For someone who doesn’t exist, Peter Bishop sure is getting a lot of attention.
“Fringe,” the breathtaking Fox series currently in its fourth year on television, is well known for taking bizarre risks and asking viewers to come along for the ride… but erasing one of the show’s most important characters — Joshua Jackson’s skeptic young genius Peter Bishop — completely from existence? That’s a gigantic gamble, even for this show.
When Anna Torv, who stars in the series as brilliant FBI agent Olivia Dunham, stopped by MTV News this week to talk about the current season of “Fringe,” we asked her the most important question of all: what is life like in a world without Peter Bishop?
“Well, the Olivia that I play doesn’t know what life was like with him, so I’m normal,” she said, speaking to the fact that the show currently exists in a world where both the Peter from our universe and the one from the other side died in their childhood — in other words, he never lived long enough to meet Olivia and join up with Fringe Division.
Of course, Peter did exist — our heroes just don’t know that right now. And it won’t be long before he comes roaring back to life, Torv teased, and when he does, things are going to get… well, interesting, to put it lightly.
“I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say that the event of this season is Peter Bishop,” she said. “We’re going to see a lot more of him and how he unravels these characters.”
Going into this latest season, Torv said that she was completely unaware of the “Fringe” writers’ plans for how to deal with Olivia, her fellow cast members and the mythology they’ve already spent years establishing in light of Peter’s departure.
“They go to their writers camp and pretty close to filming, they come back, and it’s like, ‘Okay, can we talk now?’” she laughed. “I guess there’s just sort of so much that there wasn’t the time to sit down and work out which cases didn’t get solved and which ones did [in the new, Peter-less 'Fringe' timeline].”
Without that kind of concrete information, then, Torv focused on what she believed would be the changed dynamics between Olivia and other members of the Fringe team, namely Peter’s father Walter, the ingenious but damaged scientist played to perfection by John Noble.
“When Peter was there, he was very much the nurturer [to Walter], he was very much the companion, but without him, the biggest difference we see is in Walter, who didn’t have Peter to bring him out and help him get better,” she said. “But what I was excited about is there’s a little bit more warmth, a closeness between Walter and Olivia.”
It’s not just Olivia and Walter’s relationship that’s changed because of Peter’s removal from existence, either.
“There are a couple of episodes coming up where we reintroduce a couple of characters and you’ll go, ‘Oh, that’s a different relationship to the one we’re used to,’” she teased. “But I’m not going to say any more about that!”