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April 20, 2014

'Fringe' - 'White Tulip' Recap

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 16th 2010 2:58AM
Fringe: White Tulip(S02E18) "Until I took my son from the other side, I had never believed in God. But it occurred to me that my actions had betrayed Him, and that everything that happened to me since then was God punishing me. So now I'm looking for a sign of forgiveness, a specific one, a white tulip ... If God can forgive me for my acts, maybe it's in the realm of possibility that my son will be able to forgive me." - Walter Bishop to Alistair Peck

First of all, how cool was it to see John Noble and Peter Weller hobnobbing on screen together? Just two old scientists exchanging time travel theories and comparing notes on saving/stealing loved ones.

It was the perfect vehicle to build on Walter's struggle about whether to tell Peter or not. In a sense, he'd already been through what Alistair was contemplating. Yes, Walter had crossed to another universe while Alistair was trying to jump back in time, but the result was the same -- be with the person you'd lost. Anyone who's lost a loved one can relate. There's nothing you wouldn't do to be with that person again, even if it means jeopardizing others in the process.

The story also served to further explain the casualties involved in such an event. Wherever Alistair "landed," those people would die, as they did on the subway. He just needed Walter's help to get him back to the exact spot and time to save his fiance. He needed to get back to the field with the hot air balloon.

At first, it seems that Alistair's intention was to get in that car with his fiance so they could live together. He already knew what life was like without her, and he didn't like it or want it. But perhaps Walter's heartfelt advice made Alistair reconsider saving her. At that point, I think he just wanted to die with her.

"There will be repercussions if you pull Arlette from that car," said Walter. "You don't know how things will be changed by your actions, but they will. It's not our place to adjust the universe, and you will never be able to look at her again without knowing that, just like every time I look at my son. I have traveled through madness to figure this out, and you will too."

Similarly, Alistair sending Walter the drawing of the white tulip helped Walter to realize that perhaps his son could forgive him. But he'd already thrown the handwritten note to Peter into the fire. At that point, maybe he didn't believe that Peter would forgive him. He hadn't received the "sign" yet.

But it's just as well. Peter will learn the truth, but the note wasn't the right way to do it. These things are messy, and no matter how much time Walter devoted to crafting the perfect words to tell him, this is the sort of thing that needs to be told face to face. I know, it won't quite go down that way. Will the white tulip prevail? Will Peter forgive his father?

Another great episode that served to propel the story forward, and another great performance by John Noble.

A few quotes:

"I happen to know someone who's fluent in gobbledygook. - Olivia to Alistair's MIT colleague

"Grief can drive people to extraordinary lengths. - Walter

"I'm not a threat. I'm an ambassador. - Walter to Alistair

"God is science, polio and flu vaccines, MRIs and artificial hearts. You're a man of science. That's the only faith we need." - Alistair to Walter

I look forward to your thoughts on this episode.

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Andrew

That was a great episode. I’m just starting to get caught up on Fringe but I’m really loving it. I just found the show on DISH Network’s live streaming site, dishonline. I was just browsing the massive amount of content and stumbled on it and thought I’d give it another try (I watched one early episode way back and it didn’t hook me at the time). This time though I really liked it, I don’t know if it’s gotten better or if I was just ready to watch another supernatural type show. I’m glad I word for DISH, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have even known about dishonline and may never have given Fringe another try.

November 05 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nstickney

hi
it was the greatest episode
i received my white tulip shortly after and it was really appreciated

i am struggling with my relationships

the white tulip really helped
i think he was going to go back just to fix or reduce the anguish he made
everytime i make a mess i feel awful

that is the right thing

i don't know

May 03 2011 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela

Another excellent episode!

I echo Elliot's comment on the 'god' factor.

I am so glad that Peter is the one to acknowledge that he's not from here. He's no dummy. No patronizing the fans, writers.

April 19 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zita

This show is so amazingly done, the people involved are so incredibly talented that it's almost a miracle that it hasn't been axed (since this kind of shows are the usual targets). Whatever happens, I feel honored to have been gifted with the possibility to enjoy this wonderful piece of ART, aka Fringe.

April 18 2010 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Raqi

Best episode for me to date. The cast is so believable! John noble deserves an award, top notch acting!! luv the God and science discussion and the eding was heartwrenching.. Never thougt I'd tear up in a sci fi tv show :-)

April 18 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sherri Tucker

I just love this show. The combination of the ridiculous and the sublime; it just gets to me everytime. Walter can be so vulnerable yet at other times so sure and steady. And Olivia is so strong, yet at the same time, flexible. Peter has probably changed the most. Hes gone from a total cynic to a person with a purpose. He has truly been re deemed. All in all, a great series. It never fails to entertain and delight.

April 18 2010 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
La-Di-Dah

John Noble rocks! And he needs an Emmy or Golden Globe, or whatever.

April 16 2010 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dgrant

One prime aspect of this episode was the visual style used to tell of Peter Weller's sacrifice, all that tortured flesh and springs, metal parts - a great way to communicate that skips over the often tedious efforts to explain in this show. It was sort of sad in another way that we loose Weller's work on time travel, and Walter did not discuss that with him when they were talking about faith and science (it is after all about tangible results). It was a great set-up though for the final wordless scene, since we already knew about the tulip, and it was Walter who was poleaxed about where it had come from, and we already knew it came in effect from himself.

April 16 2010 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

'White Tulip' was an awesome TV episode for ANY series. And John Noble .... wow! What a neat time travel story and within are tucked several love stories. Peter Weller was fantastic. Really love watching Fringe, it never fails to provide entertainment, food for thought, and a couple of, 'Huh's?

April 16 2010 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mdisloki

I teared up when Walter pulled that white tulip out. Noble is simply amazing at conveying emotion with or without words.

April 16 2010 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mdisloki's comment
estnyc

This was one of the finest things I've ever seen on TV. Shows become great through their characters, and I've come to care very deeply about Walter and his son. Excellent writing, superb acting. That Alistair went through so much pain for the chance to say "I love you" one more time to his fiance, knowing he was about to die with her (and it was a surprise for me), well, what could be more romantic?

Walter's one of the most compelling characters on TV now (or ever?). At first, he just seemed another crackpot mad scientist, but now....

I'm going to replay this episode a lot, I think.

April 16 2010 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mdisloki

I agree, definitely an episode to rewatch a few times!

April 16 2010 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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