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Thread: 'Walter' plot hole resolved in script + more thoughts on 'September' plot hole

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    On The Fringe.. Imbecile the Observer's Avatar

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    Default 'Walter' plot hole resolved in script + more thoughts on 'September' plot hole

    An explanation for Walter's erasure in the script
    For those who have not looked, the Fringe Season 5 DVD contains among its bonus features the script for 5.13 An Enemy of Fate. As I have often found, scripts may contain additional details which did not make the final cuts. So I investigated the 5.13 script on the DVD to see if it resolved either of the two major plot holes often pointed out in the episode: 1) Why Walter is a paradox and must be deleted from the moment of the Invasion, and 2) Why September is not erased until the moment of the Invasion.

    The script contains some additional lines which resolve #1. During the scene in which Walter explains to Peter that he and Michael will become paradoxes and that nature must erase them because it abhors paradox, Walter elaborates a little further on why he and Michael are paradoxes. According to Walter, by traveling to 2167 and erasing the Observers, they erase the Invasion. And with no Invasion, Walter has no reason to take Michael into the future to erase the Observers. Thus Walter does not travel to 2167, and thus the Observers exist, and thus the Invasion happens, and thus Walter and Michael travel to the future, indefinitely in this loop. So nature resolves this paradox by erasing Walter and Michael from the moment the Invasion does not occur.

    My interpretation of this explanation is that, in Fringe, each individual person has a sort of abstract causal chain of his or her existence. If the Invasion does not occur, then rather than simply causing two Walters to exist, the Walter in the Invasion-erased 2015 would divert his causal chain down a different path from erasing the Invasion in 2167, presumably by happily living out his life with Peter, Olivia, and Etta. This would perhaps "overwrite" his causal chain leading to 2167. Therefore, in order to maintain Walter's causal chain which leads to 2167, nature erases Walter from the moment where it would diverge, which is the moment the Invasion (does not) occur in 2015.

    Slightly off-topic: Peter's erasure
    If I may go slightly off-topic briefly: My view that individuals each have an abstract causal chain of existence may also explain another conflict earlier in the series, Peter's death in 1985 in the Amber Timeline. According to the "Peter and the Machine" comic which is included with the Season 4 DVD, Peter is in a paradoxical loop of using the Machine to destroy the parallel universe and then sending the machine parts back through time so he will bridge the two universes. September refers to him as an "imbalanced equation" if I recall correctly, and that Peter must use the Machine to choose "balance". Thus, Peter must balance out his own existence in order to eliminate the paradoxical loop of his using the Machine to destroy the parallel universe and then sending the Machine back through time to save the two universes only to use it and cause the very reason for which it is sent back through time in the first place.

    However, in 4.05 Novation, Peter states that he became a paradox when September saved his life and that is why he was erased from that moment. So the question is then how to reconcile that revelation with the information from the comic book. My theory of individual persons having abstract causal chains each applies here, I think. From the moment September interferes in the timeline and saves Peter's life, Peter's causal chain leads to the paradoxical loop with the Machine. Therefore, although the paradoxical loop does not itself occur in the moment September saves his life, nonetheless, Peter's causal chain of existence which leads to the paradoxical loop begins at this moment, and thus why Peter is considered a paradox beginning at this moment and had to be erased from it.

    My point in raising the subject of Peter's erasure is to show how my "individual abstract chain" interpretation seems to apply to more than one event in the series' storyline, further strengthening it as the 'correct' interpretation. If it is a concept in a previous instance in the series, then it is more likely that it is the concept in use in the ending as well.

    Implications for the plot hole of September's survival
    Now I am returning to the subject of apparent plot holes in the ending. With #1 evidently resolved, there is still a question as to whether #2 has a resolution. I unfortunately found nothing in the script to explain September's survival up to the moment of the Invasion, though knowing that plot hole #1 has a rationale behind it makes it slightly more likely that plot hole #2 has a rationale behind it as well, as it shows that the writers had thought through the mechanics of time travel erasure better than we had presumed.

    I also wonder if the explanation for Walter's erasure in the 5.13 script and/or my interpretation of it have any implications for why September survived being erased from time. I am uncertain. This will require further analysis, but gives new information to consider.

    A shaky theory which I have crafted
    The resolution to Walter's disappearance led me to think back on how this could perhaps be applied to September in some way. A theory I developed in pastime was that this rule of individuals having abstract causal chains and nature intervening to sustain them in order to prevent paradoxes could be applied to September saving Peter's life. With September intervening in time to save Peter's life, Peter would go on to destroy the two universes before the Observers could come into existence. Although we only witnessed the destruction of the parallel universe, our universe, and with it the Observers' origin, would have inevitably been destroyed in time as well. This would result in a similar paradoxical loop as the one described by Walter with regard to journeying to 2167. For if September saved Peter's life, and Peter erased September's origin, then September could not save Peter's life, and Peter could not erase the Observer's origin, and this loop would repeat indefinitely.

    Whereas nature maintained Walter's causal chain to 2167 by erasing him from the moment where he would have diverged, nature would need to take a different course of action with September since September would be erased in this paradox. Nature would prevent this paradox by maintaining September's causal chain leading to saving Peter's life, which it would need to do by sustaining his existence in this case. So whereas it directly erased Walter in the first instance, it would directly sustain September in this instance.

    Since nature has saved September's existence to prevent this paradox, he could plausibly exist on even after saving Peter's life. Nature has saved his existence, but does not necessarily need to erase it again once he has fulfilled the purpose he needs to. For him to be erased, a new, separate cause to erase his existence would need to arise.

    In my theory, September would thus be immune to changes in the timeline when he travels from the 26th century due to his origin having already been erased and his existence being saved by nature. Thus, even after Peter is erased and the Observers' existence is reestablished in the timeline, September would still have the immunity granted by nature for preventing a paradox. So when the Observers are erased for a second time (by Walter and Michael), September is not erased in 1985 or whenever he first arrived from the future due to the fact that he has not been caused to exist in 1985 and onward by the now-erased origin point in 2167, but rather by nature intervening to save his abstract causal chain. Even if there is no further need to save his causal chain beyond saving Peter's life or when Peter's life is ended in the Amber Timeline, nature has still acted to sustain September's causal chain arriving in the 20th century, and thus whether the 2167 origin point is reestablished or re-erased is irrelevant.

    Any other causal chains tied to September's sustained causal chain would need to be sustained as well, thus everything which I have said extends to the rest of the Observer science team as well as Michael.

    Now, the question is why, on this theory, September and the science team become erased from the moment the Invasion. My theory becomes more contrived, but I shall continue to expound. Perhaps their erasure at this moment is because, since the Invasion is the first moment in time where nature "recognizes" that the Observers' origin point has been erased, this is the first instance in which nature also recognizes that September (along with the science team) must be erased. Even though nature sustained their existence and arrival in the 20th century against the first erasure of their origin point, they are still causally connected to this origin point. So since it is nature's direct intervention that is bringing them into the 20th century now rather than time travel, nature need not recognize their arrival in the 20th century as the first instance of the 2167 origin point having a causal impact on the past. The first instance in which it would recognize it, then, is with the Invasion in 2015.

    So while nature does not erase September's arrival in the 20th century due to having caused this arrival itself through direct sustenance rather than the 2167 causal origin, it still must erase his causal chain if its causal origin is erased. The causal origin of September arriving in the 20th century is nature, but the causal origin of September himself is still the origin point in 2167.

    Nature does not recognize his 20th century arrival as the effect of a 2167 cause. But it does recognize the Invasion as the effect of a 2167 cause, and so this is the first moment in time in which it recognizes that September's causal origin has been erased, and so erases him at this moment, along with the rest of the science team by this same virtue. Nature does not need to sustain science team or the Invasion to prevent a paradox in this instance, rather it only needs to erase Walter and Michael as they are the ones who actually travel through time and erase the Observers' origin rather than September or the Invaders.

    Also, although this will make the theory further contrived and convoluted, I have a little more to add: September's causal chain leading to 2036 and witnessing the Invasion as well as being taken to 2609 (presumably by the other science team members) to be transformed into 'Donald' (and perhaps to tell the commanding Observers of their findings in researching the primitive humans) are not direct causal impacts from the 2167 origin point. Although this origin point would erase the Invaders in 2036 and the reverse-biological-engineering scientists in 2609, this would not necessarily change September or the other science team member's own abstract causal chains which experienced interaction with these entities since nature does not recognize the 2167 origin point's causal impact through time until the moment of the Invasion in 2015. Remember that it is September and the science team, preserved by nature in the 20th century, who traveled forward through time to 2036 and 2609 and came back. The first direct instance of a causal chain from the 2167 origin point impacting the past is in 2015 with the Invasion.

    With that all having been said, I am still very reluctant to adopt this elaborate theory which I have constructed on why September and the science team survive up to the moment of the Invasion. It is a very ad hoc theory which draws much extrapolation from only a few lines of apparently unrelated dialogue. It is also very convoluted and I may have overlooked some crippling flaws in the theory due to this. I still, however, think my interpretation on Walter's erasure in 2015 with regard to abstract causal chains is well-grounded and acceptable.

    In conclusion
    What I would prefer is if the writers, mainly 5.13 writer Joel Wyman, would offer insight into why September survives. Writer David Fury also gave his own explanation after the episode aired, stating that September and Walter are erased from the moment of the Invasion "inexplicably". It is evidently not inexplicable in Walter's case given the overlooked lines of dialogue in the script which did not make the on-screen cut. Fury has also been known to make inaccurate statements about the storyline on other occasions (such as saying mistakenly that September was dead while Season 5 was on air). Have any other writers given, especially Wyman, addressed this issue? Has anyone raised the question to Wyman on Twitter and received any sort of answer?

    There are other problems relating to September's erasure besides what it means for Peter's fate which are often overlooked by viewers who attempt to come up with theories to resolve the plot hole. September's erasure would not just leave Peter in the parallel universe where he would never meet Olivia and have Etta with her. His erasure would also mean that he could not preserve the white tulip from the changes of the original timeline and give it to Walter, so Walter would not be able to send it, as he evidently did in the ending. Furthermore, without September to warn of and plan against the Invasion, Walter would not even plan to sacrifice himself and take Michael to 2167, so he would have no motivation to mail Peter the white tulip even if he had it.

    It is a crippling plot hole which I hope a resolution can be found, for the logic of the ending is at stake, and I find it is such an apparently massive plot hole that it makes my suspension of disbelief for the ending all the more difficult.

  2. #2
    Enduring Memories Omniscient_Jay's Avatar

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    Welcome to the forum, Imbecile! (If I may call you that )

    Seems you have much to say, which is great. Being no stranger to long posts, allow me to dive straight into the deep end.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    An explanation for Walter's erasure in the script
    For those who have not looked, the Fringe Season 5 DVD contains among its bonus features the script for 5.13 An Enemy of Fate. As I have often found, scripts may contain additional details which did not make the final cuts. So I investigated the 5.13 script on the DVD to see if it resolved either of the two major plot holes often pointed out in the episode: 1) Why Walter is a paradox and must be deleted from the moment of the Invasion, and 2) Why September is not erased until the moment of the Invasion.

    The script contains some additional lines which resolve #1. During the scene in which Walter explains to Peter that he and Michael will become paradoxes and that nature must erase them because it abhors paradox, Walter elaborates a little further on why he and Michael are paradoxes. According to Walter, by traveling to 2167 and erasing the Observers, they erase the Invasion. And with no Invasion, Walter has no reason to take Michael into the future to erase the Observers. Thus Walter does not travel to 2167, and thus the Observers exist, and thus the Invasion happens, and thus Walter and Michael travel to the future, indefinitely in this loop. So nature resolves this paradox by erasing Walter and Michael from the moment the Invasion does not occur.

    My interpretation of this explanation is that, in Fringe, each individual person has a sort of abstract causal chain of his or her existence. If the Invasion does not occur, then rather than simply causing two Walters to exist, the Walter in the Invasion-erased 2015 would divert his causal chain down a different path from erasing the Invasion in 2167, presumably by happily living out his life with Peter, Olivia, and Etta. This would perhaps "overwrite" his causal chain leading to 2167. Therefore, in order to maintain Walter's causal chain which leads to 2167, nature erases Walter from the moment where it would diverge, which is the moment the Invasion (does not) occur in 2015.
    I have yet to procure a S5 DVD, despite having S1-S4. Very cool to know that the S5 DVD has the 5.13 script. Is it a read-along feature, where you can flip through the pages onscreen?

    In any case, I'm not actually sure the Walter-Michael "paradox" is something many had problems understanding. I had characterized it as a sort of temporal application of the Pauli Exclusion Principle. Which is to say, no two "present selves" can exist in the timeline simultaneously, much as two particles can't occupy the same eigenstate (space-time coordinates) at the same time***.

    At the Reset Point in 2015, there is the Walter that existed there. But there is also the Walter that now existed in 2167. You can't have two instances of real-time present Walter; Walter either needs to be in 2015 or 2167. Hence, there is an absence of Walter between 2015-2167; because past the 2015 point, Walter is actually in 2167. And so, Walter vanishes at the moment of the Reset Point (and the same effects apply to Michael).

    This was my interpretation of things post-finale. But the new insights you bring are most interesting (which I have highlighted). If you trace things linearly, then there would indeed be a paradox. But how would deleting Michael and Walter at the Reset Point resolve this indefinite cycle?

    If I understand your proposed interpretation correctly, you're saying that this indefinite cycle would create two Walter/Michael chains - one chain in which the Invasion occurs, and they carry out The Plan, and another in which the Invasion doesn't occur, and they live out their lives in 2015 and beyond. But since the ripples in the latter chain (2015) could risk affecting or overwriting the former chain (2167), then "Nature" cuts off the 2015 chain at the Reset Point, since an individual can't have a superposition of causal chains (or, Walter in 2167 can't both be a product of the 2015 and 2167 chains).

    Do I have it right? If so, this is a pretty interesting idea. It differs from my "Temporal Exclusion Principle", since instead of emphasizing coexisting real-time frames of present selves, it emphasizes the paradoxical superposition of causal chains for a single entity.

    It's unfortunate that they had to cut out vital snippets of information; one remaining fault of the finale was, for me, insufficient explanation about the consequences of The Plan. When I get around to procuring the S5 DVD, I will be sure to study the 5.13 Script Featurette closely, to see if any new insights can be gained.


    ***Nina invokes this Principle in 2.04, when she explains what would happen if the membrane between Worlds were to rip apart; the two universes can't occupy the same space at the same time, so one would be annihilated. And this idea is brought up again in S4 (specifically 4.12), where the merging of both worlds would cause mutual destruction via singularity.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    Slightly off-topic: Peter's erasure
    If I may go slightly off-topic briefly: My view that individuals each have an abstract causal chain of existence may also explain another conflict earlier in the series, Peter's death in 1985 in the Amber Timeline. According to the "Peter and the Machine" comic which is included with the Season 4 DVD, Peter is in a paradoxical loop of using the Machine to destroy the parallel universe and then sending the machine parts back through time so he will bridge the two universes (A). September refers to him as an "imbalanced equation" if I recall correctly, and that Peter must use the Machine to choose "balance". Thus, Peter must balance out his own existence in order to eliminate the paradoxical loop of his using the Machine to destroy the parallel universe and then sending the Machine back through time to save the two universes only to use it and cause the very reason for which it is sent back through time in the first place (B).

    However, in 4.05 Novation, Peter states that he became a paradox when September saved his life and that is why he was erased from that moment. So the question is then how to reconcile that revelation with the information from the comic book(C). My theory of individual persons having abstract causal chains each applies here, I think. From the moment September interferes in the timeline and saves Peter's life, Peter's causal chain leads to the paradoxical loop with the Machine. Therefore, although the paradoxical loop does not itself occur in the moment September saves his life, nonetheless, Peter's causal chain of existence which leads to the paradoxical loop begins at this moment, and thus why Peter is considered a paradox beginning at this moment and had to be erased from it.

    My point in raising the subject of Peter's erasure is to show how my "individual abstract chain" interpretation seems to apply to more than one event in the series' storyline, further strengthening it as the 'correct' interpretation. If it is a concept in a previous instance in the series, then it is more likely that it is the concept in use in the ending as well.
    Incidentally, I have recently tackled the S3-S4 transition once again in a new thread, in which I attempt to cover Peter's erasure, the Loop, the Rewrite, the Machine, and the Science Team. I have discussed this topic with many others over the seasons, modifying and refining my thoughts, and this most recent interpretation represents a different way to think about the sequence. I invite you to check it out, when you have the time.

    In any case, onto your reply:

    A - In the Loop, there is a superposition of outcomes at the 2011, since everything is happening at the same time within the Loop. In 2011, Peter is destroying the Red World and creating the Bridge at the same time. And the Creation outcome is causally dependent on the Destruction outcome, since it is the Destruction outcome:

    --Supplies the Machine in 2011 (since part of its history takes place in the 2026 future);
    --During which the Peter and the Machine comics storyline takes place, and whose events are pivotal in bringing about the Creation outcome);
    --The Destruction outcome has to exist for Peter to experience that future, which will end up contributing to his decision for Creation.

    So long as the Creation outcome exists, the Destruction outcome exists alongside it. It is only in the Rewrite that the Superposition collapses, and we return to a linear, non-looped timeline (i.e. S4 history).

    The paradox is that all entities bound to the Loop are slaves to predestination. No matter what "choice" they make, it will have been the choice they made anyway. This is exemplified in episode 3.22, where Walter explains that he has to send the Machine back in time, since it is this act that allowed the 2026 future to exist in the first place.

    In short, the key to understanding the Loop is to understand the concept of simultaneity and superposition.

    B - The Science Team had planned on influencing Peter to use the Machine in ways that benefited them. This was the purpose of September's visit to 2026 Peter in the comics. He told Peter two things. To ensure mutual stability between Worlds, a "Bridge" would need to be formed. And Peter is the variable out of place in the equation; September's mistake in 1985 set into motion a sequence of events that brought about this destructive loop, whose existence is contingent on Peter.

    Thus, if Peter removes himself from the equation, the loop cannot subsist, and so would collapse. 2026 Peter relays this information to 2011 Peter, who proceeds to carry out these dual directives.

    C - September's action VS inaction at Reiden is the center of Rewrite, since it is through September that Red Peter survives the Zero Event. As for why September was the crux of Erasure, I'll go ahead and condense my new theory below.

    In my new theory, the Machine needed to find a compromise between Peter's two directives - ensure that the Bridge is created in 2011, and remove Peter from the equation of history.

    The Machine's components and its internal memory are not affected by changes in time. But the Machine cannot build itself. In the Rewrite, the pieces remain buried in the same locations, complete with the Number Signals. And in 2011, the Machine's "Bridge formation and maintenance subroutine" would activate, since the command would be carried over. But if the Machine is not assembled, this will amount to nothing.

    Inter-world conflict was therefore still necessary for the Machine arms-race to unfold. But the Machine also had to minimize the active influence Peter had on the proceedings. The Reiden Lake Zero Event, therefore, was a prime candidate for erasure. The inter-world conflict was sparked by two elements; Walter crossing over set into motion the decay of the Red World, and the kidnapping of Red Peter planted the seeds of Walternate's retaliation. So long as these two elements remain in play, then it doesn't matter if Red Peter survives the crossover back to the Blue World, since it is the kidnapping that drew Walternate's ire.

    The Machine therefore examined what caused Red Peter to survive, and found it to be September's intervention. But in order for the Zero Event to occur, September's mistake still had to happen, since it was that event that spurred Walter into crossing over. This is why September's mistake still remained in the Rewritten Timeline, and why September did not save Red Peter (since the Machine "edited" September's actions at that point in time).

    Since Red Peter died as a child, his adult self in 2011 has no causal justification to be there. All Peter instances between 1985 and 2011 therefore cease to exist, and history reconfigures to account for this absence. But in this reconfiguration, the Machine must influence events so that both versions of the Machine still end up at Liberty Island by 2011, so that when the Bridge directive kicks in, both Machines merge into one and maintain the Bridge at the Island. This is the cause for why, despite the opposite initial conditions (i.e. Peter living VS Peter dying), history ends up in a near-identical place by 2011 than it had during the Loop.

    This is as brief an encapsulation of my theory as I can make, and it glosses over some significant details. For more, visit the thread to which I linked earlier.

    But basically, there is no contradiction at play here. September's mistake at Walternate's Lab jeopardized Red Peter's survival, since he set into motion the Zero Event. The Science Team could not undo that mistake of their own power (or else they simply would have), so a course-correction measure was needed. This led to September intervening in the Zero Event, ensuring Red Peter's survival.

    But as September recounted in 3.10 and 4.14, this led to a chain of events that even the Science Team couldn't contain, and the straw that broke the camel's back was Henry Dunham, whose genetic information kicked off the inter-Machine sequence of 3.20-3.22, thereby securing the Loop.

    The Science Team wanted to both undo the Loop, and to ensure that the Worlds remain stable. Hence the idea of the Bridge and of Peter erasing himself from history, seeds that September plants in 2026 Peter's mind during the comic storyline. The Machine ended up calculating that September's intervention at Reiden was the sweetspot to maximize the success of these two directives, and so September's intervention was undone.

    You might then ask why or how September himself was not altered or rewritten, if the Machine edited a point in September's causal chain. I have yet to formulate a succinct or elegant answer, but if we assume that Peter's choices were originally designed and calculate by the Science Team, then it is reasonable to suspect that they would know that September's Reiden instance would be affected, leading them to prepare for this inevitability beforehand (see my thread for more on this topic).

    In all, your causal chain approaches seems to be the case. September set into motion a chain of events that led to the Loop, and Peter, being the key to the Loop's continuance, had to be removed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    Implications for the plot hole of September's survival
    Now I am returning to the subject of apparent plot holes in the ending. With #1 evidently resolved, there is still a question as to whether #2 has a resolution. I unfortunately found nothing in the script to explain September's survival up to the moment of the Invasion, though knowing that plot hole #1 has a rationale behind it makes it slightly more likely that plot hole #2 has a rationale behind it as well, as it shows that the writers had thought through the mechanics of time travel erasure better than we had presumed.

    I also wonder if the explanation for Walter's erasure in the 5.13 script and/or my interpretation of it have any implications for why September survived being erased from time. I am uncertain. This will require further analysis, but gives new information to consider.
    The #2 problem concerns why September was not "deleted" at the moment of the Reset Point, yes? Or do you mean why September, as an Observer, was not erased from time alongside every other Observer at the moment of the Reset?

    This ties into the gap that I have perceived in the Reset. The Plan's aim was to alter the causal Origin Point of the entire Observer species; thus, at the moment of Reset, all Observers (Invaders, Future HQers, Science Team members) and their instances throughout time (both before and after the Reset Point) would be undone, and history would reconfigure to account for this absence.

    We see this in effect for the Invasion; if the species that begot the Invaders never comes to exists, the Invaders themselves never come to exist, and so they cannot carry out the Invasion (which we see onscreen at the end of 5.13).

    And yet, the White Tulip letter still exists, which Peter finds at the house after the Reset Point. The existence of the Tulip also implies that Walter's accompanying Farewell Tape still exists - that is, the tape that Walter left behind at the Lab prior to the Reset Point, which explains the reason for Walter's sudden disappearance.

    Both of these things require September, since they are the product of September and Walter's work on The Plan, which in turn is a response to September's knowledge of the coming Invasion. But this knowledge only comes to him over the course of his non-linear journey in S4. Which therefore means that the S4 timeline has to happen to lead to the White Tulip being received by Peter post-Reset.

    And the S4 timeline was shaped in significant ways not only by September, but by the Science Team as a whole (see 4.01, 4.08, 4.10, 4.11, 4.14, 4.15, 4.22). But the Science Team are Observers, so The Plan should apply to them as well. So how can the Science Team still exist post-Reset? Why were they exempt from the Reset, and not the Invaders and Future HQers?

    This contradiction is the apparent fatal flaw in the Reset. There was no explanation for how or why the Science Team had immunity to The Plan, and since the end scene of 5.13 was identical to the pre-Reset version seen in 5.01 (up until Etta does in fact reach Peter's arms), there is reason to assume that S4 history still exists, leading straight into the Reset Point.

    Your notes on the excised information from the final script may change the way the problem is framed, and perhaps a solution can be found. I imagine that this is the topic of the next section, so let's take a look.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    A shaky theory which I have crafted
    The resolution to Walter's disappearance led me to think back on how this could perhaps be applied to September in some way. A theory I developed in pastime was that this rule of individuals having abstract causal chains and nature intervening to sustain them in order to prevent paradoxes could be applied to September saving Peter's life. With September intervening in time to save Peter's life, Peter would go on to destroy the two universes before the Observers could come into existence. Although we only witnessed the destruction of the parallel universe, our universe, and with it the Observers' origin, would have inevitably been destroyed in time as well. This would result in a similar paradoxical loop as the one described by Walter with regard to journeying to 2167. For if September saved Peter's life, and Peter erased September's origin, then September could not save Peter's life, and Peter could not erase the Observer's origin, and this loop would repeat indefinitely.
    Since the Invasion happened in 2015, it would presumably overwrite the 2167 Origin Point, thereby undoing the existence of Observerkind. And yet, we see that the Observer Origin Outcome (O3) still exists "somewhere" out there (see 5.11-5.12). This implies that either the Observers have "shielded" the 2167 point from preceding temporal ripples, or that the Observer timeline exists on a different track, so that the Loop's existence was not actually a threat to it (though it may have ended up being one, if left unresolved for too long).

    As a result of all this, I'm not sure your thoughts apply. But if the Loop was a threat to the O3, then your line of reasoning would apply.

    In your view, "where" does the O3 exist, relative to the timelines in which the bulk of the story takes place (Loop, Rewritten Timeline, Invasion Outcome, etc.)? I think you'd need to address this before you begin tackling the relationship between the Loop and the O3.

    But for the sake of your theory, I'll grant your line of reasoning for the time being.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    Whereas nature maintained Walter's causal chain to 2167 by erasing him from the moment where he would have diverged, nature would need to take a different course of action with September since September would be erased in this paradox. Nature would prevent this paradox by maintaining September's causal chain leading to saving Peter's life, which it would need to do by sustaining his existence in this case. So whereas it directly erased Walter in the first instance, it would directly sustain September in this instance.

    Since nature has saved September's existence to prevent this paradox, he could plausibly exist on even after saving Peter's life. Nature has saved his existence, but does not necessarily need to erase it again once he has fulfilled the purpose he needs to. For him to be erased, a new, separate cause to erase his existence would need to arise.
    So "Nature" granted causal immunity to September, so that he was no longer causally "anchored" to the 2167 Origin Point? And this, because of the paradox involving September saving Peter (which brings about the Loop, threatening the Origin Point), and the Origin Point being necessary for September to save Peter in the first place?

    This is a pretty trippy idea. September would be stuck in a loop in which he inadvertently engineered the destruction of his own species (and therefore, himself). In other words, the existence of the Observers (or September) is necessary to causally justify the inexistence of the Observers (and September). Paradox indeed.

    Emancipating September from his own causal anchor would resolve the paradox. But what about the rest of the Science Team, and the Observers at large? Is it that we have an infinite paradoxical cycle, which September can now resolve through causal immunity (and through his efforts, the Loop is undone, therefore allowing the Observers to exist after all)?


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    In my theory, September would thus be immune to changes in the timeline when he travels from the 26th century due to his origin having already been erased and his existence being saved by nature. Thus, even after Peter is erased and the Observers' existence is reestablished in the timeline, September would still have the immunity granted by nature for preventing a paradox. So when the Observers are erased for a second time (by Walter and Michael), September is not erased in 1985 or whenever he first arrived from the future due to the fact that he has not been caused to exist in 1985 and onward by the now-erased origin point in 2167, but rather by nature intervening to save his abstract causal chain. Even if there is no further need to save his causal chain beyond saving Peter's life or when Peter's life is ended in the Amber Timeline, nature has still acted to sustain September's causal chain arriving in the 20th century, and thus whether the 2167 origin point is reestablished or re-erased is irrelevant.

    Any other causal chains tied to September's sustained causal chain would need to be sustained as well, thus everything which I have said extends to the rest of the Observer science team as well as Michael.
    Ah, so that answers my question about the Science Team. Thus, they would remain causally independent, allowing them to resolve the Loop and ensure the survival of their future species.

    Another question arises. Is the 2167-2609 segment of time that exists after the Loop is resolved identical to the one that existed before the Science Team first began to travel in time?

    If the paradox encompasses September's entire causal chain from the moment he left the 26th-27th Century, up to the point where he rescues Peter, then I can accept that the causal immunity effect would kick in the moment September first entered non-linear existence (since, as you say, this is a giant predestination loop, so September's causal anchor to 2167 has already been severed by the actions of his future self).

    The role that Nature takes in all this also seems in line with Fringe's conception of Nature - that is, a system which seeks balance over imbalance. We can consider this causal immunity effect, therefore, to be an extension of Time Abhors A Paradox.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    Now, the question is why, on this theory, September and the science team become erased from the moment the Invasion. My theory becomes more contrived, but I shall continue to expound. Perhaps their erasure at this moment is because, since the Invasion is the first moment in time where nature "recognizes" that the Observers' origin point has been erased, this is the first instance in which nature also recognizes that September (along with the science team) must be erased. Even though nature sustained their existence and arrival in the 20th century against the first erasure of their origin point, they are still causally connected to this origin point. So since it is nature's direct intervention that is bringing them into the 20th century now rather than time travel, nature need not recognize their arrival in the 20th century as the first instance of the 2167 origin point having a causal impact on the past. The first instance in which it would recognize it, then, is with the Invasion in 2015.

    So while nature does not erase September's arrival in the 20th century due to having caused this arrival itself through direct sustenance rather than the 2167 causal origin, it still must erase his causal chain if its causal origin is erased. The causal origin of September arriving in the 20th century is nature, but the causal origin of September himself is still the origin point in 2167.

    Nature does not recognize his 20th century arrival as the effect of a 2167 cause. But it does recognize the Invasion as the effect of a 2167 cause, and so this is the first moment in time in which it recognizes that September's causal origin has been erased, and so erases him at this moment, along with the rest of the science team by this same virtue. Nature does not need to sustain science team or the Invasion to prevent a paradox in this instance, rather it only needs to erase Walter and Michael as they are the ones who actually travel through time and erase the Observers' origin rather than September or the Invaders.
    In other words, Nature does not recognize the causal "footprint" of the Science Team, since they have been removed from the "equation" due to the earlier Peter-Loop paradox. But the Invaders, being causally anchored to the (restored) 2167 point, do have a causal footprint, so Nature recognizes the 2015 Invasion Point as the "earliest" moment of Observer temporal incursion. Thus, when the Reset kicks in, Nature responds by wiping away all Observer instances from the Invasion Point onward (save Michael, who has been causally emancipated alongside Walter due to another paradox).

    I can again see this working. I had raised some possible problematic obstacles, and had written out a handful of paragraphs, but I see that you address the point in the next section. Such as the pitfalls of responding to a post linearly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    Also, although this will make the theory further contrived and convoluted, I have a little more to add: September's causal chain leading to 2036 and witnessing the Invasion as well as being taken to 2609 (presumably by the other science team members) to be transformed into 'Donald' (and perhaps to tell the commanding Observers of their findings in researching the primitive humans) are not direct causal impacts from the 2167 origin point. Although this origin point would erase the Invaders in 2036 and the reverse-biological-engineering scientists in 2609, this would not necessarily change September or the other science team member's own abstract causal chains which experienced interaction with these entities since nature does not recognize the 2167 origin point's causal impact through time until the moment of the Invasion in 2015. Remember that it is September and the science team, preserved by nature in the 20th century, who traveled forward through time to 2036 and 2609 and came back. The first direct instance of a causal chain from the 2167 origin point impacting the past is in 2015 with the Invasion.
    As said above, I had raised the possible issues of September's Futureward Journey (+Beacons) made during S4, and September's Biological Reversion.

    In the now-excised paragraphs I wrote on the subjects, I had proposed the concept of "causal gaps" in a chain as a potential solution.

    Take September's Futureward Journey. We can assume that there are September's "past instances", which existed before he crossed the 2015 point; the "interim instances", in which September is found beyond the 2015 point; and the "future instances", in which September crosses the 2015 point back to the past now that his journey was done.

    The causal gap concept was that the interim instances were deleted, but the future instances retained the memories of the experiences undergone during the interim instances. And we could even push things further by supposing that changes to September himself undergone during the interim instances are preserved in the future instances.

    Consider the Biological Reversion scenario. Past September is apprehended by Science Team members; Interim September is brought to Future HQ and undergoes Biological Reversion; Future September (now a human) is brought back pre-Invasion Point and left stranded in linear time.

    The physical instances of Interim September would be deleted, but Future September (i.e. post-Reversion) would still exist prior to the 2015 point.

    All of this to say that my causal gap idea seems similar to your "abstract causal chain impressions" trains of thought. This conjecture requires that the Reversion happen post-Invasion Point, and that the Science Team be the ones to ferry September to and from the Future.

    I will ask for your thoughts on the Beacon. During September's Futureward Journey (between his chronological appearances in 4.22 and 4.08), September had acquired a Beacon, which he planted in the 4.14-4.15 timeframe as part of his contingency plan in the event that he is captured and exiled by his colleagues. So where does the Beacon come from? If it comes from Future HQ, then how can it exist pre-2015? Are we to suppose that Beacons have causal immunity by virtue of their construction or design? Even if the Beacon were taken from a cache that was located somewhere pre-2015, the Beacon would have had to have been built originally in the Future.

    So yeah. I'd be interested in your views on where September's "Escape Beacon" came from in the context of this theory.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    With that all having been said, I am still very reluctant to adopt this elaborate theory which I have constructed on why September and the science team survive up to the moment of the Invasion. It is a very ad hoc theory which draws much extrapolation from only a few lines of apparently unrelated dialogue. It is also very convoluted and I may have overlooked some crippling flaws in the theory due to this. I still, however, think my interpretation on Walter's erasure in 2015 with regard to abstract causal chains is well-grounded and acceptable.
    Your theory does have basis in canon information (script cuts from Wyman himself), so that's already a plus. And I think that despite the convoluted nature of the theory, you may have something here. Perhaps the convolution is only because you have yet to condense the theory's contents into a simple/basic/elegant form. In other words, if you were to simplify all of this, perhaps the theory would look more feasible.

    As one who has proposed an array of theories in the past, I can understand how you would be tentative to stand by this theory, since it is in a rough, unpolished form. But that's why you have theory junkies such as myself (and other intelligent users in the community) to peer-review your thoughts.

    So assuming that I have understood all of this, I think that in itself (i.e. regardless of supporting evidence in and out of show), this causal immunity paradox resolution theory is surprisingly coherent. I'll chew on it some more and add any new observations to this thread.

    The fact that your theory does have internal consistency is a bit exciting, since I too have found the apparent plot hole in the Reset to be an unfortunate detriment to the show, and drags down the quality of the series finale sequence. So to have an actual explanation would be fantastic indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    In conclusion
    What I would prefer is if the writers, mainly 5.13 writer Joel Wyman, would offer insight into why September survives. Writer David Fury also gave his own explanation after the episode aired, stating that September and Walter are erased from the moment of the Invasion "inexplicably". It is evidently not inexplicable in Walter's case given the overlooked lines of dialogue in the script which did not make the on-screen cut. Fury has also been known to make inaccurate statements about the storyline on other occasions (such as saying mistakenly that September was dead while Season 5 was on air). Have any other writers given, especially Wyman, addressed this issue? Has anyone raised the question to Wyman on Twitter and received any sort of answer?
    In the months since the finale, no new significant information has been released on the logistics of the Reset (except the S5 script featurette, which I was not aware of). As a result, I have abandonned the active pursuit for a coherent solution after only a month after the finale.

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    There are other problems relating to September's erasure besides what it means for Peter's fate which are often overlooked by viewers who attempt to come up with theories to resolve the plot hole. September's erasure would not just leave Peter in the parallel universe where he would never meet Olivia and have Etta with her. His erasure would also mean that he could not preserve the white tulip from the changes of the original timeline and give it to Walter, so Walter would not be able to send it, as he evidently did in the ending. Furthermore, without September to warn of and plan against the Invasion, Walter would not even plan to sacrifice himself and take Michael to 2167, so he would have no motivation to mail Peter the white tulip even if he had it.

    It is a crippling plot hole which I hope a resolution can be found, for the logic of the ending is at stake, and I find it is such an apparently massive plot hole that it makes my suspension of disbelief for the ending all the more difficult.
    That's the gist of it.

    A handful of different models emerged to try and resolve the S4 Timeline-Science Team Immunity paradox, but they were either highly convoluted and implausible, or plausible, yet dissatisfactory. None of these models had addressed the aforementioned paradox in a comprehensive way, which is why I didn't adopt any for myself.

    Well, as I said before, if my understanding of your theory is correct, then I'd say that it has potential. I would recommend trying to polish the theory and work out the kinks if possible; in the meanwhile, I'll ponder on these ideas further, and see if they are compatible with existing theories that I have adopted.

    Many thanks for your excellent inaugural post; it was a pleasure to read.

  3. #3
    On The Fringe.. Imbecile the Observer's Avatar

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    I apologize for my late response. While it has been nearly 4 years for you, it has only been 4 days for me. In that time, I have analyzed this problem further, and I believe I have come to understand the writers' intended mechanics of the 2015 reset, discarding the convoluted theory I had previously proposed in this topic.

    My new understanding is based on the time travel mechanics illuminated in the 5.13 Script regarding the 'Walter' paradox. As revealed before, the Invaders and Walter are caught in an infinitely cycling chain of causality. The Invasion causes Walter to go to 2167, which in turn erases the Observers from history, which in turn erases the Invasion, which in eliminates the causal catalyst for Walter to go to 2167 in the first place, and thus the Observers come into being, and thus the Invasion occurs, and thus Walter time travels forward, and so on it goes. The Script Featurette reveals that this paradox is corrected by deleting Walter from the moment of the Invasion. Thus ensuring that his personal causal chain is not overwritten by a new chain of experiences in the Post-2015 Reset Timeline, sustaining his existence into 2167.

    From this, I have further extrapolated my understanding of why the Observers were not erased prior to 2015. The writing for the 'Walter' paradox assumes mechanistically that the Invasion is the chronological catalyst of the causal chain of events leading to Walter erasing the Observers. For this is why Walter must be erased from the moment of the Invasion, for erasure of the Invasion would veer Walter from his causal path to 2167. Therefore it is ultimately the Invasion that resets the timeline, as it sets into motion the chain of events that leads Walter to erasing the Observers from history. Therefore, erasing the Observers' future origins does not erase them from all of time, as is often assumed. They are only erased from the moment time is reset. And as we have learned from the 'Walter' paradox, it is not Walter traveling through time that is the original catalyst of the reset. Rather, Walter's act is one of the last stages of the rewrite. It is originally the Invasion that has written the timeline that culminates in the Observers' erasure.

    Thus, Joel Wyman's intended mechanics for the final reset is simple. The Invasion effectively and ultimately erases itself from time. It is from this moment that time began to be rewritten, chronologically. The rewrite thus begins with the rewrite; nothing will be rewritten prior, for the rewrite cannot preexist itself. Hence, September still intervened in Walternate's lab, Peter came to the Blue Universe, September preserved the White Tulip for Walter, and ultimately time is reset from the moment of the Invasion in 2015, erasing Walter and September from that moment.
    I am called Imbecile but that is a code designation

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    Chasing Electro Guy

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    Default 'Walter' plot hole resolved in script + more thoughts on 'September' plot hole

    Hi Imbecile the Observer. Welcome back!

    I agree with you on this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbecile the Observer View Post
    My interpretation of this explanation is that, in Fringe, each individual person has a sort of abstract causal chain of his or her existence. If the Invasion does not occur, then rather than simply causing two Walters to exist, the Walter in the Invasion-erased 2015 would divert his causal chain down a different path from erasing the Invasion in 2167, presumably by happily living out his life with Peter, Olivia, and Etta. This would perhaps "overwrite" his causal chain leading to 2167. Therefore, in order to maintain Walter's causal chain which leads to 2167, nature erases Walter from the moment where it would diverge, which is the moment the Invasion (does not) occur in 2015.
    This is probably the point whereabouts "Fringe" would pick back up if it ever would return as a television series or a movie.

    If you wish to get my take on the Reset, please read "Future FRINGE stories to be told" in the General Discussion forum.

    Ironhorse.

    http://fringe-forum.com/forums/showthread.php?16354-Future-FRINGE-stories-to-be-told&p=386767&highlight=2609#post386767
    Last edited by Ironhorse; 09-23-2017 at 03:33 PM.

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