After a two month hiatus, Fringe triumphantly returns tonight with a spine-tingling new episode. With only six more episodes left in the first season, much is still unknown about the giant scientific mysteries the Fox drama shrouds itself in.
During a recent trip to the New York set of the series, I got a chance to sit down with cast members Anna Torv (Agent Olivia Dunham), John Noble (Dr. Walter Bishop), Joshua Jackson (Peter Bishop) and Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth) to discuss some of the more lingering questions, and what we can hope to have answered by the season’s end!
William Bell According to Noble, Walter’s former lab partner and Massive Dynamic head honcho William Bell will appear in the final episode of the season, or at least a “manifestation of him” will appear. At the time, Noble had yet to read the scene where Bell is introduced, but added “there are so many ways of handling it, and such expectations for Bell to appear. But he will appear. I suspect briefly. You don’t really need to have him there for long.”
Nina Sharp And Walter Bishop’s Background Together Noble said much will be revealed about the shared history between Walter and Nina (Blair Brown), but cautioned that there’s a “long journey” ahead, adding “Blair appears a lot in the final two episodes of the season and we’ll learn more about her. But we don’t want to tie all these ends in as if we’re doing a 2-hour movie!”
Alter-Walter Of the mysterious “Alter Walter” that appeared when Bishop returned to St. Claires in “The Equation,” Noble said he believed it to be a “drug-induced hallucination.” But that doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing him again! “I think you will see the doppelgänger again, in fact I’m sure. You won’t see it this season, but there will be a revisitation of that because of the way we’re taking the show, you’re going to see manifestations of that character. I would think it would be a very strange thing to introduce that device and not to use it again. They could forget about it but its too delicious to forget.”
The Observer And The Cylinder No one offered up any concrete information on either of these questions, but Noble did confirm the two are “in the same ballpark, and they don’t disappear.”
Olivia’s Stepfather We won’t meet Olivia’s creepy birthday-card sending stepfather this season, but we will be exposed to other connecting details from Olivia’s past. According to Torv, “we start to find out bits and pieces from when Olivia was little that sort of tie into other cases, and connections to some of that stuff that’s been going on in her head, or the way which she lived. You start to put it together and you start to see a thread. We’re slowly starting to get to the bottom of it. You sort of get more of a window into her, and the connections between all of these people. Why did they all happen to be together? There’s some interlinking going on which I think is always satisfying.”
A Love Interest For Peter? Much has been made of the sexual tension between Olivia and Peter, but Noble was adamant in his belief that nothing will ever develop between the two, saying “I think it’s bad drama. As soon as a romance blooms, then the sexual tension is gone. It also just doesn’t seem logical. When would they get time? And they don’t really relate too often on the basis of man and woman. It’s always in some sort of grotesque environment that they do it, so its not the sexiest thing in the world.” As to whether or not Peter could ever connect with Olivia’s sister Rachel (Ari Graynor), Jackson confessed that there had been talk of pairing the two, but that technical difficulties (Graynor is currently off doing films) prevented anything from coming to fruition. Of the missed connection, Jackson joked “I got shafted,” adding “I’ve got to believe that at some point in his life Peter has actually had sex, with a woman. Not Gene the cow.”
The ZFT According to Noble and Torv, the author of the mysterious ZFT manifesto will be revealed this season, although don’t expect that reveal to be obvious. Said Torv, “it keeps kind of turning in directions that even I was surprised at.”
The Power Of Astrid It’s been an ongoing joke among fans that Astrid’s screen time is limited. But make no mistake: she’s there for a reason! “She’s an intrinsic part of everything happening in the lab,” said Jackson, adding “we haven’t quite gotten to her backstory yet, but we finally come to understanding why she might have been chosen for this assignment.” Of Astrid’s developments in the remaining six episodes, Nicole added she’ll still be doing “much of the same,” but inserted the caveat “I’m the only person who’s privy to all the information that’s going on in there. I think is really pretty powerful that they’ve trusted this young person who’s just gotten out of the academy. There’s a reason that she’s there.”
The Pattern Noble claimed the progression of “The Pattern” will be a central force to the remaining six episodes, and it will “reach a state of urgency.” As to what exactly that means, all he offered up was “it’s coming through pretty intensely.”
The Peter/Nina Connection Not much is known about Peter’s past, but we do know that he and Nina Sharp were connected somehow when he was younger. Jackson said Peter’s history won’t be explored in depth this season, but insisted the Nina connection does resurface. As to how it resurfaces, Jackson was less forthcoming, saying “she was aware of me as a child, and that does come up again, but it doesn’t have much to do with me.”
Fringe returns tonight at 9 PM ET on Fox.