Fringe: The Boy Must Live?

I must say I am really torn over the Christian allegory from the last episode of Fringe, "The Boy Must Live".  You may ask, "What Christian allegory Dave?"  My answer would be, any episode that introduces "White Tulip" into the conversation has a Christian allegory.

As most Fringe-o-philes will tell you the white tulip is supposedly a symbol of absolution from God.  In this past episode September reintroduces the concept of God's forgiveness and tells Walter how important it was to him in a previous time stream.  By the way, I'm all for blurring the lines between the two time streams.  It's a cheat yes, but I've been doing it myself even before Walter was made aware of his alternate time line self.  It just makes sense and gives the entire Fringe story more emotional heft.  We grew up with the first three years of Fringe with original recipe Walter and season four was just a dalliance as far as I am concerned.

So how am I torn over the resolution of Fringe and this allegory I speak of?  I think I can reconcile there will be some sacrifice introduced.  September clearly spelled that out for Walter.  Now that Walter is aware of his previous self the concept of absolution is even more important to him now more than ever.  His sacrifice will save the world if you believe what September has told him.

But I don't.  I don't believe September.

When September (or Donald if you must) told Walter of the plan he revealed that the key to it was to send Michael into the future.  I "tweeted" that night that I was surprised that September was so willing to give up his son and subject him to such a great a risk.  Clearly September possesses emotion now and to so blithely send his son into the unknown seemed strange to me.

September went on to explain how Michael was conceived.  Basically, he was constructed from September's genetic material and September knew him as his son.  With women no longer needed in the future we can only conclude one thing if this is indeed a Christian allegory.

It was a virgin birth.

How is that for a twist on the classical tale of the immaculate conception?  A child born to a man.

So why did Olivia clearly say or at least introduce the concept of the mother and child as they sought to work their way through the checkpoints?  I'm a firm believer that nothing is done by accident on Fringe.  I've been waiting for Joel Wyman to explain the odd look on Olivia's face when she told Peter she was pregnant at the end of season four.  I think we all caught it and when Wyman was asked about it he flat out said it would be explained.

Anyone who has read this blog know that I have long thought that Olivia was the mother of twins and that Etta was one and the boy, whom we now know as Michael, was the other (See my Bullet Points theory.)  September did say that that Michael was hidden in Time to protect him.  I thought he was hidden in the past for Olivia to find in the episode, "The Inner Child".  I assumed that Olivia had actually given birth to twins but I am now thinking that one of the twins was taken from her very early in gestation and then given birth to in the Observer lab of the future.

So which Christian allegory do we have?  The virgin birth or the one where God sacrifices his only son to save the world?  I guess it could be or should be both!  If your head is spinning a little, rest assured so is mine.

I can't quite put my finger on it but I don't think September is telling Walter the whole truth.  It must have something to do with the White Tulip and Walter's redemption.  Here, I think September is baiting Walter to act in a certain way in order for September's ultimate plan to work.  September knows the pain of fatherhood.  Why would he break up Peter and Walter now?   I'm telling you, it is a set up.  September could have easily erased Peter from the season four time line and he even had a device to do so yet he chose not to.

September is going to sacrifice himself.  (Another twist on the allegory.)  I think Michael will survive but he must confront Windmark in order to distract him in order for September's plan to work.

Perhaps we have been set up all along also.  We've always assumed Walter needed redemption for all his mad acts, but ask yourselves this, whose fault was this all along and set the events into motion?

It was September.

You know, I'm glad we've had this little chat.  I've worked out quite a few things talking to you people.  We've covered ground over the "virgin birth" and we've found a way around it by introducing theoretical role of Olivia in it.  We've dealt with the concept of sacrifice where an seemingly omnipotent being is willing to save the world by sacrificing his son.  (No I don't think September is God but I think you understand his role here.)  We've even solved the concept of God's absolution.  Take the following quote for example,

Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

Hasn't Walter already done that?  I say yes.  Has September?  Consider this quote,

Daniel 9.9, "The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him."

September was an Observer and as an Observer he was complicit in the remaking of man as an genetic anomaly something that was not part of God's plan that started with Adam and Eve.  The apple that the Observers plucked from the tree of knowledge was indeed a temptation that they were better off resisting and this "rebellion" against God must be righted.  I think in this September will sacrifice himself to save us all and absolution will be his.

I guess this explains the apple and the twin fetuses glyph also.

Well, it is late and I wanted to tap this out to clear my head.  I'm going to revisit this as the days draw nearer to the conclusion of Fringe.  There may be some holes here and with your help we can attempt to close them and square this circle together.


  1. Wow Dave ... i thought i was the only one who was doubting September / Donald. I just couldnt understand why he would send his son forward in time so willingly. Is he just sending Michael ....or is someone else supposed to be there with him? Im a little lost with his explaination. I feel there is more to the story. I mean .... Michael and he would have had to communicate with each other when they touched hands. Im assuming a plan passed between the 2 of them. We were just not privy to it. Not privy to it for a reason.

    And i am also with you when you say that September / Donald will be the one that sacrifices himself. In the ep Peter ...August says to September "you will have an opportunity to fix this". Maybe this is what he was referring to. With his interference he created "a new set of probabilities". Sacrificing himself will restore "balance".

    Thats all i can write for now. My head hurts from overthinking the outcome of this awesome series. I will ponder some more and come back soon.

    1. Hi Lyn, You're not alone my friend. Sending Michael off by himself and into the future seemed mighty strange to me. Has September learned nothing from humanity and love? We can only hope that the touch between September and Michael was to re-affirm to keep Walter out of the loop and proceed as they had planned in secret.

      I'm glad you brought up August, that was a nice reference and I hope it comes into play.

      Walter always reminded me of the Cowardly Lion from Oz. As the Lion always possessed the courage he needed, he just needed the confidence, Walter has always been forgiven he just needs to accept it. I think he'll find he never lost his White Tulip.

      Thanks Lyn, come back soon!

  2. Dave,
    All I can say is I think you and Lyn are correct. The writers will definitely have major surprises in store for us, and you may well have ferreted one of them out regarding September. I always thought August's saying September would "have an opportunity to fix this" was referring to the machine allowing the bridge, but actually what Lyn says above makes more sense.

    The twins in the apple glyph- I really hope they do mean something.

    So many scenarios the show can go with in the end it seems, but I like yours.


    1. Hi Chris, I know, there are so many scenarios to choose from I don't think I've even kept track of all of my own ideas. Wouldn't that be cool if the Apple glyph turns out to be something significant? We'll find out soon!

      Thanks Chris!

  3. Hi Dave,

    Wow, bringing the mind-bending theories right to the end. Nice! I think you're right about Donald not telling Walter the truth about the plan. There must be a reason why Michael didn't restore those memories for Walter. It must be something Walter would try to prevent if he know the truth. Perhaps part of the plan was for his memories of it to be wiped for fear that he wouldn't be able to follow through if he knew. I'm beyond burning brain cells to figure it out. At this point I'm content to watch it play out. I feel kind of icky about Sept. borrowing Olivia's egg and/or womb though. Even if it would explain her connection to Michael.

    Excited and sad for the finale - Lynne

    PS. on your Fringe podcast fate post. Knowing the odds does not equal knowing fate. Life always finds a way, and so did this show :)

    1. Sorry Lynne, did I "ick" you out? I just had to throw a little weird science in there. Maybe it was September's solution for introducing some humanity into Michael via his mother. A little Cortexiphan induced psychic empathy from Mom wouldn't hurt either!

      You succinctly put what I have been circling around when you spoke of Michael not giving Walter the entire plan for fear of him not being able to carry it out. Also, by duping Walter September spares him. I was just thinking of "The Recordist" episode today and the father used similar subterfuge to carry out his plan and spare his son along with the others.

      Keep the Kleenex handy and get your Patriots gear ready!

      Thanks and good to hear from you!

    2. Oh, wait, did you see the geodesic dome like structure that Windmark was looking through when he gazed out on future New York? More dome love!

    3. Dave,
      Yes! I can't believe I forgot to mention the dome! I was cheering for you!!!! Already clutching the kleenex, less than 12 hours to go now.....

    4. My nerves. Maybe I should build a little dome in front of the TV tonight and peek through it when the action gets too heavy.

  4. When Walter said to September/Donald: "he is your son", September's answer wasn't REALLY an answer. He barely nodded. I have to toss my ice cubes in with you Dave, you may well be right. I'm not sure about the twins, but... but... Bolivia's baby - boy or girl, I can't remember? Was it not a boy?

    Anyway, I'm not at all surprised of the Christian allegory. That's fine, but I find it somewhat tiresome that it usually comes down to that. But oh well. I still have my brick in one hand and tissue box in the other for Friday - if they all end up like Lost, the TV is toast. (lol)

    I've a feeling hankies will be most likely the route. I'm wondering if Peter is the one who will end up sacrificing himself...

    1. "Toss your ice cubes in" does that mean we're having a drink together? Sweet! (I'm kind of a Scotch guy myself.) Nice catch with the inscrutable reaction from September about Michael. That only led to more of my consternation with September's and Micheal's Father/Son dynamic. Something just isn't totally right.

      Yes, Bolivia had a boy. Are you saying Henry figures in on this somehow? How? Is it just the Apple glyph thing?

      I haven't thought of the brick option, We just got a new TV so I wouldn't dare. But if I hear a crash from the "Great White North" I'll know you were not happy. They wouldn't do that to us would they?

      No worries, Peter, Walter and Olivia will be "Singing in the Rain" together by the end. Cheers!

    2. Haha... Yes, any loud noises from the Great White North might well mean I'll have to get a new job to pay for a new tv. :-D No, I am pretty sure the tissue box will be more useful.

      I'm not thinking Henry, but Peter. Bolivia and Peter did do the Willy Wonka while she was in our universe, then she had the boy in the other universe with the lovely Lincoln Lee. I realize that universe is (I think anyway) defunct now, but maybe September recovered him? I don't know. It's just that nothing was ever really resolved with that, that I remember. (I'm old so I forget stuff)

    3. OMG "do the Willy Wonka" cracked me up, I'm totally borrowing that one Ingrid! :)

  5. Dave,

    Happy mid-week! Another great read and theories! I also very much enjoy reading everyone's comments here. I wondered too in my The Fringe Podcast Feedback and Tumblr post (tho I am much more convoluted in my posts) whether or not September actually interrupted Walternate not because it was an important event; yet because it the the exact time September needed to step in to ensure his own son's survival. Perhaps EVERYTHING that transpired September did not foresee (as we have heard last episode when Windmark was turned down to going back to another time, that it was because they did not know all the issues on how time will play out with that time).

    Now I"m not sure about he whole twins thing. That we will just see I guess. I do now recall that JH Wyman did say that he'd explain Olivia's expression/hesitation when she mentioned she was pregnant; however, I presumed the explanation we got was in The Recordist with Peter/Olivia at the van and Olivia talking about she didn't feel her purpose was to be a mother (or something like that - can't recall that conversation). So, I figured we were done with it. You could be right though as you have been on point on many other items. It will be interesting to see just how it all plays out. Also admittedly, I did find your thoughts about the boy Michael and Olivia jumping to mother/son talk and portrayal to escape. This would also explain (to me more) why September/Donald so willing left his son with our Fringe team. If he truly feels somewhat what it's like to be a father, then he would not simply leave Michael with them as Michael is vital to the plan. I figure there is more to it. It would be unlike Fringe to mention such and not give us a twisted answer; however, I do think they have a LOT to accomplish and only the two hour finale to do it in. Maybe this will be one of those things we will be left to "imagine" (as JH Wyman mentioned) once Fringe is gone.

    I caught some of the Christian references also, although I don't go as far into reading it into the episode as you have here. I can certainly see this more now. I also agree with you that September/Donald will make the ultimate sacrifice. I actually would not be surprised if Michael getting off that train was not something September/Donald had not already foreseen during all his Observer time, timeline travels. It would make sense. Perhaps THIS is part of September/Donald's plan.

    I sure hope I can keep in touch with you and my new Fringe friends. Perhaps we will find something else to discuss and comment about. I keep telling myself that Fringe is "just a tv show;" yet heck, it really has become more to me. I will surely miss it and all those wonderful characters. I will miss these commentaries, insights and blogs. I will miss all the discussion and debates. One more time is on the horizon though.... Thanks for reading!

    1. Great thought Kristin, I like your opening paragraph. The Observers were such great odds makers that I don't doubt September had a few calculations of his own. Too bad there was so much to clean up for it afterwards.

      Eh, you are probably right about Olivia's reaction to being pregnant as a case of the jitters. But how pedestrian Mr Wyman! How mundane! This is the woman that traveled between dimensions and she has cold feet about being pregnant? C'mon, she's in love with Peter she should be overjoyed. Let's not forget this announcement took place as the season was coming to a close. You call jitters a cliff hanger Joel Wyman? Nooo!

      OK, I'm done with my rant. Sorry Kristin, nothing directed towards you, just Wyman. Ingrid said if this show ends like Lost then she has a brick ready. Jitters would be brick worthy.

      Oh, I think Michael getting off the train was part of the plan all right. He's there to confound Windmark. (Well, I hope so anyway!)

      I'm getting a little melancholy about the end also. I'm sure we will find a way to keep in touch. I'm telling you watch Falling Skies! It's fun plus I blog on it. If not I have two more blogs in the works. (Naturally.)

      Thanks Kristin!

    2. Dave,

      Thanks for your comments. I will definitely have to check out Falling Skies at some point. Interested though as to the blogs you have on the horizon.

      Just a note, the pregnancy at the end of Season 4 - at that time if I recall, they didn't know if they were renewed yet; therefore..... get this.... that might have been our series finale!!! I have a feeling this Season 5/Series finale will be MUCH better and so worth the wait! Otherwise, I'm borrowing a brick from Ingrid! (And, I never watched Lost) lol

    3. For some reason this just occurred to me.... One of my continued questions has to do with Olivia remembering the time of the invasion and looking for Etta differently (different blanket/Peter in different shirt - missing people posters from outside the restaurant stating 2036, etc.). I thought we'd get the answer (and perhaps we still will).

      Anyway, for some reason I just had a thought in regards to our Olivia's expression/hesitation when it came to telling Peter about her being pregnant (and her actually being pregnant).... what if Olivia in Season 4 is the "reset Olivia" (that's actually when the reset - if we get one - goes back too, and she knows what all is about to happen; or, perhaps because of all the cortexiphan during those last two episodes of Season 4, Olivia had insight about losing Etta (maybe not twice, yet she "knew" what would happen just not when/where)? Just an off the cuff idea that I thought I'd toss out. Haven't thought this thought through yet, so may change my mind.... lol ttfn

    4. I think I can follow what you are saying Kristin. My mind is spinning with all the possibilities and permutations. People have been saying that there have been multiple resets all along. Who is responsible for them I am not sure. This alll brings me back to when Peter and Walter try to plug the wormhole. They set the bomb but the delivery of the CO2 devices still made it through. Did the Observers just calculate their actions and do a mini reset? How many can they get away with? Is someone else responsible. I need to think on this more.

    5. Yes Dave, there is much to think about especially past week! I think from the air you'd see all this smoke from all us Fringe fans brains frying with our thoughts spinning! lol

      In less than 24 hrs, we will know (West coast will still be waiting though).

  6. Hi Dave,

    Those are some really interesting observations / theories / predictions that you have there. As far as the finale is concerned, I think way too much has been made of Walter having to, or needing to sacrifice himself in order to somehow complete the plan. My thinking is that Olivia finds the Cortexiphan that was stolen from Massive Dynamics some time ago, pours herself a large tumbler of the stuff, then somehow shanghais Walter on his mission to sacrifice himself, and goes in his place. Her thinking is that she feels that she is the only one that can bring the kid back to the future, and by so doing sacrifices herself in order to bring Etta back. She never had any issues traveling between universes, so she figures that time travel should be about the same degree of difficulty.

    Plus, Donald / September was last seen whining about how they had removed the tech from his neck. It just so happens that our heroes just happen to have a few extras hanging around back at the lab. Hmmmmmm coincidence? I think not. The only question remains: who gets the tech surgically implanted in them? Who are the most likely candidates? September? Peter? Walter? Olivia? The Kid? My $$$ is on Olivia and the kid. After all the show has always centered around Olivia, her special abilities, etc. She is now obsessed with getting Etta back, even if she needs to sacrifice herself in order to do it.

    Just my two cents worth. I am really looking forward to the finale, as is everyone else.

    Thanks for the always provocative and often prescient blog posts. I wish that I could say: keep them coming. But since I can't say that, I will just say thanks!

    Dave Alexander AKA The Ozone Layer

    1. Hi Dave, good to hear from you.

      Olivia sacrificing herself to save the life of her daughter certainly makes sense and would constitute the ultimate sacrifice. But the way they constructed the narrative around Olivia and Etta I just don't see it happening. Olivia seems too invested in seeing Etta alive again! Maybe if Olivia travels far into the future to foil the Observer plan and the timeline is reset then she can proceed with her past life with Etta as if nothing happened because they shouldn't be aware of a reset. Then again, Peter may never have existed in the Blue-verse so there would be no Etta.

      Hmmm, time travel can be hell on a time line.

      For my money I would say September gets the tech back in the neck. I think his stakes are the highest since he started us on this path so long ago. He's got a lot of cleaning up to do.

      I'm glad you've enjoyed the blog Dave, I'll try to keep it going somehow. Try my "Falling Skies" blog if you are so inclined. If not I bet I will have plenty to talk about next week!

  7. Dave!

    You are my scarecrow when it comes to Fringe because I am going to miss your bloggings for Fringe most of all :(

    I'm going to use the word "rebirth" a lot... and purposefully so... so bear with me :)

    My thoughts are as follows: I'm not sure if I can jump on the "Olivia was pregnant with twins" bandwagon, BUT with that being said, you are the master of coming up with a crazy theory only for it to come true... so I can't help but jump on that bandwagon anyway :)

    I will say that one thing that points in your favor is the apple glyph that you so aptly posted above. The apple glyph (which all us fans know has the two fetuses at its core) was on Michael's door in the pocket universe. If the apple represents him, one possibility is that he's one of those two fetuses (metaphorically of course).

    Here is my crazy theory. I do think September was lying, but I don't think he was lying about Michael being comprised of his DNA. I don't think September ever expected Michael to transport to the 2100's. I think that's a red herring, and Donald and Michael both know it. If when Michael touched both Nina's and Walter's cheeks he showed them, well, everything they needed to see to give them faith and hope and clarity, who's to say when he and Donald touched hands before everyone split up, that September, er, Donald and he didn't communicate.

    In some cultures the apple represents rebirth. To me, in Fringe, this translates to the rebirth of humanity. The last time I wrote to you it was ALL about the "human condition" and I'm riding that train til the very end. Michael is the rebirth of humanity and possibly Olivia's son too :). This is why I think the apple glyph was on his door, it symbolized his life being the rebirth of our world... And NOT as a reset!

    Wouldn't it be awesome if he touched Windmark in a similar fashion to the way he did Nina and Walter and it "awoke" the human DNA? Observers have always shown glympses of their humanity. Though they come from a test tube using prior Observer DNA and not have the pieces of the brain that allow emotion, I thin humanity can't help but evolve from the is, at its core, human DNA. This is much like Walter regaining memories via Michael... He's whole again. Just a thought :)
    Michael could awaken the human side of the Observers. If they can be consumed by anger, or tap their foot to Jazz, or yearn to love a son... hell, their evolving could be our rebirth!

    Also... I think Peter knows more than he's letting on. He had that tech in his head long enough to show off Observer-esque abilities. It's SO feasible that if he was viewing Windmark's timeline(s), that he saw a few possible outcomes... If so, perhaps that's why even though he "wants" to believe Olivia about the reset, he can't.

    Lastly... I can't even begin to dive into what the preview for this final 2 hours entails. My brain was overloaded. All I know is I'm simultaneously excited and sad.

    Cheers, Dave!

  8. Sarah!

    Where do I start? So many good thoughts!

    I do love your idea about Michael touching Windmarks face. That would be absolutely awesome and I can totally see it happening.
    You're a genius, I love it! I'll stand a cheer when this happens and you'll here me all the way back in Philly.

    I won't be able to address all your thoughts tonight. I've been too busy messaging someone on Facebook and it's hard to type with a few tears in my eyes. Rest assured I will respond to your awesome feedback tomorrow. Sniff, sure is dusty here.

    1. Damn those Facebook conversations ;) Looking forward to your continuation!

    2. OK, so where was I? Ah yes, Michael giving Windmark "The Touch". I think it was Jeff Jensen at EW that theorized that Windmark was going to save the future. He didn't exactly say how but I think you have trumped him with your theory. Hopefully we'll get to see one of those quick cutting montage flashes of what Michael will show him. It will either be a series of all his sins or it could be the hope of a better future. Or both. Cool!

      So, you are for a rebirth and not a reset. That's problematic. They did dangle the carrot in front of us that Etta would come back if the fix things. Olivia sure seems to think so. But if it is a reset how can we or she be sure the old timeline will exist? What if the reset goes all the way back to Walternate's lab and Peter never makes it over here? Everyone would be saved but no Peter and hence No Etta.

      If its a rebirth then it would have to happen in the future right? The Norwegian future? The Observer would fix themselves and not invade the past. Right? That way the past happens to a degree minus the war but the be-spoiled future still needs fixing and that will be the the Observers new mission.

      They'll have to convince the "Commander". Maybe "The Touch" will be able to be passed on. Have you thought of that? I like it. They regain their humanity through the most human of gestures, the human touch. It's poetic.

      What do you think?

    3. So many ideas! I simultaneously love it and am brain fried from it!

      A quick cutting montage of flashes is exactly what I imagined happening if Michael were to touch Windmark! It's what got me excited about the idea.

      Hmmm. You make valid points about both the idea of a reset and of a rebirth. Perhaps I wasn't thinking the "rebirth" idea through, but what I was assuming that would be is the evolution back to humanity (ie. Observers becoming human and thus no more Observers). My thoughts were that Michael's touch to Windmark (as a start) would be the beginning domino in this.
      The "Commander" said that there was a 99.9999% chance for success. Windmark had mentioned that "the boy" had a 0.0001% chance of living. Michael being alive IS the end of the Observers. He is the 0.0001% chance of failure. I think that failure will be the literal end to the Observers by death and/or by Michael bringing humanity to them. Giving them the gift of the human condition. Since they are distant decedents of humans, technically becoming more human again would be a rebirth of humanity, right?

      If this happens, the Norwegian portion of "our future, their past" doesn't need to be stopped. Our present day of 2015, is actually the Observer's future because they traveled BACK their. (I know, confusing lol).

      The ONLY issue with this is Etta. How does Etta come back? I feel like the writers have something up their sleeve that I'm not thinking of. BUT. That being said, I'm glad you like my "Michael touches Windmark" idea because I love it! Also, I think Commander Observer dies.

      Cheers Dave!

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks, Kristin! My brain has been on overdrive ever since the past few episodes have aired!

    2. I hear that Sarah! Was just telling Dave that I think if you see from the air, there'd be a lot of smoke from all of our Fringe brains trying to figure all this out! lol Have an excellent weekend!

    3. You too! Cheers :)


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