Fringe Observations: 3.01 Olivia

Welcome to a new season of Fringe Observations: Fringe Bloggers comprehensive clues and eastereggs round-up from both universes.

To be honest, it’s more than that. This isn’t granny’s easteregg hunt (although bring her along). We delve deep into the worlds of Fringe to explore, recover and examine both the intentional clues planted by the Fringe overseers, and the subconscious elements that are almost innately hidden in the DNA of the story.

We do our best to guide you through the various clues, symbolism and resonating factors, so that you can enjoy it simply on a surface level, or empower your minds with the deeper serialized mechanics of the story, if you so choose. If you wish to extract the most from the journey, all that we ask is that you come with an open mind and the spirit of a Jedi Warrior. Feel free to question and share your minds, bring logic and imagination, and most importantly, Twizzlers. Hopefully you’ll emerge from these adventures with an even fuller understanding and appreciation of the story, as together, we unlock Fringe – two universes at a time.

Below the jump we navigate the meaning of: 3.01 “Olivia”.

Before you dive in, you might want to check out our review for this episode for our in-depth thoughts on the quality of the episode as a whole.

Time Is A River Called Percy

The pictures of waterfalls in the opening scene with Olivia and Dr. Anderson inform us of Olivia’s internal state of mind. Water is symbolic of emotions, of the subconscious elements that drive us. Therefore waterfalls offer an even deeper take on these themes.

This works on several levels – not only is Olivia in an alternate universe, a kind of subconscious echo in its own right, but the very grounds of her reality are being questioned. The interesting thing is that waterfalls are often wild and rapid – the force of the water pulling everything down into a potentially hazardous drop. So the fact these are pictures (and not, say, video) create an interesting vibe. It’s gives the impression that time is standing still, while at the same time gushing forward. Again we have a matter of perspective, and perhaps this is a comment on the time between universes, or indeed the time distortion inside Olivia’s mind (“is it dinner already?”).

It’s also worth noting that the pictures are actually projections. We’ve often referenced how the subconscious can project itself on reality, and we come to see that idea play out in the escape scene.

These waterfall projections serve as clues that signpost Olivia’s upcoming leap of faith from Liberty Island. Once again, I ask: is Olivia’s mind manifesting itself on reality? Perhaps attempting to inform her of upcoming obstacles? I don’t want to get bogged down by that idea, but it’s worth considering.

Thinking Of Blue..

Colors are important in Fringe – I don’t think anyone can doubt that now. So it’s worth looking at Dr. Anderson dressed in baby blue – the marker for Olivia’s “Over Here” universe. What inspired the good doctor to wear that color on this day of all days? Take away the fact that life is full of coincidences, and consider for a moment how far the subconscious mind directs our decisions. What was Dr. Anderson’s subconscious trying to tell herself, or what was it trying to reflect to Olivia?

Look around and you’ll see that the room is also a shade of blue.

sTRAP Me In Baby

Speaking of color – as we know, red is a thematic marker for the alternate universe. The red straps around Olivia’s hands, jump right out – representing the fact that the Dunhamnator is trapped in that reality. But is she also bound by it?


“It’s not surprising that your mind has created this…fantasy – a means of processing  the trauma.” – Dr. Anderson

I said a lot about this in my review, so I’ll give it a different slant here instead. Last season we were introduced to Sam Weiss, also known as “Mr. Fantasy”. Sam helped both Nina and Olivia (and surely many others) process their trauma, and displays many perceptive talents. Is he too good to be true – is he a fantasy? While that might seem unlikely, I’d be interested to explore his origins to see just how far he fits this description.


Before we leave Dr. Anderson, I found it worthwhile to consider whether or not she was in on Walternate’s plan while questioning Olivia. Just the thought that maybe she genuinely believed that this was Altlivia (even if she may not have known her personally) gave me a different perspective on Anderson. What I originally perceived as a trace of malevolence now became a doctor trying to get to the bottom of her patient’s underlying problem. It’s interesting what perspective and perception can do when the dial is changed slightly.

Oh, and Anderson name reference. Probably more a general allusion than a direct character reference.

Memory Pain

The transferring of Altlivia’s memories into Olivia was a key part of this episode, but in classic Fringe style it emerged from a smaller echo. In Season 1 Olivia shared a dreamstate with John Scott, throughout various points in the season this caused her to confuse Scott’s memories with her own.

We also saw another shade of the memory transference idea in last season’s “Grey Matters”, when it was revealed that William Bell removed pieces of Walter‘s brain and hid them in the brains of other people, who subsequently thought that these memories were really their own.

It’s A Wonder

The episode employed several visual techniques to make Olivia appear very small. A similar method was applied in “Jacksonville“, and gives us a ‘Wonderlandesque’ perspective on Olivia’s upside down reality and journey back to her unresolved childhood elements.

Life Askew

The slanted lights are a thematic device that we picked up on last season. We believe that they are used to signify high amounts of energy, be it from shapeshifters or travellers who have crossed universes, or the extreme emotions of Cortexiphan children.

Olivia is both a Cortexiphan kid, who is in an emotional spot right now, and she has recently travelled from the other side. They are also used to illustrate that something is slightly askew.

The interesting with these skewed lights is that the characters never notice them, reinforcing that they are for viewer benefit. Are we’re looking in from a different dimension?


We see Olivia getting into the elevator as she is taken to her treatment. They don’t indicate whether the elevator goes up or down. There might have been a reason for that, but it’s worth considering why they didn’t decide to go with such a powerful device which plays right into the idea of the subconscious and travelling through its many levels, especially with the next scene which has Olivia receiving Altlivia’s memories.

Or perhaps not showing the elevator move tells us something in itself?

Forest of Nightmares

Olivia running through woods as she escapes facility is reminiscent of her Cortexiphan propelled ‘regression dream’ back in “Jacksonville” (right). Could this subconscious expedition have been her mind trying to project upcoming events? Maybe not the writers specific intention, but you know, it works. And it wouldn’t be the first time that Olivia has foreshadowed herself.

On the Edge of Liberty

Olivia looks out across the water (representing her subconscious) and sees the Twin Towers and the Gaudi building (built Over There). The night time is also reflective of her emotions – she’s in a dark place and the leap of faith I spoke about earlier is more like a plummet even deeper into this nightmare ‘reality’ that will soon lead her ‘home’.

Over There

As we know, The Over There red-themed title sequence gives us insight into the kind of ‘fringe science’ that the alternate universe are dealing with. Over Here some of these concepts might be considered super fringe, but still not inconceivable:

Synesthesia, Transhumanism (Altstrid, Nina, BELLIE?), PandemicSpeciation , Singularity, WormholesNeural networks, Telepathy, Reanimation, Biotechnology, Retrocognition, Transcendence.

It’s also worth noting that ‘Easteregg Zero’ – the “Observers Are Here” hidden clue is still present – not surprising since the Observers also keep a watchful eye on the other side.


As we found out in last season’s “Jacksonville” (left), Manhattan is spelled ‘Manhatan‘ in the alternate universe. One of the subtle differences between the two worlds.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Olivia finds Henry under a bridge and at a ’roundabout’. Two interesting devices rolled into one.

‘Over There’ Broadway has Dogs as opposed to Cats.

Be Vigilant” Fringe Division Amber Alert ad on the bus.

Over Henry’s radio, we can just about make out a news report on president Obama choosing former president John F. Kennedy (who, as we already knew, is still alive on this side) to spearhead new government agency of some kind. Kennedy will step down from his current role to take up the position. It’s always interesting when we get these little glimpses of how life would have been different with alternative developments/choices.

Olivia is wearing light blue, Henry in deep red. Pretty self-explanatory thematics that we’ve already touched on, and will no doubt do so again.

A Round We Go

A birds-eye view of a roundabout illustrating the cyclical nature of the show, balance, continuity and also the disorientation that Olivia is undergoing. If you want to take it deeper you could also argue there’s a ‘road not taken‘ metaphor in there somewhere. There are several roads open to Olivia, the one she takes will shape her journey. Funny thing is, she’s probably taken them all.

Flug It

Glatterflug exists on both sides. Over There, they offer daily trips to the moon, as you would probably expect. Over Here (left), it was on board Glatterflug Flight 627 that we first experienced the “Pattern” (Pilot 1.01).

Olivia also used Glatterflug to fly to Germany to meet the beloved Mr. Jones. Oh, and Petah-lite.

This peek into the advanced space programmes of the other side also make me wonder whether they are somehow responsible for ‘The Shadow’ organism that we encountered in the otherwise random happening, “Earthling“. This organism essentially projected itself from space – wouldn’t it be interesting if it crossed universes up there having originated from the other side’s advanced space experiments? One can dream for an improbable tie-in, can’t he?

Nurture My Nature

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that one of the areas I am particularly interested in exploring this season is the nurture vs nature of our characters. How much are they influenced by their experiences in their separate worlds, and whether there are any ‘hard-coded’ constants that exist between them. Aside from genetics, we already have another constant in that both Olivias are both perceived as being forged in the rings of Saturn. “You know Olivia, she’s strong.” As a measure of Altlivia’s perceived strength, Lincoln is shocked to hear that she of all people has lost it. He calls the notion “crazy”.

Home Is Where The Alt Is

“You’re taking me home”

Little did she know she was going home, just not the home ‘she’ had in mind.

And that journey ‘home’ was paved with yellow – she jumped into a yellow taxi cab, stopped off at the ambered opera house, before finally finding a semblance of peace in her mothers yellow room. Note how she gradually becomes ‘happier’ as her journey progresses. Yellow, as is later intimated, symbolizes this happiness. It’s as if the yellow brick road was guiding her path. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

Jedi Mind Trick

“I know, you’ve got my number..Jedi Mind Trick”

We’ve often commented in the past about Olivia’s ‘Jedi’ powers and her ability to imprint her will on the world around her. The Jedi Mind Trick is a form of persuasion used by the Jedi in Star Wars. Could this reference also hint at the battle for Olivia’s own mind – Will Olivia have to persuade herself that she’s a mutually exclusive entity?

Blue Right Through

In contrast the Olivia’s yellow bricked road, it’s interesting to note the blue path inside the alternate Fringe Division command center. Does this allude to Olivia gaining allies in AU Fringe Division? Will they help her get back to her ‘reality’?

The Point Of Fear

The flickering light as Olivia goes to powder her nose? Possibly a faulty light bulb, but its power should connect the mind back to the very first episode, when Olivia tells John Scott that she lurves him (and also after the subsequent explosion):

The flickering lights can be considered as a device to indicate Olivia’s intense emotional response. This relates to her ability, which as we know is triggered/controlled through her emotions, particularly ‘fear’.

What’s interesting in our current scene is that the lights stop flickering, despite the fact that Olivia goes on to have a good old sob. This may be because Altlivia was coming to the fore at this point, the foreign memory diluting Olivia’s emotional affect on the world around her. Or it could just mean that Olivia was so lost that her emotions went beyond the point of fear.

I also find it worth considering that ‘Altlivia’ was also crying – giving us the rather unique perspective that ‘Altlivia’ (who is now a realized character inside Olivia’s mind – literally) is just as lost as Olivia is. Memories they may be, but they now have a vessel.

Spirituality In The AU

Spirituality is an interesting aspect of Fringe. We know that Olivia’s real mom was religious, something Olivia couldn’t quite understand. But what about Altlivia’s mom? Is she less spiritually inclined? We also see that Henry is a man of faith (a cross hanging from rear-view, also red). In a brief scene he uses the hopeful yellow of his taxi as a backdrop to pray for his family. It further makes me wonder that if we do explore a third universe in Fringe, will it be marked with yellow in contrast to the blue and red of Over Here and Over There? And will it be a very real place, or a spiritually idealized one? Over to you, writers.

This scene is interesting because the yellow is flanked on either side by intentional red and blue thematics.

Generally speaking, it reminds me of this.

Observing The Observer

God bless the Observador. He’s Over There watching over our dear Olivia like a guardian angel.

We Have A Dream

The Martin Luther King and Eldridge Cleaver memorial park in New York, is another nuance of ‘Over There’, offering some more insight into its history. The phrase “We Have A Dream” has face-value meaning, but there’s another level to its resonance. It alludes back to the shared dream state – a concept the show has visited on a number of occasions. It also taps right into the current Olivia/Altlivia memory merger. And then there’s the possibility that the characters in the show, and perhaps even the audience (from a narrative standpoint), are participating in a dream. Whether the creators are going to go in this direction is open to discussion, but it’s clear that they continue to toy with the idea.

As I’ve said on many occasions, it’s worth considering the alternate universe – and perhaps “Over Here” – as ‘dreams’ in their own right. Who’s to say that a reality is ‘real’. Taking it back King and his ‘Over There’ Alter, the words: “I have a dream” of course have their own power – their vision helped shape both realities and bring about more equality for both universes. So clearly, some dreams are worth believing in. At the end of the day, and I think this will play into Olivia’s eventual empowerment – it’s about what you choose to believe in that matters most. This truth may well be Olivia’s only way out, or her way of embracing this new identity – it can work both ways.

As for the Altlivia in Olivia’s head – it will be interesting to see whether we end up caring more about her than the actual ‘original body and mind’ version kissing it up with Peter on the other side. Technically, we now have two ‘Altlivias’. Will Olivia and her experiences bring anything to ‘Altlivia’ to make her worth investing in? Will Altlivia on the other side achieve this on her own? As I said before, there are so many levels to this.

The bike (right) or “Penny-farthing” is another nuance of the alternate universe (those crazy sweethearts – whatever next, double-decker cars?). As well as being a quirk to be considered at face value, I also extracted a time reference. Something about the big front wheel and the much smaller rear wheel. There’s balance, but you can see how the larger wheel takes longer to complete a full cycle than the smaller wheel. This plays into the show’s take on the two universes being out of sync – there’s a time discrepancy between the two realities, perhaps in terms of how time flows ‘Over There’ in comparison to ‘Over Here’, and certainly in terms of scientific (etc) developments. In that sense, ‘Over Here’ may represent the larger wheel, and the alternate universe, the smaller wheel – or vice-versa.

Along with the the ’roundabout’ mentioned earlier, you can see another time reference being made. We’ve often spoken about the ‘cyclical’ nature of the show, and how events and phrases repeat, or ‘come back around’. There are many examples of this and you probably know them all if you’ve explored our Observations. Perhaps the most powerful one (aside from Walter, Bell and Olivia re-teaming after all those years), is probably William Bell’s reference about ‘having a unique perspective from living in two worlds, and knowing enough about history to know that a war is coming’. Another example is Charlnate echoing Charlie’s wonderful “Obsolete” line in the season 2 finale. There are many more and examples, and surely many more to come.

Dream A Dream

Notice as Olivia’s dream world becomes more dream-like as the zeppelin passes by overhead. The sound of the thing is what also struck me. It’s almost as though seeing this familiar yet so unfamiliar object nudged a bit more of Altlivia’s memories past her brain barrier.


There’s a picture of what appears to be a Raven in Altlivia’s apartment. Going with that possibility for now, Raven’s are commonly thought to symbolize death and bad omens. But they are also believed by some to have prophetic abilities – being communicators of important messages and keepers of secrets. This symbolism is connected to the Welsh primordial deity Bran the Blessed (Bran is Welsh for Raven). Bran, whose totem was a Raven, was the holder of ancestral memories who ordered for his own head to be cut off. I don’t have to tell you why this would play into several aspects of Fringe. But it is interesting to consider whether we can use this information to not only deepen the memory confusion that Olivia is currently going through, but also other mysteries – possibly something relating to Newton, or more likely, the Olivias family histories? We’ll see.

Inside Frenemy Territory

Interesting use of music and pictures to show Altlivia’s memories arriving at the gates of Olivia’s mind. This was the tipping point, the literal echoes of her mind resulted in a 50/50 split. On one side there’s Olivia, on the other, Altlivia. It’s at this point, when she meets her mother (wearing blue for ‘Over Here’, no less), that Altlivia’s memories begin to finally win out. Perhaps helped in a way by Olivia’s emotional longing to have ‘her’ mom again. I love how Olivia still fought it though:

“This was supposed to be my way home!”

Indeed, the yellow brick road is always supposed to lead you home, but before that it’s a spiritual journey – a road filled with choices and negotiation. Olivia must have always wondered what her mother would be like if she were still alive, and now she has her. She’s ‘over the rainbow’ as Altlivia’s experiences come flooding over her brain barrier. For me, this is part consequence, part choice.

But outside of that, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is in some way a self-help exercise on Olivia’s part. Sure, all of the events here are ‘real’, or so we’re led to believe – but consider Olivia’s journey, her companions and paths that have led her to the one thing that she would probably want more than anything else. Even if we only take this on a spiritual level, it works.

The question now is whether this is Olivia’s true home? It’s easy to dismiss this idea. But if this episode does one thing (and it does many), it illustrates that our choices are not always governed by what we see – it’s what we choose to believe, what we choose to ‘dream’, that matters most. Marilyn may only be an echo of Olivia’s real mom, yet Olivia’s path has led her here – to Oz, to Wonderland, to Over Here. If Peter can choose the other side, why can’t Olivia choose the other side? It’s fascinating, I think.

“You picked the colors. I wanted blue, but you convinced me to pick..”


“Yes!” :)

“Because it was more cheerful” 😀

As we know, Olivia doesn’t like the color yellow – despite being of great intuitive help to her (as we see in this episode, and in the past), it reminds her of medicine. This dislike for the color stems from her childhood – which is interesting in its own right. The fact that Altlivia has a entirely different, more positive, relationship with the color brings us smack bang in the middle of the road not taken (not that it ever left the party). It’s even more interesting because as we know the writers have these three particular color thematics (red – “Over There”, blue – “Over Here”, yellow – Third Universe/Spiritual Aspirations) that give the audience an extra dimension with which to play with.

What seems like natural color preferences to the characters (i.e. Marilyn liking blue, which represents the “Over Here” universe) can be perceived as being governed something more sentient from our wider perspective. Why did Marilyn project Olivia’s universe on Altlivia? What instinct informed this high level foreshadowing? Is it coincidence, is it a quirk of the universe, or is it something deeper – slight shades of differences between characters and their doubles that help color the entire canvass..the bigger picture?

It has always seemed to me that within these choices, exists this force..this pull which drives it all. While I’m loathe to discount the existence of choice (especially since I value it), I can’t ignore the idea of fate (which I also acknowledge), especially when what we are essentially looking at are iterations of..some grander system.

All Knocked Up

The knocker on Marilyn’s door of two souls intertwined in a passionate wet kiss? Possibly a ‘next episode clue’. Crumbs! Will boots be a-knocking?

Blue My Minds

Ah. The Blue Lights – a Fringe Blogger favorite. I don’t think anyone can still deny that they don’t have intentional significance in the show. And even if they didn’t, they certainly have done for a good while now. This was indeed one of the most blatant uses of our mercurial flashes – but it was still in-keeping with our interpretations of their speculated meanings: observation, energy, convergence, and travel/transfer. In fact, all of these can be said to apply here as we witnessed the perspective switch from Over Here to Over There.


As for the most blatant reflection ever seen on Fringe, take a look at your Boy Wonder looking all..reflective. There were, of course, many other reflections throughout this episode (examples). We’ve discussed their meaning before, but since it’s the season opener and we have many new readers who have joined us for the journey, the reflections speak to the duality and reflective nature of the story, and give the audience a subconscious pull into these concepts.

What to make of Peter’s surely marvellous pen trick, and the fact that his offer was declined? Obviously it plays into Boy Wonder’s ability to ‘bring things (usually mechanical) back to life’. Not to mention the fact that he can power Walternate’s weapon thing – a weapon which is based on ‘old tech’, perhaps dating back to the ‘First People’, or The Observers?

“A trick? To save a dying pen?”

I also wonder if there’s another message in this? Considering that this show is written by writers (shock, horror! Now that’s an observation for you), is it an in-joke which somehow found its way into the script? And considering the new energy that the show has found, were they in need of a ‘trick’ to find their way out of the ‘stand alone’ maze prior to the second half of last season?

“Nah, it’s OK. We’re almost finished here.”

Say it isn’t so. For the love of all the Molebabies in the Fringeverse, say this isn’t the final season of Fringe! 😮


Is that a cringe I detect, agent AltDunham? Remember, close your eyes and think of New York. 😉

Other Clues

  • Everyone and their mother will be pleased to know that Tom Cruise exists in the alternate universe. He seems to have opted for TV over movies Over There.
  • Other color references: blue injection/red Altlivia’s B-Lymphocytes/”code blue” – and many others.
  • Number 8 (Liv’s ‘lucky number’) reference: “I can be out for up to 8 hours at a time” – Lincoln. Dr. Anderson’s room also appears to have 8 sides.
  • Altlivia seems to genuinely care for Franky Boy. He seems to be her ‘Peter’, if you will. It will be interesting to see how being apart from him and doing what she has to do on the other side plays with her conscience.
  • Didn’t Frank say he was going away for a week in the season 2 finale? Does this conflict with the suggestion that only 3 days have past since Olivia was captured, or did Frank come back early after he heard what happened to ‘Altlivia’?
  • Olivia enters her ‘mom’s’ house through a window. I don’t have to explain why this is worth a small mention.
  • The Glyphs for this episode spelled: AMBER – as in amber quarantine, as in Olivia trapped on the other side.

If you’re looking for even further exploration, feel free to check out our:

We also cover Fringe over at our Serialized TV sister site Seriable.

Phew! That’s what we observed for this episode. Feel free to share your thoughts or any other observations in the comments below.


  1. hal says

    you must be very good at interpreting your own dreams. and the waking dream? 😉

    i noticed the tracking device in the cab was reminiscent of the part in the matrix when they take the tracking device out of neo, and even the part showing it laying on the road after with the blinking light is similar to the shot in this..

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  2. Cindy says

    Ha! You used “Cringe”. 😀

    The elevator ride is interesting. I never thought about it before. (As with any real film set, it probably does go nowhere.) But it’s interesting that maybe Walternate wanted her to escape, he just made it that much easier for her to do so.

    The senator’s line – “We’re almost finished here.” Oh man! There’s always foreshadowing in that kind of talk even in the real world.

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  3. Alexia says

    I wanna know how they get down from the bike…I guess they could jump backwards and land on their feet.But how the hell do they get up on it then???

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  4. Inter-dimensional-Dave says

    Actually when Liv arrived at the park I think she uttered something like, “I’ll never get out of here”. So when I saw that odd bike and the shadow loom over her back I thought of the old “Prisoner” series with Patrick McGoohan. That bike was seen in the shows “inter-titles” and was featured during the closing credits. It was also seen around the “Village” where McGoohan’s number 6 character was held prisoner. The shadow looming over her shoulder that developed into a zeppelin is reminiscent of the “Rover” device that chased people down as they tried to escape the Village. It was a kind of sentient balloon that bounced after you and either brought you back or worse.

    I see that whole sequence as a send up to the old Prisoner sereis. Loved it.

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    • LMH says

      I find the zeppelins, and the ways the are employed in different shots, to be really fascinating. Something your are hinting at here with the “Prisoner” similarities, they also leave me with a sense of being watched over, an omniscient eye-in-the-sky presence that can be a reflection of the more authoritarian state of affairs Over There and how individuals are constantly being observed and shadowed by the powers that be, or hinting at a sense of a true Observer (the ultimate observer) God or a similar concept of an unseen greater third dimension looming over the events and characters we do see. Perhaps it works quite well on both levels simultaneously. Reminiscent of Henry’s line that “sometimes you have to believe in what you can’t see,” which I am sure will work on multiple levels in future episodes (memory, identity, spirituality/faith in the unknown and/or the ‘impossible’). In the spirit of Roco’s observations, I guess whatever interpretation we choose to focus on for understanding details like the Zeppelins in “Olivia” and future episodes will deeply ‘color’ how we experience the show.

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    • Jodie says

      As soon as I saw the Penny-farthing and then followed right up with the shadow from the blimp, I also instantly thought of “The Prisoner.” There was an episode on “The Prisoner” when Number 2 tried to convince Number 6 that he was a different person. He was given drugs and was forced to interact with people who tried to convince him that he was someone else. It didn’t work, of course!

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        • says

          Dave, Jodie – nice ‘Prisoner’ catch.

          LMH – nicely said regarding the zeppelins. These nuances, and the way in which they are filmed, give us an real ‘sense’ of what the world is like Over There. Hopefully then palette will continue to broaden.

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  5. Inter-dimensional-Dave says

    Brother Roco,
    Sorry for the extra post but I just thought a couple other items relevant to observations. First, you led off with the theme of rivers and waterfalls. There is a concept in psychology known as the “Stream of consciousness” which deals with flow of thoughts in the conscious mind. Not just verbalized thoughts but all thoughts. Something I think Dr. Anderson is trying to explore through her examination of Olivia.

    And speaking of Anderson! In 1971 there was a movie released called, “The Anderson Tapes”. One of the major themes of that movie was the notion of “pervasive surveillance”. In other words a world of, “agents, cameras, bugs, and tracking devices.” You can see how this closely relates to what is going on in the “red” universe.

    During my research of the above I also stumbled across the Bhuddist notion of the “stream of consciousness”. As noted in Wiki, “The stream of consciousness, flowing through many lives, is as changing as a stream of water.’ Again, awesome!

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    • says

      Hey Dave,

      No apologies necessary – thanks for sharing.

      I really like your point here. Dr. Anderson did appear to be looking – or ‘feeling’ – for Olivia’s thoughts, as well as listening to them.

      On a similar topic, the stream/rock decoration in Broylnate’s office also adds subtle depth to the ‘stream of consciousness’ slant.

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  6. andrewsauer says

    Great observations on an even greater episode. As always, I really enjoyed reading this article, however, I was surprised by one major omission. After all the time over the past two seasons Roco has spent convincing me that colors in the show have a thematic significance and he left out ,what seemed to me to be, the most blatant use of the red and blue theme.
    Throughout the scenes where Olivia is riding in the taxi with Henry there are flares of blue and red light pouring through the windows. In the beginning when Liv is on screen the light appears blue and when the camera is on Hank the light appears red. Over time Olivia slowly starts to become illuminated with red as she loses her grasp on your identity. The color is almost like a third character in the car with them throughout these scenes representing Olivia’s shifting identity. In the scene where the lymphocytes kick in and she mistakingly refers to the Over there guy instead of Peter she is soaked in purple light. On first viewing I found this use of light distracting but the second time through it was real obvious what they were doing and it adds a whole new level to these scenes.

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    • says

      Also in Lincoln’s physical therapy room there were a bunch of red and blue exercise balls.

      And speaking of color, many noted Marilyn’s red front door but it was surrounded by green trim….green, green, green, red anyone?

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    • says


      Great catch. I can say that I noticed them, but for whatever reason they didn’t ‘land’ with me. I like your interpretation of their use.

      Thanks for sharing!

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      • Edgesight says

        Those balls in the gym are in a strange pattern. Almost like planets with moons and the sun is the gyroscope equipment the some guy is being spun around in.

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  7. says

    Awesome observations Roco! I love being able to look at the episode from a review standpoint and the observations standpoint. It helps give the show so much more depth. Thanks for all your hard work. I’m so glad you mentioned both the time aspects as well as the spiritual aspects. I’m in the camp that thinks time has a different flow over there (I’ve thought this for a long time actually). So I’m hoping they will explore this concept a lot more. It would be cool to have Altlivia make comments about time (time moving slow, things taking longer than expected, etc.) when she is over here. In my opinion, they have thrown out too many “time discrepancy” crumbs in both the S2 finale and the S3 premiere for us to just discount them…Peter being abducted 20 years ago vs 25, the olivias switcheroo, Scarlie’s hair suddenly growing back, Lincoln being up and about only “3 days” after being totally charred…enough for us to be scratching our heads wondering what’s up with all that. There’s gotta be something to it.

    And I’m so curious what they are going to do with the spiritual aspects of the story. They’ve definitely not shied away from it in the past but have never hit it really full on. But if the writers are coming from a perspective that there is a God, is he “presiding” over each (or all) universes? One singular God that transcends the bounds of the universes? Or will they show that each side has their own construct of what God is…each side has a need to believe in something greater than themselves? As I mentioned on the review, I am leaning towards thinking that Altlivia does believe in a higher power. We don’t have much to go on, but in the S2 finale, she did have some decorations of church’s in her foyer. And usually people follow the faith of their parents unless some catalyst sends them into another direction (like Olivia’s cortexiphan trials and her mothers beatings…I wonder if alternate marilyn was abused??? I digress.) So if Altlivia didn’t have any of those catalysts to send her into disbelief, would she still have a faith in God? And as much as faith is a conscious choice, it is also a feeling. People of faith can feel a great sense of peace and hope. Will Olivia get a chance to experience this peace and hope through Altlivia’s memories and will it be something that she will want to continue feeling and experiencing when she comes back into her own? That, in my opinion, would be a very cool story to tell.

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  8. fedorafadares says

    I like looking at what on everyone’s walls in both Fringe universes. The set designers are particularly good at layering visual meaning over the plot of the story through the object they put on people’s walls, mantles, etc.,.

    I, too, noticed the raven print in AltLivia’s apartment. But mOther also had a number of bird prints in the livingroom. Birds are a common symbol of spirituality and the sky — a link between heaven and earth.

    I’ve always suspected Olivia is a “divine” character and her flight (and AltLivia’s) from one world to the next is echoed in the bird art.

    Roco, your observations are the best. They really enhance the enjoyment of the show. Thank you.

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    • says

      “Birds are a common symbol of spirituality and the sky — a link between heaven and earth.”

      Nicely said, fedora. Olivia as the bearer of the olive branch. Will she have to become more in-tune with her spiritual side to fully emerge as the link needed to foster peace between the two worlds, or is there another way? What is more natural to Olivia..

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  9. CH says

    Roco i love your blogs and i just thought you might be intrested in this little tidbit i found the other day. There’s a movie called “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. Based off of a book, and the main character is a humanoid alien called THOMAS JEROME NEWTON! I just thought that that was the weirdest thing, and when thinking about it Newton isn’t really human, (i don’t know if he’s a shape shifter or not since he’s never changed shape but he was ‘made’ with mercury) and so i was wondering if you could get anything else out of that…

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    • says

      Nice find CH,

      I’ve covered that in previous Observations, but I’m sure many others will find that information useful (and one can never get enough Newton), so thanks for the share!

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  10. HWG says

    Brilliant review as always!

    I especially loved the thorough deconstruction of the color yellow. In the end, when Olivia utters the “because it was more cheerful” line it’s immediately a harsh, brilliant juxtaposition with what we know about Olivia and her take on yellow because of the Cortexiphan trials.

    I wanted to point out that Frank is back because it’s been more than a week. Especially since Lincoln Lee has to spend three months with his nanite friends to recover from his burns. As he is doing physical therapy already it suggests that a span of a week or more is plausible. Also the fact that Olivia had so many track marks plus her beaten down attitude (and therapy sessions) also suggest that it’s somewhat routine treatment for her (her asking about dinner too).

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    • says

      Hey HWG,

      I want to say that more than 3 days have past for all the reasons that you mentioned. The main thing that seems to cause some confusion is Lincoln’s line about ‘3 days ago life was fine’. Of course, he may have been speaking about ‘3 days ago while in recovery’, but that wouldn’t fit quite as nicely either. Though it would still work.

      I guess the upcoming episodes will give us some solid confirmation.

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  11. Elaine says

    Color symbolism and analysis…my abosolute favorite! I used to do that all the time with ‘Lost’, especially in the first season, you’d have to be dumb and blind not to notice the clothing selections and colors they dressed the characters in.

    So, it’s not surprise that this show has made many references to different colors, and what the represent. Like someone upthread mentioned, I didn’t notice the colored lights while Olivia was riding around in the cab. I’ll have to go back and look for those. Also, I hadn’t given much thought to what the color yellow means within the structure of this story, but I like the idea of it representing a spiritual aspect of the show. Whether it’s Olivia’s personal belief, or Altivia’s. Faith has definitely played it’s roll in this narrative.

    As always, wonderful observations, Roco.

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  12. says

    Something about the red/yellow/blue thematics. The Cortexiphan experiments took place when Olivia would have been learning about primary colors. So is that somehow the filter through which we’re seeing the universes?

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  13. Silent Jim says

    Was wondering why Olivia would have subsonic ammo in her service pistol? That would be the only reason to use a suppressor to dispatch the deaf man with the “box”?

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  14. 7063keisha says

    wow i just cant belive that olivia is stuck in the other world and that at the end of the episode i just cant believe that no one in our universe hasnt notice that altlivia came back with them and not olivia becuz somehow altivia doesnt act like olivia shes just different in a way and im surprised that peter hasnt even notice

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  15. AnotherRandomGuy says

    Am I the only one who believes that the shot’s accuracy comes from a mix of both olivias’ skills?
    She said she’s a bad shooter but compared to who?(chuck norris maybe)
    Cuz she looks a damn fine shooter to me
    If you want proofs just rewatch Season 2 “Grey matters”(2.10 I believe) and check the part where she’s chasing the bad guys.
    She was able to hit from a considerable distance the driver of a moving truck in the head!(plus some unlucky shapeshifters were dealt with the same way)

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