[Warning: The following story is chockablock with spoilers from Friday night’s Fringe season finale. Watch before you read. Seriously.]
Fringe‘s Season 3 finale could have ended with Peter emerging from the Machine, as he and Olivia survey the roomful of doppelgangers he just united. Or, it could have gone a step further and left us with the jarring image of Peter “fizzling” away in the midst of debriefing the Walters on his learning from the future.
But this is Fringe. And the envelope-pushing sci-fier dialed up the WTF to 11 by closing the season with an Observer explaining that no one inside Lady Liberty is batting an eye at Peter’s vanishing because to them — now, having “served his purpose” — he “never existed.”
Speaking with executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman after we previewed the finale, TVLine led with the No. 1 question on our list: Does Joshua Jackson have a Fringe gig come fall? Or should he have been auditioning for pilots? “He’s got a job. He’s still under contract,” Wyman confirms. “We can’t yet reveal what exactly we have in store for him, but he’s definitely not going out for other shows.”
As for those final two scenes, Pinkner said that even the most time paradox-savvy viewers “should be wondering” how it is that Peter vanished from existence, yet said he would be remiss to shed much light on that or what’s in store for Season 4. “The less spoilerage, the better,” he deferred. “The reason to come back and watch is exactly for the questions you’re asking.”
Wyman instead points viewers to this scene: “When Walter in the future says he has figured out a plan to send a message back to the past, he says that bringing Peter’s consciousness forward of course would have consequences.” Or as Future Peter himself remarked when presented with Walter’s plan: “Imagine the repercussions.” Indeed.
But could even the brilliant Walter have surmised that preventing a future doomsday would rob him of being with his son in the past? “One of the things we were playing with this season,” says Pinkner, “is a journey of acceptance for Walter, accepting what the Observers were trying to teach him in ‘Firefly’ – that in order to undo the damage he has done, he may have to be willing to sacrifice Peter.”
To briefly recap the finale episode, before we share more from Wyman and Pinkner: After glimpsing an instant of disorientation, we realize we are observing Peter as he exists in the year 2026, complete with memories of what he made wife (!) Olivia that morning for breakfast.
The recovery of a “light bomb” used by a terrorist named Moreau sets in motion a chain of events in which Walter — now “the most reviled” man on the globe, as the deliverer of doomsday — deduces that it is he who will design the Machine and send it into the very distant past via the Central Park wormhole. He hypothesizes that if he can bring Peter’s 2011 consciousness “forward” in time long enough to realize that he must make another choice once in the Machine, both worlds can be saved. Alas, though Walter is spot-on in his assessment, it appears there are in fact “repercussions” to this correction, when Peter fades away from his 2011 existence, never to be remembered.
Now, a few other burning questions the Fringe EPs took on:
If Peter “Never Existed,” Wouldn’t That Mean No Feud Between the Walters, No Machine Activated, No 2026 Doomsday…? | In a word, no. “Walter and [William] Bell were always trying to find a way to cross over, even before the Peter [abduction] incident,” Pinkner reminds. “So things may have happened differently.”
What Was “Lost In Detroit,” As Future Peter Alluded To With Broyles? | “That’s not something the audience needs to understand just yet,” says Wyman. “It’s obviously something heavily emotional between them – that may or may not be the cause of Broyles losing an eye.”
Was Olivia In Fact the “Beloved Character” Spoiled To Be Dying In the Finale? (Or Was It Gene the Cow?) | “In the course of the episode, it was Olivia,” confirms Pinkner, noting that Gene had gone to that great dairy farm in the sky sometime between 2011 and 2026.
Is That It for Big Baddie Moreau? | Sadly, yes. Played by Dune‘s Brad Dourif, Moreau and his End of Dayers threat was simply the Case of the Week for Fringe Team ’26.
Have We Also Seen the Last Of Grown-Up Ella (Boardwalk Empire‘s Emily Meade)? | Yes, says Wyman — “for the time being.”
Did Fox Execs Have As Many Questions About Fringe‘s Latest Freaky Finale As I Did? | “Probably more!” Pinkner says with a laugh. “But everybody is asking the right questions – not questions of confusion but questions of intrigue, of being compelled. We always like it when it’s like that.” Adds Wyman: “We’ve gained a lot of trust over the years [when pitching ideas to the network]. They have now seen the way we operate, how we always have tent posts that we are moving toward and from.”
What did you think, Fringe fans? Did the finale sufficiently blow your mind?
Executive Producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman will be tweeting live tonight during Fringe’s season 3 finale episode!
Make sure you tweet too and use the hashtag #Fringe and #TheDayWeDied. Lets get Fringe trending tonight folks!
Jeff Pinkner (Executive Producer)
J.H. Wyman (Executive Producer)
Fringe finale is on tonight! If you live in the US, make sure you watch it live and give the show the ratings it deserves!
*** CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
The end of days are upon us.
The penultimate episode of Fringe saw Peter (Joshua Jackson) enter the machine, which transported him 15 years into a decimated future. As the very fabric of our universe is being ripped apart, Peter will attempt to prevent this grim future from happening. And along the way, lives will be lost (yes, that was plural!) Executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman answer burning questions about the finale:
How is this flash-forward different from others we’ve seen on TV before?
J.H. Wyman: The very nature of Fringe is that it’s all about choices that we make, so we get to celebrate that authentically. Whatever we see in the future can be adjusted and might be adjusted. We feel like we’ve actually earned the ability to go backwards and forwards to eliminate and re-contextualize the show for the viewer. There’s so much story to tell in the future, in the past, and the present with Fringe. It’s kind of like a wheelhouse that we feel comfortable playing in.
Is this a permanent jump or will you decide to jump backwards and forwards next season?
Jeff Pinkner: The ending of the finale sort of answers your question. As the Observers once told us, there are many futures happening simultaneously. Which one will come true is based on, as Joel just said, the choices that we all collectively make. The finale is the future in 2026 that our characters are on a path towards if nothing were to change. By the end of the episode, that change has occurred. So we may continue to tell storytelling that’s both in the past, like we’ve done a couple of times to see Walter’s story with Peter, and we may jump to the future again. But it won’t be necessarily the same one that we’re in in this episode.
The whole season has been building towards the destruction of one universe or the other, but in jumping ahead 15 years, you skipped over that. Will we see what happens or will that be mirrored in the deterioration of our universe in the future?
Wyman: We love to answer questions. There’s some great shows that love to ask them and maybe not answer them so quickly. We’ve always tried to sort of fill in the blanks and get the viewer to feel satisfied that they’re watching a story for a reason. We both feel that you’ll be satisfied, that you will understand what the future held for each universe and their collective and individual fates.
How have the characters’ relationships changed 15 years in the future?
Wyman: Some of them are what you would expect, but some of them are not. We tried to make sure that each one was at least logical, of course, and colorful in its own way; how they grew and what happens to them. But we looked at this as a huge possibility to paint a canvas in the future to allow the viewer to fill in some blanks and take that away with them and go, “Wow, that’s really interesting. How did this transpire?”
Thanks to the promos, we’ve seen glimpses of how bad the future is. Will Peter be able to prevent this future from happening?
Pinkner: It’s bad! I think that the question of the episode is: What’s to come? And for Peter, Olivia (Anna Torv), Walter (John Noble) and, obviously, the rest of the team — what is their role in trying to prevent what seems to be a pretty awful fate?
What can you tell us about the End-of-Dayers and Walternate’s plan to destroy our universe?
Wyman: The concept of End-of-Dayers is an interesting one because it deals with faith and loss of faith. That’s kind of a big theme for us; that people are constantly looking for things to believe in. Right now, in society, we feel that there’s a breakdown in a lot of different areas in life that people once had great faith in, like politics or religion or whatever. People are looking for something to believe in. So the End-of-Dayers are basically people that have faith, but faith in the end of everything. That it is the end of days that would deliver them into some sort of salvation. It’s tough to have faith when the environment is what it is and you’re living in conditions that these people are living in. It’s pretty dire.
Are the future citizens of the world aware of the cross-universe war?
Pinkner: Yeah. Fifteen years in the future, when the story takes place, everything has become much more public and necessary.
Wyman: Eventually you can’t hide it any longer.
We’re going to be losing a main character in the finale. What can you tell us about that? Is it permanent?
Wyman: Is this death permanent? You’ll see it’s not exactly what happens. Maybe the best hint is that there’s actually more than one.
Is this a mass casualty situation?
Pinkner: The deaths are actually both in entirely different contexts.
The Fringe finale airs Friday at 9/8c on Fox.
Stills from tomorrow’s episode and Fringe Season 3 Finale: The Day We Died
I know one of the stills is just Anna’s back, but it’s seems such a cute moment for Olivia and Peter 😀
CBS topped the night’s adults 18-49 ratings, while the three Royal Wedding themed specials averaged a cumulative 20 million viewers.
Fringe rose a tenth of a point vs. last Friday to a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating on Friday night. Earlier, Kitchen Nightmares drew a 1.3 rating, down 19% vs. two weeks ago.
CBS’s Royal Wedding: Modern Majesty special drew a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating. Following it CSI:NY’s 1.7 rating was even with its last new episode. At 10pm, Blue Bloods’ 1.6 rating was even with its last new episode.
ABC’s Shark Tank fell 14% vs. last Friday to a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating. Following it from 9-11, 20/20?s Royal Wedding special drew a 1.5 rating.
CW’s Smallville dipped 20% vs. last week to a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating, while Supernatural’s 0.9 rating was even with last Friday.
NBC’s Friday Night Lights plunged 33% to a 0.6 adults 18-49 rating. From 9-11pm, a Royal Wedding themed Dateline drew a 1.2 rating, down a tenth from last week.
Stills from friday’s episode:
Caps from Friday episode:
Fringe has always been a unique show. It has an intricate storyline that has a style reminiscent of the cult phenomenon, Lost, with a complex mythology and mind blowing plot twists. This past season, however, Fringe has been in a league all of its own. I’ll be the first to say that while I love the show dearly, seasons 1 and 2 weren’t exactly what we can call consistent. We had a few excellent episodes and a lot of okay episodes.
Things have changed in season 3, though. They have finally hit their stride and this season has been nothing short of spectacular. It has been a joy to watch the cast finally be given a chance to showcase their abilities better, especially Anna Torv, who plays Agent Olivia Dunham. I thought she was just an alright actress before, but this season she has more than proven herself, playing beautifully three versions of the same character. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Fringe is now one of the best shows on television. Maybe even the very best.
Tonight we will get to watch the penultimate episode of this season and if last week’s episode was any indication, things are about to get really intense really fast in both universes. Peter is in the hospital, Fauxlivia is being held prisoner by Walternate, who has every intention of destroying our universe. Olivia will have to join forces with the mysterious Sam Weiss in a desperate race against time in order to save the universe.
Promo video on TVOvermind/Zap2It Website
Tick, tock. Tick, tock…
Now that Walternate’s doomsday machine was activated last Friday night, the countdown is on and in two weeks, we’ll be seeing whether our universe or the alt-world makes it out of Fringe’s third season alive. Then again, who knows? Walter and company are pretty crafty, so maybe both will be OK. Or maybe the worlds will merge. One thing we do know for sure is that we should expect at least one fatality. ‘Cause that’s how finales roll, you know?
In a recent interview with TV Guide Magazine, producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman dropped an ominous tease that fans can expect “a character they love” to perish before the end of the season. And after the events of past episodes, especially Friday’s kick-ass hour, the list of possible DOAs seems to be taking an unsettling shape. Fauxlivia is in federal custody for traitorously trying to cross over to our world; Peter is in a coma following his ill-fated attempt to enter the big-bang machine; and Astrid remains the only cast regular without some sort of a link to Nina Sharp. That can’t be good. And let’s not forget Sam Weiss, who might have to pay for being so shady; Lincoln Lee, whose love for Fauxlivia could compromise his judgment; and Scarlie, although killing off Kirk Acevedo twice would just be rude.
So, start placing your bets in the comments below and let us know who you think will bite it by the May 6th season finale. And if you say Gene, we will report you to PETA.
Who do you think it is? No one I love can die!