Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive Clues and Eastereggs Round-up for episode 2 of season 6 – Earthling.
Below the jump we explore the various clues and eastereggs from the episode and try to figure out what it all means.
The opening shot of this Gargoyle could well be the clue for the next episode. Historically, Gargoyles are said to ward off and protect from evil spirits. I guess we’ll have to see whether this ties into the next episode.
The song at the beginning of the episode is called “Freezing” by MoZella. My interpretation is that the song relates mostly to Phillip Broyles’ state of loneliness after the break-up of his marriage, and his often lonely battle to keep Fringe Division afloat:
Lyrics: The clouds in the sky have covered up my life
And the day just stays gray ’till it’s night
And the dark ness out side is a mirror to my eyes
‘Cause my soul won’t reflect any light
Oh, I can’t lie, I’m so lonely
Oh, make it right and just hold me
‘Cause I’m freez ing, there’s no way to stay warm
Don’t you need me?
Left me out in the storm
How could you for get me
My sun shine has left me alone
You’re so cold
The song may also relate to Tomas, his brother or even the shadow itself – seemingly trapped down here on earth. And for those of you who have been observing the plethora of ‘cold’ references throughout Fringe, this song – “Freezing” – is another possible clue.
In the Dream Logic episode observations, we suggested that the many references to the ring or infinity might hold some meaning (example above). Well, we got several ‘ring references’ in this episode suggesting that this was indeed a clue. We got a glimpse at of the following ring-shaped object:
..And the Dancik’s wedding rings:
We also had several TV-moments with imagery reminiscent of the classic horror film, “Ring“ or “The Ring” (minus Samara crawling from the TV, of course):
The Space Between Us
Another potential clue for THIS episode may have been the young Peter’s Shuttle Challenger poster and space toys from “Dream Logic”. Whilst it was a clue in itself for Peter’s origins, it also alluded to the heavy ‘space’ theme for “Earthling”.
Walter tells Peter that he needs several Dust Devil’s to transport the remains back to his lab. While he’s referring to the vacuum cleaner, this could also be a cute reference to the movie “The Dust Devil”, in which a shape-shifter “comes from the desert in search of its victims, a spirit the locals call The Dust Devil”. You can take your pick at the number of allusions here, from the shape-shifting soldiers, to the “spirit” (the shadow), to the desert/ash analogy. One could even take a giant leap and say that this is a clue for alter-Walter being the creator of the shape-shifters, since our Walter said it with such..intent.
Walter suggests that the organism is capable of “projecting” itself without ever really leaving its host. One thought crossed my mind when I heard this – the Alter-Walter who visited Walter in st.Claire’s. I have to believe that this was a clue since most of the cases do tie into the larger arc, and it seems possible that Walter’s visitor back in episode 1.08 was a projection of some kind, and not just an hallucination. Perhaps the real Alter-Walter used this method to communicate with our Walter whilst he was in St. Claire’s?
As Walter was explaining his theory on the shadow, I also noticed that the camera remained on Peter for a split second longer than it probably should have – it was as if he were digesting the information and finding it remarkably relevant. I’m wondering whether this “projection” idea could also tie into Peter’s story? We know that Walter’s Peter is dead, and that this Peter is from the other side, but what if there’s more to it than that? I just have a sneaking suspicion that the writers are giving us more subtle clues that might become clearer later on down the line. Watch this space.
Observing The Observer
The Observer made his usual appearance, this time exiting gate 43 (further suggesting that he travels by normal means..at least sometimes). It’s interesting to see him observing Phillip for a change. Unless, there’s more than one of everything.
Green for Earth (2), Red for Mars
The famous green and red color sequence made another appearance, this time when Tomas was trying to contain the shadow. My out-there theory on this color sequence is that it has something to do with space. When I mentioned it a few weeks ago I was half joking, now I’m thinking it could actually be on the right lines. I mean, inspiration for brands or symbols come from all kinds of places.
Stuck on You
Probably the most intriguing clue of the entire episode – if indeed it was meant as a clue. Firstly we have Walter attempted to think “less linearly” by using tinker toys to create a 3-dimensional representation of the formula. For a show dealing with different dimensions and realities, I found this to be a suitable shout-out to how a higher plain of reality can exist within another.
Then when Peter and Walter attempted to separate the formula, they found that it couldn’t be separated – the idea being that the only way to destroy the shadow is to kill the cosmonaut. For me, this is an allusion to the two main worlds of the show – “over here” and “over there”. We could be looking at a situation where both worlds are more connected than we think, where the decisions and choices in one world also effect the outcomes in the other (and vice-versa). Of course we’ve also learned from the ZFT Manuscript that for the survival of one world, the other HAS to die – indeed, this is the very reason for the coming war. Survival. (or so they say).
However, this contradicts the above scenario in which the two entities are permanently joined, with the destruction of one resulting in the destruction of the other.
Like I said, the writers might not have intended this to be a clue, but I think it would make for an intriguing, yet subtle, foreshadowing.
Another possibility is that this relates to Peter and his alter-brother.
Eight No Stopping Us Now
Remember the other week we suggested that the number 8 was an important number in Fringe, specifically for Olivia? We got another dose of 8 in this episode. At first I wondered why it appeared in a Broyles-centric episode, but then we got some good intentional Olivia positioning (above). I’m more certain than ever that 8 is her ‘number’, if you will.
8 may also refer to infinity, and we kinda get the impression at the end of the episode that the shadow lives on. The imagery is just too intentional, in my opinion, to be coincidence. I’m just waiting for one more solid 8 reference to prove my point beyond all doubt.
One of Us
I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think the cartoon the little girl was watching was “Kimba The White Lion“. More important was the specific clip which went:
Off-screen voice: He’s not one of us, get rid of him!”
Kimba(?): “I may have a different color, but I’m still a lion like you!”
I think this is an allusion to Peter being from another universe and the possibility that he will ultimately feel an affinity with our world, despite being from the parallel world. As I’ve been saying for a while now, the journey will severely test the loyalties of many of our Fringies, particularly Peter and Olivia.
The cartoon could also apply to the shadow entity who may be human in a sense we cannot currently comprehend, although they’d need to beef that story up before we could make any real connections there.
Another thought that crossed my mind relates to the belief (in some quarters) that the popular Disney movie “The Lion King“ was a rip-off of Kimba The White Lion. In the other reality, was Lion King ever made? I guess we’ll never know since it’s not that important, but you have to think the creators lace every scene with intent.
Maybe it’s just me, but I get the impression that the lighting in this scene is very intentional. Do we only see half of the CIA agents face (in the shot above) because he’s not from over here? The ‘half-face’ thematic is similar to the lighting technique used in the Peter/Walter beach house scene from the season 1 finale. Is this a clue for a future story arc involving government conspiracy? Belly said that only a few people have successfully crossed over, but he could be wrong, especially if the ‘doorway between worlds’ has been known to man for centuries.
- In some respects, the shadow was a bit like shape-shifters – they need mercury to survive in one body (for long period of time) “over here”, and shadow seemingly needed radiation to survive “down here”.
- Was the 2009 movie “Moon“ an influence for this episode? Earthling shares some vague similarities.
- I noticed a continuity error (there were quite a few in this episode actually) when Phillip was in the park with the senator. A guy on a bicycle rides past as they are talking, then when Phillip is standing the same guy rides past again. If the bicycle was any color but red I’d say this was 100% a continuity error, but I’ll leave 2% for it being an intentional allusion.
- The glyphs for Earthling spelled DEJAVU, referring to Phillip’s old case coming back to haunt him.
As always if you have any thoughts on the above, or any observations you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments below.