In the world of Fringe, there’s more than one of everything. As viewers have already seen, there are at least two different realities where different versions of the show’s cast exists — indeed, both versions of Olivia Dunham have swapped sides, one against her will while the other, nicknamed Bolivia by the show’s creative team, has infiltrated the Fringe team “over here.”
Because different versions of the same person exist in two different worlds, different choices have been made with very different outcomes. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this came at the end of Fringe’s first season, when viewers learned that the World Trade Center in New York City was not destroyed on September 11, 2001. No, in this vaguely familiar world where everything is just a little bit off, the Twin Towers remain standing, completely unscathed.
But that’s not to say that the mysterious world of Over There isn’t without its fair share of tragedy. Case in point: whenever there is a disaster requiring immediate quarantine, Fringe Division is tasked with sealing the entire area — and everyone inside of it — in a hardened amber substance. Following an ambering, the men and women trapped inside the substance are declared legally dead.
The concept was first teased in the season one episode “The Ghost Network,” when a bus filled with passengers “over here” found themselves on the receiving end of an ambering. Although a confounding mystery for our Fringe team, ambering is clearly a much more commonplace activity on the other side as both Peter Bishop and viewers alike saw for themselves in the second season finale, “Over There.” We haven’t seen the last of the amberings, either; in fact, we’re about to see another one very, very soon.
All of this brings us to AmberedRelief.org, a memorial website devoted to those who’ve been lost as victims of ambering. A well-placed insider reached out to me earlier today with the suggestion that this viral site has a role to play in this week’s episode of Fringe, titled “Amber 31422.” Per the episode’s official description, Olivia and the alternate Fringe team are tasked with investigating “the sophisticated escape of two brothers from a quarantined area.” In combing over Ambered Relief, I’ve yet to find any connection to the brothers in question — but something tells me that this site could be a valuable source of information after “Amber 31422” airs.
What exactly is Amber 31422? Who are these brothers? How could they have possibly survived the quarantine process and what does that mean for the other “legally dead” men and women stuck inside of the amber?
Those answers and more, one hopes, are coming shortly.
“Amber 31422,” the fifth episode of Fringe’s third season, airs Thursday (November 4) at 9/8 PM central on Fox.
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