Fringe: The Arrival   Rewatch 
June 18, 2014 11:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Rare - Lens flare! - living arrangements - No sharing - Losses - Olivia - For a fact - Concentration - The Lamb - Dots - Heaven and Earth - Am I mad? - A lot of bald guys - Secrets and questions - Apples, bananas, rhinoceros - Intent to harm - Get in line - Inexplicable things happen every single day - How could I have known? - The walking dead

"What if Walter is right? What if this is just the beginning?"
posted by the man of twists and turns (22 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is the first episode where you can start playing the game "how much about the Observer[s] did the writers have planned?"
posted by 4th number at 8:47 AM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

That's a great question, fun to think about. The glyph code for the pilot episode was 'Observer', and they've been showing up briefly. But I'm tempted to go all meta and think about JJ Abrams moving on from Lost to do this show. I never watched Lost but I do recall a lot of criticism as it progressed that focused on how the writers didn't have a good endgame for the story they were telling. It would make sense that he and his writers would be sure they had a real arc to the story they wanted to tell. Or at least a first arc, that would be fully formed and self-contained but also elastic and creative enough to build upon coherently in later seasons.

I bet they had a lot planned. I'm hopeful like that, anyway.
posted by carsonb at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2014

Yeah. It's fun going back and spotting September's Hitchcockian cameos in the first season, because he's in every single episode. I'm less convinced that they had the full narrative fleshed out. The Observers I thought were a clear reference to the Men in Black of classic UFO folklore. I thought there was a lot of question begging about their origins introduced into the show by the direction the show took in Season 5.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2014

More truthfully, we think the Observers are pick up artists because of their hats.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 7:12 AM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lotsa lens flares!
posted by P.o.B. at 3:22 PM on June 21, 2014

So apparently Broyles can open random locked doors to a roomful of agents sorting through mysterious pictures of a single man.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:29 PM on June 21, 2014

Lotsa lens flares!

I noticed one that had NO PLACE being there whatsoever, coming in right exactly when Peter says 'Olivia' while they're having a heated one-on-one at some point. Also, the building where the Earth suppository is housed for a while is only ever visited at exactly the same time of day by the show. I know this because the sun is in the exact same spot over its roof in both of the establishing shots, firing off the exact same lens flare.
posted by carsonb at 4:42 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lens flare? [Vacant middle distance stare]

I was so busy worrying about the candy I missed that and am going to have to go back and watch it again.

This will be approximately my fifth rewatch of Fringe Season One. I keep finding new things I missed.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 1:37 AM on June 22, 2014

I'm also in the "season five plot arc wasn't planned from day one" camp. But I do think it elegantly revised past meanings from previous seasons. Except for the sinister exclusion from humanity's future of women, African-Americans, Asians or basically anyone who wasn't male and white. I thought that brutal vision of the future was a result of clumsy, thoughtless writing.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 1:45 AM on June 22, 2014

I don't think it was clumsy as much as it was something they pulled out of hat at the last minute, but then again I believe the main theme they were playing around with is the kyriarchy.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:50 AM on June 22, 2014

I agree it was pulled out of a fedora, but I think their handling of gynocide was a bit glib because it was handed to the audience as an afterthought explanation as to why there are no female Observers.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 5:29 AM on June 22, 2014

I'm going to give benefit of the doubt rather than assume they had no idea what the implications of that character could mean.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:41 AM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh I definitely think they didn't think about the implications.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 10:44 AM on June 22, 2014

So, Red Vines watch part two:

2:02 September demonstrates advanced pick up artist moves. That waitress wants him.

6:26 Further improbable exposition on why Peter has to stay in Boston. Can't wait for the train to leave the "Peter is a bad ass drifter" station and never look back.

8:30 Scale version of The Gherkin fails to convince as sinister device

13:18 Lens flare!

18:11 OMG Lincoln's glasses from season three have travelled back in time and landed on Olivia's face!

24:24 Olivia says: "Walter just got picked up" I TOLD YOU SO

I believe the glyphs for this episode spell ROGER. Along with the hats and mid-century timepieces this clearly indicates that in the next episode Don Draper and Gene will team up to pitch Cortexiphan to Lucky Strike.

Red Vines count: 0
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 11:04 AM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Apologies for not really reading the other comments here, because I'm watching this series for the first time and trying to avoid spoilers, but as a Massachusetts native I've been really enjoying the ridiculous geography of this show. Like, Astrid knows about the famous Warehouse District of Stoughton (lol) because she "used to live in Denton" (uh...Ohio?? cuz there ain't one here). At one point, Olivia and Peter are rushing back to Harvard, but it must be the Queens satellite campus, because they definitely a pass an "84 Av" street sign. Et cetera et cetera. Tons of amusing stuff like this.
posted by threeants at 3:23 PM on June 23, 2014

I assume this is how denizens of New York City and Los Angeles feel watching pretty much anything.
posted by threeants at 3:24 PM on June 23, 2014

I visited Boston for the first time last year, just before I started watching Fringe. I'm glad to see that the geographical confusion isn't just in my head.

Similarly, early(ish) NuWho was shot in and around Cardiff, except for a tiny handful of scenes with distinctive London landmarks in the background. Having lived in both cities, watching the Doctor run around "London" was a complete mindfuck, as you'd see him flitting between a handful of totally unconnected Cardiff streets, then turn a corner to arrive, panting, under a London landmark.

Oh, except for the episode set in Cardiff, which was mostly filmed in nearby Swansea.

So apparently Broyles can open random locked doors to a roomful of agents sorting through mysterious pictures of a single man.

I laughed out loud at that scene! It reminded me far too much of Wayne's World, when Garth opens the door to the secret agent training room.
posted by metaBugs at 10:01 AM on June 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

So, this gherkin... it vibrates?
posted by mbrubeck at 8:40 PM on June 28, 2014

it vibrates?

In 1999, there are major extensions to the Jubilee Line and a year or so later out pops The Gherkin.

You decide.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 1:43 PM on June 29, 2014

Astrid very much having none of Walter's sorry-not-sorry.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:53 PM on January 17, 2022

(the entire series just landed on HBO Max, FWIW, which is where we're rewatching it)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:54 PM on January 17, 2022

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