(Contains plot spoilers)
Episode 12 “Welcome to Westfield” has some real treats for viewers this week! If you’ve ever been a fan of the X Files or The Outer Limits, you’ll love this episode as Fringe turns a little weird and edging a little towards the horror side of things – a very welcome treat indeed. Peter and Walter are still trying to understand more about the Machine in order to get back to his own apparent timeline (face it Peter this is your timeline – it just got adjusted when you disappeared into thin air!! Hopefully anyway!???) Olivia has also started having more intimate dreams of Peter and prompts her to explore what her relationship was like with Peter in his timeline.
Anyway, the Fringe case for this episode takes place on a highway in Vermont where a strange phenomena occurs after cars suddenly stop working and then a plane suddenly appears falling from the sky and crashes nearby. The Fringe team arrive with Walter, a rare occurrence and a first for quite some time. Walter establishes that a strong electromagnetic field is present as he throws a hubcap against a car and it sticks and deduces that this is the reason for the cars and plane malfunctions. As Olivia, Peter and Walter try to gather more evidence from around the area, they come across a little town called Westfield. They stop at a diner and Peter and Walter go in as Walter wants to order a slice of rhubarb pie, although Walter notices something strange in the owner’s eyes, almost like pupils doubled up, and unbeknown to Walter, the viewer gets to see that there is a dead body at the owner’s feet!!!
All of a sudden the owner turns on Walter and tries to kill him. Peter, who comes across a badly injured man after he momentarily left the diner, and Olivia return to the diner in time to kill the owner before he can attack Walter. The trio then come across various other bodies in the town, including a woman who has two sets of teeth. They manage to save the injured man, called Cliff, and as they try to leave the town to get Cliff to a hospital, they keep returning to the town as the road brings them round again, unable to get away. Cliff manages to tell them that the town started going weird three days ago and people started killing their friends and families as if they didn’t know who they were, almost like they were from another timeline!!!!!!
They go to a high school where most of the people inside haven’t shown delusional signs and Walter begins to take blood samples to see if he can figure out what’s causing it. As another person kills herself after displaying the same double personality, Walter establishes that the people who have been affected with the dual personalities have twice the normal count of DNA and their bodies are producing duplicate body organs!!! The only explanation is that they have merged with their parallel universe versions, which explains the new memories and forgetting memories from this universe! Walter also explains that the reason that those who are unaffected, like Cliff, is because their parallel versions did not exist in the parallel version of the town. Cliff previously explained that he shouldn’t have been living in the town as he was offered a job elsewhere, but in this timeline he chose not to accept it against his wife’s wishes, but in the parallel universe, it was likely that the parallel Cliff did accept it! Following??? Olivia, petrified that this was happening to her after her experiencing strange memories and feelings for Peter, is tested by Walter, and relieved to hear that she is ok. Hmm!!! So does that mean then that Olivia is remembering the original timeline where Peter did exist in her life?……..
So, Walter, in his excellent brain, not to mention Peter’s assistance in getting Walter to figure it out, establishes that the two realities are merging, but would end in the collapse and total destruction of both towns. Right!! The town then starts to rumble as the merging comes closer and closer to the school and they all witness the town disappearing around them. Peter and Walter get a brainwave that the centre of the town would be the “eye of the storm” where they would be safe, and would be able to ride out the “storm”! They, and the surviving townspeople, start to make their way there, and as the merging gets closer, a pretty horrific scene happens where one of the townsfolk looks totally deformed as his head is duplicated and dies!!!! They get there in time and once the “storm” has passed, they venture outside, only to find that apart from the shop they were hiding in, the rest of Westfield has disappeared.
As the rest of the Fringe team turn up (again missing Lincoln again though???), they find out that quite a few strange devices were found around the boundaries of Westfield equipped with the mineral that none other than David Robert Jones had been previously acquiring at the quarry. Hmm…..
Finally, Peter stops by Olivia’s apartment on his way home and she greets him warmly with a kiss and informs him that she’s ordered in from their favourite takeaway, something they did together in the original timeline. Peter is understandably quite taken aback!!!
The episode had a very different feel, admittedly very different to what we normally see in Fringe, but I was quite excited about this, as it was something new and I felt like it really worked. The scene in the diner was intriguing and certainly got me on the edge of my seat, the way that the old X Files used to do with the uncomfortableness and the unknown of what was to come. Walter was on true form this episode as well and his comical interaction with the owner of the diner (before he attacked him!!!) was perfect!!! You must see it to appreciate it and you’ll see what I mean!!! I was also really quite impressed with the special effects for the diner owner’s eyes and the freakily merged head towards the end of the episode, but the destruction of the town was a little lacking.
Also, although David Robert Jones didn’t appear in this episode, it is clear that he is going to be more and more important and the series goes on, and his part in the changing universes is bound to be more and more key!!! Which I welcome gladly!!!
On to much more important issues though and the fact that Olivia is experiencing memories from the original timeline. To say I am excited is a tad understated and I can’t wait to see how this one unfolds. I am a bit of a sucker for happy endings and am willing the reunion of Olivia and Peter, not to mention Peter and Walter as well (have you noticed that Walter is starting to change too, its certainly not just Olivia!!). One question that remains is this: is this the original timeline but adjusted because of Peter’s disappearance? Or is this another timeline and the presence of Peter is adjusting the timeline so that they experience memories of him?
Roll on episode 13!!!!
By Kirsty Wavish