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Fringe Q&A: Does Gene Ever Get Any Lines?


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#1

the fresh maker

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Posted May 4, 2009 @ 5:26 PM

Does that pasty bald guy really show up in every episode?
Who's the cyborg running Massive Dynamic?
If Olivia and Rachel are sisters, why do they look at each other like they've got a thing goin' on?

Ask all your Fringe questions here.

#2

bookwrm74

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Posted May 4, 2009 @ 5:37 PM

*gratefully hugs fresh maker*

I'm a very new fan and am shocked by how much I loved the two episodes I've seen, as I generally dislike JJ-helmed shows (Lost, Alias etc.) I found the show surprisingly witty, well-written and just generally compelling. Since I've shown my usual lousy timing by coming in towards the end of the season, I do have roughly a zillion question about...well, about what the hell is going on!

In no particular order:

1) I'm not sure exactly what ZFT is or what we're supposed to know about it at this point in the series.

2) I feel like I have a good handle on most of the main characters (and even love the vaguely depressive Olivia, whom I know isn't too popular), but I have no real sense of Peter's character. Other than being 'the skeptical one' who's reluctant to believe and who has Daddy Issues (like every other character on TV, lol!), what is his personality, background etc.?

3) So who is this Observer guy you all kept alluding to in the episode thread?!

4) I tend to be slow on the uptake when it comes to understanding the mythology/season-long arcs even on shows I've seen from the beginning so, as you can imagine, I'm kind of lost here and would appreciate any information you want to share!

5) I know that Walter and Peter are father-son, but I get the feeling they were estranged for a long time? If so, what were the circumstances and how did they end up reconciling?

6) Could I possibly ask MORE annoying newbie questions?!

Edited by bookwrm74, May 4, 2009 @ 5:39 PM.


#3

AimingforYoko

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Posted May 4, 2009 @ 6:30 PM

  • ZFT is a German acronym for Zerstorung durch Fortschritte der Technologie which basically translates to "Destruction by Advancement of Technology." It's kind of the manifesto for the baddies. May or may not have been authored by Walter or the mysterious William Bell. (See ep 14-Ability)
  • Peter is a 190 IQ, short attention-span, kind of shady, smart-aleck con man. There've been hints that he has many contacts in the criminal world. As well as many allusions by Walter that he was used as a guinea pig. There's lots we don't know about Peter.
  • We first met 'The Observer' in Ep. 4 The Arrival. Walter knows him and he always shows up when anything weird goes down. This is the only ep where he interacted with the cast. After that he became kind of a 'Where's Waldo' game. Broyles gave him the moniker.
  • The mytharc started with 'The Pattern'. A series of unexplainable events that Broyles believed someone or many someones were causing on purpose. This has kind of morphed into the 'ZFT' mytharc, where we've identified a particular group, personified so far by Robert David Jones as a group preparing for a war with other dimensions or realities. Olivia seems to be intimately involved with this coming conflict as she was given the drug Cortexiphan as a child, possibly to be a soldier in the war.
  • Walter was committed to a mental hospital for 17 years after one of his experiments killed a lab assistant. But I get the feeling he was 'gone' before that. Olivia needed Walter for her investigations and Peter to be his guardian, since he was Walter's only realtive.
  • Newbies are good, this show needs more viewers, even though it has been renewed for Season 2. Check Hulu to catch up.


#4

the fresh maker

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Posted May 4, 2009 @ 11:39 PM

AimingforYoko gave an excellent rundown. I'll add some more tidbits...

Another name for the Observer is September, although I can't remember where I got that from (Walter?). We know that he can read minds. Walter considers him a friend. When Peter was 13 (I think that's how old he was), Walter was driving in a bad snowstorm and ended up in a frozen pond. The Observer happened to be there and helped Walter save Peter's life. There's been a lot of speculation as to what "saving his life" means. Did the Observer help Walter clone Peter because the original Peter drowned? Did the Observer retrieve a Peter from another dimension when the original Peter drowned?

There are other observers. The opening credits have included the subliminal message "Observers Are Here," and the little boy found in "Inner Child" is also an observer, but we probably know less about him than his older counterpart.

Peter has a lot of gaps in his memory, which leads to speculation about what (or who) he really is. He also confuses left and right sometimes, where he remembers something (like a scar on a G. I. Joe character) being on the left when it's really on the right. does that mean that Peter's from a mirror dimension? We know that he had a a serious illness when he was a child, and Walter developed parts of a time machine to retrieve a doctor from the past who could treat his son (Walter never activated the machine, but ZFT did). Peter has no memory of the illness. Did Peter die of the illness, and was he cloned, leading to the gaps in his memory? Or is he a clone of Walter? Or is he just...Peter? I'm hoping we get more development on Peter's character next season.

William Bell used to be Walter's assistant. Bell went on to found Massive Dynamic. Bell has been often mentioned but MIA since the series started. We now know that Walter and Bell experimented on young children (Nick and Olivia among them) to prepare them for fighting the coming war with enemies from other dimensions (the multiverse).

Edited by the fresh maker, May 4, 2009 @ 11:42 PM.


#5

bookwrm74

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Posted May 5, 2009 @ 6:12 AM

I can't thank you guys enough for the detailed replies. You made me even more enthusiastic about my latest TV obsession...I already pre-ordered the DVDs with money that I don't actually have at the moment! I'm sure that I'll be a frequent visitor here as I happily make my way through the series. (Sadly, unless I'm missing something, the beginning episodes are no longer available on Hulu, so I'll have to wait with my usual lack of patience for the DVDs!)

Edited by bookwrm74, May 5, 2009 @ 6:13 AM.


#6

Miss Caffeine

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Posted May 5, 2009 @ 9:45 PM

Sadly, unless I'm missing something, the beginning episodes are no longer available on Hulu, so I'll have to wait with my usual lack of patience for the DVDs!


I believe they're all still available on the Fox website, if you want to catch up on the whole season.

#7

ronathan

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Posted May 5, 2009 @ 10:36 PM

I believe they're all still available on the Fox website, if you want to catch up on the whole season.


Actually, the FOX website only has episode 8 ("The Equation") up until the most recent one. Episodes 1-7 are no longer up on the site.

#8

MoeBee

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Posted May 6, 2009 @ 9:19 AM

I asked these questions on the episode thread, but I will also ask them here since this thread seems more betterer.

1. When/how did Olivia discover that she was part of the drug experiments when she was a child?

2. Did she know this before she added Walter to her "team"? What was her reaction to Walter when she found out that he was involved?

3. Is it spelled "Gene" or "Jean"?

#9

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Posted May 6, 2009 @ 12:14 PM

3. It's supposed to be Gene because she's there due to bovine Genetic similarities to humans. In reality, most of us spell it whichever way our fingers type most easily. It's also really hard for me to think of Gene as a girl's name (in spite of Gene Tierney).

2. Olivia didn't know anything about any of this before Walter was added to her team. She was the Boston FBI branch's Homeland Security liaison. She defied Broyles about an unusual situation which got her on his radar. By the end of the pilot she had found Peter and gotten Walter out of a mental institution, but she had no idea that any of this might relate to her.

Most of her personal discoveries have happened over the past few episodes, so you should be able to find out most of it at Hulu.

1. The episodes Bound and Ability are still up at Hulu and should help with that question. The earlier episode with Mr. Jones is no longer available.

#10

Unity Blake

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Posted May 6, 2009 @ 8:27 PM

Do we know anything about Olivia's parents other than her dad being stationed in Jacksonville when she was three and her abusive step-father sending her a birthday card once a year? Is her mother or birth father still alive? I get the feeling they're supposed to be dead but was this ever mentioned or made clear?

I'd totally forgotten some of those goodies about Peter, like his memory gaps and confusing left from right, etc. Very cool. Can't wait to see how that plays out!

Edited to delete a question after finding the answer on Fringepedia.. and now I have another one: Is it correct that everything that was "the Pattern" can now be attributed to ZFT and the parallel world "existing in an history slightly ahead of our own" (quoted from Fringepedia)? Like the missing children who showed up ten years later without having aged? The mysterious tsunami, etc?

Edited by Unity Blake, May 6, 2009 @ 9:05 PM.


#11

sze sze que

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Posted May 8, 2009 @ 1:12 PM

Gene will/must have an important role in the Peter/Walter story arc/story line for we older kids...Kelvin Genetics is a classified experimental program. Listed on the Mass Dyan site with Walter being the goto guy there.

#12

the fresh maker

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Posted May 9, 2009 @ 3:53 PM

Is it correct that everything that was "the Pattern" can now be attributed to ZFT and the parallel world "existing in an history slightly ahead of our own" (quoted from Fringepedia)?


I would assume so. Within the Fringe universe itself, there are now theories (the multiverse, alternate realities) and faces (ZFT) to explain the strange events. Using the term "the Pattern" is no longer necessary. On the other hand, I think the show's writers tweaked the idea of "the Pattern" and got a much more focused concept of what the mytharc was. "The Pattern" was ambiguous, and some of the episode's events would seem to be Pattern events, but they weren't included.

I'm trying to remember if any of ZFT's experiments have now been included as part of "the Pattern," but I can't think of any examples. However, ZFT's bio-terrorist attacks closely resemble the contamination/infection of Flight 627.

#13

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Posted Sep 1, 2009 @ 10:38 PM

In one of the earlier eps of S1, at the very end of the ep Peter is singing a lullaby for Walter. We see Walter falling asleep peacefully but then the music gets sort of ominous and we get a brief shot of some kind of hospital room or lab where there are some bodies in incubators(?)... did they ever explain what this shot was about, and I just missed it?

#14

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Posted Sep 2, 2009 @ 1:36 PM

Weren't they Peter clones? I assume this was one of Walter's experiments in his quest to save Peter's life. We know that he created a time machine of sorts to find a doctor and that he used a soft spot in the parallel universe time warp to get OtherDimensionPeter, he could have also cloned Peter (I think there were three of them) to create a cure or transplant for RealPeter. I don't think they ever explained this, maybe it's a story they're saving for a rainy day.

#15

Emma Knightley

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Posted Sep 2, 2009 @ 3:03 PM

Oh wow. I need to rewatch that scene... missed that those were Peters!

Thanks!

#16

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Posted Sep 4, 2009 @ 12:23 PM

I don't think they were supposed to be Peter clones. They were clones for the killer who had to kill to slow down his rapid aging process. His father had made them, not Walter, but a researcher who maybe used to work with Walter (hard to remember exact details).

#17

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Posted Sep 17, 2009 @ 9:46 PM

Ok, so I came in on the second season premiere. I'll catch up on everything else, but this seems to be the place for a newbie to ask.

Why is there a cow? Don't get me wrong, I love that there's a cow. But, um, why?

#18

lidja

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Posted Sep 17, 2009 @ 9:58 PM

Why is there a cow? Don't get me wrong, I love that there's a cow. But, um, why?


The cow's name is Gene, hence the title of this thread. Walter in some episode, I don't remember which (the first maybe?) requests a specific breed of cow because of its similiarities to the human body for experimental purposes. The cow has just stuck around.

Edited by lidja, Sep 17, 2009 @ 9:58 PM.


#19

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Posted Sep 17, 2009 @ 10:01 PM

That's kinda awesome. Thanks for the explanation. Now back to catching up with a season's worth of mythology!

#20

Fishy1

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Posted Sep 18, 2009 @ 10:07 AM

Are we sure the cow is name Gene? Shouldn't it be "Jean" since it's female? Just wondering.....(back to lurk mode...)

#21

Miss Caffeine

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Posted Sep 18, 2009 @ 12:25 PM

Are we sure the cow is name Gene? Shouldn't it be "Jean" since it's female? Just wondering.....(back to lurk mode...)


We're actually not sure how it's spelled, but I'm almost sure given the nature of the show and what the cow was/is being used for that it's supposed to be a play of words between "gene" and "Jean", whichever the spelling is.

#22

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Posted Sep 18, 2009 @ 2:58 PM

Are we sure the cow is name Gene? Shouldn't it be "Jean" since it's female?


Maybe Walter's favorite actress was Gene Tierney.

#23

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Posted Sep 18, 2009 @ 10:57 PM

I wasn't sure - was this the first episode where Gene actually got a speaking line? I guess now they have to pay her...

#24

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Posted Sep 19, 2009 @ 7:20 AM

I wasn't sure - was this the first episode where Gene actually got a speaking line? I guess now they have to pay her...

She had at least one line last season. Can't remember which episode it was, though. It was a reaction "Moo" to something that happened in the lab which surprised her, I think.

#25

AimingforYoko

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Posted Sep 19, 2009 @ 11:17 AM

It was in the ep The Transformation. Walter blew up a papaya.

#26

bookwrm74

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Posted Sep 19, 2009 @ 5:20 PM

I'm slowly but surely catching up and converting others along the way :) A few newbie questions:

1) What exactly is the significance of a 'gylph' on this show or, frankly, on any show?! I'm...confused. I guess what I'm really clumsily trying to confess is that I don't quite grasp what a gylph really is! *bows head in shame*

2) So aside from Gylphs and the weekly appearances by The Observer, what are the other awesomely cool recurring things I should be pausing my newly ordered S1 DVDs to look for?

3) The first season of S2 had me wondering---what stance has the show taken on spirituality, faith etc.? (I find those themes very interesting and feel this is just the sort of show that could incorporate them really skillfully into the paranormal phenomena they confront and the various ethical dilemmas they encounter)

4) For my soon-to-be-officially-converted friend: does she have to see all of last season to fully 'get' these new episodes? Do I?!

Edited by bookwrm74, Sep 19, 2009 @ 5:30 PM.


#27

Fabrisse

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Posted Sep 19, 2009 @ 5:56 PM

The solution to the code is here. So far they've just been individual words, but it's kind of cool. *G*

The Observer seems to me to be more important. He seems to make certain the "right" things happen, but that may just be a personal theory.

I don't think we've had any opinions given on religion.

They all seem to think science can help, but Walter's science is on the border of the plausible and possible.

If she can see all the old episodes, that would be great. My own take is if she starts with "In which we meet Mr. Jones" (episode 7) she'll have all the main points. There are a few between 7 and 20 that she can skip, like "No Brainer," but this really seems to be a series that picks up on throw away lines in one episode to weave a grander theme in a later one.

#28

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Posted Sep 19, 2009 @ 7:26 PM

The solution to the code is here. So far they've just been individual words, but it's kind of cool. *G*


Cool is right...I can see myself wasting many hours geeking out over this stuff! The bad news is that articles like the one to which you linked confirm my suspicion that I may not be smart enough to ever fully appreciate this show!

Speaking of which: I've never seen an episode of Star Trek. Will that interfere with my ability to 'get' certain points or even just jokes made in many of the episodes? I know from reading the threads that the S1 finale (or was it the episode just before the finale...?) had a lot of clever Trek references.

#29

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Posted Sep 19, 2009 @ 7:30 PM

I do not think The Observer makes things happen at all. He is, after all, an observer and so his presence is a portent to the significance of an event. That said, he does open the box to stroke Shrödinger's cat from time to time (e.g., the poignant conversation between Walter and The Observer concerning Peter). And since I dare to mention my brother cat there is the notion that mere observation changes an outcome. So on and on we go...

Not seeing Star Trek should not be a probelm bookwrm74, but there was a healthy dose of The X-Files references in this episode. Just go with it.

#30

Fabrisse

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Posted Sep 19, 2009 @ 7:58 PM

Neither do I.

He seems to make certain the "right" things happen, but that may just be a personal theory.

I should have phrased it better. "He seems to ascertain that the right things happen..."