Fringe Rewatch – 1.09 The Dreamscape


The Dreamscape rewatch

Synopsis: A Massive Dynamic employee is so convinced he is being attacked by butterflies that he jumps out of a window to escape them, and the team is called in to investigate. Although Olivia’s unexplained interaction with Agent Scott leads to breaks in the case, she is so desperate to rid her consciousness of him that she demands to go back in the tank. Meanwhile, the gig is up for Peter when a former friend – and some current foes – find out he’s back in Boston.

General Thoughts: An episode which mirrored the pilot in several ways, but going into this rewatch I was doubtful that I’d extract much juice from it a second time around. I was wrong, there’s juice to be had from The Dreamscape.

Below the jump I post 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

You've changed Peter, you used to love my coffee yoghurt surprise.1.) Walter said that when Peter was 13 years old, all he’d eat was coffee yogurt. Peter claims that it was actually Walter who loved the coffee yogurt. I’m wondering if Peter is confusing this Walter with his original father from the other reality, whilst Walter is confusing this Peter with his original son who died? Seems like more early foreshadowing.

2.) The ‘electricity theme’ runs rife yet again, with a deceased John Scott using email to communicate with Olivia. Computer love, LOL.

3.) Is Olivia is able to interact with John’s memories because of her Cortexiphan trials? At this stage Walter is unaware that Olivia is in fact young Olive, so he isn’t yet taking this aspect into consideration when he says that interaction is impossible. Perhaps Olivia’s treatment enables her to change or reawaken realities or memories which have already taken place – as we saw with John Scott in the restaurant memory? This would certainly tally with my opinion that Olivia has the ability to ‘change reality’.

4.) Peter says that Tess knew him better than anyone. I find this kinda interesting because it makes me wonder what side of Peter she’s seen that no-one else has? I doubt that Tess will be back in the fold again (at least I hope she wont), so is this buried side to Peter’s lost forever, or does Olivia hold the key to his heart? *I just threw up a little bit*

5.) Whilst inside the tank, Olivia’s subconscious walks through a ‘doorway’ and into John’s memories. I always liked the ‘doorway between realities’ metaphor, so it’s even more timely that the latest batch of season 2 promo photos should include ‘open doorway’ thematics.

Also, the idea of John’s memories ‘crossing over’ to Olivia’s mind seems like purposeful foreshadowing to the later arc where we have actual people crossing over into parallel worlds. Another example of Fringe gradually building upon its themes to support later concepts.

6.) I loved the artistic licence used when Olivia revisits John’s memories – she’s not just seeing them from his perspective (as one would probably expect)..but from her own dimension, almost like an………observer.

Unresolved Mysteries

Look, I only returned to ask you for my CD's back..1.) How was John able to see Olivia in the restaurant when it was an old memory that had already taken place? Add to that the question of how he was able to communicate with her from beyond the grave – there’s a definite electricity theme going on, but how is he doing it exactly? Is it, perhaps, more related to Olivia’s ability than anything a deceased John Scott was manifesting?

It’s also worth mentioning that some folks believe that a different John was communicating from the parallel world. I’m not too sure about that myself, but it’s a worthwhile suggestion.

2.) Further to the above, why was Walter – of all people – so adamant that John could not have interacted with Olivia? Why was he so willing to put a cap on the possibilities?

3.) Again, why does the mob want to hurt Peter? Payback for a life of sarcasm?

4.) Who actually drugged and killed Mark Young (and George Morales)? Was it Massive Dynamic or someone else? If it was MD, it wasn’t exactly a good look – murdering their own employee right on their doorstep in such elaborate and newsworthy fashion.

Closed Mysteries

1.) Mark Young and George Morales were killed by a psychoactive hallucinogen from toad secretion – making them see and die from imagined horrors. I suspect Young imagined butterflies because he was an avid butterfly collector (as we saw When Olivia went to his home) – and a butterfly lapel was one of the last objects he saw before the hallucinogen kicked in. And Morales probably imagined John killing him because he was on his mind at the time his hallucinogen took effect.

Final Thoughts

Walter! I said a ROOTBEER float! :'(This was a decent episode for me, not as good as it could have been but the rewatch held up. On reflection, my main area of interest is Walter’s use of the Bible and his acceptance of a faith system often perceived as being opposed to science.

It was interesting to see him gripping tightly onto the Bible at the end of the episode – then choosing to shun administering drugs (his favourite thing in the whole world) to a desperate colleague in favour of protecting Olivia from the dangers of her own subconscious. This was a gold star moment for Walter, who continues to show more social awareness since The Equation.

Interestingly, Walter implied that he used to be a religious man, “but not anymore”. I wonder what happened to cause this particular loss of faith? It strikes me that it must be something significant for someone to lose their belief system – perhaps it was the death of original Peter? Did this make him question the existence of God and his relation us in our little drop in the ocean we call reality?

Perhaps just as interesting, to me, is that it was Olivia’s voyage into her fractured subconscious which reignited Walter’s need for something extra to see her safely through.

“Praise the Lord”

“Amen”

Best Performer: Anna Torv

Best Moment: Final scene between Olivia and Walter.

Retrospective Rating: 7.5/10

You can find our original The Dreamscape Eastereggs here.

Next Rewatch Episode: Safe (Monday ETA)

Comments

  1. mlj102 says

    I like how you pointed out about how Walter had been so quick to jump to the conclusion that it was impossible for anyone to see Olivia while in the dreamstate. It is odd, coming from Walter, who is always open to all sorts of possibilities and getting upset that Peter is so close-minded. It really begs the question of why he is so sure. And if he is so sure, why is John able to see her?

    I actually had a different way of interpreting the coffee yogurt comment. For me, I’m intrigued by the concept of Peter’s mother – where is she, what was her relationship like with Peter and Walter, how much did she know about what Walter did, etc. So when I heard that comment, I focused more on the part where Walter said that it “almost drove your mother to tears” and so when Peter said “No, Walter, that was you.” I interpreted that as Walter was the one who was doing things that “almost drove your mother to tears.” and Peter saw the opening and used it to express some of his frustration. Maybe they just meant for it to be one of Walter’s random food comments, but I could see it being this interpretation as well. We already know that Walter and his wife didn’t seem to have the greatest relationship and that Peter is very defensive of his mother, plus, Peter’s good at making those types of sharp comments… So that’s another way of looking at that scene.

    You presented the theory that Mark and George both hallucinated about things they had been thinking about at the time – for Mark it was butterflies and for George it was John. And that’s a very good, plausible theory. But I still think that he wouldn’t have hallucinated John unless he considered John to be one of the bad guys. He was also thinking about Massive Dynamic – in fact, I would imagine his thoughts were very focused on Massive Dynamic since he was terrified that they were going to come kill him. So why didn’t he imagine some Massive Dynamic employee coming to kill him? And, leaving that aside, if he and John were working together, then why was he so scared when he saw John? It was as if he saw John and immediately assumed he had come to kill him. If they were allies, wouldn’t his initial reaction be relief when he saw John? And he kept saying “I won’t say anything!”, indicating that what he had agreed he would tell Olivia was something that he believed John didn’t want him to tell. I just really have a hard time believing that John really was one of the good guys. Every time we learn more about him, we see him involved in messy things, secret deals, threats, and murders. It’s like in this episode when Olivia saw him meet with the other three men and then after the meeting he just went and killed the guy – why would he do that? Even if he was some government agent working undercover, he wouldn’t just go around killing these people. I just have a hard time seeing all sorts of examples of things like that, and then being expected to take his word and believe that he was working undercover and never betrayed Olivia. His actions don’t seem to support that and I need more evidence before I will be convinced.

    Speaking of Mark Young hallucinating the killer butterflies, I thought it was interesting symbolism that something so beautiful and seemingly innocent turned out to be so dangerous. It’s the perfect disguise – who would ever expect butterflies to be violent? I thought this was similar to other aspects of the show in that things aren’t always what they seem and you can’t really take anything at face value because it might not be what you think it is. John appeared to be a good guy and Olivia thought she knew who he was, just to find out that he was involved in all sorts of bad things (whether or not he was a bad guy, he still wasn’t who she thought he was). At first glance, Peter seems like a selfish, uncaring, stand-offish criminal, but he’s really a nice guy. To most people, Massive Dynamic is just a huge, successful company when it’s really involved in all sorts of random projects. Plus, in all the cases they work on, they seem to constantly uncover things that weren’t what they seemed. I wonder what else we’re going to find out isn’t what it appeared to be. You know, they could have picked anything to be what Mark hallucinated, but they chose butterflies, and I thought that was an interesting choice. Also, I thought it was interesting that in the music video “The Forest” one of the scenes it shows is Peter and Olivia entering a warehouse full of butterflies like the ones in this episode. Nice foreshadowing of upcoming episodes there. It also makes me wonder if there’s more to these butterflies than just a chance occurrence of Mark Young hallucinating them. Maybe there was a reason he hallucinated butterflies killing him. Maybe he knew of some secret project that involved butterflies. I wonder if we will see more killer butterflies in season 2.

    “It’s also worth mentioning that some folks believe that a different John was communicating from the parallel world. I’m not too sure about that myself, but it’s a worthwhile suggestion.”

    Oh! Oh! That’s me! I’m one of those folks! I guess you knew that already, but since you mentioned it, I just thought I’d point it out again. I’ll be the first to admit it if I’m wrong, but it does make sense. The fact that he was communicating with her as though he was still very aware of what was going on in the world, even though all these events had happened after his death, the fact that he was able to see her when Walter insisted no one could see her, the fact that she received additional communication from him when she was out of the tank, the fact that Walter admits that he and Bell believed that LSD allowed them to glimpse alternate realities and LSD is the main ingredient for putting her in the tank… it all seems to point to an alternate John trying to contact her. This is one mystery that I really hope they will address more in season 2.

    Some additional observations:

    In the opening scene, as Mark Young falls to his death, you can see on the opposite building what looks to be a projection of the American flag. Did anyone else notice that? Is it common for buildings in Boston or New York to have the flag projected onto it? Along with reflections, this is another thing I have seen a lot of through Season 1. Pretty much every episode has a scene where there is an American flag in the background. Some of them seem pretty casual and like they’re just coincidental appearances that you would expect to see. But there are others that seem like they were intentionally set up that way and like it’s more than the typical patriotism you would expect. Maybe I’m looking for things that aren’t there, but I figured I’d at least point it out.

    I’m also curious as to why Olivia saw the butterflies in Mark Young’s apartment move. Why would she have hallucinated that? It just strikes me as odd that she was imagining something other than John.

    When Olivia first enters the dreamstate, she shows up at the restaurant where she and John had their first date. But nothing really happened there, aside from John seeing her. But even then, that could have been shown in any location. So what was the significance of their first date? Was there something that happened that night that was important? And, jumping ahead, I guess the same could be said of when she goes into the tank again in “The Transformation” and she first shows up at the hotel where she and John used to go. Was there a reason for her going there? Was that location important for some reason?

    Broyles, for the most part, seemed rather protective of Nina and Massive Dynamic in this episode. It confuses me the way he seems to go back and forth – one episode he’s warning Olivia to be careful around Nina, the next he’s upset at her for accusing Massive Dynamic of something, and the next he’s accusing Nina of kidnapping Olivia. What’s with that?

    Regarding Tess, I know they kind of dropped that storyline, but I can’t help but wonder if there was something important we were supposed to get from that in this episode. And, me being the suspicious, paranoid person that I am (at least as far as this show is concerned), I can’t help but question Tess’ intentions. It seems innocent enough, as if she found out Peter was in town and wanted to warn him. But, what if it had actually been some assignment? We know she’s in deep with the same shady people Peter was working with. What if someone forced her to approach Peter and convince him to leave town? It just seemed a little odd that she was so insistent that he leave – is there a reason someone wouldn’t want Peter there? I suppose it’s unlikely – people like that have much more persuasive methods of getting people to leave. But, maybe they thought using an old girlfriend would be more effective…

    I’m also curious about the e-mail Olivia received from John at the end. First off, it seems to indicate that it was an actual person that was with her in the dreamstate. How could a memory of John send an e-mail saying he saw her? But more than that, why did he send that message? It almost seems threatening, in a way – as if he wanted her to know that in some strange way, he was still around and he was aware of her. All in all, I found it to be rather creepy. And that’s why I don’t like John. He’s creepy!

    Nina made a comment that struck me as significant. When Olivia is talking to her, Nina randomly asks, “Are you sure you’re feeling well, Miss Dunham? I think that you are perceiving things that are entirely in your mind’s eye.” That just seemed to say all sorts of things to me. First off, it was rather ironic given that this whole episode was about people hallucinating things that weren’t really there. So was it supposed to be indicating that Nina did have a general idea of what had happened to Mark and George, or more, that she had been responsible for that? Also, why would she say that to Olivia? Was she merely taunting Olivia by giving an indication that she was aware of what was going on? Is she aware of Olivia going into the tank and the way that’s affecting her? Would there be another explanation or reason that would cause Nina to expect that Olivia would be seeing things? Too many times I find myself asking “What does Nina know?” I don’t think she is lying when she says certain things, but I also believe that there is much that she doesn’t tell.

    Reflections: In the opening scene when Mark begins to give his presentation, there is a clear reflection of the meeting taking place in the window behind him. And then we see Olivia looking in the mirror while she is getting ready to meet with some friends. Finally, when Olivia and Charlie go searching for George Morales, there is a moment where we see Charlie through the rear view mirror.

    Favorite Moment: I don’t know if I really had a favorite moment in this episode, but I did have several that I really liked. One scene that I really liked was when Olivia sits down with John in the restaurant and tells him how much she loved him and asks him if he ever felt anything for her. It’s one of those moments where we get to see past the walls she constantly has guarding her, and we get to see her vulnerable and what she really feels and how deeply his betrayal affected her. And then a moment later, when he looks at her, that look was just creepy! Seriously, it made me so uneasy – Mark Valley did that scene wonderfully!

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    • says

      “I actually had a different way of interpreting the coffee yogurt comment. For me, I’m intrigued by the concept of Peter’s mother – where is she, what was her relationship like with Peter and Walter, how much did she know about what Walter did, etc. So when I heard that comment, I focused more on the part where Walter said that it “almost drove your mother to tears” and so when Peter said “No, Walter, that was you.” I interpreted that as Walter was the one who was doing things that “almost drove your mother to tears.” and Peter saw the opening and used it to express some of his frustration. Maybe they just meant for it to be one of Walter’s random food comments, but I could see it being this interpretation as well. We already know that Walter and his wife didn’t seem to have the greatest relationship and that Peter is very defensive of his mother, plus, Peter’s good at making those types of sharp comments… So that’s another way of looking at that scene.”

      Very interesting perspective. I didn’t think of it like that, but I agree it could be intended that way. Mrs. Bishop is going to be a very interesting character when she appears on the scene!

      “You presented the theory that Mark and George both hallucinated about things they had been thinking about at the time – for Mark it was butterflies and for George it was John. And that’s a very good, plausible theory. But I still think that he wouldn’t have hallucinated John unless he considered John to be one of the bad guys. He was also thinking about Massive Dynamic – in fact, I would imagine his thoughts were very focused on Massive Dynamic since he was terrified that they were going to come kill him. So why didn’t he imagine some Massive Dynamic employee coming to kill him? And, leaving that aside, if he and John were working together, then why was he so scared when he saw John? It was as if he saw John and immediately assumed he had come to kill him. If they were allies, wouldn’t his initial reaction be relief when he saw John? And he kept saying “I won’t say anything!”, indicating that what he had agreed he would tell Olivia was something that he believed John didn’t want him to tell. I just really have a hard time believing that John really was one of the good guys. Every time we learn more about him, we see him involved in messy things, secret deals, threats, and murders. It’s like in this episode when Olivia saw him meet with the other three men and then after the meeting he just went and killed the guy – why would he do that? Even if he was some government agent working undercover, he wouldn’t just go around killing these people. I just have a hard time seeing all sorts of examples of things like that, and then being expected to take his word and believe that he was working undercover and never betrayed Olivia. His actions don’t seem to support that and I need more evidence before I will be convinced.”

      You make good points and I admit I could be wrong on this, but I don’t think George’s ‘hostile’ vision of John means that he was a bad guy. I mean, Mark saw visions of butterflies attacking him, yet he loved butterflies. So I whilst I can’t absolutely prove that John Scott was, for all intents and purposes, a ‘good guy’, I’m not sure that George’s visions prove that he wasn’t. John’s hands were definitely not clean, and he did some terrible things, but I think that he believed that he was working for the right causes, and to be fair to him that’s basically how he eventually explains it to Olivia, and she seems to find solace in that.

      You make a good point about George’s reaction upon seeing ‘John’, but we’ve seen the other players eliminate themselves once they’ve been found out, so perhaps a similar code of conduct exists within this govt. agency? Or, maybe George’s own subconscious was distorting the situation – as in, he may have reacted with fear because he knew that he shouldn’t have given that information up to an ‘outsider’?

      Again, just some counter possibilities. You mount a good argument though! :)


      “Also, I thought it was interesting that in the music video “The Forest” one of the scenes it shows is Peter and Olivia entering a warehouse full of butterflies like the ones in this episode. Nice foreshadowing of upcoming episodes there. It also makes me wonder if there’s more to these butterflies than just a chance occurrence of Mark Young hallucinating them. Maybe there was a reason he hallucinated butterflies killing him. Maybe he knew of some secret project that involved butterflies. I wonder if we will see more killer butterflies in season 2.”

      Good memory! I thought the butterflies and frogs could be a nice story tie-in or reference to the glyph symbols between the ad breaks, perhaps that also influenced their choice for this episode?

      “Oh! Oh! That’s me! I’m one of those folks! I guess you knew that already, but since you mentioned it, I just thought I’d point it out again. I’ll be the first to admit it if I’m wrong, but it does make sense. The fact that he was communicating with her as though he was still very aware of what was going on in the world, even though all these events had happened after his death, the fact that he was able to see her when Walter insisted no one could see her, the fact that she received additional communication from him when she was out of the tank, the fact that Walter admits that he and Bell believed that LSD allowed them to glimpse alternate realities and LSD is the main ingredient for putting her in the tank… it all seems to point to an alternate John trying to contact her. This is one mystery that I really hope they will address more in season 2.”

      I’m not sold on the idea of the John manifestations being John from another reality, but I like the points you present to support this idea! I think I would totally by your idea if we have a situation where people can communicate through their deceased counterparts in other realities, and if the version of John that Olivia sees is from a reality ahead of ours – otherwise, how would he have to know-how to perform such communication? Granted, the LSD point could answer that, but then what about our John – aren’t the memories in Olivia’s subconscious mind his? They seem to corroborate with the events in our reality. Hmm..

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  2. FlashWriter says

    Well, here’s my 11 cents.

    Starting out, the opening butterfly scene was masterful. “Fringe” may well go down as the series with the best ever teasers. It grabbed me straight away and in seconds had me actually feeling the cuts those weird butterflies were inflicting on that poor guy. The ending of that scene was…umm, impactfull. I ask you, even if someone never saw “Fringe” before, had no idea what it was about, could anybody change the channel without finding out what was going on here?

    But more than that, I think this could be the first episode where I started to feel that there was something more to Olivia Dunham’s back story than just being this hard-driving, nothing- stops-her agent. The tank scene—I mean the whole of it—began putting a light on both Olivia and Walter, showing a depth far beyond what we usually see in today’s series television. For the first time, I began to suspect that “the pattern” wasn’t an external series of cases but something much closer to her, such that she might actually be somehow connected to the very cases she was investigating.

    In short, while D-Roc gave it a 7.5 (and I won’t disagree with that mark), this episode was, for me, pivotal. Instead of “Fringe” being a sequence of very loosely coupled segments, the series actually started for me with this episode. Here we began to see Olivia’s sometimes unanticipated (by Walter, anyway) reaction to his witches brew of drugs and isolation tanks. From this point through “Bad Dreams”, we can see Walter being more and more wrong-footed by what Olivia was experiencing. At this point in the season, however, it was just something that was buzzing around in my head. Something without form or direction—it was just…something.

    Now let’s talk a little about Walter. In “The Equation”, something touched him. Somehow, he knew what that little boy was going through and in an act of bravery which was, in its own way, equal to Olivia’s bravery when she goes back into the tank, he faced the demon of that mental institution once again—went back into the mouth of the lion, so to speak. In both Walter’s and Olivia’s case it was almost an act of contrition for both of them. And the bible quote at the start of Olivia’s second trip into the lions mouth, I believe, was a point of a new beginning if not for Olivia, then certainly for him.

    “Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean. And all thy filthiness and all thy idols I will cleanse thee. And a new spirit I will give to thee. And a new spirit I will put within thee.”

    Great, hopeful words. A prayer for Olivia. Hope of a new spirit. Hope of healing. I was cheering for him and as D-Roc mentioned, Walter’s new spirit was displayed when he refused to allow Olivia back into the tank. I think Walter, even at this juncture, was ahead of everyone else as to what was going to unfold. I think he knows that Olivia needs to be whole if she is going to face what is to come.

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  3. Elliot says

    MLJ, right there with you on so much! You should come help us with our theorizing at FF.

    How about this for the deaths of Mark Young and George Morales—killed by a psychoactive hallucinogen from toad secretion —-that made them receptive to being killed from a distance. Not simple hallucination but induced. If Roy McComb could see & hear the Ghost Network, maybe Nina’s crowd has been working on tele-assassination. That would make sense out of her cryptic comments to Olivia.

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  4. Gil_Cdn says

    The Kill Report #9

    Here is the death toll in ep.1-09 DREAMSCAPE:

    - Mark Young (Executive at MD, analysts) = 1
    - George Morales (accomplices of J.Scott) = 1

    ** for the sake of this count (as we are trying to confirm Olivia’s claimed of the number of people die after she joined Fringe Division in ep.1.18 Midnight), we are NOT going to include the stabbing death of Paul by John Scott, as this happened in John’s memory and took place before John die in the car accident.

    Total death toll (from ep.1.01 up to and included ep.1.09) = 200

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  5. jkyarr says

    It seems clear to me where matters of the tank are in question that Walter speaks from a first hand knowledge perspective. How else could he possibly have a basis to refute what Olivia said happened with Jon from her memory seeing her sitting there at the table? This solidly infers that Walter is more than just a theorist when it comes to all matters “tank”. This also reinforces my idea about Walter and Peter having shared consciousness. The questions then become who shared with who? Did Walter tank dive with dead Peter and then with Alter-Peter in some effort to imbue the just abducted Alter-Peter with some level of memory imprinting from dead Peter? Did Walter tank dive with Peter just as a security precaution, hiding the most valuable information outside either of their own consciousnesses so it couldn’t be accessed except in certain ways (aka John Mosley’s nose cleaning machine)? The “coffee yogurt” memory is further evidence. It seems to be a disembodied (as to who it actually was), shared memory between Peter and Walter. Neither seems all that clear on who it was that actually did it, but both can remember it.

    Also I think it worth mentioning that the use of blue /alterverse lights during Olivia’s descent into an altered consciousness in the tank, may be indicative perhaps, of a trans-multiverse experience – in mind if not in body. I think her “trips” into the tank are much more significant to the overall theme of the show than simple explorations of her own mind. I wonder if she wasn’t “observing” past events? The 3rd person perspective would certainly lend itself to a disembodied / observational role. That she (green dress Olivia) could not see Olivia observing the memory could be indicative of her green and then unawakened mind. Where as John, having clearly seen her as she observed, displayed an awareness that Olivia is only now beginning to fathom. This culminates for me in a new theory about the role of the observer. Perhaps he is where he is, observing who or what he is observing because he actually channels consciousnesses that have a need, reason or desire to observe the events. Would it surprise us to see a flashback in season 2 of the same scene in the restaurant where when green dress Olivia gets up from the table the observer comes and sits down and delivers line for line the same words Olivia said to him in her dream state? Perhaps John didn’t look directly at him at first because he thought he was being punked or perhaps because he was already all too familiar with the appearance and purpose of the bald man? Then the Observer gets his attention with anachronistic news of the demise of Mr. Young and suddenly Jon and “channeled Olivia” are looking eye to eye across time and the dimension of memory… We need to explore the possibility of viewing memory as its own verse in the multiverse. Perhaps one that Olivia has some talent in interacting with or manipulating in relation to the time-space continuum. Anyway thats enough conjecture for now.

    Where did we hear about the Northwoods Group before? Isn’t this the first mention? Has anybody googled it? I’ll let you know what I find when I do.

    What about the theme of “your mind makes it real”? Isn’t that true for memory and perspectives and the entire paradigm on which we individually approach our own lives? Juxtapose that theme with the butterflies and do we have “The butterfly effect”? Did Olivia change the past by having Jon Scott “see” her in her memory? Did her mind make it real? When you’re fooling around on the fringe edge of consciousness how do you determine what is real and what isn’t? I think these are all questions this episode is meant to evoke.

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    • says

      “What about the theme of “your mind makes it real”? Isn’t that true for memory and perspectives and the entire paradigm on which we individually approach our own lives? Juxtapose that theme with the butterflies and do we have “The butterfly effect”? Did Olivia change the past by having Jon Scott “see” her in her memory? Did her mind make it real? When you’re fooling around on the fringe edge of consciousness how do you determine what is real and what isn’t? I think these are all questions this episode is meant to evoke.”

      The idea of Olivia changing the past in an interesting one – she certainly creates ripples through her actions. You and I both agree that her dreamscapin’ represented entry into alternate verses – at least symbolically. So when dealing with her memories, it’s possible that she’s tapping into boundless potential realities, perhaps even creating them merely by realising that they exist (observing them). So if not changing the past, she’s certainly altering her experience..her perception. I do wonder how far the show will dig into this though.

      As for John ‘seeing’ her – I think this may have signified that a part of him is (or was) still alive inside her own subconscious. This representation of John was literally living through her memory and blending his experiences with her own – that he saw her seems to be illustrative of what the memory is and how it can influence and effect us. I could be wrong, but I believe the idea was that he wanted to help her (and to vindicate his love for her) and she needed resolution/guidance. As you mentioned, by looking her he showed that he had awareness of where he was – he knew he was dead yet still alive in another sense.

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  6. Elaine says

    3.) Is Olivia able to interact with John’s memories because of her Cortexiphan trials? At this stage Walter is unaware that Olivia is in fact young Olive, so he isn’t yet taking this aspect into consideration when he says that interaction is impossible. Perhaps Olivia’s treatment enables her to change or reawaken realities or memories which have already taken place – as we saw with John Scott in the restaurant memory? This would certainly tally with my opinion that Olivia has the ability to ‘change reality’.

    I always took Walter’s insistence that Olivia couldn’t interact with John within these memories to be more about not wanting her to lose her tether to reality by getting lost within her own mind. Looking back now, I find it interesting that Walter never took into consideration that the restraints of time as we understand them don’t factor into observing an event…especially within ones own consciousness. Given Brandon’s theory in ‘August’ in regards to the Observers being able to observe time at any point wasn’t something Walter had adopted into that particular experimentation.

    Like you mentioned, Olivia being able to observe this event meant she was able (due to the Cortexiphan trials) to change that particular reality at will despite the fact that the moment had already passed in a linear fashion.

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    • says

      Good points Elaine. It’s interesting to consider the true nature of time within the structure of the show. It could be argued that observation is reality and time is just a way to make sense of reality in very small and linear doses (or very large and nonlinear doses if you have the power). It’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on as we rewatch the episodes. Thanks for the brain spark! ;)

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