TV Show: Fringe
Episode Title: White Tulip
Original Air Date: April 15, 2010
Episode Number: 2×17
When passengers aboard a commuter train appear to have died a still death, it seems that a switch was flipped because all cell phones, mp3 players, laptops, batteries, and bodies have been drained of power. As the Fringe team assembles at the bizarre crime scene, Peter remains suspicious that something is amiss with Walter, who is struggling to keep the unimaginable a secret. When the investigation leads them to Alistair Peck, a very powerful man who has tremendous energy with severe consequences, an ironic set of circumstances surface.
This is probably one of the most beautiful episodes of Fringe or any other show that I have seen. The storytelling and the acting were topnotch and the ending with Alistair Peck was also beautiful in a tragic way. And of course, that ending with Walter and the white tulip? Absolutely beautiful ending. I knew what was going to be inside the envelope, but I still teared up. So beautifully moving and I’m hoping that Walter can move on somewhat from feeling guilty about taking Peter from the other side and that this is God’s way of forgiving him.
A lot of fans love this episode and possibly consider it their favorite, but not me. Yes, I love it, but there are other episodes I would put above this in terms of quality. This one gets an A for how beautifully constructed it was. I sound like I disliked the episode, but that’s not the case. I just think there are other episodes better than this. Having said that, I remember the fans embracing the white tulip as the symbol for this show and how they held up white tulips after the show’s last Comic Con panel several years ago and I remember crying my eyes out at the gesture.
Anyway, enough of my babbling. Let’s get to the episode.
That scene with Walter and Alistair was the highlight and we could finally see how Walter has been affected by his actions in regards to taking Peter from the other side. He’s been distracted the past few weeks because he wants to tell Peter, but at the same time, he’s afraid of how Peter will react. In the end, he writes the letter and throws it in the fireplace. He’s not ready to deal with this yet. I wonder how Olivia will react? Walter did promise her that he was going to tell Peter everything.
Back to Walter and Alistair’s conversation. I’m going to quote the entire scene because I think it’s worth quoting it.
“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 had happened to me since was God punishing me. So now I’m looking for a sign of forgiveness. I’ve asked God for a sign of forgiveness. A specific one, a white tulip.”
“Tulips don’t bloom this time of year, white or otherwise.”
“But he’s God. And if God can forgive me for my acts then maybe it’s in the realm of possibility that my son, possibly, may be able to forgive me too.”
“Walter, God is science. God is polio and flu vaccines and MRI machines and artificial hearts. If you are a man of science, then that’s the only faith we need.”
Beautiful dialogue, isn’t it? The fact that Alistair doesn’t believe in God and that he considers science as his God is not surprising. Walter was the same way until he went through this crisis of conscience and now all he wants is a sign of forgiveness from God for what he has done. Alistair sending Walter that white tulip was the most generous gesture that Alistair could have done for Walter. Walter helped him how to go back in time to be with his fiancee and, in return, he wants Walter to have peace of mind.
I think Walter’s conversation with Alistair convinced the latter that he couldn’t possibly bring his wife back and that he wouldn’t be able to live with the consequences and endanger innocent people’s lives so instead he goes back and dies with her. Walter was right: “Grief can drive people to extraordinary lengths.” I would also put love in that category.
The time travel storyline was very cool in this episode. Kinda reminds me of 12 Monkeys, but instead of using a machine, Alistair built and embedded the machine in his body. I was grossed out and fascinated by what he did to his body. I know it was probably just a suit that the props department built, but it looked so real.
One other thing that I really liked was the deja vu conversation Olivia and Peter had.
“I read that deja vu is fate’s way of telling you that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. That’s why you feel like you’ve been there before. You are right in line with your own destiny.”
“Well, do you believe that?”
“No. It’s a bit mystical for my taste. I never get them myself. Maybe that’s because I’m not on track with my own destiny.”
That is a very cool explanation for deja vu and probably the best one I’ve heard so far. I had to smile at the last sentence from Peter because it was kinda like the writers winking at us. Walter’s face after Peter said it made me so sad. 🙁
Other random observations:
– Like other commenters have already pointed out, I got a kick out of seeing Jasper and Octavia from The 100 in this episode! Jasper was the kid who found all those dead bodies on the train and Octavia was the waitress at the cafe. How funny that they were both on the same episode and years later they would be together on the same show.
– Walter called Astrid “Astro.” Hee. These will never get old.
– How cute was it when Walter and Astrid said the same thing in the beginning of the episode about their theory? Peter’s smile was adorable.
– “Something’s not right here.”
“Yup, I think it’s my paycheck.”
LOL, poor Astrid. She needs to speak to Broyles about this.
– On a shallow note, I loved how Olivia had her hair up in a knot. That looked very cool.