Bullet Points: Fringe part 1

I'd like to take a forensic look at the magic bullet that struck Olivia Dunham in the last episode of Fringe, "Brave New World Part 2".  It only stands to reason that we should compare it to the bullet that Ella Bishop wore around her neck in "Letters of Transit".  I say this because many of us deduced that the bullet that Ella wore around her neck was in homage to her mother (we think) and she wore it to honor her mother's sacrifice.  (We're also assuming that Olivia is Ella's mother.)

As we look at the bullet above that Ella wears we can see an obvious indentation that both bullets share.  The bloodied bullet (very top) may look slightly different as its indentation seems more cratered than the cleaner version as seen below.  This difference may be due to the angle of the camera, the fact that the bullet is in reverse view and because the top one is covered in fresh blood which may also distort the damage to the spent slug. 

The bullet in the second photo seems flattened at the end of its crater as we approach the front part of the slug.  While the bloody bullet seems to have a curvature to it as seen by the merest of reflection from the light.  Please look closely at this difference.  We could surmise that. A: continuity was lost in the props department and they used more that one bullet prop. or B: the angle, the light and the blood have distorted or view or lastly C: there are two separate bullets and each have a alternate narrative.

If we go back to the bloody bullet note that we are looking at the tail end of the bullet that, at one time, was connected to the the cartridge.  It seems slightly misshapen.  The hammer that struck the cartridge would only inflict damage on the shell itself so it doesn't seem likely that it should be damaged.  Compare it to the bullet that Ella wears and you'll note that the curvature of its base seems wholly intact.  However, it must be noted that we can only see limited portion of the bullet base, therefore we can draw no final solution.

Bullets are made of soft lead.  Any damage that the bullets incur is due to that nature and any sort of structural damage is possible.  The front of the Ella bullet is facing us and from this we can derive several facts.  If this was a dumdum or hollow point bullet the end would not be flat as shown above.  Those types of bullets are meant to cause massive material damage and would cause grave tissue mutilation.  It would leave the type of wound that even cortexiphan immersion could not withstand.  A full metal jacketed bullet would also cause irreversible damage as it would have passed completely through Dunham's head and left a large exit wound.  Something from which a cortexiphan cure would have been impossible.

If the two bullets pictured are indeed the same then we can surmise that they are of standard issue for the 9mm Luger that Walter Bishop fired to disable Olivia.  A further extrapolation of the facts would lead us to believe that the bullet is of the 115 or 105 grain.  Here is a brief description of the Luger and its ammo taken from the site "Lonesentry.com.

"Since 1908 the Luger pistol has been an official German military side arm. Georg Luger of the DWM Arms Company2 in Germany developed this weapon, known officially as Pistole 08, from the American Borchart pistol invented in 1893.
The Luger is a well-balanced, accurate pistol. It imparts a high muzzle velocity to a small-caliber bullet, but develops only a relatively small amount of stopping power. Unlike the comparatively slow U.S. 45-caliber bullet, the Luger small-caliber bullet does not often lodge itself in the target and thereby impart its shocking power to that which it hits. With its high speed and small caliber it tends to pierce, inflicting a small, clean wound.
When the Luger is kept clean, it functions well. However, the mechanism is rather exposed to dust and dirt".

There are two salient points that we can take from the above description.  The first of which is, despite the high muzzle velocity the stopping power is limited.  This would also explain why the bullet didn't shatter Dunham's skull.  It is also noted that it leaves a "small clean wound" the type of which Dunham suffered as seen below.

It should also be added that to perform at maximum potential the Luger must be kept clean in order to "function well".  Take note of how the weapon was stored in the picture below.

The Luger was kept in a glass encased wooden box.  This not only serves to showcase the fine antique weapon but also keeps it in top working condition should anyone want to use.  It seems William Bell not only took pride in his possession but also took great pains to see it preserve its functionality should the need arise.

With the fact assembled above we can safely assume that both bullets pictured are indeed the same.  From this we can pursue a secondary line of reasoning which would entail,
  • Motive
  •  History
  • Plausibility and Causality
  • Time Frame Scenarios
  • Legacy
 However, it would be prudent to preserve some modicum of skepticism should the bullets be two different entities and if so we'll entreat more theories if applicable.

Coming soon, "Bullet Points: Fringe part 2".


  1. As I see it, the bullets are the same. I just wonder what soul magnets look like in this timeline.

    1. I'm sure they have little X's on them so we know where they came from.

    2. That's a good point emptyarcade. You're prob right tho Dave! Ha!

  2. Dave,
    i think the bullets are the same. I think the difference we see between the bloodied bullet and Ella's bullet is caused by the fact that we are seeing 2 different sides of the bullet.

    I also know that Joel Wyman replied to a tweet about the bullet. He said that Peter kept the bullet that killed Olivia. A reminder that she died and lived again. Im assuming he was replying to a tweet about the bullet being the same one that Ella was wearing.

    1. Sometimes I wonder if they are giving too much away on Twitter now. I suppose the temptation is pretty great but I think they should be more careful. Filling in too many blanks spoils the dramatic narrative.

      Agreed, same bullet.

    2. I think Joel released that info as it may not be covered in the final 13 eps. I imagine there will be lots of little things like that ... that they will give away on twitter in favour of dealing with the larger mythology issues they want to cover ...and resolve. I guess they will only tweet or answer questions about the 'small stuff' only if someone asks. And in the 'Peter kept the bullet' case ...someone did ask about it. Im looking forward part 2 of your CSI forensic explorations.

    3. Kristin (@serenityinall)May 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Dave, I think too that they are giving out more via Twitter as well, for a while they didn't even know if they'd have a season 5 to finish with answers; and then, I think there are answers they wanted us to know now, yet there was not enough time or perhaps importance to make it a part of the episode. Of course, what do I know.

  3. I think the bullets are the same as well, which seems to be the general consensus. The question now is: what happens to Olivia that keeps her from being ambered along with the rest of our fringe team? ...And at what point between now and the Observer infested future does Etta receive the bullet, make it a necklace, and where it? Do we lose Olivia rather early? Is this then Peter's necklace that he then gives to his daughter?

    Okay, that's multiple questions, ha.

    Cheers Dave!

    1. "Observer infested future" I like that.

      As for your "multiple questions" I guess you should stay tuned for Part 2!

    2. Kristin (@serenityinall)May 30, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Great questions Sarah Maria. A lot I also have plus more of my own! Hopefully a lot will be answered in Season 5. It's going to be a fast season though. I'm leaning towards them starting the Season 5 with Etta being four years old or so and then jumping ahead pretty quick from there. I'm not sure though. Who know's how they'll handle it? I just don't see them taking time to go through the pregnancy, birth and all (unless perhaps in some flashback for an important piece of info). We will see for sure in the Fall!

  4. Kristin (@serenityinall)May 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM


    Great blog post here. Love all the detail and info. I think also that the bullets are the same and thought so since Olivia was shot and Walter popped it out of her head. I'm glad to read though all your conclusions which confirm that my thoughts. I think it looked different not only because of the blood/light/reflection or what have you, yet also because of the angle and yes, even the context in which we were viewing the bullet there in the finale. In the Letters of Transit episode the bullet was simply around Etta's neck as a sentimental reminder of her mother. In the finale, we just seen Olivia get shot in the head, Walter operate by letter opener and then pop the bullet out with that other thing. To me, situations and/or perspective in which we see an item can also dictate somewhat HOW we see an item. Of course as usual, these are just my humble opinions. Excellent post!


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