The Child

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Profession:  Experimental Observer Offspring Portrayed by:
Rowan Longworth (more recently) - Spencer List (originally)
Also Known As:  Michael (by the Science Team), and Anomaly XB-6783746 (by his Observer creators)
Family:  September - mentor and paternal role-model
Connections:  Walter Bishop, Olivia Dunham, Captain Windmark, The Artist, Doctor Winick
First Seen:  Inner Child
Seen In:  Through The Looking Glass And What Walter Found There, Black Blotter,
Anomaly XB-6783746, The Boy Must Live, Liberty
Last Seen:  An Enemy Of Fate
Status:  Successfully transited the trans-dimensional portal to the year 2167 AD, with Walter
Remarks:  Resolute as he proceeds with the mission to eradicate Observers from the future timeline
Images of The Child    

The Child is a biogenetically-engineered empath from the future that is found living alone in a restricted network of underground tunnels. His presence is directly linked to mankind's destiny and survival in a future that shows little regard for human rights, environmental equity and democratic self-governance.


He is discovered (Inner Child) living alone in an underground catacomb in the last few minutes before the building on the surface above him is scheduled to be demolished with explosives. The tunnel in which the boy is found has been sealed shut for at least seventy years. Walter surmises that the boy ate rats, moss and insects, all high in protein, to survive.
Hey Buddy. You Make My Spidey Senses Tingle. Quick Question. Has Doctor Walter Been Giving You The Red 'Cortexi-Kool-Aid' To Drink?
  • The boy is brought to a hospital and placed in the care of Doctor Winick. He seems to have a problem breathing as he has been living in an oxygen deprived environment for an extended length of time. Although he never speaks after leaving the tunnel, he was able to establish some kind of emotional connection with Olivia, where he can sense, feel and mirror what she is doing. He writes information on a pad corresponding to places or people linked to The Artist, a serial killer that Olivia is in the process of trying to catch.
  • After examination, Walter determines that the lad was probably raised, or maybe even born, in the tunnel where he was found. Walter posits that the child is possibly much older than he looks. Using the neural stimulator and cranial brace from his lab, along with language-translation apparatus, Walter generates communication-like sounds based on the boy's thoughts, but does not decipher what he is attempting to convey.
  • Eliot Michaels, from the CIA Directorate of Science & Technology, is very interested in The Child and wants to move him to another facility. Talking on his cell phone about the child, Michaels says "I think we may have found another one". To prevent the boy from becoming a subject of experimentation, Olivia, with the help of Doctor Winick, get the child covertly transferred to a home where someone will take care of him and his needs. On the way to that home, the car in which the boy is traveling drives by the Observer and the two make eye contact for a brief moment.

In Through The Looking Glass And What Walter Found There, Walter locates the pocket universe he created to protect The Child in the interim period following the Observer Invasion. Walter uses video Tape #7, that he created, to retrace his steps after being released from Amber. On the tape, he, along with September, are getting the boy settled in a room that should house him for decades, but may only seem like a few weeks in the distorted space-time envelope they are in. Tape #8 will remind them of how to deploy the boy when the time comes to eradicate the Observers.

In Black Blotter, Peter and Olivia find a radio relay station that points to a small, coastal Connecticut island. The science team rallies and heads offshore to Thimble Island and find that Carolyn and Richard have been harboring the boy since shortly after the invasion two decades earlier. They have been raising him in isolation and have dubbed him 'Michael'.
Nobody Move! This Is Thimble Island And We Protect Our Creepy Bald Kids Here With A Passion
  • Michael's adoptive parents are reluctant to release him to the science team because Walter doesn't have the password that was established when Donald deposited the boy with them so long ago. Walter finally retrieves the code from his drug-addled memories and Michael's guardians reluctantly turn him over to pursue the intended mission he had been held in check for. In their house, as they prepare to release Michael, Richard and Carolyn explain that they were part of the early Resistance forces that challenged the Observer oppression. They gained the trust of many of their colleagues, so Donald trusted them enough to raise Michael in his absence, and to keep the larger secret - that Michael was part of an important plan to defeat the Invaders.
  • Clear of Thimble Island, the team takes Michael back to Walter's Lab and gets him settled in with some cocoa. Even though they have never crossed paths in the current timeline, Olivia asks Michael if he is familiar with her. He may experience time differently - as Observers are said to do. And he does - he remembers her.
In Anomaly XB-6783746, Walter thoroughly examines Michael and finds that there is no tech device implanted in the boys brain stem, as one would expect with a typical Observer. Olivia makes Michael feel more comfortable in his new surroundings by recalling the way in which he helped her in the original timeline they shared. Peter politely quizzes Michael about Donald while Walter frazzles with impatience. Aggressively intimidating the boy, Walter announces that he wants to load Michael up with drugs, and maybe induce a coma, to gain the Donald-related data he needs to combat the Observers. Olivia has a potential solution - with a quick call, maybe Nina can access the resources they need to communicate with Michael.
Olive. Please. Stop Referring To Me As 'The Child'. I'll Be A Hundred Years Old Soon. Pick A Name For Me. But Just Not A 'Hipster' Name
  • Nina slips away from work at the Ministry of Science and meets the science team and Michael. She has a secure underground lab not far away in a nearby Brooklyn neighborhood that should have the equipment Walter needs to communicate with Michael. The entire group sets out on foot, maintaining distance from one another to avoid drawing attention, and reaches the former Massive Dynamic lab safely. Michael isn't allowed into parts of the lab until all of the Observer corpses there, that were experimented on, are covered.
  • In Nina's secret laboratory, the team finds what it needs to communicate with Michael - the ECog, or Electro-Cognitive translator. When fitted with the cranial monitor, the readings from Michael are way beyond any readings Nina had gathered from the Observers that had been captured over the previous decades. Michael can't be communicated with. By Nina's reasoning, the only other way to establish communication is to smuggle a second ECog and neural adaptor out of the Science Ministry so someone on the Science Team can wear it, and let Michael communicate with them. Walter agrees and the team leaves the underground bunker to retrieve the equipment, leaving Michael and Nina alone to prepare for their return.
  • Nina leaves Michael alone for a few minutes in the lab and takes the access elevator to the service for a quick phone call to determine the status of the team. Olivia shares that Nina's confidante has been compromised by Windmark's crew: Nina suddenly realizes that this very call has just compromised her location and Michael's. She quickly returns to the subsurface facility and shares the bad news with Michael. They need to hide him quickly before the Observers start pouring in through trans-dimensional portals. He understands the gravity of their situation and gently touches her face - sharing an empathic vision. In a few seconds, Nina receives from Michael everything she needs to resist the pending menace and to understand her larger role in the grand scheme to reset the timeline - making what is about to happen... never happen.
  • Satisfied with the knowledge of what she must do, Nina confronts Windmark with the appropriate amount of hostility his kind deserves, when he arrives a few minutes later. He aggressively attempts to read her thoughts and gather the intel he needs to proceed against the anomalous child Observer. Nina employs the techniques she has mastered to prevent Windmark from accessing what she knows, but, when she grows weak, she snags a pistol from a nearby holster and fatally shoots herself in the skull to protect the boy. Windmark and his posse leave the lab empty-handed. When the science team returns, they find Nina's corpse and assume that they have lost Michael. A quick check of security footage shows that they did not take the boy. Olivia finds Michael hidden under a panel in one of the chambers holding a dead Observer. Michael is alright, but sheds a tear when he sees Nina's fate.
  • Michael returns to Walter's Lab in Boston with the team as they rejoin Astrid. The ECog equipment is configured and Michael attempts to make cognitive contact with Walter. They face one another with the cranial halos on and operating. Michael understands Walter just fine - and he remembers meeting Walter and Donald years ago. Unable to express all that he knows, Michael removes his halo, walks over to Walter and touches the nonagenarian's cheek like he touched Nina's; passing his visions and understanding to Walter. Walter bolts as images from timelines gone-by start flooding in. Walter revels in the incredible lightness of being Michael is giving to him. The final vision Michael passes is from Walter's old campus home in Cambridge. Trusted colleague Donald stands near the window. Well-groomed and dapper with a full head of dark hair - Donald and September are one and the same.
In The Boy Must Live,
They May Have Called You Michael, But I Will Call You 'Mini-Me'
Walter gets right to work trying to fully analyze the cerebral visions Michael shared with his touch. Of course, the imagery is better assessed in the sensory deprivation tank, which may allow the team to expedite their effort to locate the still unaccounted for Donald, aka September.
  • With Michael overseeing operations, Walter’s blood pressure and synaptic patterns spike in the sensory tank, as he hones in on the visions Michael passed to him. Walter sees September in a common apartment, but then uses the vision to scan the cityscape around the apartment. Within the vision, Walter spies the Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan on the other side of the East River, and the nearby bridge – September is in Brooklyn, just off the eastern approach to the Williamsburg Bridge. Michael knew exactly what to show Walter to help him re-acquire his memory of his Observer colleague.
  • As the Science Team approaches the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, Walter is elated with the perspective Michael has provided him. Michael’s visions have Walter excited that he now recollects all of the experiences previously expunged from his mind in the interest of mission security – even the aspects of the previous timeline he never experienced in this one. One aspect that has touched him the most is the bond that he and Peter shared in the aftermath of Peter’s childhood passing.
  • Presently, Michael, or Anomaly XB-6783746, as he is known to Captain Windmark has become an issue as Windmark is pressed to tell his Commander about current affairs in 2036. Michael is important and must be targeted for capture and termination.
  • In Brooklyn, the science team locates September's apartment and reunites with him after the two decade long absence. September and Michael join and fondly share one anothers companionship. Inside, September explains that Michael was, or will be, born hundreds of years from now in a laboratory, like all Observers. Before those events occur, in 2167, a scientist in Oslo, determined that the human intellect could be expanded by co-opting portions of the brain previously dedicated to processing emotion, instead using it for cognitive function. That scientific breakthrough eventually led to the Observer population, where things like jealousy, anger, greed, and aggression were abandoned in favor of intellectual capacity. The downside was that society became so intelligent and efficient, that it lost perspective of the value emotion added to life. Michael’s promise is evolutionary steps beyond that – a definite threat to the Observer status quo.
  • September admits that something had stirred in him during his time travels to the present era – his paternal protection of Michael, like that of Walter for Peter, was something he could not ignore. That is why he took Michael from the future and hid him in the past, for Michael’s own safety. Peter needs to know - how does Michael fit into the larger scheme? The answer: Michael is more than just an anomaly, he is a hybrid that has the intelligence of the tech-enabled Observers and the emotional range of a regular human to include empathy, compassion and empathic skills. The big plan involves sending Michael forward in time to 2167 to meet and dissuade the scientists in Oslo from subverting humanity. Given the chance to know and understand Michael, they will realize a higher intelligence and enlightenment is possible, but without the path to the present oppression.
  • Later, as September and Walter recover needed equipment from storage, Walter privately shares what he experienced when Michael touched him with his visions. Walter realized something in the previous timeline about his first encounter with September - the statement - "The boy is important. He must live", was not about Peter surviving the ordeal at Reiden Lake, it was about what is happening now... Michael is important. Michael must live. September acknowledges that fact. Plus, as he sees events unfolding, Walter will likely perish in the effort - a sacrifice, like Nina, that seems inevitable. Walter's sacrifice would be for all of the extensive damage he had caused in his life and professional efforts - making amends for the hubris while gaining absolution in setting all timelines back down the paths they were intended to follow.
  • During their efforts to avoid capture while egressing New York to return to Walter’s Lab, Olivia and Michael board a train that should safely get them out of the area. Walter and Peter aren’t far away and attempt to regroup everyone for the trip from the crowded transit platform. With little room for error, Loyalist forces are closing in just as the train is about to depart. When Michael sees that the group cannot escape under the current circumstances, he steps from the rail car at the last second so the science team eludes capture. The Loyalists locate and detain Michael allowing Windmark to take custody of the boy.
In Liberty,
Captain Windmark. Look At These Brains! Can I Feed Them To My Pet Zombie?
in Walter's Lab, inside the restricted zone, the science team works feverishly to find the whereabouts of their young friend Michael, or progeny XB-6783746. Anil, on the phone with Peter, hasn’t received any word from his contacts in the Loyalist forces or from other Resistance forces, about the capture of the child Observer. Astrid had tracked the convoy that had Michael before it seemed to disappear completely. Michael was key to the master plan to defeat the Observers, and now Walter can't even contact September, who might know how to find Michael. And given enough time with Michael, Captain Windmark might figure out that Michael is at the heart of their plan to eliminate all Observers.
  • On Liberty Island in New York Harbor, Michael awaits his fate at the hands of Windmark. The lead enforcer for the invading Observers takes a seat facing the silent genetic anomaly and assures the lad he will eventually share with him why the science team has taken such an interest in him. Michael isn’t intimidated and reflects Windmark's probing thoughts back into his own mind. Windmark sways and closes his eyes to regain concentration, while a small hemorrhage in his sinus cavity causes blood to trickle from his nose. Intent on making a lasting first impression with Windmark, Michael concentrates again and ruptures the blood vessels in Windmark's eye when the interrogation turns to the science team's plan to defeat the Observers. Windmark is ready to turn his science goons loose on Michael now.
  • Word
    Oh Come On Guys. I've Been Eating Moss, Insects And Rodents For Decades. Of Course My Lungs And Digestive Tract Are Green, And Not Pink
    on Michael finally comes from Broyles. He tells the team about Liberty Island and the Neurological Research Unit their should be holding Michael. The group brainstorms different options they might use to extract Michael, but Olivia has the slickest option that will minimize risk and increase their chance for mission success. Saturated with Cortexiphan, she will cross into the parallel universe, gain access to their Liberty Island, with support from their Fringe Division, then step through a self-generated trans-dimensional portal and quickly extract Michael back to safety, before returning home.
  • In the Neurological Research facility on Liberty Island, Michael receives an injection to begin the experimentation to see what makes him tick. The shot will render Michael motionless from the neck down so his body functions do not interfere with the diagnostic evaluation from a neural analyzer. With Windmark in the lab to study the diagnostics, Michael doles out another nosebleed for Windmark to deal with, driving him from area. The attending Observer scientists continuing their study and find that the development in Michael's emotional centers are uncharacteristic. His limbic system is vestigial and substantially enlarged with tendrils branching into his cognitive centers. Michael has integrated emotional and intellectual activity previously deemed impossible.
  • Captain Windmark returns to his era in 2609 AD and updates his commanding officer on the anomalous XB-6783746 Observer. The child is profoundly unique and has an intellect more advanced than their own, and emotional responsiveness greater than humans. Their diagnostic equipment could not begin to measure Michael’s exorbitant capacity. Windmark guess is that the science team intends to utilize Michael to defeat their invading forces. The Commander is troubled by the news - but - there may be an opportunity in this to advance their own cause by studying the evolutionary dynamic encased by Michael. The order goes out to disassemble Michael and preserve his remains. Windmark would rather just destroy Michael completely, eliminating any potential threat.
  • After a quick visit to the alternate universe and mission briefing for their Fringe Division, Olivia returns to her Liberty Island to retrieve Michael from his captors... but he isn't where he should be in the facility. The nearby testing equipment says Michael was there recently, so she heads-out to locate him. She finds him after eliminating some Loyalist security personnel that were monitoring the boy as he is being prepared for vivisection. Olivia shoots her way into Michael's room as Observers begin to materialize to intercept her. Before she or Michael are wounded, she takes him back through a trans-dimensional portal she manifests and arrives in the alternate universe. Observers follow her there and are quickly dispatched by Agent Lee and Bolivia Dunham. Lee stays behind and defends against intruders as both Dunhams escort Michael across the Harbor to where the waiting Science Team should be in this universe.
  • After a fast farewell, Olivia escorts Michael across the brane she conjures at Battery Park and rejoins the group. Michael is in danger and they need to expedite egress from the area - the Observers know she has him and will be coming.
In An Enemy Of Fate,
Everybody Hold Up! When I Step Through This Portal - EVERYTHING Changes. 'Star Wars' Never Happens. 'LOST' Is Understandable. Ella & I...

—   Plot Relevant Questions   — Address theories about questions on The Child/Theories   Ask minor questions on the Talk Page  

 1) Do not answer the questions here.
 2) Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.

  • Did he, along with Walter, succeed in eradicating the timeline with the oppressive Observers that were returning to the present to manipulate mankind's destiny?
  • A product of Observer technology and experimentation, did he evaporate from the future timeline, when the Observers were eradicated? (assuming they were)
  • It appears the Observer invasion was abated. Did he succeed in eliminating them completely, simply slow them down by some period of time, or divert them down a separate, more benign path?


Central Characters: Olivia DunhamPeter BishopWalter BishopPhillip BroylesAstrid FarnsworthNina Sharp
Central Characters (alt): Bolivia DunhamSecretary BishopColonel BroylesLincoln LeeAgent FrancisAgent FarnsworthBrandon Fayette
Recurring Characters: The ObserverAgent LeeHenrietta BishopEllaBellCaptain WindmarkRachelBrandonSam WeissDavid Jones(alt) Nina SharpCharlieNick LaneHenry HigginsThomas NewtonSanford HarrisMitchell LoebJohn Scott
Additional Characters: Episodic CharactersMinor Characters