Monday, November 26, 2012

Fringe Fries! 5 - 20 - 10 Street Smarts?





Fringe Fries, those tasty morsels, Easter eggs, clues and homages that make Fringe so great.



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As I've often noted before, Fringe gets its inspiration from a wide variety of science fiction sources especially from the movies.  I got a real "Gattaca" vibe when Peter perilously crossed the street to stop traffic.  In the movie Gattaca, Ethan Hawke's character, Vincent, has to cross a busy street even though he basically can't see what he is doing.  He's incredibly near sighted and he has to keep that a secret if he ever hopes to become an astronaut.  Like Vincent, Peter also has a secret and he'll do anything to pursue his goal.




Speaking of movie inspiration.  Fringe is coming dangerously close to copying themes from the Matrix movie.  

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One of the most memorable scenes from The Matrix is the "Lady in Red Scene".  The "Lady" stands out because she is the only one in red amongst a crowd of people dressed in drab grey or black similar to the scene pictured above from Fringe.  The Fringe lady in red actually sasses off at the Obsever which is not something I would advise.  We also got an "Oracle" sighting during Fringe.  The Oracle was a major figure in the Matrix movies and apparently *spoiler alert* Olivia will meet with an Oracle in an upcoming episode.  Don't too "Matrixy" Fringe!



 As long as we are discussing this street crossing scene, let's also take note of the red light behind Peter as he stood in traffic.  Back in the day when Peter and Olivia were experimenting with crossing over to the Red Universe, we saw a lot of  "No Crossing" lights whenever they appeared in traffic a subtle warning not to do what was clearly dangerous.  I can only think that the red light is a warning to Peter to stop his experiment with Observer tech.


Peter finally makes across the street only to stand near the address "1066".  



1066 in human history is considered to be particularly significant.  It was the year of the Norman invasion of Great Britain and is said to mark the end of the Dark Age and the beginning of the Middle Age.  William the Conquer met King Harald in the Battle of Hastings and defeated him there.  I've always believed that the Fringe writing team are keen students of history and the significance of this important year is not lost on them.  Despite my blog entry of "Squaring the Circle"on Fringe maybe the impossible isn't so improbable after all.  Maybe this is a turning point for the battle against the Observers.  I'd still like to see multiple endings spread across many timelines.  That would be a real mind blower.

What ever turns this season of Fringe takes it may be impossible to steer clear of trouble.  We can only hope our heroes can make it to the end of the road together.  Peter certinly has things mapped out.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Variable




I've been wracking my brain of late trying to find significance to the events in this season of Fringe.  Sometimes there seems like nothing much has happened and yet so much has gone on.  A case in point was the thoughts that went through my mind after the episode, "The Bullet That Saved The World".  I remember lying in bed the next morning and thinking, "Well, we didn't learn much from that episode.  None of the clues came together as to how the Observers were going to be defeated."  Disappointing.

Oh, wait, Etta Died.

That's literally what went through my head the very next morning and it pretty much characterizes how this season has progressed.  Bits of information teased out here and there punctuated by stunning events.  Take what happened in the last episode "5-20-10" we're no closer to solving the end game but Peter is switching to full on Observer!

I began to mentally backtrack through the episodes and thought of another stunning event and that was Peter inserting the Observer tech into the base of his brain stem during "An Origin Story".  As these events spun through my head I began to think, "what would happen if you took the tech back out, would Peter return to normal?"

Then it hit me.  The variable.  Peter realized in this past episode that he hadn't accounted for the variable and his original plan to blow up the Observer lieutenants and that is why it failed.  His precognition was faulty because something had changed that led to the unpredictable.  This could explain why the shipments from the future got through despite Walters plan to create a black hole in "An Origin Story".  Either the Observers changed the variables to ensure their success or Walter just didn't account for the variable.

So what other major variable may have happened that could change the face of the future?


How about the aforementioned removal of the Observer tech.  Does this explain what happened to September?  Is this what Walter was referring to when he said September's fate was unexpected?

Does this explain who Donald is???

We may now know why we never get to see Donald's face.  Because revealing that Michael Cerveris as the actor would certainly spoil a major plot point!

Well, It's my theory anyway.  It's a major curve ball and sure would be fun.  What do you all think?  Is this the variable that the Observers never considered and could change the face of the future?

Is Donald really September minus the Observer tech?





(Note to Peter, lose the tech and keep the hair.  Look what it did for September.)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fringe Fries! Walter's Looking Glass World.


Fringe Fries, those tasty morsels, Easter eggs, clues and homages that make Fringe so great.
Let me get to something I wanted to examine on Fringe that has been much discussed by the Fringe fandom this season.  Where exactly are they in the grand scheme of the Universe or Universes?  Many have noted that when they activate the "Closed Captioning" during Fringe that they see "Walternate" when Walter speaks and this leads them to believe that the setting is actually much diffrent than we assume it to be.  I offer this as evidence to the contrary.
It's the "Observers eye view" that Peter now possesses.  Note that is in surrealist high tech Matrix like blue.  I'm thinking that if we were really in the other Universe the Observers would see everything in red.  Right?  Our universe is blue shifted and resonates in a different frequency. We all know the Red universe is colored differently and sings to a different tune.  Not a lot to go on but a reasonable theory.


I actually paid a visit to the real 167 Cedar St. in Worcester Mass. where Walter's "Looking Glass"episode takes place.  Check out my amazing discovery at the Fringe Podcast blog.

Person of Interest visits Fringe!


Anybody else get the "Person of Interest" tie in during this last episode?  In, "POI" the "Machine" is always tracking people looking for the next victim or "number" to identify.  As we see in the above image it is remarkably similar to what we get in an actual "POI" episode noted in the below image.


Both shows exist in the "Bad Robot" & "JJ Abrams" universe.


I thought I spotted a lot of works by impressionist painters and other masters along the strange hallways of 167 Cedar St.  and I wondered if there was any meaning to them all.  Then Peter and Liv walked by the the inverted self portrait of Vincent van Gogh.  That sealed it for me.  Here's how Wikipedia defines Expressionism...

"Impressionist painting characteristics include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), common, ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles."
There's no doubt in my mind that the set designers of this Fringe episode wanted us to connect the "depictions of light" and it's "changing qualities" along with "movement" and "visual angles" that are so profound in Impressionism to this particular other worldly episode.


I have been wracking my brain over the transistor radio that Olivia holds in the above picture.  I know I've seen it elsewhere fairly recently but I can't figure out where.  Was it from the TV show Lost?  I bet one of you can tell me.  

The thing about the radio is that it doesn't seem to work and is stuck to one frequency as Olivia noted.  Here's a thought, what if the frequency doesn't lead them to a certain location but to a certain time?  That's right, Donald has moved the "Inner Child" in time so the Observers wouldn't find him.  This also reminds me of the 2000 film "Frequency" starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel.


In the movie, Quaid and Caviezel play father and son that communicate with each other over short wave radio and through time.  Maybe the Fringe team will be able to pick up a transmission from the past or future so they can locate the boy.  (Also, Caviezel now stars in "Person of Interest.")

Then again, since we were speaking of frequencies earlier and the Red Universe, maybe Donald secreted the boy in the other universe and Altlivia and Lincoln Lee are taking care of him.  That would be cool!  For those of you that miss Seth Gabel he will be in an episode of "Arrow" soon and he will be "Count Vertigo".  Check out that news at ScienceFiction.com

I think that's it for now.  Let me know your radio thoughts!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Squaring the Circle on Fringe


I've come to realize recently that I don't do reviews of Fringe.

Most of you readers of this blog would respond, "Duh, Dave, no kidding."

I'm more an examiner of the minutiae of Fringe and try to suss out the meaning of the metaphors, symbols and clues contained therein.  Maybe as a fan of Sherlock Holmes I fancy myself as a detective of sorts.  It doesn't hurt that I am a fan of science fiction.  It just resonates with me.  Science fiction often acts as a mirror on contemporary society  (mirrors Chris!) and perhaps that's what resonates with me.

I'd have to admit some of my observations turn out to be totally spurious.  I may be having fun with them but in the end nothing comes from it.  Soooo, that brings me to my latest "observation".  "Squaring the circle of Fringe."

Taken right from Wikipedia, "Squaring the Circle" is defined as....

 Squaring the circle is a problem proposed by ancient geometers. It is the challenge of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle by using only a finite number of steps with compass and straightedge. More abstractly and more precisely, it may be taken to ask whether specified axioms of Euclidean geometry concerning the existence of lines and circles entail the existence of such a square.

Cool right?!!

No?  OK, how about this, also taken from Wikipedia, "The expression "squaring the circle" is sometimes used as a metaphor for trying to do the impossible."

Now we're talking Fringe!  Remember the hashtag for this past episode was, "Nothing is impossible".  Oh really?  Tell that to Euclidean Geometry!

Ha, enough teasing you all, lets get to the point and the clue for which is contained in the above picture.  When I first watch a Fringe episode I deal in the emotionality of it all.  I get wrapped up in the characters and what happens to them.  Upon further review (NFL fans!) the little stuff comes out.  Take a look at the modern object d'art right behind Peter from the header photo.  Here, I'll blow it up for you.


There it is, a circle contained inside a square.  Does it mean anything in the larger sense of where Fringe is going this season?

Well, maybe yes.  

I think we can all agree that this season of Fringe has dealt with the themes of sacrifice and resistance.  Many have hypothesized that a major character will die this season and I'm thinking perhaps it will be two.

Think on the final scene between Walter and Peter in the last episode.  Basically, how do you anchor two people that are adrift from the world.  At least Walter has reached out. But I have a feeling that he may have approached the wrong person.

I'm a big believer in String Theory, so that means there are infinite possibilities for the future especially if you start manipulating it.  Do I detect some eye-rolling out there?  Get to the point Dave!

OK, OK!  What the Fringe team is trying to do is the impossible and the clue to which is right behind Peter.  Is all lost?  Not really.  How about this, Peter and Walter fix the future but it no longer contains Olivia and Etta.  Or.  Peter and Walter fix the future and Olivia is reunited with Etta but Peter and Walter have died.

Orrrr, 

Olivia saves the future but Peter, Walter and Etta live on without her. Crazy right?  All I am saying is prepare your selves for a bizarre ending to the Fringe franchiseRemember how pat last season ended when all were smiles?  That is until they got renewed and September paid his little visit to Walter, "They are coming."  I don't think it will be so pat this season.  We may even see multiple endings as we dab the tears from our eyes.  Possible futures played out before us and all of them are real.

Try squaring that circle and imagine the impossibilities






Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fringe Fries Special Edition: "Mirror, Mirror".


I received a tweet from "Lostweatherguy" Christopher Waits not long after the Fringe episode, "An Origin Story" played.  In it he discussed the proliferation of mirrors we saw in the episode.  I thought to myself, "Yes, mirrors, again!"  I was dismissive of the repeated imagery but then I thought more of it.

Even though the use of mirrors is an often used trope of Fringe, especially when the Alt-universe was in play, something seemed different this time and it was an itch I needed to scratch.  Bear with me here as I go on another flight of fancy that you are all used to seeing on these pages.


One of my favorite Star Trek episodes from the original series was "Mirror, Mirror".  In it, Captain Kirk found himself on the bridge of an Enterprise that was not his own.  In fact, it represented a universe that was wholly different from his own and a lot more brutal. 

How does this connect with Fringe?  Something changed.  Something, I thought, nearly imperceptible. 


I first felt the "itch" when I saw all the posters of Etta in the alley way where Olivia stood.  "That was fast" I thought to myself, "The Resistance doesn't waste any time."  Was it too fast?  Even Olivia seemed stunned by the counter iconography to the Observer posters. Earlier in the episode Peter said to Olivia, "I want everyone to know that Etta is responsible for the world being saved."

You got your wish Peter!  Will it change the world or has the world already changed!

Remember when the timeline changed in season four and many of us groaned about it.  The Fringe writing team took a few lumps for that.  So what if they changed the timeline again and this time they decided not to tell us.  Take that obsessive fandom!


I cite as my, admittingly, slim evidence the delivery of the CO2 machinery delivered from the future.  How could it be?  Peter and Olivia used the anti-matter in the wormhole of their own making to create a black hole in the Observer future to totally disrupt their evil machinations.  Why didn't it work???!!!

"You don't even know what you don't know."


It seemed the captured Observer was just taunting Peter.  But was he hinting at a larger truth?

When the "CO2" shipment suddenly appeared at the end of the alley (the one with no visible Etta posters at that point by the way) I was just as flabbergasted as Peter.  But taking into context what the captive Observer said I thought to myself (here we go) "Can the Observers modulate what timeline or time stream they exist in?"  At a flick of a switch, can the Observers manipulate the course of the future?  As a whole, maybe not.  But subtlety, maybe so.  Maybe an event like a catastrophic black hole can be changed as long as they catch it in an instant.  If you follow or subscribe to the String theory of quantum mechanics then a variable time stream is not only possible but probable.   This will also lead to subtle changes of the time stream into the past as well as the future.  The ripples go both ways.  The Observers may be willing to accept these changes as long as the larger picture stays the same.


Pictured above is the wormhole as created by the Observer device.  Do you recall where you may have seen this before?  You did if you ever watched the original Star Trek series!


One of the most preeminent Star Trek episodes ever put to Beta Max (kidding) was, "City On The Edge of Forever".  In the episode an illness crazed Dr. McCoy sprints into the past and the crew has to follow him in order to affect his rescue.  In doing so they change the time line and must go to desperate lengths to change it back. 

So case closed right?  Do you see what I mean?  Easy!

With time travel nothing is ever easy (See what happened to the Ponds in the last Dr. Who episode).  But I think I am getting my point across.  If you travel through time you've already altered its events.  The crew of the Enterprise did so during "City" and Kirk experienced the same in "Mirror, Mirror."  I submit to you that the Observers can either manipulate the time stream to suit their needs or are aware that invoking a subtle change along the way in order to save their own hides.  I'd like to think the have a "time manipulation device" to vary the time line but since they are experience time travelers a little trip here and there may fix the problem.

You may say to yourself, "Then why don't they affect this change to save their awful future?"  Like I said earlier.  Subtlety is the key.  They need our time-line, changing the future en masse may obliterate them altogether!

We may have gotten a hint of this when we learned in "The Recordist" that all the libraries have been destroyed.  Why do that?  What would we have to learn from studying our own past much as the Observers did? 

How about that subtle change!  If the Observers destroy our recorded past they erase that subtle clue that will lead to their demise!  So easy yet so diabolical.

"You don't even know what you don't know."


OK, I've rattled on enough about mirrors let's enter the fun house!

In the above image Peter is fixing a hole where the rain gets in and starts his mind to wandering.  (Sorry Beatles!)  Did you see his wedding ring hanging on a chain to the left.  The opposite of hope is despair and when Peter symbolically sepertated himself from Olivia here he fell into despair.


Olivia is the avatar of hope as we saw in the episode, "In Absentia".  She turned Etta from the dark side and convinced the Loyalist to help the resistance.  They saw that one thing in Olivia that had been missing before, "Hope for us all."  In the above picture we see the symbolic opposite of hope in the mirror, despair.


Speaking of Olivia's mirror, did you catch the "No.6" at its base?  Number Six was the moniker assigned to Patrick McGoohan's character in "The Prisoner" TV series.  A little foreshadowing no doubt as we were introduced to the Observer prisoner not much later in the episode.


As long as we are talking of foreshadowing check out the fluid colors for putting the Observer on ice.  Green, Yellow and Red!  Remember when everything was green, green and red Observer wise?  Is this a clue to`their demise?  Does the yellow stand for Cortexiphan?


Sticking with our prisoner Observer friend, there is the "empty chair" again.  A favorite device of mine and one often repeated in Fringe.  What does it represent this time?  I'm thinking it represents Olivia or rather her absence.  Without her as hope, Peter falls into despair.


Also present in Peter's house of horrors is an unhinged door.  Representative of Peter's state of mind?  I'd say so. 






Doors were used to great effect in the old Twilight Zone series.  They represent portals, escape avenues, dimensions and things not of sight and sound but of mind.  In "Little Girl Lost" a door to another dimension opened in the girls bedroom.  Not their best episode but the ideas were amazing.  A lesson not lost on the writers of Fringe.  (See below.)


One more item in Peter's House of Horrors.  There is a ladder leading to nowhere on the set also.  Jacob's Ladder perhaps?  A ladder that like Jacob dreamed of that led to Heaven and allowed him to escape from his brother Esau?  Surely Peter needs a way to escape the Hell he is living in.


Lastly!  (applause, applause) No mirror reference this time!  Do you see the name of the cafe behind the raggedy man here?  The "Brown Shirt Cafe"  Brown shirts were the names given to the henchmen of Hitler in the days preceding the Second World War.  Not long after this scene, the Brown Shirts of 2036 appear.  The Obsever's Loyalist toadies arrive on the scene.  Some clever foreshadowing there also.

Phew! I'm tired!  That's it for now and yes I saw the "Go ask Alice" graffiti behind Anil.  Who didn't see that!  If I write any more I won't be able to look myself in the mirror for days!

That's either a good thing or a bad thing.  Especially in Fringe.

(BTW, thanks Chris!)