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Fringe: Who Gave Olivia Dunham Superpowers?

Fringe, Anna Torv, John Noble, Josh Jackson Craig Blankenhorn/FOX

Updated, 2:17 p.m.: Wanna see the key to the Fringe code that we didn't know existed? Fringe Television and Ars Technica have cracked it, and it is so cool!

Fringe is back tonight, and two of the characters remain the same: Walter (John Noble) is still a nutty but fundamentally kind old man and Peter (Joshua Jackson) is still a charming bum who has yet to achieve his full potential. But Olivia (Anna Torv) is changing.

Yes, our chilly FBI friend is finally coming into her own as Fringe launches its final six episodes of the season. She grows close to a mysterious new friend tonight and we'll learn that she's growing in other, more mystical, ways as well.

Is Olivia Dunhm mutating into a giant airplane hedgehog or just turning into a cooler, more approachable character? Here's what we're hearing about Olivia and the future of Fringe...

Superpowers: Is Fringe's Olivia Dunham akin to Supernatural's Sam Winchester, i.e., an otherwise unexceptional person who may have been manipulated by powerful forces as a child and is now growing into his or her own? (It's the ol' fairies-over-the-cradle scenario!) Like Sammeh, in the coming episodes, Olivia's starting to have dreams and visions of things she shouldn't be able to see, and Anna Torv says, "We do start to find out what was done to her when she was little. The episode where she turns the light box off—we do get to delve a little bit into that to work out why she has that. If it’s a superpower or something that’s been done to her." Look for the show to explore Olivia's past, what the childhood drug tests did to her, and what Walter, William Bell and Massive Dynamic might have to do with it...

William Bell: We finally meet Walter's old frenemy William Bell. Look for him to pop up a couple of times between now and the season finale, but he'll be a major recurring presence in season two. What do we know about him so far? He's a brilliant scientist, he's superbossy (which makes sense since he's the head of Massive Dynamic) and he comes from old money. Got any casting ideas? Do you think we could reanimate Jason Robards for the gig?

Love in the Time of Cloning: Fringe continues to show remarkable restraint when it comes to fuzzy-wuzzy romantic storylines, so if you are one of 237 known Peter-Olivia shippers in the known universe, don't get too excited for this last batch. As Josh Jackson told us while we were discussing the show's nonconformist avoidance of a leads-in-love storyline, "Who do they think they are?!" As Josh pointed out, the time was not (and is not) quite right yet for Olivia and Peter to get busy: "[It would have been] kind of ugly. 'Hey, your boyfriend's dead...wanna go get a drink?' Not good. But there's no never on Fringe. It has had to be tabled because there was no natural place for it, but I think it's frankly better for the show to establish the dynamics of these three characters before the sex gets involved."

The Observer: We'll be learning lots more about the Observer in the six episodes to come. In addition to tonight's mysterious discovery of a pale, bald, silent, telepathic child (who would seem to be a juvenile Observer), Anna says, "At the moment we’re shooting the final episode, and we’re sort of starting to get more of a glimpse into what their function is." According to Fringe writer J.R. Orci, the title of the finale is "There's More Than One of Everything." Could that be related to what Fringe writer Roberto Orci told us earlier this year about the show potentially introducing a female Observer? After all, there's a reason that Noah took two of every kind onto the Ark.

Want more Observer? Check out the clip below from a recent NASCAR race! And then post in the comments about what you're hoping to see from the coming installments of the show!

Fringe returns tonight at 9 on Fox.

—Additional reporting by Blair Hagata

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