Fringe: The Good, The Bad, and The Awesome

Thursday's episode of Fringe, "White Tulip," was yet another big one for Walter Bishop (John Noble). He struggled to write a tell-all letter to his son, Peter (Joshua Jackson); he faced off against a fellow genius; he revealed his religious "beliefs" to that genius; and, as usual, he stole the show. In fact, only one thing prevented this episode from earning a perfect 10. Here's what we thought was good, bad, and awesome about "White Tulip":

Good: The episode's continuity
We saw the killer within the first five minutes! We saw a bunch of scenes at least twice! Yes, it was confusing as hell, but time travel can be a bitch, and Fringe handled the high concept gracefully and matter-of-factly. No super-tacky, futuristic time machines here.

Good: Guest star Peter Weller
With the help of some very cool CGI effects, the former RoboCop became Alistair Peck, and not just another one of Fringe's many one-off villains. Peck was a mad scientist, a brilliant professor, a creepy time-traveler, and a gross-looking bionic man all in one crazy character. Wait, doesn't Fringe already have a guy like that?

Bad: The "White Tulip" symbolism
I'm all for MacGuffins and Christ figures and hidden secrets, but this one was a bit obscure. What exactly were Walter and Alistair talking about? Why did Alistair send Walter that drawing? Anyone got a clue?

Awesome: John Noble's acting
Seriously, when is Noble going to win an Emmy? Walter Bishop has evolved into an insanely complex character this season, yet Noble plays him so consistently each week. "White Tulip" showed us two of Walter's deepest, darkest sides: The authoritative one that lectures his intellectual peers on the dangers of playing God, and the troubled one that can choose to ignore his own advice. I never thought Walter was a religious man—and, as it turns out, I was kind of right.

What did you think of the episode? And what do you think will happen in the season finale?


Follow TV.com writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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The White Tulip symbolism worked beautifully. In their earlier conversation, the one Walter wouldn't remember, Alistair told him that science is the only god a scientist needs. As Walter wanted a sign from God, Alistair used his abilities gained through his pursuit of science to send Walter the sign he was waiting for, a sign only God would know about (as far as Walter would be concerned).

By doing this Alistair effectively made his point about science being God. You may or may not agree with the reasoning, but the symbolism does work and to me there was no big mystery as to why Alistair would send Walter the white tulip.
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John Noble's acts so well, he could get your ex boyfriend back with a smooth word and a glance. I'd do anything that man says/

http://getboyfriendbacktips.org
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Yeah, you must have not been watching the show back to back. Don't skip around, and you'll get it.

http://www.nitricoxidesideeffects.com
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What a come back for Joshua Johnson. He must have followed some very successful marketing tips to have rebooted. Well done sir! http://www.satuimarketing.com
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the meaing of the white tulip was pret-ty obvious
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Goodness gracious. The white tulip symbolism wasn't bad and it made sense. Alistair sent back in time, so Walter didn't remember meeting him or telling him about how he was waiting for God to show him a white tulip as a sign of forgiveness. Then, before Alistair went back in time to get to his wife, he sent Walter the picture of the tulip. He did this because he felt bad for Walter and he knew that what Walter did regarding the whole Peter situation was the right thing to do, but he also knew that Walter wouldn't listen to him or anyone else and move on until he got the sign from god. A little too religious for my liking but it works. So don't be a hater just because you couldn't pick up on what was going on ;)
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Stefanie here! I took your advice and re-watched the "tulip" scene -- truly great stuff. I guessed I just missed it the first time around. My mistake. Thanks to all who discussed the episode and pointed out the error without any personal attacks.
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Yes, it was a great episode, but please, please stop reviewing this show...
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da,did you really watch the episode?FYI,bishob had asked for a white tulip as a sign of forgiveness from god.....
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Oh Stefanie! I'd feel bad about all the negative comments if it wasn't for the fact that you did it twice in a row!!! This was a brilliant episode. Atleast you didn't totally savage it like you did with "Peter".
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I'm asking the same thing: How could you have missed the meaning behind the white tulip?! The ending was such magic! Haha. Seriously. It was genius writing. Such a good episode. You should watch it again and edit your article! :/
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Shame on you for missing important dialogue. Ho hum.

"Walter Bishop has evolved into an insanely complex character this season, yet Noble plays him so consistently each week."

Just wait till Walternate appears again, then you'll see Noble's range.
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the good was the white tulip symbolism!! dude watch the show already!!
the white tulip was like a message from god to walter...
it was the best part of the episode
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"And what do you think will happen in the season finale?"

I think you'll fall asleep AGAIN and your boss will shave your head, buy you a tambourine, and finally show you where you can REALLY make a difference.....at the airport!!!
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The White Tulip sent shivers down my spine.
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C'mon Stefanie...pay attention! Follow Tim's way of reviewing....watch once....sleep...watch again...then review. I feel this way would save you further embarrassment of completley missing the point!

Good episode with some touching moments.
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Brilliant one of the best of the season
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It was a decent episode. Not as good as the previous couple, but still good.
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i wept out loud when walter got that tulip, and iam a big ole tattoed goth ,and for this fool not to get it....well...it ...just... makes.... mad... (lol)
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that was an unbelievably idiotic review i almost cant forgive it. maybe i should send you a white tulip in the post...
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Go watch the episode again. And stop reviewing Fringe.
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ozoak got it completely right. And I totally agree with MystyRose0. If you're not 100% into the story, or writing a DETAILED analysis of events, or attempting to convey knowledge of at least some of the symbolism and meanings behind it, why review it? It really doesn't add much to the discussion of the episode.
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I'm all for criticisms but please THINK and review the episode before posting your article. Re-watch the episode or something. I read a comment from someone whose native language is not English and it seems that the he/she understood it more than the writer did. I'm sure I've missed a lot of details on some TV shows I've watched so it must be that you missed the finer details that was conveyed during the episode. If I were to review an episode and I got confused by what's going on, I would watch it again and pay attention. I think that's wiser than publishing something that makes you look unprofessional.
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wow, how can someone be so wrong, i mean i do agree with the good and the awsome but the bad is actually one of the best things in the episode, i don't get how someone who watches Fringe every week can miss the symbolism, you are as wrong about this as you where in your "Peter" review, you souldn't write articles about Fringe Period, as someone before me as said, it apears to be too much for you!
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Oh, and a brilliant episode. And yes, Noble's doing an outstanding job with this quirky and very complex character. ... And why did he burn the letter in the eventual 'reality' when he didn't in the previous 'run throughs'? Because previously he'd been under pressure, forced to quickly finish the letter and then felt compelled to hide it because Peter was coming to pick him up. In the final play through he was more relaxed and didn't panic, just calmly decided that the letter wasn't right. Also note that Alistair could have pre-arranged any delivery date he liked for the tulip letter, however he specifically picked a time of year he knew that tulips didn't bloom in. A white tulip may mean forgiveness http://www.buzzle.com/articles/what-do-tulips-mean.html and... this is a JJA show right, has anyone got the kind of encyclopaedic knowledge and able to say yes or no that white tulips were visible in any scenes with Walters wife?
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I think ozoak's explanation of the White Tulip hit it on the nail!
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Seriously. I agree about Noble and an Emmy. He should have been in contention since day one, but with Emmy and every other awards show naught but a popularity contest...good luck with that one...
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"What exactly were Walter and Alistair talking about? Why did Alistair send Walter that drawing? Anyone got a clue? "

To quote exactly:
Walter: 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.

Alistair: Tulips don't bloom this time of year, white or otherwise.

Walter: But he's God. And if God will 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.

Alistair: Walter, God is science. God is polio and flu vaccines, and MRI machines and artificial hearts. If you're a man of science then that's the only faith we need.

-----

By sending the white tulip Alistair is doing 3 things, at least:
1) Alistair affirms, or establishes, his own believe that God is science. As Walter is expecting the white tulip from God, and no-one else, Alistair is able to give him it through science.

2) It also acts as a reaffirmation for Walter, as he asked God for a sign of forgiveness, and he received it. So whether God is science or an entity Walters faith will surely grow.

3) He grants forgiveness to Walter allowing Walter leave to ask forgiveness from Peter. Alistair is compassionate, and not necessarily a "villain". He's attempting to save a life travelling through time, and he's only doing so because he believes that the lives lost will 'reset' and effectively not be lost (which appears to have been the case) when he's finished.
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the white tulip was a reference to Walter telling the other dude if a white tulip can bloom when it's not supposed to, maybe God can forgive Walter for the things he has done. Walter may not have remembered telling him that because it never happened when he went back in time, but I think he still understood what it meant, I don't think it was an in-the-moment type thought for him. but yes, this was an AWESOME episode.
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You proved that Fringe is to much for you, again.

Pretty awesome episode.
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There wasn't any hidden secret I'm afraid. You just missed a specific dialogue between Walter and robocop about the white tulip and what it meant for Walter.
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Totally get the white tulip symbolism! Walter of course doesn't remember his conversation with Alistair because Alistair went back in time and did a repeat, but it was Alistair's way of sending Walter the sign he needed to feel that he was "forgiven" for what he did to Peter and to do what needs to be done.
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Walter helped Alistair out by telling him he needed a higher order equation to go back in time far enough to meet his wife. To repay him, Alistair then sent the tulip to help ease Walter's guilt for, "defying god," and stealing Peter.
Walter told Alistair that he believed in god and that if god ever wanted to forgive him that he would show him some kind of tulip. Walter had never told that to anyone before and those tulips don't grow in the north or something like that. There was no possible way anyone would know to send Walter a tulip except for "god."
I didn't think it was that hard to understand. Oh, and I saw a small seahorse in the medicine cabinet of Alistair's house. You know, the one that Walter "signed" in the DNA or whatever it was. Thought it was pretty cool they hid that in there.
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OMG how can you say that the "White Tulip" symbolism was bad? He clearly mentioned that tulips don't grow now so it would be impossible for him to find/get a tulip as it would be impossible for his son to forgive him, unless of course it was a sign of God. Alistair told him that science is God and since he knew what he was going through he "used" science to send him that drawing of a tulip so he finds the courage to tell his son.
Also I don't really think that Walter ment to say that he trully believes in God but more that he was so desperate that it was his only option cause he didn't had anything else to hang on.
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an amazing episode after a long time
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Weller was not really a villain!
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Weller is so cool. Why don't we see more of him?
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Hi! I agree. It was a great episode and John Noble was awesome. And I loved Peter Weller as a guest star, one of the best villains in the series so far, in my opinion. One thing, when Walter and Alistair were talking, Walter told him that if God could forgive him, then maybe his son also could, and therefore he was waiting for a sign, a "white tulip". I think Alistair sent him the drawing to encourage him to tell the truth to his son, as he knew that the white tulip was the sign "of God" that Walter was waiting. Although I'm not totally sure, english is not my first language and maybe I misunderstood its meaning.
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