From challenges for the Olivia/Peter/Bolivia triangle to exploring the brave new Over There world to coming up with Fringe-tastically nightmarish ideas, executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman have plenty to say about the future of Fringe.
Pinkner and Wyman promised during a conference call with journalists that there's plenty of excitement ahead for the show as it digs into the last half of its third season.
Here's nine spoilery secrets about what's in store for Fringe.
When it comes to Olivia and Peter:
Things "will get worse and better," said Pinkner. "Since Olivia returned and their relationship sort of shattered, they've been trying to pick up the pieces. They've been getting closer and they will continue to, but the problems that they're dealing with are going to continue to complicate. ... We're throwing a whole bunch of things at them." That includes last week's revelation that Faulivia (aka Bolivia or the alternate Olivia) is pregnant with Peter's child.
"We're always trying to get deeper, more complex emotions because we find that's a really rich area for us to investigate in," said Wyman. "There are so many facets to a real relationship, and these are incredible circumstances that they're going through. But we try and make it as deep as we can. So you'll see a whole bunch of shifting still to come in the entire rest of the season."
As far as Peter's shape-shifter-killing ways:
Peter's been killing shape-shifters and keeping it a secret from Olivia and the Fringe team. But "there's a reason," said Wyman.
And "Peter will come clean soon enough," added Pinkner.
Peter has been more concerned about what the shape-shifters are up to "than anybody else on our show. There's a drawing of him standing inside that machine. So he's got questions, and by nature he's a character who for years has only relied on himself," he said.
"This season was always going to be a season about self-actualization for a lot of the characters. So this is the beginning of those steps," said Wyman.
There's still two of almost everything:
"We get to do two shows about one show. So that turned into a great thing," said Wyman. And that allowed them to explore things like the murder of alternate Broyles "and having our Broyle actually stand next to his own dead body."
"I think we knew how much there was to discover with Walternate and Bolivia and how much those two characters would provide a counterpoint and shed light on their alter egos that we've known for going on three seasons now," said Pinkner. "I think one of the things that's been really fun for us [was] the dynamic between Lincoln and Charlie and Bolivia and the energy of the stories on the other side. It feels like a different version of our show that just has a different inherent rhythm and different inherent chemistries in those characters, and that's been really joyful for us."
And speaking of the joy of the Other Side:
"What we discovered was that the energy of Lincoln and Charlie and Bolivia made up for the lack of Walter," said Pinkner. "Obviously Walternate's John Noble was in the episodes, but energetically and rhythmically it made up for missing Walter, so rather than recognizing or discovering that, it became a creative challenge. The discovery for us that was really wonderful was that it was a joy to go to the other side, and it was really a joy to explore another version of our show with cases that affected everything happening on our side with characters that we, as writers, had come to love."
While Pinkner admits that fans started out "inclined to hate Bolivia, slowly over time they've started to ... whether or not people want Peter to be with Olivia or Bolivia is a separate issue. But at least as far as we can tell, people are finding the relationship between the characters on the other side and the stories we're telling on the other side charming and also really intriguing. It's just deepening everything that's happening over here. So rather than a challenge, we actually found it to be a really great creative outlet."
Extinct sheep, myth-a-lones and the dangerously out-of-control Over There:
"The other side gives us an opportunity to do some pretty wild things, as you can imagine, because things are dangerously out of control there," said Wyman. "So we're fascinated enough with the notion that things we take for granted, like sheep, for example, don't exist over there because they were killed out by this beetle."
Pinkner and Wyman continue to embrace what they call myth-a-lones, "where you're watching the freak-of-the-week type of concept, but it's connected to our mythology. You're going to see a lot of things ... taking things and tropes that we know in our world and sort of turning them on their head," said Wyman.
When it comes to Sam Weiss:
The mysterious bowling dude who has helped both Nina Sharp and Olivia, could be a good guy or a bad one. According to Wyman, "You know, don't trust that Weiss."
"If anybody unfurled the anagram that was on the chalkboard in Walter's lab on the other side, it said, 'Don't trust Sam Weiss,'" said Pinkner.
"Sam is a character that I feel safe in saying that he still has many, many, many, many layers to reveal, and his motivations will become clearer and you'll get a better understanding. I'm saying that we're not going to keep pushing it down the line and not answering it, because that frustrates everyone. You're going to find out about him. Hopefully it will be something that you don't see coming," said Wyman.
If you've been paying attention, things will fit together:
"If you go back into season one and you see the bus ... there was a pattern episode that the bus had amber on it. I don't know if you remember that, but the truth is the people here didn't really know what amber was. They really didn't understand what it was, but we knew," said Wyman.
"So it's like you can really set things up and they can pay off in really great ways. I think there's a lot of that stuff coming up that will demonstrate the forethought, and the keen viewer will be able to say, 'Oh, my gosh. Oh, I remember that.' Now that's taken on a whole different meaning. The only way that we can do that is if we know where we're going."
"The truth is we've been setting up season four in brushstrokes very early on in season two, and we've been setting up what we imagine, with luck and grace and hoping we stay on the air this far, we've been sort of setting up season five since season one. It's just a matter of whether we have the good fortune of getting to tell these stories," said Pinkner.
"We need more time, and we're trying to tell thematic stories," said Wyman. "The multiple levels that we like takes time. I'm sure that we fall short of our goals all the time, but there's enough fear every week, and like 'Okay, what story are we going to tell this week?' ... We have kind of a blueprint."
Why Fringe is like a great novel:
"In the last stretch of this, it's going to be very compelling, because you're going to turn the page of a new chapter," said Wyman. "You're going to understand our show in a different capacity, and it's going to stretch your mind, and it's going to make you think, 'I never saw that coming,' and that's what we feel we owe the fans, is to make sure that for a very good reason, nothing crazy like we don't deserve and haven't earned, but something that is definitely integrated into the storyline that you just hopefully didn't see coming. We have a few cards to lay down that I don't think anybody really expects."
And just where do they get their ideas anyway? The Freaky Fringe Factory?
"Typically they come from nightmares," said Pinkner.
"They come from a lot of dreams, a lot of nightmares," said Wyman. "Just like thoughts. Like Jeff and I try and freak each other out. I think that inherently human beings have the same fears, like bugs, feeling of being alone, not being able to breathe, drinking something, ingesting something that you can't get out of you."
"We read an article recently that human beings are psychologically far more afraid of bugs than they are of driving a car," added Pinkner. "Whereas people get killed by cars every single day, and there is hardly ever a story of people getting killed by bugs. It's because it's part of our reptile brain. You know, way, way, way, way back in our ancestry, bugs were a threat and parasites were a threat. So it's a well that we can go to." Of course, death by bugs was last week's episode, "Immortality."
"A major theme that we're always touching on is 'How far is too far?' What are we supposed to know? As human beings, are we supposed to be meddling in these kinds of things? Where does the line begin? For us, that's the best sort of science fiction stories that talk about these things that I think are incredible questions about advancement in technology, but also relates to very human conditions," said Wyman.
Fringe airs on Fox on Fridays at 9 p.m. ET.
So which Olivia do you think Peter should choose?