Abraham and Isaac/Walter and Peter
So this is going to be long and I don’t know why anyone would want to read this but since some people told me they would read it, here is part 1 of my Fringe meta. I personally think the Abraham and Isaac connection in Fringe is so obvious that it must be intentional. I’ll start with this story since it is at the very center of the Fringe mythology. Let’s start with the basics. I am not a religious scholar. I only took some classes on Christianity at my University. I am neither a specialist nor a religious person. So I’ll treat this story as a literary piece and not as the Word of God. To do this meta, I am using the King James Bible which is very popular in the English speaking world, so I assume that this Bible would be familiar to the Fringe writers. If you are not familiar with the story, I will cite it as we go along.
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Mori’ah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
In the bible, God therefore test his faithful servant Abraham to see if Abraham fears him and loves him above all others. To prove his love, the Prophet has to kill his only son. Now, as it happens Isaac is not really Abraham’s only son. The latter had a son previously from his concubine; just as Red Peter is not truly Walter’s only son (RIP Blue Peter).
Now, we have the episode Peter where Walter Bishop is facing the same dilemma that Abraham faced. Does he sacrifice his only son or does he save him and puts at risk everything?
To bring the Bible connection home we have Carla Warren, who plays the Angel Gabriel (God’s messenger) role in this story:
Carla Warren: Knowledge cannot be pursued without morality.
Walter: You sound like a pious sanctimonious Southern Preacher!
Carla Warren: I may go to church every Sunday, Walter, but I also have three degrees in theoretical physics, and I am telling you you cannot do this. We both know the amount of energy required to create a portal will forever ruin both universes. For the sake of one life, you will destroy the world. Some things are not ours to tamper with. Some things are God’s.
Walter: My son is dying, Doctor Warren. I will not allow that to happen again. There’s only room for one God in this lab, and it’s not yours.
The Abraham of Fringe chooses to actively defy God and to save his son. Twice Carla Warren comes to Walter and tries to reason him and twice she fails.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
The Bible has the father and son duo walk together to the latter’s death. Fringe gives us the opposite with Walter and Peter walking toward the Blueverse where Peter can live. What is interesting is that both Abraham and Walter tell their sons half-truths on the way.
Peter: Where are we going? Why aren’t we taking the car?
Walter: We can’t get where we’re going in a car.
Peter: You’re not my father, are you?
Walter: Of course I am. Who else would I be? I’m going to make you all better.
Walter chooses to go against God’s law and naturally things starts to go downhill from that point on. The universe starts breaking apart. What could fix it? Peter’s sacrifice, of course. For as long as Walter would not sacrifice his son, he could not get God’s forgiveness. This was exemplified in 6:02 AM:
Walter: I don’t know my way around here. Other people, I suppose, find comfort being in chapels, speaking to you. I have no other place to turn. I asked you for a sign, and you sent it to me. A white tulip. And I was so grateful. Since then, in moments of deep despair, I have found solace in believing that you had forgiven me. I was willing to let him go. I was willing to let Peter die. I’ve changed. That should matter. God, I know my crimes are unforgiveable. So punish me. Do what you want to me. But I beg you, spare our world.
So Peter/Isaac is sacrificed and the bridge is created. As far as we know, the worlds seem to no longer be coming apart. But Peter comes back safe and sound.
And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.
Peter and Isaac are both spared at the last minute.
What about Isaac’s mother Sarah? What happened to her? The Bible has her live until a very old age. Two legends however exist which contradict the Biblical version. In one of these stories, Sarah died of grief, believing her son to have died.
Walter: Water was still running in the sink. She must’ve come to her decision while she was washing the dishes.
Walter: I knew almost immediately… even before I found the body. The car’s engine was still running. There was no note. There didn’t need to be. We had just lost our only child. I should have mourned with her… been there. But instead I let her grieve alone so that I could focus on finding a way to the alternate universe to save someone else’s child. My actions caused the death of my wife… unspeakable damage to two universes.
In yet another legend, Sarah died of joy upon hearing that God had spared her son. In the original timeline, it is the reminder of what she did to Red Peter to keep him alive that ends up killing Elizabeth Bishop:
Peter: She took very good care of me. But she committed suicide about ten years ago. My mother from the other side… she was wonderful, but she wasn’t strong. In fact, she was very, very sad… which I suppose is because of me.
So this was very long for just one literary reference in Fringe. Sorry about that. I am not sure if anyone really read through that. If you did congratulation, have a cookie. Should I continue with these?
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