As Aaron would say, there are no plot holes in Fringe. Now while this is not always the case (and Aaron might have been a little sarcastic), “White Tulip” certainly doesn’t seem to have any plot holes, which is rather unusual for a story about time travel.
It’s a normal evening; harried workers are heading home from work, when the lights start flickering inside a moving commuter train; as they go out, a mysterious trench coat-wearing man – no, not Castiel – appears. He seems horrified by what he sees in the train and leaves in a hurry. The time: 5h48. A young man enters the train and realises that everyone inside is dead.
Walter is at home, writing a letter to Peter. He ignores a call from Peter, who implies that Walter has been a little down lately, and that the new case they have been assigned might cheer him up, since Walter loves trains.
Walter’s first theory concerns a shared heart attack, which makes Peter roll his eyes. The train car’s lights are all out and none of the electronic devices belonging to the dead commuters work. Back at the lab, Astrid runs tests and finds out that all the energy in the train car has disappeared.
The FBI is eventually able to track Alistair Peck back to his apartment, where they find formulas on blackboards and large sheets of paper all over the walls that Peter refers to as “numerical wallpapering”. Walter tells the team that he used to work with mathematical formulas such as these when he was trying to figure out how subatomic particles behaved.
Alistair Peck comes home. Surrounded, he emits what looks like a force field and is back on the train where, ever the gentleman, he apologizes to the young man who is about to embark to discover, again, the dead people. What’s with this show and its impeccably polite baddies? Jones, Newton, and now Peck?
Once again, we see Walter writing a letter, we hear Peter leaving him a voicemail about the new case, and we follow Olivia, Walter, and Peter as they investigate the same crime scene. Most of the details are similar, except for one thing: this time, Peck talks to the young man, telling him, “Sorry you have to go through this again”. This time, the team traces Peck to his house via a fingerprint that NASA had on file.
This time around, Peck doesn’t come back to his apartment; also, the team finds handmade gear-like objects which we soon find out were invented and made by Peck as part of his time traveling method. In an Ironman-meets-Frankenstein moment, we are shown that these ‘gears’ are in fact part of an elaborate subcutaneous system created by Peck for time traveling.