Though Fringe was J.J. Abrams’ baby in the early days, it was J.H. Wyman who guided the series to its epic finale. So what does he have to say about that controversial season-five death?
When the series took the jump into the future for its fifth and final year, we were introduced to a new group of characters, as well as the older versions of some folks we already knew. Etta (Georgina Haig), the future-daughter of Peter and Olivia, became a quick fan favorite ... until she was murdered midway through the season.
In a recent chat with Collider promoting his new Fox series Almost Human (which is well worth checking out), Wyman unexpectedly veered into his reasoning for killing off Etta — and it’s a fascinating take. Basically? It was a reminder for viewers that everything passes at some point, plus it gave her narrative arc a nice (albeit sad) end point.
Here’s an excerpt:
“If you take, for example, when Etta died in Fringe, people were so upset. It was awesome! Number one, it was good because I knew they were feeling something, which was important. They were invested in her. But number two, they didn’t realize the larger picture, which I found alarming. Here is a woman that was born of two, essentially, warriors, who dedicated her entire life to bring her parents back to the living, so that they could save the world. If you asked that character, ‘Are you willing to give your life up for this cause?,’ her answer would be, ‘Yes, 100 percent. I would do it in a minute.’
The whole message of the piece was that possessions are transient. You don’t know if you are going to be able to have time with somebody, so you better be careful. She served her purpose in destiny, and she moved on. Ultimately, at the end of the show, we got her back. It was difficult to write when she died, and the way she died was extremely difficult to watch, perpetrated by such a terrible character. It effected people, but tragedy is a part of life. Life is painful sometimes. It touches everyone, so you may as well try to look for other answers and find peace. So, it is difficult to write those types of things because nobody wants to tell sad stories. I think that I’ll always tell stories about human hope. I would love to be able to tell somebody, ‘It’s okay. It’s all right. Be a good person.’ That’s what my job is, in life.”
Of course, Etta’s death wasn’t the only heartbreaker in season five (and it was thankfully retconned later), but it was still a shocking moment to see Peter and Olivia lose the daughter they’d fought so hard to find.
What do you think of Wyman’s explanation? Did you think it was a good move?