Joshua Jackson on the Fringe finale
Fringe's Peter Bishop bids farewell to five seasons of the sci-fi series, which aired its last ever episode on Friday...
Warning: contains season five spoilers.
If you're amongst the group of those feeling bereft after the passing of Fringe, which aired its finale just days ago, perhaps a few words from Joshua Jackson can provide some solace.
Here's Peter Bishop speaking just before the last ever episode, An Enemy Of Fate, aired, talking about Fringe's legacy, his character arc, and the role of the fans in keeping the show alive and giving it a proper send-off:
On Fringe’s legacy:
I feel like Fringe and its afterlife is a test case for the new way that television works. Fringe, in an odd way, started its afterlife while it was still on the air. The community of the show is currently strong and vibrant, and I have a funny feeling that the afterlife of this show, as much as we who have been making it for the last five years are finishing our portion of it, will live on in that community. How that manifests itself, I don’t know. I think there will probably be a lot of fan fiction. Maybe there will even be some sort of filmed addendum to this show, whether television or podcast, or however it manifests itself. But, I feel like the afterlife of Fringe is the test case for how modern cult shows are going to live on, after they go off the air.
On the role of the fans in keeping Fringe alive:
When you talk about Fringe, not just as a narrative experience on screen, one of the more interesting things that’s come out of it is that community built around the show and how powerful that can be in tipping the scales towards the show surviving or failing. By traditional metrics, our show would have been off the air at least last year, but probably two years ago, except the passion of our fan base made it impossible for our show to be dismissed, in the way that, even ten years ago, science fiction shows were quite often lost. The fan base and the passion of the fan base is a large part of the story of the show.
On Peter’s character arc throughout Fringe:
The thing that’s most satisfying to me, as an actor, is the work that John [Noble] and I did, with Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman, to try to keep the father-son relationship as honest and dynamic as we could, in the centre of this very, very large, crazy science fiction story. That was always really a point of focus for me. I had the chance to be on a serialized TV show and to tell my piece of it, which was the story of the prodigal son who starts off doing everything he can to get out of this world, and then eventually gets drawn in through the love of his father, and then falls in love with a woman, and then, over the course of the seasons, completely reverses to now because a dedicated son and solid and reliable boyfriend, and then husband and crazily protective father. I think that’s an interesting journey to go on. [...]
I felt like the Peter as Observer arc was quite interesting this year. What was always interesting to me about Fringe was that, even though the larger story was as big as it could possibly be, like saving the universe and doppelgangers, and all the rest of it, the beating heart of the story was always this family tale. So, I really enjoyed the fact that, at the centre of what was driving Peter and Olivia this year, was both the recovery and loss of their child, and being a couple trying to grapple with that, both individually and together. I think we did a really good job this year of having the larger story driving forward, but having the smaller interpersonal story be honest. And as always, Peter and Walter are inextricably linked. Peter mirrored all of the mistakes that his father had made, all those years ago, in regards to his own child. So, I felt it was a very satisfying story, and a proper way for our show to end. [...]
The becoming an Observer portion of it was just a natural outcropping of Walter’s great sin breaking the universe to save his child because there was no place that was too far for him to go. And in the version of the story that we were telling, the most outrageous thing that Peter could do would be to become the enemy to destroy him. I thought that was actually a fairly natural outcropping, and it also gave Peter and Olivia an interesting arc to their story, as they tried to figure out how to be together again, instead of being alone together, after the loss of their child.
On Peter’s ending:
The proper ending that for the Peter that we’ve known on screen for the last five years actually happens in the finale. I love the ending. I think it makes really good sense and it wraps up his story in a way that is intertwined with all of the characters around him, but specifically with Olivia, Walter and Etta. I think it is a proper ending to the person and the story that we’ve been watching for the last five years. And I feel that way, truthfully, for Olivia, Walter and Peter. Olivia and Peter end in a proper space. Olivia, Peter and Walter end in a proper space. And Peter and Walter get to the place that they need to be.
Come back later for a spoiler-filled discussion of the Fringe two-part finale.
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