Nothing As It Seems

Season 4, Episode 16
Aired: March 30th, 2012
Written By: Jeff Pinkner, Akiva Goldsman
Directed By: Frederick E. O. Toye

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Resources: IMDb | Wikipedia | Transcript
Listen: The Fringe Podcast
Nothing As It Seems

The Glyphs

This episode's glyphs spell: F-U-T-U-R-E

Glyph symbol FGlyph symbol UGlyph symbol TGlyph symbol UGlyph symbol RGlyph symbol E
Glyph symbol F
Glyph symbol U
Glyph symbol T
Glyph symbol U
Glyph symbol R
Glyph symbol E

The Observer

The Observer walks down the sidewalk behind Peter and Lee after they arrive at Daniel Hicks' house to search for him.


Timestamp: 17:34

Episode Clues

Previous 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'.

Previous episode clue

Timestamp: 16:59

Next Episode Clue

Markham's book store in 'Nothing as it Seems' is located on Canaan Avenue, foreshadowing the vigilante Shapeshifter named Canaan in 'Everything in Its Right Place'.

Next episode clue

Timestamp: 22:24

Items of Interest

  • Walter called Astrid 'Aphid'.
  • Jones wants to start a new phase of guided human evolution.
  • The presence of previously-seen creatures suggests that they were part of DRJ's larger plan in season 1 as well, and his death led to the creatures being used elsewhere.
  • Walter said that he was taught some Yiddish by Bell's father. Leonard Nimoy's parents taught him Yiddish.
  • The cuneiform on the boat door says "bí". (Image 1)
Item of interest: Cuneiform
Image 1: Cuneiform
Timestamp: 43:02

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


FRINGE EVENT: Flying human-porcupine hybrid





WITNESSES/CONTACTS: TSA agent Mike [redacted], TSA agent Knolls, Marshall Bowman, Daniel Hicks, Edward Markham, Kate Hicks (suspect), Nina Sharp


VICTIM(S): Marshall Bowman (deceased), Agent Lee (wounded)


VertusAir Flight 718 experienced a passenger disturbance when Marshall Bowman had a severe anxiety attack inside the bathroom. He was escorted off the plane by TSA agents. They inspected his bag and found two syringes and a series of small vials, each filled with a different colored medication. Bowman then transformed into a porcupine-like creature and died. Fringe agents were assigned, and consultant Peter Bishop explained he had encountered Mr. Bowman in his own timeline through a virtually identical case, except the plane had crashed. Agent Dunham remembered Bowman's partner Daniel Hicks, as they had both been infected by a designer virus that was programmed to rewrite DNA.
 Agents tracked Hicks down at his home, where he attacked Agent Lee in monster form and escaped. A cuneiform tattoo meaning "renewal" or "rebirth" led agents to a cult obsessed with the guided evolution of man and an old Massive Dynamic program, "816pt618", led by David Robert Jones.

The Timeline Without Peter

  • Rachel is still married and has two kids, Ella and Eddie.

Walter's Food

Walter made peanut butter and bacon sandwiches and made a wheatgrass, penicillin, laxative, and mint smoothie for Lincoln.
Connection: Peanut butter and bacon sandwiches
Peanut butter and bacon sandwiches
Timestamp: 24:11
Connection: Smoothie
Timestamp: 32:37

Names for Astrid

Walter called Astrid 'Aphid'.

Connection Chart

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

Episode Connections

S1E13 - The Transformation

  • 'Nothing as it Seems' retells the story of 'The Transformation' with different details due to the different timeline.
  • The ship at the end of 'Nothing as it Seems' shows creatures like the Porcupine Man from 'The Transformation'.
Connection: Porcupine creatures
Porcupine creatures
S4E16 - Nothing As It Seems
Timestamp: 42:30

S1E16 - Unleashed

  • The ship at the end of 'Nothing as it Seems' shows creatures from 'Unleashed' in cages.
Connection: Creature
S1E16 - Unleashed
Timestamp: 15:22
Connection: Creature
S4E16 - Nothing As It Seems
Timestamp: 42:44

S2E01 - A New Day in the Old Town

  • Agent Jessup was relating season 1 Fringe cases to Bible verses in 'A New Day in the Old Town'. In 'Nothing as it Seems', Jones and Bell are effectively creating their own Noah's Ark.
Connection: Fringe cases to Bible verses
Fringe cases to Bible verses
S2E01 - A New Day in the Old Town
Timestamp: 41:55
Connection: A new Noah's Ark
A new Noah's Ark
S4E16 - Nothing As It Seems
Timestamp: 41:55

S2E09 - Snakehead

  • The ship at the end of 'Nothing as it Seems' showed the creatures from 'Snakehead'.
Connection: Snakehead creature
Snakehead creature
S4E16 - Nothing As It Seems
Timestamp: 42:53

S3E01 - Olivia

  • Olivia's therapist in 'Nothing as it Seems' is the same one she had when she was trapped on the other side in 'Olivia'.
Connection: Olivia's therapist
Olivia's therapist
S3E01 - Olivia
Timestamp: 03:53
Connection: Olivia's therapist
Olivia's therapist
S4E16 - Nothing As It Seems
Timestamp: 07:28

S4E11 - Making Angels

  • OLIVIA to Fauxlivia about Peter in 'Making Angels': "Yeah, I imagine he's just your type."
    FAUXLIVIA: "Actually, no. Turns out I like the nice guys."

    PETER to Lincoln in 'Nothing as it Seems": "You're a good guy."
    LINCOLN: "Yeah. I'm a good guy."

      Fauxlivia eventually ends up with Lincoln.

Spoilers for future episodes below!

S5E04 - The Bullet that Saved the World

  • The Porcupine Man from 'Nothing as it Seems' was seen in Walter's storage vault in 'The Bullet that Saved the World'.
Connection: Porcupine Man
Porcupine Man
S5E04 - The Bullet That Saved the World
Timestamp: 14:10

S5E08 - The Human Kind

  • In 'The Human Kind' Walter tested the Observer tech implant on the brain of the Porcupine Man from 'Nothing as it Seems'.
Connection: Porcupine Man's brain
Porcupine Man's brain
S5E08 - The Human Kind
Timestamp: 17:28