Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive clues and eastereggs round-up for episode 3.13 “Immortality”.
We dive deep into the mythology, symbolism and resonating factors to explore the meaning and unlock the interconnected mystery of Fringe.
The VW Beetle from Concentrate And Ask Again (inset) is the next episode clue for Immortality, given that the investigation centered on the Skelter Beetle.
Alt To Thirteen
Meaningful reflections allow us to subconsciously and consciously consider the duality of the story. I like the one above because it’s not your typical reflection. It’s almost as though Altlivia is being overlaid with the zeppelin – an external icon now a projection of her world.
- The question of what is real, what isn’t comes to mind. If ‘projections’ are real what does that say about ‘reality’..
- There’s also the sense that her world is being divided to create a new ‘composite reality‘.
The general idea here is that Altlivia is questioning her emotional, if not physical, place in the world. I suspect the larger insinuation (intentional, or otherwise) is something more meta, perhaps involving the Boom-Boom-Machine (BBM) and its potential to create.
Observing The Observer
An early appearance for the Observer.
We know that the Fringe storytelling consists of cycles – repeating patterns that emerge in the thematic structure of the show. Not to mention the ability of the subconscious to manifest itself into ‘reality’.
It does this to build layers, create resonance, and perhaps to hint at a larger truth – do we create our own realities? Do our ‘dreams’ and ‘nightmares’ (subconscious) shape our perception and hence our reality? Immortality has its fair share of what I like to call ‘subconscious flushing’, with the Skelter Beetle story reflecting Charlie‘s near-miss when he was impregnated by ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ back in 1.16 Unleashed.
And of course, we shouldn’t forget that Charlnate‘s has a dislike of anything ‘buggy’ after spiders laid eggs under his skin.
Meanwhile, Altlivia‘s fear that she was infected with the beetle turned out to be the very thing which led to her discovery that she had been impregnated by Peter. Thus, this plays into Altlivia self-confirming her bond with Peter. Her subconscious reconciled.
Note how the bug investigation took Altlivia back to where she started the episode (reflection screencap) – as if she was the cause. Because, in the most meaningful sense, she was. It’s cycles; the subconscious coming to the boil.
These three examples are typical of the way that events in Fringe stem from a subconscious fear, desire, truth or need. In the previous episode, it was Olivia’s ‘wish fulfillment’ in getting to wear a dress/finding out what Peter was thinking. In Immortality, it’s largely Altlivia confirming – almost bringing forth – her bond with Peter. As we see, these underlying cycles are not contained within one universe or the other, they bleed back and forth, or more to the point, round and round.
In many ways, the baby represents the beetle – delivering both hope, and fear.
6 with PBie
The licence plate “APT6B” is a likely clue for the next episode – given the 3.14 episode title.
I touched on the baby metaphor above, though there’s another pertinent suggestion. In the episode we are told that the recreated Skelter Beetle had a symbiotic relationship with the sheep in which it thrived. That was until the sheep died out in 2001. This plays into Peter’s symbiotic relationship with the Boom-Boom-Machine. It could be suggested that Peter’s offspring will also have a mutual connection with the BBM.
Using the beetle/sheep metaphor, it could further be speculated that Peter’s baby would die if the BBM was to be destroyed.
Going even further, the general notion of using a human host to recreate something that became extinct, brings me back to Peter and his illness. Blue Universe Peter suffered from a so-called ‘genetic illness’, and it’s possible that Walternate’s Peter did too. Who’s to say that Peter (and his baby) aren’t part of some ‘recreation experiment’ themselves? I don’t know, but Sam Weiss might be holding out on us. Sure, it would be a long play, but we know that he’s both patient and has a penchant for a game.
- I guess Newton had to dream of Electric Sheep since the ‘real’ thing became instinct Over There in 2001, and he wasn’t as fond of the Over Here variety.
- There were a few Twin Peaks references in this one. Including, Armand Silva’s inquisitive victim asking for “a cup of Earl Grey and a piece of cherry pie”. This is shout-out to Peak‘s character Dale Cooper who loved cherry pie and “a damn fine cup of coffee”. I suspect the victim would have asked for coffee (instead of tea) if it weren’t for the, you know, Blight and all. Joan Chen, who played Walternate’s love interest, Reiko, also portrayed Josie Packard on Twin Peaks.
- The Skelter Beetle is also called Mansohnium Boogliosis, which is a word-play reference to Vincent Bugliosi who prosecuted Charles Manson and wrote about it in his book, Helter Skelter. The book is named after a song by the Beatles, with which Manson was obsessed.
- Fringe Division red tape. Who will cross the line?
- Immortality has the genetic engineering/dosing featured in The Transformation and the ‘spring of life’ theme implied in The Bishop Revival (though Alfred Gross may have been a time-traveler). All three episodes are the 13th of their respective chapters. Again, those cycles are tightening.
- The glyph code for Immortality was ROMAD. As in tricked!
- Update: It’s mentioned that AU Boston got ‘ambered’ in 2004, which may mean that the Red Sox didn’t win the world series over there. (Thanks to Dave for this one).
Want more? Check out our 3.13 Immortality Review.