FRINGE: It’s a Wonderful Alternate Universe

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When we left Fringe at the end of the third season, Peter Bishop no longer existed. It seemed he had never existed. So one of the big questions hanging on viewers minds during the hiatus is “how will that absence play into the show as it moves forward?”

During San Diego’s Comic Con, showrunners Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman addressed questions about Peter’s disappearance and assured fans that the story to come is very much a story of humanity, relationships, and how the choices you make impact everyone with whom you share a connection. Wyman expands by offering, as is expected in the Fringe world, more questions to ponder:

“What do you mean to people in your life? How have you impacted others and how do others impact you? What would happen if you didn’t exist?” Wyman muses. Those questions seem to set the framework for what is to come in the show’s fourth season. Although we will see things that have happened before come into play again based on this new perspective, one thing there is no plan for is to totally redo any episode without Peter.

With Peter currently out of the picture, and no one remembering he was ever there, the door is now open for combinations of character interactions and relationships to be explored in ways they never were before. The characters still have relationships with each other, but without Peter there the way in which they relate to each other has changed. The addition of Seth Gabel to the regular cast as Lincoln Lee (who exists in both universes, but was only introduced in our universe near the end of the season) is the perfect conduit to allow the writers to reveal these new dynamics to the audience through the eyes of someone new.

Peter’s portrayer, Joshua Jackson, sounding very enthusiastic over the storyline possibilities, says “It gives us the chance, in a way that’s earned narratively, to explain our world again.”

“The people that we know are still our people, but pieces of their lives are changed and they are changed because of it,” Blair Brown adds, in regards to the new relationship dynamics. “It works for people who have seen [the show], but then for people who have never seen it, it’s all fresh territory. All the relationships are just going to be revealed. Because they’re going to be different.” In particular, she adds, “There is a hole in Walter, because Peter’s not there.”

John Noble’s interpretation of Walter’s changed path is that even with relationships and bonds among the remaining characters, such as Olivia and Astrid, “Without Peter there to humanize him and give him love back in his life, he would be a different sort of man.” Without Peter, “he won’t have the happiness.”

Fringe returns Friday, September 23 at 9/8c on FOX.

Photos courtesy Warner Bros.

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