FRINGE: Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman on ‘One Night in October’ and What’s to Come
October 1, 2011 by Marisa Roffman
So, um, that happened on FRINGE.
Now that both coasts have seen “One Night in October,” there is much to discuss — including, but not limited to, how we’re going to survive the next few days until we get our next episode.
Seriously, though, given the last scene of the hour, I had many burning questions about what the heck we just saw/heard. And thankfully, FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman were willing to answer a few of them…
Peter seemed quite anguished at the end of the episode when he was calling for Walter — asking for help, etc. Is he in actual physical pain in his state of quasi-non-existence?
J.H. Wyman: It’s not a physical thing, it’s definitely emotional. He’s displaced and it’s something when everyone who is supposed to know and love you has no idea who you are. It’s tantamount to being dead, but still being here — or even worse, because people don’t even remember you. So, it’s a form of anguish for sure. He definitely wants to figure out how to make things right and to put things back to normal.
What’s really cool to us about this entire story is that in other seasons, there have been secrets. Walter had a secret and that was discovered by Olivia. The audience then had a secret against Peter. Peter was the one who was oblivious. This year, it’s the complete opposite — where Peter and the audience are sort of on the same page, and they know all of the beautiful, great things, and how far everybody came because of all the impact, and the characters, how they brought great things in each other out. So it’s painful for everybody to say, this definitely happened and we know it happened and Peter knows it happened. He has to get things back to normal. He has to do it.
So, he’s sort of invigorated to fix all of this and to try find a way so he can get things back to the way they used to be. And that causes pain, when you see people — or versions of people that you know and love — that a) don’t remember you and b) have not come as far as they did when you knew them. It’s really interesting to us that Walter, it’s a different Walter.
This is a Walter where in this version, both Peters died. The Observer never intervened. So imagine that guy now. This is a place where you’re like, okay, this guy has had different things happen to him. Maybe he didn’t go over to get Peter. There’s a whole bunch of things where you don’t know what happened to Walter. The one thing you do know is that Peter wasn’t a part of his life. So if Walter never went over to get Peter, wouldn’t he be different? If Walter broke the universe for another reason, wouldn’t that make him different? And then all of a sudden, you get a very different man. And when Peter looks at him, and says, “Oh my gosh, I know what you can become. I know what you’re capable of. And you’re not that man.” And he realizes that Walter is so different than Peter remembers, it makes it sad that [Peter] is looking at a man that is less than the person he left, emotionally.
So all these different things, we don’t know. You guys will find out to what degree things have changed, but if Walter never went over there to grab the other Peter, what happens? If Walter doesn’t make it in time and they both die, what happens? If Walter saves him and then all of a sudden you realize there is another Peter, well, that’s something else. It’s how everyone is infected by Peter’s life which makes him so poignant.
It almost felt like we were getting a glimpse of what Walter would have been like if we had been privy to his time in the mental hospital Olivia got him out of in the pilot.
JW: Yep! Yeah. Exactly right.
And we know Peter never visited Walter when he was there, so it couldn’t have been easy for him to see the behavior Walter has exhibited in the first few episodes.
JW: Yeah. We don’t know what Walter’s narrative was like this time. And that’s going to be fun for us to lay it out.
I’m sure it will be! Okay, moving on to another one of the hour’s big shocks: Alt-Broyles is alive! Is there anyone else who may have been dead when Peter was around, but is now alive now that he’s gone?
Jeff Pinkner: A very good question. What we’re playing is Peter’s influence on the characters over here reaches much further back into the past — obviously with Walter and Olivia, and we know he met when she was eight and in the Cortexiphan trials, and he told her, “Don’t run away. Go back and take control of your life.” So his influence on her life, even to the extent that it was a part of her subconscious and she wasn’t necessarily aware of it, but it was certainly a part of her narrative, has been for a very long time.
But his influence on the characters on the other side only dates back to the end of season 2. So things on that side are far less touched by Peter’s presence. Having said that, alt-Broyles was dead because he helped Olivia escape. So we can assume that because he’s alive, that didn’t happen. Elsewhere, without trying to set up a game, there are obvious clues and opportunities for the audience to figure out what’s different and what’s the same because of Peter’s presence. And we’re not trying to be elusive. With the things that are important, we will make very plain. And with the others that are less important, we will allow to color the show.
Specifically will characters be back? Maybe. With a capital “maybe.”
Capital “maybe.” I’m okay with that. It was also mentioned in tonight’s episode that Olivia killed her stepfather —
JP: That’s one of the differences!
So, really, Peter really needs to come back so Olivia doesn’t have that burden.
JP: Killing her step-dad was probably a very, very empowering act, but also one that you could imagine would mess someone up a little bit.
Understandable. And we did hear alt-Lincoln mention Charlie in tonight’s hour, but obviously Kirk Acevedo is otherwise occupied on PRIME SUSPECT. Are there any plans to have him back on FRINGE in the near future?
JW: Nobody’s ever dead on FRINGE! We love Kirk and if the storytelling goes in the direction that he’s going to come back, well, then we’ll address that.
What did you guys think of “One Night in October”? Are you hoping Charlie pops back up? Or are you just hoping Peter comes back ASAP?
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