Fringe Observations: 3.16 Os

Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive clues and easter eggs round-up for episode 3.16 Os”.

We dive deep into the mythology, symbolism and resonating factors to explore the meaning and unlock the interconnected mystery of Fringe.

Violet Sedan Chair

A Violet Sedan Chair sticker can be seen on Walter’s bong. A nice little easter egg for those who took part in the hunt for Seven Suns.

Oh Flux

Walter notes that the Massive Dynamic security monitors have a rhythm, “each monitor it’s own movement, all blending together in a beautiful sympathy,” he enthuses.

This is an effective way to illustrate different universes moving together within the ‘bigger picture’ of the Multiverse. I’ve suggested in the past that time in Fringe operates in a flux – each monitor could also be viewed as a fragment in time with each moment occurring simultaneously.

Of course, this is somewhat how Milo from “The Plateau” (and possibly the Observers) perceives probability.


The “Subject 13” clue for “Os” was the Os (Osmium) periodic table reference.

Balls Up

I would also speculate the red balloon in Subject 13 also served as a reference point to the ‘balloon men’ in Os (in addition to what I said about it here).


Throughout the episode Walter makes several references to Icarus when referring to the floating men. This is quite apt comparison, wrought with symbolism that relates to the episode:

Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall to his death.

Aside from Dr. Floaty and his subjects playing the roles of Daedalus and Icarus, we’re left to ponder whether the same can (or will) apply to Walter/nate and Peter. Does the Boom-Boom-Machine (BBM) represent Peter’s wings?

Another connection comes in the fact that, according to their website, Massive Dynamic donate to the “Daedalus Fund”. (see “worldwide giving piece chart”).

Observing The Observer

The Observer doing his thing.

Licorice Come Back

The executive producers have often said that Fringe is a bit like licorice in that people who love it really love it. So it was quite interesting to see Astrid tell Walter “I’ve got some bad news, they’re out of licorice, but I’ve got you some mints.”

Inside joke? Double meaning? You decide. (though notice what Walter does with one of the mints).

Space Jam

A poster of the solar system in Michael’s room. Nothing major here, but a similar set up to Max (“..Do Shapeshifters Dream?”) and young Peter’s rooms.

Mad Robot

Bad Robot’s less cutesy older brother.

Moon Lander

Apollo 11 moon landing parallel.

As a sidenote, it’s quite ‘coincidental’ the way in which ‘weightlessness’ is used as a separate asset at the space set crime scene.


Peter Bishop – the man who fell to through Earth. Some meaning can possibly be extracted from Peter being as big, if not bigger, than the planets. His connection with the BBM and the role it could play in deciding the fates of the universes spring to mind here.

There’s also a sense, in the above scene, that Peter will ascend into a higher dimension. If not actually, then perhaps it will describe his ‘power’.

It’s also quite fitting that Peter should perform this stunt, as he was a fan of all things spacey when he was little.


Who’s in jail here? Makes me wonder whether one day Walter will find himself on the other side of the bars. Perhaps he already is, in some ways.


Peter looking intently at books in the charity display for a Nepalese library. It’s unusual for Fringe to place such focus (however small, within the larger context) on a scene like this without it having some level of intended significance.

While I don’t expect the answer to the Fringe Universe to be here, it does bring to mind Peter’s past as a man with connections in many scattered regions of the world. He also has a history with books, including the many he’s borrowed from Edward Markham. Of particular note are the First People books.

Alternatively, I wonder whether the intention here is similar to the one provided in Subject 13 where books were a source of imagination for young Olivia? Wish fulfilment may come into play with Peter considering the role he can play in building a better future for the common good. It’s about creation – world building, in more ways than one.

While Nepal may come into play in some form later in the season, I think the scene may simply be there to provide an internal monologue, if you will, for Peter. Personally, I like that kind of subtlety.

Receive Her

Also, we’ve often spoken about Peter’s role as an amplifier, if not a beacon. Here, it seems, he’s a “receiver”, although it may be a case of making coincidence work for a bit of character building. And there’s nothing wrong in that – look at all the spirals that have been effectively employed throughout the series.

On second thought, perhaps Olivia is the intended “receiver” in this scene? After all, she is soon receiving the soul of Bell within her intimate space.

Bell’s Got Moves

If you look closely at the actual footage of this scene, you can see the bell move ever so slightly – as though William is beckoning Walter, letting him know that he’s oh so close.


Bellie certainly planned several steps ahead of the game.

He not only implanted the soul magnets inside Olivia – I suspect during those time-slips when he pulled her over to the alternate universe, possibly putting it in her tea, or by a method she cannot remember – but, he also tuned his ‘energy’ to his bell’s harmonic frequency.

We even saw him ring a different version of the bell when he called time on Olivia’s alternate universe visit in the season 1 finale.

At the time of “Momentum Deferred” I called it a “flashback trigger” because it was Peter ringing a bell “Over Here” during Walter’s experiment to get Olivia to remember that caused her to relive the missing memories of her meeting with Bell. She too, was

You could even go as far as to argue that the bell (or the harmonic frequency of the bell that he gave to Nina) is Bellie’s totem – his tether back to ‘reality’. If we ever see Walter or Peter develop a fondness for a bishop chess piece I think I’ll throw up. In a good way.

The Bell Lols

Nice camera tilt as Bellie enters Olivia. You can even hear the distant ring of the bell, so instant is Bellie’s arrival, as we’re left to reflect where Olivia’s consciousness went in return.

Interesting, though, that Bellie should return just as Peter tells Olivia about the shapeshifters memory disks. Significant because Bellie has the decoder key. As is often the case, everything Olivia needs is inside her locker. In more ways than one this time.

So Fresh, Soul Clean

Another interesting aspect of Bell’s return, for me, relates to how it compares with the ‘unsuccessful’ return of Amanda Walsh’s soul in “Marionette”. I’ve talked about it more here.

Other Observations

  • Olivia’s lucky number pops up again when Broyles discovers the 8 wheelchairs belonging to Dr. Floaty’s victims.
  • “Os” could have double meaning. Aside from Osmium, it could refer to Bell using O (Olivia) as a host on which to run his OS – Operating System.
  • The combining of two rare elements (Osmium and Lutetium) to create a new molecule lends itself to the possible merger between the two universes to create a ‘new reality’, and also William Bell inserting himself inside Olivia. You could go further and say the combining of mythology and standalone fare created one of the finest ‘mythalone’ episodes to date.
  • The glyph code for “Os” spelled EARTH. As in the changes to Earth’s fundamental properties as a result of Walter’s crossing. As in Bellie ‘grounding’ Olivia to make way for his return.

You can find our review for Fringe 3.16 “Os” here, which is essentially our first wave dissection of this episode.


  1. Rich says

    Silly….hope they find a dead Bell in the 3rd universe and resurrect him like Spock…something like that

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  2. real1 says

    There is one pic at the hall .. when Peter was saying : what ever our fate is .. and Olivia said : we all here for you Peter , the pic : big circle blue and red and an old man is holding it while the wall is green .

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    • Inter-dimensional Dave says

      I saw that too real1. To me it suggested an Alchemist or Necromancer holding his magic orb. Alchemists were famous for trying to manipulate the properties of nature through science, magic or experimentation. The most immediate connection to Fringe would be men of science trying to manipulate their world or in Fringes case, worlds! Perhaps Peter, Walter or Walternate take the role of the Alchemist.

      If the mural is to suggest a Necromancer then the parallel would be to Walter summoning the soul of William Bell as Necromancers often sought to summon the spirits of the deceased as spirits or ghosts.

      I sent an email to the Fringe podcast suggesting as much. Whether they read it or not is another thing entirely so I’m glad you saw it too.

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      • real1 says

        Thank you , i didn’t know about Alchemist or Necromancer before , I searched ggl , and read about it :)

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        • lizw65 says

          Hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but apparently that mural just happens to be in the school where the scene was filmed. Of course, that particular stretch of hallway may have been chosen by the showrunners specifically because the mural is there…

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      • says

        While it hasn’t been explicitly confirmed on the show, the number 8 has been a recurring theme, particularly in regards to Olivia.

        Examples include:
        The infinity symbol (sideways “8”) on Loeb’s van (after abducting Olivia).
        The number 8 Magic Ball that Ellingtons gives to Olivia in “Bound”.
        Sam Weiss knowing that Olivia’s shoe size is 8.

        There are several other instances of Olivia and “8” throughout the series. If I get time I’ll drum up a proper list. Hope this helps in the meantime.

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  3. AnTo says

    The receiver and the books, Nepal, buddhism, could all point at Bell finding Olivia: The Dalai Lama is being in a similar way, the soul of the old Dalai Lama will find his successor, sort of Soul Magnets. the current one was as a young boy.

    Since they already had a couple of books refering to Buddhism, the Bell soul magnet could be in that line as well.

    The soul aspect could also refer to Olivia vs peter,, also in Marionette, the last speech of Olivia. Eyes are windows to the soul.

    Marionette was already one of my favourites, but compared to the last episodes the writing of Marionette is so oustanding. You can probably disect every word and find double meaning in regards to the making of choices, what makes someone unique etc.

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  4. edgesight says

    First thing I thought of about Os was Osmosis. 😉

    ….only necessary materials are let into the cell and wastes are left out.

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  5. kidentropia says

    oh sweet lord jacob! can it be friday night already please please please? yes? yes! thank you!

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  6. Count Screwloose says

    I was thinking that the title was simply a riff on “Oz.”

    I like how the last 3 glyphs read “Hearts Switch Earth” if you like. Perhaps they will. Or it could be reminding us that “Heart” is an anagram (or can be “switched”) for “Earth.”

    You know that old saying about where Home is…

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  7. Frobz says

    The merging of Osmium and the other element, and what it implies, reminds me of a book I read long ago: “Songs of Earth and Power” by Greg Bear. It also deals with the inevitable collision between two universes, and the conclusion has an interesting resolution to the problem. I wonder if the writers of Fringe are Bear fans?

    Anyway, back to the “soul magnets”…when Olivia is first brought over by Bell to the other side, there is a whole scene that doesn’t make sense…where Olivia crosses, waits for Nina Sharp, attempts calling Massive Dynamic to find Nina, and then enters the elevator…only to exit the elevator in the WTC. It doesn’t make sense for many reasons…her lunch with Nina didn’t take place at the WTC. We’ve never met Nina on the other side, and besides, Massive Dynamic doesn’t exist over there (so who did Olivia talk to?) I think this whole scene is an illusion in Olivia’s mind, and this is where Bell implanted the soul magnets in her. Maybe? We’ll see in a couple days I guess.

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  8. Pam says

    What if soul magnets are made of DNA and Bell’s soul magnets can be hosted only by Olivia because she is his daughter???

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    • real1 says

      I wouldn’t mind that ! YES ! .. we will wait and see , but it’s totally will make sense , hummmm in the “Firefly” what Peter did swallow ( milk with what ? ) ?

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    • Annette says

      I’ve been kicking around the thought that Olivia is the product of Bell and Nina. But that would be a tad contrived. Nina has made comments from the beginning that I find interesting, e.g., “if you were my daughter.”

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  9. Count Screwloose says

    There was also another Twin Peaks nod in this one which has me wondering if this season’s plethora of TP references are something more than clever hat tips. Are they trying to tell us something? That series ended with the character who was the greatest force of good suddenly being inhabited by its most evil and opposite one…

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  10. hal says

    I just noticed – dunno if anyone else did – that there is a RED BALLOON in this episode stuck on the ceiling when the Doctor is coming into the parking lot of Frost Aerodynamics. It’s almost unnoticeable on the top right area of the screen as he first walks out the door into the parkinglot.

    oh wait, that was a fire alarm bell. I THOUGHT I DISCOVERED SOMETHING DAMMIT

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