While visiting the set and cast of FRINGE on location in Vancouver recently, I had the opportunity to watch “Peter,” the new episode airing tomorrow night. Without hesitation, I can tell you that it is my favorite episode of the entire series thus far. Not only do we gain more insight into how and why Peter is from an alternate universe, we get a glimpse into the fascinating world of Walternate (alternate Walter).
Dr. Walter Bishop
During a press roundtable interview with John Noble, he discussed playing a younger version of Walter. “He has a different energy, so when I had to run or move, I had to run or move as a younger man. He spoke very clearly. You should see just bit of potential Walter in there; you can still see the charm he has an an older man, but he probably wasn’t quite as likable at that age.”
Noble describes his Walternate as “the same man, with different choices made in life. The choices you make will impact you for the rest of your life. He is different…he is a very powerful man.”
As for Walter’s relationship with Nina Sharp, Noble’s assessment is that “Nina is a very smart and very beautiful woman that learned very quickly in life that you can actually get what you want from men if you charm them. She comes up to Walter a few times and looks in his eyes, and Walter goes ‘ohhh.’ She does it to Broyles, she does it to everybody.”
Agent Phillip Broyles
While we were on set, Lance Reddick revealed that they were filming the 2-part season finale. He was unable to even hint at the shape of things to come, but did tell us that “it blew my mind when I read it. When I got to the second-to-last page, I was shocked. When I got to the last page, I was floored.”
When I inquired if we will learn more about that surprising kiss between Broyles and Nina Sharp at the beginning of Season 2 (“A New Day in the Old Town”), Reddick said that he “can’t imagine they would just let that hang. It is part of our backstory.” But he also added that they do not have a relationship now other than character interaction.
Reddick has had an impressive television career trajectory, from Oz to The Wire to Lost and now Fringe. Although he was disappointed that his character was killed off on Lost, he enjoyed playing Matthew Abaddon because he was “so cool and intriguing. Talk about mysterious…he makes Broyles seem like Clark Kent!”
While speaking with the fabulous Blair Brown about her role as Nina Sharp, I had to point out that we were sitting in between matching light and dark hallways on the set of Massive Dynamic. When I asked her whether or not each hall perhaps represented the company in alternate universes, or if good vs. evil/black and white themes permeated the Fringe landscape like Lost, her coy response was simply, “Sounds like it to me…there’s a theme here.”
Brown continued to elaborate about parallel universe possibilities, “When I got the job, I asked J.J. Abrams about this. He said that when he was a kid, he went to see Altered States (which was my first big movie). He watched it and thought, wow – if the lead character in popular entertainment could talk about the nature of reality without being laughed off the screen, that’s what I want to do. J.J. grew up and did exactly that.”
Compared to her previous roles, where Brown tended to play “the heart and soul, the one you can trust, the Olivia part,” she enjoys Nina Sharp because “I like playing this really odd woman who has prickly aspects. Yet I think there’s a tender person inside. There has been a lot of damage, and you start to see that in this first episode. In ‘Peter’ we begin to understand Nina’s backstory and the relationship between Nina and Walter seems to be on a different level.”
The second half of Fringe: Season 2 resumes tomorrow night at 9pm ET/PT with eight brand new episodes. In Thursday night’s episode (“Peter”), we are introduced to Peter’s mother when Walter flashes back to 1985 while he attempts to explain Peter’s origins to Olivia. And I highly recommend that you pay particular attention to the opening credits and glyphs throughout this episode.