Season 2 Episode 18

White Tulip

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Apr 15, 2010 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

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out of 10
794 votes
  • White Tulip

    Yes, I'm a sellout. Offer me time travel and go where I want. Show that go back or jump forward and I melt me like a bar of butter in a hot day. It is one of my subjects of choice and this white tulip was this love of destruction.

    After a week if repetitive and boring, we came to the exciting story of one man - the mythical Peter Weller - walking backwards with your timeline, your destination. He is a genius who tries to find way to bend time, returning to the past and save his beloved (who died tragically in an automobile accident). The problem is that every time he jumps a huge amount of energy is consumed causing the death of all living beings around them. That's how the episode starts, a slippery subway train, where a moment's notice all lose their lives.

    The investigation was opened and returned to Walter (John Noble), which is arguably the best character of this universe. Olivia (Anna Torv) is set aside and the old scientist who is about to take any role and when this happens the series gains depth. It is thick, complex and refreshing. He locks the internal dilemma of telling the truth or not your child. Write a letter in his pocket, hoping that the letters comply with what the eyes can not. And spend of your problem to the central problem of the episode, it is also he who solves it. The scene was absolutely fantastic the two geniuses meet and find sympathy in pain each. In the agony of losing those we love most. The time traveler then follows their journey and get back to the sad days, getting into the car, kissing his wife and losing his life. But before that can write a letter to Walter can send a picture of a white tulip, the forgiveness that both wanted by the act he committed. Beautiful end. Beautiful story.

    Another point in favor of the episode was a narrative structure that embraced the dynamics of time travel, going back several times - and I still should have retreated more - putting ourselves in the skin of the traveler. It really is that it is necessary to stimulate and innovate within each case weekly, it is not mandatory weekly marriages central to the mythology. Whenever the series can innovate in how we tell a story or in a hidden mystery, felt his identity and to the surface, and this is very good.

    The Best: The whole story in itself.

    The Worst: Why all cases a week are not so?
  • High Rating?

    I don't understand why this show got such a high rating then all the the other shows. Sure it was good but 9.6 rating, nothing was really said about the main story or plot just a person going through time trying to save his wife. We all heard either from other movies or shows that doing the unthinkable will have a price. Walter told him and he understood is why he when back in time to die with his wife. He really needed to tell Peter this is draging out the episodes we know whats going to happen get it done already and tell him so we can move on already. We all know this is the biggest thorn is keeping Walters secret.
  • The last moments of this episode are what made me come here and write this review.

    The last moments of this episode are what made me come here and write this review.
    This is Fringe's best episode until now, without trying to spoil anything I'll just say that the end is a pleasant surprise.

    Sometimes a simple action can carry so much meaning that it can completely change someones beliefs, whether it's in god or science it doesn't matter, what matters is it will change your life. The problem is that a certain action can be an illusion, a manipulation created to make you think a certain way, the question is: How do you know who made that action? what happens if you can never find out for sure? What if god is man-made? Maybe that's the origin of faith.
  • Achingly beautiful

    There is a fine line between great shows and just ok shows. That line is characters that you care about. Fringe has that in abundance with three leads that just ooze depth and likeability.
    White Tulip is a masterpiece, an absolute masterpiece. A scientist haunted by the death of his fiance and the guilt felt by Walter at kidnapping his son from the other world... all tied up with a beautiful last moment that just melted your heart...
    The best show on tv right now, but a lot depends on what direction the show takes on its end of season finale...
    It could be an absolute belter...
  • I became excited with this episode even if the concept of time travel has been used for so many times already. Some items here might be a spoiler.

    I am a fan of travelling through time to go to the past and correcting somethings. This one is great! The conversation between Walter and Alistair was so amazing I myself could not think anything like that one. If i was Walter, i would tell Alistair to stop what he is doing because bad things might happen, but i will not give him a clue on how to do it. Alistair might return couple of times to the train to buy some time to correct his formula, and im thinking that it would be Olive that will chase him in his time travel through her abilities, etc. The final scene made me want to cry :D
  • A beautiful and heartbreaking episode, arguably the best standalone story Fringe has done yet.

    I can barely do this episode justice with a review. Any words I add don't have anything on the beauty, grace and masterful storytelling methods of the minds behind it. All I can really do is try to describe why it worked so well. From the opening sequence, they caught my attention with this one and it never let up. With most other episodes, you know bad things are about to go down, and you know some people are probably going to die before the "Fringe" title plays. There's a certain degree of predictability, though the show always becomes more complex after that. It all usually all comes down to the "why". The brilliance of the intro sequence was that they really had you believing that this man was otherworldly, and that he had a complete disregard for human life. However, in the end, it was quite the opposite.

    The deaths he caused initially seemed to be of no consequence to him, and he came across as a hollow shell of a man. It really appeared to me like he was out to cause some chaos for the main Fringe reality. To slowly learn throughout the episode that the only thing he cared about was preserving his fiance's life made the story so much more tragic in the end. It also revealed that his notion that the people he killed weren't "permanently" dead was accurate, and drove home the point that the man actually cared dearly about the cost of a human life. The story was most certainly a nod to the concept of the story the Time Machine, but the subject matter is handled with such care and related to the overarching theme of the season so beautifully that the similarities never detracted from it. Walter's struggle throughout the episode was played to perfection by John Noble. This man is one of the most amazing actors I've ever seen on TV. The subtle differences in his performance each time around the "loop" were enthralling to watch and he really made you feel for him, made you want Peter to understand more than anything why he did what he did. He also made you want Walter to forgive himself, more than anything. It was a stroke of genius on the writers' behalf to introduce a character who would go to such lengths as he did to save someone they had loved, and it helped Walter ease the burden a little more to know that he could help someone else out there avoid shouldering a weight like the one he himself had held for so long, even if his choice to share that information wasn't entirely permanent for him.

    In the end, Walter made a different choice, the choice to not tell Peter, but I can't help but think it was the right one, at least at this point in time. To tell Peter the truth would effectively shatter the genuine bond and trust between the two of them and would more than likely send Peter on a journey of self-discovery to the other side. A search for answers that would only make matters worse and complicate the war between realities immensely. No matter his devotion to Walter, to know that he could've had another life, and that this isn't where he was meant to be, would probably eat away at Peter's resolve. Walter's notion of it ending badly was right, and maybe it's because that's the only way it could really go from here on out since its been so long. While it's bound to surface sooner or later, no words, not even the perfect words, could prepare someone for knowledge like that. All in all I was left feeling that though certain moments were relived in this episode, not a moment was wasted. All killer, no filler as they say. Some of my other favorite moments that I think are worth mentioning: When Alistair walks into his own home despite the numerous FBI agents, when Olivia feels the deja vu and Peter comments on himself not being on track to his own destiny, the use of dead silence during the ending crash sequence, and of course, the white tulip, the perfect finishing touch.
  • With great power comes great responsibility!

    Every once in a while a series will deliver an episode that leaves a profound effect on you. Makes you think, wonder, but most of all makes you realize the true value of human emotions like Love and friendship, and the things one would do for them.

    We meet this guy who can travel back and forth through time (although he just goes back in time in this case) to save his fiancée who died in a car crash. The only downside (which is what catches the eye of the Fringe team) is that to materialize, a tremendous amount of energy is needed which gets drained from his surroundings, organic (humans included) and non organic.

    The team does catch up to him, and Walter has a chance to stop him but instead helps him solve a nick in the equation that was preventing this guy from going to the day his fiancée died. What follows are two brilliant minds having one of THE most interesting discussions about science versus religion (kudos to the writers for this part). Walter as you know is still struggling with his decision to tell Peter the truth of his origins and argues that the implications of playing God using science has a very nasty side effect on the human conscious which he struggles to live with everyday while the guy argues that science is God. Science has been used to cure so many diseases and so travelling back in time to prevent something is simply the next step. In the end this guy is able to jump back to that day with some interesting results.

    Normally I would have ranked this episode a 10/10 except for one little quirk; I am obviously no expert but if I was to go back in time to correct a mistake wouldn't I bump into my younger self there? And if I was to do it over and over won't there be many of me all trying to do the same thing? Very confusing I know which is why I personally avoid time travelling.
  • A most sublime take on time travel.

    Caught up on case that technically never existed, Fringe Division would've followed the lead from the mysterious deaths that now never happened, to a particular man, Alistar Peck, who used to spend his time on a local cafe whenever he wasn't trying to use a device implanted in his own body that allowed him to create wormholes that, unfortunatelly, drained the energy of those poor souls that were near him in the subway.

    Problem is that Peck keeps trying to go back in time 10 months ago, back when his fiancee got killed. Problem remains such a jump would kill a lot more people than those on the subway train. By the time Walter finally confronts him, Peck already knows who he is, the letter he wrote to his son and the reason why Walter can't bring himself to give it to him that day nor the many days, just like this, they've both experienced before.

    The thing is, much like Walter, all Peck really wants is forgiveness. According to Walter, if God can forgive them then there's a chance, no matter how small, that their loved ones may forgive them too, so when the last try succeeds and Peck finally goes back to the day his fiancee died, he runs to her car and dies along with her. A year later, a letter adressed to Walter Bishop arrives from a man he never met, inside the sign of forgiveness from a conversation they never had, a white tulip that represents the hope that Walter could find forgiveness as well.
  • Submit this one for the Emmy. This one was a classic! Time-Travel, betrayal, redemption and forgiveness I found my self mesmerized for one hour.Great acting and great story you have to see this one!

    While Lost is still the best show for heartfelt stories (ex. Ab Aeterno & The Constant) and great characters. This show is starting to hit its stride and is starting to give me the same feelings. John Noble gives a Emmy worthy performance and Peter Weller is probably the best guest star they have had on this show in 2 seasons. My favorite parts of this episode were Walter losing the letter in the train several times and finally deciding to throw it in the fire at the end of the episode, Alistair and Walter's talk about the consequences of changing things and Walter wanting to be forgiven for taking Peter from the other dimension, and the very end when we see the letter that Alistair sends postdated with the White Tulip in it.This one was from the heart and the writers are really doing some of the best work on Television. I would like to see Oliva and Peter get more involved but that likely is not going to happen when the big secret gets out about Peter.One thing for certain Fringe fans can rejoice and thank Fox for bringing this back for a third season.Also if you give the show less than a 9 I think you should stop watching cause you just don't get it.
  • Amazing!!! Warning, spoilers below.

    Wow, just wow! This episode was simply amazing, and the very last scene of the episode actually brought a tear of joy to my eye. The person who was causing all the problems in this episode, for once was actually a very good person, he just was lost like Walter was. The speech between him and Walter was amazing, and his actions seem to have been heavily altered by what Walter said. Alistair action to go back in time to when his wife was killed and die with her, was so understandable, he couldn't live his life knowing he can save his wife, and he knew from Walter, he would regret his actions. So he decided to die with her, knowing if he was alive, he would only try to save her. Though he did change the future, I think what he did was the best thing he could have done. This episode was amazing! I am really loving the way Fringe is going!!!!!
  • Good episode. There's just one thing that I didn't get. (Spoilers)

    When Peter Weller's character would jump back in time, was he replacing himself from that past moment? If not, then where are the other past versions of him running around (including his past-self in the field that would find his cyborg-future self dead alongside his wife). Or was there some exposition that I had missed that explained all of this?
    Aside from this possible plothole, the episode was great. I especially liked the moment when Walter and Alistair were having tea. It was, albeit breifly, an(almost) ordinary moment between extraordinary people.
    One last thing that I really want to play out is the revelation to Peter that he is not of THIS Universe.
  • One of the Best Episodes!

    This episode, despite being slightly confusing, was one of the best so far. It had a balance of character development and science and really told us a lot more about Walter. I liked how it originally seemed that the time traveler was a bad person, but eventually we saw that he went back in time and so nobody was killed from the original case. He knew that it would affect the universe too much if he saved his fiance, so he went back in time just to see her one last time. He also sent Walter a letter with a drawing of a white tulip, which was Walter's chose sign that god would give him if he was forgiven. I almost wish that Walter had told Peter, but I'm sure that will be coming up soon. The only bad thing about this episode was that it was slightly boring when we saw the same thing twice with the passengers on the train. The time-traveler had gone back to the same point after he was apprehended by the FBI, and so we saw the original call to Walter and the investigation. A great episode!
  • Time after time

    I've said before that the biggest problem with the first half of this season was the abundant lack of context within the stand-alone episodes. They were largely consistent in terms of quality of storytelling, but there didn't seem to be much of a point. In retrospect, there was certainly a lot of hints that the Peter story was going to break, and there was groundwork on bringing Fringe Division together on a personal level, but there was little forward momentum.

    Ever since "Jacksonville", that hasn't been much of a problem. The season arc is now progressing steadily, even if the matter of Mr. Newton and the attempt to destroy Fringe Prime is still stubbornly on the back burner. One can only assume that the matter of Peter's true origins will have an impact on that other major plot thread.

    I've become a bit jaded on these "Groundhog Day" scenarios over the years. Nearly every science fiction or fantasy show eventually has to pull something like this out of their hat. It's become as much a tradition as the inevitable zombie episode. So it now comes down to execution: can the writers make the variations meaningful?

    In this case, the answer is a definitive yes. Dr. Peck was a brilliant reflection of Walter, right down to the questionable use of advanced scientific knowledge and the self-destructive desire to save a loved one. And the fact that the writers designed this scenario and Dr. Peck as a mechanism to explore Walter's wounded psyche, while hardly subtle, was elegant.

    The last two episodes have both focused on what the characters stand to lose should the truth come out and Peter react badly. In previous episodes, it was clear that many of the tensions between Peter and Walter were beginning to heal, especially compared to the first season. Walter was pushing Peter and Olivia towards one another, after all. The old wounds persist, of course; no one would suggest otherwise. But recent experiences have given Peter and Walter especially a reason to find common ground.

    It all comes down to trust, and that's where the Peter revelation is going to hurt the most. Peter has been able to trust in his father's current good intentions and genuine effort. Peter himself admits that he has never been in the same place this long; it's as much a matter of duty and responsibility as it is a comfort level that he has never truly known. Olivia couldn't be the one to tell him the truth; it has to come from Walter.

    In other words, it's not that the truth about Peter is going to unravel a well-constructed family unit that has gotten over all the wounds of the past. It's that the truth could devastate the fragile state of trust that has been building between the three principal characters since day one. It could break the delicate balance between Walter and Peter, and depending on Peter's bitterness, he could definitely accuse Olivia of betraying his trust by holding back on something this important.

    But in many ways, it's a no-win situation. There is no perfect solution. The damage was done a long, long time ago, and now it's all about managing the consequences. If Olivia had been the one to tell Peter the truth, the damage would have been even more severe in terms of the Peter/Walter relationship. And Olivia would have broken her promise to Walter, souring that bond. It comes down to the path of least resistance; Walter must be the one to tell the truth, and the rest must appeal to and rest on Peter's sense of reason.

    Walter recognizes the same calamitous choices in Dr. Peck's scenario. The choices all seem justified when the goal is in sight, for some, no choice is too immoral in the face of saving a loved one, when the means are at hand. Yet it is the consequence that weighs on the soul. Yet that exposes the one key difference between the extreme choices of Dr. Bishop and Dr. Peck. Walter acted so that his loved one might live, and then that they might live together. Dr. Peck acted so that he could die with his loved one. (That may not have been his original intent, but it was the final choice.)

    I still firmly believe that Peter will decide to leave the team for a while, if only to come to grips with this life-altering secret, once it is exposed. I still believe this will factor into the season finale, and that this will be the mechanism by which Walternate's role in the war against Fringe Prime will be revealed. And I also believe that Peter will ultimately return to the Fringe Division fold, because when all is said and done, it's really the only place he belongs.
  • "God is science. God is polio and flu vaccines and MRIs and artificial hearts."

    Walter's emotional burdens have served as the impetus for the scientific philosophies throughout this series. His struggle has been between his sense of humanity and the scientific work that has defined his life.

    That the two war against each other is the heart of this series - and is both momentous and articulate.

    He knows that science can benefit humankind in ways that most people will never consider or understand - and that taking science "too far" can lead to terrible human consequences.

    This particular episode seems to articulate the writers' philosophical stance better than any previous episode - and does so with a poignancy that is rarely seen on television.

    The conversation with the time jumper contains perhaps the pith of that philosophy: "God is science. God is polio and flu vaccines and MRIs and artificial hearts."

    When I lay on a hospital gurney - close to death from a massive heart attack - waiting in the pristine stainless steel and shining white metal of a cath lab for my emergency angioplasties, I was comforted by the technology surrounding me and the highly trained personnel that were about to explore my insides in a manner that was unthinkable 15 years ago. I had no thoughts of god or death or an afterlife. Science truly is God for me - and for how many countless others?
  • What a load of time traveling bollocks. Even if it was nice to see Robocop again.

    Sure, I liked the sentimentality of him dying with his wife after telling her she loves her (and thus not having his last meeting with her being on a bad note) and Walter getting a white tulip. I wasn't offended either by Walter mentioning God - as an atheist, I'm not threatened by people's religions as long as they don't try to force them on me. If you need to believe in a higher power to stay sane, by all means do so - staying sane is important. As Walter well knows.

    But what I hated was the time traveling - when will filmmakers stop getting trying to handle it and failing? If you must handle it, at least have the decency to succeed and don't leave painful paradoxes hanging around.

    Peter Weller does an excellent job. As did the makeup artists who worked on his scary-looking body. I think I might actually become a vegetarian, for at least two meals.
  • White Tulip

    As of this writing, this episode is scored at 9.8 here on, the highest rated Fring ever. What episode were people watching?

    Sure, the time travel was kind of cool, but a 9.8??!!

    Walter Bishop needs to go back to doing random funny stuff. That was his schtick and it worked for this show. This current story arc with him thinking rationally about telling Peter the truth about where he is from is not doing anyone any favors. I know that Fringe is capable of better stories than this. No reason to start phoning things in now just because you got renewed for a third season.