Tiffany Vogt

Posts Tagged ‘William Bell’

Leonard Nimoy Previews His Stunning Return To FRINGE for Its Climatic 4th Season Finale

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Interviews, * TV Addict, Fringe on May 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Leonard Nimoy as William Bell on “Fringe”

After last week’s reveal that Leonard Nimoy had returned to reprise his electrifying role as William Bell in FRINGE for its fourth season finale, the sci-fi legend took a few minutes to chat with press in a recent conference call about what inspired him to return to the celluloid screen.

What was it about the role of William Bell that enticed you to return from retirement to reprise the character?
LEONARD: Well, it’s not just the role of William Bell. It’s the show. I think FRINGE is a wildly imaginative show. The writers and the creators of the show, the producers, are very bright and very theatrical. All the characters are fleshed out wonderfully and the chemistry amongst the cast is terrific. I wanted to be part of this project. I enjoy the project. Of course, the character of William Bell started out to be rather ambivalent. We weren’t quite sure whether we were supposed to enjoy him or be afraid of him. We couldn’t quite figure out what his motivation was. At the end of last season, he seemed to come around to be less dangerous. This season I think things have taken another turn. He’s in another universe and has taken on other characteristics. There were challenges in the character itself that were attractive to me. I could play aspects of a character that I haven’t played in a long time, so it was very welcoming to me.

How long have you known you were going to come back and what was it like keeping that secret?
LEONARD: I’m not sure exactly the amount of time. I would say somewhere around two or three months from the time that I knew I was going to do it until now. I’m a sucker for a good role and J.J. Abrams, the Executive Producer of the show, is a friend of mine. He calls. I take his call. The writers and producers, Joel Wyman, Jeff Pinkner, and the cast, they’re a wonderful bunch of people and I enjoy being there. When they called and asked me if I would do it, it was pretty easy to convince me that there was an interesting challenge in the character and a very wonderful company to work with.

William Bell and Walter Bishop on “Fringe”

You probably can’t say exactly what’s going to happen with William Bell in the finale, but if there was an opportunity to see him again somewhere in those final 13 episodes, is that something you’re open to?
LEONARD: I’m sure that we will be having conversations about that before too long. I haven’t heard anything new about William Bell or the show, except that it has been picked up for 13 episodes, which I think is wonderful. I know the company was hoping for that that they could have another season to close out successfully. I haven’t heard anything about Bell coming back, but I’m sure I’ll be getting a call. We’ll talk about it. It will depend on my schedule. It will depend on what they have in mind for the character. There are a lot of issues that have to be dealt with, but we’ll be talking.

Is it important for you to keep up with what was going on with the FRINGE world? Or have you kind of jumped in here and there to catch up with what’s going on?
LEONARD: I haven’t watched all the episodes but I have a general picture of what has been happening and where my character fits in the story, in the overall arc of the story. I think they’ve done a really wonderful job of finding ways to reinvent the story and reinvent the characters. When I was asked about coming on this season, I said I think the mystery of William Bell has kind of gone away by the end of the last season because it was pretty clear that he was a pretty decent guy. I said, “Where are we going to go now?” It was explained to me that we’re opening up a whole world and a whole new can of peas, so to speak, and William Bell is being recreated as something else. That intrigued me and I was excited to go back to work.

Are there any lengths that William Bell won’t be willing to go in this week’s episode?
LEONARD: You’re going to see some interesting activities on the part of William Bell tonight. This character has gotten himself out on a limb and is doing some very wonderful theatrical and bizarre activities. He has become a world of his own. Take that as a hint.

You’ve been playing a lot of these bad guy roles lately? Do you prefer playing the bad guy rather than the good guy?
LEONARD: I don’t have a preference for bad people. No. I have an interest in playing a broad range of characters. Obviously, I’m mostly identified with a character who is very responsible and very solid and very intelligent, but there are plenty of questionable characters in my past career. I’m interested in exploring theatricality and characters with some dimension. William Bell certainly has that.

How does it feel to be portraying a character who turns people into monsters?
LEONARD: Well, if there is anything I can do about it, I’ll see if I can change his attitude about turning people into monsters. I’ll have a conversation with him very soon. I’ll say, “William, cut it out.”

William Bell on “Fringe”

If the right show and the right film or the right role came along, are you now seeing yourself as a little more open to doing some more acting or do you still mostly consider yourself retired?
LEONARD: The door is not completely closed. Obviously, I said a couple of years ago that I was retiring and here I am talking about a performance that I just gave. There are certain special situations that come along that can intrigue me. This one did. As I said before, J.J. Abrams is a friend. Jeff Pinkner, Joel Wyman, they’re all friends, the producers of the show. I think the writing is wonderfully imaginative. It’s a fascinating character and a great company. It’s nice to get off the couch and throw the clothes on and a little makeup and go back to work every once in a while. I still enjoy it. In this case, as I said before, it’s all of the elements that come together at the right time in the right way and I was happy to do it.

You’ve played different versions of William Bell now. Which is kind of the most interesting for you to play and why?
LEONARD: I think what you’re going to see tonight night is probably the most interesting of it all because the character has become very exotic; very exotic is the best word I can come up with at the moment. He’s got himself out on a limb and doing some very strange and fantastic things with his powers. I think what you’ll see tonight night is probably the culmination of a lot of wonderful eyes coming together. I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to seeing it myself. I haven’t seen it in context, so I’m pretty excited about what people are going to be experiencing tonight night.

What kind of a journey would you say William Bell is on, the William Bell that we’ll see on Friday?
LEONARD: Well, the William Bell character started out to be a very intelligent and rational character. I think he’s still very, very intelligent but I’m not quite so sure he’s rational anymore. I think you’ll see some behaviors tonight night that have taken him quite a distance from where he started.

What did you think of Anna Torv’s impression of you on the show?
LEONARD: I saw that. I thought she was brilliant. I was very flattered. I thought she was wonderful.

Are we going to get to see you do an impression of Anna Torv?
LEONARD: I don’t think I could do justice to her the way she did for me. I don’t think I’m capable of that. She was quite wonderful and I told her so.

What is it like working with John Noble?
LEONARD: John is a wonderful actor. They all are. Working with John is always a treat and I think the relationship between William Bell and John’s character has been very well written so that we have some delicious scenes to play with each other. I look forward to it. When I began working with him I admired what he was doing. We kind of hit it off personally and in character. I think the chemistry between the two characters has worked very well. It was a very satisfying experience working with him.

FRINGE has been well received by critics and it’s got a great loyal fan base, but kind of like with STAR TREK it has struggled to get that large television audience. Why do you suppose that is?
LEONARD: If I could answer that question I think the networks would all be on me for explanations of what to do about their schedules. I’m not an authority on ratings and how these things happen. You’re absolutely right in the comparison to STAR TREK. We did very poorly in the ratings but eventually, the show started to become more and more popular until it became a news story where stations were carrying the show at various hours and various time and sometimes in marathons on weekends and 6:00 every night in syndication. The same thing could happen with FRINGE. I can tell you that when STAR TREK was put on a Friday night, which is a date night, not a good night for a show like this, it did very, very poorly. FRINGE has the same kind of audience, a very intense audience, a small audience, but very intense and very committed. I think it’s commendable that the people at FOX decided to honor that commitment. Now I understand that the show does particularly well in DVR recordings and I don’t know how that works or how they measure that. What that means is that people who are out on Friday nights record the show and watch it some other time. That’s a sign of the commitment to the show.

William Bell and Olivia Dunham on “Fringe”

William Bell, has shown up in a new and exciting way each season. Can you briefly tell us a little bit about how those worked for you and if you’re able to do Season 5, what new media would you like to be in?
LEONARD: Well, the William Bell journey has been really interesting to me and I don’t take any credit for it. I’m only the performer. I’ve given the material on the printed page. They hand it to me in a script form. Conversations first about which way William Bell is going now and then it comes to me on the pages. I have been very grateful for having been given some wonderful, rich opportunities as an actor in the William Bell character. We started out, as I said before, very ambiguous, didn’t quite know whether to trust him or not, and gradually it was revealed that he could be a helpful and reasonable kind of guy. Now in this particular season, this particular work that’s on tonight night, I think you’ll see quite a dramatic shift in the character. There is another dimension of him. We have not yet spoken at all about another season. I know that the show has been picked up for 13 more episodes but there has been no conversation yet about whether they want William Bell and if so, what will William Bell be all about next season? What’s on tonight night I think is quite extraordinary. . . I’m excited about the show. I’m proud to be connected with FRINGE. I think it’s an intelligent and imaginative and theatrical show. I told the company when I finished shooting on this particular episode a few weeks ago I said, “You are superior company. I have never worked with a better company in my entire 60-year career.” I thanked them all for being who they are and doing what they are and told them how proud I was to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to tonight myself. I have not seen the show put together. I think it’s going to be exciting for everybody.

To see what ingenious plan William Bell has sprung on our heroes in FRINGE, and the final fate of both universes, be sure to tune in tonight for the 4th season finale at 9:00 p.m. on Fox. (Then mark your calendars, FRINGE returns for its fifth and final season later this year.)

“Fringe”

The Beginning of the End! FRINGE EP’s Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman Tease the Upcoming Two-Part Fourth Season Finale and Beyond

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Interviews, * TV Addict, Fringe on May 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm

 

After last week’s announcement that FRINGE had been picked up for a fifth season, fans across the internet and around the globe celebrated.  It was just the news everyone had been hoping for as the show neared its final two episodes of the season. Executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman talked with press in a recent conference call talked about what the two-part finale will hold and what may lie ahead in the fifth season.

 

 JEFF: As always, we are so entirely indebted to each and every one of you.  We have publicly and now privately on the phone want to make it clear that we know the pickup of this show in season five is largely due to all of you and your support, so thank you very much.

Leonard Nimoy as William Bell on “Fringe”

Between who we saw there in the amber in episode 19, what Joshua has said about episode 19 in forming season five, and what’s in the promos right now with Walter saying, “He’s alive!” are you going to have to bring back Leonard Nimoy as William Bell?

JEFF: We basically erected a sign outside of Leonard’s house which said, “Please come back to Fringe,” and we are hoping that by season five he says yes.

 

So you’re not writing yourselves into a little bit of a corner here if you need the character?
JOEL:  No, because I think that once you realize the extent of everything, that will probably all become clear, why we’re not.  I know it’s hard to say.  We don’t want to spoil too much.
The alternate ending in case you didn’t get the season five pickup, is that something people might get to see on the DVD release for season four?
JOEL:  No, we did not shoot an alternate ending.  We did not.  We thought about it, but we did not.

 

Are we done with the alt-verse?  Are we going to see the alt-verse again?  In particular, what is Seth Gable’s position on the show if we don’t see the alt-verse again?
JEFF:  As always, we are really, really devoted to everybody and the people asking those questions, but we sort of have a no spoilers policy because we’re just of the mind that the entertainment value of watching the stories unfold is diminished if you already know what’s coming.  We love all those characters from the Redverse.  The door is closed because of the problems that David Robert Jones is causing, so if our team can somehow dispense with Jones, there’s absolutely a possibility of that door being opened again.  We can’t definitively say anything.
JOEL:  Like we’ve always said, nobody’s ever really dead on Fringe.

 

What about the year 2036?  Do you think we’ll be seeing any more of that either this season or in season five?
JOEL:  Yes, I think it’s safe to say you will.

 

The character of Sam Weiss, is there any plan to bring him back towards the end of the series?
JOEL:  There are no plans right now.  We loved him as a character and he did such a great job for us.  We know a lot of people are huge fans of his.  I think that in this moment he served his purpose.

 

Have you given any thought as to how these final 13 will play out?
JOEL:  Going down the road, the way that traditionally, as we finish the chapter, close it, and then start a new one, we definitely know.  When we’re thinking about the end of the season we’re always thinking about the beginning of the next one and where that’s going to take us and what kind of doors it can open.  That’s basically how it’s been since the get-go, and it’s no different this year.  We definitely know where the series is going to end and how it’s going to end and what we’re saying with the final season.

Jared Harris as Robert David Jones on “Fringe”

George Morales’ words to Olivia in the dreamscape when he said, “Massive dynamic is hell and its founder, William Bell, is the devil.”  Is it possible that David Robert Jones is not the penultimate bad guy here, that there’s someone higher on the baddie food chain, possibly like William Bell or someone else?

JOEL:  That’s interesting.  No bad guy really thinks that they’re a bad guy.  Jones is a pretty good bad guy.  Are you saying you want more?
JEFF:  What’s been fun for us is there have been two David Robert Jones’s on our show Jared Harris and both largely the same person almost in every way, existing in two different timelines—but even he has a doppelganger because it’s so incredibly fun to watch the … and see Jared Harris portray this character that for all intents and purposes could be a doppelganger in a much different alternate universe to David Robert Jones.  Jared is just spectacular.  In the world of is there another bad guy who is pulling his strings or above him, I think we’d be wrong to say anything other than just David Robert Jones … he’s pretty compelling and he’s pretty—nefarious is probably too loaded of a word.  He’s definitely a suitable opponent for our team.  It’s taken all of them to deal with him.
JOEL:  The ground will shift a little bit and you’ll understand him a little bit deeper.

 

How instrumental would you say is it for the fan social media—getting on social media and talking about the show—to getting your fifth season?
JOEL:  Massive.  It was massive.  This is actually a really cool time, I think, in television history, or it will be considered a cool time, where social networks are informing the big networks, like people are talking, people are doing things, people are moving.  They go into action for their show, which is great.  Before, it used to be like, “Well, we’re going to send a whole bunch of letters,” which is okay, but it’s not this.  What this is, what’s going on now, is really empowering for the fans because they feel that they have a platform and a forum to really express to people who may or may not be listening, but the chances are that they are, to express their deep gratitude and love of the show, their support.   Our fans are so incredible that they were calling the sponsors saying, “Hey, I don’t watch it live because I have a job, but you know what?  Here’s the thing—I love the show and watch it on DVR.  I’m going to buy your product.  You must have good taste because you guys are supporting Fringe.” It was huge for us.  I mean, it was a whole movement.  Honestly, there’s not a moment where I don’t think how lucky we are to have such incredible fans.
JEFF:  I think it is absolutely fair to say that without the support of the fans and social media there would be no season five.
JOEL:  Right.

Seth Gabel as Lincoln Lee on “Fringe”

Do you see this as a blessing to get this many episodes to tell the story so you can pace it out?

JOEL:  Yes.  Like I said, we know the end.  It’s a perfect amount of time to be done right and to be doled out in the right pace.  We feel really confident that we can have a satisfying ending for us but also, of course, for our fans and supporters within the timeframe of 13 episodes.  I think that’s really what we were hoping for.  Fox is so great to deliver and continues to demonstrate their incredible support.  So yes, we are very content.

 

What can you tell us at this point about next season as far as how it relates to “Letters of Transit”?
JEFF:  Right.  We can tell you nothing.
JOEL:  It’s hard because part of our storytelling has always been revealed and recontextualizing what you think you know and what you’ve seen and putting it into a different mindframe for the viewer.  Let’s just say that that future is important to our storytelling, but it’s not the be all and end all; there is a reason. Like, somebody asked us a really cool question the other day—how did we decide to do flashbacks or flash-forwards or whatever?  For us, we can honestly say there’s always a reason.  There’s always a reason to do it.  We’re going to go into the past because we have to put you in that headspace so you can understand this … and figure out where the character is coming from or has been in order for you to get the full experience of what you’re watching today in the present.   That’s how we feel about the “Letters of Transit.”  It was for a reason.  Nineteen is traditionally the one that we go off the beaten path, and that was no different.  It was definitely off the beaten path.  Does it have further implications?  It does.  You’re going to definitely need to understand what “Letters of Transit” is or was in order to fully grasp all … things we like to tell this year.

 

So someone who was making that trailer for season five knew before you guys did that the show was getting renewed?
JOEL:  No, I think the way it worked, I mean, look, people plan for success and failure.  That’s just the prudent thing to do.  I think that everybody was feeling really good about it.  Like I said, and I’ve said it a million times, these guys in the building at Fox and at Warner Brothers are so supportive of the program and every step of the way they have done exactly what they are going to say.  I know that’s probably an anomaly because business changes.  Sometimes shows get bad ratings and then they stay on, and sometimes they get okay ratings and then they’re cancelled.  Then two years later a show that has worse ratings than that show stays on the air.  It’s a very strange, non-specific—I don’t even know the rules.  Do you, Jeff?  I don’t know.
JEFF:  No, but to answer your question specifically, you buy an engagement ring hoping she says yes, you know?  So the trailer was made in hopes, as Joel said.  The internal support at Fox is astronomical.  As they said to us, the support outweighs any expectation.  Like, a show that, quite frankly, performs like we do, usually people at the network are all running away from it, whereas with us, everyone recognizes, I think, to toot our own horn for one second, the merit and the value on what we’re doing.  They really love the storytelling and have been insanely supportive from the top down from the beginning.   I think that they made this trailer in hopes of a pickup, but of course the people charged with doing that kind of work are nowhere near, ultimately, the decision makers.  The decision makers made the decision and informed us.  Part of that time going by was getting the trailer ready to go online, etc.

 

Since you do have the 13 episodes to finish out how you’d like to, you’ve talked before and you’ve produced comic books.  Have you thought or have there been talk about creating alternate media ways to keep the mythology going, whether it’s comic books or in some other ways that you have thought about keeping the world alive after the show finishes?
JOEL:  That’s cool.
JEFF:  We thought about a traveling Fringe baseball game, that we’ll travel around the country and there’ll be a red team and a blue team and it’ll be populated by identical twins, but it’s a little tough to get off the ground.
JOEL:  Personally, I was responsible, and maybe not in the best way, because I was at WonderCon or ComicCon.  I said if there was no pickup we’re definitely going to try to finish off the stories by hook or by crook.  It’d have to be comic books that will actually try to give some closure to the fans.   We meant it at the time.  I think now that we have the 13, that’s not a far out idea.  I love comics, and Jeff does, too.  I think if there was a significant story where we were like, “You know what?  I think people really want to know more about this aspect of the show that really wasn’t maybe covered 100% and they’re really interested,” then yes, that would be something that we would consider, I’m sure.
JEFF:  I’m sure you’re aware, Tara, there’s a Fringe comic book that will continue.  Josh … wrote an awesome arc in the book this season and if we’re fortunate enough, if DC will continue to partner with us, that will continue to come out.  There are still stories to tell that are outside the universe of the TV show, but I don’t know that we have plans to—baseball joke aside, I don’t know, please nobody take that seriously, unless you can make it happen, in which case definitely take it seriously—aside from things that are already in the works, some of which are still kind of secret, some which you may know about.  I think largely, as Joel said, the TV show will tell the story.
JOEL:  The idea of a couple of very specific gold cover special editions may find their way.

“Fringe”

Because you’d put so many storylines in play to get to the end game just in case this season was the end game?  Was 13 just enough to get where you want to go?

JOEL:  Yes.  We’re always hoping for the best, and you have to plan for the worst.  A lot of the greatest things that people have loved about the program have come from ideas that we had had that sort of snowballed and became something else and forced us to look at something else in a different way and realize, “Hey, that’s a really cool story stream.  We should really give that a ….”  That said, and knowing that happens, when you’re telling 13, I’m sure there will be, and there are, things that we’ve discovered where, “That could be really cool.”  If we had 22, we could really take advantage of that, but the truth is that we could only operate on what we have.  We were hoping at the minimum we would get 13 so we could tell our story and have ways to do that.  If it was a 22 episode, we would have found ways to do that, too.  I think that Fringe has come such a long way.  We were just m ore concerned that we would have the ability to not have a couple of episodes to wrap something up but really an arc, like a real final season event.

 

Because you guys didn’t know you were going to get another season, obviously, until practically before we did, then you knew how you wanted the series to end.  How did you approach this final season then, knowing that you might not get to tell that entire story?
JOEL:  This is the analogy that I think that suits us the best.  Imagine you’re on an airplane and you start to read a great novel and something that you’re really enjoying.  You get through it, you get through it, and then there’s a whole other layover and you get to read four more chapters.  You sort of get to the end of a chapter where there’s going to be a new beginning and you realize okay, now it’s time to get off the plane and you need to go about your business. You’re stuck with that lost chapter and you feel like okay, that was very satisfying, although I can understand that there’s another book.  If I can get my hands on that other book in the next 15 minutes, I swear I would read it.  But I’ve just finished this version and while it’s complete, I still have a longing to understand the characters in a deeper fashion and to imagine where they’re going to go after this logical conclusion after I just read. So that’s kind of how we look at the end of every season.  That’s why we sort of felt like the inadvertent design of Fringe and how it became that ended up being a blessing.  You’re sort of protected because you’re closing one chapter and then beginning another.   You’ll see in the finale it’s like okay, I can understand how the show can end, but I’m interested in going further.  That’s sort of how we approach it.  It’s like look, we close every single season with a chapter.  When Peter disappeared, that could have been an ending.  I mean, it would have been, “Whoa, wait—what is that?  What happened?” but it would have been an ending of sorts.  Like okay, Peter had to sacrifice himself in order to save his family.  Okay, I’m not happy about that but I understand it.  Then you can imagine one day that they would meet again or something like that. So we just finished the conclusion.  We finished the season conclusion in a manner that we feel is authentic and real for that season and then we use that as a push-off point to go and tell another aspect of the story that we hope the people will be interested in.

FRINGE’s 2-part finale airs Friday, May 4th and May 11th at 9:00 p.m. on Fox.

Related:

“Why FRINGE’s ‘Letters of Transit’ Should Make The Series an Emmy Contender”

“Looking Through the Alt-Verse Lens: Who Died and Broke Our Hearts?”

“Counting Down FRINGE’s Final 8 episodes of the 4th Season (with video interviews with the cast from WonderCon)”

“Fun photos from WonderCon 2012: FRINGE”

Executive Producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman Tease What’s Next and Where the Show Is Going on FRINGE”

“An Evening Celebrating the Mysteries of FRINGE with Anna Torv and John Noble

“Inside FRINGE’s Puzzle Box: Has FRINGE Lost Its Heart and Its Hero?”

 “A Twist of Fate: An Unexpected Love Story Blooms Amidst FRINGE’s Tragedy”

 “FRINGE: A Tale of Three Broken Lives”

 “FRINGE: Peter’s Journey From Hero to Villain”

 “Torn Between Two Realities: Is it wrong to love the alt-verse on FRINGE more than our universe?”

 “Anna Torv is having a ball playing Olivia and Alternate-Olivia on FRINGE”

 “FRINGE Executive Producers Jeff Pinkner and J. H. Wyman Share What to Expect in the Third Season”

Where to find this article:

http://www.thetvaddict.com/2012/05/04/the-beginning-of-the-end-fringe-eps-jeff-pinkner-and-j-h-wyman-tease-the-upcoming-two-part-fourth-season-finale-and-beyond/

FRINGE: A Tale of Three Broken Lives

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Sci-fi columns, * Showcases, * TV Addict, Fringe on March 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

In FRINGE’s most recent episode “Subject 13,” the final layer was peeled back revealing a horror story of a different kind.  In the earlier episode “Reciprocity,” the kaleidoscope shifted and we saw a side of Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) that we never envisioned existed:  Peter, the killer — an assassin searching for clues.  Then, in “Subject 13,” we discovered perhaps the root of Peter’s villainy: he learned from the best villain of all — his surrogate father, Walter Bishop (John Noble).

We have always wondered what was so dangerous that Walter had William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) remove a portion of his brain and hide it.  It was not just that Walter discovered an alternate dimension, nor that Walter figured out how to cross-over into that dimension, it was the depths of Walter’s own evilness.

In “Subject 13,” we discovered that Walter was not just a brilliant scientist, befuddled and well-meaning — he had a dark side — a side that was so ruthless that he returned a young child to an abusive environment so that she would continue to experience heightened fear and emotion — the magic ingredients that enabled her to crossover to the other side.  Walter was so intrigued and enthralled with the idea that Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) as a child could seamlessly cross over into the alternate universe that he willingly turned a blind-eye to the violence she was suffering at the hands of her stepfather to further his own research.

It can be argued that Walter tried to threaten Olivia’s stepfather, but in his heart, Walter knew that he wanted Olivia to continue living in fear.  It was only because she lived in a state of constant heightened emotion that Walter’s experiments could continue.  If Walter had truly wanted to protect Olivia, he would have reported the abuse to child protective services, who would have promptly removed Olivia from the abusive home situation.  In fact, as a doctor and an educator, Walter had an obligation to do so.  But he did not.  Instead, he let her return to a life of a living nightmare — all in the name of science.  His addiction was learning more and more about the alternate world and trying to discover why Olivia could crossover so easily.  As a result, Walter’s obsession drove him to sanction the abuse and let Olivia live in terror.

Walter is the monster in this story.  He not only stole Peter from the alternate universe, he refused to return Peter claiming it would destroy the fabric of both universes.  Walter must have known that when he first crossed over and stole Peter, but he did it anyway — he crossed over tearing that first hole.  But then after he had saved Peter’s life, Walter was not willing to give Peter up.  His selfishness was even apparent to his wife Elizabeth who pleaded with Walter to take Peter home, which he refused to do. It was because Walter forced his wife to live a life that was a lie that stole her sanity and she eventually took her own life.  She could not bear the thought of watching Peter live a life that was not his.  It horrified and scared her.

Eventually Walter may have realized his addiction and how he was destroying lives simply for his own intellectual curiosity and his desire to keep Peter as his own.  That was when he asked William Bell to take out a part of his brain.  The guilt over having driven his wife to suicide, stealing a child, tearing an irreparable hole in the fabric of the two universes which began to slowly collapse, as well as destroying Olivia’s childhood was too much to bear.  To ease his own mind, to prevent further atrocities, Walter begged William Bell to help him — and he did.

The 17 years which Walter spent in the sanitarium was not a curse.  It was a blessed relief.  For in the end, Walter had little or no recall of the atrocities he had committed.

For the past 3 seasons we have watched Walter slowly regain his sanity, his intellect and re-discovered the mysteries of our universe and the alternate-universe.  But it never occurred to us that Walter was the reason for all the problems.

In fact, it was Walter who created the hybrid-monster for which Peter is now.  Peter, himself, does not even fully understand who or what he is.  He is a child that was stolen and brain-washed, and yet who never felt completely comfortable with the world he lived in, nor the family he grew up amongst.  He did not know that he did not belong there, but he sensed it.  Because the truth was imbedded in his DNA, and as buried memories and feelings arose, Peter began to lash out.

Thus, Peter’s invitation to return to the alternate universe with Walternate was not just to see what Peter was missing, it was a trigger.  It unleashed feelings of rage, helplessness and vengeance that Peter perhaps still wanted to deny.  He then only returned to our world because Olivia promised him a better life — a life filled with love.   It was the one thing the alternate world could not offer him:  Olivia.  Yet now Peter has learned that even that was stolen from him.  Fauxlivia stole his love too.  Peter may calmly tell Olivia that he thought Fauxlivia was her, but surely like his childhood, he knew deep down inside, something was wrong — something did not fit.  Being a boy from two universes, he would have sensed the discrepancy.  He may have wanted to deny it, but he still would have known.

Just like Walter trying to deny what he was doing was wrong when he experimented on Olivia and stole Peter when they were children, Peter too is trying to deny the wrongness of his actions.

Walter and Peter are like cracked-mirrored refractions of one another — and also unwillingly caught up in this modern day Greek tragedy is Olivia.  Olivia, who is the heart of this broken tale.  Olivia was special and gifted and she caught the attention of a brilliant scientist as a child.  But children are not guinea pigs, lab rats or even voluntary test subjects.  Children are innocent, vulnerable and should be protected.  Yet Walter did not offer Olivia that — he just wanted to study her.

It is therefore fitting that it was Walter’s fascination with Olivia and his unwillingness to protect her that pushed her to reveal the one thing that would one day unravel and threaten two universes: Olivia out of fear of her stepfather sought Walter’s help, thereby unknowingly crossing over and talking to Walternate instead.  Upon seeing Olivia suddenly standing at his desk, for the first time Walternate understood what had happened to his missing son — his son was not simply missing, his son had been kidnapped into an alternate dimension.  It was a concept so extreme and virtually impossible that Walternate had never stopped to consider it.  Yet with a terrified little girl suddenly appearing at his desk and then vanishing before his eyes, he understood.  He had been looking in the wrong place.  Because he had the same intellect as Walter, Walternate was then able to pursue the path necessary to figure out how to crossover between the two nearly identical universes and vowed to rescue his son and save their universe from our encroaching universe.

It had been Walter all along.  He was the one who set this terrifying chain of events in motion.  He knew it and he hid from it — and even today, he resists acknowledging the atrocities he committed and the damage he has unleashed upon the fabric of both universes.

“Subject 13″ was a heart-rending episode.  It showed us the depths that Walter had gone to that had destroyed so many lives.  Walter may try to claim that he meant no harm, but he hurt so many people in the process.  Can he truly say that he was acting in Peter or Olivia’s best interests?  He destroyed their childhoods just because he could — to serve his intellectual curiosity and because he could not bear the thought that his son had died.

For all who have wondered why Peter, Olivia and Walter always seemed like shadows of the people they should be, now we know why.  They are but shadows.  They are splinters of the people they would have been but for Walter’s insatiable meddling.  Olivia grew up abused and haunted.  Peter grew up questioning his own identity and his place in the world.  And Walter relinquished his hold on his own sanity in order to cope for a time.

The congruent intersection of their lives with Fringe Division has reunited them later in their lives — which can help them heal and hopefully prevent the destruction of our universe.  Yet can they actually accomplish this goal without destroying themselves further in the process?  Or are they too broken by the sins of Walter’s past?

Walter, Walter, what have you done?

Where to find this article:

http://www.thetvaddict.com/2011/03/03/fringe-a-tale-of-three-broken-lives/

 


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