Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”
When an electromagnetic interference downs an airplane, Olivia, Peter and Walter investigate but it seems the crash is the least of their worries. Stopping in the nearby town of Westfield, the team discovers that the entire town has gone insane, some on murderous rages in an eerie Silent Hill style manner. “Welcome to Westfield” is creepy, disturbing, slightly predictable, but downright intense. This is the kind of Monster of the Week episode Fringe does best.
Score: 4 1/2 of 5
When a show gets into its fourth season it’s harder to do Monster of the Week episodes because there is so much of a long-plot going on that MotW’s come off as ill-placed filler. The smart move is to connect the MotW to the long-plot thought not make it completely reliant on it. This is what “Welcome” does.
First you have this electromagnetic disturbance which you think is going to affect the drivers, but instead a plane crashes ala LOST style. This is enough to call in the gang who immediately figure out that something Fringe-y is going on. In what is almost a 360 move, Peter, Olivia and Walter go to the nearby town of Westfield to get some pie on their way back to the lab.
Is there anything creepier than an empty town? I would argue probably not a lot. Add the dual personality of the restaurant owner, not to mention the dead body behind the counter and the guy bleeding to death in the freezer and you have a perfect episode of Silent Hill meets Twilight Zone.
If you’ve ever watched Silent Hill, and let’s be honest, you should, “Welcome” is very reminiscent of that style. The fluctuations, the random people walking around bloody and seemingly insane, a few lone survivors hiding out. This is the kind of episode that reminds me why Fringe fills that hole that X-Files left.
Of course when Olivia starts having original Olivia’s memories we know exactly what is happening, the two worlds are colliding. She gets the shakes but is physically fine compared to the other victims, also, her double shouldn’t have any reason to be in Westfield. But then Olivia is special, isn’t she. It comes as no surprise at the end that she suddenly acts like Peter’s Olivia but at the same time we’re almost as surprised as Peter. That’s the sign of a very well done scene.
It would have been nice to find out what happened on the Other side when this occurred but it’s not enough of an issue to push this one down at all. The constant movement and intensity of the episode is what really keeps it going.
Still no word if this will be the last season of Fringe or not, so let’s hope that if we don’t get a season five that the finale is as intense as this episode was!