The final episode of Fringe's first season is titled "There's More Than One of Everything." Fast-forward two seasons and a new meaning for that cheeky moniker is finally coming to light: There are even two Fringes.
To give fans a healthy dose of both universes in which the show now takes place (the producers call them "over here" and "over there"), episodes will alternate between them for the entire third season.
"We think that you're really short-shrifting some really compelling moments if you're cutting back and forth in one episode and you're going over there for two scenes and you're over here for two scenes," says executive producer J.H. Wyman.
The switch will be made clear by separate credit sequences, one with a red background and one in blue.
"Last season was about secrets," says executive producer Jeff Pinkner. "This season we're really [addressing] the concepts of duality, the concepts of choice, the concepts of who are we as people. What happens when you make a different choice, those consequences?"
"Hopefully people in the audience will on some level think, like, 'Oh, what if I instead of breaking up with that guy back in college I had married him? What would my life be like right now?'" Pinkner adds. "It seems to us like Facebook is so much an opportunity for people to explore the choices they made and reconnect with people from their past and imagine how their life would be different. It's such a subconscious theme in our world these days that we get to play it actively through our show."
In the Season 2 finale, Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) was captured and imprisoned "over there" by that world's Machiavellian Walter Bishop (John Noble), aka Walternate. In exchange, the alternate-universe Olivia, who the producers call "Bad Olivia," or simply "Bolivia," has passed herself off as her doppelganger and has insinuated herself into the Fringe Division team "over here."
"We get to really experience what Bolivia's life is like," Wyman says. "Our Olivia was essentially abused as a child. She was given these experiments that changed her worldview. Bolivia, that never happened to."
An added wrinkle: While Olivia's journey is initially about escaping and returning from whence she came, there are strong forces at work that are trying to convince Olivia that she is, in fact, Bolivia. And they aren't entirely unsuccessful. On the flip side, Bolivia's impersonation of her twin is flawless, as Walter — and especially Peter — deepen their connection with her. "We have one of the most unique potential love triangles," says Wyman, "in that it's one guy with two different versions of the same girl."
Now that Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) is safely back "over here," he has to face the difficult truth that he was kidnapped as a child by the Walter Bishop he has always known as his father. "What's going to happen is like they're going to be OK and then they're not going to be OK," hints Wyman.
Walter's relationship with Peter is complicated by the discovery of a doomsday machine that appears to require Peter's participation. Walter understands the machine at some level, but it'll be Peter who takes the initiative to learn more about it. "Peter is going to demonstrate things apart — emancipated — from his father for a certain amount of time," Pinkner says. "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." Their separation will obviously pain his father, perhaps to the point where his already-shaky clarity will be compromised. "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 OK," he adds.
He'll have some assistance in this effort. The death of his former partner will give him unprecedented access to Massive Dynamic, where the mad scientist will turn to science to cure his madness,
Season 3 of Fringe premieres Thursday at 9/8c on Fox.