What is the Mystery Behind Fringe’s Peter Bishop?

On the outside Fringe’s Peter Bishop seems like a nice guy pitching in to help solve the mystery behind The Pattern.  But there’s a lot about him that we don’t know and I think he’s hiding a mystery of his own – or maybe two.


Let’s start with what we know about Peter.


He didn’t have the best of childhoods.  When his father Walter was playing “mad scientist” his moods were erratic at best and after Walter was institutionalize, Peter severed all ties with his father.


In fact, he wanted to separate himself from his father so much that he dropped out of school.  But with an IQ as high as Peter’s, picking up skills is pretty easy.  He even posed as a college chemistry professor once.


Peter is a jack of all trades with a healthy dose of common sense too.  He’s the only one who “speaks Walter.”  And after last night’s episode, we know that Peter can play the piano and can read people (a skill acquired at the poker table).


When Olivia finds Peter, he’s in Bagdad setting up another temporary job and hiding from the gambling debts he’s acquired.


It takes blackmail to get him to help at first, but Peter willingly stays to babysit his father and help Olivia pursue The Pattern.  Is Peter really all that altruistic or does he have another motivation?


In “The Ghost Network” we saw Peter confront a guy in the diner that had been following Peter and Walter and taking pictures.  The man tells Peter “You were supposed to check in when you got home.”


Check in?  With whom?  Why?


Peter asks if the others know he’s there and threatens the guy.


Just who is Peter hiding from?  Is it the mob over his gambling debts or is it someone else?  Speaking of his gambling debts, just how did a street-wise math wiz lose that badly at the casinos?  And didn’t he just tell us in this episode how well he could read people?


I think Peter is hiding something and it has absolutely nothing to do with poker.  I don’t know what Peter’s gotten himself into, but I’m wondering if it is somehow (probably unbeknownst to him) going to turn out to be connected to The Pattern.


Then there’s Peter’s other mystery – the one I’m not even sure he knows about himself.


In the pilot, when Olivia first came to see Walter he knew that Peter had come with her and requested to see him.  Walter immediately inquired about Peter’s health and how he was doing.  I had originally chalked these questions up to some deeply buried fatherly concerned.  Now I’m not so sure.


Maybe it is fatherly concern, but not in the way you think.  In “The Same Old Story,” an episode about human cloning, Walter corners Olivia, asks her about Peter’s health and then asks her to keep what she read in Peter’s file about his medical history a secret.  A very confused Olivia tells Walter that the only thing in Peter’s file is his birth date.  Walter is relieved and then refuses to tell her anymore.


While I think that part of this scene is misdirection to let us think that maybe Peter is a clone, I think it does have some key clues.  I do not think Peter is a clone.  But once again, Walter is concerned about Peter’s health.  And there is something about that birth date that is going to come back again.  I wish they had given us the date.


Also, notice that we know absolutely nothing about Peter’s mom – not even her name.  And when Olivia asks Peter about her in “The Ghost Network” he tells Olivia “that’s a story for a different time” and quickly redirects the conversation.  It makes you really wonder who she is.


While I don’t think Peter is a clone, I do think that in some way Walter has experimented on him.  I’m just not sure how and why yet.  But I’m very sure it’s going to come into play at some time.


Also I can’t figure out if Walter’s inquiries are genuine concern about Peter because of his experiments or if it’s curiosity about the success/progress of the experiment.


So what do you think?  Is Peter hiding from someone?  Who?  Why is Walter so concerned about Peter’s health?  What did Walter think was in Peter’s file?


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9 Responses to What is the Mystery Behind Fringe’s Peter Bishop?

  1. GoldenGait says:

    Nice summary of all we know about Peter so far! It clarifies a lot of things to have all the details in one place, but at the same time brings up just as many questions.

    One thing: you ask how a genius like Peter got himself so deeply indebted at the poker table, but that was addresses in one of the first two episodes. Someone asks him the same question–“you must have had a system?”–and he gives a wry smile and answers something along the lines of, “I did have a system. The House was cheating.”


  2. vacelts says:

    Thanks. I’m really enjoying this show.

    You are right about the conversation. I just couldn’t remember the exact wording to reference it. But still if Peter is as smart as he’s suppose to be and he seems to have a healthy dose of common sense, why didn’t he stop playing when he realized the House was cheating before he got that far in the whole.

  3. vacelts says:

    Update from Episode 4 — The Arrival

    I’m still banking on there being something “special” about Peter. Something more than his near death experience as a child. Is it coincidence that Peter unknowingly knew information Walter hadn’t shared? Is there something more to their relationship? Are they connected in a different way than most fathers and sons?

    Peter’s mom was mentioned again, but only in the fact that Walter considered her small-minded and that she questioned Walter’s judgment (I can’t imagine why).

    And who did Peter call when he was planning on bailing on Walter responsibilities?

  4. […] What is the Mystery Behind Fringe’s Peter Bishop? […]

  5. vacelts says:

    We learned a little more about Peter in The Cure. He’s done some business with a techonology-shy race of people in Central Peru for some hyperconductive alloy native to the area. And he’s not afraid of Nina, but I think he realizes her danger.


    No mention of his health issues this episode, but we learned that Nina knew him as a child. More proof of an experiment? It appears that she and Walter were quite close in his pre-mental institute days.

  6. vacelts says:

    Well know we know of at least one experiment Walter did on Peter after watching “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones.” Who hooks up car batteries to their child? Makes you wonder what else he’s done to Peter.

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