Wallflower (Fringe)

Last updated
Fringe episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 7
Directed by Anthony Hemingway
Written by Matt Pitts
Justin Doble
Production code 3X7007
Original air date November 18, 2011
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
"And Those We've Left Behind"
"Back to Where You've Never Been"
Fringe (season 4)
List of Fringe episodes

"Wallflower" is the seventh episode of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe , and the series' 72nd episode overall. "Wallflower" served as the shows' mid-season finale, as it is the last to air in 2011; the next installment was broadcast on January 13, 2012.

<i>Fringe</i> (season 4) season of television series

The fourth season of the American science fiction television series Fringe premiered on Fox on September 23, 2011, and concluded on May 11, 2012, consisting of 22 episodes. The series is produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The show was officially renewed for a fourth season on March 24, 2011.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of the Fox Corporation. The network is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, with additional offices at the Fox Broadcasting Center and at the Fox Television Center in Los Angeles.

Drama Artwork intended for performance, formal type of literature

Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc, performed in a theatre, or on radio or television. Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical modes ever since Aristotle's Poetics —the earliest work of dramatic theory.


The episode was co-written by Matt Pitts and Justin Doble, while being directed by Anthony Hemingway.

Matthew Pitts is an American television writer.

Anthony Harold Hemingway is an American film and television director. He has worked extensively in television, directing numerous episodes of CSI: NY, Treme, True Blood and Shameless, among others. He has also directed one feature film, Red Tails in 2012. Before becoming a director he worked extensively as an assistant director in television and film.


Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), suffering from a late night migraine, runs across her fellow agent Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) at an all-night diner. Meanwhile, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), having been allowed to live on his own under guard, attempts to figure out how to use the Machine to return him to his original timeline.

Anna Torv Australian actress

Anna Torv is an Australian actress known for her roles as FBI agent Olivia Dunham on television series Fringe (2008–2013) for which she was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2011 and as Doctor Wendy Carr in Netflix's Mindhunter (2017–present).

Seth Gabel American actor

Seth Gabel is an American actor. Gabel is known for his roles of agent Lincoln Lee on Fox's television series Fringe, and Cotton Mather on WGN America's series Salem. He is a great-nephew of actor Martin Gabel.

Joshua Jackson Canadian actor

Joshua Jackson is a Canadian-American actor. He has appeared in primetime television and in over 30 film roles. His well-known roles include Pacey Witter in Dawson's Creek, Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks film series, Peter Bishop in Fringe, and Cole Lockhart in The Affair. His other film roles include Cruel Intentions, The Skulls, and Shutter. Jackson won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the Canadian independent film One Week.

The Fringe team is alerted to the death of a man whose skin and hair have turned white. Walter (John Noble) determines that the pigment from the man's skin has been extracted, and identifies traces of animal DNA along with human ones. The human DNA leads back to a child who reportedly died within a week after his birth in 1989, suffering from a rare skin condition that made him suffer from exposure to any form of light. However, Fringe division learns that the baby, possibly still alive, was moved to a pharmaceutical company that was a subsidiary of Massive Dynamic. Olivia and Lincoln confront Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), who affirms that the child had not died, but instead tested on; his condition allowed the researchers to implant animal genes in his skin, allowing him to survive in light while giving him the ability to perfectly camouflage with his surroundings and an instinct for survival. Kept in the lab for years, the child, named U. Gene (short for "unidentified genetic makeup") eventually escaped during a fire at the facility, and has remained undetected for years.

John Noble Australian actor and director

John Noble is an Australian actor and theatre director of more than 80 plays. He is best known for his roles as Dr. Walter Bishop in the US Fox science fiction television series Fringe, and Henry Parrish in the Fox action-horror series Sleepy Hollow. His most high-profile film role was as Denethor in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also provided the voice of the DC Comics supervillain Scarecrow in the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, where his character served as the main antagonist. In 2015, he joined the main cast of the television series Elementary as Sherlock Holmes's father. He was also cast as a doctor in the Australian TV series All Saints. In 2012, Noble was diagnosed with osteoporosis. His charity, Noble Bones, helps to raise awareness for the disease.

Pigment material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light

A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light. Most materials selectively absorb certain wavelengths of light. Materials that humans have chosen and developed for use as pigments usually have special properties that make them useful for coloring other materials. A pigment must have a high tinting strength relative to the materials it colors. It must be stable in solid form at ambient temperatures.

Blair Brown American actress

Bonnie Blair Brown is an American theater, film and television actress. She has had a number of high-profile roles, including in the play Copenhagen on Broadway, the leading actress in the films Altered States (1980), Continental Divide (1981) and Strapless (1989), as well as a run as the title character in the comedy-drama television series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, which ran from 1987 to 1991. Her later roles include Nina Sharp on the Fox television series Fringe and Judy King on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

As other incidents and deaths occur at a condominium high-rise, Walter deduces that U. Gene (Tobias Segal) is trying to extract the pigment from his victims to make himself visible, a treatment that will likely kill him if he continues the practice. After Walter identifies that U. Gene can be seen using ultraviolet light, Fringe and FBI agents seal off the building and conduct a manhunt. Olivia discovers U. Gene first, but he takes her gun and holds her at gunpoint while he explains his desire to become visible to others once again. He refuses to heed Olivia's warning about the fatality of the treatment, and runs off, escaping in the general chaos of the search. The teams close down the hunt and discover his makeshift lab in the building's basement. From the numerous valuables in the lab, the Fringe team determines that U. Gene had been silently watching the residents, getting to know them affectionately over time. The next day, U. Gene, having completed another treatment and now visible to others, is elated when one of the residents, Julie, with whom he is infatuated, introduces herself to him. After she leaves the elevator, he succumbs to the treatment and dies. As Olivia reports U. Gene's death to Nina, she wonders if she herself, as a Cortexiphan nootropic drug trial subject, is unable to feel for others. Nina attempts unsuccessfully to allay her fears.

Tobias Segal is an American actor, best known for his work on stage and in the independent film The Other America, which appeared at the SlamDance Film Festival and Philadelphia Film Festival in April 2004. In 2002 he became one of the youngest actors to win a Barrymore Award, which he won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a play for his performance in Equus. He appeared in The Bridge Project at Kevin Spacey's Old Vic Theatre under the direction of Sam Mendes, followed by a brief Broadway run of The Miracle Worker. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Nootropics are drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. While many substances are purported to improve cognition, research is at a preliminary stage as of 2019, and the effects of the majority of these agents are not fully determined.

In the episode's conclusion, Peter buys a pair of glasses for Lincoln that Olivia will appreciate more than his current pair. Olivia offers to meet Lincoln at the late-night diner. As she is getting ready to leave for the meeting, she is gassed, and agents working for Nina Sharp give her an injection, noting that once she wakes up, she won't remember the last two hours, but she will have 'one hell of a headache'.


"Wallflower" was co-written by former script coordinator Justin Doble and story editor Matt Pitts, while Treme and The Wire veteran, Anthony Hemingway, directed. [1]

<i>Treme</i> (TV series) television series

Treme is an American television drama series created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer that aired on HBO. The series premiered on April 11, 2010, and concluded on December 29, 2013, comprising four seasons and 36 episodes. The series features an ensemble cast, including Khandi Alexander, Rob Brown, Chris Coy, Kim Dickens, India Ennenga, John Goodman, Michiel Huisman, Melissa Leo, Lucia Micarelli, David Morse, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce, Jon Seda, and Steve Zahn, and features musical performances by several New Orleans-based artists.

<i>The Wire</i> American TV series

The Wire is an American crime drama television series created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon. The series was broadcast by the cable network HBO in the United States. The Wire premiered on June 2, 2002 and ended on March 9, 2008, comprising 60 episodes over five seasons.

Cultural references

During a scene of the episode, the song "Me Oh My" by Bryan Ferry can be heard.[ citation needed ] Also, the Mazzy Star song "Fade into You" plays on a jukebox in the diner. Walter names his two lab mice John and Yoko, a reference to The Beatles, [2] and he also points out that octopuses "really do make gardens". [3]



"Wallflower" first broadcast on November 18, 2011 in the United States. An estimated 2.87 million viewers watched the episode, [4] with a 1.1 ratings share for adults 18-49. This was similar to the previous week, as they both earned the same ratings share. [4] [5] The episode was the season's fall finale and last to air in 2011, as the following episode would air on January 13, 2012. [2]


The A.V. Club writer Noel Murray graded the episode with a B, explaining "my major beef with “Wallflower” is that too much of the episode travels in a straight line, at least in regards to the main case. There are very few complications when it comes to finding Eugene... I wish there’d been a little more dimension to Eugene as a character (so to speak), a la last week’s Raymond Green or the second episode’s John McClennan, or at least a little more excitement in the procedural elements of 'Wallflower,' because there were moments in this episode that were really beautiful and touching, and I was disappointed that they were so isolated." [3] Writing for Entertainment Weekly , columnist Jeff Jensen was more positive towards the episode. He loved Walter's experiment with the mice and the maze, and believed the death of Eugene Bryant was "one of the most poignant moments Fringe has ever produced." [2] As the episode was the last to air for 2011, Jensen continued that the fourth season is "starting to find its narrative and emotional groove... As much as I’ve enjoyed the season so far, these first seven episodes have felt like an elaborate opening act for a main attraction still to come." [2]

Fearnet's Alyse Wax noted "Wallflower" was "an intriguing one-off, but that is all. I'm ready for them to get back to the crazy mythology stuff. We haven't seen the alternates in awhile[ sic?]. I miss them. We did have a nice little cliffhanger that seems to allude to a return to the insanity. In this third "reality," this alternate time stream, it is beginning to feel like maybe it is an entirely new universe." [1]

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  1. 1 2 Wax, Alyse (2011-11-19). "TV Recap: 'Fringe' Episode 407 - 'Wallflower'". Fearnet . Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Jensen, Jeff (2011-11-19). "'Fringe' recap: The Invisibles". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  3. 1 2 Murray, Noel (2011-11-18). "Wallflower". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  4. 1 2 Gorman, Bill (2011-11-19). "TV Ratings Friday: 'Blue Bloods' Rises, Leads CBS Win; 'Fringe,' 'Grimm,' 'Chuck,' 'Nikita' Steady; 'Supernatural' Falls". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  5. Hibberd, James (2011-11-19). "'Blue Bloods' ratings rise, but 'Fringe,' 'Chuck' and 'Grimm' have one thing in common". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-11-19.