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.
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).
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?
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?
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.
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.
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!).
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).
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.
A Typhoid reminder poster. It would seem that typhoid is more common Over There.
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?
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.
“The Nutcracker” and Fringe Division “Be Vigilant” Posters. Altlivia is certainly dealing with a breach of her own!
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.
2011 is the year of the Rabbit Over There too. Rabbit’s are also phenomenal breeders.
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.
“The baby is coming, the baby is coming. We are your projections, the baby is coming!”
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?
Walternate travelling up the stairs. The Silver Fox has levelled up.
What does this mean for Linc and Charlnate?
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?
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.
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?
- 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.