teleported to in “Safe”.
  • Walter incorrectly thought (or rather, forced himself to believe) that our Peter liked custard. Of course, it’s dead Peter who was a custard lover – Walter’s guilt was running rife.
  • There is a possibility that Peter helped to revive Olivia, further suggesting that he has abilities of his own of which he is unaware. The Greek Olivia spoke was a wish that Peter’s mother used to say to him – “May he be a better man than his father”. Was Peter thinking of his mother when he was saying goodbye to Olivia? Did Olivia somehow channel his thoughts? Alternatively, do Peter and Olivia share the same mom, hence the connection?
  • Amy connects pattern cases to passages from the Bible, perhaps hinting at a scientific code or prophecy playing out with the the increase in technology and the opening of portals between worlds: “Kingdom Against Kingdom” (Luke 21:10), “Tests” (John 4:1), “A Door Stands Open” (Revelation 4:1), “Eat The Flesh” (Revelation 19:18), “The Beast” (Revelation 19:20) – also referenced in the final scene when the shapeshifter throws Charlie’s body into the furnace. For me, this adds further weight to the notion of God in the Fringe Multiverse, the idea of good and evil, tests, false prophets and judgement. Amy’s investigations may also help contextualise the ZFT manifesto.

As always, if you have any thoughts on the above, or think we’ve overlooked a clue or easteregg, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Comments

  1. says

    The other observation that should be noted is that this is the second time that something has been put in one of the senses to gain information.
    The Arrival had the Rouge put a wire in the nose to read the brain.
    This episode was putting it in the mouth to change shape/gain thoughts?
    Also combined with the Observer’s very low sense perception (many peppers in food (low taste), seemingly unfazed by freezing water (low touching)), could continuous shifting from both worlds cause this to happen?
    Just a thought.

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    • says

      True – Information does seem to be a commodity in this game.

      It’s interesting to speculate whether the Observers suffer any ill-effects of passing through different realities. I had suspected that their ‘condition’ is the result of something that happened to their world (and still believe this to be the case), but perhaps there’s more to it?

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  2. 3ndo says

    Very nice summary. Just a little addendum in relation to your ‘Communication Station’ hypothesis – there’s a moment in 1×20 where Nina Sharpe states “I haven’t seen William Bell for months. He’s been communicating with me strictly electronically”. Maybe this throws more weight behind the idea/means that Bell is actively communicating from the ‘Other Side’.

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    • says

      Nicely pointed out.

      This reminds of 1.14 when Nina’s glitching hand suddenly gets fixed by the end of the episode – did Belly cross back over to fix it, or did he upload a new patch?

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  3. says

    Something crossed my mind.. Could it be possible, that Bell is stuck in the other dimension? That the other side will not let him leave. He can communicate to Nina but he can’t leave and what Olivia is to find but can’t remember is a way to help Bell get back, I wonder sometimes if Nina is from the other side. “They” are trying to stop Olivia because they don’t want Bell to leave. I do believe that Peter was the contact that was mentioned, though. When the “typewriter” mentioned she had made contact, truly Peter was the only one she had made contact with, well that we saw, and Peter being close to her may of triggered her awakening. Personally my take has always been Peter was genetic engineered by Walter and maybe Bell was envolved too. Fearing this War from the another dimension. Using Peter’s DNA to help make curtextifan (spelling) and it ended up killing this Peter so Walter went and took from their what he had lost here.

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  4. says

    Good summary. I wonder what makes you think that “the x files” in the TV was from Dreamland II ? I thought it was from Dreamland at 3 min 37 sec…
    I would like to add to this summary :

    1. As the Observer pass by, the background building is named Gruno & Dunder. Minus the “&”, the anagram spells “underground”.

    2. The typewriter is a direct reference to the David Cronenberg movie “The Naked Lunch” which has a cockroach typewriter. David Cronenberg is a known influence of the show.

    3. The name of the new FBI agent, Amy Jessup, is a direct reference to Emily Jessup. This character is played by Blair Brown in the movie “Altered States“, a known influence of the show.

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    • Page 48 says

      And let’s not forget that Cronenberg appeared in Season 3 of “Alias” as the crazy-ass Dr. Brezzel, a nutter not unlike Walter Bishop as per this snippet from an episode guide:

      The group visits Brezzel’s lab and find him and his assistant Kaya to be extremely eccentric. He believes dreams contain memories so, through a cocktail of dangerous drugs, he fools the brain into entering a lucid dream state. Once in this state, Syd must follow the thread of her last memory — and be wary of new, traumatic memories.

      Heavy shades of Olivia in Walter’s dunk-tank.

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    • says

      Thanks for the heads-up, it’s been a while since I actively watched X-Files (corrected above).

      1. Another “underground” reference. Not sure how intetional this one was, but it’s worth adding to the list.

      3. Cool spot, thanks for sharing.

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  5. Elliot says

    “# Was Peter thinking of his mother when he was saying goodbye to Olivia? Did Olivia somehow channel his thoughts? Alternatively, do Peter and Olivia share the same mom, hence the connection?”

    I know you have to say this to poke the Benchwarmers in the eye, but really, been there done that on the shared mother story. Much cooler use of the communication that it’s a channeling of information, from the conscious Peter to the unconscious Olivia–since it’s his memory, after all, not hers. And the quote is about a father and son, not daughter:
    “Zeus, all you other gods,
    grant that this child, my son, may become,
    like me, pre-eminent among the Trojans,
    as strong and brave as me. Grant that he may rule
    Troy with strength. May people someday say,
    as he returns from war, ‘This man is far better
    than his father.’ May he carry back
    bloody spoils from his slaughtered enemy,
    making his mother’s heart rejoice.”
    — rather eerie thinking of this being Peter. . .

    # Amy connects pattern cases to passages from the Bible, perhaps hinting at a scientific code or prophecy playing out with the the increase in technology and the opening of portals between worlds: For me, this adds further weight to the notion of God in the Fringe Multiverse, the idea of good and evil, tests, false prophets and judgement. Amy’s investigations may also help contextualise the ZFT manifesto.”

    I certainly hope not! We have enough religious blathering on tv today, please let Fringe stay on the science fiction channel. You don’t have to be religious to have morals, and if this character gets to be a commercial for religion I am not sticking around to listen to her. Plus, let’s leave Dan Brown’s storylines to Dan Brown.

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  6. kelly says

    i am new to this but was stunned by what happened to charlie, the fbi agent. as i thought about it i wondered about the body count.
    shifter from the auto accident keeps his body and only changes it’s shape to that of the guy in the appartment (the owner of the apartment is left dead on the floor as is the real face of the auto accident guy, with his birds). now apartment guy look alike shifter goes to the hospital. he changes into a nurse and presume that the original nurse’s body is lying around somewhere. then we see charlie be attacked by nurse/shifter(who is not affected by bullets0. next scene we see them both again and wonder if charlie is a shifter. who is on the floor then? real nurse? how did she get there? we have proof later that charlie is a shifter because we see two charlies but the who nurse charlie thing seems like a mistake was made somewhere. thanks to whomever explains this all to me.

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  7. Pedro says

    As has been stated here before, I believe that Peter brought Olivia back “to life” just like he helped her solve the puzzle when she had to turn on all of the lights on that device in season 1 (I forget the episode). Remember that Peter was looking at the device too when it lit up. Maybe the two of them have to use their powers together.

    I also think we over look Walter’s evil because he is so lovable. The fact is that he experimented on children, bad experiments. There is nothing to say he didn’t do the same experiments on Peter that he did on Olivia.

    Is it just me or does Nina Sharpe keep getting hotter and hotter?

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    • Page 48 says

      “Is it just me or does Nina Sharpe keep getting hotter and hotter?”

      Bro, with Agents Dunham and Jessup working the “Fringe” beat, you’re sizing up Nina Sharp????????????????????????

      In my neck of the woods, we call that an alternate reality!

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  8. Pedro says

    Did anyone else think the girl on the VHS tape that Walter and Bell drugged was talking about Jesus when she first said “three nails”?

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  9. hmmmm says

    As to what kelly said above, i am shocked and surprised that peter and amy did not think to check in charlie’s mouth for the three entrance hole of the shape shifting machine, before trusting him. Neither of them are stupid and they both know how the machine works.

    The end clip didnt make any sense either, as kelly said ^^ if he changes shape then there would have been two charlie’s, the real one dead on the floor, and the other (the shape shifter). It isn’t possible that the shape shifter could have dragged the nurse’s body shot her in all the right places (two in the back, and a couple in the front (from charlie)), and then hidden charlie’s body in the time it took for peter and amy to reach them (and without them hearing the other gun shots). I wasn’t pleased with the ending :@

    from england so only just watched it :)

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    • says

      As to what kelly said above, i am shocked and surprised that peter and amy did not think to check in charlie’s mouth for the three entrance hole of the shape shifting machine, before trusting him. Neither of them are stupid and they both know how the machine works.

      Definate plot contrivance. I can forgive them this once (or is that twice, now?), but I hope they don’t expect us to buy that agent Jessup (of all people) wouldn’t investigate every last inch of that nurses body for clues and whatnot.

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  10. says

    This just crossed my mind….all these references to God there was one big huge one when Peter handed the device to Broyles and said they can make people in any image as in ‘we’re made in God’s image’,so this war or attack that is coming could it be a religious war? and they now have an insider as with Charlie now being a shapeshifter what do you think?

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  11. Laura says

    Something I noticed during my re-watch of season 2: when Broyles and Peter are drinking at the pub, there’s a song playing in the background. I am quite sure it is one of Eric Clapton’s masterpieces, “Cant’ find my way home”. It could be a subtle reference to Peter.

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