FRINGE: J.H. Wyman Teases ‘The Bullet That Saved the World’
October 23, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
For someone who normally has an awful lot to say about a lot of things, I find myself at a loss on what to say about this Friday’s episode of FRINGE, “The Bullet That Saved the World.”
As much as I love doing “You Ask, I Answer” or teaser posts, this episode really does feel like it would be better without too much being ruined. So for now, I’ll leave you guys with this: a specific aspect of the hour feels like a love letter to long-time fans; I’m not sure Joshua Jackson (Peter) has ever been better; and damn, this show is going to be missed when it’s gone.
So with my blathering out of the way, how about some teases about what’s to come from FRINGE showrunner J.H. Wyman?
What can you tease about “The Bullet That Saved the World”? Joshua Jackson teased the episode specifically is a big turning point for him…
J.H. Wyman: I think it will put things into perspective. My goal was that we’re not going to be sitting watching the characters from above, but actually be down with them and the same struggles they go through and the same experiences they go through. I think all three characters are engaged in odysseys, the depths of which I don’t know they’ve all been made clear yet to the viewer. But they will. I’ve always said it. Those odysseys, that’s what I was really concerned with.
It’s funny, because some people say episode 3 wasn’t as fast as 1 and 2 were, but thematically, that’s where it’s at. These things are important. The emotional stories that you’re learning, you’re collecting, are all a part of a whole, if that makes sense.
It does. For me, I’ve felt like this season — more than ever — you guys are telling one large story that’s just being spread out in 13 weeks. It’s very cable-esque in many ways.
JW: That’s really cool. I really appreciate that you recognize that, because it’s so hard to communicate. A lot of people, I think, are forgetting this is the end. There are certain things that while you may be really interested in, but they’re not as important to the resolution of the characters we’ve loved for so long, at least from our perspective.
But you’re right. That’s how we’re looking at it in terms of movement. Different episodes may have different paces, but by choice. Not every episode can be a rip-roaring race from beginning to end. Sometimes they’re smaller, and there’s a reason to sort of allow them to sit. And choose the pace. And I know some people may not like that, but that’s how we’ve designed that.
Mostly, it’s very fast. But I think there are times when you want to take a breath and pay attention to the emotions that are going on.
With a title like “The Bullet That Saved the World,” is that referring to Etta’s bullet that she’s been wearing since we met her in “Letters of Transit”?
JW: You’ll have to tune in and find out.
Will we at least find out before the series is over how Etta came into possession of that bullet?
JW: 150% yes.
In speaking of the smaller moments, one of the more prevalent comments I feel like I’ve seen from people is the question about why Peter and Olivia haven’t really talked with Etta on-screen, whether it was about the day she was taken or about their time apart. They do know some things, because, for instance, they were able to use Simon’s name after his head was discovered, but will there be a more in-depth conversation coming?
JW: I think what has happened — and you’re going to understand a little bit more about her history from conversations, yes, for sure. If you look at the timeline, I assume they’ve had conversations off-screen, but it’s a matter of what is absolutely necessary versus what some might want to see. And I agree, that conversation could be very interesting, but you’ll be able to hear more about it as the series goes on.
In “Letters of Transit,” Etta really did have a relationship with the characters we knew who weren’t ambered, specifically Nina. Will we learn whether she had any part in guiding Etta as a young adult? Because Etta certainly knew a lot about her parents given that she didn’t know her parents for most of her life.
JW: Right. Um, yeah, I think you will get the answer to that.
JW: Soon enough. [Laughs]
We know that Etta has some sort of abilities. Will we be seeing her use the abilities we’ve witnessed and find out more about what she can do?
JW: You will find out what she can do. You’re calling them abilities, but I don’t know if…maybe you’re implying something deeper?
Well, she’s able to block the Observers from reading her, which is a massively helpful trait right about now.
JW: She is!
That’s the kind of ability I was thinking of. She may have other skills I have no idea about yet.
JW: Right. But yes, that is an ability, and that is something that is very useful for somebody that is working both sides of the street. That comes in very handy for her.
Is it important Etta was wrong about how much time had passed between the last time she saw her parents?
JW: The truth is, it’s so funny, because when people are running for their lives and you’re in a place of occupation, imagine you’re stuck in the war in Berlin, you lose your identity to an extent; you don’t know what’s going on, you have no paperwork, nothing. So, the truth is, going around from kind person to kind person and depending on the kindness of strangers and having people take care of you and moving from one refugee camp…you’ll learn a little bit about that, but the idea of that was you can lose your identity.
That’s what’s so important about “In Absentia,” that’s what I was trying to get across: it’s all about what’s missing. She looks like she’s been okay and she seems like a strong woman on the outside and it seems like she’s gone along by some miracle to create herself into an incredibly strong woman against the odds. But if you look inside, her parents weren’t there to figure out things morally and tell her you can’t be like that. You have to hold on to your morals and your integrity, your compassion, because that’s what makes you different from these people. Her parents weren’t really there to stop that. And that’s the kind of message I was trying to get across. You really need to show up for your children and sometimes it’s what’s not there that counts. And that nods to the larger theme of the season.
Well, it’s good it’s nothing sinister. Maybe my brain is prepared to fear the worst with this show.
JW: It’s so funny, everyone’s like, ‘It always ends bad!’ But that wasn’t part of the thinking. Part of the thinking was she grew up understanding who her parents were. Ultimately believing they were alive. Ultimately followed through that destiny to find them, and free them, and reunite everybody. And that’s kind of really cool. So you can understand the long-term destiny and fate at play here.
Fair enough. What can you say about the return of Broyles?
JW: When Broyles comes back, He will sort of be made — I think it will clarify where he’s been, what his attitudes are, what kind of a person he is. How viable he finds the team. He loves everybody, I do believe. That’s how I feel about it.
On a scale from 1-10, how much will we be sobbing our eyes out when this is all said and done with the series? I feel like not all of our main characters are going to survive and I know you’ve teased there will be deaths. So, is this going to be one of these things where it’s a level 10 trauma, requiring junk food, tissues, and locking ourselves away for a week, kind of thing? Or are we going to have a little bit of hope, a la the ending of “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11″?
JW: I mean, that’s a good question. I feel it’s all part of wanting to really take you through this journey with the characters that you love. And I really want you to feel what they feel. And I really want you to be involved. Because for me, that’s good television. It may not be for somebody else, but to me that is. If I can make you feel something, if I can make you care and fret and hope for the best and be looking for a sign that everything is going to be okay and our characters…this is what I think is successful, with any story, really. The people that want more laser guns, I think you missed the point.
Are you writing the series finale now?
JW: Yeah, we’re basically doing the last few [episodes]. We’re really excited. And like I said, we’re trying to include a lot of things for the fans that are kind of cool post-FRINGE. Embedding certain things and trying to make it interesting and show a little love back. Fans have been so cool, making all these videos, doing all these mysterious things, and we thought, we can give them something, too. So we have a couple things cooking we think will show our appreciation in a very meaningful way.
I love how much you guys clearly care about the fans.
JW: Well, without them, we would not be here. We all know that. That’s why it’s so important for us that people understand what we’re trying to do. Most of our fans understand this is about our core characters and that’s what’s really important.
I know you also have a pilot in the works at Fox. Is that going to impact your involvement with FRINGE in its final days?
JW: Oh, no. My priority is always FRINGE. We have plenty of time to do the pilot, any old time. A good idea is a good idea. And when it’s ready to get made, it gets made. But no, FRINGE is — barring a fire, I don’t think there’s much that could get me away from FRINGE.
Make sure to come back later this week for more from the cast on Friday’s big episode, plus next week I’ll have more from my interview with Wyman!
FRINGE airs Fridays at 9 PM on Fox.