Fringe Postmortem: What's in Store for the Fifth and Final Season?
Fringe, Blair Brown, Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv
[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of Fringe.]
Olivia died. But then she came back to life! The world was coming to an end. But Walter fixed it! September returned. But he got shot again! Friday's Fringe finale was one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
With William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) thisclose to collapsing both universes to create a new one, Walter (John Noble) made a huge sacrifice to save billions of lives: He shot Olivia (Anna Torv) in the head! Gasp! Fortunately, the high levels of cortexiphan in her system allowed her to regenerate and come back to life.
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Still, the Fringe Division was not out of troubled waters yet when September paid a visit to Walter that echoed Peter's (Joshua Jackson) trip in the Observer's mind: "They are coming." Does this mean the Observers will take over the Earth like we saw in the flash to 2036? TVGuide.com turned to executive producers J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner to get the scoop on the fifth and final season, including the reveal of the "X Man," Olivia's fate and whether or not the two universes will reunite.
"They are coming!" Can we assume that the "they" is the Observers, and you're lining up with what we saw in 2036?
J.H. Wyman: Yes.
Are you going to stay in the current timeline, or will we see some flashing forward and backward next season?
Wyman: Well, let's say that basically 2036 is extremely important to Season 5. It's crucial, but having said that, everything that you have seen in Fringe from Season 1 all the way to 4 is really, really, really, really important to what's going on in Season 5, and 2036 is part of that. It's a 13-episode sprint; there's no filler episodes. It answers some very bold questions. It culminates with a very satisfying type of crescendo that really is so important for the fans, that's the biggest thing. That's the only thing that's really important is to make sure that they feel absolutely satiated.
Because Olivia did technically die in the finale, does this mean that was the moment September had envisioned? And, will she always heal rapidly and now never die?
Wyman: At the end of every season, we close a chapter, and you've heard us say that before, but this chapter being closed is a gentle closing for a reason. We wanted to allow the characters to be in the emotions that they fought for and deserved and allow them to experience a little bit of peace and understand where they are.
Jeff Pinkner: Part of the answer to your question is yes, Olivia healed because of all the cortexiphan. At the end of Season 4, as Walter said on the screen, because of the wildly activated cortexiphan in her body, this experiment to heal her brain tissue would work. Because that's not constantly the case, because that's just a fleeting condition, absolutely, she could be killed.
Wyman: They don't know if anything is over. So they've been given that warning. I think that it's best to have the audience not know either and be with them in that trepidation of going forward, going, "Well, maybe." That's more like real life, isn't it?
Especially because the "X Man" who was supposed to kill her — as we saw in last season's trippy animation episode — wasn't very obvious.
Wyman: Basically, when Walter was going through the Nanites. From that episode when she was in William's head, she said, "I know that's the man who's going to kill me." She had a feeling that when she was in William Bell's head, that there was a man and it manifested itself as a character in William Bell's head in the comic that they're experiencing and it had that emblem on it.
Then, ultimately, in this episode, you saw in the in the Nanites they had the emblem on it. When Walter recognized that that was William Bell's creation by that mark, because that was the mark that William used to mark things with. So really, in a sense, it was William Bell who killed Olivia. You could argue, saying when she came out of William Bell's head, she said, "That's the man who's going to kill me," it was actually William Bell.
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Now that Olivia is pregnant, will she worry about putting herself in the line of fire, or will Peter be worrying about her?
Wyman: You'll probably understand that a lot more when you see Season 5, without spoiling stuff. That's not something that's going to be examined in the way you just laid it out. But keep in mind that in Fringe, when we say, "There's going to be a love triangle," it's a weird show, so you can have a love triangle with two people, like two Olivias in the love triangle. So we can do some pretty freaky things, but it's not going to be big issue.
Can we look forward to seeing the two universes bridged back together again? I actually like the other side now!
Wyman: We really appreciate you saying that because I think, no secret, that it was a really tough endeavor for us to actually introduce that. We fell in love with them and we were hoping that the fans would and we're so glad to hear when people say that they missed them.
Pinker: We had a conversation with Fox earlier in the season while we were closing the door, one of our Fox executive partners said, "I was so sad. I had tears in my eyes when we closed the door, and we said, "Yeah, these were characters that you never wanted us to introduce in the first place because you were afraid that nobody would care about them." She said, "I was so wrong."
Wyman: Everything is a possibility on Fringe.
Will Walter feel a sense of responsibility for William Bell trying to destroy the two universes? Is that something he will be dealing with next season?
Wyman: We've always said that science is science and knowledge is knowledge; it's how you use it that's the evil. So while I don't think he feels responsible, there's many lessons Walter is learning and has learned since the first time we met him. If anything, it's going to actually make him very positive that he did the right thing all those years by cutting a portion out of his brain.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, and hubris out of control like that is surely the end. Every civilization that's ever fallen basically is because of some sort of hubris. It's the overreaching of man, which is a huge, huge, huge thing in science fiction. How much knowledge is too much knowledge? He just feels, at this point, that they've made it through and averted this incredible disaster.
Before Olivia revealed to Peter that she was pregnant, she seemed to hesitate. Is there something she saw or something she learned when she died that will play into next season?
Wyman: You're very perceptive. Let's just say you will understand the hesitation.
There's an indication that the Fringe Division will grow next season. What can you tell us about that?
Pinker: You will see changes, but you will see things that are familiar, as well. I know that's a terrible answer, but the truth is, I just can't say in specificity what exactly is going to happen.
Now that you know this will be your final season, what are you guys doing differently in your approach?
Wyman: We're so thankful. Four years of everybody working incredibly hard, people have put their heart and soul in this show, and by some amazing miracle, we get a chance to get more canvas to paint on, and it's like the biggest thrill and honor, and we're just going into it knowing that we're very fortunate.
The main concern is in no way shape or form are our fans going to be let down. That makes us feel really good that they're going to be able to see a conclusion that is emotional, that is epic, that is going to make sense, that they can emote with and go through our characters and watch them on their final journey and put this show away in a manner that is worthy to all the hours they've invested in our characters. The only thing it does is make the pencil be a little bit more sharp, that's all.
What did you think of the Fringe finale?