Welcome to the rewatch for episode 17 of Fringe season 2 – “White Tulip”. Join us as we travel back in time to change the future to alter the present.
We have renamed this episode: Paradigm.
Newly Observed Perspectives
- In rewatching I decided to focus on an aspect that I touched on in my original review for ‘White Tulip’: The possibility that the events in this episode were literally constructed by Walter so that he could essentially forge Gods forgiveness.
- For this idea to make sense, it has to be assumed that Alistair Peck is Walter’s creation – be it an idealized subconscious manifestation or even an imagined entity – something that would represent Walter’s struggles (a scientist playing god, regret at losing a loved one, etc) and would enable him to find the resolution needed to tell Peter the truth – that is, receiving indication of Gods forgiveness.
- For me, the red balloon thematic is an indication that the world of Alistair Peck is not necessarily real. We previously saw such a visual employed in the episode “Bad Dreams“, where it was used to confirm that Olivia’s dream was actually reality. I think it is possible that ‘White Tulip’ borrows from that device, but in the opposite direction. At any rate, I think it’s interesting that both episodes feature red balloons as used as markers, signposts.
- So how did Walter receive the white tulip in reality? He mailed it to himself and conveniently sectioned off the memory of doing so. He might even have participated in some bong activity to help distort his reality. It’s not a great answer, but it’s a possible answer meaning that there are other answers out there.
- If this notion is on the right lines, then Walter essentially constructed Peck to guarantee Gods forgiveness. Which, in reality, was Walter forgiving himself through his own constructed and idealized paradigm.
- The other aspect that makes me think this notion could at the very least be possible, is the “God Is Watching” sign signposted at the beginning of the episode. Is this Walter’s subconscious becoming nervous about what he was doing? Is this a clue that Walter is conscious of the fact that this self-created forgiveness from ‘God’ will not go without punishment? I just think that there’s a lot of interesting perspectives to be gained from this, if it is true.
- While I’m quite happy to take this episode at face value, I thought it was worth expanding on some of the ideas that I had when this episode first aired. Even if these ideas never even entered the writers thoughts when creating the episode (and I think they may have), I still find value from this question: if Walter could create such a scenario to self-engineer Gods forgiveness in this way, would he?
Best retrospective performer: John Noble.
Best retrospective moment: Walter and Alistair taking different approaches on God
Retrospective episode rating: 8/10
Next rewatch episode – 2.18 “The Man From The Other Side” – TBA.