During a recent conference call with NiceGirlsTV, executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J. H. Wyman talked about what the third season of Fox’s super hot sci-fi series Fringe will reveal.
The biggest reveal was that this season episodes are going to alternate between the two different timelines. One episode will take place here and then the next will take place there. Pinker explained that because Olivia Dunham has been left behind in the alternate universe, it is important to see what is going on with her as well as what her counter-part is up to impersonating Olivia in our universe.
Pinker added, “Rather than trying to tell an episode that takes place in both universes simultaneously within the same episode, we really wanted to thoroughly explore a Fringe case over there and the journey that our heroine is on and then come back over here because the character that we refer to as Bolivia, or short for Bad Olivia, is here embedded in our team we have point of view characters in both universes and it seemed to us the perfect opportunity to really explore in a really thorough fulsome way the alternate universe.”
Wyman chimed-in saying, “We just loved the idea and it became apparent to us that we felt that the fans would really appreciate a mythology in two places. That sort of gave us the ability to have two shows about one show which you never get the chance to do that on television.” He also shared, “Once we got in there we realized that’s great we can have a fantastic compelling mythology over there and get people invested in that universe with someone at the heart of it that they absolutely identify with and care about and then actually come back over on this side and have the mythology carrying out here.”
But telling one story while simultaneously inhabiting two separate dimensions is daunting and will require their audience to pay close attention to where the story is each week and which characters are being portrayed. Pinker acknowledged this complexity, but felt, “the idea of an alternate universe is both heavy and intellectual but as soon as you start to experience it you realize that it’s really emotional and easy to grasp.”
Because Fringe took its time to lay the foundation of this increasingly complex science fiction story, Pinker and Wyman feel that its audience has been primed for where the show is going.
Pinker elaborated by explaining, “The way that we realize is that season one sort of acknowledged an alternate universe. Season two we visited it. Season three we really want to spend time there and get to know what the conditions are like over there which really just reflects on our own society and what life could be like here in our own world for real had certain things just gone differently.”
Also to be further explored in the third season is how the relationships amongst the core characters will be forced to change as a result of this alternate dimension and Olivia being trapped on the other side – for which they are not aware.
Pinker added that, while last season was about secrets, the third season is about the concepts of duality, choice, and of who are we as people. He wanted to explore what happens when a persona makes a different choice – what are those consequences?
Pinker shared, “This year is really where we wanted to go and when you start to look at two versions of the same person you can really get into some very profound questions and areas that are interesting because you’re going to see someone who is not Olivia dealing with Walter. Somebody who is Olivia dealing with alternate Broyles so you’re going to start to be able to see different aspects of people’s personalities and how they are.”
Wyman mischievously added, “Not to mention we have one of the most unique potential love triangles in that its one guy with two different versions of the same girl.”
The fact that Olivia is stuck on the other side and everyone in our universe does not know she is even missing because Bolivia took her place has opened the door to interesting possibilities for Olivia to form new relationships in the alternate-verse and for Bolivia to perhaps begin to see things differently now that she is living in Olivia’s life. Having been indoctrinated to believe that we are the enemy, yet now living amongst us, her view cannot help but change. Yet as Pinker noted, “At the same time, she’s an agent with a mission and she’s very loyal and dedicated to the life she’s living and to the people she works for.” That is exactly where the conflict will arise. Will Bolivia begin to question what she has been told and switch sides or will she remain loyal to the cause and work to destroy the life that Olivia has built?
In addition to Olivia and Bolivia’s predicament and shifting perceptions, there will also be big changes for Walter and Peter and they react to the rift in their relationship. The reveal that Walter stole Peter from the other side to replace his son who died creates massive distrust and heart-break. Pinker shared, “When things break down in a relationship they’re not easily put back together. People have very strange feelings when they’re trying to reconcile. There are trespasses upon each other, perceived and real.”
All this just adds to the realism of a difficult father-son relationship. Pinker further added, “Because the lie that was perpetrated against Peter and what Walter has done, if you take it for face value and you really look at it, it’s the quintessential kidnapping story. There’s feelings there . . . Peter is going to sort of demonstrate things apart—emancipated—from his father for a certain amount of time but definitely emancipated emotionally and he’s going to self actualize and figure out where he plays into who he is and who he thought he was and all these things.”
As for Walter, he will have a similar emotional journey in that he will have to work things out with Peter and yet address his own mental health. Pinker said that, “[Walter] will get to the point where he realizes that he has to go through insanity to sort of get to the place he needs to be okay.”
Wynam also explained that, “Subjectively Peter did not understand the secret. Everybody else knew and he didn’t know. So he’s sort of like this huge revelation at the end of the season that gave us a lot of gasoline for the season for him. But now, that’s different. So now this season when he comes in he is now the person who knows more than anybody and wants more than anything to find out how does he fit into this. Why him? What does this mean? Why did this thing happen? So these questions become really ultimately his core want to figure out some form of answers that nobody on his team actually is qualified to answer. That’s going to be a big part of his self actualization.”
Pinker explained that for them as writers, “We have found what works for us really well is ask questions but then give answers and then play the consequences of those answers . . . what we’re really interested in is how that’s going to affect Peter as a person.” When pressed about whether Peter will ever be allowed a chance at happiness, Wyman cryptically revealed, “You have to go through darkness to get to light. So that’s his journey right now.”
Wyman further explained, “When [Peter] first showed up on the team, this was a guy who was sort of rudderless and had absolutely no concept of who he was. He was a conman with very many personas and didn’t really commit to anything and didn’t really have substantial relationships in life that he could connect with. So if anything, I guess one could argue that he’s found a family, sometimes that he doesn’t want, but he’s found and has become a more dimensionalized human being. So in that journey, it’s like real life. Sometimes dark, terrible things happen and you have to move through them. They don’t go away very quickly. They actually form who you are once you pass through the other side. It’s a difficult journey, but once you get through the other side you come out at least stronger and more enlightened.”
But whether Peter finds happiness, Wyman was more circumspect saying, “[Peter’s] confused, but he’s trying to be a good person. He’s trying to do the right thing. He’s trying to get answers and trying to find happiness which we think everybody is today. Everybody goes through that so he’s sort of like this walking metaphor for us of people like, yes, every time you think you’ve got something great something comes around the corner and it can set you off balance and you have to deal with it. So that’s how we see him. I think that he’ll find happiness in increments and where they really count.”
Lastly, as to the fate of William Bell, Pinker was quick to firmly state that William Bell died on the other side. He acknowledged that death is not always finale in Fringe, but because Leonard Nimoy is now retired from acting, they are not certain if that character can be resurrected. He did note, “If Leonard chooses to come back there is a story in place that we would love to tell but in his absence William Bell is a big part of this world and in the world of Fringe science death is not the end.”
With so much in store in the third season and with such major journeys ahead for the characters, be sure to tune in when Fringe returns tonight at 9/8c on FOX.