FRINGE: ‘Bloodline’ Teases, Plus EPs Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman Talk Peter’s Choice and the Other Universe
March 25, 2011 by Marisa Roffman
FRINGE fans, tonight’s hour is a big one.
Originally, I had planned on answering some fan questions about the episode, but as I watched what went down, I quickly realized there was no way to do that without potentially spoiling too much. And you know what? I don’t want to spoil you guys. This show is too darn good to have the twists and turns — and there are quite a few — spoiled.
However, I am willing to tease a few things about “Bloodline”…
- Tonight’s hour is set solely “over there.”
- Last month, FRINGE executive producer J.H. Wyman teased, “An insight about this is that this isn’t going to be a normal pregnancy [for Fauxlivia] that you see, either. And the pregnancy is [going to evolve] in a FRINGE way that you don’t comprehend yet. It’s not going to be your traditional love triangle, ‘I’m pregnant and having a baby’ story. It’s going to be FRINGE-ified.” Fans will learn a lot more about what he meant in “Bloodline.”
- If you don’t love Lincoln after tonight’s episode…well, I’m not even sure what to say to you.
- Two characters are in legitimate life-or-death danger.
Okay, so those were semi-vague teases. But trust me, you don’t want this hour spoiled. The good news? We’ll be able to discuss “Bloodline” the moment the episode finishes on the east coast, so make sure to check back with Give Me My Remote at 10:01 PM so we can talk about what went down.
The better news? I have some more of my interview with FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman that seemed rather appropriate to post now, given yesterday’s season four pickup (yay!) and tonight’s new episode…
Are you aware some viewers seem to be almost jealous of the time and attention paid to the characters over there?J.H. Wyman: That’s okay. One thing we do want people to know is we do plan way in advance. Jeff and I both have the same work ethic as far as [feeling] you can only be great if you know where you’re going. You can’t try for the best show if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re kind of pulling things out of the hat at the last minute, because there’s no rhyme or reason to that. And the audience, I think, kind of feels from us right now that they’re being guided with a very confident, narrative hand, guiding them on their back saying, “This is where we’re going.”
We just want them to realize if you look back at season one when there was amber on a bus [in "The Ghost Network"] and our team as part of the pattern, didn’t really know what the amber was, now you realize what amber is, if you look at that in retrospect, you’re like, “Oh my gosh. Oh, I see. This whole thing has a novel-like quality and these guys are going from here to there to take us through this journey.” This is sort of another aspect of that. So in retrospect, when you look back at this, you’ll say, “Oh, I get it.”
But we’re happy that people are engaged. We don’t want them to be sad because we want people to love their show and love what they’re watching and be invested in it. We just want them to say, “Okay, I trust these guys, i know they won’t let us down and it’s going to be really interesting and I’m compelled as I’m going through this.”
Right. I will say that I feel like FRINGE is one of the very few shows that I absolutely feel like things are intentionally being laid out to be paid off at a later date. Things are being played out now in a major way that were set up in the first two seasons, which is rare.
JW: More to come. And our whole structure of seasons, plus what we try and do with the last three episodes of each season, [is that] we try and give you the impression that you’re turning the last page of a chapter in a novel. And usually in a good novel, the last pages [of a chapter] compels you forward with a new understanding of what the subject matter is and you get deeper and you can’t wait to turn that page. So our year-ends, for us, are a little bit worrisome sometimes in the beginning of the year, because they have to be impactful enough that people are like, “Wow, that was even better than last year!” But it also has to invite our audience to realize, “Oh my gosh, I can imagine where these guys are going to take things next year and it’s going to blow my mind and I can’t wait to see it.”
We’re always plotting as carefully as we can. As I said in the beginning, that’s our style and that’s the only way I think we know how to work. I’ve read about people that write as they go and I hold them in high esteem because I could never do that and I know Jeff can’t do that. That would be daunting for us.
Jeff Pinkner: We have enough anxiety to tell as good a story as we can every week and some weeks we succeed and some weeks we fall a little bit short of our expectations, but we know where we’re going and that’s our comfort.
You mentioned these huge finales that FRINGE is known for. Are you feeling any pressure for how to end this season in order to top what you’ve done in the past?
JP: We’re not feeling so much pressure at this point because we know what it is and we think it will work in all those ways. The season will really feel like it told an arc this year. It will really feel like season three was about something, like season two felt like it was about something. And it will indicate what season four is going to be in hopefully a way people will be really excited about.
Can you share a little bit of what you feel FRINGE season three is?
JP: It started with Olivia trapped in the other universe and Bolivia over here and it will largely play out the consequences of that in every way: through Peter and Olivia’s relationship, through Peter and Fauxlivia’s relationship, the doomsday device and what Walternate is up to, Walter trying to deal with that. Bell sacrificing himself at the end of season two and Walter for a moment had his friend and partner back and has now lost him and how he is doubting if he can do it on his own. We’ve seen evidence and instances of Walter being concerned that he’s not smart enough. All of these things will feel like thematically and narratively will come to — some of them will come to a conclusion and others of them won’t because there is no conclusion. But the whole season functions on those axis.
JW: Season one was designed to put them together. Fringe elements and asking questions on an objective level with characters going to something. And season two is more about asking larger questions from a subjective point of view and being involved in it and having Peter be in the center of it and starting to figure out who they are and ask questions about what they all mean to this larger story. In season three, it was all about self-actualization where each character was starting to come to terms with who they are and what their responsibilities are and still seeking out more answers.
So season three is still about asking questions, but it’s also about getting answers and being responsible for being more reactive and aggressively searching for answers. And season four will be altogether different because the end of the season will definitely point you in a direction that I haven’t heard anybody on any website [give] a hypothetical to come even close where we even are. We like that just fine.
Is there any reason fans should think Peter would willingly choose the other universe over ours, aside from Walternate, Fauxlivia and her pregnancy?
JP: Well his mom is still there. His only emotional attachments are to his future child and his mother.
JW: And that’s only on the surface level. As an existential crisis, he’s never really fit in anywhere. And circumstances may change here — or they may not — but they may change here and have him asking questions like “where do I belong?”
JP: And the truth is he belongs over there. Or he’s from there at least.
JW: That’s what I mean. His home, he was taken from over there. So naturally, with fate and destiny, that’s where he’s needed. That’s where he’s supposed to be. But he’s missing. He’s going to be in crisis for a little bit as he tries to figure out where he fits in, really, in all of this.
So given your answer, should fans have hope for our side?
JW: Of course.
JP: But fans should also be fearful for our side.
Will there only be one universe by the end of the season?
JP: The story that we’re telling isn’t going to — we hope — our intention is that our story will go well beyond season three. We’re not going to talk about the ending yet.
So the finale will serve only as a season finale and in no way could be seen as a series finale?
JP: We are not planning a series finale.
JW: Yeah, it’s not a series finale. We’ve been instructed not to do a series finale.
- Good thing Fox came through with that order for season four, right?