Fringe (2008–2013)
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The Road Not Taken 

The Fringe team investigate a case of spontaneous human combustion. Olivia starts experiencing visions of the alternate Universe. She uses this ability to solve the case.


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Episode cast overview:
Phillip Broyles
Nina Sharp
Astrid Farnsworth
The Observer
Susan Pratt / Nancy Lewis
Sanford Harris
Emmanuel Grayson
Bus Driver
Isaac Winters
Cheryl Sarkaria ...
Tech Agent (as Cheryl Ann Leaser)
Ignacio Rada ...
ND Agent


When a woman bursts into flames and explodes, Olivia and Peter start to look into it, and Olivia starts seeing things -- which Walter explains as possibly her seeing an alternate reality. The investigation leads back to the experiment Olivia was part of as a child, and points to a high member of the FBI as well as links to Massive Dynamic. Meanwhile Nina comes to Broyles with her concern that The Observer has been sighted again, and frequently. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 May 2009 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Grayson has a Vulcan harp in his apartment. See more »


Olivia is outside an office located in Charlestown when she sees The Prudential Center, 111 Huntington Avenue, and The Keystone Building. However, none of these buildings are visible from Charlestown. The position of The Prudential Center and 111 Huntington Avenue would put Olivia's location somewhere near the Christian Science Center or Berkley College of Music. In addition, The Keystone building is nowhere near either The Prudential Center or 111 Huntington Avenue. See more »


Dr. Walter Bishop: This typewriter's Belly's. I remember the day he purchased it. It was raining.
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References Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) See more »


End Title Theme
Written by Michael Giacchino
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User Reviews

Writing from the future..
24 January 2015 | by See all my reviews

This review written in 2015.

The reason I decided to rewatch this episode is that there is a current debate afoot about Nolan's Interstellar, the 3 hour extravaganza whose position in film history, as this is written, is uncertain.

Leaving aside the length and editing -- talking about Interstellar -- the focus of the debate is science vs. humanism. Although Nolan tries to cram both into his film -- "cram" being the operative word -- it is not clear whether he succeeds.

Which brings us back to this episode of FRINGE.

The episode itself is OK. It meets or exceeds past standards for the series.

The mini-lecture on parallel universes struck a chord with viewers, as you can see in the social media archives from the air-date.

But here is the key. As time goes on, all I will remember from this episode is when John Noble breaks into tears as Torv's character finally confronts him with ... experimenting on children.

This episode of FRINGE I think unintentionally settles the debate about science vs. humanism.

Humanism always wins. Always.

But not always right away.

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