Fringe is about to delve big-time into one of its most mysterious mysteries. Those bald-headed, pasty-faced dudes in suits, who've been stalking Fox's Fringe since the show's pilot four years ago, are about to come front and center in tonight's episode, said executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman.
"We've always said that you'll find out about the Observer this season and that we were going to investigate them a lot more. So, I mean, we're excited about it all. ... That's a highlight. The Observers are a highlight," said Pinkner.
"Just remember that on Fringe, we try to make it like nothing is as it seems, that there's always a little bit more to the story behind the story," said Wyman. We'll also learn more about villain, David Robert Jones. "He's definitely a large part going forward, and I think a lot of things will come full circle, but you'll be like, 'Oh, wow!' And ... recontextualize a lot of things that you've already seen," said Wyman.
In the episode, "The End of All Things," Peter and the Fringe team are forced to take extraordinary measures while trying to stop series of life-threatening events. Fave Observer September, played by Michael Cerveris, and bad guy David Robert Jones, played by Jared Harris, guest-star.
"It's definitely, as they say, a game changer in that our characters learn a lot more, and the audience is going to learn a lot more about the über-plot of our season. This season's bad guy, David Robert Jones, and the characters coming forth, certainly for Peter this season and Olivia and Walter, are going to start to unfold in ways that hopefully will be really both satisfying and challenging," said Pinkner. "It's very much a hinge episode that's going to launch us into the back half of the season."
"The episode was designed to tell a few things that are interactive," said Wyman. "The story between Olivia and Nina, and any time Jared Harris' favorite David Robert Jones is on the screen, is just fantastic. And allowing Michael Cerveris, as our Observer, to peel back some layers and reveal some truths about what his agenda has been, and to really use that as an opportunity to revisit the things we've done before in the show, all of it was really fun and exciting for us."
According to Pinkner, they're in a "zone of episodes right now where each one is pretty amazing and each one either turns the story or resolves something important or is a cliffhanger. So the several episodes [ahead], each is pretty awesome in and of itself and also is very important to the overall patchwork of the season."
After tonight's episode, Fringe will return on March 23 with new episodes after a three-week break.
As to where the season, Fringe's fourth and perhaps final season, is headed, the finale hasn't been written yet. However, "we've known the shape of our season before we started," said Pinkner.
Inevitably the conversation turns to what will happen if this is indeed Fringe's final season. That conversation has taken place pretty much since Fringe began.
"We're always struggling and struggling and struggling and hoping and hoping and hoping, but we just keep making the show that we love. And the good news is we can never rest on our laurels of, like, just knowing that we're going to be on forever, so we're constantly challenged to write the very best story we can week in and week out," said Pinkner.
"At the end of every season we close a chapter and start a new one, and that's just the language of the series now. It just organically comes to a conclusion that we love," said Wyman.
"If this is the last season, I would feel obviously incredibly sad, because I know how much of the story that we have left to tell and we would love to tell," he said. "But in the same breath, I would feel that I could take care of the fans and that's most important to us. That we feel like we have an ending that would leave people feeling like, 'Wow, I feel sad but satiated, and I feel like that was definitely worth my four years of investment. And I really love these characters, and I can see where it would have gone, but I feel good.' You know? And that's all we're concerned about is to make sure that the fans don't feel like, 'Wait. ... What? Like, what happened? I've invested four years of my life and I don't get any kind of resolution that makes sense? And that's not what's going on?' And to be 100 percent frank, our partners at Fox would never want to consciously allow that to happen. So everybody knows Jeff and I are very prepared. We're ready for anything. Hopefully we go on, but it's out of our control."
"We leave these questions and these issues that we can't control to people who can, and we just write the best version of Fringe we know how, and the one that satisfies us, the one that makes us excited to go into work every day and the one that makes us feel something, and we've been really, really gratified that the people that watch the show respond to it in the way that they do, and beyond that we just sort of leave it to the gods," said Pinkner.
Here's a preview and an Observer-filled sneak peek of "The End of All Things":
Fringe airs on Fox on Fridays at 9 p.m. ET.
Are you ready to find out more about the Observers?