Fringe Observations: 3.18 Bloodline


Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive clues and easter eggs round-up for episode 3.18 Bloodline”.

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

Mind To Project

Altlivia is transfixed by the projection of flowers and a butterfly. This seems to reference the butterfly effect – the idea that a small change in one place can evoke large changes elsewhere. This metaphor helps illustrate the entanglement between the two worlds, which are so connected (literally, subconsciously, spiritually, etc) that they directly and indirectly influence each other.

This notion carries added importance now that Altlivia has brought Peter’s child into the world. What ripples will this cause?

The creature’s delicate wings may also insinuate something about Altlivia’s underlying nature. Is she more fragile than she’s often portrayed? Perhaps this suggestion will continue to bear fruit now that she’s a mother?

Aside: Butterflies are part of the show’s iconography, rarely an episode goes by where there isn’t a butterfly in some nook or cranny.

Again, what we’re looking at here is a projection – a representation of what is going on inside Altlivia. That she is looking directly into the projection conveys a sense of self-reflection.

It’s interesting that this projection transitions from a butterfly to a waterfall –  almost as though caused by the butterfly’s wings. Not surprising given that pregnancy has Altlivia concerned that she might be a carrier of the same defect that killed her sister and niece.

Is Altlivia bound to the same fate? What change needs to take place to free her?

Is change fated?

The water represents the subconscious but also carries a sense of inevitability about it – after all, what goes down, must go down. And yet water also signifies change and possibility – rebirth. You can see how this works as a dynamic metaphor for this episode.

What I also found interesting was that it wasn’t so long ago that Olivia was projecting her own waterfall:

I’m sure this is an intentional callback, providing a thematic sense of the bleed through. I’d say it also strengthens the notion that these realities are essentially subconscious entities wherein ‘what lies below’ actually governs the external. Certainly on some level.

Old Story

Indeed, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the projections are also echoes from Olivia’s dream back in season 1 – “The Same Old Story“, where the the world of Olivia’s dream reflected her changing emotions. Flowers and colors where the order of the day here, and it seems that the dream world is not just encroaching, it’s become real for both Olivias.

Of course, reality is subjective and perhaps I’ve taken these ideas a touch too far, but I certainly believe these notions are being seeded – it just depends on how deep you want to dive.

At The Double

A double decker car can be seen driving past Altlivia’s new home. One of the many differences between worlds. We’ve previously seen double decker cars in “Peter” and as a toy in “Jacksonville”. (images at the second link).

Two Lincs

A nice mirror image of Lincolnate is especially appropriate now that his double has come into the fold on the other side. Does this also say something about Lincolnate’s new perspective after learning about Altlivia’s mission?

Oliver Twist

Altlivia’s new digs are at “Oliver Court”. Coincidence? Will ‘Oliver’ be the name of her baby?

Observing The Observers

Interesting that we should get two Observers in this episode. September may have hung back initially for dramatic reasons, but perhaps the appearance of two Observers it tells us something about how much things are escalating?

September tells the someone on the other end of his phone: “It is happening”. It shouldn’t be forgotten that just because he’s currently watching this event in the alternate universe, doesn’t mean he has his eye off events Over Here.

I also like to keep in mind that it’s not only multiple events that he’s perceiving, but the simultaneously moving pieces across ‘time’ and the possible pathways they open up.

Stay The Course

A golden horse. Does this mean anything to anyone?

Belly Boom

The sonogram of Altlivia’s baby is a powerful reflection/projection.

As an aside, it’s quite curious that while Altlivia has something inside her belly, Olivia has Bellie inside her.

Peahen

Henry is reading “Opus The Peahen” comic by Berkeley Breathed. Over Here Breathed wrote “Opus The Penguin“. It serves as a difference between the two universes

Here’s the full Opus The Peahen comic strip.

Renewed

Over There, The West Wing television series has now reached season 12.

At the time of the season 2 finale (above), it was in it’s 11th season (right on, renewal!).

Sleep

I do love these recurring haze shots. They convey the state between sleep and wakefulness, which I believe to be a major theme of the story (and possibly a link to the green-green-green-red color sequence).

Nightmare Bumps

Altlivia’s accelerated pregnancy is a callback to season 1, episode 2 “The Same Old Story”, where Dr. Penrose used acceleration techniques to grow clones.

In this episode, Olivia also had a dream (referenced earlier) where she suddenly became pregnant – full to burstin’!

Altlivia’s scare with the pregnant beetle in “Immortality” can also be seen as foreshadowing what was to come.

Typhoid

A Typhoid reminder poster. It would seem that typhoid is more common Over There.

The Passage

Altlivia is taken to an arch where she is experimented on. Arches traditionally symbolize passageways to new places, pathways to new directions. This is a transitional period for Altlivia.

But is this a one-way tunnel, or can Altlivia change lanes?

You may recall that John Scott was also placed underneath an arch way back in the Pilot. For me, this represented his transition to the beyond and the different levels of consciousness that enabled Olivia to communicate with him.

Yellow and IV

Yellow and green. Interesting that they didn’t go for red and blue, the thematic colors for Over There and Over Here. Will the baby influence the coming of new universes?

Leakage

If earlier she was projecting a waterfall, now Altlivia is faced with a dripping tap. While such a device might suggest that she is gaining control over her emotions, the fact that it is dripping implies a lack of control.

My take is that her subconscious emotions are leaking through - it’s becoming real. Sure, the waters are still gushing within, but what happens when they begin seeping through the cracks? How do you stop the projections materializing?

If You Meet The Buddha On The Road..

The ebb and flow of the universe brings Altlivia face to face with the ‘Buddha (Budai) on the road’ – a narrative callback to Peter sharing his favorite book with her – “If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him”:

The meaning is symbolic, [..] the Buddha is a distraction, furthermore it cannot be him, so one should ignore him and continue along one’s OWN road. It’s about finding one’s own truth, own peace within. [..] no meaning that comes from outside of ourselves is real. (“The Firefly” Observations).

But in terms of what it actually means, it’s worth going deeper to consider Altlivia’s state of mind. Is she somehow projecting the world around her? Did entanglement merely foreshadow her future challenges? Are Peter’s ‘teachings’ helping her on some subconscious level? Personally, I think all three can apply.

No Horsing Around

Altlivia passes that classic Fringe glyph, and signature of Robert Bishop, the seahorse.

Poster Girl

“The Nutcracker” and Fringe Division “Be Vigilant” Posters. Altlivia is certainly dealing with a breach of her own!

The Vacuum

Altlivia’s cries for help are drowned out by the vacuum cleaner. Will this foreshadow baby Peter’s role in powering the Boom-Boom-Machine, conventionally known as The Vacuum? Like the vacuum reference in “Subject 13“, this is a cute insertion.

Interesting that the Vacuum essentially heralded the baby’s arrival.

Hare Today

2011 is the year of the Rabbit Over There too. Rabbit’s are also phenomenal breeders. :o

Phone Booth

Altlvia uses a telephone booth positioned in front of a vortex poster that might say something about her current state (yet more water, this time sinking rather than falling or dripping).

She must have feared she was about to follow the same cycle that killed her sister.

The booth is also the double of the one that Walter used when he got lost in Chinatown back in “Snakehead”.

It even has the same birthmark. :)

Child’s Play

“The baby is coming, the baby is coming. We are your projections, the baby is coming!”

Overcome

There’s another laughing Buddha behind Henry. Once again this calls back to Peter’s favorite book that Altlivia was interested enough to hear about.

As a reference point, what does this say about Henry’s role in helping both Olivias through their difficulties? What does it say about overcoming the challenges that lay in our heroes paths?

Level Up

Walternate travelling up the stairs. The Silver Fox has levelled up.

What does this mean for Linc and Charlnate?

Two Worlds

I don’t think it should be overlooked that “miracle” Baby PBie is a survivor - much like his father. Coincidence? Fate? The will of an iron fist? I think the end point is the same.

It’s also noteworthy that he’s adorned in both BLUE and RED. A child of two worlds?

Bridging The Gap

One of my favorite scenes of the entire season, topped off with a shot of Linc and Charlnate on a bridge. I’d say that’s somehow symbolic, wouldn’t you?

DNA

Did Baby PBie’s blood sample change before it reached Walternate? Certainly. But was it a ‘continuity error’ or an intentional clue?

It could go either way at the end of the day, but makes most sense to me as a continuity issue (unless they really level up Brandonate) for the reasons stated here.

Blindside

Walternate, partially obscured through the blinds, much like his involvement was throughout the episode. I also wonder whether he will become blindsided at some point?

Other Observations

  • Altlivia had an 80% chance of having VPE. Olivia’s lucky number is 8.
  • The kidnappers removal of Altlivia’s tracking device bore similarities to Newton doing the same to Walter in “Grey Matters”.
  • Sleep references: “Just try to get some sleep” (nurse to Altlivia).
  • Henry once again cycled back to the place he originally met Olivia.
  • The glyph code for “Bloodline” is FATED. As in meant to be. As in destined.

You can find all of our Fringe reviews here, while our Episode Observations can be discovered here.

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Comments

  1. says

    “Is Altlivia bound to the same fate? What change needs to take place to free her?”
    “Is change fated?”

    Two good questions! It is quite possible that the first ripples of the Butterfly effect was that Altlivia survived at all. It could be that she was fated to die and if it weren’t for the intervention of the accelerated birth she most certainly would have. Now whole new chapters will be written. New wrinkles in time.

    I’m a little confused about the Buddha symbolism. I’m not an expert on Buddhism but I believe Buddha believed in cause and effect which are the basic building blocks of fate. So why would they introduce a book telling us to ignore Buddha on the street only to show us one walking by! Are we to ignore the themes of fate etc? That doesn’t seem likely as it seems to be a big part of the show. Hopefully someone can illuminate me.

    I’m on board with building your own fate or at least steering it. I’m thinking that’s where Peter’s “hope’ comes into play. But the aforementioned need clarification.

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    • g33k says

      I have read the book and I’m not going to claim my observations are expert or anything but here’s my take on the Buddha on the road symbolism. Totally going from memory, I returned the book to the library.

      The book is written by a therapist who is basically giving his own view on what makes a good therapist and living the many facets of life. Here’s the points that I got from the book that I think relate:
      - The role of the therapist (or authority figure) should optimally be one that encourages the patient on the road or pilgrimage of life, not one where they claim to be the authority of your life because the meaning of a person’s life is determined by themselves, no one else.
      - Beware the victim, because they are really the ones holding the cards in life because they manipulate you into giving away all your power.
      - Children should beware of being sucked into having to take care of their parents. Really their parents are just fine and can get along without you, they’re responsible for themselves and children are responsible for themselves. Let go of each other.

      So I think the Buddha (if that’s what the mask was supposed to be on the person) in the road symbolizes that Altlivia is or should be questioning the authorities in her life, because Buddha is symbolizing Walternate who has led her down this path of “You’ve got to help me our universe is dying and we’re in a secret war with another side who did this to us!” I think it also symbolizes Walternate’s presence during her whole ordeal.

      The book was awesome, very deep, and it gave a lot of character insights to Peter. I would read it if you’re not scared of spoilers (the Reciprocity ep title was in there), expect to look up some interesting words if you’re English isn’t top notch. I plan on buying a copy later.

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  2. mack says

    Some of these observations are ridiculous; ”Walternate travelling up the stairs. The Silver Fox has levelled up.”

    And PBie being a survivor. Maye it mean he’s going to appear on ”Survivor.”

    This article should come with a note of caution ”Subjective and entirely the belief of the author.”

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  3. JoA says

    If Fauxlivia is living in a new apartment, was it the same apt. # 21? Thought I remember seeing 21 on it again. Is that significant?

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  4. davi says

    a baby of Bolivia and Peter would not be something extraordinary … because they belong to the same universe …
    now .. the bb’s Olivia and Peter would be something unique …. and that would change the paradigm of the dimensions …
    so in that sense has “nothing more” in this child.

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  5. Anne from France says

    Wow, it’s been a while since I haven’t read your observations Roco (lack of time), but I definitely need to find few minutes every week to read them, it’s always so exciting. I am a very bad observer myself (the only thing I noticed was the double deck car) so with each observation, I’m like “Oh my God!”, “Genius!”, “I didn’t see that!”, “So clever!” and so on… All those eastereggs give so much value to this show (although it doesn’t need that to be awesome). I’m so glad to be a Fringe fan seriously!! Thanks Roco :)

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  6. FringeFriday says

    What’s up with those double decker cars? I can’t imagine what it looks like from the inside? Who is supposed to be on the upper level? Clearly no more than a baby or a young child has enough space in there??? But who would put a baby “over” their heads? How to calm it, when it is crying???

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    • Erich says

      Haha, this is the most important question about Fringe. Not, what will happen after the machine is activated, not what lies in Walter’s missing brain, not what Walternate plans to do with PBies’ DNA, but WHY ARE THERE DOUBLE DECKER CARS?!

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  7. Pam says

    Wonderful observations, as usual, Roco! Here are some points that I’d like to add

    “Altlivia passes that classic Fringe glyph, and signature of Robert Bishop, the seahorse” – maybe a salute to the oft repeated fan-favorite theory that Robert Bishop is Peter or some such crazy, fringie stuff…

    “Altlivia’s cries for help are drowned out by the vacuum cleaner” – I think this is payback time for Alt-liv calling Newton a vacuum cleaner – her own call for help being drowned by the sound of one ;)

    And, about Henry! I think the birth scene was so beautifully portrayed and the whole episode was worth just the look of surprise/sorrow on Henry’s face when Alt-livia says “nice to meet you”. I also think it is worth mentioning that this particular scene somehow hinted at the cyclical nature of the story to me (and I had expected something to the same effect from you) – that these two doppelgangers are but the same person essentially is signified by the fact that Henry should appear at the right time to perform midwife services to Alt-Livia. Olivia had touched Henry so profoundly that it bled through in his concern for Alt-Liv. Kind of felt like Olivia was offering assistance to her alter at a difficult time…..

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    • says

      “..her own call for help being drowned by the sound of one”

      Ha! Nice. :)

      “Olivia had touched Henry so profoundly that it bled through in his concern for Alt-Liv. Kind of felt like Olivia was offering assistance to her alter at a difficult time…..”

      That’s a really useful way to look at it. Good stuff.

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  8. Count Screwloose says

    “In all of history, only a few bloodlines have been found to be ready for the work of our body. Only very few of those of the right lines are capable of dealing with the responsibility…”
    – ZFT manuscript

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  9. Isa says

    “it’s quite curious that while Altlivia has something inside her belly, Olivia has Bellie inside her.”

    LOL That’s genius!

    Loved the observations, Rocco! :D

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  10. fedorafadares says

    Great review, Roco. Lots of fun to dissect the clues!

    A few nuggets of symbolism:

    Butterfies symbolize transformation and waterfalls have been thought to signify the birthing process. Both are appropriate art subjects for an OB/GYN’s office.

    The golden horse?? Possibly representing a Trojan Horse: Is Fauxlivia carrying the enemy in her belly?

    It’s funny, I didn’t think of the dripping faucet as anything more than a trigger to Fauxlivia emptying her bladder. Running the tap is a common potty-training trick for children. If symbolizes a breach in the dam, though, I can buy it!

    I laughed out loud when the vacuum cleaner foiled Fauxlivia’s attempt to get help. Talk about karma!!!

    I’m sure there are loads of other Easter Eggs and clues in this episode. It seemed like a set designer’s dream.

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      • Laura says

        That was exactly what I thought.
        The Trojan horse…something harmless hiding someting very dangerous.On red universe’s perspective, of course. (Altlivia-Baby?) In this case, will the baby save the blue universe?
        Or, a sort of “inside job”, like the all kidnapping business was.

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    • says

      @fedora

      “I laughed out loud when the vacuum cleaner foiled Fauxlivia’s attempt to get help. Talk about karma!!!”

      I’d like to think that somewhere up there, Newton was having a little chuckle to himself!

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  11. Peanut says

    Regarding the horse, maybe an extension of the seahorse reference but possibly that’s taking it too far?

    The golden horse looks to be Chinese, maybe Tang Dynasty. That would work with the Chinatown theme of the episode. It also looks like an item that could have been from Bell’s myth porn stash. When I went back & looked at the screen cap–no horse–but there was a BUDDHA–or at least, that’s what I think that the figure is.

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      • Peanut says

        crocodilian posted a screen cap of Bell’s stash on the Fringe-Forum “Concentrate and Ask Again” Eastereggs thread. crocodilian also pointed out that the rabbit reference may be to Peter–Peter Rabbit.

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  12. Peanut says

    Enjoyed the observations, as always, Roco.

    What’s up with the black scrubs? The medical people who were working on Fauxlivia were wearing a lot of black—scrub masks, black shirts underneath the gray scrub top, black hats, & black gloves. Supplied by Doctor Doom’s Cheery Medical Apparel Company, no doubt.

    Speaking of clothing, note that Over Here Olivia has been wearing a black beanie lately—and little Bono is wearing a blue beanie in the hospital.

    Newton, “the vacuum cleaner,” can still defeat Fauxlivia.

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    • says

      “Newton, “the vacuum cleaner,” can still defeat Fauxlivia.”

      I Newt he’d have the last laugh. :)

      Nice thoughts, Peanut.

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  13. TRapp says

    note on the first observer. He looks to be the same one from subject 13 that we saw in bishop dynamics passing behind Walternate. Also I could be wrong haven’t watched the old episodes in a while but wasn’t there a rouge observer that also looked similar.

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    • says

      There was a Rogue (John Mosley) back in 1.04 “The Arrival”, but it wasn’t him.

      He looked like this. See the third image down.

      Here’s the Observer from Sub 13:

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  14. Fringe Fan says

    so did I see/hear more then there was? I thought Charlie referenced Copola as in Francis ford copola and a line from one of his “everybody” knows movies. The line is “Are you talking to me?”
    I want to say from Scarface maybe. Anyways the blonde dude who is the new head of Alterfringe didnt have a clue what Charlie was referencing by saying that line.
    So is Charlie from the main universe? as we never did see what happened when Charlie “died”. and they did reference maybe Olivia wasnt the only thing that traded sides. This from the blonde dude to Charlie

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  15. Ms. Cheery says

    I found it interesting that Altlivia watched the television screen ,which showed the butterfly then the waterfall, in the doctor’s office. I interpreted it as a sign of weakness. She was unable to watch her blood being drawn. Also that she and most likely other patients, needed a distraction, a calming one to note, from the sight and awareness of their blood being drawn. It makes you wonder what other weaknesses Altlivia has.

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  16. says

    Nice spot with the China town phone booths, should get a job at the FBI.

    You missed my fave little easteregg when Charlie was getting Henry he asked for “Travis Bickle” (the character from Taxi Driver). Lincoln replied “WHO” Charlie then said “Taxi Driver you know Coppola”. The real Taxi Driver this side was Martin Scorsese.

    For a film nut like me its the biggest Blue/Red universe movie change since they suggested Eric Stoltz had been Marty McFly.

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  17. says

    I think the golden horse is a callback to Milo’s story.

    Remember that the horse was used by his sister to remind him of who he is, and the horse toy is from his parents.

    Somehow, the horse represents Fauxlivia of the support of her mother… which makes her realize how much she were worried and that she forgot how it is to be a mother.

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    • says

      Not sure it’s a strong enough callback given the context, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Certainly it may have crossed the set designers mind. Cheers for the sharage.

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  18. says

    The golden horse itself didn’t make a big impact on me but the fact that the table shown used to be filled with small churches and now is completely different was what I noticed. Is Fauxlivia “losing her religion” when it comes to the almighty Walternate? Does the birth of this little boy, along with her prolonged exposure to the other side, give her a new perspective in this whole “us vs. them” war that’s going on? I think so!

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  19. Jen says

    When I saw the lady with the vacuum it reminded me of Olivia’s run in with the cleaning lady at the end of “The Abducted”, the one who called Peter. I’m not sure why. Was she vacuuming?
    Also, there’s been a lot of talk about 3 universes lately – red, blue, and yellow- and I was wondering if anyone noticed that Walternate’s office had 3 paintings hanging on the wall – red, blue, and yellow.

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  20. Jen says

    Rocco, thanks for pointing out that the poster said “typhoid shot”. I’ve watched this episode 4 times now and everytime I thought it said “thyroid” and I have been racking my brain trying to figure out why anyone would need a thyroid shot! LOL!
    Does anyone have a theory about why the red-verse is seemingly so much more technologically advanced than the blue-verse yet they have outbreaks of diseases that we conquered long ago, like smallpox and typhoid? And is there some reason they haven’t pilfered the information from the blue-verse to eradicate these diseases?

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    • says

      The better question is: Why didn’t William Bell introduce the cures to these diseases to the Red-verse while he was Over There developing shapeshifters and whatnot?

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