Long-term readers of the blog or the forums will know that I’ve advocated the multiple reality/dimension theories since very early in the shows run. The “Ability” episode all but confirmed that multiple realities and inter-dimensional travel are some of the key elements of “Fringe”. Now it would seem that “Inner Child” further supports this claim. Not just with the discovery of a Lil’ Observer, but through some of the other hints that were seeded throughout the episode. In particular the focus falls on Peter Bishop.
It has been claimed by many that Peter is a clone of Walter. Personally, I’ve never supported this theory (certainly not after the first couple of episodes) — it seems to obvious..too easy. Instead of Peter being a clone of Walter, I posit that Peter is in fact a counterpart of Peter.
In order to understand what I mean, you might want to take a look at some of my previous theories on multiple realities in Fringe. Basically, I believe that there are many realities that exist in the world of the show — some of them are vastly different to our own, whilst some are very similar (and everything in between). The law of averages would suggest that there was not one “big bang”..but several. Likewise, the law of averages would suggest that God didn’t just create one reality..but several. Indeed, if you really want to take a leap with me, it could be said that the big bang and a benevolent creator both exist. If we have multiple realities, who’s to say that all of those realities were created by random happenings, whilst others were crafted by the hand of God? Some realities might even be a joint effort on behalf of chance and fate – science and faith coexisting throughout the Multiverse! But that’s another theory for another day. My basic point here is that our Peter has several ‘counterparts’ in other realities (or dimensions, if you prefer that term), as do most of the things in our reality, although obviously there will always be degrees of change.
I believe that Peter was very sick when he was a child. He had an illness (possibly hepea) that Walter was unable to cure. In his despair, Walter attempted to find a cure by reaching back through time (using the Diz-Re) to locate the doctor (Alfred Gross) who could save Peter. You may remember this account from “Safe”. I believe it to be true..to an extent. I would venture that Peter died rather than miraculously recovering, and that Walter actually reached through to a different dimension/reality were he found an alternate version of Peter. His heart heavy with grief, I believe that Walter brought this replacement Peter back with him to this reality.
This would mean that the Peter we see today is from another reality (world, Universe, dimension, call it what you want) — one that is very similar to our own, but with slight differences which meant that alter-Peter took some time adapting to his new environment — rather like The Child Observer from “Inner Child”. This may account for Walter’s so-called experimentation’s on Peter, and his concern for his sons health when he saw him for the first time in 17 years in the Pilot episode. Maybe he didn’t experiment on Peter as a child in the way that we think, perhaps tried to regulate young Peter’s adaptation process – tweaking him so that he could survive in this reality. Notice how Walter suggests that they give The Child Observer “an electric shock to jump start things” — my guess is that this could be a clue?
Peter was too young to realise that he was not of this world — hence his confusion..
The main clue dropped in this episode came when Peter showed The Child one of his old G.I. Joe toys — “Roadblock“, to be precise. He said that he remembered “the scar [on the toy] being on the other side”. I believe that in his original reality, this version of Peter did have a “Roadblock” G.I. Joe toy with the scar on the other side — as I mentioned above: Peter could be from one of the realities that have subtle differences from this reality. His other-worldly origins might also back-up my theory that Peter helped Olivia to disable to bomb in “Ability”. As I said back then, I believe that Peter also has a skill — maybe this episode alludes to the idea that Peter’s abilities are innate — not manufactured like Olivia and her Cortexiphan, but a natural ‘beacon-like’ ability.
That’s not to say that Peter is originally from the same reality as the Observers — rather, he is from ‘a’ different reality (there are many!), one that is more closely aligned to our own that the Observers — hence why Peter isn’t follically challenged, and why his skills are not as overt as the Observers. Peter is unaware of his origins, but I believe that this is where one of his major conflicts will arise in future seasons. That being said, there IS still the question of WHY the Observer saved Peter on that fateful night on the lake.
As it stands, this theory leaves several questions unanswered, like; how did Walter bring alter-Peter to this reality? Are there any permanent negative effects of Peter transferring from another reality over into this one? Is what Walter did actually no better than kidnapping a child (even if Walter kidnapped Peter from his own counterpart)? How different from our Walter is the Walter from this other reality? Where is this other reality located? Has anyone come looking for Peter with a view to taking him back home? I do hope to answer some of these questions once I have a bit more time. It’s not a perfect theory, but I believe that there ground work has no been laid down — hopefully the coming weeks will give me more fuel to solidify this theory.