Fringe Observations: 2.03 Fracture

Fringe Observations - 2.03 Fracture

Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive Clues and Eastereggs Round-up for episode 3 of season 2 – Fracture.

Below the jump we find out why Olivia Dunham is Luke Skywalker, reveal exactly what William Bell told Olivia, and explore the other clues and mysteries like true Observers.

What’s Up Doc?

Fracture Clues

Sam Weiss tells Olivia that he prefers the “bunny ears method to the one loop wrap”. This could be a reference to William Bell, who has been depicted as the White Rabbit from the Alice In Wonderland tale. This would make sense, seeing as Sam was recommended by Nina, who is Belly’s right hand woman.

Bunny ears also scream out doubles – as in two realities. Of course, this method “requires more co-ordination”, but Olivia will “get there”. I think that’s a subtle reference as to Olivia’s central objectives this (or next) season: to get back to the other side.

As for the “one loop wrap” – I’m thinking that’s a nod to singularity – the preference for there being only one of time-line,  one reality, etc. Of course, this could refer to the apocalypse – the ZFT Manifest warns that only one world will survive..them, or us.

How about another White Rabbit reference?:

Fracture Clues

As we all know, rabbits love carrots and there’s a stack of them behind our doctor friend. This isn’t the most important observation in the world, but I doubt it’s coincidence – and even if it is, sometimes the producers are not in control of the breadcrumbs that manifest in a show like this.

“Black & Gray” Clothing

Fracture Clues

There have been previous references to the “black and gray” clothing said to be worn by Cortexiphan kids as part of their instructions whilst awaiting activation (1.17 Bad Dreams”). We already know that Olivia’s wardrobe is predominately made up of black and gray clothing (a subconscious preference?), and this season in particular the writers have gone to greater lengths to show that Peter’s wardrobe is also being populated by the soldier gear. For me, this could foreshadow the future loyalties of our Fringies.

But what about the couriers? They too wore black and gray clothing (above), and come to think of it, so does the Observer. Will Olivia, Peter and the Observers eventually be working on the same side?

More curious is Walter’s choice of gear. The writers have given him this distinctive white jacket which really contrasts with Peter’s gear in this scene:

Fracture Clues

Coincidence? Not a chance, in my opinion. Though the battles lines are far from clear at the moment, later down the line when the characters discover and remember more, their loyalties will be tested. After all, if Peter is from another world (possibly from the one we call “over there”), then how will this test his loyalties?

Over Ear

Fracture Clues

As we speculated, the ‘Desirable Objects’ clue for this episode was the Vincent Van Gogh impression (below). In Fracture, Walter picks up Gillespie’s ear (above) much to Olivia’s befuddlement. Van Gogh was famous, in part, for having cut off his ear lobe.

2.03 Episode Clue

She’s All Red-y Been

Fracture Clues

Fracture Clues





f_flash7Olivia begins to regain her memories from her visitation of the other side. Everything looks the same as we saw it (although I find it odd that she remembers the Twin Towers from OUR perspective, and not her own – no doubt just a storytelling device). The only difference is that she sees everything in red (for danger?) and some of her memories are distorted, upside down and rearranged to illustrate the confusion that she finds herself in.

Some of her memories, like the capture below, are new to us – we clearly didn’t witness all that took place in Belly’s office, so I expect that to be shown to us soon..


This shot is of particular interest to me – as I suggested in our 1.20 rewatch, William Bell had a gas mask and cylinder in his office. Olivia obviously sees him using it during her visit the to other side (above). So the question remains, is Belly dying? Does the death bell toll?

Also, notice those two strobes going across the screencap above? Those are our famous blue flashes (although they appear red because this is Olivia’s distorted memory). There is renewed debate about what these blue flashes mean. My opinion has always been that they represent one or both of two things: Travel, or Observation. We know that the blue lights have appeared during several moments of travel (i.e. David Jones’ teleportation from the Wissenschaft prison and Olivia’s crossing over to the other side to meet William Bell). But these blue flashes have also appeared during moments of observation – leaving open the possibility that they also signify the Observers watching a particular event, or perhaps a significant change between two realities (since there are often two strobes). Either way, I’m sure one of those is the correct answer – I’m just intrigued as to them appearing during a William Bell scene. That has to be important.


William Bell can also be heard saying something in one of the quick flashes of memory that Olivia has. I managed to isolate his voice and found it to be indecipherable. This being Bad Robot, I decided to reverse the same audio and managed to pull out the hidden easteregg – Belly warns Olivia that “A War Is Coming”. Have a listen for yourself:

Here is the original sequence of Olivia crossing over to the other reality, so that you can compare it to the above screencaps:

Cut The Yoda Crap!

Fracture Clues

Olivia tells Sam to “cut the Yoda crap!”. This is a Star Wars reference comparing Sam to Yoda – considered by many to be the greatest Jedi trainer. If Sam Weiss is Yoda, that would probably make Olivia a Luke Skywalker figure.

Whilst I don’t think Fringe is trying to become StarWars, there are obviously some shared themes (as with all SF). But significantly it looks as though Olivia is showing awareness of her own importance in the grand scheme of things, while the writers are leaving us in no doubt as to just how important she will become.

Observing The Observer

Fracture Clues

Not an “Observer sighting” as such since our bald buddy was in full shot and not lurking in a corn field or something, but for completeness, here he is.

Brief Encounter

Fracture Clues

I loved this little detail – the dials on the Observers briefcase contain odd-looking symbols. Probably the number system of his home world. This is precisely the kind of thing which makes me doubt that the Observer is from “over there”. We know that the other reality is similar to our own so I doubt that briefcase is from the other world.

That said, I am of the opinion that there are several realities that the show will eventually explore – the Observer is surely from one of these other worlds, or possibly from a future version of our own Earth. That would make much more sense to me.

Speaking of Gordon, he reminds me of Emmanuel Grayson from 1.17, who was on to something but also slightly crazy. I think Gordon is right about the Observers gathering data (I think this could also shed some light on the cylinder), but I’m not so sure they are the enemy.

As an aside, I think the writers want us to think that Gordy is slightly crazy – he wore the same stupid smile all throughout the episode.

Observing Walter

Fracture Clues

Fracture Clues

Fracture Clues

Surveillance photos of Walter that were in the couriers briefcase. These photos were obviously taken recently as Walter has only been wearing that white jacket in season 2.

It could be argued that the photos are of Alter-Walter, but that wouldn’t make much sense to me – why would the couriers have photos of Alter-Walter in our world? Unless he is over here, which is unlikely.

I’m also wondering whether each of our Fringies have their own courier taking snaps of them? (I guess we wont know for a while, seeing as the other dude got blown up – THANKS Gordon!)

Also of interest are the markings on the photos – these are from the binoculars that the Observer was using in episode 1.04 Arrival (skip to 2.27 on the video below):

This tells us something about the technology

  1. The couriers have access to the Observers technology (we’re still not sure if they are Observers themselves, they remind me more of worker ants).
  2. The binoculars are also cameras – not just spying glasses.

They also beg some questions:

  1. The couriers must have downloaded the photos somewhere to get the printouts. Don’t they have email?
  2. The markings, particularly the measuring dial, must be important otherwise why would they print over the photos? I guess Gordon explained that they are studying every detail.

Other Clues

  • Walter said he “stopped counting at 47 needles” – this being another reference to the number 47, famous in Bad Robot circles. This is the second such reference this season, the other came in New Day.
  • A nice reflection of half-crazy-man Gordon – not so much hinting, but adding more thematic symbolism to the multiple reality theme at the heart of the show.
  • When Peter covers the fractured body of officer Gillespie, his glance lingers on him for several seconds – possibly suggesting that Peter has lost someone to a bomb blast, or been involved in a bomb plot. There were subtle hints that he needed to wash away some sins – as Ahmed implied, why was he so concerned about stopping Gordon?
  • Another candidate for the episode clue for Fracture was the scarecrow from 2.02. Possibly alluding to Project Tin Man.
  • East Platform – could mean something*.

As always, if you have anything to add to the above observations, or feel that we’ve missed something out, feel free to let us know in the comments.


  1. jkyarr says

    “It could be argued that the photos are of Alter-Walter, but that wouldn’t make much sense to me — why would the couriers have photos of Alter-Walter in our world? Unless he is over here, which is unlikely.”

    Thanks for the nod to this theory.

    While I certainly haven’t thought it all the way through it seems abundantly clear that we already saw alter-walter “over here” at least once in season 1 and possibly more. We know next to nothing about what it takes to cross over, what the side effects are and who has the ability to do so. We thought the portals were opened in the elevator for liv like what Jones tried to do, but then with the season opener we were shown that she made her first jump while still in her car (which subsequently explains why Nina “stood her up” at lunch. Wrong universe, no lunch appointment. Remember she calls over to Nina’s office and is told that Nina is out of the country. Same cover she gave in our universe for Bell when he was in the alterverse). So did she cause the jump in the car herself or did someone else cause it? Obviously the facedancer was trying to prevent it, not cause it.

    If you reference the comics (cannon or not?) you’ll see that both Bell and Bishop have done extensive multiverse hopping. Why not their alters? Especially one with a grudge whose son was taken?

    Also its clear that our-walter and the observer are on friendly / talking terms. How does it make sense then that the observer needs to keep tabs on him with photographic reports? I’m pretty sure they’re facebook buddies. 😉

    Admittedly it could go either way. Until you’ve tried to shoot someone and seen that our bullets either do or don’t effectively stop him/her then I’m not clear on how else you’d distinguish which verse’s version you’ve got, ours or alter. Any other litmus test that the show has offered for the “which verse are you from” game? Do you or do you not recognize the fishing lure known as “the night of desirable objects”?

    One final thought. If the alterverse’s timeline is ahead of ours (a detail I have only on hearsay… can anyone confirm?) and our-walter is more or less doing everything he can to prepare for the war is it not feasible that alter-walter may already be fighting the war? If our-Bell is there why couldn’t alter-Walter be here?

    If this were mythbusters I’d still rate it: Plausible

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  2. jkyarr says

    could the breathing mask seen on bell’s table and in-use on his face in the flashback be treatment for his side effects from his own cross-over?

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    • says

      Very possible. It would be quite the story if he’s sick from his own reality-hopping adventures.

      I get the feeling that he’s been stuck in that world for a while (just a hunch), so perhaps one more hop back over to “Earth 1” could be the end of him?..

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  3. says

    Didn’t Broyles say something along the lines of “you two take care of each other”, to Olivia and Peter? Weren’t the Cortexiphan kids told this?

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  4. caelum says

    Blue Lights could signal something approaching as well. Observation requires approach, as do two universes colliding. If could be a nod to a type of blue-shift. Just a thought.

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  5. Pedro says

    Two observations:
    1. Peter is missing from the Walter pictures so it seems they are taking pictures of him when he is either alone, or in an alternate universe where Peter doesn´t exist (like the world that Peter came from.)

    2. Was it just me or did the fight between Peter and the Colonel see like a fight between two people that had a past? It seemed to me that Peter was putting a lot into it if he didn´t know the guy. My thought is that Peter knows the Colonel from his time in Iraq.

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    • says

      2. Was it just me or did the fight between Peter and the Colonel see like a fight between two people that had a past? It seemed to me that Peter was putting a lot into it if he didn´t know the guy. My thought is that Peter knows the Colonel from his time in Iraq.

      It’s a decent shout. It would make Peter’s sudden angst slightly more meaningful (he’s never been this aggressive before).

      For the moment I’m sticking to my theory that it was a way for the writers to hint at Peter’s past in bomb plots, rather than him specifically knowing Gordon. But you could be on to something.

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  6. soska says

    I’m the only one who thinks that Olivia is part cyborg now? I mean: she couldn’t control her hands. I think that controlling bionic prosthetics with some precision takes time and mr Weiss is less a yoda master, and more a psycomotor coach for new cyborgs.

    I love your blog, keep the good work.

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  7. Page 48 says

    A little continuity issue has Broyles’ jacket doing a lightning fast off/on/off in the scene where Team Fringe is tracking Burgess from the truck. It happens during Broyles’ early radio conversation, about the time of his first ‘copy that’. I thought I noticed it in the first viewing and confirmed it in tonight’s rerun.

    Either way, Broyles is stylin’.

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  8. Rich says

    I am surprised that there’s been very little talk of Peter’s appearance, at least, aside from the clothing issue. I seem to remember one comment drawing attention to Peter noticing the fly before Olivia and that he seems aware that moleboy is actually under the house and not in the house in 2.02. However, all the talk seems focused on Olivia. Sam comments on the dark circles beginning to develop around Olivia’s eyes (which did not seem that noticeable to me). But did anyone notice the dark circles around Peter’s eyes in 2.03? It’s Peter who seems to be missing alot of sleep. Messy hair, scruffy beard, and those dark circles around the eyes…which seemed to get progressly worse throughout the 2.03 episode. Besides that, what about the manner in which he dodges Olivia’s bullet in 2.02? Has anyone really focused on those peculiar observations?

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    • Pedro says

      I mentioned this in an earlier post but didn’t get any bites.
      “3. How fast is Peter?: Olivia is about 10 to 12 feet away, she takes a shot at him, he dodges and the bullet misses him. The scene shows him looking at the bullet hole, but my thought is at that distance, she doesn’t miss. He moved. Was he just lucky or did he move fast enough to get out of the way?”

      “2. Peter/Olivia connection: I think that Peter may know about her hyper-hearing abilities. I’ve always thought that it was interesting that Peter has a “sense” of things around him. I believe that the two of them, Peter and Olivia are connected. When she turned the light box device on to prevent the bomb from going off in season one, who was looking over her shoulder, Peter. She came “back to life” in 2.01 when Peter was leaning over her and she said the Greek phrase that he was familiar with, but she wasn’t. Also, Peter “sensed” that the Evil-Charlie was in the parking lot when they left the hospital.”

      I tend to agree with you there is more to Peter than meets the eye. I also think he’s underrated by the viewers.

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      • jkyarr says

        I RE:ed to somebody’s idea about Peter “dodging” liv’s bullet in an earlier post. The idea is totally bogus. He had a reflex but that reflex was WAY too slow. Also they weren’t that close. Most armed home invasion scenarios involving police take place at closer range than Peter was to Olivia when she fired and even then with all the training officers have they average a hit with 1 out of 5 shots. See this book for more info “Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control”, by Kleck and Kates ISBN:978-1573928830

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  9. cat says

    Is it just my imagination or does Peter seem to give the impression that his childhood, was spent longing for his father’s attention, whilst his father was too busy to spend time with him (in another lifetime). Yet now, its as though the opposite were true… Walter is almost child-like, following Peter around, being chided by Peter, seeking Peter’s attention and approval while Peter almost views Walter as a inquisitive, naughty child whom he has a responsibility to…? Role reversals in different realities? Is Peter really dead? Or is he one of Massives deep cover ‘agaents?’ Who is the real Peter?

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  10. danny says

    I don’t know if this is a spoiler area or not, but this is what i think is going on.
    If you remember Olivia asked Broyles “What did we do to them?” meaning why are they wanting a war. This is what i think. Young peter died is our universe and a walter being a grief stricken father that by then knows about the other universe and knowing a way to get there. Walter did his thing and kidnaped alter peter.
    And that didn’t set with alter Walter very well and wants to get his peter back and destroy the other universe to prevent it from happening again.
    Our bell is trying to stop him in the alter universe.

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  11. kmacd says

    where is alter bell it never mentions him or shows him? also I don’t think that alter walter would want to detroy our universe because of alter peter being taken because I believe he would know that we can win the war and detroy there universe. but I really want to know more about the missing alter bell

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