Fringe Observiews 4.05 Novation ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Observiews 4.05 Novation

      Email Post       11/07/2011 02:19:00 PM      

Welcome to the Observiews for Season 4 of Fringe. I call them Observiews because they are more visual observations than deep thinking reviews.

Screen caps are taken from

All observations are mine and therefore could be totally off the wall and/or wrong. I have not read or looked at any recaps or reviews. I could also have missed a few things, oh well…

3.14 6B
OLIVIA: “I don’t really know what to say.”

…except that it was another excellent episode. I'm still glued to the screen even after multiple watches.

Glyphs spelled: STILL
As in time is standing still, as in it’s still that timeline, as in Peter having to be still, to wait for them to remember, as in … what do you think?

English is not my first language so the word “Novation” was not in my vocabulary. I looked it up and my reductive explanation is: a transfer of responsibility. I’m not sure still on what it means in context with the episode. What do you think?

Observer can be seen here.

So let’s dive in.

Broyles is wearing a red tie as they walk down the corridor on blue flooring.

As Olivia enters the lab there is the Violet Sedan Chair poster on the wall again
and a bronze Statue of Liberty on the file cabinet.

The color scheme in the lab seems to be changing back to more green and red versus the amber.
Plus Walter is hooked up to drugs so he can sleep.

WALTER: “Well, what choice do I have? Ah, I've been haunted for weeks with visions of a strange man. And now the stranger is here in the flesh, in our midst, and no one will let me examine him or even see him. I'm kept in the dark, knowing nothing. How's a man supposed to get some rest with all these uncertainties?”

The color palette of this episode was all over the place. Karen’s house had a lot of yellow.
There was something else I noticed. There is the duplicity of them.
Here the shapeshifter had already killed Karen so in a sense there are two occupying the same.
Through both Olivia (3.09 Marionette)
and Fauxlivia (3.08 Entrada)
the audience has had that experience as well.

Back at the FBI Broyles is now wearing a blue tie.
It still seems Astrid is there for him like she was in the old time line. (3.20 6:02 AM EST)

Peter!!! And it appears that he will only speak to Walter.
Like father like son. (1.01 The Pilot)
It was hard to watch Walter not even looking at him.
PETER: “Hello, Walter. You don't know who I am, do you? I know this must be confusing for you. But something's happened. And you're the only person who can help me.” WALTER: “What do you want from me?” PETER: “I need you to help me figure out why no one remembers me, why you don't remember me.” WALTER: “I'll try.” PETER: “There are two universes -- ours over here a - and another one that's just like it, just slightly different. The other universe is dying. And because they're interconnected, ours is dying as well.” PETER: “So you built a machine to save us, to form a bridge between the two worlds so that we could work together to heal them both. And you created it so that I was the power source. Only I could activate it, but you told me that when I did, there would be consequences.” WALTER: “There is a machine, but I didn't build it. I don't know who you are, what your agenda is, or why you claim to be my son.”

- We know from 2.21 Over There Part 1 that the machine was William Bell’s technology but Nina (or Massive Dynamic, or over here) didn’t built it.
- We know that Walternate was also building this machine.
- We also know that Walter had send the pieces back through time in 3.21 The Day We Died.
So who built it over here? And if it wasn’t Walter in this timeline, then who did.

PETER: “Do you have a son, Walter? You and Elizabeth -- did you have a son?” WALTER: “Yes. He died... a long time ago, when he was just a boy.” PETER: “And then you found another version of him in the other universe. And he was dying, too. So you crossed over to save him.” WALTER: “Yes. But I couldn't.” PETER: “What do you mean you couldn't?” WALTER: “That lake where we crossed over was frozen. The ice broke. We fell through. I tried to hold on to him... but he drowned.”
PETER: “The Observer didn't pull us out of the lake that night? Well, that must be it, Walter.”
ASTRID: “What's an Observer?”
-Uh, you know, the bald guy who messed up everything and interferes, although he’s not supposed to - I guess the beacon never arrived!

PETER: “It all makes sense now. That has to be what happened. I was supposed to die that night in both universes, but when I didn't, I became a paradox, and now, for the two worlds to heal, I had to be deleted. But if I'm already dead in both universes, then why am I here? How am I back? Something's gone wrong, Walter. Something's happened.”
WALTER: “We're finished here. Take me back to my lab. Please, I'd like to go now!” PETER: “No, please, I need your help.” Walter—“WALTER: “I want to leave!” PETER: “Walter, I need your help. You have to help me figure out what went wrong. If I'm not supposed to be here, then how am I back?”

I’m sure this is not the reaction Peter expected.

Meanwhile Olivia gets called to a case. Finally the green and red reflections are back.
This picture is from 2.02 Night Of Desirable Objects.
This is the one that stands out the most in my mind. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to look through all episodes but they pop up every so often, except in the first four of the 4th season.

Malcolm Truss is tending his garden. He worked for Massive Dynamic so I’m wondering what he is feeding his flowers.
I don’t know much about botany but is he growing peppers in there (bottom left and right corner? Could it been King Cobra Chile peppers, the one Walter talks about in 2.08 August?

At Massive Dynamic Olivia looks at the machine. What is she thinking?

In Nina’s office are a few pictures. One shows her with Clinton, yes? The other ones I can’t make out even from a different angle. Lincoln points to a picture and says:
“Hey, Olivia. This photo, the girl with the riding ribbon -- is that you?” OLIVIA: “Yeah.” LINCOLN:  “Okay. You -- you're gonna have to do better than that. Why does Nina Sharp have your photo in her office?” OLIVIA: “After our mother died, my sister and I were due to go into the foster system. Instead, Nina pulled some strings, and... we went to live with her.” LINCOLN: “So the Acting C.E.O. of one of the richest companies in... the world - was your Nanny?” OLIVIA: “Something like that.”

Ok, maybe it’s just me but I don’t believe that story. Even in the old time line Nina seemed to have more knowledge of Olivia than she let on. In 1.01 The Pilot when Olivia meets Nina for the first time, Nina says:
"You should know what you're getting into, Agent Dunham. I would say this to my own daughter: "Be careful and good luck."
And I’ve said this before too but I think Rachel is not Olivia’s biological sister. In 2.14 Brown Betty, she was just an actress whose name wasn’t even Rachel.
The other thing that came to mind is that it was Peter who Nina spend time with at the stables. 1.06 The Cure:
“You know, you still look just the same as you did when you were a child. Oh, I doubt you’ll remember, but you and I spent a good deal of time together. Some of it right here. Your father and I were quite close when we were both much younger.”

So Nina meets Lincoln and welcomes him to the team.
Olivia asks Nina about Malcolm Truss and she says: “The name doesn’t ring a bell.” She said that once before in 1.14 Ability when Olivia asked her about the Cortexiphan trials. And of course William Bell is mentioned a few times as well.

This was fun and so Peter. Back at the FBI he is rewiring the intercom so he can listen to what they’re saying and respond.

More colors: red, green and blue at the office.
Peter informs them that the tech they’re talking about are memory discs.
The old ones from 3.04 Do Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep
and the new ones from 4.01 Neither Here Nor There.
Although Peter hasn’t seen the new ones yet he’s quite confident he can figure them out.

Olivia looks quite concerned at the tampered intercom.
She is for sure uncomfortable around him: “What is it that you're after? You're obviously not doing this out of the goodness of your heart, so what is it that you want?”
PETER: “I just want to talk to Walter again.” OLIVIA: “Well, we tried that already. In case you didn't notice, it didn't go so well. I don't see the point in letting you upset him again.” PETER: “I'm sorry about that. I was talking to him like he was the man that I knew, which clearly he is not. He's different, just like you are. But I need his help. And you need mine.”

Meanwhile back at the lab, Walter found a box with memories. Not sure if the reels have anything to do with it but one of them is green.
There is a lunch box in there which I think belonged to this side’s Peter. Over there Peter would most likely have had dinosaurs on his.
There is a Rubik's cube in there as well. Walter finds the coin.
We know that the coin plays an important part in Peter’s life. Both Peters played with it in 2.15 Peter. The Observer handed one to Walter in 1.20 There Is More Than One Of Everything. In 3.21 The Last Sam Weiss, Peter went to a pawn shop to purchase one, just to name a few.

So Truss agrees to go with the shapeshifter. They need gas.
He should probably get some Slusho’s too. (top right corner) I heard they’re really good. Slusho, if you recall, was the drink J.J. Abrams invented. The Observers drank them in 2.15 Peter.
Walter had one when he drove off to find Simon in 3.12 Concentrate And Ask Again. Those are just a few examples.

So here we have Peter dissecting the memory new discs.
He’s tried the old ones before in 3.16 Os but only got as far as activating them.
On a side note: in 3.16 Os he says: “Trial seven. March Fifteenth. Initial testing on the memory discs I retrieved from the shapeshifters revealed no information, however, the daisy chain wiring pattern seems to have activated them, somehow revealing tons of previously undetected data. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea how the hell to read it.”
So I was reading Alice in Wonderland for a different reference in Fringe and I came across this in the first paragraph: So she [Alice] was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly…

Ok, sorry, now I’m the one going down rabbit holes. Back to the story.

So while Peter does that, Lincoln and Olivia are having a conversation.
LINCOLN: “Okay, our mystery man is all set up with the device we got off the shapeshifter. And I requisitioned all of the equipment he asked for.” OLIVIA: “And do you think that he's confident he can do something with it?” LINCOLN: “He seems pretty confident, in general. Olivia... I may have only met you a few weeks ago, but I think I know you well enough to know that this guy's gotten to you. You didn't ask me to take him that tech because you had a dentist appointment.” OLIVIA: “He was in my dreams, and now he's here. I – I - I can... maybe understand why he would be in Walter's head, if he's some iteration of his son, but... why mine?”
- Because my dear, you belong with him! Yes I’m a P/O shipper and will remain confident that he wins her back. And thank you Lincoln for noticing it too.

So the shapeshifter takes Truss to a lab which was build to his specifications.
Who does she work for? Who build the lab? And what do they want?
He takes a sample of her tissue.
We've seen this before in 1.01 The Pilot. Walter took a tissue sample from John Scott.

MALCOLM: “I never thought I'd say this, but... I wish William Bell were alive... just so he could see you. I truly believed that the work that we were doing was going to change the world. And just like that... Bell shut down the project. And all he could say was, "Some things are not ours to tamper with. Some things... are God's."

We’ve heard this phrase before but not from William Bell.
Carla Warren said it to Walter in 2.15 Peter, persuading him not to cross over: “For the sake of one life, you will destroy the world. Some things are not ours to tamper with. Some things are God's.”
Also Truss said that Bell is dead, how did he die?

So Walter is in the lab when he gets a visitor.
NINA: “Walter, you're making Peter's favorite dessert.”
-how did she know that? Was the relationship between her and Walter like in the old time line before he crossed over?
WALTER: “I find that baking custard calms me.”
2.01 A New Day In The Old Town.
WALTER: “I'm not making you a cake... I'm making you a custard. It's my specialty.” PETER: “I don't like custard. In fact, I've never liked custard.” WALTER: “As a boy, you loved it. You've just forgotten. Friday is your birthday. You deserve something wonderful.”

Back to the conversation with Nina.
Walter: “Seeing this man has brought up many things I've tried to forget. That night at the lake, you begged me to stop, but I couldn't. I couldn't watch Peter die, not again. I couldn't stand by and do nothing… I've hated you. For twenty-five years, I hated you. Had you not been there, the vial wouldn't have been broken, and I would've healed Peter on the other side.”
(2.15 Peter)
“He wouldn't have fallen through the ice. I blamed you for the death of my son. I blamed you. I couldn't live with myself... because you were right. I'd crossed the line. For the sake of one life, I destroyed two worlds. And over the years, I've come to terms with the fact that I deserve to be punished... to suffer.”

Ok, a few things here: If Nina still tried to stop Walter from crossing, did her arm still get caught and does she have the robotic arm even in this timeline?
Walter had crossed the line; Carla Warren said to Walter in 2.15 Peter: “There has to be a line we can’t cross.” She also told him: “For the sake of one life, you will destroy the world.”
And in William’s note to Walter in 3.02 The Box it said: “Don’t be afraid to cross the line.”

So then Peter informs Broyles of his findings.
“They're the perfect infiltrators. By transforming their DNA, they can become anyone. They perfect this technology, and they can get close to us. They could replace any one of us. And short of performing surgery to find those memory disks, you would have absolutely no way of knowing.”
Does this not smell like someone from the team is going to be replaced? JMO
Plus there is lots of blue and the green screen.

Shapeshifter Nadine: “I'm offering you something precious... an opportunity to take back what William Bell took from you... your legacy.”
That reminded me of 1.20 There Is More Than One Of Everything where Nina talks about David Robert Jones: “…The details are not important. Suffice to say that Jones felt spurned by the rejection. William was a father figure to him, a respected mentor. I would go as far as to say that all the death and destruction that Jones has caused up until this point has been a way of proving something to William.” OLIVIA: “To prove what?” NINA: Jones always felt that he was special and that no one recognized that, certainly not William.”

And here we have another bridge.
And I kind of figured that they wouldn’t find her in the water.

So then we see Olivia receiving files.
And she’s asking Lincoln out to dinner. It’s a good thing he picked up on Peter getting to her and he said no.
And then we see Olivia receiving files.
Wait! We already had that. That’s what Olivia thinks as well. There are apparently time slips happening or is it only Olivia?
Yep. This Peter got to you, didn't he? OLIVIA: “Just a little tired, I think.”
And it’s not often that we see Olivia in the office without her jacket.  Two occasions that come to mind are 1.20 There Is More Than One Of Everything and 2.12 What Lies Below.

A few weeks ago I mentioned the best last 5 minutes of Fringe and this might be just the saddest last minutes of Fringe in an episode.
Both Peter and Walter just broke my heart. WALTER: “Are they feeding you?”
That reminded me of when Walter saw Peter for the first time again in St. Claire’s:” I thought you’d be fatter.” (1.01 The Pilot) Plus Walter is still holding his hand.
No one remembers Peter. Olivia looks at him like he is a stranger, like she is afraid of him.

Walter touches Peter’s face. Peter lets him.
What a difference to 1.01 The Pilot.
Believe me when I say that Peter did not tolerate Walter touching him then.

WALTER: “Every day... for the past twenty-five years... I've tried to imagine what you would look like as a man... my son. But I don't deserve this. I don't deserve you. I realize now this was my punishment. You were sent to tempt me, to see if I would repeat the mistakes of the past. You shouldn't be here.” PETER: “Walter, no.” WALTER: “Wherever you came from, however you got here, it doesn't matter. I can't help you.” PETER: “Walter, you don't understand.” WALTER: “I tried to help a boy, a version of my son, twenty-five years ago. But that boy was never my son... and neither are you.”
-Walter! Wait! Remember the white tulip!

So Nadine the shapeshifter goes to the train station which is full of greens and blues, to get something from a locker.
The number on the locker is 47.

She pulls out a PQET!
Portable Quantum Entangled Telegraph. I call it portable because it’s a mechanical one compared to the one in the type writer store. (2.01 A New Day In The Old Town)

That looks an awful lot like the old shapeshifters on this side communicating with the other side.
So who is sending others? Why are they sending others?

So many questions!

Wow! I’m loving season 4 so far. Can’t wait till next week to find out how this all plays out.

Keep watching live, if you can.

Fringe Rocks!


Anonymous said...

FYI, "Novation" is a word that comes from the legal world. It refers to, in a contact, when a thing or party is replaced by an acceptable substitute in the new contract.

Here's the wiki:
Novation is a term used in contract law and business law to describe the act of either replacing an obligation to perform with a new obligation, or replacing a party to an agreement with a new party. ...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, you already had the link to the wikipedia, so let me explain further.

Novation plays to the idea of something that previous was being replaced by something new but equivalent. This connects to the episode in a lot of ways. The "dead" Peter of this Universe C has been replaced by a new living Peter. The Olivia, Walter, etc. of the universe Peter knew have been replaced by equivalent, but different versions. The working contract between them (a bond of pseudo-family) has been replaced by a necessity to work together (he has knowledge they need, they have knowledge he needs.) In a larger scope, this new Fringe as a whole, this new dynamic in a new timeline, has replaced our old Fringe, with its old dynamic between the characters.

Does this make more sense?

Norcine said...

Wow! let me say this;: WHAT A FANTASTIC DETAILED REVIEW!!!!
I usually don't post much on websites, but I couldn't quit this page without expressing my appreciation to the huge effort you've done!

Jeabp said...

Loved your review. You have a good memory for details :-)

Milly said...

Just saw the note that says please don't post as anonymous, so for anyone who want to reply to me, the first two anon posts were made by me, Milly. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love your reviews you pay so much attention to detail and have an amazing memory .
Thank You

cortexifan said...

@ Milly, thank you for how you linked the title to the episode. It makes perfect sense.
@ Norcine, Jeabp and Anon, thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated.

Elizabeth said...

@ Cortexifan: One thing I'm a little confused about: Walter says to Nina: "Had you not been there, the vial wouldn't have been broken, and I would've healed Peter on the other side.” Did that really happen in the old timeline? Did I miss something? How could he have healed Peter on the other side anyway? Wasn't it Walternate who was distracted by an Observer in the lab causing him to miss the telltale color change in the chemical he was concocting to save his own Peter "over there"? What do you think about this?

cortexifan said...

In the old timeline the vile broke and Walter still crossed bringing Walternate's Peter over to this side and so healed him. If the vile hadn't been broken Walter would have healed Walternate's Peter and most likely left him over there.
In the new timeline it sounds exactly the same, Walter maybe looking through the window as Walternate missed the cure, except the observer didn't pull them out of the lake. I guess Walter was able to save himself but not Walternate's Peter.
Am I making sense?

Count Screwloose said...

Some great correspondences between this episode and the original pilot that went right by me. Nicely done!

Anya said...

This was excellent! I love rewatching episodes that struck a chord the first time because there's usually a lot of things that I missed. Rewatching (and getting details from good people like you), makes the episode richer for me. :) Such an amazing and heartbreaking episode (at least where our central characters are concerned - I'm still on the fence about these new shifters). I love the callbacks to different episodes and seeing the seeds that were planted even in the pilot!

FringeFan said...


Wow!!! What details!!! You ever considered picking up deduction - Sherlock Holmes style? Coz you would be the ace.

From one shipper to another: As far as P/O are concerned, I've a gut feeling their fates have already been decided; they're star-crossed. That would be THE Fringe event even for this show which emphasizes so much on relations. :)

Elizabeth said...

Cortexifan- Yes, Thanks! I get it now!

Fringie6989 said...

Wonderful observations as always! I'm honored to know Cortexifan personally, and I can attest to how much effort she puts into these observiews. Her attention to detail is really impressive. Its the thing I look forward to most (after watching Fringe of course) every week.

Anonymous said...

One question has been bugging me since the Pilot. At the end, John Scott, as he lay dying, says to Olivia, "Ask Broyles why he sent 'you.' Why did he send 'you'? OK, why did he send Olivia to the warehouse with John Scott that fateful night?

cortexifan said...

That is a good question to which I don't have an answer, sorry. Every time I watch the Pilot I ask that.

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