This Friday on Fringe (Fox, 9/8c), Olivia herself is the target of a fringe event when a strange entity –- an energy, if you will –- invades her apartment. Is this Peter’s way of not-so-subtly tapping on his lover’s shoulder? Is our boy ready to “exist” again and make himself known? Anna Torv stopped by the TVLine office in New York City to preview this episode, “Subject 9,” which among other things reveals how this new timeline tweaks the Cortexiphan mythology as well as Olivia’s connection to a familiar face.
TVLINE | Would you say that this week’s episode is where Season 4 really kicks off? Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for the new timeline?
Yes, all of the little bits and pieces come into place – especially as regards the whole question of “When is Peter Bishop going to make an appearance?” This is also one of the first times that John [Noble, Walter] and I have had a whole bunch of stuff to do together.
TVLINE | Is this the “enormous” Walter/Olivia adventure John teased last week?
Yeah, yeah. So that was so much fun to do, because we never get to do that stuff. And also in this new timeline, the relationship between Walter and Olivia is just a little closer, because Peter wasn’t around. So that was probably my favorite bit of this episode.
TVLINE | Their adventure takes them to, where, Massive Dynamic in New York City?
No, it’s a bigger adventure than that! [Laughs] But…. Oh, I’m terrible at teasing. John’s really good at it.
TVLINE | John Noble is great at it.
He’s good because he knows which little things to say that don’t give away the end. I tend to always go in circles.
TVLINE | What sort of emotions does Olivia go through in this episode? Obviously something is not right, and this “energy” may have a personal agenda involving her.
Something is not right, and she’s not quite sure what it is. You get a title bit of an insight into what Olivia’s past was like in this world, and what the Cortexiphan trials were to her in this world, which was slightly different.
TVLINE | Just like how in his world she killed her father.
Yes, and her mother died, and then she went to…. See, again, I’ve got be careful! [Laughs] But there’s some fun stuff. You see the difference in relationship between some of our major chars.
TVLINE | Does Olivia suspect a connection between these strange goings-on and this strange man she’s been seeing?
Yes, that’s essentially what they think is causing it. But it’s Fringe, so is it?
TVLINE | Nina Sharp is back in this episode, having something to do with some files at Massive Dynamic?
Yes, because it was William Bell and Walter who were responsible for the Cortexiphan trials, some of the files have been kept at Massive Dynamic, and there are some surprises about Nina and who she is to Olivia in this world.
TVLINE | See, that was a John Noble-esque tease.
It was? Now I’m nervous it was too much!
TVLINE | Now that the Olivias at times share a space, are you sprinkling in any small finesses to draw more contrast?
No, actually. The episode that aired [on Sept. 30], where they go Over There to find the killer, was the first time we had so much interaction between the characters, so for me it was purely a technical exercise. I did try to make them a bit more two-dimensional than they needed to be.
TVLINE | So you’re not making Bolivia, say, five percent more sassy or badass? She seems to have a bit more swagger now.
People have said that, but that is not necessarily intentional. I guess that our Olivia hasn’t been dealing with as much life-or-death, if that makes sense, so she may seem to be a lot less… depressed?
TVLINE | As Peter comes back, Joshua Jackson is probably dealing with his most challenging and complex material to date. Would you say that’s true?
Yes, I would, and the episode that we’re shooting at the moment [Episode 8] is a really wonderful one for him. There’s a lot of meaty stuff for Josh to do, which is great. This season — and I know the [producers] have said it — is Peter’s season.
TVLINE | Josh must be excited to reenter the mix in a strong, forceful way.
And he does, yeah!
TVLINE | Once Peter does arrive on the scene, I know he’ll be a stranger to everyone – but will he be seen as some malevolent entity? Or a kindly stranger?
I think he’ll have to earn his stripes. I mean, we don’t know who he is, yet obviously he knows who we are…
TVLINE | Were you personally excited to see that Alt Broyles alive again?
Oh, yeah – and Lance [Reddick] was super-excited, too. There are a lot of different things that can happen in that regard; they’ve only started to scratch the surface. There are characters we had that we loved who unfortunately had to die…. Also, a lot of the cases that we had where it was Peter who found the particular key to solve it, those cases come back. There are so many things to play with.
TVLINE | What are we to make of Walternate’s absence thus far this season. Is he off doing something –
Naughty? I think we just haven’t seen him. But we never quite know what Walternate is up to. But yes, there is more of that.
TVLINE | John hinted that Walternate could be a bit different in this timeline.
Yeah! But I’ll let him talk about that; I’m not going to give anything about his character away!
TVLINE | Do you have anything else to talk about? How did you spend your summer?
I’ve been working for Oxfam for a little while, so I went on a trip with them to Cambodia. It was kind of amazing to have a look at a lot of the projects that they do there. A friend of mine who runs a hat company, we designed this cap – the Anna Torv Cap — and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Oxfam. We’re hoping that can help, if only a little bit ,with what they’re doing in East Africa.
TVLINE | What pointed you to Oxfam?
Oxfam in Australia has been around and huge for a very long time, so I’ve known about them since I was younger. They do a lot of really innovative, cool projects for sponsorship. For example, if you go to a school, it may have been built by a children’s fund, and the books will be supplied by UNICEF, and the water pump will have been supplied by Oxfam. I like that Oxfam fundamentally focuses on human rights and essential things a person should have — water, food, shelter. You can’t get any more basic than that.