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.”

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