FRINGE: Joshua Jackson Wants Payoff, Talks ‘Peter MacGuffin’


Joshua Jackson shares his take on the Fringe ratings, Peter’s journey and the second-half of the season in a newly-released interview:

via: Popcorn Biz.

Season by season, “Fringe” has just got more ambitious, taken bigger risks, and they always do pay off within the context of the show. But ratings don’t always equal the creative successes.  Are you guys at a point where maybe you’re starting to think about the ending of the show, so we can all have the satisfaction of getting there, before the ratings make us say goodbye?

The truth of the matter is, we already had that conversation last year.  I think sort of we peaked ratings-wise, in Season Two – it was our most solid year.  And I actually think creatively that was our most consistently solid year.  But it wasn’t our most ambitious year – I would say Season Three was an extremely ambitious year, and a lot of people tuned out last year. So we were prepared that last year might’ve been the end.  I’m not involved in those conversations, frankly, but I think [the producers] are prepared for it, if that was going to be the case, how they would implement that ending.  And they’ve always said – and I believe them – that there is an ending to the show. I’m guessing you heard what [Fox programming president] Kevin Reilly said, and I don’t think you can be any more honest and upfront and still be a network executive. So if this is going to be the end of the show, if we are not making the money or they’re losing money on us, I just want to believe him when he says that he will give our guys enough time to implement whatever the end game is.  Because as much as I don’t want to lose my job, at this point the thing that we have to do as a show, and as a network supporting the show, is satisfy the people who have so passionately stuck with us, and been so rabidly and passionately involved in our show.  We cannot just go out in blink. It has to finish, whether it’s now, whether it’s next year, whether it’s five years from now, it just has to get to its end.

What can you say at this point about where the current season is heading?

This is the first time on ‘Fringe’ – and I’ve said this before tonight – where we’re this deep into the season and I have absolutely no clue where we’re going.  Because there was sort of a natural place that the show had to go last year to satisfy the story that had been introduced.  But there’s no necessary ending to the story we’ve introduced this year – It could go a bunch of different ways. So I have no clue.

o you feel that in a way, even though you were absent in much of the beginning of the season, that this is gradually turning out to be Peter’s season?

Not really. I feel like the function of the Peter character, beyond who he as a man, is to reflect the other characters back – and this is a constantly changing thing, so this is my opinion today! – but it seems to be, getting two-thirds of the way into Season Four now, that what this season and last season really are, and I think ultimately what this show is about now, is a woman finding herself. I feel like this show is about Olivia Dunham coming to know herself.  In Season One and Two I really thought it was about the family, right? This Bizarro family. But as we’ve gotten out of the family dynamic and definitely more into the romantic dynamic between Peter and Olivia…Last year the entire season was about us, as an audience, coming to understand what Olivia was, by seeing what she wasn’t – that whole Olivia/Bolivia dynamic. And this year I think, as an audience but also for her character, it’s her coming to know herself, in the grand sense, who the real Olivia Dunham is.  So I think that that’s what this season and ultimately the whole show is about.  So every prediction I’ve ever made on this show is wrong, so we’ll see.

Peter’s developed a dramatically different dynamic with his real father, Walternate, in the alternate timeline.

Totally, and what’s interesting is Peter is carrying the baggage. You know, in every other relationship, Peter has been shifting his dynamic as he comes to understand that these are not his people. But Peter is clearly carrying the baggage of not trusting Walternate at all. So even though we’ve been criticized – and legitimately I think – this year for some of the things that haven’t worked and it’s been a bit of a bumpier season this season, one of the really cool things that has come out of this new timeline is that we have, you can redo all of the dynamics between the characters.  And I think that’s actually a great opportunity for the show. It forces Peter to be honest with himself, that these are all new dynamics, and it opens up the possibility for the relationship thought he was getting at the end of Season Two.

You can read the entire interview at Popcorn Biz.

Also, here are some Fringe bits and pieces that you might have missed (HT:


  1. Darth Kate says

    on his answer to the third question:


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      • JM says

        Its truly refreshing how brutally honest he is about everything including saying that the show had been legitimately criticised this season. To be honest i think the show would have been better off continuing to focus on the bizarre family dynamic, i think repeat of olivias “coming off age” storyline is annoying and repetitive, she has been very tedious this year and we need the old one back.

        Cant say im surprised about peter not coming full focus this season even though the best episodes of the season 4.08 and 4.09 were when he was.

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        • Sofia says

          Yep, I would love the bizarre family focus again. Olivia knowing herself, I don’t know, it’s like: “Really? Deja vu???”
          Josh is so honest, but sometimes I wish he’s not.
          I like to live inside my little bubble of ignorance and hope.

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          • TexasFringeFiles says

            Josh is one of the few actors in this world who’s interviews I will actually read. He is honest, engaging, doesn’t yank his/Fringe’s fans around, is entertaining, and speaks intelligently. (Sadly, there are very few actors who meet one let alone any of the above criteria…in any universe!) I appreciate the dose of realism too. So, thank you!
            And, I agree, bring back the Walter/Peter/Olivia/Astrid family/timeline we know and love. If Peter sacrificed everything for his “family” and got him self erased, don’t you think that family is worth getting back too…ASAP? Hoping this happens soon!

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  2. James says

    I’m imagining the reveal that Nina has been doing all this to Olivia will be similar to the scene in Brown Betty where Nina says “I warned you … but you didn’t listen”

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    • Darth Kate says

      Ella: “I don’t trust her.”
      Walter: “Smart girl. A bit ahead of the narrative, but you’re on the right track.”

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      • James says

        I forgot about that!

        Imagine if Nina was behind all of this in the original timeline as well, and we just never saw any of it going on.

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  3. theNomad says

    ‘Season Two – it was our most solid year. And I actually think creatively that was our most consistently solid year.’

    He knows his show, and couldn’t agree more. I am enjoying 4 and think its improving over the 3rd’s decline.

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    • James says

      Season Three was better than Season Two.

      Season Two is regarded higher than Season Three purely for 2.14 onwards.

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      • Lincless says

        I think Fringe was at its best from 2.14 to 3.08.
        The reason I rank Season Two a bit higher is because I prefer a slower start but great ending over a great start but weak(er) ending, which always leads to some disappointment.

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  4. DeepRunner says

    Good interview.

    The best episodes did seem to occur in season 2 from Jacksonville through Over There, and rolling into the first eight episodes of season 3. The rest of season 3 was good, imo.

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