Fringe Theory – Who Turned the Lights Out?


1.14 ABILITYPeople using their minds to turn off lights – it could only be “Fringe”! But who did it, who passed Jones’ test, was it Olivia or Peter?

I get the sense that  whilst the writers want us to believe that it was Olivia, they also want us to further question Peter’s ‘specialness’.

PETER: “I think I’ve got a weird connection”

I think he’s right.

1. We know that Peter is special, least not because his father performed experiments on him as a child, including hooking him up to car batteries! I’d hate to second guess Walter, but why else would he do this unless he wanted to test how special his son was? We also know that Peter had an ‘out of mind experience’ with the Observer in episode 1.04. Whilst it’s thought that the Observer was inside of Peter’s head, reading his thoughts before Peter had even thought of them, perhaps it was also the other way wound, maybe Peter was inside of the Observer’s head? That is, what if Peter’s mind is like a giant amplifier? ..after all, he has a weird connection. For an example, think Roy McComb picking up the ‘Ghost Network’.  Walter has already stated that we have to ‘reconsider the way in which we consider communication’.

2. The ZFT manuscript talks about the “soldier” being “unwilling”. This may or may not mean anything, but I think that Peter is much more unwilling than Olivia. Olivia is the one who dives into memory tanks, whilst Peter is the one who stops to question:

Why is it when anyone has something they don’t understand, they come to us?

So, if Peter is special, then he’d probably be a stronger potential “warrior” than Olivia. At least according to the ZFT pre-requisites

3. Does Peter know that he’s special? Taking into account my above points, I’d have to say that he does. But he’s also “unwilling” – as “The Arrival” so wonderfully showed, he wants to get the hell outta Dodge, but something keeps pulling him back in. We also know that he’s good at magic..perhaps that’s a metaphor for just how much ‘ability’ he has?

And so we’d have balance – not just with ZFT/Massive Dynamic, David Jones/Nina Sharp (both having the shakes), Walter Bishop/William Bell, but we also have Peter and Olivia. Both, possibly, Cortexiphan kids, one an FBI agent who is prepared to cut corners to get answers, the other a member of the criminal world who is working for a government task force.
So my answer most definitely has to be that BOTH Olivia and Peter disabled the bomb with their minds.

In an episode which featured the cautionary tale of the convergence of worlds, it seems only right that from this fear should stem the hope that we can put our heads together to solve the problems facing the world. I can’t think of a better message than that. The Observers may be here..but so are we..still.

Of course, the writers may not choose to go down this route; they may be steering us down the wrong path, leading us to think that Olivia is special, when it turns out that Nina is lying about the clinical trial in Jacksonville! Whatever the case may be – Cortexiphan or not, I’m looking forward to finding out more about Olivia and Peter’s origins.

Comments

  1. Elliot says

    Yow! Nicely pulled together.
    I hadn’t thought about Peter knowing he’s special; but it does make sense in light of his constant running. That I had thought was just from his abusive childhood (hm, Olivia had one as well–Daddy issues all over here!). And the three of them are learning to work together, despite a host of reasons why they shouldn’t be able to. After a peek at the ZFT manifesto (Ted Kaczinksy, anyone?) it’s good to see some hopeful ideas explored. We’re all getting brain calisthentics with Fringe.

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  2. says

    I hadn’t thought about Peter knowing he’s special; but it does make sense in light of his constant running

    Yeah, he does seem to have a way with people too. As you say, perhaps his success in different regions of the world – Central Peru, Iraq, etc – is in part down to his Ability?

    I liked his line to Marcum in 1.14 – “You know me…friend of the people”.

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  3. kawaiiaicat says

    Man you just answered one of my questions about the MD website. I wondered what the word hope meant. Now what do the other terms mean progress, growth and happiness mean at least in MD’s “mind”. Anybody have any guesses?

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    • says

      Just a stab, but here goes:

      Progress: Whereas the ZFT manuscript advocates ‘Advancement (progress) by the Destruction of Technology, perhaps MD support ‘Progress by the Advancement of Technology’. We seem to have a conflict of interests there. Of course, MD have also been described as being ‘tricksters’.

      Growth: If ZFT are against the covergence of worlds..could MD be supportive of such an alliance? Do they seek to ‘grow’ our world, by colonising or joining forces with others?

      Happiness: To MD, happiness seems to be illustrated best by their CEO – the right hand woman of William Bell, literally has a right hand of her own made in his image..or vision, rather. Technology, science…it all seems to go hand in hand with their view for a better future for mankind.

      I guess each of the MD ‘aspirations’ could be applied in a more tangible fashion – giving people the hope through the development of technology which saves and improves lives. Offering people empowerment, opportunity and stability in an unstable world. Providing unlimited possibilities to the infinite problems that suffer the world. I guess that is their theme – “What do we do, what don’t we do?”

      Well, that’s my take on it anyways :D

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  4. e says

    Be prepared. A rambling answer follows.

    To me the “unwilling” has little more to do than to acknowledge that the warrior is going to be conscripted rather than enlist. I don’t think the writers are referring to a general personality trait.

    That being said, I’m pretty sure that Peter is cortexiphanned. He demonstrated such in The Arrival, knowing things that Walter knew. Although this could be some remnant regarding a previous tanking the two of them, I’m leaning away from that since Walter would not have known at that time where he’d hide something in the future.

    Walter’s response of Peter having to adjust the way he thinks about knowledge hints otherwise, re: osmosis. Also, in Safe, Walter gave Peter the “You have no idea what you’re capable of” speech, a theme that has run throughout many episodes. Fortunately, in that case, Walter *was* wearing clothes.

    There have been other hints that Peter was doing things, particularly in the area of communication, throughout other episodes–but it’s up to the writers whether they want to build off these hints or whether they were dropped there for atmosphere.

    In Episode 6, we had the Nina/Peter talk. Nina spoke about Peter being able to conduct business with tribal interests normally resistant to outside contacts. In Episode 14, Peter seems able to translate the German title of ZFT without any references. In Episode 13, Peter pulls the White Horse Thai Pub out of the air. In Episode 3, Peter plays “Someone to Watch Over Me”, to which Walter reacts very intensely. All of these can mean something–or nothing. But as a thread, they all point to one thing: Peter knows a lot of things that he has no business knowing.

    Olivia is another story. Her magic light-quenching pulls her into a new situation, one where the obvious bad guys are trying to recruit her against her will into doing battle on the side of reality. And MD seems to be pulling her in another direction, possibly less bad but no less conflicted.

    We know the ZFT guys are bad guys because they willfully murder innocents all to serve their purpose. But if there are only two sides, there’s not a lot of choice in this war.

    MD is likely importing technology, controlling that import, building itself on the achievements of Multiverse-616(TM Marvel). This might explain Nina’s ongoing fascination with Olivia, who’s “special”. Although you’d think that Nina would have known about the second trial without having to look it up on her magic Windows CE platform with the awful sound effects.

    Speaking of MD, I think the whole thing with the hand and with the typewriter, are all announcements that William Bell is about to come on-scene. Who else does hand-repair for Nina?

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    • says

      To me the “unwilling” has little more to do than to acknowledge that the warrior is going to be conscripted rather than enlist. I don’t think the writers are referring to a general personality trait.

      That’s a fair point. I guess I was leaning more on Peter’s general “unwillingness” to do anything that’s not on his own terms. Even Olivia had to bend his arm to get him to join her task force.

      If there is a point where ZFT want Peter to subscribe to their cause, it will be interesting to see his reaction.

      In Episode 6, we had the Nina/Peter talk. Nina spoke about Peter being able to conduct business with tribal interests normally resistant to outside contacts. In Episode 14, Peter seems able to translate the German title of ZFT without any references. In Episode 13, Peter pulls the White Horse Thai Pub out of the air. In Episode 3, Peter plays “Someone to Watch Over Me”, to which Walter reacts very intensely. All of these can mean something–or nothing. But as a thread, they all point to one thing: Peter knows a lot of things that he has no business knowing.

      Good points. He’s almost like a hub of knowledge, so diverse is his range.

      We know the ZFT guys are bad guys because they willfully murder innocents all to serve their purpose. But if there are only two sides, there’s not a lot of choice in this war.

      That’s true, they are pretty indiscriminate. They were even willing to murder Olivia at one point.

      Perhaps there are more than two sides – if we count MD and ZFT being from the same world, but opposing beliefs? Of course, we could speculate a similar situation with the Multiversers.

      Interesting points all round, e.

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  5. says

    And don’t you think it’s a little coincidence that St. Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and the hotel with the lights on happens to be on Church St.?

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  6. blink says

    Something out of the topic here, but did anyone notice Massive Dynamic’s Nina Sharp’s hands? She mentioned her hand has been “acting up”.
    My theory is that she has been teleporting to the other “worlds” or wherever that alliance is, and had the same problem as Jones as he first teleported. Of course hers is in a smaller scale because of advancements in that technology from Walters invention. Another hint which made me think this was when Walter was talking to his assistant in the lab about the teleportation device, he said that “it doesn’t kill you.”
    What do you guys think?

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  7. blink says

    By the way, great theory about Peter turning off the lights… I didnt think about that. It does look like that the only time it started turning off was when you saw him walking in to the room.

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  8. O Ye Clairvoyant says

    Interesting concepts discussed thus far. However, i have to respectfully disagree with some of the premises set forth.

    As good ol Walter would say, I posit Olivia Dunham somehow interacted with those lights. Case and point, as the lights went off respectively, the camera switched focus to a ‘first person’ view emphasizing a sort of look-and-deactivate phenomena.

    The spinal tap operation(s) carried out by Jones was extensive enough to suggest Olivia was treated with the ca… drug, and we can deduce that certain stipulations set by the omniscient Dr, Jones, had been met by Ms Dunham. Lest not discount the idea of Dunham somewhat possessing suppressed mental abilities – which may be misconstrued for the constant flashbacks diagnosed by Walter as mere vestiges of sharing consciousness with Agent Scott.

    In a nutshell, Agent Dunham is far from normal. Lately, she’s been having pretty spot on “hunches” that appear to surface out of thin air without a trigger. She was targeted specifically by Jones – this implies he knows something about her capabilities that is yet to be revealed. Massive Dynamics(MD) have Agent Scott in a suspended state of animation, it is hard to infer if he is alive or dead. If sharing consciousness has it’s kickback – the occasional flashbacks of foreign memories, then, I posit some form of reverse memory extraction is being carried out by MD on Scott to retrieve(or already retrieve) intel on Dunham’s past and abilities.

    With that said, Peter is a different caliber. If a scientist with unorthodox modus operandi had a son, it isn’t outlandish to harbor such ideas as “superhuman perception, enhanced cognitive abilities, a nuclear powered immune system that nukes pathogens on contact – yet to catch Peter with sniffles. ”

    Then again, maybe not super human… after all, he fell for Walter’s hypnotic light switching apparatus.

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    • says

      As good ol Walter would say, I posit Olivia Dunham somehow interacted with those lights. Case and point, as the lights went off respectively, the camera switched focus to a ‘first person’ view emphasizing a sort of look-and-deactivate phenomena.

      Thanks for raising this point, O Ye Clairvoyant. I originally mentioned this in the post, but I took it out for one reason or another. I would agree with you on this, but I think that Peter being a “amplifier” could still explain the ‘tight camera focus’ that seemingly represented Olivia’s POV. My basic point is that Peter’s ‘energy’ boosted Olivia’s ability – though Olivia’s focus turned off the lights sequentially, it was Peter’s proximity/energy (call it what you want) which faciliatated her efforts.

      I could be wrong but I think it still works.

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  9. Horacio says

    Hi,
    Anyone note this?

    “Walter Bishop” > “William Bell”

    Both with same initials… (W.B) =O

    I think that Peter is a catalyst for Olivia and viceversa

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  10. says

    Yeah, it’s been speculated a lot.

    I tend to steer away from that connection, largely because I think it’s far too obvious.

    Furthermore, we know that Bell and Bishop are two seperate people, as recognised in the comic books and the show itself. The only way that I think Bell could be Bishop (or vice-versa) is if their consciousnesses were merged..shared at somepoint, thus leaving traces of the one another in the other peson. Could account for a lot of Walter’s memory lapses..but then so could St. Claire’s meds.

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  11. Horacio says

    Roco
    “Yeah, it’s been speculated a lot.”

    Oh, so too late =(

    “The only way that I think Bell could be Bishop (or vice-versa) is if their consciousnesses were merged..shared at somepoint, thus leaving traces of the one another in the other peson.”

    Yeah!! could be that.
    Also, Im curious why on every Bishop’s experiment he remember a kind of drink or food, this is a result for a concious share? =O

    P.S.: i dont read the comic book, same things happend as in the tv show?

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  12. says

    Don’t worry my friend, it’s never too late to dig in — all ideas, speculation and re-speculation are welcomed! :)

    Also, Im curious why on every Bishop’s experiment he remember a kind of drink or food, this is a result for a concious share? =O

    Yeah, it’s a strange quirk that’s for sure. I think that the answer to this could indeed reveal something about his past — in particular, this speculated consciousness swapping with William Bell (or whoever). Often Walter confuses his memories with other people — perhaps it’s the same with his cravings..?

    P.S.: i dont read the comic book, same things happend as in the tv show?

    Not quite — the comics focus on the earlier life of Walter Bishop and Dr. William Bell. So it’s more of a ‘prequel’ to the TV show. It provides some interesting backstory and gives insight into how Walter might have ended up as the person he is today (in the TV show). Each comic issue also comes with a “B” story that keeps readers guessing.

    :)

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  13. Kate =] says

    I think for the lights, Jones knew they would tinker with it. When it came to the actual building she had to have faith in herself and be courageous enough to actually stand up there and try to turn it off. Maybe if there were no bodies in the building it would blow up, but if there were bodies it wouldn’t because it would think its Olivia Dunham trying to turn it off.

    …. just an errant thought….

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  14. says

    I agree that Jones had an inkling that they would tinker with the test device. Although re: the actual bomb, I don’t think it had any conscious will, so to speak. I think that it was the real deal and would have gone off had Olivia (and/or Peter) not disabled it.

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  15. says

    Hmm, perhaps — it’s possible that Jones had such a contingency plan. Personally though, I don’t think that he’s the type of guy who would have any problem letting that bomb go off. Also, it wasn’t just the building and the people inside it — his main target seemed to be the surrounding area; as the bomb would have released that same orifice-sealing toxin that befell the newsstand guy and the FBI agent.

    So you could be right, but I think we have to take the scene at face value — i.e. the bomb would have gone off had Olivia/Peter not disabled it. Otherwise it takes away from Jones’ intentions, and the lengths he would go to in order to find “warriors”.

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  16. Keith says

    When ever Olivia has an encounter with John Scott Peter is never around. So I think it would be safe to say they are both canidates for warriors

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  17. says

    Hmm. That’s probably because, for the most part, John Scott has been in her memories, and not actually ‘there’ in the physical sense..

    But yeah, I’d agree that both Peter and Olivia are candidates. Heck, Peter could be one of these “denizens”..

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  18. Jake says

    these lights showed up again in the newest episode win the room with the lady who coudl make peopel catch in fire

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  19. Fringefan1991 says

    I think it is interesting to note that Peter’s ability to know any language does not extend to latin. Rewatching “Ghost Network” I noticed that Peter recognized the man was speaking latin, but it was Astrid who was able to translate it. Perhaps their is a connection after all Peter ‘died” and latin is a dead language?

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