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Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About “One Night In October”

Last night’s Fringe spanned the two parallel realities like never before, with “our” Olivia crossing over to the alternate reality to catch a serial killer using a special informant from “our” world… Unsurprisingly, we’ve got five questions about “One Night In October”‘s magical mystery tour.

What Happened When Olivia Was Kidnapped?
We know that time has been rewritten with the conclusion of the previous season, but it’s still uncertain just what has changed – and why, beyond the whims of the writers’ room. This episode had an unexpected revision: The “Over There” Broyles was still alive, which meant that whatever happened to return the two Olivias to their respective Earths, it wasn’t the same as what we saw last year. Whether we’ll ever find out what did happen is open to question, but given that Fauxlivia’s escape route was different, it leads me to wonder if “Our” Olivia’s was, as well. Which, in turn, leads me to wonder…

Did William Bell Exist?
A second week with no mention of Massive Dynamic, which is either a strange coincidence – How many episodes in previous seasons didn’t include at least a mention of the place? – or something more important. Between this, the revised history of Walter Bishop and the suggestion that things with Olivia last year didn’t go down as planned, I find myself wondering: What if William Bell didn’t exist in the new timelines, or at least, didn’t have the same history as we know about? What if he didn’t found Massive Dynamic or cross over into the other Earth?

Is “Our” Earth Kinder?
“Our” John met Marjorie, who took him away from his serial killer tendencies. Our Olivia and Walter may have their quirks, but they’re also arguably warmer, kinder people than their alternates – well, not so arguably in Walter’s case – and our Earth isn’t, yet, an ecological disaster filled with Police State mentalities. Is our Fringe Earth kinder, or better, than the alternate Earth? I find myself thinking about DC Comics’ multiverse, and not for the first time. In Grant Morrison’s JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel, he suggests that the regular DC Earth is one where the good guys ultimately win, but Earth-2 is a place where the opposite is true, and the natural order trends towards corruption, betrayal and disillusionment. I wonder if the Fringe writers are fans of that book, at all…

(Only tangentally connected, but I adore Anna Torv’s different Olivia’s, and the fact that Fauxlivia has a slightly different accent that’s more like a character from an old film noir. It’s so subtle, and yet so important, somehow.)

What’s With The Cyborg Other Earth?
It can’t be coincidence that the alternate John had a plug-in port in the back of his head in the same episode that Walter told Lincoln that the technology from the alternate Earth was organic in nature. Is there something important about the prevalence of cyborg tech over there? And if so, what…?

Where Is Peter?
Peter is, according to the end of the episode, trapped outside of reality somehow and trying to escape. I find myself thinking about DC Comics, again, and the idea that jumping from one Earth to another was a matter of changing vibrational frequencies. After all, didn’t it look as if Peter was vibrated out of reality, at the end of season three…? I have the feeling that Peter was never really erased from time at all, as just shunted outside of it, somehow… and that that was the work of the observers, as opposed to any natural phenomenon. If so: Where is Peter, and why are the observers trying to manipulate events in this way?


  • DCSucks

    Thanks for attempting to ruin my Fringe experience with the awful comparision to the lame DC Crapiverses!  Maybe Peter can set himself free by punching the reality walls!

  • nailsin

    If Bell no longer exists then who cut up Walter’s brain?
    Unless Walter is crazy just because he is crazy.

  • Multiverse Joe

    Aside from numerous WTFs, let me see if I understand this. The machine that Peter sent back in time that only Peter can operate bridges the two universes in a reality where Peter doesn’t exist.

  • Anti-Monitor

    Speaking of DC (and just to piss off DCSucks) season 4 is reminiscent of, and just happens to coincide with the end of ‘Flashpoint’ and DC’s New 52.  Rattle that around in your brain for a while.

  • Matt

    Did anyone think that alternaBroyles had a scar on his neck?

  • TDaddy3000

    Massive Dynamic is mentioned the description for S.4 Ep.4 Subject 9

  • Rogelio Corte

    There were some Massive Dynamics logos around, in season’s premiere at the ‘in-between’ lab where the two Olivia’s met and Lee is introduced to the alternate world. At least we can infere from this that MD exists (provided those logos where not just leftovers from the previous season, haha. I doubt that.)
    Thanks for the article.

  • 0bsessions

    In addition to Subject 9’s synopsis, preview photos show Nina still hanging around.

    One difference in the timeline in regards to Fauxlivia that went unmentioned is that Fauxlivia is still seeing Frank.

  • Jacob

    That’s because Peter wasn’t able to be a homewrecker. :p

  • Gpsy13

    How did the alt. Broyles come back? He was killed last season, our world Broyles even closed his eyes on the  alt. Broyles dead body.

  • forrestina vintage

    Alt Broyles didn’t die in the revision.  He didn’t need to because Olivia wasn’t over there for the same reason and didn’t escape for the same reason.  There would have been no reason for him to betray Walternate and assist her in her escape.  We just don’t know what any of it means…yet.

  • Matt

    Also, our new Olivia killed her s.tep dad. In the original timeline he would harras her with greeting cards.

  • Timothyberard

    The observers are trying to right time lime by removing peter because he was suppose to die and the observer resposible was to remove the last traces of him out of existence or the minds of the people in both universes but he couldn’t do it.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve also been wondering about Massive Dynamic. I imagine a lot of things changed when Walter lost Peter a second time, as he seems considerably more unhinged.This episode shows that the show can succeed even without him, and frankly I’m enjoying the return to the smaller stories that Fringe does so well. I love a good story arc, but I think it will be difficult to beat the Walternate/parallel universes arc in scope or quality.Anyway, Walter seems to be the only one receiving actual communication from Peter, but it seems Olivia is the one who’s really experiencing a void inside of herself, and can’t put a finger on why or what.I’ve been doing snarky recaps of Fringe, and would love your thoughts:

  • Shaun

    This isn’t the same timeline anymore, in either universe, due to Peter’s being erased from history. Or at least erased from having an adulthood. I think we’ll learn that Walter wasn’t able to save either Peter in the new timeline, and that the Observer never pulled E2 Peter out of Reiden Lake on “our” side.

    So, anyhow, just like Olivia killed her stepdad in the new timeline (and just as there doesn’t appear to be a baby from Peter/Fauxlivia either), alt-Broyles didn’t help Olivia escape E2 (or at least didn’t get caught doing so), so he was never killed.

  • Jwagz03

    Yup. I saw that too.

  • 0bsessions

    Is it Friday yet?

    (It’s good to have finally found my LOST replacement, should’ve started looking at Abrams shows first)

  • Imnutamunkey

    ya um  okay show not without peter cuz wouldnt work hes out there and walter can see him and olivia feels his loss even though she has no clue her heart does and he will return has to thats what the show is for. peter his crazy dad, olivia and the fringe division. cant lose any of them.

  • Ja_neww

    I don’t think both Peters was ever originally meant to die.

    I think in the episode, Peter, where the Observer accidentally distracted Walternate from finding the cure for Peter because it was a significant event that the Observer wanted to observe, the didn’t the other Observer’s mention that it was important for Peter not to die? That the Observer disrupted the time-line & so he must correct it and that was why he pulled both Walter & Peter out of the lake after Walter took Peter from the other dimension?

    But now, it seems that the Observers decide that it would be better for Peter to have died. Wonder what that original purpose for Peter was??