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Thread: Making sense of the original timeline

  1. #1
    Dabbling In Fringe Science Fringie

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    Default Making sense of the original timeline

    Now that we have a bit more information on the original timeline, we can go back and look at it again and try and figure out exactly what happened.

    What was confirmed in this episode is that the observers are scientists from the future, that they were observing their own history (their own timeline) and September accidentally interfered. We also know that the observers (particularly September) thought that they had fixed the timeline in-timeline. When Henry was born (or conceived), the observers realized that the timeline was only getting more corrupted, and they needed to completely reset the timeline and start over, which they did after Peter activated the machine.

    So what happened? Why were the observers wrong about the original timeline being fixed? We know that Peter was not supposed to cross back over to the redverse; September told this to Walter. Perhaps Peter crossing back over would start an inevitable chain of events that would result in the corruption of the timeline. If we go back before Peter crosses over, there's the period of time when he disappears (Northwest Passage/Brown Betty); the observers are really concerned at this point with Peter's absence (September reporting back that he's still not back yet). Even at this point, things are not going according to plan for the observers. Go back a little further. White Tulip. At the beginning of this episode, Walter writes a note of explanation to Peter. But this timeline is changed, and Walter, at the end of the episode, destroys the note.

    Now imagine that this timeline had not changed. Walter gives Peter the note, and while Peter is upset, he's not so upset as when he comes to the conclusion on his own. As a result, he doesn't travel with Walternate to the other side, and the whole sequence of events that followed doesn't occur. Peter stays in the blueverse, Olivia stays there, their relationship remains relatively straightforward and possibly they have a child.

    But with the events of White Tulip, that never happens. The observers grow increasingly worried, and by Over There, they know that the machine is necessary. So September gives Olivia the drawing of Peter with his eyes smoking. She in turn gives it to Peter and the entire set of events regarding the machine are set in motion. I doubt that the observers introduced the machine as a way to destroy one universe; there are two realistic explanations for the machine: to set this timeline right, or to allow them to completely reset the timeline.

    Most of the events of season 3 seems pretty straightforward now, and all unfolds essentially as the observers plan. The only thing that they need to do is test Walter to make sure that he's ready to let Peter go, which he is. Presumably the observers ensure that, after the machine is used, it will be dismantled, sent back in time, planted by the first peoples, with instructions about the machine left to Sam Weiss. The biggest question about timelines is Sam Weiss saying that the timeline is screwed up. Yet, the First People had left the perfect solution, the fact that Olivia is a crowbar for the machine. This means that while the timeline seemed wrong to Sam Weiss, it was not wrong in the eyes of the First People: they foresaw this as a possibility (though not a certainty).

    So that brings us up to the moment that Peter activated the machine. What happens next in that timeline? Does it cease to exist as soon as the new timeline begins? This doesn't really make sense to me, using the palimsest analogy. Let's say that you're reading a book. Halfway through, you stop, take out another book that is a palimsest of the first book, and begin reading it. What you're reading is something that overwrites the previous story, but if the previous story simply stopped at the instant that you changed books, there would be nothing for this new story to overwrite. Just because you're not reading the story (and may never read that story) doesn't mean it doesn't exist. As well, we know that the future of that timeline exists, because the observers, who can exist at all point along a timeline. For them, there is no distinction between things that occur before the machine is activated and those that occur after. The First People could not exist if the timeline simply ended when the machine was activated.

    Like I said, I don't necessarily think we'll return to the original timeline. But with Peter manifesting, and now Olivia bleeding through in some form, it's clear that there's some sort of connection between the timelines that even the observers don't totally understand.

    So what are your thoughts on the original timeline after what we've seen in the last couple episodes?

  2. #2
    Dabbling In Fringe Science Fringie

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    Looking into you bookreading analogy, convinces me even more that the "old" blue and red timeline is no longer available.
    Think about it. At the end of season 3 Peter left the blue universe we (and he) knew. His been living in this alternate blue universe for quite some time now.
    He is no longer the Peter that left. (new emotions, feelings, thoughts, knowledge etc). So, if he were to go back to our blue universe, he himself, would make new decisions from then on, resulting in yet another blue universe.
    You know what I mean? He stops reading the book at the end of the 3rd season, and when goes back, he doesn't start reading in the same book he was reading. He would start reading yet another book, starting on the same page where he left of. So right up till the moment he left, this new blue universe would be the same as the old one, but from then on, it would be another one

    Which is why I think that if timetravel were possible, going to the past would always result in never beeing able to go back where you came from...

    As for the observers, I'm still not convinced that they are more then mere drones. Has anybody read Insomnia (Stephen King). Sometimes, the observers remind me of the "little white doctors". They have a task, and the abilities to perform that task, but nothing more. I'm still thinking their being controlled or at least supervised by a higher power. Someone (or more) higher on the ladder, you know

    Same remark for the machine. I can't shake the feeling that we're not looking at the bigger picture here. We're beeing mislead by the writers. It is true what you said about season 3. All the manoevering of the observers to get Pater in the machine....
    But why????
    I'm rewatching everything for the third time, and still it is beyond my reach.

  3. #3
    Liaison Fringie djoe's Avatar

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    I think Peter can go back to the point in which he originally reset the timeline and reset it again. However, if it turns out he can do more than that he could create a timeline he likes less than the current one, or worst a Paradox. I hope if they end up using the machine again we get a clearer picture of what happened inside the machine like what was done in the comics(opps I said a dirty word ).
    It's easy to forget that Astrid is the lone normal person working in close quarters with a bunch of weirdos. - Tim Surette

  4. #4
    green, green, green, red! dolemite's Avatar

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    i think if the get official word of cancelation they will do something bold and we get no happy ending. peter will do something w/ the machine and will screw up the timeline even more

    a big wtf moment to go out on, haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toranaga Sama View Post
    Looking into you bookreading analogy, convinces me even more that the "old" blue and red timeline is no longer available.
    Think about it. At the end of season 3 Peter left the blue universe we (and he) knew. His been living in this alternate blue universe for quite some time now.
    He is no longer the Peter that left. (new emotions, feelings, thoughts, knowledge etc). So, if he were to go back to our blue universe, he himself, would make new decisions from then on, resulting in yet another blue universe.
    You know what I mean? He stops reading the book at the end of the 3rd season, and when goes back, he doesn't start reading in the same book he was reading. He would start reading yet another book, starting on the same page where he left of. So right up till the moment he left, this new blue universe would be the same as the old one, but from then on, it would be another one.
    Yeah, I agree, if I understand you correctly. Essentially, you can always create new timelines or move into new timelines as they're being created but you can never return to previous timelines. I think that's very possible. One can move through the layers of timelines essentially the way that we move through time: always in one direction, where our actions shape the next timeline that we move into.

    Which is why I think that if timetravel were possible, going to the past would always result in never beeing able to go back where you came from...
    Of course, if you were really good at not being noticed, or you lived in a universe where butterfly effects were minimal (as I think the fringe universe is), you could travel to any point along the timeline as an observer. But as soon as you disturb that timeline, you've created a new one, as September did.


    As for the observers, I'm still not convinced that they are more then mere drones. Has anybody read Insomnia (Stephen King). Sometimes, the observers remind me of the "little white doctors". They have a task, and the abilities to perform that task, but nothing more. I'm still thinking their being controlled or at least supervised by a higher power. Someone (or more) higher on the ladder, you know

    Same remark for the machine. I can't shake the feeling that we're not looking at the bigger picture here. We're beeing mislead by the writers. It is true what you said about season 3. All the manoevering of the observers to get Pater in the machine....
    But why????
    I'm rewatching everything for the third time, and still it is beyond my reach.
    I haven't read that book, but it sounds plausible to me. This is a bit different, but part of my big theory is that the observers didn't have any assignment other than to strictly observe. But once September interfered, it created a timeline in which their future would not exist. They were separated from their future, don't have any orders, and so to a certain extent they're making it up as they go along, trying to get back to their own future... maybe like drones that have lost contact with their higher authority and were not fully prepared for this situation. If Peter can't get back to his original timeline, that also means the observers can't get back to theirs. The best they can do is start a new timeline that produces pretty much the same future as their original one (which I think is their goal). If they're completely rational, unemotional beings, they shouldn't care that it's a new timeline and is not actually the same. But if they did have emotions, they'd be going through pretty much the same dilemma as Peter.

    And maybe September has already been back to that future, realized it is both is and is not the same, and he's returned to tell Peter either to accept it, or not accept it (depending on whether you interpret his conversation with Peter as saying that Blue Olivia is here in the Amber Universe, or Blue Olivia is still out there somewhere else).

  6. #6
    Cracking the Equation PB's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by dolemite View Post
    i think if the get official word of cancelation they will do something bold and we get no happy ending. peter will do something w/ the machine and will screw up the timeline even more

    a big wtf moment to go out on, haha
    Considering they were prepared to end Season Three with "The Day We Died" without confirmation of renewal and suggest that it would serve as an adequate Series Finale if necessary, I wouldn't put anything past them.

    I think that episode was their "if you screw us out of season four, we're going to screw all the fans" hail mary pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antelocapra View Post
    Yeah, I agree, if I understand you correctly. Essentially, you can always create new timelines or move into new timelines as they're being created but you can never return to previous timelines. I think that's very possible. One can move through the layers of timelines essentially the way that we move through time: always in one direction, where our actions shape the next timeline that we move into.
    That' excactly what I mean

    Quote Originally Posted by antelocapra View Post
    Of course, if you were really good at not being noticed, or you lived in a universe where butterfly effects were minimal (as I think the fringe universe is), you could travel to any point along the timeline as an observer. But as soon as you disturb that timeline, you've created a new one, as September did.
    That is not possible I think. I can't remember which episode it was, but remeber the story: Peter lived (1985), caught a firefly, because he did, a girl a few miles further did'nt catch that firefly and decided to stay out longer. Her worried father took his truck and ran over someone. Just because Peter decided to catch a firefly...
    Chaostheory: even with the best intentions, things WILL change



    Quote Originally Posted by antelocapra View Post
    I haven't read that book, but it sounds plausible to me. This is a bit different, but part of my big theory is that the observers didn't have any assignment other than to strictly observe. But once September interfered, it created a timeline in which their future would not exist. They were separated from their future, don't have any orders, and so to a certain extent they're making it up as they go along, trying to get back to their own future... maybe like drones that have lost contact with their higher authority and were not fully prepared for this situation. If Peter can't get back to his original timeline, that also means the observers can't get back to theirs. The best they can do is start a new timeline that produces pretty much the same future as their original one (which I think is their goal). If they're completely rational, unemotional beings, they shouldn't care that it's a new timeline and is not actually the same. But if they did have emotions, they'd be going through pretty much the same dilemma as Peter.

    And maybe September has already been back to that future, realized it is both is and is not the same, and he's returned to tell Peter either to accept it, or not accept it (depending on whether you interpret his conversation with Peter as saying that Blue Olivia is here in the Amber Universe, or Blue Olivia is still out there somewhere else).
    this explanation I can live with! Pretty logical

  8. #8
    Dabbling In Fringe Science Fringie

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    My theory for the Observers are, they are just scientists. No one is in charge of them (except maybe December being the leader). They simply wanted to see their origins and to do so they time travel. Unfortunately, September changes the timeline that originally brought about the exisitence of the Observers. However, existing in and out of time, they are unaffected by this change. Furthermore, (remember one episode they are coming out of a Back to the Future movie which changing the past changes the future) I speculate that the Observers want to return back to their future, meaning they need to reset the timeline to the timline that brought about their existence.

    To me, that is the only explanation that makes sense given what we have seen thus far.

  9. #9
    "It has arrived!" Joe Curwen's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by 121a View Post
    My theory for the Observers are, they are just scientists. No one is in charge of them (except maybe December being the leader). They simply wanted to see their origins and to do so they time travel. Unfortunately, September changes the timeline that originally brought about the exisitence of the Observers. However, existing in and out of time, they are unaffected by this change. Furthermore, (remember one episode they are coming out of a Back to the Future movie which changing the past changes the future) I speculate that the Observers want to return back to their future, meaning they need to reset the timeline to the timline that brought about their existence.

    To me, that is the only explanation that makes sense given what we have seen thus far.
    Well, no. Given what we've seen so far, this makes no sense.

    That's not to say that the writers won't go this way - they might. But if they do, it is with the understanding that they had to first throw away the rules they've laid out (such as how Peter/Henry disappeared) and replace them with magic (the Observers can violate laws of physics/conservation laws willy-nilly to advance the story). To explain: even if the observers have wonderful technology that allows them to hop around in time and to other universes, we assume that the generations before them didn't. Since you are supposing that these generations wouldn't exist because a change was made to their past, the observers would never have existed to begin with and wouldn't exist to have traveled in time. If you disagree, then you have to say that "the rules" don't apply not only to the observers, but to all the generations before the observers too. Which is fine, I guess, but it is not something that "makes sense", it is just saying you think something magical is part of the story.

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  10. #10
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    My theory (taking theories from previous posts and adding things on my own):

    The two universes were always destined to be linked and cannot exist without the other.

    Without the proper "bridge," the two universes will destroy each other one way or the other. Even if Walternate finds the cure, and Red Peter grows up in Red universe, someone, either under Walternate's DoD or a rogue group like David Robert Jones, will eventually cross the universes and start the deterioration/destruction. The only way to stop the destruction is to have a proper link where forces cancel out each other (the Eye of the Storm a few episodes ago, anyone?).

    The key to stop the destruction is Peter Bishop, who is the only person that can stop DRJ, one way or the other. Blue Olivia is also important because of her qualities and interactions that influenced Peter into a good person and a hero. Peter was going to grow up with a broken family (Walternate had a mistress and Blue Elizabeth died young and Walter wasn't a good father either) and was going to become a bad person as a con artist until he meets Olivia, who with dedication, ethics, and responsibility became Peter's first true friend. The future Walter knows this, so he built the machine with Peter as the operator and Olivia as the fail-safe. It's the only combination that would ensure the survival of the universes.

    In any timeline, the machine would always be built either as a weapon to destroy universes or as a bridge to permanently link them. Peter and Henry are important not because they are the ancestors of the Observers, but because they (and their descendants) are the only people that can use the machine. Only the RedPeter/BlueOlivia Henry would grow up to become a good person not to abuse the machine because only this Henry has a complete family all with good qualities, especially with a kind Walter who knows the consequences of misused science as a grandfather. A Red/Red Henry would be in control of Walternate who is too ambitious and too close to the military to become a weapon one day. It is also worth mentioning that Walter saw his own ambitions as a major flaw early and had William Bell remove parts of his brain that would allow him to become Walternate. Either that or William Bell saw the flaw and decided to remove the parts on his own.

    The Observers' purpose is not to ensure the existence of someone who would become their ancestors. They exist outside of time and can always visit futures where Observers don't exist. Their only purpose was to observe but later becomes to stop the inter-destruction of Red and Blue universes (perhaps because this destruction starts a chain reaction to destroy all other universes). They realized that Peter is important because of the machine and because of him being "Bane of DRJ," but with him and his descendants being a problem such that they can always become "Destroyer of the Universes" by misuse of the machine, the Observers decide to try the one possible solution of erasing Peter after the universes are linked into the Amber Universe.

    A new problem comes in the form of palimpsest: the overwritten Amber Universe has pieces of the original Blue and Red that can bleed through. The Observers think they can just overwrite the bleedings over and over. September alone realized this is not the best solution and decided to put the fate of mankind back in mankind's hands: let Red Peter and Blue Olivia reunite and believe in their characters that they together will make future better and ensure their descendants to never be corrupted into weapons.

    Peter must go home, and Blue Olivia is his home. They complement each other. They support each other. Together they can overcome any problem even villains like DRJ and Newton.
    Last edited by hanchueh; 03-01-2012 at 10:16 PM.

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