In season 3 we learn that Cortexiphan is fatal for adults. Being as William had not had it as a kid, and the development of Cortexiphan was before the split in the timeline, how can William Bell take it without dying? The only thing I can think of is that the Cortexiphan that is fatal is a reverse-engineered version from Olivia's blood and not the original blend.

WILLIAM BELL: Yes, Walter. We cut those ideas out of your head to literally put 'the Genie' back into the bottle. Then I grew older. I grew cynical. I grew cancer. Then I realized that dosing myself with Cortexiphan would slow it down.

From http://www.fringepedia.net/wiki/Brave_New_World,_Part_2/Transcript#ACT_VII

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    He activated the Cortexiphan in Olivia in the Season 4 finale, but I don't recall him ever taking it himself... – Izkata Oct 1 '13 at 23:16
  • @Izkata Watch it again then, he says he used it to heal himself with "regenerative" powers. – ike Oct 2 '13 at 1:21

We know from the alternate universe (before the timeline split) that it is not always fatal. All but one of the adult test subjects Walternate injected died pretty quickly. The last one survived, until he didn't know how to control his pyrokinesis and exploded. Also, it was William Bell. I am sure he would have known a way to make it work on him. Or he could have extracted only the regenerative attributes from the drug.

  • But that subject survived because he was the youngest tested IIRC. – ike Feb 17 '14 at 20:23
  • Yes, I believe he was. But still considered an adult, meaning that while the likelihood of fatality increases as you age, it is not a definite result. – Dave Johnson Mar 2 '14 at 19:13

He may have taken it in very small doses, and he was only taking it to keep his cancer under control. He may also have custom tailored it to suit him. These are all possibilities. Did not find any concrete explanation to this.


The adult subjects dying after being dosed with cortexiphan, happened in the old timeline.

In the reset timeline, the trials may have taken a different course, leading to a form of cortexiphan that wasn't fatal to adults. The healing properties of cortexiphan never showed in the old timeline either, so perhaps in the reset timeline, it was refined further.

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