Fringe's Joshua Jackson on father issues and melted brains

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Joshua Jackson, who plays the brilliant but troubled Peter Bishop in Fox's Fringe, told SCI FI Wire that upcoming episodes will test his newly rekindled relationship with his brilliant but addled father, Walter (John Noble).

"Well, I think ultimately over the course of the show it will be tested again and again," Jackson said in a group interview at New York Comic Con earlier this month. "And I don't think Peter would admit to anybody, including himself, the fact that he is so invested in or cares so much about his father's well-being. But, yeah, I think Walter's crazy. And crazy people do crazy things. And that relationship is going to be tested."

Peter will also continue to struggle with his choice to stay in Boston and help Walter and FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) uncover the secret of the Pattern. "Peter has one foot in and one foot out," Jackson said. "He's always been able to pull the ripcord and get out of anything he doesn't want to do. And all of a sudden, he's confronted with this man who he loves and he hates. Who abandoned him and who he's building a relationship with and who he can't stand. You know when your parents say something really innocuous, like 'Why don't you clean up your room?' And you go, 'Oh. f--k off!' And you're really not pissed at what they said right now; you're pissed off because of something that happened when you were 15 years old and they grounded you? ... I think that's the kind of relationship Peter has with Walter."

Complicating the matter is the fact that Walter is the original mad scientist. "He's crazy," Jackson said. "Crazy is bad. Crazy can sometimes be good and funny, but sometimes ... Walter's crazy can be bad." He added: "There's part little boy who wants to know his dad, and that's the part that he would probably never admit. And then there's also a part, Walter is the Wizard of Oz. Walter has all the answers to all the questions you've ever asked yourself. I think Peter thinks that if he can keep his father lucid, he just might get the answers to all the important questions he has about himself."

As for the show's secrets? "I think William Bell is actually living inside Astrid," Jackson joked. Motioning to Blair Brown, who plays the mysterious Nina Sharp, he added: "I think you and I may be related."

Brown replies: "I have that feeling, too."

Over the course of the show's first season, Peter has seen and done some pretty gross things. "My favorite disgusting moment?" he says. "The thing I'm least proud of having my mother watch? Probably the poor girl's head exploding on the door of the diner. She's such a nice girl, and she was just having a really bad day, and all of a sudden she's brain soup on the way home. And my mother calls and she says, 'Oh, my God, Josh. What have you done?'"

Then there were the melted brains. "Two, three, four weeks ago—it was just on the air—we were vacuuming a man's brains off the carpet," Jackson said. "And that was one of the few moments that I've actually had on the show where I said, 'This actually is gross. This is disgusting. I am vacuuming chunky brains off the carpet. On my hands and knees [with a] little Hoover.' Yeah, that moment was like, 'This is gross.'" Fringe airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.