All this season, Fringe has been heading toward what seems to be an inevitable conflict between the two parallel universes. In exploring both sides of the issue, we have come to know not just the people on our planet, but also on the other side. The result is we now hope the worlds do not collide, but rather both thrive.
With just two more episodes left – the third season finale airs Friday, May 6 – tonight, Olivia (Anna Torv) joins forces with the mysterious Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan) in a desperate race against time. And then on the season finale — the series has already been picked up for its fourth year — Peter confronts his destiny and a beloved team member meets an untimely demise.
But is anybody really dead on Fringe? We talk to John Noble, who plays Walter and Walternet, to find out what he can tells us about what lies ahead.
Where do you hope Fringe is heading?
John Noble: That’s a really difficult question, and I don’t have even a hint of an answer. What our writers have done is opened up all potential. By making different choices in life you can change the direction of your life, or events around your life. Using that plot device, that’s opened up something that could run forever, really, by different choices. By opening up the fact that we have one identical universe in pure science indicates there could be thousands of them should we wish to go down that way.
Where they’ll go, I don’t know. What I do know is that they’ll remain constant to the central characters that they’ve created from season one. So somewhere within that wonderful journey, you will still have Olivia, and Peter (Joshua Jackson), and Astrid (Jasika Nicole), and Walter, and Broyles (Lance Reddick), and Nina (Blair Brown). Those characters will still somehow meander through whatever wonderful journeys we take.
What sort of tools does Walternet have at his disposal to make anything happen over here in our universe?
John Noble: You could make an assumption based on what’s happened so far with both these men gathering pieces of the machine that they both have the same tool. And so what happened, is that he found a way to activate his machine. And as a result of which, our world started to break down. I mean seriously break down as we’ve witnessed in the alternate universe, which of course then prompts panic on our side, “What do we do?”
We have to find a solution. Walter has to get his best faculties back together again, do exactly what Bill [William Bell ((Leonard Nimoy)] told him he could do and that is resolve these problems with everything he needs to do it. He has to allow Peter the freedom to be a hero instead of being a protective parent.
Is William Bell really gone? Is there anything you can tell us about that?
John Noble: William Bell will never go. Oh, you’re talking about the … voice.
John Noble: Oh, that was a kind of very sad ending, wasn’t it? That felt to me like the end of Billy while I was playing that. The remorse that Walter felt at the end of that scene felt like that was the end of it. But I don’t know that for sure, and I know that Leonard loves doing the show. So, goodness sakes, he could come back. But it did feel like a departing to me.
And what was it like being animated?
John Noble: It was great fun. It’s a bizarre thing to look at. What we did was we shot the scenes against the white background to give the artist some guidelines, and we did the dialogue. And then they went away and they created that extraordinary act of television. It’s very cool.
What kind of a journey would you say Walternet has been on this year? And what kind of a journey has Walter been on?
John Noble: The writers said to me at the beginning of the year that Walter’s journey is a journey towards redemption. And I understood that. In fact, I had thought from the beginning of season one that that was a sort of great arc. Walter had a really tough season in the sense that he was most of the season alienated from his beloved son. And he found that very difficult because he had become so attached to Peter. And obviously Astrid stepped in and helped him out a lot, but he had to battle a lot of it out by himself.
So that was a tough 40 days in the desert for Walter, and towards the end of it you’ll see that there’ll be some resolution between Peter and Walter; a much more grown up relationship will be established. That same beautiful trust that they had until the end of season two, I think it was, when Peter finally realized that he wasn’t the son.
There’s a different type of respect and love in there now, so it’s been a huge sort of arc for Walter in terms of spending a lot of the time really very, very lost and having to come to grips with the fact that — and it’s been told by Bell and by Nina, you are everything you need to be to do what you have to do. So he’s had to accept himself and his limitations and know that that’s perfectly adequate. It’s a wonderful journey, actually.
Fringe airs tonight at 9 p.m. on FOX.