The green and red pattern color is one of the oldest, most intriguing mysteries of Fringe. They appeared as early as the pilot episode and have had fans guessing ever since. Their meaning is currently unknown, but their significance to the mythology of the show is not to be sniffed at. In this, our first Mysteries of Fringe post, we hope to get closer to understanding the mystery of the green and red pattern by examining their appearances within the show.
Follow us down the rabbit hole, and bring cake and coffee. Or better still, coffee cake.
The green-green-green-red color pattern has made both obvious and subtle thematic appearances throughout the history of the show. As fans of the underlying clues we know they have an overarching meaning, and the producers have also confirmed their importance. But what do they mean, exactly? This post will layout some of the commonalities of the green-green-green-red and will hopefully get us thinking about some of the things we think will lead us on the path to busting the mystery.
Let’s begin by taking a look at some of these appearances to see if we can spot a common theme:
1.01 The Pilot.
- The green-green-green-red pattern appeared by way of a dream on the Kayak belonging to Olivia’s uncle. This is an important link as we can reasonably assume that the green and red pattern has ties to Olivia’s family.
- Aside: Two other pieces of Fringe mythology also appear on the Kayak – the word ZENO and the Aleph symbol. The word ZENO may refer to the Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea and his set of paradoxes (perhaps as an allusion to the idea that motion, or time, in the world of the show, is an illusion). The Aleph was later seen being worn with pride by Intrepus leader, David Esterbrook – connecting him to the mythology and Olivia’s uncle.
1.04 The Arrival
- The green-green-green-red sequence also appeared on the hat of John Mosley – a speculated “rogue” Observer who did everything he could to get his hands on the Observers beacon.
- Using retro-fitted technology, Mosley was able to extract the location of the Beacon from Peter’s mind, even though Peter didn’t know where Walter had stashed it. Walter later explained that there are forms of communication that exist outside the scope of common means. Given that both Mosley and the Observers have ties to the green/red, and that his technology seemed less advanced than September’s organic form of mind reading, it’s possible that Mosley was a rogue Observer from a less advanced reality than the main Observers. Or, perhaps he was part of a break-away group who only have access to older Observer technology.
- Mosley also told Peter that it’s a shame he never met his grandfather, Robert Bishop – a Nazi pioneer working for the allies. Does this tie Robert to the green/red?
- The green and red also appears on the lower left corner of the Observer’s eyeglasses. I’m sure this is a form of (corporate) branding, but the pattern sequence has a larger significance.
THEME: MIND READING/CONTROL
1.08 The Equation
- The episode was centered around the green-green-green-red.
- Green/red lights were used by the villain to put people into a trance, making it seem like time had jumped, and in the case of Ben and Dashiell, distorting their reality in a bid to break the physical laws of nature and allow people to pass through solid matter. In simple terms, this seems like a nod to the confines of the system (reality) not existing quite as we perceive. Who needs Doors when you can walk through walls.
- It is inferred that green and red have specific effects on the human design. What kind of control are we plugged into?
THEME: DREAMS / ILLUSION / PERCEPTION
- The Observers used the green-green-green-red calling code to communicate with their hitman, Donald.
- Upon receiving the pattern he immediately knew that the Observers had a mission for him.
- Did seeing the pattern trigger Donald into action mode, or did he act on his own steam?
- The episode centered around the Observers ensuring continuity for pre-ordained outcomes. August, infected with love, just couldn’t allow fate to dictate his actions. Is the green-green-green-red connected to the course-correction, or the preservation, of realities and the actions within? What system governs cause and effect and who put the Observers in charge?
THEME: PERCEPTION / CONTROL / FATE / FREEWILL / LOVE
2.10 Grey Matters
- The leader of the shape-shifter, Thomas Newton, uses green and red fluid to help reconnect Walter’s old brain pieces containing his memories of how he built the Door to the other side.
Is it just me, or are these clues telling us something REALLY BIG? The seeds that have been planted so far – dreams, memories, mind control - all lean heavily on perception. This may sound crazy, and my perception might be in error, but I get the feeling that there’s another layer to this alternate universe concept – one which suggests that one, or both, of the realities in the show are technically not ‘real’. As we’ve been told, reality is subjective – but what if there’s a system which governs what the characters see, feel and think? What if such a system is linked to the green and the red?
Anyway, the purpose of this post isn’t to provide the answers – we don’t have enough information, just yet. But hopefully it can set us on the path to those answers, and if you know anything about mythology shows, you’ll know that the journey is everything.
Feel free to bookmark this post, we’ll be updating it (or adding sequels) as we go along. The idea is to gather as many ideas and theories – no matter how far out they may seem at this stage, in a bid to get a better hold on the green-green-green-red and interconnected themes. So feel free to share any thoughts that you may have, whenever you have them.
Perception Photo Credit: Alasis