For some time now the two universes on Fringe have been at odds, but at the end of Season 3, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) realized his destiny by joining the worlds, forcing them to work together – and then vanished in the process.
This season, instead of fighting each other, the Fringe Divisions in both universes will find themselves united against a common threat. “There’s a third element that will be a danger to both universes, that is going to force them to work together,” Lance Reddick (Phillip Broyles) tells us. And that’s not the only thing throwing the characters off kilter this fall.
Warner Bros. Studios took Wetpaint Entertainment to Vancouver to visit the set of Fringe and sit down with Reddick and his costars Anna Torv (Olivia Dunhah), Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth), Seth Gabel (Lincoln Lee), and John Noble (Walter Bishop), so that we could find out the consequences of Peter Bishop’s universe tearing move, and his impending return, for ourselves.
Peter’s return will not necessarily be a happy homecoming
So far, Peter’s attempts to make himself known to his father have only resulted in panic, and there is no reason to believe that his physical return will be more readily accepted.
“It’s not like immediately everything is back to normal,” teases Nicole. “The transition is really, really difficult for everybody involved.”
As Walter believes his son died on both sides as a little boy, he has already attributed Peter’s cries for help to his fragile mental state.
“I think he’s terrified that what he’s seeing at present are vestiges of his insanity,” says Noble. “He’s terrified that he’s delusional and that he’ll be sent back [to the institution]. It doesn’t even occur to him that this is his son… He’s never seen Peter as an adult so when this man comes in, claiming to be his son, it won’t be easy.”
For Olivia, who now doesn’t know the man so many believe is her soul mate, meeting Peter is going to prove confusing.
“He never existed, so it’s certainly not the reunion Peter would be wishing for,” reveals Anna. “In the next episode to air you’ll get a little taste of what kind of pull [towards Peter] there is for Olivia — and for Walter too.”
“Our most dynamic episode is when Peter does come back,” adds Nicole. “It’s just so the opposite of what you’re expecting to happen. I was like, ‘Oh my God, really?!’”
The universes band together
Accepting Peter into their midst is not the only dilemma the Fringe Division will face in upcoming episodes.
“We have an outside threat, common to both of them, trying to destabilize them,” says Noble, who hasn’t delved into the world of Walternate this season, but imagines he will soon.
Reddick, who plays Broyles, adds that the common goal is not going to make the two worlds get along, but they will have no choice but to support each other. “It’s going to start getting more tense, but we’re going to start working together more,” he says.
For Reddick, that hopefully means a much-welcomed opportunity to face off against himself, considering it was recently revealed that Alt-Broyles is alive and well.
“It gets interesting for both Broyles,” says Reddick, who, like his character, is the master of keeping secrets. “The odds of the two Broyles interacting are pretty good from my understanding, and I’m very excited about it.”
What’s even more exciting: “Something comes back from the past, and I’m really excited,” hints Torv with a big smile on her face. “It hasn’t come back yet. I don’t know how to tease it, except there have been little clues, and will continue to be.”
A Romantic Shakeup?
Before you get too worried about the epic universe-defying romance between Olivia and Peter, we should say that the new addition to the Fringe Division may be shaking up dynamics in the lab, but it remains to be seen exactly how.
“The integration of Lincoln Lee is a really big deal,” says Nicole. “The audience has seen Olivia and Peter together and rooted for them, and now you have this other character and a lot of people are confused as to what that means - is it going to be a LinStrid thing?”
Even if Astrid doesn’t get to explore romance with Lincoln Lee, there is a relationship in the lab that continues to develop in ways we rarely see: her friendship with Olivia.
“This was the first season where there were scenes between the two of them that illustrated their friendship as opposed to getting a point across,” says Nicole. “I think the fans are really eating it up, and I’m hoping that will allow them to do more. We have had a couple more scenes like that in the episodes we’ve shot since then.”
Double the work, twice the satisfaction
While other twin shows have struggled in their portrayal of two characters played by one person in the same frame, the characters on Fringe look like they’re effortlessly chatting with each other. It’s a process that’s demanding and time consuming, say the actors, but they’re all excited to get to play a round against themselves.
“One of our characters gets to meet their alter for the first time, and I was very excited but also a little jealous,” says Nicole, who has yet to portray both Astrids in one space. “I think of all the alters to meet each other, I think that [Astrid] is a pretty dynamic one, because the two versions are so completely different, and that would be a really mind-blowing moment for each of them. That hasn’t happened yet, but I assume if they wrote alters for everybody, everybody has to meet them at some point!”
Even Torv, who does most of the heavy double-life lifting, is ready for more.
“[Episode 2] was the first time we did a lot of it, and it was a massive learning curve,” she tells us. “I hope I get to do more! I think next time I’ll be able to have a little more fun.”