If you were going to continue the story of Fringe — keeping in mind of course, that it’s never ever going to happen etc etc reality check reality check — where would you start? A couple weeks ago, I made a post about the White Tulip Machine, which is an idea that evolved through a series of sketches. This post continues those thoughts.
In this mythical magical world where Fringe would someday return, I have to admit one of my biggest mysteries to answer would be: how would we ever get Jasika Nicole to agree to come back? Because Fringe was wonderful, but not perfect (just mostly perfect), and I think most viewers and critics agreed, Astrid could have been given more to do — especially in the later seasons. But that’s why we have fanfiction, so we can put right what once went wrong! And in a world without Walter, Astrid would be the same person under different circumstances… and she might surprise us.
In the reset timeline, we’re a few years after the end of Season 4, which put Astrid through a lot. Getting shot and almost dying is a big deal, so I think she would still be pondering seriously her future with the FBI even three years later. With Walter suddenly gone, also, she’d have some problems to deal with. What about Walter’s lab? All of Walter’s deepest scientific secrets are still in that lab. And no one, but no one, knows them better than Astrid. There are wonderful and fearsome things still hidden in those cabinets and beakers. There are people at Harvard who want to throw them away — and there are powerful people who want to appropriate them. And what if Walter does comes back?
I don’t think there would be much internal debate for Astrid — she would assume the role of protector of the lab and guardian of its many secrets, of which she alone has unique knowledge. (There is probably shit that girl has seen which hasn’t ever been revealed!) Astrid had a special relationship with Walter, and when he did things wrong, she found gentle ways to steer him back to the right path. But I think she has the same strong ethical conscience as did Walter’s late assistant — her predecessor, Carla Warren. With Walter not around, all bets are off as to who Astrid might have to stand up to… and what she might do.
For Astrid, the drawing of the white tulip might have a different meaning than it does for Peter. She might caution Peter that it could be something highly personal to Walter (although none of them have any idea). I think Astrid and Peter, without Walter between them, might have some difficulties. Especially now that Peter is thinking every year more and more about building this new machine to find his father. Astrid really is a member of the Bishop family – she’s like Peter’s little sister, and for many years, Walter’s welfare was their shared concern. And when the parent is gone, siblings can be at odds.
Astrid is also watching the Bishop family under subtle but ever present stress due to Walter’s mysterious disappearance and Peter’s response to it. With Olivia back to work with the FBI, Etta spends a lot of time with her father, playing with her toys — and other things — on the floor of the lab. Astrid is often concerned that Peter is too distracted to watch her. How will Astrid get control of this situation? The lab may well wind up under new management…
As for Olivia, Astrid remains her confidante, and Olivia is also having second thoughts about her career. It’s not just that being a mother and an agent is difficult. There are some other things bothering her.
In sum… I don’t think Astrid needs to be “fixed.” She always was a potentially great character, she just needed to be allowed to be herself. I think she would be something more than just a nurturing helper – she’d be a tough talking woman of action, and very much in charge.