OK, since most people seem to think that the Observer is the biggest Fringe mystery so far, how about an Observer theory?
I’ve been thinking back to his centric episode, the one that really introduced him to us — episode 1.04 “The Arrival“, and I think that there are some more clues that no-one seems to have really gone over in great detail. We all want to know why the Observer is watching every breath we take in the Fringeverse — perhaps the song that was playing in the diner as he scoffed down a raw meat roll with 11 jalapenos, on the side, can offer us some insight? That song is was “Crazy” by Willie Nelson, later covered by Patsy Cline.
The song describes the “state of bemusement at the singer’s own helpless love for the object of his affection”.
The “object of his affection”. That gets some bells ringing doesn’t it! Immediately I can think of THREE possible objects of the Observer’s affection, which might offer an alternative explanation to his presence in the show:
1. The Beacon (aka cylinder). Seeing as the beacon object arrived mere minutes after those Willie Nelson lyrics struck, it seems very likely that this is the object of the Observers affection..the thing that he loves..the object that has left him feeling so “lonely” and “blue” (oh yes, I’ll come to that later)?
But why would this object be so loved by the Observer and/or his people — how can we relate this to an object in ‘our’ history? One thought that crossed my mind is to compare the beacon to a Holy Grail of sorts — this could certainly help explain why Rogue was so eager to get his hands on it. The Holy Grail, for those who don’t know, can be described as the following:
According to Christian mythology, the Holy Grail was the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, said to possess miraculous powers. The connection of Joseph of Arimathea with the Grail legend dates from Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathie (late 12th century) in which Joseph receives the Grail from an apparition of Jesus and sends it with his followers to Great Britain; building upon this theme, later writers recounted how Joseph used the Grail to catch Christ’s blood while interring him and that in Britain he founded a line of guardians to keep it safe. The quest for the Holy Grail makes up an important segment of the Arthurian cycle, appearing first in works by Chrétien de Troyes. The legend may combine Christian lore with a Celtic myth of a cauldron endowed with special powers.
In this context, the Observer could be viewed as a “guardian” of this powerful object, much like those who sought to protect the Holy Grail in Christian mythology. And yet, the Observer could ‘not touch’ the cylinder himself, which could perhaps speak of it’s divinity, or it’s materiality in our reality compared to the Observer’s own (assuming he is from the other reality, of course).
Without getting too bogged down in possible religious connotations, what does seem right to me is that the Observer values the beacon highly — so much so that he supposedly saved Peter’s life in return for Walter keeping his promose to protect the beacon many years later. Clearly, the Observer knew that this would come to pass, since he predicts so many other things.
Another idea that popped into my head relates to the sarcastic description that Peter gave to Walter’s “friend”. In one highly charged scene he refers to the Observer as “pink, big fuzzy ears”. Whilst not being a perfect description, it reminded me of the film, Donnie Darko. A film that seems to fit the mould for at least some of what is happening in Fringe. Without going through every aspect (or spoiling too much for those who haven’t seen it!), it’s worth bearing in mind that the films deals with multiple Universes (the primary and the tangent), where the tangent Universe threatens to collapse into the primary Universe and thus destroy all existence. Intriguingly, the disturbance between realities is caused by a metal artifact – this artifact is a jet engine, which our beacon object shares more than a passing resemblance to.
In this context, the beacon could be an artifact from a reality ahead of our own (as many of us believe). An item of great power which allows paradoxes to happen between interconnected realities. Yup, you read that right. Maybe paradox is a good thing for some? Heck, maybe Olivia (or Peter) are “living receivers” of this beacon..it could tie into my idea about Peter providing the amplification needed for Olivia to turn out the lights and disable to bomb in “Ability”..
Or, maybe a beacon is just a beacon?
2. Another possibility that I’ve been mulling around, and I really like this one, is that the object of the Observer’s affection is actually Olivia. It’s something which I have speculated quite a bit here on FB and on the forums. If you look back through all of his ‘sightings‘, a good percentage of them feature him observing Olivia rather than a”pattern-event”. Now, we know that Olivia is pretty special, but perhaps it goes deeper than any Cortexiphan — and what could be deeper than LOVE? Nothing, I tells ya!
But I don’t think this is some fan-boy crush that he’s got going on — I think, and bear in mind this is mere speculation on my part — I think that maybe the Observer was in love with a ‘tangent’ version of Olivia from another reality (in one of the Multiverse universes referenced in ZFT). Perhaps this version of Olivia died, or vanished (who knows how the M-verse works, right?), and so the Observer is here (in part) to see if there is any connection with the ‘counterpart’ of his lost love.
Maybe I’m way off, but I’m allowed to be, it’s called crackpot theorizing But what interests me in relation to all of these possibilities, is that the song is effectively a very reflective and introspective love song..and yet we know that the Observer has dulled senses. Heck, maybe he’s “crazy” because he wants to feel again, maybe he’s tired of his reality, where one can’t even taste a rootbeer float without dumping a ton of chillies into the mix. I mean, what a sorry existence, and maybe this is why he’s here? Indeed, this is my next point:
3. Our Reality. We understand from the ZFT manuscript that certain boffins believe that our reality is under threat from another reality (hear the Twilight Zone music?), and that the visitations between these ‘worlds’ have negative effects which will result in an ‘us or them’ war. So, maybe the object of the Observer(s) affection is indeed our reality..not our planet per se, but our CONSCIOUSNESS - the thing that allows us to perceive reality in our dimension.
This would make sense to me, because it would give his mission (if that’s what it is) an importance that would tie in with some of the themes which have been hinted at over the course of the first 14 episodes.
Now for a slight deviation. I’ve offered possible connections to the Observer in relation to the song lyrics, but what about the year in which Nelson wrote the song — 1961. According to Fringeling‘s Fringe timeline, a rather special Fringie was born in 1961..that someone is David Robert Jones. Listen, I’m just stating the facts — It would be preposterous to think that there could be a connection between “Crazy”, the Observer and Mr. Jones. Or would it? After all, we know that Jones has been suffering from “unadvertised effects” of teleportation. Could he have teleported to the Observer’s reality? Possible or not, I’ll just leave that out there to hang like Jordan.
OK, hang-time over..what about the Observer’s attire — is that suit circa 1961 our reality? Hmm..
Back to the lyrics, they also mention “feeling blue”. As a long-time supporter of the blue light theories, it’s too good an opportunity to pass up. So, could this be a reference to the blue flashes that have appeared throughout the season? I’ve speculated that they are related to ‘observation’ and ‘changing reality’, but could they be linked to ‘emotion’? The Observer’s emotion at feeling so lonely and blue?
Or maybe there are no connections to be made? Perhaps one of the writers just likes Willie Nelson? Maybe, maybe, maybe. I guess this is why we love this stuff.