“These people have the answers. I know it. I can feel it.”
– Peter

What Peter says might be true, but he probably has more questions at the end of this episode than he does at the start of it. Viewers likely feel the same way too. “August” doesn’t introduce any new mysteries, per se, but it does provide a few points to ponder, which I’ll detail after the jump.

Let’s start not by looking at the beginning of the episode, but by going back even before that. Let’s begin with the pre-episode recap, which kicks off with the line, “There is more than one of everything.” The line was spoken back in season 1 in reference to the existence of multiple universes, but it takes on a new meaning here. In “August,” we find out that there are multiple Observers, not just the one who rescued Walter and Peter from the frozen lake all those years ago. That raises an interesting question: why is there more than one Observer? Is each one assigned to a different universe?

That’s an interesting theory, and I don’t think it has been flat-out discredited. But most signs point to the Observers having something to do with time. In “August,” we learn that the Observers have been present for centuries, showing up at major historical, scientific, or technological events. Brandon suggests that unlike humans, they don’t experience time sequentially. Rather, they see many events all at once (which may explain why they have the ability to predict what people are saying as they’re saying it). This leads me to believe that there are multiple Observers because there are multiple timelines or ways of experiencing time. It would explain why causing the death of an Observer is considered an “important” event; if an Observer dies, then his timeline might die with him.

Of course, this theory could be total bunk. We don’t yet know much about the Observers, let alone what their purpose is or what they do. “August” gives the impression that the Observers are some sort of stewards of time, only intervening when they must correct a “mistake” in a timeline. But as we saw in this episode, an Observer can be fallible. August intervened and disrupted a timeline in which a young woman named Christine was going to die, all because he had feelings for her. If the Observers are judges of what is and isn’t a “mistake,” then they could cause more damage than they repair.

The other interesting questions raised by this episode have to do with Peter, and they’ve become especially important in light of what happens at the end of season 3. Near the climax of this episode, August hands Peter his weapon so that he can stop the assassin sent to kill Christine. Peter fires it at the assassin, giving Olivia the chance to shoot the assassin dead. At the end of the episode, Broyles tells Olivia that the FBI techs weren’t able to fire August’s weapon. They theorize that Peter fired the last round, but there may be something more to it than that. What if the weapon had worked when Peter was using it because Peter was using it? Does that mean Peter is an Observer? Or if not, does that mean he is somehow linked with them? And if the weapon is special, how did August know that Peter would be able to use it?

To date, none of these questions have really been answered, even by the end of season 3. But with time travel playing a role in the end of the third season, it seems as if the Observers’ role in Fringe will become more central. As new questions about them pop up, people will continue to look to this episode, as well as season 1’s “The Arrival” and “Inner Child” and season 3’s “The Firefly” for answers. It seems as if bits and pieces of those answers are there. Now, we just have to wait until season 4 for the glue that unites them. Then, we will have the answers we seek, and so will Peter.

If he still exists.

For more information on the Fringe rewatch project, please click here.

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