Fringe Rewatch – 1.10 Safe

Safe - Rewatch

Synopsis: While investigating a series of bank robberies, Olivia, Walter and Peter are shocked to find one of the suspects inexplicably trapped inside a vault wall as if it solidified around him. Walter realizes that the high-tech thieves have figured out a way to defy the law of physics and that, much to his dismay, the crooks are after something of his. As the ongoing investigation unfolds and the mystery deepens, the perilous situation climaxes when a member of the trio is ambushed.

I recall “Safe” as being one of those episodes where things began to ‘come together’. On second viewing I can still see its charm.

New observations, perspectives and whatnot below:

New Observations & Perspectives

Upgrade You1.) So we know that some of John’s memories crossed over into Olivia’s mind. But what I felt worked in this episode was the idea that Massive Dynamic needed those particular memories to give them the “advantage” over — I presume — Jones and his gang (unless Nina was referring to a different threat). I also find it kinda funny that Olivia had access to this crucial information without even knowing it – this mirrors Walter’s situation of having an extensive wealth of knowledge but not being able to access it on tap.

2.) Continuing on from the above — it’s possible that Nina would have known (or had some idea) that Jones was responsible for kidnapping Olivia, despite the ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ act to Phillip. Her anxiety over the “highly motivated people” coincided too snugly with Jones’ escape.

3.) I don’t quite get why Loeb thought his gang wouldn’t “understand” the contents of the box? It’s a teleportation device, what’s not to understand once you’ve walked through freakin’ walls!? Don’t get me wrong, there are levels of awe and wonder, but since Pandora wasn’t inside the box, I think they’re capable of wrapping their mind around the core basics.

(Slightly off-topic: when Chance Kelly looks inside the box, I wondered what direction he was given, and how he was told to play his look of ‘euphoria’? It wasn’t up there with Terry O’Quinn’s intriguing equivalent, but it made me wonder what made him choose that particular reaction to his character seeing the diz-ray.)

4.) Ryan Eastwick’s radiation induced hand trembling is very similar to the initial effects suffered by Jones (and Nina) in “Ability”. Seeing as walking through solid matter and teleportation both have negative consequences, I would expect there to also be consequences for crossing between realities. I guess we’ll eventually find out!

5.) Speaking of which, Walter said that when Peter was younger he developed a rare form of bird flu (hepia) that hadn’t been around for decades, but that he ‘suddenly’ got better. Could he have developed this illness by coming over to our reality? Or, could this have been HOW original Peter died? Perhaps Walter is confusing things, and it was actually his original son who caught hepia and actually died as a result? Maybe Walter ‘thinks’ that Peter ‘got better’ because he’s mixing up the reality of losing his son with gaining a new one from the other world?

6.) I liked watching Peter’s coin trick again – not just because the coin is a pretty powerful story-element in the season finale, but because the idea of making a coin disappear is an illusion, much like our perspective of a single reality.

7.) I always liked this line from Walter: “You’ve no idea what you’re capable of”. Now I know that Peter has a high IQ, but I don’t for one minute think that Walter’s “disappointment” in Peter is due to his nomad existence or his spurned educational opportunities. I get the impression that through the wire of Walter’s fuzzy recollection, he subconsciously knew — even at this stage — that Peter was out of this world.

8.) So let’s iron this out: Olivia’s condition escalated as she began to confuse John’s memories with her own (quite different to the physical manifestation guide she received in earlier episodes). I REALLY love how this married with the identity issues between Peter and Walter. It’s like, wow, no-one knows who the heck they really are and it’s great! (and, um, heartbreaking at the same time).

9.) Peter’s toys not actually being our Peter’s toys – I think I said this first time round, but again, this was nice foreshadowing to something being amiss.

Unresolved Mysteries

Yeah, that's right, I came to London just for these gloves.1.) What was Nina doing in London? My guess would be that it was something to do with Jones, since he’s a Brit. It also seemed as though she got there pretty fast, but that could be due to how the episode was condensed.

Also (although this would be pointless unless returned to at a later date) was she in OUR London, or the OTHER London?

2.) Why did Eastwick come down with a bad dose of radiation poisoning? Didn’t we see him taking his shots and that was a lead in?

Maybe we just have to go along with it because they needed Peter to showcase his great people reading abilities?

3.) In the bar scene, Olivia says that she has a “thing for numbers” – whilst I can quite easily see this being true, I’m still left wondering whether this is her own skill, or part of John Scott’s memories?

4.) Okay, we’re all still waiting to know: just WHO is Peter’s “best friend”? I hope it’s not Peter (or worse, Tess) :)

Closed Mysteries

"Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside.."1.) This initially bugged me – Jones offering his attorney, Kohl, a suit seemed like an odd gesture. But it actually makes sense, seeing as despite Kohl declining the offer, Jones takes the suit off his back (after murdering him) and wears it for his trip to Little Hill. That Jones, always thinking of others.

2.) (I’m not sure if this is a legitimate “closed mystery”, but if this is the answer then I’d be satisfied): So, Nina’s concern at the “race against highly motivated individuals” can perhaps be explained by Jones’ imminent jail-break (she must have heard the news about Walter’s stolen diz-ray parts) and his desire to kill her precious Bellie.

To my mind, this not only makes sense, but it salvages one of my few criticisms of the finale, in that Jones’ petty daddy issues (and I say that in the kindest way, as I like Jones) seemed a major detour from his ‘Olivia the gifted one’ obsession. If Nina was worried about Jones, It could be that Bellie/Nina were the one’s responsible for putting Jones in jail in the first place. Maybe Jones wanted Olivia so badly because he needed a way to cross over to the other reality to kill Bellie?

3.) “Little Hill” was indeed code for the coordinates to Little Hill field, where Jones would make his escape.

Final Thoughts

Uh, crap! Who built a wall here?What I most loved about this episode was that it was rewarding – I know that’s a buzz word in Fringe circles right now, but it’s true, the mythology and character interactions from episode 1.07 was paid-off in fantastic fashion.

I also think that it was clever to introduce solid-matter-walking (I’m sure there’s a snappy technical term for that somewhere) and teleportation in the same episode – it allowed for heightened resonance and made the teleportation scene that much level.

My lasting impression from the episode is something I will cherish, and it was part delivered through Peter’s magic trick, Raul’s wall integration and Jones’ badass escape – the idea that in this world (never mind the other) we have the ability to do anything..anything – from travelling through solid matter to copy/pasting ourselves to new destinations. If we can imagine it, then we can eventually find a way to make it reality.

But once such feats have been accomplished, comes the question of why? Why are these things even possible, and why were they hidden from us for so long? Is it chance that we unearth these possibilities – are we throwing Mother Earth a curve-ball..doing something unexpected, by “hacking” her illusory constraints and physical laws? Or is it all predetermined – are we supposed to utilise all that reality has to offer and to hell with the mystery box?

Just how Safe are the secrets?

Best Performer: Jared Harris

Best Moment: A flat-out draw between the walk-walking and teleportation scenes!

Retrospective Rating: 8.6/10

You can find our original “Safe” posts here.

Next Rewatch Episode: “Bound” (Friday ETA). This episode can be viewed for free on the Fox Fringe player, or on Hulu (also free) – US restrictions.


  1. Gil_Cdn says

    2.) Why did Eastwick come down with a bad dose of radiation poisoning? Didn’t we see him taking his shots and that was a lead in?

    Eastwick was shot in the leg and capture while Loeb and the team are leaving the scene of the safe deposit box break-in via the sewage system. If we remember from the first scene, the team did not get the “anti-radiation” shot until after they arrive back in the warehouse. So I guess without the antidote, Eastwick radiation poisoning just escalate.

    The only inconsistency is – Eastwick was already showing signs of shaking when they hop into the van (trying to light a cigarette).

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  2. mlj102 says

    I remember that I really liked this episode the first time I saw it, so I was surprised that watching it again, it was even better than I’d remembered it. Definitely one of my favorites!

    You talked about how Massive Dynamic was trying to gain access to certain memories John had. I particularly liked how you pointed out the similarity between Olivia being unable to access those memories and Walter not having access to certain portions of his memory, either. My question is, what are those memories and how will they give Massive Dynamic an advantage? John must’ve been very deeply involved and aware of many important things if his memories are that essential to Nina.

    “I don’t quite get why Loeb thought his gang wouldn’t “understand” the contents of the box? It’s a teleportation device, what’s not to understand once you’ve walked through freakin’ walls!?”

    I seriously laughed when I read that – too funny! I hadn’t thought of it like that before, but it’s true! Here they are walking through solid walls and he doesn’t think they would understand a transporter? Thanks for that one!

    Okay, the Hepia. First off, my opinion had always been that original Peter had died from the illness and that’s when Walter shifted from trying to bring the doctor back from the past to having to find a replacement Peter. Secondly, from what I’ve seen, most people seem pretty convinced that Peter did definitely have Hepia. But that’s never directly said. He was sick, but Walter describes it as “The doctors didn’t know what it was – the closest diagnosis was hepia – the rare form of bird flu that hadn’t been around for decades.” So we know that he was sick, and it was similar to Hepia, but the fact that this particular illness was rare and hadn’t been seen in decades makes me wonder if it was something else. Could it have been the result of some experiment Walter had performed on him? If so, that would certainly add to Walter’s guilt over Peter ‘s death.

    I also really liked when Walter told Peter, “You have no idea what you’re capable of.” For me, this line made me think of how in “The Equation” Peter had told Sumner that he (Sumner) had no idea what he (Peter) was capable of. I thought this was a nice continuation of that theme and the two incidences work together really well to make the point that really no one quite knows what Peter is capable of, but that whatever it is he’s capable of, it’s big and important.

    You asked why Eastwick still came down with a bad case of radiation even though he was taking his injections. My opinion is that the injections were only effective to a certain extent – that it could temporarily protect them, but that, ultimately, them making several trips through the walls amounted to so much that the injection wasn’t enough to prevent them from getting poisoned and manifesting the symptoms. I imagine they were all showing symptoms, just his were, for whatever reason, more advanced than the others.

    Okay – so you brought up the whole point about the bar scene and the best friend contradiction and if her talent with numbers is really her own, or if she’s confusing John’s memories with her own again. I personally think the ability with numbers is definitely her own. Furthermore, I don’t think that anything in the bar scene was her confusing memories again. It’s strange to me because I had never thought anything of the best friend comment until I started looking into reviews of the episodes online and reading peoples theories about it. I had never seen anything wrong with that. So people say that the fact that she first said she didn’t have a best friend, then later tells her best friend in high school’s license plate number is a contradiction and indicates that she was confusing memories. But for me, it’s all just symantics. I think it’s possible to have a best friend from high school or a best friend in a certain job you had, or whatever, but still not consider that person to be your best friend. Does that make sense? A friend can be the best friend you have in high school, but when high school is over and all, you move on, lose touch, and in the long run, you think of them as a good friend, but wouldn’t go as far as to call them your best friend. At least that’s how I think. So from my perspective, you can say you had a best friend in high school and say that you don’t have a best friend and still be telling the truth. But, that aside, whatever was meant by those comments, I definitely think the whole talent with numbers is her own. I think it’s one thing to confuse your memories with someone else’s memories, but it’s a very different thing to confuse your abilities with someone else’s abilities. I just don’t see how she would suddenly be able to do it just because John could.

    You pose an interesting question about how people can ultimately do anything they can imagine, but why? Building off of that, the question I thought of when I read that is that mankind is getting to the point where they can do all kinds of things, but at what cost? It’s interesting to note that pretty much everything that is shown as being possible comes with a big consequence. Loeb and his men learned how to walk through walls – but it gave them high amounts of radiation poisoning. Jones transported across the world – but it left him with a really disgusting skin condition and who knows what else. They learned to clone super-soldiers – but the only problem is that the clone would literally have to live his life in the blink of an eye unless he was willing to harvest people’s pituitary glands. Walter was able to bring an alternate Peter back to this universe after his Peter died – I think we’re just beginning to figure out what happened as a result of that, but I think it’s safe to say it’s not good. My point is that, while “science and technology has advanced” are we really prepared for that? Are the benefits we get worth whatever consequences follow from doing these spectacular things? Or are there some things we should just leave as they are?

    Other thoughts:

    It was a little odd for me the way Jones arranged his trip out of prison. He had to go through his lawyer, who then told his people what to do, who then told Loeb what to do. This indicates that Loeb was not directly working for Jones. How did they start working together? Who are his “men” and what are they doing? It’s interesting to get a glimpse of just how deep this goes and how involved everything is.

    I noticed that it’s mentioned a couple of times that the deposit boxes were purchased 23 years ago – which would be right around the time that young Peter died. So it makes sense with the timeline and such: Walter had invented the dis-rey in order to bring back a doctor. But after Peter died, that was no longer necessary, so he dismantled it and hid it and proceeded to go find a replacement Peter. Very interesting to get a glimpse into what Walter’s state of mind was like at that time – very stressed and very suspicious of essentially everyone he knew. I wonder if he’d had any problems in bringing Peter over or what else might’ve been happening that made him so distrustful of everyone around him.

    It bothered me the way the doctor at the hospital was so reluctant to give any information to Olivia. It seemed like it was more than just a doctor who was very busy and strict on protocol. It was as if he didn’t want to tell her anything and was looking for any excuse to not share what he knew. It just made me wonder if he was some bad guy or if he knew more than just your average doctor.

    One thing that stood out to me as I watched this episode is that this show does a really great job at showing the progression and development of relationships. It’s one of the things I really like about Fringe. They show progress, but they don’t rush it or throw it at you like a lot of other shows do. They just let it happen gradually, which I think makes it much more believable. Like with Walter and Peter – they’ve managed to show their relationship improving, but that doesn’t mean that it’s automatically perfect and ideal. Peter still gets annoyed at Walter, Walter still does things that are incredibly frustrating, and they still argue. But despite that, you can see how Peter is starting to accept Walter as his father, and that’s beginning to replace the huge amount of resentment and anger he previously felt towards him. It really is like relationships in real life.

    Reflections: There’s a reflection of Olivia in the table when she’s visiting Susan. There’s a reflection of the bank robbers in the side of the van as they are leaving to go to the last bank. And there are several reflections of Olivia, Peter, and Charlie in the window as they are watching the interrogation take place. All in all, pretty standard ones for this episode, but still neat to find.

    Favorite moment: That’s a really tough one for me this time. Like I said, I just really like this entire episode as a whole. If I had to choose – I’m torn between two. First, the bar scene: I just love this scene because it’s one of the very few times that we get to see Olivia in a relaxed atmosphere; not focusing on work or a case or John or what not. It’s a really great break from the tone her life usually has. Probably the best part is Olivia’s smile – it’s so great to see a true, genuine, full smile. It’s so true what the producers say about Anna – her smile just lights up a room! The other one is the scene in the lab with Walter and his rice demonstration. For one, it really did help me to better understand the concept of what was happening and how they were able to walk through walls. But it was also just a great moment for all of the characters and it was done so well! And it was just plain fun. I loved Walter’s childlike enthusiasm for the whole thing. It was great at the end how he wanted to do it again and was still just as excited about it. And Astrid’s reaction was great – she didn’t even look up. Then there was the whole exchange between Peter and Olivia when Olivia asks what he’d been doing and he said “buying rice for Walter’s toys” and Olivia does this double take, not sure if Peter’s still joking or if he’s being serious – for some reason that just made me laugh. They acted that scene so well. I love the dynamic between those them all!

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  3. FlashWriter says

    Okay. A Winter’s night in December (2nd, to be exact), and “Fringe” is going on hiatus. This was going to be IT for several weeks and the anticipation of the episode was palpable in my house. My young son was tucked in and already asleep—which was unusual for him–and then it was time.

    “Are we TiVo-ing this?” my wife asked as we plunked down on the couch.


    And then we were there, Philadelphia Mutual Savings with Loeb and the rest of his crew. It started as an operation done with military precision and ended with a poor shmutz stuck half way through the wall of a bank vault and his brains blown all over wall. And if there really is an alternate reality, me and my wife surely were there. Transported, hell, we didn’t need that gizmo that Jones would eventually need to try to cross over.

    It was one of those memorable episodes where so much happened. There were weeks to come with no “Fringe”, but this one was good enough to keep us going until it returned. Roco gave this a 8.6/10 but I’m giving it a 9.6/10 for several reasons.

    I love the scenes where our guys are in the lab. There’s just something that has developed between our stalwart crew and ever-so-often somebody comes up with a beaute of a line, or they just say something cool. Astrid (of “How’s it going, Chachi” fame) comes up with them much of the time. And her chemistry with John Noble usually works so very well. In this lab scene, when Olivia and Peter were clearing out to the Cambridge bar and Astrid was already working on her radiation sickness search, it was:

    PETER (Following Olivia out)
    Astrid, would you mind uhhh…

    ASTRID (Busy at the computer)
    …watching Walter…yeah, I’m on that too…

    Man, when I read the line as written, it looks so lifeless on the page, but the way Jasika delivered it! Well, it just goes to show you what a good actor can do with a nothin’ line.

    Again, the bar scene has been analyzed to death, but it is one of my favorite scenes of the whole season. I don’t think we’ve seen Olivia before or since so completely relaxed, having fun and being just plain charming. Too bad that Olivia and Peter don’t hit that bar more often. One thing I do think though, is that Olivia’s ability to count cards was completely her own, although it may have been enhanced by the Cortexiphan experiments. I like the way Anna handled the cards with complete familiarity. It was just way-cool the way she did it and my reaction to her roughly echoed Peter’s reaction: Olivia Dunham’s sock went up about 50 points.

    Another scene I loved and still loved was the scene in the FBI offices with Walter as he’s going through the pictures. Kirk Acevedo played this so much as the “everyman” he has been in the show.

    CHARLIE (Not believing what he just heard Walter say)
    Is he stoned?

    OLIVIA (A little amused)
    Just show him the other batch. And be patient with him. His mind works in…a different way.


    I mean, is this classic or what? With so much happening in the episode, these characters all had their moments. Classic scenes. In the process–I think in this episode more than any other–they became real to me. From here on, I felt I knew them all and, the way fictional characters have a habit of doing with me, they became my friends. God I like these people!

    I could go on about that great interrogation scene with Eastwick—the FBI should have hired Peter as an interrogator if nothing else. This is the second scene of this type where Peter wrung out the information from the perp which was desperately needed. Go Peter! His line here, of course is, “You violated the laws of Physics, Mr. Eastwick and mother nature’s a Bitch.” Another fantastic, fantastic line.

    So I raise my glass to them all in this episode…to the writers and the dirctor and to JJ and friends. This was one hell of a great episode. One for the books.

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    • Gil_Cdn says

      Very well said …. I can still remember stunned by that cliffhanger wondering what will happen to Olivia after she got captured by Mr. Jones / Loeb and company …. and anxiously waiting weeks for the next episode in January.

      I will raise my glass with you and give the entire Fringe team a toast!

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  4. Daphne says

    I was re-watching this episode, since it came on here in the Netherlands.

    “In the bar scene, Olivia says that she has a “thing for numbers” – whilst I can quite easily see this being true, I’m still left wondering whether this is her own skill, or part of John Scott’s memories?”
    To reply to that part. She told Peter that she still remembers the license plate of her best friend in college, yet, in the beginning she was telling Peter that she never really had friends, let alone a best friend.
    So, I think that the ‘thing with numbers’ is something she got from John.
    Of course it can also be a small mistake in the writing, and mean nothing, but you never know with this show, ;)!

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