Fringe returns from its hiatus tomorrow with the eight final episodes of the show's fourth - and hopefully not last - season. The cast and creative team recently told us all about the crazy twists and revelations that lie ahead.
While at WonderCon, we got the chance to chat with executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman and stars John Noble, Blair Brown, and Seth Gabel. Since this is Fringe we're talking about, they remained resolutely vague on any concrete spoilers, but they gave us plenty of clues about what to expect from this final run of episodes.
The biggest news - and for those still trying to make their mind up about this season, probably the most encouraging - is that tomorrow night's episode, "A Short Story About Love", will definitively settle the question of which universe Peter is in, whether it's the original timeline with him simply erased or a whole new reality where he never existed. Jeff Pinkner told us that, as soon as the answer is revealed, the audience should see that the truth has been hiding in plain sight all along.
He and Joel Wyman admitted that they should have made it clear much earlier on that this season wasn't a reboot or some sort of dream, and that lingering question has understandably clouded some viewers' enjoyment of the season, and that audiences will judge that storytelling decision in terms of the season's endgame. They then promised that, by the season finale, they're hopeful that people will see this season's overall journey as really worthwhile.
As for what else to expect from tomorrow night's episode, John Noble revealed that part of the episode's love-related themes deals with "the strained concept of attraction." In this case, that means a villain who uses pheromones to control people, an idea that greatly excites Walter because, well, "Walter loves smells." He wouldn't give much of anything away about next week's episode, "Nothing As It Seems", other than it features Walter taking Jean the cow outside for a walk.
The episode after that, "Everything In Its Right Place", features Lincoln crossing over to team up with his own alternate, and naturally Seth Gabel has lots to say about it. He revealed there are multiple lengthy Lincoln-on-Lincoln conversations, and that they're mostly focused on answering why one Lincoln questions authority while the other does not. To get to the "big answer" to that question, the two Lincolns delve into their respective histories all the way back to high school, trying to find the one moment - if it exists - where they became set on two very different paths.
The show's increasingly complicated love triangles were a major topic of discussion, with Seth Gabel promising a confrontation between Lincoln and Olivia, even if all parties involved are trying their damnedest to be mature adults about such an impossible situation. John Noble said Walter has a father's concern for Olivia and how she seems to be falling head over heels in love with Peter, a man she should barely know. He said the various characters are so afraid of what's happening to their memories and realities that they allow themselves "to drift into a fool's paradise that this is reality." Noble then pithily summed up the only sane reaction the characters could have to this desire: "Let's just make out!"
Looking further ahead, the as yet untitled nineteenth episode will keep up previous seasons' tradition of a genre-smashing episode, and all indications are that the main cast takes a backseat in favor of guest stars Henry Ian Cusick (Lost) and Georgina Haig, who play a pair of FBI agents. John Noble described the episode as "futuristic like a dreamscape", while Jeff Pinkner promised that it was epic in scope with lots of Easter eggs thrown in for longtime fans.
Indeed, the rest of the season sounds like it will have lots of goodies in store for people who have been with the show since the very beginning. Noble revealed that there will be plenty of revisitation of old villains in the final few episodes, and then David Robert Jones taking centerstage again in the finale, which will feature some huge revelations about his character.
As for the big question hanging over Fringe - whether it will return for a fifth season - the showrunners said that simply wasn't their primary focus. While they said they were hopeful for a renewal, their task now is simply to do their job to the best of their ability and close out this season as strongly as possible. Whether that includes making sure the season finale can also function as a series finale remains to be seen.