Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive Clues and Eastereggs Round-up for episode 4 of season 2 – Momentum Deferred.
Below the jump we explore the various clues and eastereggs from the episode and try to figure out what it all means.
Pear Today, Gone Tomorrow
The shapeshifter drops a pear to distract the security guards, and can be seen eating a pear as he watches his leader regenerate. Although pears are not one of the Fringe glyphs, I’m thinking it has some significance:
The ancient Chinese believed that Pears symbolised immortality (pear trees live for a long time) – this would tally with the leader coming back to life. In Chinese the word “li” and “Pear” means SEPERATION, so perhaps the shapeshifter taking bites out of the pear alludes to the two worlds coming apart?
Perhaps the writers are alluding to the idea that in the shapeshifters world, the pear was the forbidden fruit, instead of the apple?
Speaking of apples – this scene was very similar to the one from The Equation, where Mitchell Loeb takes a bite from a red apple after completing his mission:
For our thoughts on the symbolism behind Loeb’s apple munching, see our 1.08 Clues and Eastereggs Round-up.
Reflections are often coincidental, but with Fringe dealing with alternate universes it’s probably worth pointing a few of them out from time to time. Above, we see a reflection of Olivia and Phillip on the van, Evil charlie in his rear view mirror and Peter in his mirror. I find each of these interesting as they all spell out the same thing: BEHIND..or BACKWARDS. As in flashback heavy-episode?
Slusho is a fictional beverage that has featured in various Bad Robot productions, such as Alias, Cloverfield, Star Trek and more recently Fringe. We last saw Slusho referenced The Road Not Taken, as well as the season 2 promotional poster (held by Walter).
Flashback Trigger #1
There’s a lot in this so let’s break it down. The basic idea here is that certain triggers (words, sounds, etc) cause Olivia to remember events from her meeting with William Bell.
- Memories are in red (as we also saw last week).
- Peter triggers Olivia’s memory of William Bell. This alludes to the possibility that Peter and Bell are connected in some way. Of course, we know from the meeting that Bell instructed Olivia to give Peter a message..the same message that his mother used to say to him: “let him be a better man than his father”. It’s interesting that Bell should know this and hints at a larger connection between the pair.
- The blue flashes seem to fuse together the real-time vision of Peter and Olivia’s memory of Bell (and the literal bell). As I mentioned last week, I feel that the appearance of the blue flashes here is a big clue as to their ultimate meaning. Previously, I’ve speculated that the blue lights represent either travel, observation or convergence. I placed less importance on the convergence idea, but I’m starting to think that it might carry more weight because we have Olivia’s mind bringing the two realities, and her memories, together.
- Olivia’s memory also attempts to latch on to the location of the leader’s head –
GastonLaston Hennings Cryogenics. A message that Bell makes no explicit reference to, yet Olivia’s memory is able to latch on to its importance. Now that’s skill.
Flashback Trigger #2
Olivia’s next flashback is triggered when she’s walking down the corridors of Massive Dynamic. This causes her memory to shift back to the last time she was at MD – over in the parallel world during her meeting with Bell. She recalls Bell ringing his bell and taking a puff from his canister.
Flashback Trigger #3
The final flashback is triggered by a great parallel – Peter rings Walter’s bell which causes Olivia’s to collapse and her memory to once again relate the sound and the image to Bell ringing his bell, signifying the end of their meeting.
Peter ringing a bell is another element connecting Peter and William. I should have pointed this out previously, but another foreshadowing clue was the Harvard bell ringing before we visited a scene in the Lab (if memory serves, it was either Desirable Objects or Fracture).
Olivia In Wonderland
Fringe has been making allusions to Alice In Wonderland since season 1. We noticed another allusion in this episode when Olivia suddenly finds herself drinking a cup of tea. This is almost certainly a reference to the Mad Tea Party. In the tale, Alice becomes a guest at a mad tea party with the Mad Hatter, March Hare and the Doormouse. The characters give Alice many riddles and stories until Alice becomes insulted and leaves. Alice comes upon a door in a tree and finds herself back in the same place she was in the first chapter.
So the parallels are obvious – the meeting with William Bell was a bit like the tea party, with William giving Olivia a bunch of riddles before sending her back ‘through the door (or window) to the other side.
So has William Bell gone from being the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter? Certainly in this instance. In the tale, the Mad Hatter is sentenced to death for “murdering time” but escapes decapitation (reference to the shapeshifters leader?). The Hatter is stuck at 6:00 forever (rather like Bell being stuck over there). His tea party is also characterized by switching places on the table (just like the “time-slips” that occurred during Olivia’s meeting with Bell).
And in case you want another connection – the term “mad as a hatter” refers hat-makers dying from mercury poisoning, since mercury was used in the making of hats. As we know, the shapeshifters in Fringe ingest mercury.
Here’s a clip from the Mad Tea Party:
It’s difficult to say what this device is exactly (foreground, left), but it consists of an arrow and measurement markers. I’d take a stab and say it’s some sort of universe meauring tool – perhaps a way of keeping tabs on how close the two worlds are becoming? Heh, I said it was a “stab”. The object has been confirmed as a sundial (thanks to those who sent me the heads-up on this one).
Red + Green
Long-time followers of the Fringe clues will know that red and green (specifically the green, green, green, red sequence) has made several appearances in the show. In the above capture I noticed a similar sequence, although it appears that over there the sequence might be slightly different – red, red, red, green, perhaps? Or maybe red, green, red, green?
The symbol marked on the shapeshifters leader looks a bit like the Greek symbol OMEGA (above middle), which means “Great”. That said, both the version drawn by Bell and etched in the leader’s head has different end points. Which leads me to think that it’s an original symbol for Fringe, and the continuation of the circle beyond the end points represents the impending convergence or collision of the show’s two main worlds. We have been told that the shapeshifters are a first wave sent to destroy “our” world, so perhaps the symbol illustrates that?
The symbol, or mark, could be an allusion to the mark of the best. Perhaps this is also the clue for next week’s episode? If it has anything to do with beasts or demons, I guess we’ll know.
I Found this interesting – Olivia is clearly snapped backwards through the window, yet she is catapulted forwards through the windscreen of the car. (also, interesting use of blue).
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Peter asks Olivia is she’s ever seen the Invasion of the Body Snatchers in which a group of people discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion. This is a hat-tip filled with irony because, as we know, Peter is from another world and possibly snatched by Walter. And because Peter is referring to the REMAKE, and he is a REPLACEMENT for the original Peter. The other allusion relates to the shapeshifters, who take on people’s identity.
Wait, there’s more! Leonard Nimoy also played the role of Dr. David Kibner in the 1978 remake, and Mrs. Kibner was Rebecca’s surname.
And It Was All Yellow
Loved this moment – we finally get some insight into the glowing yellow orbs that have been seen on the Fringe posters and between the ad-breaks (top cap, above). As well as Rebecca noticing that Peter is glowing (because he’s not from over here), there is also a yellow orb floating around the bridge of his nose (bottom cap, above). I’ve always speculated that the orbs would tie into the show and that they’d allude to an observation device, or something. I guess we can at least mark them down as being an indication of a person being from over there.
It’s also worth noting the yellow light that can be seen under the shapeshifters leader in the final scene. And throughout Olivia’s meeting with Bell, which is used to denote the warm sunlight that was present in the season 1 finale (although it was more orange back then 😉 )
Nina uses two Massive Dynamic snow globes to illustrate the Pauli Exclusion Principle. One of the most important principles in physics which states that no two identical objects can occupy the same space at the same time. This brings into question the idea of our characters meeting their alters. Although I’m sure it WILL happen, we at least know that the writers are setting up some ground rules to help magnify the importance of this storyline.
Aside from the jargon, what I find really interesting is what Nina does to the snow globes, or rather, the fact that only one of the globes shatters. This ties into the idea that the war is a battle for survival..one of necessity in which only one world will survive.
Looking even deeper into this, I also find it interesting to see which snow globe Nina is holding with her robotic hand (her right hand). Notice how it is also this snow globe that doesn’t shatter – does this foreshadow which world will survive? Or perhaps it alludes to which world Nina is batting for..
Observing The Observer
The Observer left his appearance late this week, but he gave us something new with a foreground sighting. This over the shoulder angle was used frequently throughout the episode (specifically during the Olivia/Bell meeting), so it’s interesting to see them adopting the same angle for the Observer’s appearance.
It’s also worth noting that he’s observing Olivia this week – she seems to be his main priority. Looks like her prefers to send his scouts (couriers) to observe Walter, unless it’s critical enough to pay him a personal visit (ALA Arrival, More Than One). Also, the last time we saw the Observer outside the Massive Dynamic building was the Pilot episode – I’m just mentioning that because this episode is littered with parallels.
Just another quick observation – is that a yellow orb near Olivia? I’ve highlighted it in the cap below:
This could be a coincidence. It’s not as intentinal as the one in the Peter scene. That said, you never know.
Fruits of One’s Labor
We revisit the graffiti wall again. The above captures highlight the sneaky clues that the creators embedded into the art – specifically, the apple, seahorse, daisy, frog and leaf glyphs which are part of the show’s promotional movement and ad-breaks.
Van The Man
As we speculated in 2.02 and confirmed in 2.03, the next episode clue for Fracture was the Vincent Van Gogh impression. We got another look at it this week and the they even managed to throw in the word “VAN”, alluding to Van Gogh, I presume.
They seem to like putting clues in graffiti – in season 1 they used the same trick to tell us where William Bell was.
This could be a clue or foreshadowing – there’s a drawing of a compass with the emphasis on NORTH in the art behind Evil Charlie. There’s also an illustration of a face – if he turns up in a future episode then we’ll know who it is.
Shaken, Not Stirred
The words “To Sleep, Perchance, To Dream” are written on the wall (top right). This is a William Shakespeare quote from Hamlet. it describes Hamlet’s thoughts of suicide, but he is ponders the possibility that even in death (enternal sleep) there may be no peace (happy dreams) – “For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come”.
This could well be another candidate for the next episode clue.
As an aside, Amy Jessup recently quoted Shakespeare in the season 2 premiere [see here for details]. Could this also foreshadow her return?
- Elias Cryogenics. The name Elias means “My God” or “Jehovah is God”. Seeing as the shapeshifters were looking for the leader in cryogenics facilities, this could be what the name refers to in Fringe-terms.
- More color symbolism throughout the episode – if you’ve been following you’ll know about the black and gray clothing and our previous observations on what the creators might be alluding to by putting our characters in specific colors. Most of the main characters in this episode wore black and gray. Walter once again wore white (both in and outside the Lab). In fact I don’t think we’ve ever seen him in black, except..and this could be significant, in one of the photos that the courier delivered to the Observer in 2.03. Perhaps, as some people have speculated, those pictures weren’t only of OUR Walter, after all?
- After Nina has explained William Bell’s reference to the “last great storm”, it starts to thunder and rain. A fitting precursor to Olivia’s face-off with first-wave soldier, Evil Charlie.
- The 2.03 ‘next episode clue’ for this episode may well have been the flash of Bell using his breathing aperatus or the bell, as included in our 2.03 Fringe Observations.
- William Bell said that Olivia’s disorientation was due to “timeslips”. Here’s some more information on timeslips, adding more fuel to the fire that time-travel will be involved in Fringe. In fact, I think it’s a certainty that Bell has not just travelled between realities, but also time. Could further explain what he meant about seeing “history repeat itself”.
- The glyphs for the episode spelled MEMORY (thanks Chan for the heads-up!).
- The newly-introduced shapeshifter could be seen tossing frozen heads down a hill – could be a reference to the Coopers Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, in which a bunch of contestants apparently roll cheese from the top of a hill and chase down after it. The winner gets to keep the cheese as a prize. Perhaps the shapeshifter who finds their leader’s head will also get a prize? Although there didn’t seem much competition between them, so perhaps not. 😉
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.