In a cruel new world, it only seems fitting that Peter and Olivia would reunite with their daughter only to have her tragically taken away from them too soon.
On last Friday's Fringe, the Observers mercilessly killed the youngest Bishop family member, sending out shock waves among the Fringe fandom. How could Etta (Georgina Haig), who we came to love during such a short period of time, be taken away so soon? This is just a taste of the danger Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv), Walter (John Noble) and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) will continue to face in the Observer-occupied future.
"Etta's death is horrendous because, particularly this family — Peter, Olivia, Walter and Astrid — have had so much loss," Noble tells TVGuide.com. "The whole series is predicated on loss. The loss of Peter is what caused all this. To see them united as a family and getting back together, because Peter and Olivia had been alienated too, the death of their little girl, just when we've gotten to really love her, it's tragic."
The remaining Fringe team will be bonded through this tragedy because they're all they have left against the Observers. "It adds a whole other layer of despair to this really dire situation that they're in," Nicole says, explaining that they've essentially lost their inside person who actually lived through the Observer occupation. "In a way she's kind of like this bright light in this awful, desperate place that they find themselves in. The one thing that they had that was kind of keeping them afloat is not there anymore."
For Olivia, it's a chance to handle the loss of her daughter in a different way this time around. "The next episode for Olivia is where she makes a decision to mourn differently this time and to handle her grief differently, and to try and find a little bit more of a shared thing with Peter through it, instead of them separating like they did," Torv says. "For Olivia, you see this moment of, 'Oh sh--, if this has happened again, then I'm not going to make the same mistakes again.' They pick themselves up as best they can."
But based on the promo for this week's episode, Peter is on a dangerous path for vengeance, which may cause a bit of a divide between him and Olivia. "They each have to cope with it in their own way," Jackson says. "The choices that they each make, particularly the choices that Peter makes, are not very constructive. So it's not necessarily that it's driven a wedge between the two of them, but they're not really available for each other in a way that they would hope to be dealing with a tragedy."
Eventually, the loss and pain will be too much for someone on the team — though whether that's actually Peter remains to be seen. "At some point in the future, it's a breaking point for one of the characters," Nicole says. "It's just too hard for them accept that. Her death was something that needed to happen. They've gone through a lot of really difficult situations, but this is the one situation that they were completely unprepared for. It's really hard to watch them struggle through the ensuing episodes."
Jackson agrees that Etta's death was a necessary evil in Fringe's journey to the end. "If the idea that [executive producer J.H.] Wyman had for the show this year that it was a play in three acts, this finishes the first act of the play," he says. "Obviously the death of their child and Walter's grandchild changes everything, changes the stakes of everything and it changes the motivation for everything going forward for all of the characters. Each one of them, over the course of the five episodes that follow, are just dealing purely with the fallout of that in their various ways. Then, at the end of that second act, they shift paths again to get us into our homestretch."
Check out more from the cast of Fringe on how Etta's death will change everything moving forward:
What did you think of Etta's death on Fringe?
Fringe airs Fridays at 9/8c on Fox.