Fringe Observiews 4.16 Nothing As It Seems ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Observiews 4.16 Nothing As It Seems

      Email Post       4/06/2012 03:22:00 AM      

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

Screen caps from this episode are taken from Dialog is 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…

4.13 A Better Human Being
OWEN FRANK: “The hubris of trying to improve upon god?”

Exerpt from Observiews 4.13 A Better Human Being
How often in Fringe has someone tried to enter God’s territory and succeeded? 
Carla Warren told Walter in 2.15 Peter: “Some things are not ours to tamper with. Some things are God's.”
In 1.02 The Same Old Story Walter talked about a program to grow soldiers
In 2.07 Of Human Action they were working on cloning and mind control
In 3.16 Os a father wanted to fix his son who is in a wheel chair but testing on others
Just to name a few. But in all the results were less than desirable. 
How far do we go – in the real world?

Let’s add 4.13 A Better Human Being where Owen Frank wanted to make his children better than him by  “attempted to reintroduce abilities that we humans have long since evolved away from, the hard-wired instincts that we share with other animal species.”

And he wasn’t really successful either.

Is this week’s case any different? Let’s see shall we.

Glyphs spelled: FUTURE

The Observer is walking by at Hick’s house.
I’m surprised Olivia didn't see him. Or does she not remember. 

So here is a question I have. We know that Olivia is Peter’s Olivia. We know Peter is home. That’s what September told Peter last week. So shouldn’t the cases be the same? Or is “home” not the same as “the old timeline” because Peter was erased? I’m confused. 

Anyway let’s dive in.

I can’t tell whether the opening is a “cut and slightly shot from a different angle version” from 1.13 The Transformation or if this opening is entirely new.

It was the same flight: VertusAir 718
4.16 Nothing As It Seems
CABIN ANNOUNCEMENT: Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize again for the delay in our arrival. Weather reports still indicate strong winds and turbulence. We'll be circling for just a bit longer. We hope to be on the ground within the hour. Thank you for your patience. We will be coming through the cabin with snacks which are available for purchase for five dollars. Remember, VertusAir no longer accepts cash, so please have your credit or debit card handy.

1.13 The Transformation
INTERCOM: Ladies and gentlemen, we will soon been starting our inflight movie. We will be coming through with headsets which are available for purchase for four dollars. And of course exact change is always appreciated.

4.16 Nothing As It Seems.
2012 Election Coverage which means this case is happening now versus 1.13 The Transformation which was a case from 2009.

4.16 Nothing As It Seems
Same passenger next to Marshall Bowman than in 1.13 The Transformation.
4.16 Nothing As It Seems
1.13 The Transformation
4.16 Nothing As It Seems
1.13 The Transformation
4.16 Nothing As It Seems
1.13 The Transformation
The notes that Bowman writes are different.

Notice the difference in color from then versus now as well. 4.16 Nothing As It Seems was a lot darker (not just color but content) than 1.13 The Transformation.

I realized that I could spend many more pages on just this opening scene, comparing them but that would take too long. I’m going to give you the links to the transcripts of this opening scene for 4.16 Nothing as it seems and 1.13 The Transformation and then you can compare them yourselves.

This is what happened in 1.13 The Transformation.
Marshall Bowman transmogrified on the airplane.
But in 4.16 Nothing As It Seems this is what happened. An air marshal knocked on the lavatory door and
Marshall Bowman comes out of the lavatory
like nothing happened although he did have symptoms as if he was going to transmogrify. I think this is my new favorite word, lol.  

At the airport Bowman says it was just a panic attack. The officers are going to search his bags anyway.
MARSHALL BOWMAN: “Don’t you have to ask permission before you do that?”
TSA AGENT KNOLLS: “Not since Bush two.” I’ll get back to that.

Anyway, Bowman has another attack and goes into the bathroom. The officers think he’s on drugs.
Now I’m a Fringe addict. I can eat during the grossest moments and nothing bothers me. I've watched Fringe pretty much every day since 2009 but I have to admit that when Bowman went into that bathroom and started spitting blood, I gagged for the first time. 

And then of course he transmogrified.

So on to Olivia who “finally” had to submit to every psych evaluation and field trial the bureau could think of.
In 1.09 The Dreamscape Charlie asked her if she had talked to Dr. Katz after John Scott appeared to her and she said no because it would leave a mark on her record.
In 1.19 The Road Not Taken Sanford Harris ordered her to get a psych evaluation but of course Olivia didn’t do it.
In 4.07 Wallflower Olivia wondered how Astrid copes with what she sees and Astrid revealed she sees the agency’s shrink. And the psychiatrist she’s talking to now is familiar – at least to us.
Dr. Anderson who also questioned our Olivia when she was trapped over there in 3.01 Olivia.
DOCTOR ANDERSON: “And forgetting all the details of your life... your relationships... the cases you've handled - - that's not a problem for you?”

OLIVIA: “Well, what I meant - - I mean, yes, it's odd, but it's a problem that I can handle.”
2.05 Dream Logic
SAM WEISS: “I guess getting your memory back wasn't your only problem?”
OLIVIA: “Oh, of course I have problems, but... the problems I have I can handle.”

DOCTOR ANDERSON: “David Robert Jones?”
OLIVIA: “Yes, the one who kidnapped me.”
DOCTOR ANDERSON: “You remember that?”
OLIVIA: “Yes.”

Well which kidnapping is she referring to? 
David Robert Jones actually kidnapped her twice. First time was at the end of 1.10 Safe. He wanted to know in 1.11 Bound if Olivia was treated with Cortexiphan. 
And then of course the second time in 4.13 A Better Human Being. That story also carried over to the next episode (4.14 The End Of All Things). Jones wanted to activate Olivia.
Still want to know what Jones wants from Olivia.

DOCTOR ANDERSON: “You have to admit... it's a little weird, what's happened to you.”
OLIVIA: “I work in Fringe Division. Weird i - is a matter of degrees.”

3.01 Olivia
OLIVIA: “I work for the FBI in Fringe Division... dealing with weird and mysterious events that threaten the safety of the United States and its residents.”

Dr. Anderson also asks Olivia if she has told her sister. They are close but don’t talk that often because
OLIVIA: “Life. My job. She moved back to Chicago with my niece Ella so that Ella could be closer to Rachel's ex, who, in my opinion, is a liar and a bastard.”

Olivia always shielded Rachel. For one, she can’t really talk about her job because it would be a felony (1.11 Bound) and she doesn’t want to scare her (2.12 What Lies Below). 

So then Olivia has to go to Broyles for the results.
BROYLES: “Your sister is still married. Rachel is still married. She and her husband have two children -- Ella and a younger brother, Eddie. Doctor Anderson sent over her report. Forty percent of all the information you provided about your life is incorrect, which, as far as the Tenth Floor is concerned, means you are not the Agent they licensed.”

Yeah, I’m confused about that as well. We know Greg wanted a divorce in 1.18 Midnight. We know that Rachel went to Chicago numerous times and then in 3.05 Amber 31422 Projection Peter told Olivia that Rachel moved to Chicago because her husband took a job there. 

Here is a new fact we learn. OLIVIA: “Our grandfather's name was Eddie.”

So Olivia goes home, discouraged. They don’t even want her to consult on cases.
OLIVIA: “Broyles said I should look at it as an overdue vacation. Why would I assume, just because you and I are back together, that everything would be fine? What, the world isn't gonna live up to my every expectation?”

Olivia has always been humble, not even wanting to take credit for the good work she does (i.e. 1.13 The Transformation: “I didn’t do it alone.” 2.14 Jacksonville: “We all did.”)
And I like what she said to Peter. I also like how she talked with Broyles earlier admitting that she doesn’t remember every detail about every case but that she can learn. And I have no doubt she will. 

PETER: “Olivia, a vacation is not such a bad idea. Vermont's beautiful this time of year. I know you don't like skiing, but as long as we got a rug and a fireplace, I think we'll be fine.”
What, no kiss?

Peter gets called to the case and Olivia stays home. How sad.

Peter makes his way to the lab. And of course everyone is concerned about Olivia.
Lincoln is put in charge.

Walter still has all the birthday presents he bought for Peter even though he didn’t live.
The bottle is for his 21st birthday. Yeah Walter we should probably leave that closed. 

2.01 A New Day In The Old Town
WALTER: “Friday is your birthday.”
The episode aired Sep 17, 2009 which was a Thursday so I’m assuming Peter’s birthday is Sep 18th.

I just love the relationships between the characters. For Peter to hug Walter, they've come a long way.

Ok, back to the case.

PETER: “I guess this is like the timeline that I'm from. It stands to reason that some of the exact same cases would take place.”
Yeah, but because you didn't exist, the cases are different?

PETER: “Right, the case on the plane. His name was Marshall Bowman. He was an undercover cop.
He was given a designer virus that was programmed to rewrite his DNA, turn him into some kind of creature.”

That’s what John Scott told Olivia in 1.13 The Transformation when she was in the tank, communicating with him.  
JOHN: "Bowman and Hicks. The truth is, they were and they are government agents. N.S.A., secret task force. And so was I."

Of course we know from our timeline that the plane crashed and Bowman died. But in this case the plane landed and Bowman was alive a little while longer.

Walter interrupts. He got Peter a “HUMP” magazine for his 16th birthday.
Earlier one of the TSA officers said they don’t need permission anymore since Bush 2. 
This picture is from 3.04 Do Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep. 
So the team goes to the airport.
This is what the scene looked like in 1.13 The Transformation.
Peter is questioning Melinda, Bowman’s sister.
She plays a much bigger role than what we thought, I guess. 

Unfortunately she won’t be able to see the remains of her brother even if Peter had the authority. But he shows her a letter/note that her brother wrote.
One part reads: this voyage is exciting and appealing…
Really? From what I've seen “appealing” is not the word I would have used, lol.

Peter shares with Lincoln that when he worked on that case, Bowman had a partner. He can’t remember the name but Olivia might know.
Lincoln suggests calling her. And of course Olivia remembered Daniel Hicks (1.13 The Transformation).
On the way to his house Peter and Lincoln are having a conversation.
PETER: “You want to talk about it, or should we just pretend like we already did?”
That sort of reminded me of Walter and Peter’s conversation from 3.09 Marionette.
LINCOLN: “She's your Olivia. I get it. I mean, I don't really get it... how she can suddenly become this other version of herself. Different circumstances, I might think that you were drugging her... doing something to her, but... I don't know if she told you this, but when I first met her, I'd lost my partner - - Robert. He and his wife, Julie - - they had this incredible relationship. The way she looked at him... Olivia looks at you that same way. So why don't we just leave it at that?”
Poor Lincoln. I hope he finds someone. 

As they get to Hick’s house.
PETER: “What’s she doing here?”
OLIVIA: “You didn't really think I'd stay home, did you?”
You just got to love that smile on her face. Of course she wouldn’t have stayed at home. It’s Olivia we’re talking about. You go girl. 

This whole scene again brought me back to 3.09 Marionette 
WALTER: “Look who's here. Oh, it's good to see you out and about. Peter, look, it's Olivia.”
Of course Lincoln is not so happy because she is not authorized to be there but since they are there, might as well “break in” uh, I mean investigate.

In the house is a lot of medical waste which wasn't part of the original case.

LINCOLN: “Remember you said eventually all this would stop getting strange? In case you were wondering, it still hasn't. You don't remember having that conversation, do you? The night at the diner?”
I’m assuming that’s what Lincoln was talking about, from 4.07 Wallflower
AGENT LEE: “I used to believe just a few months ago that, uh, I understood the world we lived in. I mean, there were basic truths that I thought were... well...true. I used to sleep like a baby. Blissful ignorance.”
OLIVIA: You know, eventually it will just become your life.

OLIVIA: “Sorry.”
It’s strange to see Olivia's blank stare because she can’t remember. Hopefully she can train herself so she will get her photographic memory back.  

And then things happen and Lincoln gets attacked by the beast.

When I saw Lincoln in the lab
I thought Walter was removing a stinger or something just like what happened to Charlie in 1.16 Unleashed.
As Peter inspects Bowman’s body, Olivia finds a tattoo.
Walter comes over to check it out and leaves Lincoln hanging… almost literally.
He’s holding the thread with which Walter is stitching him up. And as Walter says: “Don’t move.”

OLIVIA: “I'm sorry about Hicks' place. I had no idea that he had already become...”
LINCOLN: “'s nothing. Don't worry about it.”
OLIVIA: “But if I hadn't been with you, then you would have called Broyles and asked for backup and... you didn't want to get me in trouble, and now you're injured.”
LINCOLN: “It wasn't your fault.”

Meanwhile Astrid ran the name Olivia gave her. Conrad Etienne Moreau.
In 1.13 The Transformation he was one behind selling the virus. And because of Olivia he was arrested. But in this case he died in a car crash five years ago.

I guess the title of the episode makes sense now: Nothing As It Seems.

Peter knows a guy who could help - one of his “weird connections” although he doesn’t remember them.
Ed Markham.
I like Markham, it’s good to see him back. 

First time we met him was in 1.14 Ability.
He was guessing the books on Olivia’s nightstand and was so wrong. 

Then we saw him again in 2.13 The Bishop Revival. 
Peter wanted to know if Markham remembered who he sold books to that belonged to Walter. 

And this is my favorite from 3.06 6955 kHz. 
He looked so surprised when Fauxlivia said good bye to him. I for sure thought he noticed that this was the wrong Olivia. 

Markham needs some convincing.
PETER: “The lady here is looking for a book called Lake of the Long Sun, by Gene Wolf. Do you know him?”
EDWARD MARKHAM: “Are you kidding me? I worship him. And a girl as beautiful as you who likes Sci-Fi is a girl after my own heart. I'm Ed, by the way.”
OLIVIA: “Olivia. Sorry, taken.”
EDWARD MARKHAM: “All the best ones are.”
Awww! Just look at Peter’s face.

Olivia shows Markham the symbol which has to do with cuneiform
EDWARD MARKHAM: “Are you one of them?”
OLIVIA: “One of who?”
I hope not, whatever they are. 

Meanwhile back at the lab we have Walter and food.
WALTER: “Megif avagin frim dim Tish.”
Which translates to “May I please be excused from the table”. Lincoln is not allowed to because Walter made peanut butter and bacon sandwiches and Lincoln might be infected.
Of course Lincoln wants Walter to do something but Walter can’t cure the intermediate stage.

Again, 1.13 The Transformation comes to mind.  
Walter’s own concoction didn’t work because it would have taken years to reverse engineer an antivirus.

Ed remembered that the symbol means “renewal” or “rebirth”.
EDWARD MARKHAM: “They're [a group] obsessed with the guided evolution of man. They want to create a new species... a better species... mutation by design.”
In the box it says: …feel you are not properly sedated, call 348-844 immediately. Failure to do so may result in prosecution for criminal… evasion.
I don’t know about “a better species” or “mutation by design”. I think I’ll stay as I am.

KATE HICKS: “Oh, baby, you're hurting. This should be the last one.”
I guess this injection gave him wings.

KATE HICKS: “Just think how special you're gonna be... how special we're both gonna be... like Adam and Eve.”
I’ll get back to that.

Back at the lab Olivia, Peter and Astrid are having fun with conspiracy theories.
Just like old time.

WALTER: “I hadn't realized how much I longed for family.”
But of course Lincoln felt left out.
WALTER: “And you too, of course. It's not every day that a perfectly suited chess partner comes along.”
 Anyway, Astrid discovered something.
WALTER: “The file's here: "816tpt618." That's a palindrome... or a palindromic code, to be precise.”
AGENT LEE: “What's that mean?”
WALTER: “Something that reads the same backwards of forwards. Words like "madam" or "boob."”
WALTER: “…years ago, when Belly and I were tripping, we created a way of organizing lab files using only palindromes.”
You can almost see on Peter’s face that he knows what Olivia is going to say next.
OLIVIA: “Walter, are you saying that this information comes from Massive Dynamic?”

So of course they pay Nina a visit.
NINA: “I do recognize the number, but we haven't used this file system for years. After William died, we converted to a more user-friendly one.”
OLIVIA: “Well, maybe it's from a terminated experiment.”
NINA: “We have many projects dealing with the genetic engineering of hybrids. I'll have to run a search. You weren't supposed to be here. Phillip said you were pulled off field duty.”
OLIVIA: “I know, but here I am.’
NINA: “I suppose every version of you is stubborn.” That was my favorite line.

And of course they discover that David Robert Jones was in charge of this project.

Back at the lab Lincoln is devouring only the bacon from the sandwiches.
And of course there is a chess game which shows up once in a while.

Lincoln wants more, so Walter says: “Aphid, could we get Agent Lee some more…”
I did some digging and that’s what I found about the meaning of Aphid. &

Because of the cravings Lincoln has Walter figured it out.
WALTER: “Lipids! Human fat. That's what was in these bags. Most likely vacuumed during liposuction. Fat stores concentrated energy, and energy is necessary for transformation.”
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Their faces are just too precious. I've always admired Anna for her facial expressions. And I have to say Josh is getting better at it as well.

Walter also discovers that the creature gets the fact from plastic-surgery clinics. And Peter asks how they get around without seeing.
Well let’s take a look shall we.
As I said earlier, that last injection must have enabled the creature to grow wings.

Walter mixes a cocktail for Lincoln, wheat grass, penicillin, some mild laxatives and mint to hide the aftertaste.
Olivia had to drink worms in 2.04 Momentum Deferred. 

Ok so back to the case.

ASTRID: “Well, we've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”
WALTER: “Bad.” PETER: “Good.” OLIVIA: “Turns out that Walter was right. There was a robbery at a surgi-center just outside of Allston about ten days ago, and among other things, about half a dozen bags of surgically removed fat were stolen.”
WALTER: “Which is that, good or bad?”
That’s what Olivia asked in 1.13 The Transformation as Walter tried to share news with her. 

Walter developed a rendering program to complete the transformation.
So the building they’re looking for is a high rise.

AGENT LEE: “They're probably closed by now. We should get a move on. At this point, I have no choice. I need to call for reinforcements. I have to inform Broyles.”
PETER: “If you call Broyles, he's gonna know that Olivia was working on the case.”
Lincoln, Olivia is a step ahead of you. 

OLIVIA: “I just spoke to Broyles. He's gonna have backup meet you at the facility. He said he'd deal with me later. So go.”
Nothing but the highest respect, Olivia. 

As Peter and Lincoln go off, Olivia stays back with Walter.
WALTER: “Have we heard anything? I don't know about you, but this tension's killing me.”
This reminded me of 1.11 Bound
WALTER: “It’s all rather tense, isn't it?”

WALTER: “Ho, ho, ho, ho... Oh. Very clever. He's using the sleeping-Indian defense. He saw my Rook about to take his Queen, and he countered with his Knight. So what should I do?”
As Walter talks about sleeping and Knight, the wheels in Olivia’s head are turning again. 
OLIVIA: “Porcupines are nocturnal. They'd be asleep during the day.”

Lincoln called radio silent so Olivia calls Peter to tell him to turn the lights on.
And I guess that was just in the nick of time. Lincoln was able to shoot it. But then he got attacked by Kate Hicks. Peter came to the rescue.
Beauty and the Beast is what came to mind. 

Walter was playing with the birthday gifts for Peter.
PETER: “But there is some bad news. She [Kate Hicks] had absolutely no idea who created the serum. It turns out Bowman was the one who obtained it for them.”
ASTRID: “So, more questions.”
OLIVIA: “Yeah, about a thousand more, starting with, if David Robert Jones is behind this, what's he up to?”
Or as Broyles said it 1.07 In Which We Meet Mr. Jones: “and guess what, you’ll have a million new answers and a million and one new questions”

WALTER: “You mean assuming that creating a flying human-porcupine hybrid was not his end goal.”
OLIVIA: “Yes, and where is he recruiting these people from? And are there more out there? And who would sign up to become one of these things?”

I thought of 1.05 Power Hungry
BROYLES: “Off the grid operations that solicited clients by making the same kinds of claims you see advertised on TV at 3:00 a.m. Only they weren't actually providing weight loss or hair growth.”

WALTER: “'And mankind gains dominion over all he surveys'.”
ASTRID: “Yeah, what does that mean?”
WALTER: “You said that Jones was a megalomaniac, that he has a God complex. Well, the fact that we're here at all, that humanity evolved from slugs in the ocean - - depending on who you talk to - - is either a miracle... or an accident. Maybe Jones is trying to take control of the situation.”

Then Broyles shows up to deal with Olivia.
It was funny how Astrid and Peter hid the toys behind their backs, like they are in trouble too. And how Walter was pointing out the tie. 

OLIVIA: “Look, I'm - - I'm sorry that I disobeyed your orders. I shouldn't have got myself involved in that case. And if I hadn't, then Lincoln would never have been injured. And I get it - - there's a lot that I need to catch up on so, from now on, no matter what, I'm going to listen to what you have to say.”
BROYLES: “Are you done?”
OLIVIA: “Yes.”
BROYLES: “I've been on the phone with the Tenth Floor for the past hour. What we've decided is this... if you're sixty percent of the Olivia I knew, you're still better than ninety percent of the agents I've ever worked with. And a Fringe Division with an Olivia Dunham is better than a Fringe Division without her.”
OLIVIA: “Thank you.”
BROYLES: “Good work today... Agent.”
Yes! Dunhamnator!

Anyway Melinda Bowman found a new person to convince to be children of the new world.
The two of them get locked up. But they are not the only ones.
I did mention 1.16 Unleashed earlier. Looks like the creature made it here too.
And someone else familiar is present as well.
The hook worm from 2.09 Snakehead.
All those creatures are kept on a ship.
There are two porcupine creatures. I’m not sure how many of the others but since this episode dealt again with God’s territory – God having a sense of humor creating porcupines - Adam and Eve – mankind gaining dominion over all he surveys, why not add a gruesome Noah’s ark to that.
That’s what I thought of when I saw the ship.

And as Olivia said what does Jones want if these creature are not his end goal. What implication does have that for Olivia? He clearly wants something from her.

Will we find out soon?

“In the end I have to believe in HOPE”


Briar said...

Great, thanks. I suppose you noticed the set for the take-off of the flying porcupine, with Kate Hicks in his arms, is modelled on the same set in Superman I, when Superman takes off with Lois in his arms? So the visual message is that someone seriously demented is out to make seriously deformed and grotesque superhumans.

Count Screwloose said...

He's not only Superman. He's also quite literally a Bat-Man.

Briar said...

Yes indeed. And batty to boot!

Anonymous said...

I think I sorta may know what Jones is up to.. (hah probably not, but i'll try). Since there has been all this talk and lots of episodes about defying God, creating better human beings, etc.. what if Jones has been trying to replicate Olivia because he is obsessed with perfection? (ie... Resident Evil) But most of them have just been experiments gone wrong? What if his end game is to merge the two universes together to create a "better" universe using Olivia's abilities? Wouldn't that be somethin'... And baby Henry is the key or rather the "chosen" one who will "end the suffering and usher the worthy into heaven"? Ok.. I'm getting a little too out there tonight.. lol...

cortexifan said...

you go for it. I don't think that sounds that far fetched. "Imagine the impossibilities".
I think the end (for this season only I hope)could totally entail a show down between Olivia, Peter and Jones.

Christoph said...

Only problem...Henry doesnt exist anymore...september even pointed that one out...

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