Peter Bishop & the Memory Box

Television gets its inspiration from a variety of sources.  Sometimes TV takes it ideas and rehashes them and tries to spin them in a new direction when its really the same old thing we've seen before.  When I saw Walter Bishop open up the Memory Box from his deceased son Peter I thought to myself, "We've seen this before, it supposed to evoke thoughts of Pandora's Box."  The imagery of Pandora's box speaks to Walters rashness in crossing over to the other dimension and unleashing a torrent of ills that now plague each universe.  Peter's other connection to Pandora's box was his speech to Altlivia still in the disguise of Olivia when he tells her in the season three episode, "6955 kHz",

"There are billions of innocent people over there, just like here... people with jobs, families, lives. I got to believe there's another way. And whatever my part in all of this is... I got to believe there's another way. There's always hope, right?"

According to the myth of Pandora's box when the box was opened all the evils it contained were spread throughout the world and in her haste to close the box Pandora trapped the last item which was hope.  And as Peter observed, there's always hope.
So when I saw the Memory Box and thought of the Greek myth and how it was related to Fringe I was dismissive of the whole scene.  "Recycled!" I exclaimed," we've seen this before".  But then Walter held a seashell to his ear.  He listened to the false echo of the surf and it evoked cherished memories of a seaside vacation shared with his lost son.

It wasn't until I thought about the seashell that I realized there might be something more to this scene.  The seashell as many Fringe fans may recall is one of instances in  nature where we see the golden spiral occurs organically.  The spiral itself is famous for its connection to the  Fibonacci Sequence that Walter often refers to.  Below is an illustration of a shells appearance and spiral itself as represented in a Fringe glyph.

All these thoughts came together when I viewed one of the teasers for the next episode of Fringe (And Those We've Left Behind) and Walter draws a spiral to show a pattern of events to the Fringe team it appears around the 28 second mark.


I've tried to capture the spiral in a screen grab to better examine it.

So lesson learned my friends, never be dismissive of anything you see on Fringe.  The truth is out there and sometimes its hidden in a memory box, held up to a grieving father's ear or drawn on a crime scene map.


  1. Ah nice catch Dave!

    The show just layers in so many ideas. It is amazing.

  2. Fascinating! The Golden Ratio has appeared several times in Fringe, if I'm not mistaken... particularly in season one. And, in my mind, the Golden Ration, Divine Rectangle, fractal geometry... they all seem related. (I'm a math dropout/flunkie so forgive my lack of decent mathematical knowledge).

    As for the memory box, although a box like that is quite common, in Walter's hands one can be practically guaranteed it means something. When he held that shell up to his ear, I immediately thought the same thing - geometry.

    And how can one forget The Pandorica, Matt Smith's other time machine... :-)

  3. Nice catch Dave! Those spirals keep popping up, some obvious like the promo map and some much more subtle like the shell. Does the presence of Peter disrupt the Golden Ratio or restore it?

    Interesting that Walter is listening to echos in a seashell here. Back in 3.2 "The Box" a piece of the machine hidden inside a box was emitting deadly sound waves. (This was one of the more on the nose references to Pandora's box that the show has used.)

    I must say Walter rolling Peter's coin over his fingers in that scene just wrecked me, so bittersweet.

    Also, as a Lost fan that lunchbox full of mementos brought to mind Kate and Tom's time capsule that held the little plane :) -duckyislost


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