Fringe Preview: The Observers' Backstory Will 'Peel Back Layers and Reveal Some Truths'

Fringe will not be going silently into its next, three-week break. No, tonight’s episode (Fox, 9/8c) offers a little something for everyone, from fans of Peter and Walter’s collaborative sleuthing to those who’ve missed Nina Sharp, to the many of us who have clamored for more backstory on the Observers.

“This episode was designed to tell a few [stories],” executive producer Jeff Pinkner tells TVLine. “You have the story between Olivia and Nina” — who when last seen were in captivity together, each looking shaken up — “and anytime Jared Harris as David Robert Jones is on the screen is just fantastic. And allowing Michael Cerveris as our Observer (codenamed September) to peel back layers and reveal some truths about what his agenda has been — and to really use that as an opportunity to revisit some things we’ve done on the show — was fun and exciting for us.”

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Indeed, September’s (quite literally) surprising visit to Walter’s lab sets the table for an uninterrupted, six-minute exploration of the Observers’ overall mission, replete with choice flashbacks to Fringe seasons gone by and at least one OMG! moment, when it is made clear who has really been September’s No. 1 priority.

“We’ve always said that you’ll find out more about the Observers this season,” reminds exec producer Joel Wyman, “so that’s a highlight [of the episode], yeah.”

Especially as it compellingly underscores the show bosses’ fervent desire to always subvert what viewers are thinking.

“For us to constantly break what you think you know and sort of reset things and have people go, ‘Wow, I didn’t see that coming’ is why we get up in the morning,” says Wyman. “[We like] to take people for a ride.”

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But as noted above, this week’s hour is also David Robert Jones-heavy, and while small hints at his überplan will be dropped, viewers will have to wait until March 23, at soonest, to take a deeper dive into the big bad’s agenda — if, that is, he turns out to be this season’s most malevolent manipulator.

“Just remember,” Pinkner says, “that on Fringe we try to make it like nothing is as it seems, that there’s always a little more to the story, behind the story. [Jones] is definitely a large part going forward, but a lot of things will come full circle and recontextualize things that you’ve already seen.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Pat says:


  2. Dan says:

    How many times have I heard Pinkner and Wyman use the word ‘recontextualize’?
    Also, Sharp has no ‘e’ on the end.

  3. kirads09 says:

    Does the fact that the one observer’s name is “September” indicate there are only 12 of them – one for each month? Or is that too simplistic?

  4. Kiki says:

    Can’t freakin wait! Love love love this show! :)

  5. colossus says:

    best show ever

  6. Bella says:

    I am always amazed about how this show always manages to surprise me. So many of the shows I watch are predictable, but I enjoy them anyway. But a show like this, that always keeps me engaged and guessing and eager to get on the boards and see what other people are thinking and speculating, is rare. I really really hope FOX and Warner Bros. do the right thing and give this show another season.

  7. Angie says:

    I wonder if Fox put Fringe back on a night that people actually stay home & watch TV, would the ratings increase much?? I love this show & hate that it’s barely limping along ratings-wise. The only thing that gives me hope is the bump it gets from DVR playback; it tends to be one of the biggest percentage gains. Not that that matters, but I can hope, can’t I?

    • wasabi says:

      My wife and I do stay home most Fridays, and watch Fringe whenever Fox decides to air an episode. Unfortunately, we’re not a Nielsen household, so our devotion probably means nothing to Fox.

  8. Ron Swanson says:

    Gonna be frakkin epic!

  9. Becka says:

    I have a theory that the Observer who is named September is the little boy Oliva found a few seasons ago. the one who couldn’t talk and was bald. I’ve thought that for a long time now, and I wonder if he really is an observer. I think September is more worried about Oliva than Peter. Which is very interesting!

  10. Elaine says:

    I think the Observers are most concerned with baby Henry. Is that what they were trying to prevent? Or make happen?

    • TXSteven says:

      I think you’re right (after watching last night), but I’m confused. It seemed like September said Peter was supposed to have Henry with our Olivia, but if Sept had not messed up Walternate’s experiment, wouldn’t Peter have stayed over there? No kidnapping, no war, no rips in the universe…right? So Peter would not have been with our Olivia – he would have been with Fauxlivia.

      • Delirious says:

        That’s exactly what I’ve been wondering since I saw that explanation, and what I’ve been discussing with my fellow Fringe fans – if Peter (who is actually Peternate, even if we feel he’s “ours”) had been cured by Walternate, no universe jumping for anyone, and no Peternate+Olivia would’ve happened.
        One of my friends was saying the writers are tripping so badly right now, not knowing if they have to write for another season or not, that they confused themselves, and screwed up… I wonder how they’re gonna explain (or fix) this issue.

        • Jonathan says:

          It did look like the “happy mom” version of Olivia was in fact red-headed Fauxlivia, so I think you guys are right. Which is kind of sad since he is clearly in love with blonde Olivia. This is in no way a judgment of her hair, just the two personalities. :)

  11. Susy says:

    I cannot wait for tonight’s episode! Fringe always has the twists/turns to keep me at the edge of my seat! Fox & WB better renew this show or move it to another day other than Thursday or Friday! Either idea works for me!

  12. Sarabi says:

    Let’s pray for a 5th season!

  13. mmartian says:

    Nielson ratings are a lie
    Unfortunatly the samples taken from the Nielson Family across ALL age groups only care about brainless reality TV. Everyone I know whatches fringe yet I am forced to believe it is ONLY the people I know that watches fringe.
    Its a _ shame

  14. Angie says:

    Fringe is such an intelligent show (vs those where you need to leave your brains behind and watch) that makes me wonder why more people aren’t watching!!
    Cannot wait for tonight’s episode!!!!! :)

  15. forrest says:

    to add to the comment: CAN. NOT. WAIT – my own LOVE. THIS SHOW.