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We still don’t know what it does, but we’re afraid of it. Really, really afraid.

The Machine of Fringe is one of the most interesting enigmas the show has to offer. Since its introduction in last season’s two-part finale, the machine has been anything but “Over There.” Instead, for the early part of season three at least, the battle for the machine has taken place on home turf… and has failed, miserably. Despite an appearance early in the season with “The Box” and again in “6955 mHz,” our heroes already lost important pieces of the machine to the Other Side due to the events of the episode “Entrada.” Let’s just say: not good.

The machine is apparently of the universe-destroying variety, and luckily it can only be operated by Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). That will, of course, mean great storylines for both Jackson and the show’s third season itself, which has continued to receive stellar reviews. Here’s what the stars told TV Guide: “The pieces of the machine puzzle will come together when the show returns next year. John Noble calls it ‘a huge turning point’ for the season. ‘What they’ve done with the machine — and Peter — I actually think it’s super exciting,” Anna Torv adds, noting that the upcoming machine-centric episodes are “awesome for Josh [Jackson].'”

Upcoming machine-centric episodes? Finally! After half a season of waiting, we’ll get back to that machine in… Oh, right. January.

Fringe will return in an all new timeslot and day on Friday, January 21, 2011, with the episode “Firefly.”