Peter Theory – Child Of Two Worlds

Inner Child - Peter Theory

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.Β  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 thatΒ  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 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 timeΒ  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..

Inner Child - Peter Theory

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.


  1. e says

    Love the site design update. Love all the posts. Just wanted to add one thought: exactly how *many* Peters has Walter been through already? Might not just be the two. Especially between car accidents, childhood illnesses, etc. The universe may be experiencing a severe Peter shortage.

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    • says

      Thanks e — there’s still a few tweaks to be made to the site, hopefully I’ll get some time this weekend to do that.

      Good question regarding the possible Peters! It wouldn’t surprise me if Walter has been through several — there’s so much that he doesn’t remember, and a lot that he has intentionally locked away in his mind. It does seem strange that Peter has had so many illnesses/accidents. Then there’s the toys that ‘this’ Peter can’t remember having. Also, I’m pretty sure Walter whispered something to Peter along the lines of “You wont remember this Peter, but when you were a child..”, then the sound fades (as mentioned below by Cleopatra). So as you say, there are a lot of experiences that ‘this’ Peter can’t remember having. A lot of these missing memories have been put down to Walter confusing his own childhood with Peter’s, but the more I think about it, the more plausible the alter-Peter theory seems. Many of these events may have been experienced by different Peters. Perhaps Walter finally found one that could withstand our reality?

      You make an interesting point about the Universe possibly experiencing a Peter shortage — would there be any consequences of this? We have been told that there are negative consequences to the “visitations” by those from the other reality..

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      • e says

        If this theory is right, this is why parents prefer that their kids have goldfish as pets rather than puppies. Much less traumatic when bad things happen and you can buy another goldfish for under a buck at the local PetSmart. Also, Mommy Fish don’t cry when their kids are taken to another multiverse, er, aquarium.

        As for the quote, I had no problem hearing it although it was muffled. It went something along the lines of when you were a child, you didn’t talk much either. No idea if the alterverse spoke English or MirrorPeter just was having a hard time adapting. Imagine taking showers and always turning on the cold water by mistake.

        Please bring back number of comments to the main page!

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        • says


          Yeah that would seem to make sense. Walter relating young Peter to the child offers further evidence for this theory. Thanks for confirming, I still can’t make it out all that clearly from my recording but it’s good to know that is what he said.

          I wish they had shown us Peter’s reaction to what Walter said though..

          The comments are now in a tab-selector in the top right of the blog (in between the “popular” and “tags” options), but I’ve brought back the regular ‘recent comments’ list as well. Let me know if that’s not what you meant though πŸ˜€

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      • Fat Rabbit Kemz says

        Roco, I like the way you think. And you make sense! I agreed with the theory that Peter was a clone, possibly of his grandfather. But, now I’m thinking Peter is not the original Peter.

        Which could explain why he’s so restless. He’s not really from here.

        Walter’s disappointment in Peter – I wonder where it comes from.

        I think that story about the Thanksgiving drowning was contrived – I think Walter warped to get another Peter, nearly died in the process, and was saved by that Observer who also warps.

        I think that’s why he owes him that favor. I think the Observer saved Walter/Peter – there was NO mention of Walter’s wife being saved.

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  2. Cleopatra2727 says

    Nice article! Don’t know if I truly believe it, but it seems to be way better than the whole Peter-is-a-clone (seriously??)

    Anyhow, did anybody catch the scene in ‘Inner child’ when the ‘mini-observer’ is brought to the lab? I believe that Olivia stares at him and the sounds around them fades? I think I heard Walter say to Peter, just before the sound faded, that he didn’t use to talk for a long time either when he was a child….Maybe that’s a clue? Seems to be compatible with your theory Roco; as in that alter-Peter needed some time to get adjusted to this reality…

    Just a thought πŸ˜‰

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    • says

      Thanks for the corroboration Cleo — I tried isolating the sound but I still couldn’t make out exactly what Walter whispered to him. I hope you’re right — If Walter said Peter didn’t talk for a long time as a child, then it could possibly fit this theory, or at least give us some indication of Peter’s history.

      Thanks for the info!

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  3. Anna says

    I don’t think that Peter is a clone of Walter, you’re absolutely right, it would be too obvious. But what if he isn’t Walters son either but a younger version of Walter from the past of another dimension? Than there would be two Walters in one dimension and none in the other which might be the reason for the difference between these two worlds.
    Maybe I’m just trying too hard to combine both theories…

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    • says

      I like it Anna — Peter being an alternate version of Walter sit’s much better with me than the clone theory!

      It could also explain why there has been so much Walter/Peter symbolism — as illustrated in the top image of this post.

      Your idea is very interesting! It also ties back to what I said about ‘balance’ between the dimensions/realities. You’re right to raise the point — If there are two ‘Walter’s’ in ‘our’ reality, when in fact there should only be one in each, that must surely have ramifications. Your Walter idea could also give the writers another excuse for making Walter largely responsible for the “Pattern”, and the visitations (although I would hate for him to be THE root cause!).

      Some nice thoughts there..I’m going to think about this some more. Cheers.

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  4. Cleopatra2727 says


    Okay, so I was wrong. It happened over at the hospital, when Olivia got a call from Charlie, and Broyles is there too. Sorry! It’s around 12 min. 40 on my video (downloaded, without any commercials. What I can hear is that Walter is whispering to Peter:
    Walter: U won’t remember this Peter, but you didn’t talk much when you were a child…

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  5. jkyarr says

    I had a similar thought to your’s but it branched out differently. My thought about the multiverses is that while some may be very similar to our own, they’re not necessarily in a correlating point in time to our own. That is to say, Peter is in fact, a younger Walter Bishop from a different verse where some verse’s version of Walter (not necessarily our own) visited and then brought “Peter” to our verse and left him in the care of our Walter. It could have been our own Walter that made the trip across the verses and returned with “Peter” since there’s no need to overcomplicate things in viewer’s minds with more than 2 verses similar enough to contain 2 Walters… However you like… But the last point I’d make is we saw what could be interpreted as supporting evidence of this theory in the Inner Child episode. Who is to say that Lil’Observer isn’t actually an alternate universe’s Obeserver and our chronologies don’t match between verses? They never posited any theories about how old the child actually was, couldn’t he have been beamed across (like the guy that was in prision and got beamed to the field) from his verse into ours just 10 years ago local universal time? Don’t most people think that the adult observer is from a different verse? Couldn’t Lil’Observer be from a 3rd whose timeline differs from our own?

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    • e says

      That’s a really cool thought. I guess my position is that I don’t really care what the end-explanation turns out to be so long as it allows us to explore the relationship between the Bishops. I keep trying to get as invested in Olivia’s story but I just find myself alternatively bored and irritated by her sister and niece. I’d far better like to learn Charlie’s backstory, or Nina’s, or Broyle’s. Each of those actors brings something to the show that makes me want to go deeper into understanding their motivations.

      It also bothers me that just after such an emotionally intense episode as 14, that 15 dragged us backwards in development. No one recognized the observer. Olivia doesn’t even *clap-on-clap-off* any lights.

      All this is a long-winded way of saying that Peter-as-young-Walter offers great character potential and it’s a terrific idea. I’m just not sure that the writers and producers are invested in exploring that story beyond hints at this point. This is the season of Olivia. I just wish there were a stronger actress to help capture the audience’s interest there.

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      • says

        Fair points..

        I really hope we get to see the other characters in greater depth next season, especially the Bishop’s and Nina.

        They really missed a trick by not having at least one *clap-on-clap-off* moment πŸ˜€

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        • Dave says

          Did any of you make a relation between Peter remembering the scar on the other side of the GI Joe and the child writing SAM GILMORE upside down….

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          • says

            Hey Dave.

            My view is that it’s another clue towards multiple realities existing in the world of the show. In this particular instance, I believe that the scene suggests that Peter himself is originally from another reality — one where the toy’s scar IS on the other side..

            The upside down writing could just be how he intuit’s Olivia’s emotions — they must be pretty upside down and inside out after all that she has been through recently. Or perhaps it again represents the multiple reality angle.

            It’s worth bearing in mind that there were several ‘mirrored’ scenes in this episode (some great discussion on those here), and the upside down writing might be a part of that thematic.

            Another possibility is that he wasn’t writing ‘upside down’, but rather, that he was writing to benefit Olivia’s perspective — from Olivia’s angle the writing was the right side up on both occasions. This could allude to The Child’s high sense of empathy — helping Olivia even to the point of considering her perspective.

            Just a few ideas there.

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    • says

      I agree – the different realities are probably not exactly at the same point in time as our own — it would make sense for even the closest of realities to be either slightly ahead or slightly behind our reality.

      It’s not just relative time either, but other factors, such as: environmental conditions, internal influences, the political landscape, and even the spiritual leaning (etc) of these other realities that might influence the differences between the verses’.

      A possible example of this is the Observer and Rogue — both had similar technologies, but the Observer’s was more advanced. Both were interested in the cylinder, and both had the ‘green, green, green, red’ color sequence somewhere on their person (the Observer on his binoculars, and Rogue on his skull cap). It could be argued that they were different people from similar realities, or the same person from different realities (counterparts). The possibilities are fascinating! πŸ˜€

      As you say, we could have a similar situation with Peter and the Lil’ Observer.

      According to Broyles, the building had been sealed off for 70 years — we could speculate that 70 years to ‘us’ is just a few days to Lil’ Observer. I guess relativity will be a big part of time approximations across the realities.

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  6. Elliot says

    Yes, the Peter as clone of Walter theory has always seemed half-baked. One thing; those toys Peter says aren’t his—aren’t–wherever he’s from. They are too old to have been his; that car, and football set–are from the late 50’s/early 60’s. Same with a lot of the other things in that box.

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    • says

      Good catch Elliot — I had forgotten about the production date of the other toys.

      Maybe some of them are Walter’s toys, or, if this theory if correct, perhaps this is another indication of the reality where alter-Peter is from having different relative eras to ours? Our 1970/80’s might, in some respects, be their 1950/60’s.

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  7. Elliot says

    What I want to know is, where is Peter’s mother? Because she sure could shed some light on all this–whether or not he is a duplicate/changeling/etc. or simply a ptsd’d kid. Walter’s anger at her, and telling Peter not to be like her, drove Peter away in The Arrival. Any hints on when we will meet her?

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  8. Undead Dungeon Master says

    I find your theory very interesting.

    I personally think Walter Bishop and William Bell are the same person, from different dimensions.

    Here’s what I think: Walter1 lost his son, Peter1, and used the Dis-Re to steal Peter2. Walter2 noticed this, and used his own version of the Dis-Re to follow Peter2 to Walter1’s world.

    Walter2 comes from a slightly more advanced world, and he agreed to let Walter1 have Peter2 in exchange for Walter1’s help in establishing himself in this world. He went on to create Massive Dynamic taking advantage of his ahead of the curve knowledge.

    But Walter1 came to realize that Walter2, now “William Bell,” was ‘evil’ and created ZFT to stop him. So William Bell had his mind scrambled and tossed him in the loony bin — not being able to bring himself to kill his own counterpart.

    This is why we haven’t seen Bell yet: when we do, he’ll look just like Walter.

    Or maybe it’s all epileptic trees.

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  9. says

    Thanks for your thoughts UDM.

    Personally I don’t think that Walter and William are the same people from different dimensions..although it’s possible — the ‘from different dimensions’ part is what gives your theory possibility, IMO. It kind of taps into the counterparts theory that I mention above, and takes it in another direction. That being, counterparts don’t ‘have’ to resemble on another (imo)

    Ultimately though, I’m not sure I can buy the idea that Walter and William are the same people from different worlds, and that they’ve known this all along. I think there’s too much to suggest that they are different people (i.e not counterparts from different worlds), and that any fusion that they might have is instead the result of merged memories.

    That said, keep the ideas coming..only the creators know the answers at this point.

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  10. M says

    I just wanted to drop a comment saying how much I appreciate your thoughts, Rocco. I just found this blog after watching the latest episode (19) and I am intensely intrigued by your speculations and theories. I’m trying to get through all of them – and maybe then I’ll have some comments of my own!

    I am pretty sure that William Bell didn’t create ZFT, Walter did. Have you addressed this yet? Those have been my speculations from the beginning – especially since in the latest episode Walter found the original manuscript hidden in his OWN records.

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    • says

      Many thanks M, I appreciate it :-)

      I posted some of my thoughts on the ZFT author here and here. Although it appears I am incorrect with my Robert Bishop idea, seeing as in 1.19 Walter suggesed that Belly did indeed pen the manuscript. That said, Walter’s memory is still fuzzy..he still can’t seem to come to a conclusive answer to whether or not he helped Belly with his Cortexiphan experiments, so who knows..perhaps there’s more to the ZFT origins yet! πŸ˜‰

      Looking forward to reading any thoughts that you have — there’s sure to be plently to speculate with the finale fast approaching.

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  11. TsohG says

    Why can’t Peter be the Peter from the observers reality? I know he doesnt have a hair growth problem like the observers…. but mabye this is the result of the experiments walter performed on peter as a child. Mabye when the observer race cross over into our reality they slowly begin to physically adjust over prolonged exposure to our enviroment(ie.sun). This has already been seen via lil observer when he gains eye color. So like you stated Walters experiments on Peter could have been an accelerated adaptation process. It’s a bit out there but if you think about it, the observer reality could be the slightly alternate reality. We have sun ,they dont mabye due to war caused by there pursuit of technological advances which caused a nuclear winter effect. This would help explain why they are pale, blue eyed, bald, and how they can survive without food/water for prolonged periods(lil’observer). So i think Peter died of an illness while a young child. Walter distraught by grief over his dead son for which he couldn’t save, decides to use the experimental transporter he and William Bell had failed to get working. Walter attempts to use the transporter to go back in time and find Peter before the illness surfaced to bring him back. But instead of going back in time Walter crossed over to observer reality. I think once here Walter easily locates Peter, remember there reality is just slightly different from ours with the exception of the sun and the lightsource in this reality is supplied by the blue lights seen frequently this season. So lil bald peter is at home and taken by Walter. Walter and lil bald peter make it back to our reality. However the transporter malfunctions and drops the two into a lake almost at dawn . They were then rescued by the observer seen throughout this season, who had followed them as they left the observer reality. So Walter is indebted to the observer and he has Peter back…well kinda thats where the experiments come in. But why did the observer follow and who is he? While i’d say this particular observer is law enforcement in his reality, and followed Walter because he wasn’t bald and was taking a lil observer through a molecular transporter. The observer saves the child for obvious reasons, but Walter was to be saved only to be taken into custody….but then the sun started to rise. The observer had never seen the sun in his lifetime it was more of folklore to him. The observer allows Walter to keep lil bald peter, but informs Walter that his reality may be no more if it is observed to be suitable replacement for his world which has been in darkness for decades. This is explains the probe in “arrival” it could be a soil sampler, and all the observing So the observer leaves Walter with Peter and returns home with news of a possible new planet. Walter begins to write ZFT and starts going a lil crazy more then likely caused by molecular transition between realitys…..I mean it’s possible ain’t it

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  12. says

    Hey, Tsoh G

    Good point, although I’m not saying that Peter can’t be from the same reality as the Observers – indeed, I made a point of saying that his seeming connection to the Observer could indicate that he is from The Observers reality:

    “That being said, there IS still the question of WHY the Observer saved Peter on that fateful night on the lake.”

    I can see it going either way though – it’s difficult to say whether it’s the ‘same’ as the Observer, or from another reality. But if pushed to guess, I would say that he is from the same world as the Observer, though I’d still like to be wary not to assume that there are only two realities involved in this thing (I think more will be revealed over time). That said, I could be totally wrong, Peter might just be a clone, though I hope not! πŸ˜€

    You’re of course right, however, to point out that young Peter may have been folically challenged when he was younger, with adaptation allowing him to acclimatize to his new reality.

    I agree with some aspects of what you go on to speculate, although I would say that the cylinder is more than ‘soil sampler’ – the frequency of the thing, and the near perfect dimensions suggest that it’s something more than a soil collector. Indeed, we could be in danger of over-thinking it’s purpose — it was called a “beacon” in the episode..maybe that’s exactly what it is?

    Re: ZFT, whilst I’m still clinging to the hope that there is more to the ZFT manifesto author than we’ve been led to believe, but it does appear that William wrote it and not Walter.

    That said, you’ve made some interesting suggestions. I’m not sure I can agree with some of it, but that is part of the fun — whittling down the possibilities until the truth stares at us undeniably in the face and whispers..”you found me” :)

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  13. Robert says

    I agree with the theory of alternate realitys. But I see it more as a time thing. For example ,you were here 60 seconds ago, as you are here now. But if you went back that 60 seconds, anything, literally anything could (and does) happen to change events leading up to where you are now. Did I step out in front of that bus a few seconds ago? Yes and no. These changes are the alternate realities and spread out like the limbs on a tree (or the map from last night’s episode. Someone able to travel time could wreak havoc on all types of realitys. So did Walter invent the window closer device to keep himself from coming over and stealing Peter back?

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    • says

      Nice thought. I agree, there’s definitely some fine lines that the writers are playing with. We’ve seen several degrees of the alternate reality theme this season, the one area they haven’t really touched on is alternate realities in relation to time (although Walter did mention it briefly in “Safe” and”Ability”, I believe).

      What you describe is similar to what I think the Observer can do, since he knows so much of what is going to happen..or what ‘needs’ to happen, before the event itself.

      As for Walter, he quite possibly invented the patch to prevent his counterpart coming over and taking Peter back. Although perhaps he invented it to prevent himself from becoming tempted to use it again? I guess there are several possible reasons that would all fit.

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  14. Fringefreak says

    Has anyone thought that sick Peter(Original) was placed in the care of the alternate reality Walter, and Peter we know was given by alternate Walter. Though Walter in this reality could not cure Peter, it stands to reason another reality Walter could, hence the disconnect in the relationship. Walter can’t truly have affection for Peter, because his real son is in another dimension,could this be the something he’s left behind?

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  15. says

    Interesting – it’s possible that there was a “son swap”, of sorts. But for what reason, I wonder?

    I’ve also touched on this area in this post, particulary in relation to Walter’s loss and the “disconnect” you mention.

    I do believe it’s possible that original Peter is actually alive (or, rather ‘not dead’, since there might be another ‘state’ involved here). He could be with alterverse Walter, but there would have to be a convincing reason for the Peter exchange..

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  16. Rick Terry says

    Wow Roco Reading this theory 2 years later make me wonder if you had a time travel device that let you see Fringe before it aired! LOL!!!

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