'Fringe' Mystery Finale: We've solved it! PLUS: John Noble, Joshua Jackson talk cliffhanger, renewal and more

“It’s radical. It could wipe clean the entire slate of Fringe.”

So said Joshua Jackson in an interview with EW.com a few weeks ago about the season finale of the Fox sci-fi series. It was a bold claim, and hard to appreciate without knowing what was going to happen in  “The Day We Died.” But now we know. SPOILER ALERT FOR THE DVR SET! The finale was part Crisis On Infinite Earths and part “Days of Future Past” with a touch of A Christmas Carol (“Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come” section): After activating the so-called “doomsday machine” engineered (allegedly) by a sophisticated primordial culture known as The First People, Peter Bishop (Jackson) was allowed to observe a key passage of his life 15 years in the future. How? We were encouraged to believe that 2026 Walter (John Noble) had developed the means to draw 2011 Peter’s consciousness into the future via “brain porting” (one of several curious new fringe science words included in the show’s credit sequence; also see: Desmond Hume from Lost) so Past Peter could realize that choosing to use the doomsday machine to destroy the “over there” parallel world would produce a bleak, terminal future for the “over here” world. I think. (For a full recap, check out Ken Tucker’s blow-by-blow summary and ace analysis.)

Past Peter must have been encouraged by some aspects of 2026, including the fact that his future self was happily married to Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), now the boss of Fringe division. But everything else kinda sucked. The “over here” world was falling apart — eating itself up via an outbreak of reality crunching-sucking wormholes. Were these catastrophic anomalies truly the consequence of Walter’s parallel world-hopping work? Or was his mirror world twin Walternate the real culprit? Why did Broyles (Lance Reddick), now a senator, have a milky cybernetic eye? What happened to him and Peter in Detroit? So many questions — and they may never be answered, because after all, this was a future to be destroyed, not fulfilled, especially after Walternate revealed himself to be the mastermind behind a terrorist group determined to hasten reality’s demise, even more so after he shot Olivia in the head. Walter had an epiphany: The “doomsday machine” wasn’t created by some mythical race to obliterate parallel worlds. It was created by Walter, in the 2026 future, as a means to potentially save both worlds, and sent by Walter back in time via wormhole. (Yep: the paradox logic is wonky. For now, let’s roll with it.)

Armed with this knowledge, Past Peter’s consciousness returned to his proper temporal moment : 2011, strapped into the “doomsday machine.” We were encouraged to believe that instead of choosing to destroy the “over there” world, Peter did something different: He created a bridge between the two universes that brought his fathers (Walter and Walternate) and his lovers (Olivia and Bolivia) together in one spot. With everyone together in the same room, Peter challenged the two Walters to stop fighting and use their combined brilliance to figure out a way to save both worlds. Peter might have said more — but then he mysteriously vanished. And then those left behind looked at each other as if Peter’s disappearance was no big deal. Why? Because according to The Observers, they had forgotten all about him. From their perspective, Peter Bishop never existed.

So… what happened? It appears as if all of history was rebooted, not just the span of time between 2011-2026, and in the restructuring of reality, Peter was deleted from it. My theory? I think Peter’s last speech included a suspicious detail that is probably The Key To Everything. Here’s the epic final line, with the conspicuous detail in bold:

PETER: Walter! I understand what the machine does! I know what it’s capable of! And I know where it came from. … The First People. The First People are us — you, most specifically. And maybe Ella [Olivia’s niece] and Astrid — I don’t know. I don’t know who it was who took the machine back through time. But I know something else: I have seen doomsday. And it is worse than anything you can possibly imagine. This isn’t a war that can be won. Our two worlds are inextricable. If one side dies, we all die. So I’ve torn holes in both the universes. And they lead here, to this room — a bridge — so we can begin the work together to fix…

It makes sense that a team of people accompanied the machine back in time. After all, someone had to create a support system to hide and protect the machine, as well as produce the fake mythology filled with clues for The Tribe of Sam Weiss to collect and protect over the years and for Peter and co. to decipher in the present. I think these quantum leapers will turn out to be…  a team of Peter Bishop clones, led by the real Peter Bishop himself. I suspect that when their work was complete, the real Peter Bishop was put into suspended animation. He’ll be discovered in the season 4 premiere by the Walters and the Olivias, who’ll need to find him and awaken him to finish the process of quantum engineering a new universe that blends the best of both parallel worlds and complete a massive reboot of Fringe was we know it. My corroborating clues? The name of the terrorist in the season finale: Moreau. As in Dr. Moreau of The Island of Dr. Moreau, who bred a new species of man (or is that animal) via genetic engineering. Also: Did you happen catch the final three words in the credit sequence? One of them was a fringe science term, written in bold: “BIOSUSPENSION.” (Or: suspended animation.) But the other two words weren’t fringe science terms at all, and they were so faint, you had to hit the pause button to see them: “WATER” and  “HOPE.”

Conclusion: Anyone here know their comic books well enough to remember how Marvel brought Jean Grey back to life after killing her in X-Men #137? We learned that Jean Grey wasn’t dead at all, and that the real Jean Grey was sleeping in suspended animation in the waters off the coast of New York City. And so I suspect that when Team Fringe goes searching for Peter Bishop next season, they’ll find him very close to their Liberty Island HQ, slumbering in a “biosuspension” cocoon like Sleeping Beauty. But which of his princesses will succeed in kissing him awake: Olivia, the woman he loves, or Bolivia, the mother of his child? (Whatever happened to that kid, anyway?)

But enough of me. What did the stars of Fringe think of the season finale? John Noble tells EW.com that he enjoyed the twists and turns of a dreamy, trippy tale that forced Walter and Walternate “to perhaps negotiate a truce and put heir minds together” via a “very inventive intervention by Peter, who basically took control of destiny and forced his two fathers to look each other in the eye, as if telling them: Sort it out, gentlemen.’” Jackson says he liked the role-reversal represented by the finale. “You had Peter wracked with guilt over the circumstances tied to the decision he made [to activate The First People’s so-called “doomsday” machine] and clinging to hope that there might be some way out. I can’t have made a cosmically bad decision! There must be some way to put this right! Which is fascinating, because that’s basically been Walter for as long as we’ve known him,” says Jackson. “So I loved how Peter ceases to be so stubborn when it comes to Walter, comes to understand him and even begins to see things the way he does.”

But the time-jumping reality-rebooting cosmic reconciliation that was “The Day We Died” was still a few episodes away when we sat down with “the Bishop boys” late last month. They spilled some beans about the finale – too many for even our spoiler-friendly sensibilities. We don’t hold it against them, though. It was almost impossible for the actors to speak intelligently about Fringe’s critically acclaimed third season without speaking frankly about a finale that had left them energized about the show’s future. Example: In discussing the potential ramifications of the cliffhanger, Jackson and Noble admitted that they had mixed feelings about the season’s Peter & Olivia/Bolivia love triangle.

JACKSON: [Romance] is inevitable when you have a man and a woman in leading roles on a TV show, but I do feel it was a distraction from the central story of the show. It was interesting, especially in the larger context of the season’s doppelganger idea. It was also really good for Olivia’s character, because it continued to feed one of her animating features  – that she’s consistently disappointed and betrayed by the people close to her. In retrospect, it feels necessary to get us together. … But what’s central to the show is the communal fate of our core characters, not the individual strands that link them. The ‘broken family’ dynamic we hammered out in season one, that to me is where the show lives best, this bizarro Father Knows Best. … I feel the romantic portion of this show is now over so we can spend more time being Fringe again.

“The romantic element needed to be done,” says Noble. “But where we leave off, we can go any number of ways, and I like that we’re moving on.” Jackson adds that Fringe could even opt to leave behind any number of unresolved bits given the way “The Day We Died” ended, from the loopy love triangle to the Peter/Bolivia love child. In fact, both actors are glad the finale didn’t even try to deal with that latter bit of business. “That’s a five episode story arc, not 10 minutes at the end of a season,” says Noble. Adds Jackson: “We bought ourselves the ability to not pay those things off without cheating the audience. It’s genius.”

“Genius,” Noble agreed.

The actors were clear, though: They are extremely proud of a season that has been almost universally praised by critics and fans and has generated Emmy buzz. “I like to think that the show really came into its own at the end of the first season and that it was really strong throughout the second season,” Says Jackson. “But in terms of pure storytelling, the introduction of the parallel world did take us to a new level. The currency of TV is that if you watch a show for long enough, you just become invested in their well being. But here in season 3, we asked the audience to immediately become invested in an alternate world and a group of characters that looked like characters they knew and loved but weren’t. That was incredibly ballsy I think.”

“It was a risky and audacious year, from the parallel world storytelling to going into a cartoon,” says Noble, referring an episode entitled “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” that saw Peter and Walter beam into Olivia’s brain and become reformatted into animated caricatures of themselves. The episode culminated a weird-even-for-Fringe arc that required Anna Torv to do a sustained impression of Leonard Nimoy, as Olivia’s mind had been taken over by the consciousness of the Star Trek icon’s character, William Bell. Noble recalls Torv calling him after getting the first script in this storyline and asking for advice on how to play Nimoy. “It was a very bold performance,” Noble says of his co-star. “I think the solutions she came up with – taking the essence of the man, playing with the eyebrows, simulating the voice — were really smart. We had a lot of fun doing it.” As for Jackson, “fun” isn’t the word that comes to mind when it came pretending to moon over a woman who was suddenly talking and eyebrow-cocking like Spock. “I found it so creepy,” he says. “In the episodes, you see I can barely look at her. I think it ended up being a good way to play Peter’s reaction to Olivia, but it was born out of the fact that when that voice came out of her, I was like: ‘Oh, that’s just wrong!’”

Noble had his own tricky acting challenge this season: Not just playing frazzled, humbled egghead Walter Bishop, but playing his “over there” double, Walternate, who served as the season’s chief antagonist. “On paper, he looked like a two dimensional villain,” says Noble. “The challenge was to make him a fully fleshed out character, albeit a very driven one, and the writers gave me sufficient room to humanize Walternate. He’s a villain, but I understand why he is. And they gave him some scenes — with his lover, with his wife — that showed his vulnerability. He became a very satisfying character to play.”

What will next season bring? The Bishop Boys say they have no clue. Noble: “The finale set up the storytelling for next season —but what will the story be? TBD. It’s up in the air.” Jackson: “More than any other finale we’ve done, the season finale has given us more possibilities for new directions than any other year.” The one thing they know for certain is that there will be a next year. Last December, Fox moved Fringe to Friday nights after struggling to compete and hold viewers on Thursday night. Fans worried that the shift was a precursor to cancellation, given Friday night has a rep for being a graveyard for Fox’s sci-fi series. (See: Firefly, The Sarah Connor Chronicles.) Did the cast feel similarly anxious?

JACKSON: I think we were more nervous than we had ever been.

NOBLE: I don’t know, Josh. I was actually quietly confident. I recognize there was a lot of anxiety around it. But right from the beginning, I thought Friday was a good move. I thought we had to attack the negative perception of Friday nights and put an end to the negative talk – and with some clever promotion, we did. It worked. I felt like Friday night was a night we could own and I believe it’s a place where we can grow.

JACKSON: Then let me put it like this: I was more nervous than I had ever been about the pick-up of the show. The decline in viewership was heading in the wrong direction.  I don’t like to be a ratings watcher, and I can’t affect it, anyway. It’s not like I can say: ‘Well, that was my 2 share acting, this week, I’m going to give it my 3 share acting!’ It’s not germane to our creative discussion – unless you’re right on the bubble and thinking: I wonder if I will have a job next year? Of course, once the show got picked up, we don’t have to worry about it anymore… or at least for another year.

Let’s worry about that later. Right now, let’s just enjoy the afterglow… of finale-microwaved brains that melted out of our ears and pooled into radioactive mush at our feet. Which is to say: Thank you, Fringe, for the year’s best mindfrak…

But this isn’t goodbye! Not yet! Do you have a post-finale question for Fringe exec producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman? Post them in the message boards below. I’ll be chatting with them in the next couple days and will put your burning inquiries before them. Come back on (Fringe) Friday for the answers.


Comments (342 total) Add your comment
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  • Katie

    I wish season 4 were here already! Game-changing, indeed! Though I agree with a lot of what was said here, I hope the writers don’t just abandon the Peter/Olivia romance. The family dynamic between all the characters is the heart of the show, of course, but love triangles aside, I think that the Peter/Olivia romance is a very central theme of the show. In the midst of all the universe-hopping, time-bending craziness of the show, you have this beautiful, simple story of two people who are the better for having known each other. The season finale did such a lovely job with that– though the future was bleak, this quiet romance still brought a small bit of hope to the world. The Fringe world could be literally up in flames and I would still only want to see how Walter and Peter interact, how Olivia and Peter say goodbye…this is the true heart of Fringe and I have faith that the writers know that too!

    • Marty

      I agree, I like the Peter/Olivia romance. It adds a core of reality to all the science fiction around it. I great SEASON finale!

      • Lee

        I agree a 100 percent with the comments about the Peter and olivia romance. I think it’s a great part of the story and show And it works very well Jackson and Anna torv did a great job with expressing it in there acting to make it feel real and with strong emotion

      • Reaja


      • Reality


    • Peter

      I absolutely agree, Peter and Olivia’s romance is such a wonderful part of the show. I don’t want them to hit the reset button or to just forget about it because the actors aren’t that keen. There is no other romance like it on television. It’s painful real in its depiction of two people who want to be together but find themselves with obstacle after obstacle.

    • Reaja

      Tucker already covered this…AND DID A FINE JOB.
      Leave it to the childish narcissist Jensen to bring his rubbish to the table and RUIN what was otherwise a good thing.
      There’s a REASON Jensen wasn’t given the Fringe assignment. It’s because his last season on Lost coverage was insipied – nothing but a series of terribly researched contradictory and banal theories combined with a petulant and defensive bitter review of his own insecurities. This emotional cripple needs to go.

      • Harley

        He didn’t ruin anything, he only added his own thoughts. If you would get your head out of your oversized ass for a moment, you’d see that.

      • Judy

        What, how did Jensen really “RUIN” EW’s Fringe coverage? This article seems like pretty solid reporting to me. Do you just not like what the interviewees said?

      • Stephensocks

        Would you get over Lost already. Geez. You’re not big or cool STILL going on and on..

      • Michale

        I’m wondering, like many here I’m sure, if that you did not like Jensen’s previous work, what prompted you to click on the article, read it, and then comment on it? Seems a bit foolish on your part. We get it, you don’t like his work. MOVE ON AND GET OVER IT.

      • Reaja

        TEAM OF CLONES? Jensen is a degenerate. HE MAKES STUFF UP OUT OF THIN AIR.
        You want to know how he got the job? Pity. His uncle is a bigwig at Time Warner.
        You know the toughest thing about being Jeff Jensen? Having to explaing to his wife that he’s ggaayy.

      • Shaun

        I got tired of Doc’s LOST coverage after awhile, just as I got restless and ultimately deeply disappointed over how LOST’s final season went, but Doc didn’t “ruin” anything here.

        He wrote a good article, and included a nice interview with two of the stars. I appreciate the insights! I thought his theory about the Peter clones was a bit out there… But then, that’s Doc!

        Anyhow, no one forced you to read this article. If you don’t like Doc, don’t read it.

      • Shaun

        I got tired of Doc’s LOST coverage after awhile, just as I got restless and ultimately deeply disappointed over how LOST’s final season went, but Doc didn’t “ruin” anything here.

        He wrote a good article, and included a nice interview with two of the stars. I appreciate the insights! I thought his theory about the Peter clones was a bit out there… But then, that’s Doc!

        Anyhow, no one forced you to read this article. If you don’t like Doc, don’t read it. Simple enough?

      • Darrin

        Hey loser (Reaja), lighten up and just stop reading if you don’t like the guy’s writing. And, if you’re going to mock someone’s intelligence, you probably shouldn’t misspell the word ‘insipid.’

      • Jeff Jensen

        I have no problem with you hating my work or my Lost coverage. But your sexual remarks are loathsome. And how exactly does my “clone” theory make me a degenerate?! Maybe my thinking is flawed — although given how the word “clone” was one of the featured words in the credits and given Peter’s conspicuous banter with Olivia about them siring a whole bunch of Bishop children does make me feel I’m onto something. Or not. But “degenerate”? Come on! PS: Who’s this Time Warner employed uncle of mine? My whole family is dying to know!

      • Pam

        I love Doc Jensen’s reviews. Sometimes I do have to give up if they go into too much detail but I love that someone loves a show as much as I do.

      • c

        Jensen, you are the truth like “A.I.”, I hope you didn’t respond to this jealous, foolish comment written by a loser. You did a wonderful job over the past several yrs as EW’s Lost commentator. Keep up the good work and let the haters hate….

      • Ali Mic

        The word is insipid. Please spell check if you’re going to trash someone else’s writing.

      • Marion

        LOL..wow, such a rant! It’s just thoughts on a TV show. Did Jensen run over your cat or something? Dear, given your histrionics here, it appears that you seriously need a stickectomy…stat.

      • gisele

        Doc Jensen’s point of view is the highlight of EW and the only reason I read this article in the first place. You are entitled to your own opinion as INSIPID-correct spelling- as it might be, but you do NOT have a right to be insulting, especially when you have absolutely no reason to insult a man for doing his job. And Doc, you do it very well – ignore the haters, they are miserable people who are not worth your precious time. Keep doing what you do best, writing your fantastic point of view. I for one am thrilled you are taking such an interest in Fringe. Now I have the best of both worlds!!!

    • nutshell

      I agree!! You should tell that to Josh Jackson, who often seems to undervalue the role of Peter/Olivia relationship in Fringe.

      • nutshell

        Anyway I trust the writers quite wisdom!

      • mysterydude

        Why should josh value a relationship that made him look stupid and made half of the fanbase hate him?

      • Shaun

        Mysterydude, you’re talking about Fauxlivia and Peter… They’re talking about OLIVIA and Peter. And, really, we’re past that anyhow. Get over it and enjhoy the show. Or don’t, and stop watching. The choice is yours.

    • Pamela

      I’m also in agreement that the Olivia/Peter romance is a central theme & I hope they do not remove it. My hope is that we can watch them fall in love all over again.

      • Mj

        Agree with you… Got excited to watch fringe because of their romance… Im totally a shipper…. I usually hate romance mix with scifi but this one is an exemption, because its unique… Cant explain it but they just make me smile when theyre together. So please dont remove peter and olivia relationship…

      • Angela

        Oooh, if they do it that way, it could make for a cool sort of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind arc.

    • Dicazi

      I dom’t usually buy into romance on TV shows. Even on Lost, I had no feelings one way or the other about Jack/Kate or Sawyer/Kate.

      But I love Peter and Olivia together. So, I really hope Jackson wrong about this. It can go on the back burner for awhile, but I want the last episode of Fringe to fade out on Peter and Olivia together.

      • Color Me Impressed

        Yeah, but those two LOST romances you mentioned were never the best romances on the show: Desmond/Penny, Sun/Jin, Sawyer/Juliet, Charlie/Claire! Now thats where its at; Des/Pen are quite honestly my favorite TV couple of all time! Peter/Olivia only come in fourth (behind Des/Pen, Jim/Pam and Lily/Marshall or course).

      • Dicazi

        My vaorite couples are Peter/Olivia, John Crighton/Aeryn Sun, then Desmond/Penny and Sawyer/Juliet. Mundane couples don’t even come into play.

      • LynMarie

        I do think the Peter ?Olivia romance gives a calming dimension to Walter that is needed in his development as a character. Additionally it humanizes the two who can be a bit dry at times.

      • Angela

        I kinda agree about the Jack/Kate/Sawyer love triangle. I never really thought Kate would actually end up with Sawyer, and when he hooked up with Juliet, that was official. Wasn’t crazy about Kate and Jack most of the time, but their kiss in the finale sealed the deal for me.

        But agreed that the ones Color Me Impressed listed were the best on Lost.

    • Cass

      I absolutely agree. I love their romance. It makes sense in so many ways. I know the actors don’t want to just do another stereotypical throw-the-attractive-leads-together-because-the-audience-wants-it storyline, but that is NOT what FRINGE is doing.

    • kellybelly

      Love Fringe. My mind was totally blown by the finale. I had to rewind and watch again. And then again from the midway point. Holy Cow! What will happen in Season 4? I too, was a bit confused — if Peter never existed…why are the worlds at war, since it was because of him? Or did he exist and they can’t remember? But why not? And Jensen, your theories are waaay out there. Clones? Really? Like your enthusiasm, but dude, seriously?
      Romance — I’ve grown to like it between Olivia & Peter. But I tend to agree a bit with Jackson and fans — I like it, but it could be put on back burner, not emphasized, just we know that they’re together. Olivia is part of the family of Walter & son. So they shouldn’t forget about it. But I really am looking forward to seeing how the explain the finale in Season 4. (or not explain, but deliver on what was revealed and set up)

    • Roscoe Chait

      To Katie: Your comments are making me all weepy. And I’m a guy, and I’m straight. Can’t wait for next season.

    • Color Me Impressed

      Why are all these nerdy sci-fi fans so afraid of romance?

    • Tonya

      I agree Katie. Would love to see the Peter/Olivia romance continue while still working on the Fringe cases. If ever two people were “destined” to be together… Peter, Olivia, and Walter are the heart of the show. Don’t have any interest in seeing others (like that other universe woman!) tear the relationship up. Don’t need a soap opera, just a little romance and A LOT of Fringe wierdness! =)

      • Annah

        You said it exactly Tonya. Keep the original relationship between Olivia and Peter and get rid of the soap opera drama. It makes me hate fauxlivia and I don’t want to hate her. The triangle has to go and shouldn’t have ever been there.

    • not

      Jensen is obviously right that they will bring Peter back – they have to b/c his relationship with his father and Olivia are the linchpins of the show. I like the romance, so hope you are wrong there, but I’m happy to see it take a back burner rather than being the focal point of the show.

      But am I the only one who would love to see Walter disappear from existence. They could keep Walternate – maybe a slightly kinder gentler version – but please please kill off the obnoxious professor character. Their efforts to make Walter colorful are just irritating.

      • not

        Okay. I just figured it out. Thanks to crazy Reaja’s ranting, I just read Tucker’s summary that I hadn’t seen before. He mentions “Clonal Transplantation,” that was in the credits. That’s how they will get Peter back. He was cloned into the body of his baby, who has already been exposed to that drug that made him gestate in a few hours, so now he will magically grow to the age of 32 over the course of the summer and come back as our own beloved Peter (but of course in typical TV fashion, the aging will somehow stop at that point). Then they can pick up without the family angst (which the actor noted was pretty much wrapped up in the finale anyway) or the romance. It’s possible and at least as likely as sea-clones.

      • AB

        OK… Interesting theory, but wouldn’t that mean that Olivia would ultimately be sleeping with the body, at least, of her own (alt) self’s child?

    • Angela

      Agreed. Though it’s understandable that they were being cautious about having a romance develop between the two leads since that’s what always happens, I think they handled it very well. It came about very organically, and Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv work splendidly together.

    • Josh

      It’s Faux-livia, NOT Bolivia–that would be a country in S. America.

    • Annah

      I agree with you 100%. Just think, Peter wouldn’t be wherever his is (in season 4)if it wasn’t for Olivia. I know he went back in time to fix the world but it was also because she died. Everything that happened was made possible because of Walters love for his son and because of Peter and Olivia’s love for each other.

  • Anjali

    I wish Josh wouldn’t be so opposed to the romantic arc… I understand it’s his opinion, but he has been adamantly defying it in almost every interview.
    It kind of lessens the arc for me when the actors themselves don’t believe in it.

    To the person who is a major Josh fan: I wasn’t criticizing him. Just stating an observation.

    My question to the producers: Because Peter doesn’t exist at the moment, are the two worlds at war because of what Walter did, previous to kidnapping Peter??? Walter says (in the last scene) that it was an “accident”.

    • lola

      I love Peter and Oliva’s relationship. But after reading all the negative things Josh says about it I can’t help but see it in his performance. When it’s the Bishop boys scenes he knock it out of the park, when its the P/O relationship he looks positively bored. Maybe Olivia should get a new boyfriend. Where is frank stanton when you need him?

      • mysterydude

        Can you blame him? They made him look stupid and oblivious just to make Olivia look better than him. Why the heck should he be all “oh I love peter and Olivia”. I’m sure josh gets so much crap over this stupid Olivia/fauxlivia love triangle.

      • Caz

        I think the romance/relationship should be there but wonder at the cold portrayal and Josh’s constant negativity. Do these people loathe each other in real life. Or is Josh just petulant about not been more of the ‘star’.

      • Angela

        I don’t think he’s iffy about the romance now so much as the love triangle between him, Olivia and Fauxlivia. On that point, I kinda agree with him. I think it worked for this season, but I don’t see it as a storyline they need to continue too much into season 4. Honestly, did anyone ever think he’d actually choose Fauxlivia?

      • Annah

        I know what you mean, I couldn’t decide if he was a bad actor in love type scenes or if it was his character just being uncomfortable. Peter did say he kept people at arms length and was a hard guy to get to know. I can’t tell if it is his acting or his character.

    • Emily

      Fringe has become all about the romance and it shouldn’t be like that. I think the romance did take over this season, while pushing the Fringey stuff into the background. It shouldn’t be like that. It became a soap opera and really ruined the season for me because that is not ultimately what Fringe is. So, I hope next season we get more Fringey stuff.

      • Emily


        They were asked about the love triangle and since the season’s work in arcs storywise, the triangle arc is over. That’s what he was referring to. The romance relationship is now established between P/O. He said nothing about not wanting that relationship to continue, if indeed it does. He’s always been concerned about Peter’s behaviour in the relationship with Olivia this season in interviews. We have no idea where Peter will fit in next season. Peter and Olivia may not know one another, for all we know.

      • Irishgirl

        I don’t think Fringe has become all about the romance at all. Was it prominent in this season? Yes. But I think it was needed. Having Peter and Olivia in a relationship allowed their characters to grow. They both became more self-aware and stronger, I think, because of each other. Both are intelligent, strong, independent, damaged, lonely, and guarded people. I think having them connect helped anchor Olivia to her world, and helped anchor Peter to our world. I think the romance between them was built gradually over the last two seasons, so it was natural that they came together. Was the Fauxlivia relationship annoying? Yes. But I can also see both sides of it. While I too was sitting on my couch talking to the TV asking Peter ‘How can you be so stupid?’, I can also see how he would have fallen for Fauxlivia and convinced himself that all the new things he was seeing in her were because of the relationship. So, it bothers me that Josh Jackson seems to dislike the relationship so much. It’s not like every episode this season was them looking longingly at each other for hours and excessive bedroom scenes. I thought it was well balanced with all the Fringe stories and mythology. That being said, I would be ok if they dialed the relationship back in season 4. In the context of where the finale left us, it makes sense, and if they get rid of it completely, I won’t be thrilled, but will be ok as long as it makes sense in the narrative.

        As for your theory Doc, I thought you were going to suggest the team that took the machine back in the wormhole was the Observers. A team of 12, endowed somehow with immortality. They take on the names of the months to track the passage of time, and watch over the machine and the two universes until the events of the finale in 2011. Now, how does that theory explain ‘disappearing Peter’? I have no clue. I’m still mulling that over.

      • Ter2

        Sorry Irishgirl, but why should Josh like a relationship where people call him stupid?

    • Danielle

      If I remember correctly I believe he was against it from the beginning. I remember reading an article, and it may have even been Anna who said something against it too. I was actually really surprised when they headed down the romantic road with the two of them because of how the actors seemed to feel about it. I feel like they have done a really great job with their story, so I too hope that they continue in some way despite what the actors think about it.

  • kim in kentucky

    Question? I have sooo many questions, I can even begin to start! Just glad that its coming back.

  • Vince from NYC

    So glad you’ve been covering Fringe Doc! I thought the finale was great. This has to be one of the greatest cliffhangers of all time. I can’t wait to see where they’re going with this.

  • Yes!

    Your theory had me on my toes just reading it!
    Thanks for writing it up : )
    I know everyone has said this but I REALLY can’t wait till next season!!

  • DJ

    I think this is fairly straight forward actually.

    Peter doesn’t exist in 2011 because he died as a young child. All of this happened because Walter’s Peter died and he went to the other universe to try to save Walternate’s son and decided to take him back to his side. In the new timeline Walter does not go over to save Peter and both Peter’s die as children. This means that in 2011 Peter does not “exist”.

    • Sallier


      No because the watchers addressed how no one remembered Peter once he disappeared; not one person in the room addressed his disappearance; two Oliva’s, two Walters etc…

    • Tina

      What seems to nullify the idea of Josh/Peter Bishop coming back at all, though is not that he ceased to exist but that they specifically said he “never existed”. Like not in First People hiding pieces ages, not born on either side, not stolen, never sprung Walter from prison (IF he went to prison in a universe with no Peter in the first place)…

    • Annah

      I think the observers EXPECT Peter to not exist, but I think the volt of electricity he got from the machine might have bound his cells or whatever like the woman who couldn’t die because she was struck by lightening twice. I think the lightening thing will play into Walter as well at some point, he was struck twice as well. I think Peter will exist because of this but no one will remember him, at first… Olivia, with her powers and love for Peter will be the one to save him.

  • Bin Laden

    I love you guys, BEST SHOW ON TV.
    Hey Jeff, I think your theory is very solid. I red similar theories on the fan fora

  • Mat

    Awesome season finale!
    So many place to go from here.
    Lets jsut hope that Belly doesn’t come back to haunt Olivia again.. spock in an Olivia costume was pretty weird.. even for Fringe.

    PS, I’ve been thinking its Faux-livia this whole season.. was I wrong?

    • Elizabeth

      Do you mean the character’s name? In the script and to the cast/producers, she is “Bolivia” but the fans have been calling her “Fauxlivia,” which, IMHO, is a far superior name.

  • Arlene

    I’m so confused, if Peter never existed, then wouldn’t there be no reason for the worlds to be saved since Walter only crossed over to save Peter?
    Also, I really hope that the writers don’t abandon the Olivia/Peter storyline because I really enjoyed that.

  • lanclot5

    I don’t know if it was my imagination or not, but it appeared that Josh’s face was a little fuller when he appeared in 2025. Did he gain a few pounds to make himself look older?

    • Ravenous

      I also noticed that his face looked fuller than in the present scenes.Also there was some graying of the temples.They probably shot the present day scenes first and then filmed the future scenes later, after Josh gained a few pounds or as in Alice in Wonderland it could have been a bit of CGI trickery as my husband pointed out.My husband also said that since the ending wasn’t written yet,waiting for fan input to keep the show going he might have even put on the weight for another role.Either way how the season ended definately BLEW MY MIND!!!!!!

    • Dicazi

      I thought the same thing.

    • Elizabeth

      I thought it was just really good make-up/prosthetics. In paparazzi pics he doesn’t look like he’s gained any weight.

    • Dicazi

      Weight gain goes to other places first than the face. And he didn’t look like he had a belly.

  • Johnny

    I’m beginning to feel really annoyed with Joshua Jackson. He sounds like a broken record. I would honestly like to know why he thinks the romance aspect on Fringe is something minor and all that matters to him is the father/son relationship. When an actor is totally into the character he’s playing, he embraces the role as a whole, he embraces the challenges,not only a part of it, the part that he likes.

    I love reading what John Noble has to say, but would it possible to have some interviews with other cast members too?

  • Johnny

    I’m beginning to feel really annoyed with Joshua Jackson. He sounds like a broken record. I would honestly like to know why he thinks the romance aspect on Fringe is something minor and all that matters to him is the father/son relationship. When an actor is totally into the character he’s playing, he embraces the role as a whole, all the challenges, not only a part of it, the part that he likes.

    I love reading what John Noble has to say, but would it possible to have some interviews with other cast members too?

    • quantumx

      I agree. Josh is bored. I need interview with Anna Torv (or Blair ou Jasika).

    • Lauren

      I think JJ just doesn’t want the romance to become cliche and played out on the show. There are so many instances of that happening, I can’t really blame him. From the get-go ppl were like ‘Peter/Olivia!!!!’ but (while the relationship b/w the two is an integral part of the show) it shouldn’t be the focus. (Their little scenes in the car, talking about annoying habits, honestly, weirded me out a little). So I can appreciate the happy couple time, I think the angst fits them better. The baby served a purpose, but IMO they should use the ‘reset’ to let it go. Ken said it best: I love babies in real life, in Fringe, not so much.
      But second the interviews w/ other characters. What about Anna, or even Jasika and Lance! Show runners a plus too.

      • Johnny

        But I don’t think it’s the focus; the annoying part was when Olivia came back, but I guess that had to be done. If we re-watch the show, the number of couple scenes we’ve had compared to the total scenes is minor. And I would give him a break if he hadn’t been so against it from the very beginning.

        I love Fringe but I feel very uneasy about season four. I hope that they won’t us to simply accept or understand that three seasons of character involvement and development never happened.

    • mysterydude

      Because they RUINED his character while making Olivia miss perfect! So give josh a break.

    • Annah

      I don’t think JJ ever watched the show or he would KNOW the relationship is important. I wonder if he is afraid to develop real feeling for Anna Torv like he did in real life for Katie Holmes when he was on Dawson’t Creek. It DOES happen… I can see why at the beginning the idea didn’t sound great to him, but now if he doesn’t see the relevance to the P/O relationship it seems like there has to be another reason behind it.

  • Allyson

    Thanks for all your work, Doc! Love the theories, love the show.

    This question has been nagging me: Why didn’t Olivia and Peter recognize each other from their childhood days (“Subject 13″) upon “first” meeting as adults?

    Thanks! Can’t wait till season 4!

    • Shari

      Good point! I had not thought of that. It puzzled me too that Peter and Olivia, or at least Olivia, did not remember each other…and even more importantly, Olivia not remembering WALTER, from those childhood encounters. One would think some of Olivia’s experiences involving Walter & Peter in Jacksonville would be burned into anyone’s brain. Not recalling something important that happened when you were 4 to 6 yrs old is one thing, but not recalling an important series of events occurring at (I’m guessing) age 11 or 12, especially for someone with a photographic memory, seemed odd.

      I chalked that up to a misstep by the writers, but perhaps as you suggest, forgetting may have something to do with what happened in the last episode of Season 3 and things to come in Season 4.

    • AngelRouge

      I want to know too, If Peter and Olivia did in fact meet each other as children why don’t they recognize each other as adults? Great question.

  • Lulu

    Ah! I have so many exams this week, but all I could do after Ken mentioned your article yesterday was refresh the EW homepage every ten mins! Thanks so much for the interview. Great to know two quality EW guys care so much for this show!

    • Lulu

      Ok, sorry here’s my question. Why was it necessary for Peter to disappear?! I’ve mulled it over so I don’t sound like an idiot, but.. If he never existed, HOW DID ANY OF THIS HAPPEN?! Mindfrak is an understatement. Ik the show runners are too good to simply be like ‘just go with it’ so they have an explanation. Please, Doc. Ask some form of this question!

      • ty

        I read another article where the producer said that all of these questions are what season 4 is about. We were not meant to understand everything that just happened. Season 4 will explain it. I can’t wait, it should be a heck of a ride.

  • Sallier

    Addressing your question: “…the mother of his child? (Whatever happened to that kid, anyway?)…” If the father never existed it stands to reason he would have no offspring. Otherwise pretty spot on.

    • Brian1

      Yet the war between universes, which is all because of Peter, is still happening. Stands to reason that Peter did exist, but no one remembers he existed. Same could go for the kid.

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