Fringe's Joshua Jackson Reveals Peter's Wrong World Dilemma: 'He's Got to Get Out of Dodge!'

If you think that Fox’s Fringe (Fridays at 9/8c) is cribbing from Lost‘s sideways world — that Peter just needs to make Walter, Olivia et al remember him and all will be hunky-dory — think again. As Joshua Jackson affirms in this TVLine Q&A, “Peter is in the wrong place, and he knows it.”

But will Peter ever be able to convince a thoroughly spooked Walter into helping him remedy this worlds-clashed problem of his? Jackson shares much insight on that, as well as teases other Fringe mysteries to come.

TVLINE | Can you start off by assuring your fans that now that you’re back, you will more than make up for missed airtime minutes?
[Laughs] I will be “Where’s Waldo?” in this show from now on. In every frame, I’ll be somewhere. No, that’s a lie but I will be a part of the show from now on. I promise.

TVLINE | In fact, Peter’s a major player now, as a critical resource for this Fringe team.
He’s definitely a resource and in ways that the Fringe team, as constituted now, doesn’t really understand, because he has knowledge of a lot of the cases they’re dealing with. But he is very much the outsider, and the dynamics of the relationships as they existed before are completely nonexistent. In fact, the person who is the most accepting of Peter coming back is the person who knows him the least – Lincoln Lee (played by Seth Gabel). They both essentially become outsiders to this team. Olivia wants nothing to with him, Walter is terrified of him…. It’s a different world.

TVLINE | Will Peter sooner rather than later get out of his Hannibal Lecter-esque confines and go into the field?
Trust me, I spent a lot of time in that box when I first came back. It won’t take too, too long, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Peter is not a part of this world, remember, so they took the time to have him earn his stripes.

TVLine’s Law-Enforcement Crushes Tournament, Round 2: Peter Bishop vs. Steve McGarrett!

TVLINE | At the end of “Novation,” they teased that Peter was winning over Walter, but it was just a fake-out. What will it take to convince Walter and show him that he is not going nuts?
I already saved two universes for these guys. I don’t know what else I can do for them! [Laughs] I don’t want to tell you what it takes with Walter, because it’s a very specific thing, but in general… Peter doesn’t actually want to be a part of this Fringe team. His motivation here is not to get back to work; he’s got to get out of Dodge! He’s in the wrong place, and he knows it. It’s not like, “Hey guys, I’m back, I just need to remind you who I am, then let’s go save the world again.” As the story goes on, Peter is more and more going to want to get back to where he belongs.

TVLINE | That explains the synopsis for Episode 8, about how Olivia and Lincoln try to help Peter “find his way home.”
And there’s some debate about that – is home here and these people just need to be reminded? Or is home some place else? Peter has not been replaced, but his space in the Fringe Division is now Lincoln’s space, so he doesn’t exist in that world anymore. He doesn’t really add anything.

TVLINE | Why do you think Peter has directed his appeal at Walter? Is he merely being pragmatic, because Walter might be able fix this? Or is it also possibly coming from an emotional place?
I think it’s primarily from an emotional place. You see how Olivia reacts to Peter, so he knows he’d be barking up the wrong tree there. But also as much as Peter was willing to sacrifice himself and go to outlandish lengths for his love of Olivia, a “different” Olivia is sort of like Bolivia for him — he doesn’t have any personal stake with the girl who’s in Season 4. However, his father is still his father, no matter which way you slice it. Peter spent three years making sure that Walter was progressing mentally to be a more stable human being. For Walter to be so cracked, so destroyed by Peter not having been there, touches him on a personal level.

Fringe Video: Does Olivia Have a Peter Problem?

TVLINE | Last week there was a random “hiccup” moment where Olivia is handed a file by a staffer and they have an exchange of words – twice. Is that a seed of something to come?
Oh, that slip in time? Yeah, the time slips come up again.

TVLINE | Is it related to Peter, or to the new threat to both universes…?
Well, I can’t tell you that those are two different things…..

TVLINE | Gotcha. Because a couple episodes down the line, there’s the teaser, “Olivia suffers from migraines.”
That is related to something else. Olivia’s having a really rough year. [Laughs] But you know what? She’s been having a really rough series, so it’s probably nothing new for her.

TVLINE | Can you say anything about how David Robert Jones returns?
Uh… no. I can say from a personal standpoint that the fact that we’re getting back to David Robert Jones and going back basically into Season 1 to rehash all of that stuff, is super-cool. And [Jared Harris] is a great actor to have on the show. But I don’t want to give away the way [he returns], because if you’ve been watching from the very beginning, it’s a very satisfying reveal.

TVLINE | What’s the coolest thing you’ve been involved in this season to date? Fringe is forever, as the showrunners like to say, “recontextualizing” itself….
Whenever they say they that, I think of Sim City. I literally hear the voice of Sim City saying, “Reticulating splines….” [Laughs] My favorite “recontextualizing” moments are during our winter break cliffhanger episodes, which deal with David Robert Jones and both universes; those I think are the best of the stories I have been involved in since I’ve been back — just because it’s the whole enchilada. It’s all the characters, it’s both sides, it’s deep in mythology, and you learn a little bit about every character. But [because of the World Series preemption] now they won’t be airing until 2012, so….

Fringe Bosses on Peter’s Return: ‘He Is Now the Show’s Focal Point’

TVLINE | Lastly…. Peter is back, the two Olivias now are hanging out together… I believe the French in at least one universe have a term for it….
[Laughs] Actually, Peter does not have very good luck with women. He meets one girl and it’s going pretty well, but it turns out she’s lying to him and she has his baby, so he destroys her universe. He then decides on the other girl but that doesn’t work out, she gets shot in the head and he stops existing…. I think he should hang up his spurs for a while.

TVLINE | Or at least steer clear of anyone who looks like Olivia.
He’s all Olivia’d out. I’m telling you, this is the Year of Peter and Astrid!

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  1. BonesFringeFan says:

    Peter and Olivia need to be together again. SOON. I miss the Peter/Olivia/Walter family dynamic soo much…

    • Jamie says:

      I miss that dynamic too.
      I don’t think that will be back unless the old timeline is restored.
      I’m hopeful that will happen soon. The longer they leave it, the less likely it is.

  2. Ana Muller says:

    Josh I love you, but your opinions about Peter and Olivia are so so wrong lol

  3. br says:

    “I already saved two universes for these guys. I don’t know what else I can do for them!”

    Hehehe! So true!

  4. Kiki says:

    I love Fringe! It has to be one of the best shows on TV right now…And I have to agree, I would love to see Peter & Olivia back together. Fringe is just awesome :)

  5. Pau says:

    Oh Joss… now Petrid MUST happen! On a more serious note: just how messed up is it they chose not to run episodes 7 and 8 concurrently on the 18th?

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I thought the time slip with the file last week was part of the shape-shifter scenario (since it got away).

    I’m in for the long haul on this show – the writing and acting has been too good and consistent not to be. I just hope FOX is too – I don’t need another show w/Gordon Ramsey in its place!

  7. emy26 says:

    he’s kidding, right? tell me he’s kidding!

  8. Hemo_jr says:

    Peter may think he is in the wrong timeline — but does the right timeline even exist? Or is he in the right timeline, but it just looks wrong?

    If the timeline exists that Peter would consider the right one, it may already have a Peter. And that Peter and his Olivia are living happily ever after. The S4 Peter may just be an extra Peter htere because the timeline split between 2011 and the 2026 from whence Peter returned. And S4 Peter just got shoved (only partially)into an alternate timeline where he should not be.

    If this is the timeline he should be in, it would be because the Observers reset the timeline and those in the timeline (other than Peter & the Observers) have actually gone through the past 25 years without Peter. It would not be because the Observers imposed false memories – otherwise those who died (like alt Broyles) would not be alive.

    Either way, Peter has to be convinced that there is no going back. Walter may end up building a window to the ‘right’ timeline and they both can see an alternate version of Peter already there and together with Olivia. Or he has to find out, for himself, that he is in the ‘right’ timeline and he just didn’t know it.

    • davey says:

      Ummmm…can you repeat all of that please. I didn’t get it the first time! :)

    • aoi says:

      actually I’ve been thinking about it last week. It is probably true that the current timeline IS the real one. Remember in season 2, the observers did say peter should never have existed and when the observer save peter and walter in the lake, he had altered the dimension and will need to correct it back and the last season’s line “He had served his purpose” with the machine.

      I really wonder if walternate had something to do with it. he’s suspiciously absent from the current season 4 anyway. And the Hermes 3000 typewriter… ding2..

  9. kate says:

    i want peter and olivia together

  10. Roneo says:

    Yeah, I like all his points of view, up to the moment he talks about Olivia and Peter relationship. Thanks god, he’s not the writter nor the producer (well, for me, at least…).

    • Roneo says:

      But for the return of David Robert Jones, and the rest of things to come, I so excited!!! Damn the weather that ruined the winter cliffhanger…..

    • Scully8 says:

      In all honesty, I think Josh likes to play that “I’m not interested in pursuing the P/O relationship.” He said himself in an interview over the summer that the P/O relationship has the potential for being epic. I just think it’s a matter of it not over taking the whole story . . . and I agree with that thinking.

      In the end or at some point, Peter and Olivia will be back together, whether it’s the OT Olivia or the NT Olivia. Remember, the showrunners always say that they are invested in the P/O storyline.

      Well, I hope what I’m saying is true . . . :-)

  11. Arjen says:

    I think that Peter and Olivia will fall in love again, nothing of the “happened past” in the future seasons will be remembered. That’s the way of creating so many new options for the serial … but … that’s my point of view!
    Can you immagine how it would be to see Peter and Olivia falling in love again??? Would be great to see such a thing happen.

  12. Me too there Kate…I am waiting for Peter and Olivia to get together and remember they love each other and all they have been through. This is a great show and you never know what is going to happen. I love shows like this that keep you guessing…just not too long…lol

  13. Audrey says:

    They shud not let ths peter thing drag for too long coz it might become another lost

  14. Henna says:

    You have some interesting questions.

    I believe that there aren’t 2 Peters, there’s always been 1 Peter. I also believe the Observers reset the timeline.

    However, remember when Walter(or Leonard Nimoy’s character…I will remember it…) said something along the lines of “Alternative universes are formed based on choices”?

    Well, I think the original universe is at a freeze after the machine. And perhaps with some other-world-jumping from Olivia, Peter may be able to go back. XD

  15. km says:

    Thanks Matt for covering Fringe. It’s a great show that gets no love on other websites.

  16. ridiculous says:

    Well I hope that Olivia in any version is way over Peter, she deserves so much better.
    Imagine Anna Torv saying that, and that this will be the year of Olivia and Broyles, time for mixed relationships on Fringe.
    BTW. Where is your Anna Torv question????

  17. Irishgirl says:

    Here’s the question that keeps rolling around in my head. Peter believes that he’s a paradox….that he was supposed to die in both universes that night, because in this reset timeline, he died in Riesden Lake. But what I’ve been wondering lately is this… Peter only a paradox in our universe? If the Observer had never distracted Walternate, he most likely would not have missed the creation of the cure in his lab. He would have seen it, given Peter the cure, and Peter would have survived. Walter would have never crossed into their universe, thus no deterioration of the universes, no need for the Doomsday device (what do we call that thing now?), maybe no cortexiphan trials, and on and on. September said in previous seasons that he saved Walter and Peter in Riesden because he was the reason Peter wasn’t given the cure…..that Peter was supposed to live. So does this mean that the current universe/world/timeline will reset itself to the one we’ve known the past three seasons (assuming that’s what the deja vu moment was in Novation)? And if so, will Peter eventually have to get into the device again, but the solution would be to reset the timeline back to the moment when September interrupted Walternate?

    • br says:

      I always thought that the moment September interrupted Walternate was the original mistake. Why are they trying to correct everything but that? Have they tried at all in other timelines and it didn’t work?
      One more thought, why the need to delete Peter after he saved both universes? Is there a reason or is it something I just have to accept with a simple: It’s a paradox!

      • Richard C says:

        Your question is THE question. September screwed it up. He just has to somehow fix it. So let’s get on with it! One other question that has been bugging me since the pilot episode; John Scott’s question to Olivia as he lay dying has never been answered. In the Pilot why did Broyles send Olivia to the warehose? Evidently this is important becuse it was Scott’s dying words to Olivia. Did I miss something? Anyone out there know the answer to Scott’s question?

  18. sarah g says:

    This season is so exciting! This show never disappoints. :)

  19. Debora says:

    This is hands down the BEST SHOW on TV!! FOX keep your paws off our Fringe. One word of advice. This show is much more fun if you just enjoy and go with the flow instead of picking apart every item that does not compute.

  20. canufeelit says:

    Peter & Olivia… more drama… wait what? Oh, yes, more drama please!

  21. Gavin says:

    There is no “right” time-line for Peter. He is only alive because of interference from outside the natural flow of time by the observer. Perhaps the failures in the universes were not caused by Walter’s portals, but, by Peters existence? Can any universe survive with Peter in it?

    • br says:

      But Peter, both versions, lived for years and the universes were doing just fine, until Walter crossed over. Besides, unless the producers have changed their minds, they confirmed that Walter was the cause.

      • Irishgirl says:

        I have been waiting for them to confirm that while Walter may have set things in motion, Walternate and William Bell have created just as much destruction to the universes as Walter did. Maybe it was said, and I missed it. But Walter crossed over once. He and William moved items back and forth between the universes. And as far as we know, they had Olivia cross over two, maybe three times. How often did William Bell cross over? What about all the crossing into our universe by Walternate’s shapeshifters? All of that movement had to contribute to the deterioration of the universes. Perhaps the other universe was falling apart faster than our universe because Walternate kept sending shapeshifters to our universe. Then again, that would be a good argument for our universe falling apart faster, and obviously it didn’t. But I just have a hard time with the whole ‘Walter caused all the bad in the other universe” accusation.

  22. Enough already says:

    Anna torv is not the only actress on this show, enough of your obsessive rants! Shut up!

  23. Sharon says:

    Oh no the crazies are about to come out..Matt please keep an eye on them.

  24. Yaytoayay says:

    I’m hoping Olivia’s migraines are not related to cortexiphan and show us her powers, I hate that storyline.

  25. Roneo says:

    Well, yes. I’m so, so, so fond of that pair that sometimes overreact. But I guess that Josh enjoys teasering us. And I agree with that of not over taking the romantic side of the story.

  26. Trista says:

    Matt – thanks for the great interview. JJ seems to really care about his alter ego and the way the stories are told. That comes across great in this QA.

    Having said all that – I love shows by JJ Abrams because he reinvents the season half way through. The writers realize that tv viewers have a short attention span. Last year Olvia came home mid-season. On Alias, Sydney took down SD-6 midway through the second season. I am hoping that Peter finds his way home in time for the second half of the season.

  27. Cam says:

    Does anyone know the DVR ratings for Novation?

  28. Grace says:

    the last line is hilarious xD

  29. donnaboobo1 says:

    I believe that if not already going in this direction, that Peter should try to get Olivia to fall in love with him again and win Walter over; that there is a reason that he appeared to them from an alternate state and they still are capable of loving him as they did before.

  30. Moe says:

    Please, she’s been promoting Olivia/anyone-but-Peter for a LONG time now. Her most recent interview had her playing up Olivia/Linc. I’m glad Josh has finally opened his eyes that his co-star has no respect for him and wants nothing to do with him and has stopped promoting the joke that was Peter/Olivia. Peter deserves better and so does Josh.

  31. joe says:

    i think after peter save the two universe, a new universe was created-which is the universe where peter died as a kid, walter lives in Harvard, etc. Remember, we have a multiverse due to the possibilities of the choices that can happen. For example, if peter destroy walternate universe, olivia will die. if he destroy our world, may be something else happens in the alternate universe. In this new universe, is the result of peter’s choice. The observer should “delete” peter completely (including space and time, not only the memories) early in season 4, but he resist to do it for some reason.

  32. Rick Katze says:

    Not having seen Walternate yet, I was assuming that he is responsible for the human shapeshifters.

    However I now think that they come from the 3rd universe.

    And in the previous time line, they causght on to the Observers although they did not know who(what) they were at the time. Peter mentioned them and the Fringe team in the new timeline should be able to search records and find the evidence of their existence

    And, of course, I could be totally wrong.

    But jlvoe the show.

  33. digirl says:

    I thought the opening theme was to be “orange” until Peter’s return then it was to go back to the blue/green/red color scheme? Did I miss something?

    • RKron says:

      I think the Orange symbolizes this universe rather than just specifically a Peter-less one. Now that Peter’s back, things are still different from what they used to be, so the only way the blue one can return is when Peter get back to his own timeline.

  34. Mira says:

    No one cares get out of here.

    • rosimili says:

      Obviously you care enough to bother yourself and insult a complete stranger online. For your information, Fringe is a serialized fiction not theoretic physics lessons.

  35. matthew says:

    Counting the hours til the next episode. By far the best show on television right now. The family dynamic is the core of the show and if the producers know what’s good for the show they will bring it back somehow.

    • Peggy says:

      Agree with Matthew. Walter, Peter and Olivia are family, strongly tied together through sufferings and love.
      Breaking them up is total nonsense, it gives us a sour feeling and will eventually turn us away from the show, who wants to sit in front of the tv feeling disappointed?

  36. peggy says:

    I truly hope he doesn’t mean it when he says No olivia this year, but Astrid and Peter. I have been patient with season 6, but my patience is running thin and I am certainly not going to pursuit the serial if they don’t put Oliva and Peter back together.
    The storyline is getting really abstract, the timeline story does not hold up, it can’t make all that had happened to everyone with Peter in the past 3 seasons disappear. It is getting ridiculous, just like Lost and Alias in the end. What a shame,what a position the writers (JJ Abrams & Co) are putting the cast in, they are brilliant, they do not deserve such poor storylines.

    • Mike says:

      Um, I’m pretty sure the actor was joking. And we’re on season 4. Are you in another universe commenting on this article since you said season 6? And poor story-lines? You have to be joking, right? If you want a crappy sickly romance show that goes on and one and on, watch Grey’s. This show isn’t Grey’s, thank god.

    • RKron says:

      Poor story lines? This is the most creative show out there and it continues to be with every new episode. The writers write to tell a fulfilling story, not just to endlessly please viewers that don’t like change. Problems happen, problems get resolved. That’s the way shows are supposed to go and it’s not ridiculous especially within Fringe-standards.

  37. Maria says:

    I like your theories Hemo

  38. AngelMoonGirl says:

    I hope Peter is able to get back to his own universe soon! This hurts almost as bad as when he was gone! I miss the Peter/Walter and Peter/Olivia relationships as we knew them. Hopefully it doesn’t take a whole season for him to finally get back to the original timeline. I really don’t want to watch, say, Olivia and Lincoln getting together in this timeline, even if they are different people. It would just be… ugh.

  39. Eve Sparkles says:

    I’m thinking, like in “eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”, The characters, despite having their memories erased, kept finding one another due to the “true fate”; this is what is and will happen with Peter and Olivia.
    Even in the Blimp Universe, Peter & Olivia get together and make a baby. Peter is one person somehow the observers try to control, but can’t, because where ever Peter ends up, he finds the Olivia of that universe.
    The question is “why”?

    • peggy-sue says:

      If I am not too badly mistaken, Olivia from the blimp universe was actually here in this one when she and Peter got together and she got pregnant. She didn’t find out until she had gone back to her blimpy world. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

      • Eve says:

        Yes, but, even though Blimp-World’s Oliva had crossed here, she and Peter got together, then our world Olivia got together with Peter, now IF this is a fractured 3rd universe, closer to OUR Universe, the focus is on how “fate” is in control and THIS Olivia and Peter MUST get together though the Observers, who may well be scientists of THEIR world splitting OUR Worlds into 1000’s as they study us, are trying to back track and keep Peter and Olivia away from one another….but it’s impossible because no beings, Human or Alien can actually control the fate and power of Love….
        or something like that…

  40. Dessy says:

    This episode was BEAUTIFUL
    The best so far (funny, I find myself saying that after every single episode.)

  41. dardee says:

    Isn’t it litel trick to belive that he is in he wrong time line, when in the firs episode of fourth season, the Observer had to erase all Peter memories. He even build a smal machine but he never pushed the button. I have to belive that he is in the right timeline because i don’ t like this frightend Olivia. He has gotten in to her something will better. They risked to much by deleting Peter now they have to make that up. :)

    • Peter says:

      I think there can be a case to be made for both A) this is a whole new universe or B) this is the original universe only peterless, to be a very exciting season. There’s still so many possibilities that could happen.

      I still think this is our universe, but with a third universe crossing through (where new breed shapeshifters came from). It would definitely be easier to explain why no one knows Peter if this universe is a third universe, but I think I’d prefer the writers figure out a way of making this universe Peterless without the help an additional universe.

      I’m going to sleep now because the more I ramble, the more I get confused! lol

  42. Rosimili says:

    Here is the relationship facts in season 1:
    – We had Peter resent Walter and Walter was trying to build relationship
    – Olivia was in love with somebody and needed Peter’s help to save her love.

    In season 4:
    – Walter is in odds with Peter and Peter is the one trying to get closer
    – Olivia is ready for a new relationship but Peter is in love with her other Olivia and needs this Olivia’s help to get to her.

    So, everything is reverse as relationships goes.

  43. solange says:

    Great interview! I love J.J (Joshua Jackson)and I hope Peter and Olivia get back together and Peter and Walter’s relationship get’s fixed too.

  44. Don says:

    Am I the only one missing the cow ??????

    Surely she’s not only milkshakes and then burger patties !

  45. I on a whim borrowed this show on DVD from a friend and two weeks later i am knee deep in season four. I want to make a statement about JJ Abrams and his popularity. He makes ideas for things and then leaves them without a thought to his fans. Two questions what happened to that capsule drill thing and why was Walt not important in the end of lost??? They based the whole first season off of him and then nothing. PS Scratchy Dog Productions is totally awesome.