"I, too, attempted the unimaginable, and I succeeded... And since then, not a day has passed without me feeling the burden of that act." - Walter Bishop, "White Tulip," Fringe
I don't know where to start with Fringe, I love it so. It isn't perfect-- anyone who's seen the pilot episode can tell you that much-- but when it's good, it freaking shines. Symbolism. A detailed mythology. Round, juicy story arcs.
It took me pretty much the entire first season of the show to truly care about the characters. I didn't dislike the show, but it didn't hit me until the second season got rolling that I was totally and utterly invested in the characters and their fate. Now that I've watched the first season again, I think this is because, as a viewer, I developed an attachment to the characters at about the same rate as they developed attachments to each other. Their relationships build rather slowly despite the weird and creepy things that happen to them. I don't know if this was intentional on the part of the writers, but it feels like you're part of the rag tag team forming in front of you, and you can almost miss that it's happening until shit goes down and you suddenly realize that you care what happens to everyone else.
And y'all, shit goes down.
I should note, before proceeding, that there are spoilers ahead. I've left out major details important to the story, but read at your own risk if you haven't watched the show.
Let's be real: We can't talk about Fringe without talking about Walter Bishop, who is played by John Noble (aka Lord Denethor from the Lord of the Rings trilogy-- don't worry, he's waaaay more likable on this show). We first meet Walter in an insane asylum. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) has brought Walter's estranged son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), to get him out of the asylum so that Walter-- a genius scientist and epic weirdo-- may assist her in solving a seemingly impossible case. Throughout the show we witness Walter's rehabilitation as he helps the team address strange problems-- or, "fringe events"-- and attempts to patch things up with his son.
Then we find out what Walter did to end up in the asylum.
I'm not going to share what that is here, but if you haven't seen this series: a.) Just watch the damn thing already, okay? It's on Netflix streaming and everything, b.) It's a big fucking deal that is very complicated to try and explain in a blog post anyway, so c.) Seriously, just go watch it.
We learn what Walter's deep grief once pushed him to to do. We see how he wielded his scientific power as though he were God. We witness his spectacular fall and his failure to make things right.
The worst part? The struggle is all his fault. Walter is an incredibly complicated character whose past should make the audience hate him, but he's been tortured so thoroughly that we're able to forgive him in ways he can never forgive himself.
Ugh, it's so tragic. I love it.
The episode "White Tulip" (season 2, episode 18) puts Walter face-to-face with Alistair Peck (Peter Weller) who is attempting to use science to remedy a major loss of his own. Walter confesses to the man that you can never come back from such a decision, and describes his plea to God:
"I'm going to tell you something that I have never told another soul. Until I [did that], 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."
Peck attempts to find his closure by jumping back in time, but before doing so he leaves this in an envelope to be sent to Walter when they would've met:
The white tulip. Walter has no memory of his interaction with this man. How could he? Alistair Peck had jumped back to a time before he and Walter had met. As far as he knew, his sign from God had arrived.
The many trials and challenges of Walter Bishop are part of what makes this show so poignant and beautiful. He is an incredibly flawed yet sympathetic character who you just can't help but root for. The symbol of the white tulip shows up a few times throughout the series: In the fields where Walter performed some of the questionable work of his past, and again during the series finale when Walter has the opportunity to achieve redemption.
Otherwise known as that time Fringe made me open-mouth cry alone in my livingroom.
So, with that, I present my White Tulip cocktail. You're probably going to need it.
A few notes:
- About sloe gin: It should be made from sloe berries (they're a thing) and gin. Don't skimp on this one if at all possible. Plymoth makes a sloe gin now, as do some craft distillers. I was lucky enough to grab some at Cadenhead's in Edinburgh a couple a years ago, and I've been pretty freaking stingy with it.
- Rose liqueur: You should be able to find this at a liquor store without too many issues nowadays. You can make your own this summer; I used my homemade liqueur, and I'll share that recipe with you when the season is right!
- Lillet blanc: You'll find this one in the wine section of your grocery or liquor store. It's a French white wine fortified with citrus liqueurs and quinine-- the stuff that makes tonic water tonic-y. It's not too pricey, and it's used in lots of great cocktails (or you can drink it on the rocks).
- Egg white: Yes. Raw egg white. Adding this to shaken drinks creates an smooth texture and silky foam. If you've never tried a raw egg white cocktail I highly recommend giving this a shot, assuming it is safe for you to do so. As always, choose your eggs carefully. You can always choose egg whites in a carton if you're concerned.
White Tulip: A cocktail inspired by the show Fringe
By Sara Galactica
What you'll need:
- 1 oz sloe gin
- 1 oz rose liqueur
- 1 oz Lillet blanc
- 5-7 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 oz egg white (trust me)
- Lemon, for twist
How to do it:
This drink is all about technique. Don't be scared. We're gonna take it nice and slow.
Firstly: Combine all of the liquids (including the egg white) in an empty cocktail shaker. No ice yet. See, we want to combine these liquids of various viscosities into something smooth. Throwing globby egg whites on ice does not lend itself to that result. Getting good emulsification requires a good dry shake-- shaking without ice-- first. Dry shaking can last anywhere from 15-60 seconds depending on the desired end result.
So, once all of those liquids are in your iceless shaker, cover it up and give it a good shake (about 15 seconds).
Then add ice and give it another shake-ah shake-ah shake-ah. This time, a full 30 seconds. Count slowly. I recommend wrapping your shaker in a towel if your hands get cold.
Strain the mixture into your cocktail glass, and zest that lemon into your favorite kind of twist (making sure to get those oils into that drink while you do).
Sip. Ponder sweet redemption. Enjoy.
Pro-tip: Run the zest around the rim of the glass to deposit even more citrus goodness.
Until next time, friends.