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. 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
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
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 - 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.
[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.