Novation (Fringe)

Last updated
Fringe episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 5
Directed by Paul Holahan
Written by J. R. Orci
Graham Roland
Production code 3X7005
Original air date November 4, 2011
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
"Subject 9"
"And Those We've Left Behind"
Fringe (season 4)
List of Fringe episodes

"Novation" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of the Fox science fiction drama television series Fringe , and the series' 70th episode overall. In the episode, the Fringe team of the alternate timeline deal with the ramifications of Peter Bishop's return.

<i>Fringe</i> (season 4) season of television series

The fourth season of the American science fiction television series Fringe premiered on Fox on September 23, 2011, and concluded on May 11, 2012, consisting of 22 episodes. The series is produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The show was officially renewed for a fourth season on March 24, 2011.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of the Fox Corporation. The network is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, with additional offices at the Fox Broadcasting Center and at the Fox Television Center in Los Angeles.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.


The episode was co-written by J.R. Orci and Graham Roland, while Paul Holahan served as the director. It first aired on November 4, 2011 in the United States to an estimated 3.28 million viewers.

Graham Roland is an American film and television writer and producer. He is also an Iraq War veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps from 2000 to 2006.

Paul Holahan is an American film, television director, cinematographer, producer and photographer.


Olivia (Anna Torv) and the others of Fringe division attempt to determine the origin of Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), who purports to be Walter's (John Noble) son who had died as a young boy in the original timeline. Peter refuses to speak to anyone but Walter, yet Walter is very reluctant to accept Peter's story. Peter is held at Fringe headquarters in secure facilities.

Anna Torv Australian actress

Anna Torv is an Australian actress known for her roles as FBI agent Olivia Dunham on television series Fringe (2008–2013) for which she was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2011 and as Doctor Wendy Carr in Netflix's Mindhunter (2017–present).

Joshua Jackson Canadian actor

Joshua Jackson is a Canadian-American actor. He has appeared in primetime television and in over 30 film roles. His well-known roles include Pacey Witter in Dawson's Creek, Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks film series, Peter Bishop in Fringe, and Cole Lockhart in The Affair. His other film roles include Cruel Intentions, The Skulls, and Shutter. Jackson won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the Canadian independent film One Week.

John Noble Australian actor and director

John Noble is an Australian actor and theatre director of more than 80 plays. He is best known for his roles as Dr. Walter Bishop in the US Fox science fiction television series Fringe, and Henry Parrish in the Fox action-horror series Sleepy Hollow. His most high-profile film role was as Denethor in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also provided the voice of the DC Comics supervillain Scarecrow in the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, where his character served as the main antagonist. In 2015, he joined the main cast of the television series Elementary as Sherlock Holmes's father. He was also cast as a doctor in the Australian TV series All Saints. In 2012, Noble was diagnosed with osteoporosis. His charity, Noble Bones, helps to raise awareness for the disease.

The Fringe division is brought to investigate the violent murders of a woman and her live-in boyfriend in her home. They find that she was earlier married to Dr. Malcolm Truss (Arye Gross), a former Massive Dynamic biochemical researcher, and believe her murder was an attempt to access his aborted research on cell cloning by one of the new shapeshifters, Nadine (Michelle Krusiec) (previously seen in "Neither Here Nor There"). While at Massive Dynamic, it is revealed that Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) raised Olivia and her sister Rachel after Olivia killed her stepfather and ran away from Walter's Cortexiphan trials; Walter resents Nina for both this and for her interference that led to young Peter's death. The Fringe team is unable to locate Truss before Nadine does, and begins a manhunt to track him down. Meanwhile, Nadine has tried to convince Truss that she is a patient in need of his cloning research, and coerces him to take her to a secret laboratory to synthesize the cure. It's revealed she has a daughter, Haley.

Arye Gross American actor

Arye Gross is an American actor, who has appeared on a variety of television shows in numerous roles, most notably Adam Greene in ABC Sitcom Ellen.

Shapeshifting transformation of a being by magic

In mythology, folklore and speculative fiction, shapeshifting is the ability of a being or creature to transform its physical form or shape. This is usually achieved through an inherent ability of a mythological creature, divine intervention or the use of magic. The idea of shapeshifting is present in the oldest forms of totemism and shamanism, as well as the oldest extant literature and epic poems, including works such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad, where the shapeshifting is usually induced by the act of a deity.

Michelle Krusiec American actress

Michelle Jacqueline Krusiec is a Taiwanese American actress, writer and producer.

As Fringe division attempts to work out Truss's location, Peter, from inside his cell, uses the intercom electronics to try to convince Olivia and the others that he knows about shapeshifter technology. Under guard, Peter is able to use one of the memory discs previously recovered by the Fringe team to identify a tracking signal, leading the team to Truss's laboratory. Truss has come to discover Nadine's truth after she temporarily loses control and takes the form of his deceased wife, but under threat of death, continues to synthesize the cure.

Truss finishes the cure just as the FBI and Fringe agents surround the warehouse containing the lab. After being given the cure, Nadine attempts to fight off the agents, but appears to have dived into the water below. After recovering a body from the water, they realize that Nadine had taken the place of a fallen agent and had escaped their grasp. Nadine uses a Hermes 3000 typewriter stored in a locker at a Boston train station to type a report informing them of the success of Truss's cure; moments later, the typewriter, on its own, types out further instructions for her.

Typewriter machine for writing in characters

A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical machine for writing characters similar to those produced by printer's movable type. Typically, a typewriter has an array of keys, and pressing one causes a different single character to be produced on the paper, by causing a ribbon with dried ink to be struck against the paper by a type element similar to the sorts used in movable type letterpress printing. Commonly, a separate type element corresponds to each key, but the mechanism may also use a single type element with a different portion of it used for each possible character. At the end of the nineteenth century, the term typewriter was also applied to a person who used a typing machine.

Walter, after trying to resolve his issues with Peter, returns to Fringe headquarters to inform Peter that because he had two chances to save his son and let him down both times, he will not try to help again for fear of doing more harm. Meanwhile, Olivia experiences an unexplained time fluctuation.


"Well, for Peter, he wants to go to his timeline. It's not a question of will these characters suddenly flip and will this world suddenly become the world he left? He's literally trying to find a way to travel back to the place he left. He's in Oz trying to get back to Kansas. Everybody just looks exactly like they did when he left Kansas. It's just they're living a much different circumstance because he was never a part of it."

— Co-showrunner Jeff Pinkner on Peter's return [1]

The episode was co-written by consulting producer J.R. Orci and co-producer Graham Roland, while Paul Holahan marked his second directing credit for the series (his first being the second season episode "Snakehead"). [2] [3]

<i>Fringe</i> (season 2) season of television series

The second season of the American science fiction television series Fringe commenced airing on the Fox network on September 17, 2009, and concluded on May 20, 2010. The season was produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, and its showrunners were Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. Actors Anna Torv, John Noble, and Joshua Jackson reprised their roles as FBI agent Olivia Dunham and father-son duo Walter and Peter Bishop, respectively. Previous series regulars Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown, and Kirk Acevedo also returned, though with Acevedo in a limited capacity.

Snakehead (<i>Fringe</i>) 9th episode of the second season of Fringe

"Snakehead" is the ninth episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode followed the Fringe team's investigation into horrible deaths caused by large parasitic worms erupting from their victims' mouths. The case soon leads them to a Chinese gang and a black market of immunodeficiency medicinal drugs.

"Novation" marked the first episode of the season to feature Peter Bishop's (played by main cast member Joshua Jackson) return. The actor joked that the first three season episodes "gave me an extra month and half off. But I thought it was necessary. You need to give space to explore the effect Peter’s choice had. Otherwise, you make last season cliffhanger finale – which I thought was big, ballsy thing to do – not all that important." [4]



The Fringe episode was initially meant to air on October 28, 2011, but was delayed until November 4 due to Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. [5] The Fox network produced a video using Fringe episode clips to mock the week delay. [6] "Novation" had 3.28 million viewers, up a tenth with adults 18-49 to a 1.3 rating from the previous episode. [7] Among the night's three science fiction genre shows, Fringe place second in the 18-49 demographic behind NBC's Grimm but ahead of The CW's Supernatural . [8]


Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff Jensen praised Noble and Jackson's performances, explaining "The reunion of the Bishop boys was a great, well acted scene. Walter, unable to even look at Peter; Peter, his face full of warmth and grace for his damaged father. Poignant. I am amazed by how this cast is always able to find the emotion in the material they’re given, no matter how gonzo-heady." [9] Jensen continued, "I also like how Peter represents us, the fan, in the show itself. He embodies our conflicted feelings about the new timeline; he keeps the memory of the old continuity alive." [9] The A.V. Club's Noel Murray graded the episode with a B+; he wrote, "'Novation' isn’t exactly a powerhouse; it’s more explanatory and less sensational, designed to explore the immediate ramifications of Peter’s inconvenient reappearance, and to set up some of what’s to come... [The episode] is more sinew and bone than muscle... But it’s well-structured sinew and bone, I’d say." [10] IGN contributor Ramsey Isler rated "Novation" 8.0/10, explaining "With Joshua Jackson back in the forefront of Fringe, it feels like the show is finally whole again... suddenly the show once again has solid direction." [11] He continued, "'Novation' is a solid episode. It may not be the game-changing, mind-exploding episode many fans were hoping for but it's entertaining nonetheless, and it moves things forward nicely." [11]

Jensen was also slightly critical of the episode, believing that the Nadine Park/Malcolm Truss relationship was not "all that compelling." [9] Murray agreed, writing that "The scenes between Malcolm and Nadine are much quieter and more complex than the typical Fringe freak interactions. (They’re also a little wooden, unfortunately, due to the performance of the actress playing Nadine.)" [10] Isler was also critical of guest actress Michelle Krusiec's delivery; he noted the performance was "really bland in many spots and she never really achieve a convincing 'femme fatale' vibe." Isler had other critiques of the episode, explaining "Some of the writing/direction is a little bit off too, and I saw the shapeshifter switcharoo coming a mile away. These aren't major flaws, but they do detract a tiny bit from the story." [11]

Related Research Articles

<i>Fringe</i> (TV series) American science fiction television series

Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox network on September 9, 2008, and concluded on January 18, 2013, after five seasons and 100 episodes. The series follows Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop, all members of the fictional Fringe Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based in Boston, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe.

Peter Bishop fictional character in the television series Fringe

Peter Bishop is a fictional character of the Fox television series Fringe. He is portrayed by Joshua Jackson.

"There's More Than One of Everything" is the finale of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The finale followed David Robert Jones' attempts to open a doorway to the parallel universe, while the Fringe team tries to stop him. It ends with FBI agent Olivia Dunham discovering a startling secret about Massive Dynamic founder William Bell.

Peter (<i>Fringe</i>) 16th episode of the second season of Fringe

"Peter" is the 16th episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 36th episode overall.

"Entrada" is the eighth episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 51st episode overall. The first part of the third season spent much of its time alternating between the prime and parallel universes, and "Entrada" was the first episode of the season to have time evenly divided between both. In the episode, both Olivia and her doppelganger "Fauxlivia" attempt to journey back to their respective universes. John Cassini, Seth Gabel, Ryan McDonald, Stefan Arngrim, and Karen Holness guest starred.

Grey Matters (<i>Fringe</i>) 10th episode of the second season of Fringe

"Grey Matters" is the 10th episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode was written by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, and directed by Jeannot Szwarc. It centered on three mental patients who mysteriously became sane again after shapeshifters from the parallel universe removed a piece of foreign tissue from each of their brains; this tissue is later revealed to have been taken from the brain of Walter Bishop years before. The fringe team of Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter investigate and face a new enemy, Thomas Jerome Newton, whose purpose is to decipher the missing parts of Walter's brain and find out how to move between universes.

Reciprocity (<i>Fringe</i>) 11th episode of the third season of Fringe

"Reciprocity" is the eleventh episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 54th episode overall. In the episode, the Fringe division follows a chain of shapeshifter murders as the assembly of the doomsday device nears completion. Ryan McDonald and Charles Parnell guest starred.

Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep? 4th episode of the third season of Fringe

"Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" is the fourth episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 47th episode overall. The first half of the third season alternated entire episodes between the parallel universe and the prime universe. "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" took place in the prime universe, and involved several shapeshifters, including Thomas Jerome Newton, who is eventually captured. Meanwhile, Fauxlivia attempts to maintain her cover and minimize the damage.

"The Man from the Other Side" is the 19th episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode follows the attempts of Thomas Jerome Newton, with the help of shapeshifters, to create a pathway between the two parallel universes, while the Fringe team's Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop try to stop him.

Fringe is an American science fiction drama television series originally broadcast from 2008 to 2013. The show, created by Jeffrey Jacob Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, revolves around the fictional Fringe Division, a congressionally funded federal law enforcement task force, manned primarily by Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security personnel. The task force is responsible for investigating crimes and phenomena related to fringe science and the individuals and conspiratorial organizations that perpetrate those acts. During the five year series, the mythology and backstory of the show expanded exponentially across a broad spectrum of recurring themes, locations and characters to serialize story arcs and intricately link early episodes with later ones across all five seasons.

Neither Here nor There (<i>Fringe</i>) 1st episode of the fourth season of Fringe

"Neither Here nor There" is the fourth season premiere of the Fox science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode depicts the aftermath of the third season finale in which Peter Bishop disappears from his timeline. In the new, altered timeline, Olivia Dunham is joined by FBI agent Lincoln Lee after the latter's partner is murdered. The two work to investigate his death, which revolves around shape-shifting technology.

"And Those We've Left Behind" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe, and the series' 71st episode overall. The episode dealt with the Fringe team's investigation of a series of time loop fatalities.

"Wallflower" is the seventh episode of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe, and the series' 72nd episode overall. "Wallflower" served as the shows' mid-season finale, as it is the last to air in 2011; the next installment was broadcast on January 13, 2012.

Back to Where Youve Never Been 8th episode of the fourth season of Fringe

"Back to Where You've Never Been" is the eighth episode of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe, and the series' 73rd episode overall.

"Welcome to Westfield" is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe, and the series' 77th episode overall.

"Nothing As It Seems" is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe, and the series' 81st episode overall. The case of the episode is a parallel observation to the events of the first season's "The Transformation".

Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 1st episode of the fifth season of Fringe

"Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11" is the first episode of the fifth season of the American Fox science-fiction/drama television series Fringe, and the show's 88th episode overall. The episode premiered in the United States on September 28, 2012.


  1. Abrams, Natalie (2011-11-03). "Fringe Bosses: Peter Is In Oz Trying to Get Back to Kansas". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  2. Wax, Alyse (2011-11-05). "TV Recap: 'Fringe' Episode 405 - 'Novation'". Fearnet . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  3. "Paul Holahan: Credits". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  4. Jensen, Jeff (2011-11-04). "'Fringe' star Joshua Jackson on his big return and the timeline reboot: 'There's a huge, huge risk.'". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  5. Hibberd, James (2011-10-29). "'Grimm' premiere ratings surprise, 'Chuck' crushed". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  6. Hibberd, James (2011-10-28). "'Fringe' mocks World Series delay -- VIDEO". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  7. Seidman, Robert (2011-11-05). "Updated TV Ratings Friday: 'Blue Bloods' Higher; 'Grimm' Off 14%; Another Record Low for 'Chuck'; 'Fringe' Inches Up". TV by the Numbers . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  8. Hibberd, James (2011-11-05). "'Grimm' beats 'Fringe' while 'Chuck' ratings drop". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  9. 1 2 3 Jensen, Jeff (2011-11-05). "'Fringe' recap: The U.F.O." Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  10. 1 2 Murray, Noel (2011-11-04). "Novation". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  11. 1 2 3 Isler, Ramsey (2011-11-05). "Fringe: "Novation" Review". IGN . Retrieved 2011-11-06.