A Short Story About Love

Season 4, Episode 15
Aired: March 23rd, 2012
Written By: J. H. Wyman, Graham Roland
Directed By: J. H. Wyman

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Resources: IMDb | Wikipedia | Transcript
Listen: The Fringe Podcast
A Short Story About Love

Episode Synopsis

This episode centers on a scientist extracting the pheromones of his victims, all male spouses, and using the resulting substances as a perfume to get close to their wives. While the Fringe team investigates, Peter learns more about the Observer September.

Synopsis provided by the Fandom Wiki, Fringepedia, and Wikipedia.

The Glyphs

This episode's glyphs spell: Q-U-I-L-L

These glyphs foreshadow the return of the porcupine man from S1E13 - The Transformation in the next episode.

Glyph symbol QGlyph symbol UGlyph symbol IGlyph symbol LGlyph symbol L
Glyph symbol Q
Glyph symbol U
Glyph symbol I
Glyph symbol L
Glyph symbol L

The Observer

The Observer is featured in the episode and interacts with Peter.


Timestamp: 40:16

Episode Clues

Previous Episode Clue

A door marked "Burn Unit" in 'The End of All Things' hints at the villain's burned face and burned marks on his victims' necks in 'A Short Story About Love'.

Previous episode clue

Timestamp: 34:53

Next Episode Clue

The porcupine on the calendar in September's apartment in 'A Short Story About Love' foreshadows the return of the Porcupine Man in 'Nothing as it Seems'.

Next episode clue

Timestamp: 16:59

Items of Interest

  • Walter called Astrid 'Astro'.
  • Peter finds September's notebook.
  • The cylinder, a beacon, guides Observers to this universe, similar to how some methods of universe hopping involve harmonic rods that link the target to their destination via harmonic frequencies.
  • Carr's work review sent to Astrid from his previous employer shows that in the three years prior to his dismissal, he only missed three days of work. He was out for only one day each year and each year it was the same day: Valentine's Day. (Image 1)
Item of interest: Carr's sick days
Image 1: Carr's sick days
Timestamp: 24:40

Fringe Division Case File

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
121 105th Street • Washington, DC 20735
Phone: (202) 555-2100 • Fax: (202) 555-2101
E-mail: washington.fbi@fbi.com


FRINGE EVENT: Forced pheromone extraction and distillation


AGENTS ASSIGNED: Dunham, Lee, Farnsworth


FILE ARCHIVED BY: Yusuhara Perez

WITNESSES/CONTACTS: Anson Carr (in custody), Dianna Sutter

LOCATION: Chelsea, MA; Milton, MA; Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA

VICTIM(S): Jane Doe (deceased), Jane Hall (deceased), Andrew Sutter (deceased), Linda Greeley


Two victims, Jane Hall and a Jane Doe, were found dead due to a reaction to a chemical residue left by the assailant's hands. Both were recently widowed, and their bodies were found dumped in fields, completely dehydrated. In both cases, DNA of their deceased husbands' was found on the victims' necks. Dr. Bishop determined that Hall's skin had a very concentrated solution of her dead husband's pheromones. The killer had murdered the husband and extracted his pheromones to use on t he spouse. The chemical compound included castoreum, a rancid odor used by only five perfume manufacturers as a counter note in their perfumes. The compound was traced to former Empire World Fragrance employee Anson Carr. The disfigured victim of a fire that occurred when he was a child, Carr became obsessed with creating a compound that would allow every human to know love. He was arrested before he killed his next victim, Linda Greeley.

Walter's Food

Walter lamented that he ran out of M&Ms and ate chips.
Connection: Chips
Timestamp: 15:07

Names for Astrid

Walter called Astrid 'Astro'.

Notable Quotes

WALTER: "I went beaver hunting in Eastern Canada in the 70s. Of course in those days 'beaver' meant something else entirely."

Connection Chart

A visualization of all the ways this episode connects to other episodes. Scroll down to see the actual connections.

Episode Connections

S1E04 - The Arrival

  • September's device in 'A Short Story About Love' led Peter to the beacon from 'The Arrival'.
Connection: Beacon
S4E15 - A Short Story About Love
Timestamp: 28:09

S2E01 - A New Day in the Old Town

  • WALTER to Peter in 'A Short Story About Love': "It's a particularly obtuse way to admit that you're a better man than I am."
      The Greek phrase "Na einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera tou" that Olivia uttered in 'A New Day in the Old Town', which was something Elizabeth used to say to Peter, translates to "Be a better man than your father."

Spoilers for future episodes below!

S4E19 - Letters of Transit

  • SEPTEMBER in 'A Short Story About Love': "What I led you to is a Beacon. I needed you to activate it so I could find my way back."
      The Beacon helps Observers find our world. The Beacon's appearance in 'The Arrival' may have been a test or preparation for the future Observer invasion as seen in 'Letters of Transit'.

S5E07 - Five-Twenty-Ten

  • OLIVIA to Nina in 'A Short Story About Love': "When the day comes... if I don't remember this, I want you to try and build something with me again. Don't give up on me. I love you, Nina."
      Olivia gave Nina a hug and a kiss in 'Five-Twenty-Ten', suggesting that they reformed a personal relationship.