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November 4, 2013

OKAY – spoilers ahead, and the use of the F-bomb.  It’s only once, and it’s not gratuitous, but it’s there because I believe it aptly describes its contextual object to the degree it needs to.  Just want to let you know ahead of time.

Now, the spoilers are kind of old spoilers, but I know there are folks out there who have yet to watch the excellent TV series Fringe.  However, they’re not major spoilers…like, when I encountered the plot and subplots I’m about to get into the first time, I kind of knew what was going to happen – or rather what wasn’t going to happen.

However, what I do aim to discuss gets a little deeper into the stories…so if you want to draw your own conclusions or if you simply want to experience it all for yourself, by all means, turn away.  However, if you wish to continue, I welcome you with open virtual arms.




An image from the episode(s) in question.










Okay – this should be good enough.

The story I’m specifically referencing deals with the season three finale and most of the overarching plot of season four.

In the two part season three finale Peter activates THE MACHINE, believing it’s meant to destroy one of the two universes; he chooses the blue universe because it’s the one he grew up in. 


Flash-forward however many years it was and we go through that whole thing about how the universes are inextricable, how one can’t live without the other, and how now the blue universe is dying because of the annihilation of the red one.  Loved ones die and Walter and Peter figure out a way to save everyone with some clever use of time travel.

Peter returns to the moment of destiny and instead of destroying one universe and saving the other, he bridges the universes, melding them together in a new way; since they had already been thrown out of kilter and the natural bonding was eroding, it took Peter’s unnatural process, his outside intervention to fix it.


And then, after the universes are bridged, ZAP! Where’d Peter go?  It’s as if he never existed!  But then, after a time, he comes back.  No one knows him, but after awhile, they come to know and love him again.

So how is Peter Bishop’s character a messianic figure in Fringe?  And why does it matter?  I’m so glad you asked!

Well, I was just reading from Ephesians this evening and in chapter 2, verses 14-18 the language kind of jumped out at me.  It also helps that I just recently finished rewatching season four, so I kind of have Fringe on the brain (love that show!). 

Talking about Jesus, Paul says:

He Himself is our peace, Who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.  His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which He put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Now, it’s not a perfect illustration – there never really is, but it’s darn close!

Peter makes the two disparate, warring universes one and destroys the barrier between the two.   Instead of ripping crippling holes in the universes when people cross over, all they have to do is “cross the bridge”.  And though it’s not an instantaneous peace between both worlds, they begin to work toward healing – not only the structural integrity of the universes, but personally, between the people.  Olivia and Fauxlivia come to like and respect one another.  Broyles and his counterpart admire and respect one another; and even Walter and Walternate come to be friends by the end of it.

See??  Jesus destroyed the barrier between the two worlds – between the world of the physical world and the spiritual – between the domain of men and the domain of the Divine.  And when we first cross that bridge, we’re not instantly chummy with God – it takes time to build that relationship, it takes time to learn that we can trust Him and even love Him.

No one’s a “professional” Christian right out of the gate; we’re all still stumbling along, trying always to make sense of this thing called grace, struggling between the life we used to live and the life promised to us.  Old habits die hard and none harder than the ones of self-reliance ingrained into our souls since birth.  At times we can easily run headlong into Jesus’ arms; mostly though, we’re timid, nervous…

And then Peter’s disappearance…Jesus was gone for a time, and when He came back He wasn’t instantly recognized by everyone.  It took time for even His own disciples to accept the reality that, “Hey!  Our best friend and leader is back!  And…He’s weirdly awesome in a new way….”

Now, it’s not easy to say, necessarily, that one universe is the Divine and one the Damned, however, after some thought I’ll posit that in this case perhaps the red universe represents God’s world and here’s why: it was pride on behalf of the blue universe that made the first hole between worlds which started the whole mess.  The folks in the red universe had no clue about the blue.  Is the red universe perfect?  Heck, no!  But just as God did nothing to provoke us, the blue universe couldn’t leave well enough alone and messed with the laws of nature as Adam and Eve did when tempted by pride, and thus the need for a savior.

In Fringe’s case, Peter; in reality’s case, Jesus.

Again, it’s not a perfect translation or metaphor, but it’s there and I think it’s awesome whether the writers intended it or not.

So onto the second question: why does it even matter?

Well, the Greatest Story Ever Told is that humanity basically fucked itself but God said, “That’s not going to ruin My plan” and He sent Jesus to die in our place so that the relationship between humanity and Jehovah could be restored.  All, yes, I put forth that all stories to some degree echo from that story – some more than others, some more clearly than others, hence my qualifier of “to some degree.”  Stories of redemption?  How about Christ’s redemption of humanity?  Stories of sacrifice?  How about Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice?  Love stories?  How about a love that crosses all boundaries of reality to be with the beloved?  Stories of betrayal?  Humanity’s stabbing God in the back, spurning His love.  Happy ending stories?  How about living in heaven as a happy ending?  Stories of tragedy?  What greater tragedy than that of sin and its debilitating effects on the human spirit?

So, there it is.  That’s how I see it, I hope you can at least consider it.  You don’t have to follow my line of thinking, but it is another way of looking at things.

In the beginning God spoke, and we’re all echoing back to Him until history catches up and He returns…


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