As someone who writes, I am often asked which of my posts, short stories, or books are my favourite. I have to be honest – it’s a hard question. I usually answer that my favourite is the latest one, because it just happens to be akin to the sum of all my efforts throughout the years; all my past writing shaped the form and content of what I have written last.
Which is why I wonder if that’s what Wyman & Pinkner, executive producers of Fringe, meant when they shared with those of us participating in a conference call interview last week that “Entrada” was not only really fun to work on, but the “culmination of a lot of things that [they] had been working on for quite a while.” They did mention that they love all their “babies” (awww!) but that “we feel particularly close to ‘Peter’, ‘August’, ‘White Tulip’, and ‘Entrada’.” They also called the one airing tonight, “Marionette”, “pretty fantastic”, as “it’s one of our most cinematic episodes”.
Speaking of last week’s “Entrada”, there were many questions regarding its theatrical trailer (here), which added even more buzz to a show many of us were really looking forward to. This idea didn’t come from the Fringe production team; Pinkner explained that Fox has a division called Special Ops and they came up with it as a way to platform the show in things the audience hasn’t seen before.
In fact, this episode is, according to Pinkner, so amazing that “if the only episode of Fringe you ever tune into watch is this one, sure, it’s going to take you five minutes to catch up, but you will feel what’s going on, and you will understand the relationships.” So if you have any friends you have been trying to introduce to Fringe, you might want to try it with this episode, as it’s “a great entry point. The one right after, which is the falling out of this episode and the ‘picking up the pieces’ episode, is equally a great place to join because it’s a reset episode. Olivia will be home and dealing with the consequences; It’s Rip Van Winkle dealing with the consequences of everything that she missed. Both of these episodes are actually a great place to join in.”
Ever the artist, Pinkner adds that: “as a storyteller, we hope that people watch these episodes and, if they’re new to the show, go, “Oh wow, let me start going back and see what I missed.” The good news is in today’s world there’s Hulu and things like that on demand were you can catch up pretty quickly.”
I guess it remains to be seen if hits on sites such as The Fringe Report and reviews such as mine are suddenly going to increase exponentially. Not that I would mind, of course…
Of course, who could resist speaking with the show’s executive producers to ask them about spoilers about upcoming episodes? Pinkner explains that the first half of the season was about “Olivia being trapped on the other side and Bolivia being among our characters. I don’t know how much we want to spoil, but this episode [‘Entrada’] sort of brings the first half of the year to an end. The rest of the year will be the consequences and the fallout of what happened, both emotionally and plot-wise”.
Some of those who were in on their interview had already seen the episode “Entrada”, which led, of course, to spoilers. One of them spilt the beans that Olivia was back in our universe, which meant that the new fear was for the future of Peter and Olivia’s relationship, what with the Altivia factor. Pinkner tells us that for Olivia to find out about the depth of Peter and Altivia’s relationship “won’t take long at all. What we find really valuable is just letting the truths come out and then playing the consequences of those truths. This is certainly, plot aside, from a character point of view, that’s certainly the most significant thing that has happened in the front half of this year.” Wyman reminded us that “last year, we really focused on the secrets and this year it’s definitely the results. We wanted to get into the real dramatic equation between Peter and Olivia with that at the center as quickly as possible.”
So it’s only logical that the second half of the season, while still taking into account the parallel universe, is going to use a different storytelling method. Pinkner confirms that it won’t be the same anymore, as “having Olivia as one of our three main point-of-view characters over there gave us license to tell every other story over there. Once we get into the remainder of this series, the storytelling will be focused more on our side, but the story over there, certainly character-wise with Bolivia and Walternate, is still ongoing and has changed based on what happened. Walternate’s got a plan in mind. He was using Olivia for a reason to try to figure out how to cross safely to our side, and now he has some answers.”
I found it amusing when Pinkner admitted that the network and partner studios were anxious about telling stories alternately in two different universes each week, and that they “were desperate for us to bring Olivia back as quickly as possible. Then as they started getting scripts and cuts of episodes, they started feeling the same thing you’re feeling, which is, “Oh we love the stories over there. Are we going to miss them?” The good news is no, you won’t because we’re going to continue to tell stories about those characters. We love them too.” There is also the small fact that we can’t ignore the other universe anymore, since it is, as Wyman calls it, a huge factor in the storyline that just can’t be ignored.
Another question that no one was surprised to hear brought up was, of course, regarding the love triangle between Peter, Olivia and Altivia, because as much as Peter knows the truth, Olivia is back, and Altivia’s true personality has been revealed, it remains that the latter and Peter did have some really good times, and that some aspects of their personality meshed really well.
Wyman tells us that this triangle “dovetails beautifully with what the huge theme is of the program, which is: What would I be over there right now. Is there something I don’t know that I don’t know? Is there another version of myself? What are the choices that I’ve made in my life? It actually has our heroine pitting herself against a better version of herself in a lot of ways: one that wasn’t abused, one that didn’t have a difficult time, wasn’t dosed with Cortexiphan, wasn’t involved in the trial, and was able to be the best version of herself she could be over there. To kind of lose your relationship to a better version of yourself is really unique, and we’re having a great time with it.”
Which brought Wyman back to a concept near and dear to both him and Pinkner: “To us, the best science fiction are human stories and demonstrating what it’s like to be human and what we go through. I think that those relationships – the father and son, the triangle – they’re always talking about things that anybody can relate to.”
Pinkner dropped the information that the team is “looking to cut a promo for the show to the New Order song, “Bizarre Love Triangle.” “We definitely have [something] unique, among television shows or movies even, a love triangle between a man and two versions of the same woman, [one of whom,] as Joel was saying, is more damaged than the other and who just grew up under different conditions who are the exact same person genetically. The father and son theme is [a universal] one [in] that everybody has a dad in one way or another whether you know them, whether you have a good relationship or bad relationship; everybody has a father, and everybody’s looking to connect. Really at its heart our show – as we think the best shows are – is sort of like a family drama masquerading as a science fiction exploration show.”
Believe it or not, there are still a lot more interesting things that were covered in this interview, so stay tuned for part III!