“Think back twenty years. Imagine yourself then imagining yourself now, twenty years into the future. In your wildest imagination, could you ever think you’d be here?”
– Walter

Twenty years ago, Walter probably couldn’t have imagined that he’d be assisting the FBI to solve Fringe cases, nor could he have imagined that he’d spend seventeen years locked up in a mental institution. In those days, he was a brash young scientist, eager to expand the boundaries of knowledge. He was also eager to keep some of that knowledge secret, for he knew that he had his hands on a piece of incredibly dangerous technology: a teleportation device.

In “Safe,” we finally see Mitchell Loeb and David Robert Jones’ plan come to fruition. As we learned at the end of “The Equation,” the formula that child prodigy Ben Stockton cracked was used to develop a machine capable of allowing people to pass through solid matter. This episode sees Loeb’s team using that device to break into various bank vaults and retrieve the pieces of Walter’s teleportation device.

Unfortunately, our Fringe team doesn’t know what the criminals are stealing because they can’t identify who owned the lockboxes that had been stolen from. But when Olivia recites the lockbox numbers to Peter, he immediately identifies them as the numbers Walter recites before going to be every night: the elements of the Fibonacci sequence.

However, by the time the team figures out what was stored in those lockboxes, it’s too late; Loeb’s team has already made off with the final piece of the teleportation device, which they use to free Jones from the German prison where he was being held. Now, one of Fringe’s most intriguing and mysterious characters is on the loose, ready to wreak havoc.

But let’s turn our attention back to Walter’s device. He claims that it could be used to transport any person from anywhere, including from another time period. In fact, he developed the machine back when Peter was a small child, with the intention of using it to travel back in time to obtain a cure for Peter’s illness. Walter never had a chance to use it, though, because as he tells the story, Peter recovered.

It seems as if there’s more to Peter’s illness than meets the eye. After all, why keep bringing it up if it has nothing to do with the show’s ongoing storylines? And what does it really have to do with machines that can cross portions of the time-space continuum? We’ll find out more about it soon enough. What we do know, though, is that twenty years ago, Walter never could have imagined that he’d be reconnecting with his son, telling him the story of his childhood illness.

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