Still buzzing from last week’s penultimate episode of FRINGE? Well, as luck would have it, you ain’t seen nothing yet. As evidence from our conversation with FRINGE executive producer Akiva Goldsman, who was kind enough during our recent set visit to take some time from directing the much-anticipated Bell/Bishop tete-a-tete to talk about tonight’s episode and beyond.
Would this two-part season finale have been possible without a third season pick-up?
Akiva Goldsman: As we laid down the story and really saw what it would take to make tonight’s episode, we had to sort of promise that we would use some of the things that we were constructing, which was sort of our idea for this object, into the next season. Which was sort of vaguely bold because we constructed the finale before we had an official third season pick up. Had there not been a third season we definitely would have had to have an eleventh hour re-write.
The first season culminated with that iconic image of William Bell in the World Trade Center. Will tonight’s finale top that?
Well, I think it terms of iconography one is loathe to ever attempt to top that particular image. I remember the day J.J. [Abrams] had that idea, we were all like, “Yup, that’s gonna work!” Having said that, what we’re trying to do here is top the hunger with which you are propelled into the next season. So we’re certainly betting into our ability to get you to go, “They just did what?” But the iconography will ever be as bold or as interesting as that.
John Noble has gone on record as saying that when the show comes back next season he gets the sense that it’s going to have to be much more rooted in mythology and almost can’t see it return to monster-of-the-week. Where do you stand on mythology vs monster episodes?
Well, I have a bias as I happen to love mythology episodes. They’re the ones that interest me and the ones I end up working on, which isn’t a coincidence. For me, whenever our protagonists are the “Fringe Event,” I’m having a good day. Which is not to say that monster-of-the-week episodes aren’t fantastic, but I love watching the mythology episodes. Having said that, I do think the more you tell mythology stories, and the more invested your audience becomes, I think it does become trickier to do the standalone episodes. I think there will continue to be standalone episodes, but I’ve noticed, as I’m sure you have, the proportionality is changing. And I will hope, just as a voice in the mix that we will lean into more mythology next season.
Can you tease what type of answers fans can expect from tonight’s finale?
The truth is it’s so much more fun to watch. Here’s what I can tell you we did. We tried to be true to this notion of really really trying to answer some questions before asking new ones. So hopefully if you’re a fan of the show, a bunch of the stuff that has tickled you, or has teased you, or has befuddled and beguiled you we react to and respond to. We don’t kind of pretend it didn’t happen. The episode is called “The Other Side,” and that promise is the same of Peter’s episode being “Peter,” we’re not being that coy.
Speaking of the “Peter” episode, fans absolutely loved the flashbacks. Is that something we can expect more of come next season?
I think flashbacks are really useful and there are a couple of places where it will be useful, but fundamentally no, I don’t think we’re a show that will be doing a lot of jumping back in time despite the single horde of calls for the “Walter’s Grandfather Nazi Hunting series!” I think not, but it was fun to do.