Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive clues and eastereggs round-up for episode 3.08 “Entrada”.
We dive deep into the mythology, symbolism and resonating factors to explore the meaning and unlock the interconnected mystery of Fringe.
Peter’s reflection isn’t the only thing projecting all over this scene. Time would also play an important role in Altlivia’s escape and Olivia’s re-entry.
A couple of episodes ago I said:
“Given the recent photo and memory references, I think it’s worth digging up a quote from the season 2 episode, ‘Bishop Revival’:
Alfred: “One day all you will have left are pictures”
Not an earth-shattering quote, nor do I necessarily think there’s an explicit connection there. But the internal logic of the show might be saying something.”
In the previous episode this theme continued to manifest with dozens of photos covering young Maxwell’s wall. Now in “Entrada” we have prominent focus on Peter and Altlivia’s snaps – and again the words: “One day all you will have left are pictures”, spring to mind.
While a picture is a picture, it also speaks a thousand words. It’s evident that the creators were – consciously, or subconsciously – projecting their story-building intent a few episodes in advance. Not a major clue or anything, but the mechanics are quite interesting.
I also take interest with the fact that the Peter/Altlivia pictures are in black and white. This conveys a sense of something that has been washed away – faded love, if you will.
There’s also the sense that pictures, like dreams, are themselves representations of reality. Above, Peter’s ideal reality is looking him in the face, and yet it’s not quite right. It fits like a glove, but it’s not quite right.
This idealized reality is captured, suspended in time – just as he soon will be once Altlivia gets him to self-administer the ‘Sleep Me’ paralytic.
Are there any monsters under Altlivia’s bed? Nope, the monster is in the bed. And I say that not to be mean, but to highlight the continuation of the theme of how ‘monsters’ in Fringe largely represent that which is ‘under our skin’. Altlivia not only wears Olivia’s skin, but she’s under her sheets. And with SLEEP comes vulnerability, as Peter tinkers beyond the door.
The very moment that Altlivia’s is rumbled by Peter, she is pouring a glass of water. We know that water represents the subconscious and so it’s as though she is pouring the ‘Olivia’ out of her. The mask has slipped, her own subconscious knows that the game is up and she’s automatically acting out those emotions on the surface. And she’s probably a wee bit thirsty from watching all those movies.
I also find it interesting that even from the grave Peter’s mom is providing him with the tools to see more clearly. A phrase that has travelled through the mouths of Elizabeth, William Bell, and a half-comatose Olivia. It’s funny how some words never leave us.
Just as the Greek phrase proved to be Olivia’s ‘Wake Me’ (“Momentum Deferred”), it also turned out to be Peter’s.
Altlivia hid the ‘Sleep Me’ kit behind the clock. Her venom would soon hold Peter in time long enough for her to make an escape. But what was in the venom – a singular plot device, or will it turn out to be something more? But Walternate wouldn’t do anything to harm his boy, would he?
The fact that it left Peter with a bit of a ‘tequila hangover sized headache’ could be a detail that comes back as a seed.
Haze You Seen It?
Ah, the haze! The blurry haze so often seen through our heroes eyes. Emotional context aside, these classic shots are one of the few times we actually get to experience life from their point of view. Sure, this is a storytelling device, but what does it say that so often these experiences are ones of waking or sleeping?
Bricks and Alter
The alternate universe embassy is painted red. Who would have thunk it?
An interesting ariel shot. But why? To give the allusion of this place being important for those living in a perceived (if not actual) ‘higher dimension’, perhaps? Works for me.
This is a particularly nice image because it’s not just a solid reflection – it represents the transparency of Altlivia, her exit home, and the fact that Peter can now ‘see right through her’.
Altlivia makes eye contact with the audience (gathered round the camp fire in another dimension) as she looks into her now fully formed reflection. The circular mirror imitating the near completeness of her mission, and the distorted inner rim reflecting through time like a plateau:
The Scene of The Dream
Like Mother Nature herself, the Fringe intro sequence didn’t recognize just one side or the other. No, she dressed up in her finest red and blue for an episode that fully went back and forth between worlds. She aims to please.
This wont unlock the key to the universe, but it’s a splendid little detail – Walter holding Peter’s hand, guiding him back to the land of the living. He will later spring to Peter’s defence. This wont ease the pain, nor will it remove the angst that still exists between them, but it’s in moments of crisis when you know who is REAL and who has a vagenda resting beneath their affection.
Time is of the essence. You’ll notice that it also spins one way, then the other (difficult to tell via screencap, but it’s there). For me, this manifestation symbolizes the storytelling format transitioning from one universe to the other, as well as the inherent themes of balance and cause and effect.
This clock is also encased in glass, perhaps representative of the need to preserve both worlds, if not the fabric of time itself. It’s also a very pretty clock.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no..it’s the blue lights – faster than Superman and not bound by human form!
Their function this season is simple – to serve as a thematic marker as we transition from one world to the other. Call it travel, with a hint of observation, a dash of energy, and a touch of convergence.
F Is For Friendly
Broylnate fiddles with the backwards “FFs” on his Fringe Division cap. Lost in his thoughts, he’s unknowingly projecting the fact that he will soon come face to face with his double on the other side.
Out of all the choices the writers could have made to symbolize this significant anomaly, they went for a vortex. Why? What is going on under the surface of this decision?
Once again this is another of the many UNDERGROUND or DOWN BELOW references which allude to the subconscious. You’ll also know that WATER is a strong subconscious metaphor. So we have two incredibly powerful representations of the INTERNAL, within a world that itself could be viewed as a subconscious construct.
It’s the fear. The alternates worry about the prospect of their world going down the drain, of losing their hold on reality and all that it contains. And as humans, we all fear, at times, that who we are on the inside will be sucked away – be it our creativity, freedom, expression, beliefs, identity, you name it.
The vortex manifested two weeks into Broylnate’s job. Since then he’s seen the repeated pattern of loss and devastation. When you’re caught in negative cycle, it’s time to look for a change. Some twenty years later, change came knocking at Broylnate’s door. He answered.
Olivia In AUland
This reflective spoon imagery reminded me of the Alice tales. It’s the mirror and the distortion that does it. All we need now is a rabbit hole.
It’s also neat because it’s one of the examples of the Olivias manifesting through one another – unknowingly mimicking each others actions with the moment above being the bleed-through from this:
Speaking of cyclical manifestations…
Loop for Loop
“..This all began because a man came over here to save a boy, and 25 years later I came back to save that same boy”
It strikes me that the fact that both universes are so deeply entangled means that they both inherently want to survive.
Haze You Seen It? II
The blurry haze manifests itself through universes, as Peter’s ‘Sleep Me’ drug trickles upwards to Olivia’s own version of stasis. Again, it’s the story’s ability to REFLECT itself even without smoke and mirrors that helps create internal balance and meaning.
Your mind is probably cast back to episodes such as “Bound” and “Amber 31422″. And if Dunham looks slightly packaged it’s because she’s illustrating the notion that she can be duplicated and mass produced, like a doll. This fear is realized in the shape of Altlivia – who Peter thought was his Olivia, and her Cortexiphan – which Walternate has reproduced, seemingly with the intent to give Olivia-like powers to wannabe warriors.
The parallels continue to manifest themselves, this time in three directions:
Broylnate administering the adrenaline kick to Olivia is a direct echo….
..of Peter delivering a similar adrenaline-fueled kick to bring Olivia back from her alternate universe memories (“Momentum Deferred”).
The premise is the same – in both instances Olivia is trapped in both an alternate universe, and what could be considered to be a dream.
Of course, we live in a story of cause and effect, meaning that Olivia’s adrena-pain feels it’s way to the other side where her double is given her own approximated version of the kick.
And in working out this balance, the universe goes to great lengths to include detail. Anyone for spinal tap?
Coming back up through the levels of her subconscious.
Red. The thematic marker for the alternate universe and memories. It’s no wonder that the Cortexiphan produced from her chemistry is also that color.
- As an aside, Olivia’s D.O.B continues to alter.
In recent reviews I’ve spoken of Walternate’s possible lack of hope. It seems to be illustrated here with the empty Bra & Panties Tank™. I guess he’s a B&P Tank™ all empty kind of guy.
As you can see from this Over There/Over Here visual capture of the universe transfer, the Observer does not appear to be in two worlds at the same time.
It looks like he’s more interested in seeing how the whole Peter/Altlivia thing goes down than keeping tabs on Olivia. Though I’m sure that’s not true.
Aside: Green Taxis.
Peter radios that Altlivia is in the “North West bathroom”.
Had he been more in touch with his inner child, he would have known exactly where Altlivia would be right from the start. I mean, it was written all over her.
Again we see how a character can project their internal thoughts, feelings, and even future movements. And given that the subconscious is murky territory, being both the hero and the villain (did it betray Altliv?), it could also be argued that it was somehow Olivia projecting this clue to Peter. After all, it is her shirt. Which she once lent to the little Observer – who brought out her own problem-solving inner child.
Peter should also be more aware of Northwest hidey-holes, since he recently spent a few days sleep walking through one.
- As an aside, how ironic is it that one of Altlivia’s most vulnerable moments came in a bathroom (“Do Shapeshifters Dream..”) and she gets captured outside of one?
Peter walks into the light. He can see clearly now the rain has gone. Or can he?
Clearly he fell for Altlivia in more ways than one. He went to different places (physical, emotional) with her, places he enjoyed. How does one separate that from the feelings he has for the person he thought she was? It’s impossible – because Olivia does not have those qualities in quite the same degrees. She has others, of course. But that’s the point.
Peter, if he’s really honest, will concede that his feelings for Altlivia are genuine. If they weren’t then he would never have fallen DEEPER. In short, he now has feelings (varying degrees) for two Olivias.
But I digress. Onwards and upwards.
Bra & Panties Concept
The Bra & Panties Tank™ has never been more welcome. Sometimes you have to DOWNgrade before you can UPgrade. Olivia takes hold of the cyclical nature of the story by its tail, with Walternate’s attempts to thwart her once again playing into the hands of her internal guide.
The story began with her jumping down the rusty rabbit hole for love and so this must be her way back. But it’s more layered than that.
To get to where she is now, Olivia had to jump down through the floors of her subconscious. Not once, not twice, not three times, but (to my estimation) four Bra & Panties Tank™ trips opened her mind to the alternate universe.
So it’s no coincidence (well, it might be) that over the course of this season it has taken not one, not two, not three, but four Bra & Panties Tank™ trips to get back home.
The parallel is framed, all that’s needed now is for the egg to hatch.
And that egg hatches. Olivia exits the rusty rabbit hole. While there’s no snow globe as there was in her first two attempts back – there’s still the shattering of glass thanks to Astrid.
It could be coincidence, but Mother Nature has ways of delivering reminders. If Olivia breaks her promise both worlds wont survive.
And in case that final frame of Olivia looked somewhat familiar to you, it’s because nature is still untangling its strings from the last time Olivia perma-returned from the alternate universe:
Yep, there was a lot of shattered glass then too. Call it a precursor:
Three Fifty Nine
“The Plateau” (inset) and now “Entrada” – be vigilant for 3:59.
To Love & Project
As we predicted, the Blue Marble Road symbolized that a member of AU Fringe Division would help Olivia find her way home to her Blue Universe. But the sight of it here also carries weight for Altlivia, who may have lost her Tin Man, for now, but it doesn’t mean she’s not feeling blue (shirt, inset).
It’s worth noting that almost as soon as Altlivia touches down in AUville, Lincoln reports that he is fully healed from Sally Lane’s inferno. He says it’s “as if nothing ever happened”, you could also call it “Bad Dreams”. Because, on some level, that’s what this ‘reset’ (if you will) represents – the awakening from a bad dream. A subtle point but it goes a long way to capturing the themes beneath the themes.
Of course, for others, the dream is reality and it’s about to turn into a nightmare.
I guess, even when we wake up it’s only a matter of TIME before we have to hit the pillow in search of Zs. Maybe Peter and Olivia’s earlier ‘stasis’ held another significant point in that regard?
The Parts We Put To Sleep
Speaking of dreams. What profound impact does it have to put to sleep the part of you that you never knew, but the part who made sacrifices for your survival?
As profound as it must have been for Broyles to RIP his double, I think the weight here should not be lost on each of us who have had to sacrifice different sides to ourselves either out of necessity, external force, or for any other reason. Maybe there’s a message in that – perhaps self-sacrifice has deeper, more internal significance. Who is the hero in you?
We’ve seen how the ‘Internal’ has helped Olivia (Projection Peter, et al) and this is another example of that, just from a differently perceived angle.
As the end of the day, I like to think that no one person is one thing, there’s a multiverse within each of us.
Only One Way To Find Out
The Librarian just loves wearing the Red of the AU. His message to Store Owner Guy (SOG) also turns out to be the reversed message planted in the theatrical trailer for this episode.
“Only one way to find out”
Stand and Deliver
As we speculated in the previous episode observations, the “Lingg Eye Group” (L.E.G) reference was indeed a foreshadowing clue for this episode, which featured SOG getting his legs back, not to mention Broylnate losing one. It may also double as a shout-out to Kathy Lingg, a producer on the show.
Note: The other foreshadowing clue for this episode was the “Enter and you shall be Saved!” sign, as we predicted. (see above link for context).
Dream Me Up, Scotty
Quite rightfully, the episode draws its curtains with Olivia ‘waking up’ in her own universe. But how awake is she? With the secrets that lie in wait, this may turn out to be more like a nightmare. Oh well, that’s for tomorrow. Rest up Livvy.
- More slanted lights, illustrating the slightly off-kilter nature of the AU from certain perspectives, and the high energy presence in the shape of Cortexi-charged Olivia.
- Not a biggie, but Olivia’s world being turned upside down had shades of Walter’s old flame going the same way – and in an episode (“Momentum Deferred”) which saw Olivia (or rather her memories) return from the alternate universe.
- The glyphs for this episode spelled C R O S S as in cross over to the other side. As in cross everything that moves. Yes, even that.