While Fringe fans can find solace in the fact that they’ve only scratched the surface of the final season, Anna Torv is dealing with mixed feelings as she crosses the halfway point in filming.“We’re just about to finish Episode 6, so it’s all a bit, ‘Whew!’” the actress shared with TVLine from the show’s Vancouver set. “You remember how it goes quick and slow at the same time.”
Whereas previous Fringe seasons asked Torv to tackle dual roles and/or play an Olivia who never knew Peter, the nut she has to crack this final go-round involves the navigation of two delicate relationships: Liv’s reunion with her daughter Etta, now a grown woman, and her possible reconciliation with Peter, from who she separated, emotionally and physically, after their toddler daughter was abducted by Observers. As much as Torv looked forward to getting her own reunion scene with Etta (after sitting out last season’s “Letters of Transit”), playing that coming together of mother and daughter – the two of them practically contemporaries — was nonetheless “tough,” she shares. “I was like, OK, I’ve got to try and find little moments where I can see the little girl in her, but in the same breath I’m still meeting this woman.“Georgina [Haig] and I at the beginning talked it out a bit, but we didn’t want to overthink it,” Torv continues. Surprisingly humble given the powerful on-screen result – which she had yet to watch herself at the time we spoke — she says, “It’s one of the trickiest relationships I’ve played, and I don’t know that I got it [right].”
And then there’s Peter (played by Joshua Jackson). As established in the season opener, Olivia’s husband, in the wake of Henrietta’s abduction, elected to stay in Boston and continue searching for their little girl, while Olivia trekked to New York City to enlist in the greater fight to bring down those who forced this loss upon her. And while the parents addressed that rift briefly in the premiere, Torv says there remains “a whole bunch of stuff” for the pair to work through. “It runs a lot deeper than that [one conversation], so it sort of has to come up again – all amongst saving the world!” she says. ”It’s a complicated situation, because again, we don’t know yet what all happened before ambering ourselves.”(Speaking of her character’s “frozen” state and emergence from same, Torv is a bit chagrined about bringing the tan she acquired from an extended summer getaway to Maui to her first scenes as Olivia. “I’m now back to my normal color, but for a little while I was like, ‘Uh-oh!’” the Aussie beauty laughs. “I hadn’t gone away for a bit, and you forget how damn white you get…. The crew was laughing about that as well, that the amber had ‘rubbed off on my face.’”)
Turning to the more tangible matters at hand: In Episode 2, airing tonight at 9/8c, Walter, waylaid by his brutal, memory-muddying interrogation by Captain Windmark, will resolve himself to get back to his Harvard lab – which all these years later of course is no longer “his.” Does this mean he’s returning to his former self, as hinted in the close of the premiere? “I would think there’s hope,” Torv teases. “That is what our show kind of holds onto, that there’s always hope.”Being halfway through filming Fringe‘s farewell run, Torv was extra careful not to reveal any spoilers, but instead promised “a lot of callbacks” to previous seasons, “throwbacks to cases, throwbacks to people,” and futuristic food stuffs even more foul (fowl?) than “egg sticks.”One thing she was willing to share was her prediction that while “there will be some prices to pay” as Olivia, Peter, Walter at all wage war against the Observers, viewers will come away from Episode 13 with something resembling a happy ending. At least in Fringe terms.“In film, you can have sad endings – like, ‘Oh well, it could’ve been’ – but with television you put so much time into these people that when you do finally say goodbye, you should be satisfied. Not necessarily happy, but not heartbroken.“Then again, this is Fringe,” she concedes. “We’ve sort of turned things on their head the whole way through.”
When LA TV Insider Examiner the set of Fringe in Vancouver last week*, Anna Torv made it no secret that the biggest adjustment for Olivia in the fifth and final season, dealing with a new Observer order and a new time period, was still the fact that her daughter was all grown up and standing in front of her. The time that was stolen from her family as unit will weigh heavily over the three individuals, at least in the early season episodes. But perhaps more importantly, the way Etta (Georgina Haig) grew up and the methods she learned to use to get the job done test their relationship further.
“Olivia doesn’t know this world, and Etta absolutely has more of a handle on what’s going on [and] what the right protocol is or how to do it. So essentially, she really is sort of the one that everybody’s looking to for answers and following. So that sort of provides a little bit of thing too in that like, ‘I can’t have too much an opinion on this because we need you’,” Torv previewed.
As much as Torv believes Olivia “essentially trusts” her daughter– blood really is thicker than water, and Olivia really has come a long way!– differences in techniques come to a head in “In Absentia,” in which Etta believes her mother’s naivety about this new world is being taken advantage of and sets about trying to get information out of someone the only way she was trained on how. It just happens to be a very harsh and violent way. Olivia may not agree with her tactics, but she bites her lip and only says her two cents when her daughter is out of earshot, not willing to step on any toes or risk fracturing an already weird relationship situation. And in the end, it may just prove that a combination of both of their ways– in a new twist on the “good cop/bad cop”– is what this new world truly needs.
Similarly, the relationship between Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Olivia, which has been fractured in the past, is still a ginger one both parties are attempting to navigate now that they have been thrust back together, complicated by the fact that Peter is treating Etta like “Daddy’s little girl,” no matter what she says or does.
“They’ve been frozen in this state, and all of a sudden, they’re dealing with everything. They haven’t really had a chance to properly deal with what it was like to be two parents grieving for a little girl. So they work through that in very Peter and Olivia style…it takes them a while!” Torv laughed.
Walter (John Noble), too, intrinsically trusts Etta right from the jump, despite still struggling with getting to know her as a person. His way of showing affection has always been a little eccentric, but at least he gets her name right! And though Walter and Etta relate to each other with all of the generational gaps any grandfather and granddaughter would, their interactions gradually grow warmer as the episodes go on.
Noble teased a cute scene coming in the middle of the season: “We had to be waiting desperately for something to happen. She said, ‘What would grandfathers and granddaughters do? We’ll play knuckles!’ Like kids do. So in the middle of this tense thing, there’s the grandpa saying, ‘Come on! We’re doing this while we wait.’ It’s just inventing that sort of relationship stuff, making little moments work. A lot of the work for the actors is just to make those moments work, while we’re chasing the plot down. We try really hard. She’s such a sweetheart.”
Perhaps the presence of Etta is also what helps Walter pull out of his mentality of shame and blame, too. He is trying so desperately to recover memories lost in the depths of his mind—to end the Observers’ reign. He has felt responsible for so long, but dwelling on the past or negativity like that never gets anyone anywhere. As Etta unemotionally puts it: this is just life. It is what it is.
“The new world is awfully cruel to him. Just awfully cruel. It’s terrible. But yeah, he’ll get past that. That’s what I’m looking for now, is acceptance of that. To accept what he is. Because until he does, he can’t live on. As we all know, we live with our pasts, you actually can’t live on until you have some sort of acceptance of that. That’s what Walter’s journey absolutely is,” Noble shared of this fifth and final season.
Anna sat down with Buddy TV to talk about the final season of Fringe.
It’s a very good day for Fringe fans. After hours weeks of contemplating last season’s finale, Fringe returns and we went to series stars John Noble and Anna Torv for the answers to all our big questions.
The biggest one of all: Will Peter (Joshua Jackson) be back?
The answer of course is: Yes!
John Noble who plays both Walter Bishops, keep following us here, says: “I can answer the question that Josh Jackson will be back, that’s what everyone wants to know. We’ve done some really beautiful work so far this season.” Beautiful work you say, John? That is music to our sci-fi loving ears.
After last season’s finale, and the 10 minutes we spent staring at our televisions wondering what the heck just happened, our biggest concern was for Peter Bishop. Where is he? What happened to him? How do we exist in a world that has no Peter Bishop? Do we even want to? OK we admit it, we had a lot of concerns. Fear not. Torv explains, “Peter is the mystery this season.”
The good news is, we may be down one Peter, but we do get a double dose of our favorite awesome agent, Olivia. Torv says: “Well, what I was super excited about, and we’ve done a few little bits and pieces, is seeing my two characters interacting with each other.” And do they ever.
How is Walter handling his new Peter-less life? Not well. Not well at all. Noble tells us: “He’s mad. Seriously, because he doesn’t have anyone to love him. He’s mad.” Sad panda. We think Walter needs a hug and a milkshake and of course Peter back pronto. Sadly, without Peter, Walter doesn’t even want to leave the lab.
Noble says, “Eventually he has to sneak out for a reason or two, but no, he doesn’t want to leave the lab. He’s scared of everything, poor old fella—and bad-tempered.” We can only hope Peter comes back soon, the merged universes can bridge the gap and save humanity. And did we say we hope Peter comes back soon?