Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive Clues and Eastereggs Round-up for episode 17 of season 2 – “White Tulip”.
Below the jump we dig deep into the mythology, make connections and attempt to unlock the secrets of Fringe as we explore the various clues and eastereggs from the episode.
The clue for this episode was the Total Energy vitamins bottle which foreshadowed the large amounts of energy Alistair Peck’s time travelling drained from his destinations.
It’s also interesting to note that both this and the previous episode dealt with the exchange or transfer of energy as a central theme.
God Could Be Watching
With themes of God and divine miracles from above, not to mention the broader focus on observation and perception, I found the “God Could Be Watching” sign held by Train station Boy to be quite meaningful.
I suspect this could play into a much larger theme in seasons to come.
Out of The Blue
For a long time I’ve believed that the blue flashes (or lights) held some significance due to the nature and frequency of their application. We got more evidence of that in this episode when they appeared during Peck’s time jumps. In this instance the blue flashes seemingly denote ENERGY. (or perhaps, travel).
We can also look back at other blue flash instances and see a pattern regarding their appearance when high amounts of energy are on display:
Such as David Robert Jones teleporting out of a German prison to Little Hill, USA, in “Safe”.
And the time Jones opened up a portal to the alternate universe at Reiden Lake (where Walter brought Peter over) in the season 1 finale.
Not to mention Olivia seemingly teleporting/transferring her way to William Bell Town after being crudely dragged to the alt. universe, also in the season 1 finale.
In all three of these examples (and there are others) the flashes could be argued to signify large amounts of energy, just as Peck’s time travelling implied. In the previous episode I also wondered whether the blue hues were significant, it seems we’ve got our answer since that episode was all about energy exchange and Heath was gagging for a top-up.
It’s still unclear whether we’ll ever have a universal meaning behind the blue lights, but I’ll maintain my belief that we wont have to look too far beyond, energy, travel, observation, convergence or changes (i.e. time line edits) to find intentional significance regarding the blue flashes.
Time To Reflect
In last our “Peter” Observations I mentioned how the clock was used to add tension to the confrontation between Olivia in Walter. This episode featured a similar device, with Walter writing his letter to Peter in front of a ticking clock and a photo of himself and Peter. Both the clock and the photo hold Walter’s reflection giving us a myriad of symbolism, including; the introspective nature of the scene, the ‘ticking time bomb’ that is Walter’s secret, the reflective nature of Walter, his guilt in taking Peter from a mirrored reality, and of course, the clock on its own illustrates the time travel theme of the episode.
I also appreciated the following shot of Walter writing his confession at the doorway. It seems somehow appropriate:
For an episode about time travel, the “Be There In No Time” slogan is almost winking at us with gleeful intent. Let’s wink back..
Coat of Armour
Peck is wearing the same (or very similar) trench coat to the one Walter sometimes wears when they really want us to notice that white is our Walter’s thematic color. I call it Walter’s science coat, so I guess it’s quite fitting really.
In His Image-ry
An episode filled with religious imagery highlighting Walter as man not only of science, but also of faith in a higher benevolent power. He holds the cross with his surgical gloves as if searching for meaning, his request for a sign of forgiveness no doubt heavy on his mind. He then lets go of the cross and leaves his hand outstretched for a noticeable period, as if he is still holding on to it. Thematically, it reminds me of the Creation of Adam puzzle from last week’s Observations.
There was also some more spiritual imagery that caught my eye:
Peck stands in an open palm, almost cross-like position. Directorially, I’m sure this is intentional.
There are several occasions when Walter holds his hands in a prayer position, reaffirming his search for God. We even hear Walter say “Oh my God!” several times.
Peck shields his eyes from Walter. No doubt his conscience is being tested, but thematically this can be interpreted as a sign of reverence to a higher order. Whether that higher order is Walter Bishop, Science or God is open to perspective.
This has to be my favorite. For me it comes across as though Walter is in a confessional (the mesh acting as the lattice), which given the context of the episode and the burden of Walter’s secret, can’t be a directorial coincidence.
I also find it interesting how, in the episode, Walter essentially plays the role of the confessor (admitting his sins) and Peck the role of the priest (absolving Walter of his sins by sending him the white tulip from ‘God’).
As touched on in our review – given the fact that Peck believes his God to be Science, it’s interesting to consider who’s behalf Peck is acting on by sending Walter the white tulip. Is it in the name of Science, or his Peck an unknowing instrument of God’s mysterious workings. I’m inclined to believe the latter, but it’s perhaps one of the show’s best open-ended questions to date.
Glyph Only They Knew
The glyphs were back for yet more fun and games. The butterfly glyph appears on Peck’s kitchen wall..
..and on the wall of his Lab..
..while the seahorse glyph can be found lurking in his bathroom cabinet in search of a pick-me-up.
Green It, Mean It. Red It, Shed It
Much like several of the previous episodes there seemed to be a concerted effort to mark this episode with green and red thematic portions. An example of some of the green markings are above.
And here we see two of the more prominent red markers.
(There were also large amounts of “blue” put away to one side in Peck’s house)
Also, is it really a coincidence that Peck’s ‘epiphany balloon’ just happened to be the same color as his fiance’s car. Like I said in our review: Hmmm.
Better Eight Than Never
Olivia’s lucky number made a welcome return in the shape of Walter placing the prototypes together to make an “8”.
The number 8 can also be viewed as Infinity, echoing Peck’s repeated time meddling, and the subtle infinity references that I believe have been hinted at over the past 2 seasons.
Observing The Observer
The Observer had everyone waiting this time around as he observed Peck’s final act before the universe literally came crashing in on him and the missus.
- See every Observer appearance ever over at our Observer Files.
See You Around
Peter giving Walter his repaired turntable stood out to me because I took it to represent the cyclical nature of the episode, and the show in general. It’s one of the things that I’ve been tracking for a while so it was good to have this reference.
Specifically, the turntable (i.e. the circle) relates to the repeating (or cyclical) events experienced in the episode, not to mention Walter mulling over and over and over how to tell Peter the truth.
Peck’s line to Train station Boy: “I’m sorry you have to go through this again”, is another reference to the circular nature of the episode, which further ties into the question of whether humanity is inherently inclined to repeat the same mistakes and actions, or whether our choices can break free from the constraints of fate – a bit like how Walter’s ultimate decision to burn the letter served as a momentary change in his ‘original’ course, or Peter not being in line with his own destiny.
Mirror Mirror On The Wall..
Whether intentional or not, this seems particularly poignant. Walter walks past the mirror creating a mirror image of himself, reflecting the fact that there’s also another Walter Bishop in the alternate universe. In the reflection we also see the map of the world mentioned in the “Peter” Observations. So, we have two Walters but only one world, perhaps echoing the ZFT warning that “only one world will survive” the war. Indeed, who is the fairest world of them all?
Seeing as the mirrored world (alternate reality) is the only one that we see, could this be the most subtle of subtle hints that the Other Side will be the one to prevail? Obviously the scene is constructed so that we can’t see our own world without the aid of the mirror, but like I’ve said before, some of the best clues are those which drive the creative instincts of the creators.
Violet Sedan Chair
Updated 2011: Peter can be seen with a copy of Violet Sedan Chair.
- Some decent reflections featuring in this episode, including the man in the mirror that is Alistair Peck and Train station Boy going mental.
- The Red Balloon may also be a reference to the 1956 short fantasy film about a young boy who one day finds a sentient, mute, red balloon. As one does. Thanks to Dave in the review comments for this neat suggestion.
- We’ve seen this train painting before, but it was fitting that it received such prominent focus with the reveal that Walter ‘loves trains’ and with Peck’s time jumps draining the energy from a train.
- A Bell stamp as in William Bell. I thought I saw another bell in this episode but I contrived to forget where. I’ll update if and when I remember. Unless I imagined it, which is quite possible.
- A White Tulip is a symbol of forgiveness, which is presumably why Walter asked God for that sign specifically.
- The Glyphs for this episode spelled SECRET, as in Walter’s secret about Peter being from the alternate universe. Shhh, don’t let Peter know.
As always, if you have any comments on the above article, or you feel that we’ve missed anything out, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.