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Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About “Alone In The World”

It was all scary monsters and super freaks in last night’s episode of Fringe, whether they were psychic virally-growing brains or scientists trying to perform unsafe medical procedures on themselves. Really, can you blame us for having five questions about “Alone in The World”?

Why Isn’t Lincoln Freaked?
It’s a small question, perhaps, but I’m wondering why Agent Lee isn’t freaked out by everything that he’s discovered since joining Fringe Division. Is he really just so well adjusted that he can take everything in his stride, or is it more proof that he is serving a particular purpose in the new timeline? I find myself leaning towards the latter idea more, especially given the irrational nature of the “new” Walter – Trying to give himself a lobotomy? – and the increasingly harsh Olivia (Am I the only one who thought that she’s seeming more brutal without the calming influence of Peter in this new timeline? Not exactly Fauxlivia brutal, but certainly not the Olivia we’d gotten used to); perhaps Lincoln is there to be a calming influence to the division, as well as a more humanizing one. Or perhaps there’s much more to Lincoln than meets the eye.

Under What Conditions Was Walter Released?
It’s interesting to see that Walter now has to undergo monthly psychiatric evaluations in this new timeline, having left the mental institute. Something about that, and Broyles’ follow-up questions afterwards, made me reconsider the idea that Walter is staying within the lab so much because of a new hermit tendency. Instead, the testimony of the guards made me wonder, is Walter under house arrest in the lab? Was he only released as an Fringe Division resource, and is otherwise considered a security risk and kept under constant surveillance and in a secure location? Is Walter essentially a prisoner in this new timeline?

Are The Observers Time Travelers?
Talking about timelines – So, given Walter’s explanation to Aaron about how he lost his son (twice), is it safe to assume that the Observers don’t possess reality-altering powers as much as the ability to travel in time and let their own actions dictate things? Peter died a second time because the Observer didn’t save his life, as happened in the previous timeline. Is that their secret? Are they a group that exists, for some reason, to safeguard particular points in history and make sure that events follow some pre-ordained plan, and are willing to fudge the details through interference in order to ensure it?

Where Did Gus Come From?
Genuinely a question I can’t believe wasn’t asked during the entire episode: What was Gus? Where did it come from? Maybe it’s simply a throwaway monster of the week, but I kept thinking that it really seemed like some kind of weaponized organism, and that might suggest some form of attack from the same beings behind the shapechangers in the first episode of the season. Is “our” Earth under attack again, and by a completely different enemy than we’ve been used to for the past few seasons?

Who Else Has Peter Appeared To?
I loved the reveal at the end that Peter has been appearing to Olivia, as well as Walter (And not just because it means that we can move forward with this particular plot a little faster; I’m curious to see how they go about trying to rescue him, and whether any rescue will mean the original timeline will reassert itself or not). But it does make me wonder: Has Peter appeared to anyone else? Astrid, perhaps? Maybe not; I’m sure she would have mentioned it, by now. But what about Nina Sharpe? Maybe her appearance in the teaser for next week’s episode suggests that Massive Dynamic has been kept out of the season to date for more reason than just simple forgetfulness…


  • Michael

    What if all of this is leading to a “Crisis on Infinite Earths”-type event, in which all of these alternate realities will collapse into a single continuity?

    I’m starting to wonder if we should pay closer attention to the comic book covers from Alt-Peter’s collection for any hidden meaning.

    There was the Death of Batman (as opposed to Superman) and the issue of Crisis of Infinite
    Earths in which Superman (as opposed to Supergirl) dies.

    Could Batman be Peter Prime and Superman be Alt Peter, with Olivia as Supergirl?

    In the prime reality, Supergirl was deleted from continuity after Superman was rebooted ans his past changed. NO one remembered her existence, until, a few years later, she returned as a  spirit guide to Deadman in a DC Comics Holiday Special.

    Notice how that role fits Peter well this season, in which NO one remembers him and he has been appearing as a disembodied voice.

    That would fit with the idea that the dead Superman on the alternate cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths from Over There reflects Alt Peter’s current status. We can infer that, just like in the comics published Over Here Supergirl returned as a spirit guide to Deadman, Over There Superman did the same for the post Crisis Superman, which is what Peter is doing now for Walter.

    What other covers were there? I remember Green Lantern/Green Arrow. What were the others?

  • James Ritchey III

     All I know is that I’m glad David Fury is gettin’ work on this and Terra Nova as more than ‘producer’. Excellent writer. Exceptional episode, and nice insight per the article as to the questions raised. I like things that challenge and surprise me–even aggravate in a puzzling way, as so little TV does.

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was already established on the show that The Observers exist outside of linear time?

  • Batmancap

    peter’s a roman!

  • Batmancap

    only the doctor and amy can save him!

  • Kollin Spenrath

    OMG thats so funny!

  • demoncat_4

    no doubt mia would proably be a good canaidate to also see peter. as for lincoln  the reason he did not freak is maybe because he could be like his alternate counter part . hard an cold. or maybe a guide to help olivia and walter get peter back

  • Truthhawk

    Agent Broyle is very hard to understand, why does he seem to mumble and swallow his words, I have to run it back, I am an audiobook narrator and former  radio staff announcer. Is he covering an accent…. love everything about the  show. I did understand him in the previous episode. Come on audio team.  Enunciate please.

  • bokshandschoenen

    Well..The Fringe case in “Alone in the World” assumed a rather direct relationship to that of Walter and the now missing Peter…..No doubt that this is a Awesome article,definitely liked it.Just subscribed to your blog.Great stuff!

  • Cheers

    Wasn’t the Broyles from “over there” killed? He was in the episode w the serial killer…

  • Jason Avery

    Alt Broyles was killed in an episode last season trying to help Olivia get back home.
    She went to the other side, in the first place, in order to rescue Peter, who now does not exist.
    So it’s possible that, in this timeline, Olivia never went over to the other side at all.  At the very least, for whatever reason, alt Broyles was never put into the situation that led to his death. 
    The question of how alt-Olivia came to switch places with regular Olivia (for two weeks?) has as yet gone unanswered.

  • Derp

     All I want to know is if Fauxlivia is still knocked up, and if so, does she even remember who the father is?