Fringe Set Interview: Joshua Jackson on Peter's Relationship with Olivia and Etta

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Being frozen in amber for a couple decades is sure to cause some adjustment issues for a person, but even more so when your daughter continued to grow up while you remained the same age.

Throw in marital tension and you have an awkward, though still loving, family reunion.

Last week, TV Fanatic had the opportunity to visit the Fringe set in Vancouver (trip provided by Warner Bros TV) to speak with cast members Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, John Noble and Jasika Nicole.

Here is a portion of the interview with Jackson talking about the relationship between Peter, Olivia and Etta in 2036.

Is there a little bit more to that back story than we’ve seen in the premiere? Peter’s all about trying to be a better man than his father, but it also seems understandable that he would want to stay and look for his little girl.

Peter essentially committed the exact same sin his father did, which is a totally understandable ... I mean, part of what was always so dynamic about the thing that Walter did wrong is, I think, just about any person -- not even any parent -- can understand why. He had lost his child and was given an opportunity to have his child back. You would have to be Jesus to say, “No, actually. That’s wrong.” So everybody gets that. And Peter, I think, in much the same fashion, wasn’t capable of processing that. And you know, I think he pushed everyone in his life away. He pushed Olivia away, I think, because he just couldn’t accept the idea that he wasn’t going to be able to fix this.

Concerned Peter

And having the family back together, now that they found Olivia in the premiere and Etta’s with them again, does that help Peter and Olivia’s relationship? Does that kind of mend some of the fractures?

You know we’ve been this damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t couple. And for Peter, damned-if-you-do a lot. But in an odd way, this year’s crisis for the family happens off-camera. The romantic and dramatic tension of will-they-or-won’t-they has been resolved. They’re married. They have a child. The loss of the child clearly did something bad to them in the off-camera portion that we don’t get to see between the end of season 4 and the beginning of season 5.

And so, yes, I think the ... Putting the family back together definitely goes toward healing the rift. ... This is an established, married couple. They’ve been together for years, you know in the off-camera portion of our story. They’ve been together for years. They’ve had a child and were raising this child together. So that thing of like, you know, “Is she going to say yes? Is she going to say no?” That part is already gone. 

It’s less, maybe, simply dramatic, but probably more understandable to people after, say, 25 years old. Which is, relationships are tough, and you go through bad phases. And clearly, something traumatic like this happens, like losing a child, it puts an unbelievable strain. So their story is, over the course of this year, putting back together the things that would have been torn apart by that incredible... Oh, and World War III happened and all the rest of it.

Awakening from amber into a dystopian future has to suck, but with that comes reuniting with Etta, which must soften the blow. What’s his drive now he has her?

Well, to answer the first part first, I think a utopia now without Etta, Peter would choose a dystopian future with Etta, right? I think that’s a much happier place for him to live. I don’t think that there’s any part of him that’s upset that ... I mean, he’s been working in the Fringe Division. The shit’s been bad.

So I think for him, the fact that he has his child back, so what’s the drive? To not lose his child again. To have his wife and his child in his life, to be, to have his family back. That’s the theme that comes up quite often for him in the first couple episodes. This is, put any name on it you want, in his world, this is a miracle. His child was gone. It was over. There was no reason to go forward. And he wakes up. Literally, you know, a Sleeping Beauty, he gets popped out of it. And here’s his baby. And even though she’s a grown woman, she’s still his baby. And he gets a second chance. Even though the backdrop of it is ugly, I think for him, he’s really happy to be there.

In the coming weeks, we will have more from the cast interviews. In the meantime, check out our weekly Fringe reviews and Round Table discussions.

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Amen, Judith. You said it exactly. I was so worried about this whole thing after hearing about them being "separated". After seeing these episodes though, I realize I should've just let go and let Wyman do his thing.

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You know, Joshua Jackson is going to make a hell of a good father and husband. That was rather beautiful. Having Peter and Olivia torn apart AGAIN by the witers really made me pissed at the show, I feel cheated, but if they get to play it out as them having good times together BEFORE the last episode, and them being more happy to be together than apart, I will be OK with this season. So Josh has given me hope, amidst the weaseling of the writers and admen for the show.

Fringe Quotes

Only those who risk going too far, find out how far they can go.

Walternate

Peter: Olivia, thank God you're here.
Olivia: Who are you?

Fringe Music

  Song Artist
Song Poor Little Fool Ricky Nelson iTunes
Dear-mr-fantasy Dear Mr. Fantasy Traffic iTunes
Blue-bayou Blue Bayou Roy Orbison iTunes
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