Now that we know that Fringe is a show about alternate universes, it's time to get some answers about how exactly all this is going to work. So we went straight to executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman to ask them about the show's new direction for Season 2, the future of "Charlie" and how shape-shifting figures into the big picture. Plus, this reporter had horrifying flashbacks to that nightmare called Physics 101 when Pinkner and Wyman attempted to explain how Olivia travels to and from "over there."
TVGuide.com: In the season premiere, Peter says, "We're done reacting. From now on, we call the shots." What does this mean for the structure of the show going forward?
Joel Wyman: That line is really important. We view last season as a prologue. This season focuses on the actualization of our characters and delves into their lives. Basically, Peter is going to move to the forefront, he's going to get out there and try to find some answers. Olivia is going to go through her journey of recovery. Walter is going to be investigating his emancipation.
TVGuide.com: Will it still feel like a crime procedural or something else?
Jeff Pinkner: The show is still going to feel very much like it did last year. But when we met Peter, he was here reluctantly and he knew he could jump at any time. Over the course of the season, he became committed to his father and Olivia, developed feelings for both of them in different ways. He starts to realize that some of these cases affect him personally, that he's involved in this world in a way that he can't quite understand.
TVGuide.com: What are the lessons from Season 1?
Pinkner: In Season 1, our characters were still coming together. They were learning about each other and this world they live in. Olivia was learning about her childhood. All three of the characters were finding their sea legs.
Wyman: We discovered that the cases are intriguing and fun, and it's great to freak people out, but people definitely want to get to know our characters more. They want to understand what they're going through on a personal level.
TVGuide.com: How much longer will "Charlie" be around?
Pinkner: "Charlie" will be around for at least [one more episode].
Wyman: That's not to say he won't come back. Don't forget — there's a parallel-universe Charlie too. We've seen him already.
Pinkner: Actually, I just left a set where [Kirk Acevedo] was filming. [Editor's Note: They were producing Episodes 8 and 9 at the time of our interview.]
TVGuide.com: Will other familiar characters be "taken over"?
Pinkner: Not yet.
TVGuide.com: When the shape-shifter was the nurse, she was shot twice, and then jumped from a second-story window — is this new entity not entirely human?
Pinkner: We're going to learn more about them in an upcoming episode. They're definitely from "over there."
TVGuide.com: What exactly are we witnessing when Olivia is shot through that windshield? Is that her returning from "over there"?
Wyman: Yes, you borrow from momentum, and it has to be paid back. Ultimately, what happens is, she got taken out, and as soon as she gets put back in, she's going to come in at the same trajectory where she was taken out.
TVGuide.com: Um, OK... wait, what?
Pinkner: If you go back and watch the season finale, Olivia thought she had a near-miss car crash. The truth is, there was a car crash. She was pulled out of the car [just before the crash] into an alternate universe. Now that she's being put back in, that's what Joel's talking about with the momentum. Her seat belt would have stopped her, but now that she's being put back in the car, she's crashing through the windshield. We will experience what happened to her in the parallel universe in an upcoming episode. [Editor's Note: Thursday's episode!]
TVGuide.com: So what was all that jazz in the elevator then? She had already crossed over at that point?
TVGuide.com: So then the accident takes place right after Olivia's meeting with Dr. Bell?
Pinkner: No, it's happening immediately before.
Wyman: She's taken out just before impact, she spends some time with Bell and...
Pinkner: She's returned a couple hours later. There's time for paramedics to arrive.
Wyman: The car was driverless for a while. The car continues into the crash.
TVGuide.com: But we'll see what happens in their conversation, right? Maybe they have a little chat?
Wyman: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Pinkner: Sure. We would be cruel not to show that.
Check back next Thursday for Part II of our conversation, where Pinkner and Wyman discuss Walter and Peter, what's going on "over there," Nina Sharp, Astrid and The Observer — or should we say Observers, plural?