Twilight Of The Gods, Emerald Cities, and Other Stray Thoughts From The End Of The World ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Twilight Of The Gods, Emerald Cities, and Other Stray Thoughts From The End Of The World

      Email Post       5/08/2012 02:52:00 PM      

A planet where apes evolved from men? There's got to be an answer.
- Charlton Heston as George Taylor in Planet of the Apes

Yeah, it’s getting close, isn’t it? Apocalypse and all that. Fingers crossed.

William Bell’s endgame now appears to be showing itself as an elaborate scheme to activate the latent powers of Olivia Dunham. Could it be that Bell never had the ability required to put his plan into action and that Olivia is the necessary power source needed to change the face of the world? And does Bell even completely understand the extent of her powers? And why does the nanotech (foreshadowed in Nina's speech in Subject 9) bear the X we've been waiting to see reappear?

Oh, a week from now we're be nodding our heads and saying, "Well, sure, of course, that was obvious the whole time..." But that's not now. So in the meantime...

There’s been a big question revolving around Letters of Transit that many viewers have asked about and I have a small theory about it. See what you think and see if you think it has any far-reaching consequences for what’s currently happening now on FRINGE.

The complaint is this: Hey! What happened to those nice Observers? Making them arrogant and warlike is a real about-face and makes no sense for the characters and I, for one, think this was a real continuity slip! I wish I could give those dull-witted writers a piece of my brain, er, mind! Making these bald-headed, hot sauce loving time travelers into 27th century warlords is, um, very unrealistic!

Point taken.

But it did remind me of another rather classic sci-fi film and I found it interesting that it was keeping company with a lot of other films that were referenced in the episode. Of course, I’m talking about Planet of the Apes.

A shortlist, then, from Transit: Casablanca, Blade Runner, Star Wars, and The Prisoner, minimum.

All of them just happen to have in common the plot point of a rebel or resistance movement attempting to overthrow their masters, which fits nicely into where FRINGE seems to be headed.

Planet of the Apes isn’t a bad fit, either, especially if you consider the wider mythology of the sequels in which we see how apes overthrew their human masters. Ah, but why bring it up at all? Well, here’s the thing, and I will be treading in spoiler territory for a 1968 movie so if you haven’t seen it, all apologies:

The thing I was reminded of was that in Planet of the Apes, the apes were divided into a strict caste system. The gorillas are militaristic; the orangutans (like Dr. Zaius) are involved in law and administration; and the chimpanzees are the intellectual class, such as the scientists Cornelius and Zira. I’m proposing that Observer society is broken down in a similar fashion. It would neatly explain why our friends with the monthly names (who we’ve been informed are scientists) seem so very different from the ones we saw running the show in 2036.

There’s a lot of other interesting things going on too, however, in the intersection (or, perhaps, epicenter) where FRINGE meets Planet of the Apes. So much so that I’m starting to wonder why it hasn’t come up before.

Apes’ main conceit is that after Mankind destroyed itself, evolution pressed on but in a way that would be awfully confusing to someone who’d left the planet for 700 years. The picture asks us how we can tell the humans from the animals if the animals are the ones that talk. Much of the movie’s humor comes from the apes saying things about humans that we’re used to hearing said about animals. It’s precisely the sort of viewpoint we see in FRINGE’s 2036 when Captain Windmark tells Broyles “I like animals.” Taylor’s observation on the meek and mute humans he’s seen – “If this is the best they've got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet.” – certainly mirrors the attitude of The Observers we meet in Transit. So the human/ape relationship in POTA resembles the Observer/Human one on FRINGE, which begs the question: which way is or has evolution gone/going here? It’s a question that I think we might want to bear in mind during the season finale.

Then there’s the matter of 2036’s Ministry Of Science. Lo and behold, in POTA, Dr. Zaius is…the Minister of Science. He was the keeper of a secret too terrible to tell, namely that the world had once been run by men until they destroyed it. In Apes, Oppenheimer’s worst nightmare has come true. If Nina Sharp, therefore, is Dr.Zaius, what secrets might she be keeping and what might be about to happen?

Is it possible that Nina and Broyles (to pick the most likely two) have been through this a number of times before but retained their memories? I keep returning to Nina because I don’t think that FRINGE has given up its structural fun with The Wizard of Oz by a long shot, and it’s The Wicked Witch who’s the worst of its villians. So we may have more to learn about Nina yet.

I’ve read a great many theories lately about what’s going on, but I don’t see very many that take into account the fact that FRINGE wants to provide a certain balance and symmetry in its story. Which means, basically, that one would be well served to look for this story’s end in its beginning. But back to Oz: I don’t think I read one review of Worlds Apart that seemed to link up Bolivia’s rainbow story with the famous song from The Wizard of Oz. And if you don’t think that Bolivia is going to look up into the sky and see a rainbow again by the time this is all over, then I’ve got a bridge to another universe I’d like to sell you. I think previews are fair game (if not, avert your eyes), so I think there might be one more twister that ends up sending everybody over the rainbow. (Olivia’s exhortation to “look up” comes from the end of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, from which FRINGE also borrowed the double cross insignias.)

In fact, Planet of the Apes is sort of The Wizard of Oz in a funny suit. The protagonist goes through the entire film thinking that they’ve traveled so great a distance that they can never return, when the truth is that they haven’t gone anywhere. See how eerily the famous ending speech of Apes reads in light of what’s been happening (and what may happen) on FRINGE:

Oh my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!

And that’s when the camera pulls back to make its big reveal: The Statue of…

Well, that statue that FRINGE decided to make the location of its bridge between the universes. Interesting, no? What’s funny is that FRINGE already did its Apes reveal, sort of, when the camera pulled back to show us the Twin Towers at the end of its first season (and the end of Season Three actually featured the Statue of Liberty!).

But back to Oz.

After the Witch has been dispatched, there’s still the problem of getting Dorothy back over the rainbow. The solution, of course, comes from…

A man in a hot air balloon.

Ok, hear me out.

How incredibly cool would it be if, when things have gone as badly as they can go and there seems to be no way out, Alistair Peck shows up. (Hey, they kept the Nimoy thing quiet. I’m sure they could sneak Peter Weller onto a set!)

Who better, in the middle of a no-holds-barred confrontation about what does or doesn’t constitute God, or how Faith differs from Science than Alistair Peck, the mad scientist who tried to change the world to his own liking and ended up making the line between Reason and Religion indistinguishable?

There is no contradiction between faith and science... true science! – Dr. Zaius.

All he’d have to do is fire up that Faraday Mesh and somehow we’re back in the middle of Peter’s dream, only it’s not a dream: it’s real this time, complete with Walter’s pancakes and Olivia’s kiss. Fade out. It would be a little deus ex machina, I grant you, for Peck to show up and save our little band when the day is seemingly lost. But I’ve seen worse. It certainly beats my personal fantasy of seeing the camera pull back at the end to reveal yet another timeline, one in which the Statue of Liberty resembles… Olivia Dunham (not gonna happen).

Peck’s Faraday Cage made another appearance in this season’s And Those We’ve Left Behind (albeit as “Walter Bishop’s Faraday Harness”!) and I counted at least two Ghostbusters jokes last week. What was the name of that jerky little guy who kept making trouble for everybody? Oh yeah.


Walter Peck.

Which reminds me of one last thing:

If, as Peck told us, Walter Bishop wrote New Frontiers In Genetic Hybridization, then, well…

Who’s really, really running the show? Do we even want to know?

The nanotech is “signed” with the X we saw on Man X’s shirt. But it’s the Bishops, like Walter’s father, that go in for those sort of chemical vanity signatures, as we learned when Walter discovered the seahorse hiding in the carbon chain of Robert Bishop’s toxin.

Why did Jones feel so honored to meet Walter Bishop in Ability?

Who really wrote the ZFT manual?

What if the biggest villain of all is Walter Bishop and he’s forgotten it?

And what if the same man if fated to kill Olivia in every timeline?

A planet where Observers evolved from men? There’s got to be an answer.

As Dr. Zaius said in his final parting shot:

Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.


Zepp said...

I liked what I read written by you, Count Screwloose, regarding their analogies, thoughts and inferences with respect to Fringe and their stories with his angels and demons. I see the scripts Fringe, are very "elastic", fit a new approach, not only from one season to another but also from one episode to another. These stories of “world end” have been around since the beginning of Fringe, this is part of the mythology of it, until I say it's a kind of "driving force" that moves these angels and demons, one over the other, incessantly without winners or losers finals. Fringe seems a kind of imagined lives and facts in an unreality, in vestments of an unreal reality, the concept of a "world end" in Fringe, seems to be something almost trivial, or something that is part of the day to day of those fantastic universes, so that the world has already ended, and the Observers, like Peter stricken spectator. In the movie "Planet of the Apes," we have this masterful “Dantesque” vision of the "Statue of Liberty" tumbled on that beach, yes, but saw it as an allegory to what the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, who would win an overlay or a race over another on this planet. Already in Fringe, somehow we have that too, I see, but its complexity seems to be much larger than in "Planet of the Apes", because besides the time factor, and the "threats" to the human race, we also different universes of environmental degradation and disputes of "copies" of this people in different dimensionalities.

Each time the episodes of Fringe are displayed, most the Observers seem to me to be the effect, trying to control certain causes that create them. For me at least is a little complicated to set some parameters in subjects with linear time, and other with non-linear time, as the Observers who seem to be an entity type, or as a final, apocalyptic, the our human race. It seems that everything went well for the observers, with the passage of time, until the experiments began to occur in Jacksonville, scientists led by Walter Bishop and William Bell. I see that everything that is happening on Fringe now, as the direct cause of the activities arising from these two scientists, no doubt for me.

And the salute of the Bell to Walter: "Hello, old friend," I feel much more closed, than a mere greeting, but as a remembrance, an ancient participatory collusion between the two. But let's wait and see, huh?

Mosaic_Hyde said...

Since Letters of Transit I've had the feeling that the Observers are the future family tree branches of Olivia and Peter and through Peter, Walter (who experimented on himself). When we kept looking for a female Observer it might have been Olivia all this time, with Etta combining the Bishop side to found the future genetic line. It was a no-brainer to juxtapose the powers of the Observers with Etta's and now Olivia's emerging abilities. Time will tell.

Count Screwloose said...

And hey: how cool would it be for a Faraday Cage to show up in an episode with Rebecca Mader?

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