FRINGE Season 5 Teasers: Major Peter Shifts & Returning Observers?


J. H. Wyman and Joshua Jackson have hinted at the upcoming episodes of Fringe. Find out what they had to say below.

Wyman on the status of September and possibility of the ‘Little Observer’ returning in the final season (via TV Guide):

Here are two people we might see again: September — “It’s 30 years in the future; we don’t even know if he’s alive,” Wyman says — and the little child who looked like an Observer from Season 1 — “You’re going to be able to see people and cases and things like that from the past. There’ll be reasons for seeing certain cases, and whether or not that falls into one I couldn’t say.”

Joshua Jackson on Peter and major shifts coming up (via EW):

Episode 4 is a game changer for Peter. After asked what Peter’s greatest challenge in the new world is, Joshua Jackson smiled and teased: “Ask me again after episode four.” “There’s pretty major revelations through this three-act play that we’re doing, but for [Peter] there’s a pretty major shift that comes after 4,” he says.

Jackson, ever the tease master, adds this about the menacing nature of the world they live in: “We have a scene — with a character who I will not name, doing a thing I can’t tell you about — where [a dangerous] scenario plays out. It’s just a small, quotidian thing. [But] one break from the routine leads to disaster. I mean, really f–king major disaster. And if that sense of dread permeates the show this year, I think that’s really good.”


  1. williamreturns says

    ….dunno if I’m liking what Josh is sayin’… it has me worried!! Ughh! How am I going to survive to ep. 4! Why did I read this?!

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  2. Rae says

    Yeah but…I’m ever hopeful. This show hasn’t let me down so far. At the end of the day, they know the fan-base and what it would take to satisfy us, happily. As frustrating as it may be, we have to stay optimistic. :)

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    • Underseer says

      Rae, with respect, I completely disagree, but please don’t take this personally, and please don’t think any of my comments below are intended to insult you, but if they “know the fan-base” then this wouldn’t be the last season.

      Season 4 was a debacle for many fans. You may not feel let down but I and many others certainly do. This is proved by the tremendous amount of negativity on the net about the last season – often from dedicated fans such as myself. Oddly, many online critics were far too gentle on 4 but the plummeting ratings speak for themselves.

      It seems Wyman and co only listened to syrupy sycophants on Twitter during season 4. The fact is, they had the means to know that many were dismayed at the direction the show was taking and thus take corrective action. They didn’t. They had only to look on the multitude of fan sites (Seriable and Fringebloggers notable amongst these, of course!) to see that people were tuning out.

      Instead we got – in one interview with Hollywood Reporter I think it was – a distastefully arrogant statement from the showrunners that basically we shouldn’t question their judgement and just accept whatever they chose to dish up. This from a show that’s been in trouble, ratings-wise, for some time?!

      In fairness, yes, it’s their right to take the show in any direction they like. But it’s equally the viewer’s right to stop watching. And stop watching many did. The lesson: ignore the fans at your peril.

      Given that we were seeing a viewer bleed-out of many, many thousands of people (if not millions) per week over season 4, it’s clear that the showrunners were delusional about the fanbase. The excuse that it was all down to lowatus interruptions and bad scheduling is only partially valid – at best. The truth: like a bull in a china shop, season 4 clumsily erased the chemistry painstakingly built up over three seasons and the fans were not amused.

      The showrunners were guilty of a failure to listen to the people who effectively pay their salaries – the figures prove this.

      Now we hear the potential that we’re going to get a ‘Brown Betty’ episode despite previously making an explicit promise not to do so – no “tricks”. Apparently Wyman thinks we all have amnesia.

      I’ll watch this season right to the end, but I’m not going to suspend critical thinking and become a fanboy. If it’s below the high standards that seasons 1 to 3 established, and that 4 failed miserably to meet, then I’m going to be devastated that the legacy of one of the best ever sci-fi shows has been destroyed.

      Let me be clear: the actors have always done their best on Fringe. I trust them to give the best performances the scripts they’re handed allow.

      It’s the showrunner/s and the writers they employ in whom I’ve lost trust. With the departure of Fringe’s far and away best writer, Akiva Goldsman, my trust is at an all time low.

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        • JM says

          Well said Underseer, I like you will watch to the end, but the writers have got pull off a miracle to get us back to 2.14-3.11 standard

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          • JM says

            “It seems Wyman and co only listened to syrupy sycophants on Twitter during season 4.”

            That started again after the season 5 premier rofl

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            • number six says

              Oh yeah! Any bets the alternate universe will come back in some form to let us know Altlivia and Lincoln are okay and together? That’s what they are pestering him with these days :)

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      • number six says

        I couldn’t agree more, Underseer. I don’t begrudge other people liking S4, if they found it satisfying, more power to them. I didn’t find S4 a complete waste of time, though. I learned who is capable of writing an engaging story, emotionally compelling and with a fulfilling plot. Not the ones that managed S4. That’s all.

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      • willg says

        I will say season four was not my favorite but I did not hate it like many others. I will say that season four is not what killed the ratings. The seaon finale of season three was tremendous but it only garnered a 1.1 or 1.2. It was inevitable that the ratings were going this way because it became more serialized as time went on. Season four could have been as good as good as seaon two or even three and I believe the ratings would have been the same. People just flock to procedurals in general. I love this show and I know all of you do as well. I think they tried something bold in season four and it did not quite work even though their were many great episodes. I also loved the fact that the show is constantly changing every season, especially this season. I am looking forward to the rest of season five and I will miss it greatly.

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        • Lincless says

          I don’t think becoming more serialized was any problem.
          The only thing complicated with Fringe was the alternate universe, but apart from that, Fringe had a strong procedural string all the way through Seasons 1-4.

          People just didn’t like the direction the show was going. Many couldn’t cope with the alternate universe, which led to a drop in viewers during Season 2 and the first half of Season 3.

          Then, things started to get silly. Peter’s and Olivia’s story began becoming more and more forced and cliched. Storylines like the pointless Bellivia arc made people cry.

          Now Season 4 started and the showrunners made two misrable mistakes:
          1.) Lincoln Lee: his character was useless in any way, but what’s even more idiotic was they way he was only used as an obstacle for Peter and Olivia, whose unnecessary separation was another big problem.
          2.) No idea what to do with timelines:
          Why was Peter erased? Who erased him? What was his purpose? Who brought him back? What’s the point of all this?
          All unanswered. Everything we got on screen was September’s guess (I believe you call it…) about “love”.

          That was terrible. Either they should have gone back to the original timeline after a couple of episode or stick with it to the end at all cost.
          We ended up with a rewritten timeline and an Olivia, who miracously remembered her life with Peter.
          And that’s really the problem: No offense to anyone, but Wyman’s believe that Peter’s and Olivia’s love story was and is all people care about in Fringe, is plain wrong and killed all hopes for a longer run.

          For the record: I have no problem with Peter and Olivia being a couple, but I just don’t think the heavy focus on it and the way it was handled since mid-Season 3 was good.

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        • nina says

          what killed the ratings in season three wasn’t the plot over there but was the love triangle plot, baby Henry, belivia

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        • says

          willg: Thank you for those thoughtful words. I too, didn’t love season four. However, as a Peter/Olivia relationship fan, I enjoyed the season from the focus on their relationship. There were also
          some other really good episodes (One Day in October, Welcome to Westfield, The Consultant, A Better Human Being to mention a few) and really awful ones (Wallflower comes to mind:)). I also liked Peter’s maturation during the season.

          In any event, we are all fans and will stick with our show to the very end. I love this site and all of the voices on it.

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      • Starman says

        Well, if the showrunners only cared about retaining the biggest viewership then they would have kept the show the way it was in Season 1. Instead, they have changed the show to some extent every season, and the show has been bleeding viewers with every season, that trend certainly didn’t start with Season 4. In Season 3 some viewers were complaining about all the episodes set in the Alt-Universe, complaining that they didn’t care about those characters. So any time a change was introduced into the show there were some fans who didn’t like it, and some who stopped watching. I grant you that Season 4 was the most extreme change, and it definitely could have been implemented better than it was, although I still believe there were at least a few top-notch episodes in that season. I also understand why they made such a radical change, because they had written themselves into a corner both character-wise and plot-wise at the end of Season 3. But the point is that many fans are against change of any kind, and if showrunners kowtow too much to the fans then they will never try anything truly daring. Season 3 was a bold change for the show and it paid off beautifully; not all changes succeeded as well, but I would rather have showrunners who take risks than showrunners who are afraid to make any changes because they fear losing viewers.

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        • Underseer says

          Starman: I agree – the best series take risks. I should make it clear that I had no problem with Peter’s erasure or the new timeline concept. A story that stays on a predictable track is boring. I loved all the conceptual shifts. The alternate universe thread had reached a crossroads and needed to reinvent itself.

          My problem wasn’t with the new timeline concept, which was, I agree, bold, but with the execution. The execution was, ironically, timid and flat, disregarding of three whole seasons, poorly thought through and not bold or daring at all, baffling given the show’s history of titanic plot shifts. The only exception was the Westfield episode which for me stood out as excellent, purest Fringe and put the rest of the season to shame.

          As to showrunners who are afraid to make any changes because they fear losing viewers, there’s having the courage of your convictions and sticking to your guns, but then there’s also wilful blindness when a story has gone off track and refusing to fix it.

          Don’t forget that while the viewers aren’t being paid to watch your show, they are paying with their time. You do owe them something in return. You should maintain your creative integrity, I agree, but you also shouldn’t consider your vision so infallible that you refuse to listen to dissenting voices.

          Even some authors of all time classic literature listened to their audience, recognising that you do not create in a vacuum. Without consideration of your audience, creative works are mere pretentious and narcissistic self-indulgence.

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          • willg says

            Hey Underseer, I will give you that the execution was not great in season four. But it is what it is. They had a plan in mind for season four and it did not pan out like they thought it would with the viewers. I do not think they were willfully disregarded viewers but they had this idea already for four and they created it. It is not like they are getting instant feedback and if they were it would be difficult to adjust what they already had planned and filmed to what people “really” wanted. I look at it like this – they have put a product out there; you either like it or you don’t but it is probably impossible to pander to the crowd as far as what they want and their likes and dislikes. I look at the show as a whole and consider it: 1) One of the great sci fi shows of all time and 2) one of my favorite shows of all time. It has not been perfect but it has been perfectly engaging and interesting.
            Lincless- I still hold to the high serialization the culprit in the ratings for the most part. If you look at the top shows in television they are nearly all procedurals. It is always a difficult road for serialized television (as we all know!) but that is my favorite form.

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            • Underseer says

              Willg: on the serialised front, I agree, I’ve said this a couple of times before here on FB and Seriable, the open ended serialised format is a failure creatively speaking. It simply doesn’t work.

              The proof is in the pudding: the number of serialised shows that are cancelled or get shortened final seasons far outnumber those that got to a full season series end game.

              But I can guess why the networks stick with the format, it’s all about advertising revenue, milking a series as long as possible until chucking it on the trash heap.

              Personally I think the tried and tested format of the mini-series is much better. In an open ended storyline, you’re never obliged to bring the story to a conclusion. It breeds laziness and self-indulgence in the writers.

              In a mini-series, the writers are forced to create self-contained stories, you can’t say, “aw, I’ll figure that out next season”, you’re forced to figure it all out now.

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              • willg says

                Yeah I definitely agree with that. I love serialization but there is nothing more frustration than to not get an ending to a story like what we watch. I loved the way it happened for LOST and of course the way we got lucky and it is now happening for Fringe. I kind of like the idea that American Horror Story is doing it. I guess that is like a mini series like you mentioned. I do not watch the show ( I saw a few episodes), but having a self contained season long story kind of has the best of both worlds; you get an ending that you know for sure is coming and yet can stay highly serialized.

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                • matt says

                  starman that isnt exactly true. i think if they woulda stuck to season one they’d have satisfied the shows true fans a bit more. instead, they changed the show to get ratings because critics had come down hard on the darker olivia of season 1 (which I loved for the record) and a lot of other elements of the show which were mysteriously missing when season 2 began, so I’d have to disagree in the sense that they definitely changed the show to attract more viewers and that if they didnt care about numbers and just wanted to make a good show/their original vision they would have stuck with what the had in season 1.

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                  • Starman says

                    Matt, I don’t believe they changed the show because they thought they would get better ratings. The creators had loosely planned out from the beginning where they wanted the show to go and they were following that path. To my mind they played it safest in Season 1 by making the show very similar to the X-files. Introducing the parallel world storyline and devoting more time to the mythology in Season 2 was a risky move, because introducing more heavily science-fictional concepts and a more serialized approach always alienates some of the viewers. But in my opinion the show did not find its own identity and escape the shadow of the X-files until they began to really explore and expand on the mythology elements in Season 2.

                    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8

                    • Scott42444 says

                      I agree with you on almost all fronts. Season 4, which I didn’t hate but definitely rank it last amongst the first four seasons, had too many things going against it. The constant threat of cancellation led to some directions I believe were compromises of the writer’s vision. It was disappointing watching it week to week, not getting the same level of excitement or “pay off” that I expected from the show and received in previous seasons. The mid-season hiatus, which was thrown off kilter due to the MLB playoffs also didn’t help. The show ended it’s first half on the wrong episode, which left a real sour taste in my mouth for weeks instead of days. The whole “William Bell as the ulimate villain” part also rubbed me the wrong way. It was definitely a plot point that was HOPED for but could not be committed to because of Leonard Nimoy’s uncertain status. They had a villain that they built up over the entire season (and to a lesser extent, from Season 1 as well) who the killed off in unspectacular fashion because they got Nimoy to sign off on a 2 episode arc and changed directions right at the end. It just felt so….blah….compared to the excitement I felt with the Alternate Universe storyline. They could have really explored Bell’s new universe that he was creating, but they barely touched on it. They had the red herring of “Olivia Must Die” that NOBODY actually thought would really happen. They had an amazing build up of relationships (as has been mentioned above me countless times), most importantly the one between Peter and his two fathers, which was completely wiped away and not brought back. It actually makes the hardcore fans who have invested in the program feel let down and DID NOT invite new fans in the way they had hoped (?). 5 years from now when I have forgot some of the nuances of the show and go back and rewatch the whole thing, I will probably feel better about Season 4. But, they could have done SO MUCH MORE! They proved that they are creative and committed enough. I would have put up with a Sprint or Nissan commercial every episode if we could have had REAL stakes (not the fake Olivia will die one they gave us, or the “Peter is in the wrong timeline?” garbage). If they would have ventured OUTWARD like they did in Season 2 and 3 into unexplored worlds. Instead, they journeyed back to the starting line and avoided all the fun paths they took the first time and just walked a straight line (if the analogy makes any sense). That sucks when the potential was there for so much more. Just think about the GRAY universe, the one Peter ventured to in the future in the machine. How excited were many of the fans the week before that episode aired? How cool was it to think of all the different possibilities that existed in a new future setting? Same as the end of Season 2 with “Over There”. Same with a lot of Season 3 with alternating episodes, distinguished by the color of the opening sequence. Even this season seems a let down that it is staying in one place. To me, that isn’t what Fringe is about. Now, I don’t want another “Sliders”, but they took a lot of excitement away. They could do a lot with what they did right in previous seasons and integrate them into this dystopian future they brought us too now. I hope they do. But, “I have a bad feeling about this”.

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          • Starman says

            Underseer: I certainly agree that the execution could have been better, although I don’t think the execution was timid. They actually changed the timeline to a greater extent than I would have expected to occur if the only change was Peter dying as a child. Some of the changes I liked and others didn’t work as well for me, but I liked enough of the episodes that I didn’t think the season was a complete misfire.

            One thing that baffled me was that so many Fringe cases that happened during seasons 1-3 seemed not to have happened in the new timeline. I also feel that the writers were lazy and came up with cheesy explanations for some of what happened, particularly their explanation for Peter’s return to the new timeline. My biggest disappointment was that I felt they botched the two-part finale, which had epic potential but really felt flat and uninspired in execution. This may partly have been due to budget restraints.

            In any event, the showrunners had a vision and they stuck with it, and it didn’t pay off as well as it could have. I don’t think that they ignored fan complaints out of arrogance; Even the fans who didn’t like what was happening in Season 4 did not all agree on what the showrunners should do to fix things. But I think no matter what they might have done differently, they would still have pissed off some fans even if they pleased others. They were in a no-win situation.

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            • _lost_stef_ says

              I too did not hate season 4. Yes granted it was not as good as season 3 and was slowish in the begining but after ‘Welcome To Westfield’ i felt that it picked up and started to become relevant.

              Everyone should just be happy that we have a season 5 and lets hope, which i think will be impossible, that everyone is statisfied with the ending!!!

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              • matt says

                no offense but i’m pretty sure their loose plan for where the show was going is entirely different form and didnt include changing the character of olivia. i remember there was an interview with one of the showrunners where they said that they were surprised by the initial reaction to the characterization of olivia and reluctantly lightened up the character. i don t think they were hiding behind the x files or anything. that’s when JJ was around and thats when the show was started/created. that’s what they wanted it to be and it was good and when it didnt get the critical reactions they and likely those funding them liked, they had to adjust the show accordingly.

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  3. hal says

    fringe is going to shove grimworld emotional rollercoaster doom down our throats before this season is over.. after all.. it has to be epic-style

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  4. Cortexiphan Kid says

    I always knew they’re going to show us the Inner Child’s kid at a certain point.
    Maybe they will even re entroduce the rogue observer from 1.04.

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  5. fringemama says

    We need to approach syfy about taking over fringe.there’s still so much to tell.don’t understand why being cancelled.its a great show and I never miss it

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  6. bonnie scotland says

    I HATED 4 with all my bones…with the exception of westfield which was marvellous on so many levels, and the one with the couple with the lady with dementia- which was fabulous.. for me, the rest was utter rubbish. It was nothing to do with being serialised, it was about an incompetent story editor/producer making stupid decisions and being too clever clever. They threw the baby out with the bathwater..they had for 1-3 fabulous charismatic characters with intense and meaningful connections..a rea drama, not just a sci fi series. the acting was and still is marvellous..but the scripts were just dismal. The whole premise of not having one of your major stars at the beginning of the season was just stupid. The whole Olivia give up her memory, her life and family for lurve is just offensive, and the stories were just mince!!
    I’m enjoying 5..I’m just wishing we could erase 4 from the time line.

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