FRINGE: Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman on the Season 4 Finale and Where They’re Going in Season 5
May 11, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
[Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen tonight's episode of FRINGE, please stop reading and go watch it. Trust me. You won't want to read this post until after you've viewed "Brave New World, Part 2" because it will spoil a very important aspect of the hour.]
We all good?
So what did you think of the FRINGE season finale? While I’ll have some thoughts on the hour/my recap up shortly, I had some burning questions after viewing the hour.
Thankfully, FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman took a few minutes from plotting season 5 (!) to talk about what went down and what’s to come…
In the past, FRINGE has gone for the massive, massive, massive mind-blowing finales that leave you going WTF when it ends. This one was a little bit smaller than normal — at least by comparing how they all have ended. Was that intentional on your part or was that just the way the season shook out?
Jeff Pinkner: It was both. Absolutely, each of the last three years as you say, we masterfully dropped a bomb into the storytelling. We knew that the story of the year was Peter returning to this universe and figuring out that it was the one and only universe and reconnecting with these characters. And the ultimate shape of that was finally finding Olivia again in this fantastically fantastic way and then risking losing her. And then Walter as well. This family has finally in a difficult way found each other and come together only to potentially be blown apart by the machinations of what were ultimately of William Bell that the earned ending was the happy one unlike the past seasons where they were one way or another, a perilous ending.
J.H. Wyman: Also, there’s one other thing — basically, 4×19 allowed us to be a little lighter in the finale. Because the suggestion of 4×19 in the future was enough impetus for us, we believe. Like Jeff said, we were very specific that we didn’t want to have the end of the season be a very loud noise. We wanted to be more refined and more about the emotions of our characters and not sort of destroy that with a lot of noise. So we actually used the opportunity to do that in 19.
Speaking of “Letters of Transit,” a lot of the big reveals that played out over the last two episodes were either shown or heavily hinted at in the 2036 hour. I know you guys are traditionally very anti-spoiler, so is there any regret it may have ruined some of the impact of those later episodes? Or are you happy you had that big bang and got to shock people in 4×19?
JW: Well, Olivia is not in 4×19. We were very careful to make sure that the story we wanted to tell — at the end, it was a fine line to walk. There’s always thematic reasons we’re telling the stories and we’re trying to get an idea out. While it was supposed to be compelling, it was more about closure. We closed the chapter. And usually we close with a bang, but this was a gentle closing. And it was a gentle closing for a reason. If you stand back, if you look at FRINGE as a continuing saga, it will be revealed that it will make perfect sense to you.
Fair enough. Given that Olivia was not in the future episode, but she did die in the finale — and then get resurrected — are we now past the “Olivia needs to die in every future” arc, or was that simply just one hurdle?
JW: Hm. Well, I think you’ll get the answer to that. I’d hate to spoil that and let any air out. It’s basically, for right now, the characters are dealing with what happened to them and what they’ve been through and how they’ve saved the world and the new concept of how they fit in it and the baby and everything that’s coming to them that they deserved. I think they’ll always wonder that. I think it’s better that the viewer doesn’t know, either, because that’s the head space our characters are in anyway.
Okay. I know I started to question you guys on William Bell’s fate in this new timeline fairly early in the season, but when Leonard Nimoy (Bell) spoke with reporters earlier this week, he said the plan had only been in place for him to return a few months. When did you guys decide that Bell would be the one behind David Robert Jones’ scheme?
JP: I think Leonard was telling you guys a version of the truth. We had talked to him before the season started, and then pitched back to him an idea he had always had from the beginning, which was what if William Bell was a bad guy? What if we got to see a different version of William Bell. And at that point, he said, “Okay, you guys got me again!” [Laughs] And then we talked about the realities of life and his life and the timing and the scheduling and we knew it’s hard to build beyond that. And Jared [Harris (David Robert Jones)] is spectacular and Jared, too, wanted to come back and participate again. And we were so wildly grateful to that. So we figured out this structure where we could [use] both of their talents. In season 1, David Robert Jones was trying to get the attention of William Bell and in this slightly alternate version of reality, he’s still working for William Bell. So the storytelling lined up and the reveal lined up and everybody’s availabilities lined up and we were incredibly fortunate. Sometimes, everything just works out perfectly. And this was one of those times.
Since he fudged the truth with the timeline in the interview, can you say whether you talked with him about potentially appearing in season 5 at all?
JP: We talk with him constantly. [Wyman laughs] And again, we would never want to spoil anything.
Well, what can you say about season 5? Joel, I know you tweeted about starting the writing process already…
JW: I can say this — episode 4×19 is crucial to season 5. Understanding that is crucial. But also at the same time, everything you’ve learned from FRINGE from season 1 all the way to season 4 at the end is also very important to how this end is going to play out. It’s direct arrow, there are no filler episodes, it is jam-packed with revelation and adventure and emotion and it’s a season that’s going to carry a lot of water and a lot of responsibility, but we’re so excited about it. Really, just to even get the opportunity to get more canvas to paint the picture that deserves to be painted is just thrilling.
And will season 5 be completely set in 2036?
JW: Well, I think that that’s going to be clear, but all I really want to say is 2036 is imperative to the season.
What did you think of “Brave New World, Part 2″?
FRINGE: Leonard Nimoy on Returning to the Series, What Bell is Up To, and If He’ll Be Involved in Season 5
FRINGE Season Finale: ‘Brave New World, Part 2′ Photo Preview
FRINGE Season 4 Finale: Blair Brown Teases ‘They Need Nina To Save the Day!’
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