Originally Posted by Tom Imp
I was hoping my question would be covered in this article since no one else commented on it.
Am I the only one who noticed this or wondered about it, or am I just missing what the Observers can realistically do?
If your question is "why don't the Observers just jump around in time and change whatever happens that they don't like?" the answer is "because they require authorization from above for any changes in the timeline, because the potential repercussions must be carefully predicted and analyzed."
My reading of this is that they are very carefully editing the past to produce what is (for them) the optimal present -- they one they're in. They know what has to happen in the past to make their present happen. Now normally, one might think that the past leads to the present inevitably, and one would be correct under normal circumstances. But if someone from your time travels to the past with the intention of changing it, that's different. And that's what's happening here; September has triggered a process that can destroy the Observers' reality, so they are working to force the timeline into a shape that will preserve it. No freelance editing by Windmark or anyone else is permitted.
Apparently in the Fringeverse there are not infinite simultaneous timelines, or at least not in an accessible way that matters. And I'm inferring that the theory here involves the "elastic timeline" principle where history wants to be what it's supposed to be, and things will return to their destined shape if possible. So there is more than one path to a given future, and those paths will converge if they're allowed to.
If this is the case, then he knows that "the plan" leads to an uncharted future, one whose outcome he cannot know. And what happens to any particular individual on the road to that future is still up for grabs. Whoever may feel his sacrifice is necessary to assure a shinier outcome, his destiny is still not inevitable.