Synopsis: After a deadly explosion rocks a construction site in New York City, Broyles solicits the aid of our unlikely threesome to investigate a strange cylinder mysteriously found at the scene completely unharmed by the surrounding devastation. After Olivia uncovers an unbelievable commonality between disturbing events, Dr. Bishop takes matters into his own hands and Peter is forced into field duty, it almost seems as if the untraceable object is triggering the series of odd behaviors, unexpected events and surprising revelations in “The Arrival”.
General Thoughts: This is episode where Fringe quite literally arrived – as the beacon exploded its way up from the earth’s core, the show elevated with it. In rewatch terms. Arrival held up extremely well; opening my mind to new perspectives and possibilities.
Below the fold I share my new observations and perspectives, explore the unresolved mysteries, highlight the mysteries closed by information gained in this episode and cap it off with my final thoughts on this episode retrospective.
New Observations & Perspectives
1.) I believe this rewatch has given me better understanding of the beacon, specifically with the idea that the it appeared to not only be transmitting a signal..but an undetectable signal.
This immediately took me back to the previous episode, in which a “ghost network” - a series of waves beyond the known spectrum, allowed for ‘private’ communication. The relationship between these waves and signals is surely no coincidence – the first season made a habit of building upon themes with increasing momentum as a way of slowly introducing us to the major concepts.
This further leads me to speculate whether there’s a connection between Walter’s knowledge (i.e. the early premise behind the “ghost network”) and the Observer’s technology?
There’s also the question of what, exactly, the beacon was transmitting. I’m wondering whether the beacon, during its limited stint above ground, might simply have adjusted our connection - dilating our means of communication. Could it be a coincidence, that after the beacon did its thing, John Scott was able to fully ‘appear’ to Olivia, whereas previously his attempt at communicating was met with static (bad signal) and an untraceable transmission? Hmm..
2.) After he hides the beacon, Walter says something which screams out FORESHADOWING:
Walter: “Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you because you knew it was the right thing to do?”
It’s almost certain that Walter’s subconscious memory is alluding to obtaining Peter from an alt. reality after Peter 1.0 had died. The next piece of dialogue is even more interesting, and possibly recontextualizes the nature of Walter’s actions in obtaining a replacement son:
Peter: “this isn’t about me.”
Walter: “Maybe it is, Peter.”
Sooo, not only could Walter’s act have been an altruistic one (at least in his own mind), but this suggests that the beacon could have direct significance to Peter. I have a crackpot theory brewing, but I’ll save it for when I have more pieces in place.
3.) I find it interesting that Peter and Walter are mentally linked (as evidenced through Peter unknowingly telling Mosley where Walter hid the beacon) considering they aren’t actually related. Perhaps this draws on my above point slightly, in that there are ‘unknown’ methods (spectrum’s) of communication which are channeled through proximity, or emotion, or love or sheer ability. Indeed, this reminds me of Walter’s comment to Peter – “open your mind son, or someone will open it for you”.
We often consider psychic communication to exist between twins, or those who share a deep bond. Peter and Walter’s bond isn’t particularly deep in terms of their time together. But perhaps we can pull the lens back on their unrealised ability to read each others thoughts – maybe the writers were playing with the idea that we are all human ‘ghost networks’ (exhibited to a degree by Nick Lane)? Maybe we are all part of one giant organism (super-reality), in which we not only broadcast to each other, but also to our ‘twins’ across the wider alterverse? Perhaps this explains the beacon’s importance..maybe its signal enhances one’s ability to connect..or could it have transmitted interference..distorting that ability..
4.) Whatever the beacon was transmitting, it seems possible that Mosley wanted to stop it. Does this necessarily make him a ‘bad guy’? Nope, as we’ve come to learn, there’s more than one side to every story. We can, however, derive this much – both the Observer and Mosley are linked by a pattern. Although for some reason, the green dots appear to be missing in this shot.
5.) The model, and more importantly, the year of John Mosley’s car could be worth looking into. For some reason, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the car Walter was driving when the ice gave way on that fateful night.
1.) It goes by many names – cylinder, capsule, suppository, can of magic space soup, I prefer “Beacon”. We can assume that it is transmitting a signal and that it is of great importance to the Observer, but we are yet to discover the root of it’s purpose, where it originally came from or why it came from underground.
2.) We get two helpings of the green-green-green-red color sequence in this episode – on the Observer’s binoculars and on Mosley’s hat (the first appearance is on the kayak in the Pilot). We later have an entire episode dedicated to this same sequence (“The Equation”), however we still don’t know the larger significance and how it connects these seemingly disparate elements.
3.) The Bishops ‘near death’ at the lake. We are told that the Observer saved them, but which Peter experienced this? Peter 2.0 clearly doesn’t remember the event – he only recalls what Walter told him, and even that was a lie prior to Walter fessing up that it was the Observer who actually swam them to shore.
4.) The word “Osmosis” drew my attention. Coupled with Walter unknowingly knowing the frequencies of the beacon’s vibrations, I’m wondering whether Walter has osmosis with alter-Walter? Or was this just an example of the cobwebs in Walter’s mind clearing?
5.) Who is Kyle Richard Beltrane? (birth certificate Peter grabbed).
6.) In the FBI holding room, Walter can be seen playing the 3-cup shuffle game. In retrospect, this seems to be a subtle metaphor for the latter part of the season – alternate realities, multiple Peter’s, fate/determinism, and of course, it prefaced Peter’s ‘slight of hand’ coin trick in “Safe”.
7.) Robert Bishop – who is he and why did Mosley appear to know him?
8.) With the Observer being so observant and all, how on earth did Peter manage to sneak up on him? Could this have something to do with Peter’s origins or storyline convenience?
9.) Here’s a head scratcher – if the beacon came from another reality (popular opinion), why did it cause physical damage (i.e. mini earthquake) when it arrived, instead of passing through like the truck did in the season finale?
I can think of two possibilities. a. The beacon actually resides inside the earth’s core, where it lies dormant until triggered, or b. The beacon came from a reality which is substantially different from ours, crossing multiple layers of ‘fabric’ and making the journey much more difficult than the one witnessed with the truck in the finale. Hence requiring more force on the part of the beacon and causing physical damage prior to arriving. If anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to know!
Prior to this episode we had spotted him lurking in corners and such, but Arrival brought him center stage and connected his mythology to the Bishop’s, thus solidifying the speculation that Observers Are Indeed Here.
Much like the faith themes from TGN, Arrival spoke to me on a spiritual level. Peter’s transformation from blinkered cynic to wide-eyed believer served the story well. The younger Bishop wasn’t looking for a reason to believe, and yet it came his way anyway. His world was turned upside down in an instant, just like Olivia’s was in the pilot episode.
Sometimes when you want out, something amazing happens to pull you right back in – this is what happened to Peter, his closed mind was quite literally opened for him. Was it fate, good timing or sheer coincidence? Who knows, but I do believe that things happen for a reason – especially inexplicable things. This is why Peter couldn’t walk away from the Pattern or his father, after meeting the Observer in the woods. He now wants answers as badly as Olivia needs them. Thing is, I don’t think that Pater was only blown away by the Observer being ‘inside his head’, I think it’s more than that – a subconscious recollection, perhaps not even directly, but through some kind of osmosis? A spark ignited within Peter, one which may have died when the alternative version of himself perished.
So now we have three believers, seeking answers, truth and redemption. Their journeys are personal but with multiversal significance. And as the beacon exploded back into the earth, I once again got the sense that this was when the “rabbit hole” officially opened.
Best Performer: Michael Cerveris
Best Moment: The opening scene with the Observer – cool, calm, contained..explosive!
Retrospective Rewatch Rating: 8/10
You can find our original Arrival Eastereggs here.
Next Rewatch Episode: Power Hungry – Thursday (ETA)