Fringe, S4 Ep12 – Welcome To Westfield

Welcome to Westfield
Plane crash

See, those two random people even look kind of like Mulder and Scully! From the back. Sort of.

The case of the week is delightfully X-Files– and horror movie-esque. Seeing cars stop functioning and die in the middle of dark roadways (filmed in Vancouver!) made me so happy I had to pause and beam like the X-Phile that I’ll always be. It’s nothing to do with aliens here, though, but a strange electromagnetic phenomenon surrounding the (small, creepy) town of Westfield, Vermont. Rather familiarly in another way, this even causes a plane flying overhead to crash. Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer do not make an appearance.

Our Fringe team investigates, but what they don’t realize is that whatever’s going on just outside the town means that once you enter the city limits, you can never leave. So when the promise of fresh rhubarb pie at the Westfield diner is too much for Walter to resist, he, Peter, and Olivia become trapped. Naturally they can’t get a cell phone or radio signal in or out, either. And just before Walter gets his pie, we realize that there’s something quite wrong with the guy behind the counter. Not only does he have a seriously weird-looking eye thing going on, but then he goes all Jekyll-and-Hyde — ending with an attack on poor Walter. Peter and Olivia save him, and Peter finds an injured man stashed in a closet in the diner.

It’s when they try to drive off with the man to get him to a hospital that we see that they are physically unable to leave. The injured guy, Cliff, groggily confirms that they can’t get out. (Insert ‘Hotel California’ joke here.)

So Walter ends up donating some blood for Cliff, which revives him enough for him to explain what’s been happening. He says the first he knew of it was three days ago when his sister called and told his family that she had killed an intruder in her house. When they got there, she had shot her husband, and claimed she had never seen him before in her life. And she was delusional, talking about people she’d never met and places she’d never been — almost as if she was having memories from someone else’s life. But apparently it’s affected almost everyone in the town. If it’s some kind of contamination, that doesn’t explain how no one can get out. Cliff goes on that the symptoms include forgetfulness, tremors, and paranoia — and also sometimes violence, as we’ve seen.

Olivia remembers wrong

Poor Olivia gets to worry that she's going crazy. Again. Some more.

So Olivia, Peter, and Cliff get guns from the sheriff’s department so they can join Cliff’s family (thus far immune) where they’re holed up at the high school. And meanwhile, Olivia reminisces about how there’s a military base nearby, and maybe that has something to do with this — just like the case they worked where the whole town was disfigured because of a military experiment. Peter remembers (as do we, from season two’s rather lackluster episode, “Johari Window”), but Walter has no idea what she’s talking about. Olivia covers quickly by saying she must have read it in Peter’s report and gotten mixed up.

During the walk to the school (cars still not functioning), Olivia suddenly stumbles and admits to Peter that her arm is shaking. Then she tries to explain what she’s feeling and slurs something incomprehensible, freaking them both out. After a moment she says it felt like there was someone else in her head. Peter does not say, “Oh, well, you’d certainly be an expert in that feeling,” although he definitely could. Olivia hands him her gun and says that she’s scared that what’s happening in the town is starting to happen to her.

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