'Fringe': Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv turn up the heat
In last week's premiere episode, we watched sadly as Olivia was brainwashed into believing that she is actually Alternate-Olivia. Whatever you choose to call her.
"In the script it's always Bolivia," Jackson tells us, "But my opinion is that we should allow the people who watch the show to name her. I've heard Fauxlivia, Altlivia, Nolivia."
Back in our universe, Peter has no idea that the woman he's been kissing is actually an infiltrator from the other side. The fact that he's a stranger from an enemy land is no detriment to their love life, though. Tonight's Sept. 30 episode, "The Box," will see the couple turn up the heat significantly.
"It starts off absolutely as this mission," Torv says of their romance. "She's got her own life and her own lover too, but slowly as they kind of embark on this thing, I think it's difficult for her. I think [Peter] grows on her a little bit."
Though Peter will pick up on small changes in Olivia's personality, don't expect a lightbulb to go off above his head any time soon. Jackson laughs about Peter's cluelessness. "Unfortunately when you're playing the sort of red herring stuff, somebody's got to be the idiot, and Peter's the idiot this time," he chuckles. "From an audience standpoint, and certainly from an actor's standpoint, you go 'Well, it's pretty clear,' and it's not that much of a leap for him to go, 'Wait a minute, there is a girl that looks just like this on the other side and this girl is nothing like the girl I used to know. What could possibly have happened?'"
While Peter plays the rube, he and Bolivia are forging a connection that he and Olivia never quite had. "The [real] Olivia is more emotionally closed off and sort of just-the-facts, whereas [Bolivia] is sort of off the cuff. That's closer to Peter's personality, so there's a more natural mesh between those two people. She's not nearly as broken as our Olivia."
Torv says that finding the different nuances between the two versions of her character has been tricky. "They're so alike in that they've ended up in exactly the same job with the same unit and the same partner and the same boss," she says. "They really are, genetically, the same person, and all that's shifted is their reactions are a little bit different. They've led a little bit of a different life."
Fans who have been rooting for Peter and Olivia to get together throughout the last couple of years may find it a little bit heartbreaking to watch Peter forge a deeper connection with Bolivia, but Jackson says it's animal instinct coming into play.
"Obviously she's undercover, she's a double agent, but if we did it right it'll feel like there was something real there. Peter and Olivia spent two years around each other in a very professional way - and I know it drives the writers crazy when I say this, but they were more brotherly-sisterly than they were ever sort of loverly towards the end, and then he was able to strike up [a romantic] relationship really quickly with Altlivia."
In "The Box," Bolivia's motives for being in Peter's world begin to become clear. In order to win the war, she and Walternate will need Peter's help. However, as she spends more time with him, she may find herself sympathizing with his side more than she'd expected.
Torv says we're unlikely to see Bolivia switch sides any time soon, though. "In everything she hears here, she still has her world view, which is that this side is fundamentally destroying hers."
Jackson agrees, and rattles off a quote from Joseph Stalin. "When one man dies, it's a tragedy. A million men die, it's a statistic," he says. "You have to turn the bad guy into an inhuman thing so you don't feel bad about killing them." When Bolivia eventually returns to her side, Jackson teases that the entire fate of her world may be in Peter's hands. "Peter has now this woman that he's, I don't know, fallen in love with, on the other side - if he's the guy who flips the switch, he's not so comfortable anymore."
Jackson believes that despite chemistry with Bolivia, Peter's loyalty will always lie with Olivia. That's why he chose to return to his world, despite being lied to by his father and later by Olivia. "He's choosing that these [people] are going to be his family," Jackson says. "So that bond is stronger than any blood bonds that he'd have on the other side."
Will Peter and the real Olivia ever work things out in a "loverly" sort of way? Maybe, Torv says, by the time the show finishes its run.
"Of course you're rooting for it, but that's for the end-end-end-end, when it all ends happily ever after," she says. "It's set up that way, isn't it, for you to want that but never quite get it?"
And so, we wait.
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