Recap: Fringe, Episode 4.12, “Welcome to Westfield”

So. Um. Peter and Olivia are having sex. Right down to business, then. It’s unclear whether this is a memory or a dream. Olivia’s damn phone rings/buzzes just as they’re getting to the I-love-yous. It’s Peter. He and Walter have reached a breakthrough in their research, but they need Olivia’s help.

She treks down to the Harvard lab, where Walter is working on a breakfast cocktail called “Hot Cinnamon Roll.” I would so drink that. Also, the Bishop boys have created a biomechanical interface so Peter can “talk” to the machine. They want Olivia to ask Broyles for permission to access said machine.

Suddenly, it’s nighttime, and we’re on a road in Southern Vermont. A truck driver’s radio cuts out, followed shortly by his truck. Metal objects start floating in the air. The truck driver gets out, along with other passengers whose cars have been stopped. A plane flies close overhead and crashes in the distance.

After the credits, the Fringe team arrives on scene. For some reason, they head for the stretch of road first, rather than the plane crash site two miles away. Lincoln is once again missing, and this time they don’t even bother with an explanation. We learn that the plane experienced interference shortly before crashing. There are no survivors.

Walter arrives with Peter. Wow, that’s convenient. I mean, nice. It’s nice that he’s getting out of the lab. Olivia has noticed that Walter has been more “open” lately. Meanwhile, Walter’s determined that the “floating” objects were caused by an increase in electromagnetic activity in the area. That’s also what caused the cars and plane to malfunction. Broyles says Walter can have access to the black box and whatnot from the plane, so”¦ Walter decides to head into nearby Westfield (population 584) for rhubarb pie. I guess Astrid’s doing the dirty work, then. Big surprise.

Olivia wants to call Astrid even though they just left Astrid. Her phone’s being weird, so she heads for a pay phone while Peter and Walter go into the diner. Peter heads for the bathroom and Walter sits at the counter and orders pie. The man behind the counter is so amused by Walter’s “joke” about getting out of a mental institution, he says his pie’s on the house. I wish that worked in real life. Outside, Olivia finds a car idling with its door open near the pay phone. She can only get a busy signal on the phone. I’m just impressed the receiver hasn’t been stolen. Inside, the counterman tries to take Walter’s order. Walter reminds him that he already ordered free pie, and the counterman accuses Walter of trying to steal from him, just like someone named Cliff did. A second later, the counterman cheerfully says he must’ve forgotten to get Walter his pie.

Peter finally finishes up in the restroom. He hears moaning and follows the sound to a store room, where a man lies on the floor, bleeding. Meanwhile, the counterman brings Walter his pie, just before trying to stab the shit out of him with a butcher knife. Who the hell cuts pie with a knife like that? Peter comes to the rescue and they tussle, but it’s Olivia who ends up saving the day by shooting the guy.

They tend to the bleeding man, whose name is Cliff. Olivia notices there’s a second body stashed behind the counter. Walter says Cliff is in danger of bleeding out, so they load him into the car and head for a hospital. Eventually, they notice the car keeps travelling in a loop, bringing them back to Westfield. Cliff keeps saying, “We can’t leave.” Dude, save your strength for something a bit more helpful.

They head to the sheriff’s office, finding it empty like the rest of the town. The phones here are also dead. They rig up an IV from a first-aid kit so O-negative Walter can donate blood to Cliff. Cliff tells them the town’s gone crazy and they’re “not safe here.” The weirdness started three days ago, when Cliff’s sister killed her husband, somehow mistaking him for an intruder. He says she started describing memories of someone else’s life. Everyone in town started exhibiting symptoms common among people with schizophrenia: confusion, paranoia, violent outbursts. The immune townspeople, including Cliff’s wife and daughter, are holed up in the high school waiting for him to return with supplies.

Peter finds some radios, but needs to find a better position to get an SOS to Broyles. Cliff says the emergency generator at the high school might help. Olivia speculates that a nearby army base might be tied to the weirdness in Westfield. She remembers another case where the army was involved, until Peter reminds her that that was a case he worked. She tries to reason that she must have read it in his file. Sure, that makes total sense. I’m always thinking I lived through shit I read. The Battle of Hogwarts was exhausting.

Anyway, Peter gets together a cache of weapons (Walter gets pepper spray) before they all set out for the school. They pass a man carrying a bloody doll and humming. The only way that could be creepier is if the doll was also a clown. Fortunately, Doll Man doesn’t seem to notice them. Unfortunately, Olivia gets dizzy and starts talking gibberish for a moment. She tells Peter it felt like someone was in her head, and hands her gun to him.

At the school they find that 12 survivors are now down to 11. A woman named Teresa started acting funny and had to be locked up. Cliff reunites with his family, and Olivia tells them the FBI is on its way. Walter examines Teresa and notices that she has two irises per eye, like the man at the diner. He theorizes that they have extra DNA, resulting in multiple body parts.

Peter has learned that there’s too much electromagnetic interference to get a signal on the radio. He gets Walter to test Olivia’s blood. Walter tries to reassure Olivia that whatever she experienced is psychosomatic. Olivia tells Peter she’s glad he’s there, because she’s noticed what a positive effect he has on Walter and it totally has nothing to do with a sex dream or anything. She asks Peter about her counterpart. Peter remembers his and Olivia’s Friday night routine of crappy movies and takeout from Damiano’s. He says “his” Olivia gave him “a place to call home.” I don’t know what Olivia Dunham he’s remembering, but that is so sweet it makes my teeth ache. This Olivia says, “She’s lucky to have you.”

The tender moment is broken by a scream. Peter and Olivia find that Teresa has gotten loose and slit her wrists. Cliff feels horrible for endangering his family; he tells Olivia about a job offer in Philly he turned down because he was afraid to leave Westfield. Olivia comforts him with the reminder that he’s the one who has kept his family safe thus far. Still probably should’ve taken that job, though.

Walter pages Peter and Olivia to the biology lab, which apparently has equipment capable of examining DNA. Walter’s found 92 chromosomes in Teresa’s DNA. He thinks the two universes have somehow merged in Westfield, and the townspeople have merged with their counterparts. (The people who are “immune” don’t have counterparts in the other Westfield, like Alternate Cliff, who probably took that job in Philly.) Walter says the damage is permanent, but Olivia’s blood is fine. Peter wonders if DRJ used amphilicite to merge the two Westfields, and of course he did because the previews all but told us so.

Walter warns them that they’re only seeing Phase 1 of the merge, just as the building starts shaking, heralding the start of Phase 2. Vibration is sweeping across the town, wiping out everything in its path. Walter doesn’t know what to do, so Olivia semds Peter to give him a pep talk. Peter asks if the colliding forces of nature could be “offset” by “opposite forces.” They decide to find the “center” of the “storm,” which should be the only spot still intact after the town is destroyed.

Peter and Walter use math to determine the center is at the intersection of Cypress and Quimby, which is about four miles away. Everyone boards a school bus, as its older engine shouldn’t be affected by the electromagnetic field. One of the passengers (whose counterpart just got back to town in the other universe, I guess?) has started merging with himself. He’s got two faces and it’s gross, but more importantly, he’s started to wig out on the other passengers. They knock him out and shove him out the emergency door.

The bus’s path is eventually blocked by fallen power lines and debris, so the survivors make the last leg of the journey on foot, holing up in a bike shop. After the storm passes, they look out onto a barren landscape.

The cavalry finally arrives. Broyles reports that there were no survivors, but they did find strange devices positioned around the town’s perimeter containing trace amounts of amphilicite. No one is really surprised, but neither Broyles nor Olivia can guess why DRJ targeted Westfield. Olivia lets Cliff know the FBI is going to provide the survivors with temporary housing. Cliff knows he won’t be getting any answers about what the hell happened to his town. He’s just happy his wife and daughter are safe.

Back at Harvard, Peter is about to head home. Walter was making crepes so they could have breakfast for dinner, but Peter takes a rain check for the next morning. Peter, who clearly doesn’t understand the awesomeness of breakfast for dinner, is hopeful Broyles will let them use the machine.

Peter stops by Olivia’s place, since he was “in the neighborhood.” Is anybody ever really in the neighborhood? Peter asks what smells so good and Olivia’s all, duh, it’s Friday so it must be Damiano’s. Then she kisses Peter and he’s all, WTF? WTF, indeed, Peter. WTF, indeed.

10 thoughts on “Recap: Fringe, Episode 4.12, “Welcome to Westfield””

  1. I love Fringe too! I love it so much that during the first season when I was marathon-ing it, I made up excuses not to go to work and attend boring meetings. Because Fringe is so much fun!

    I wonder if the whole Olivia getting her memory back thing is caused by Peter being whole and alive in this timeline or if it’s because of David Robert Jones messing with the universes that’s causing things to merge. Or is it a combination of both?

    1. It probably is caused by Peter’s return, but honestly my first thought was that it was a side-effect of whatever Nina’s doing to her. I’m going to be annoyed if we find out later they pulled a switcheroo and this is actually the Olivia-shape-shifter we’re seeing…


  2. I love Fringe so much I want to marry it! I totally clapped like an idiot at the end when Olivia had dinner ready for Peter and gave him a big smooch. I’m SO EXCITED that she is remembering. He is already home; the others just don’t remember yet, but they will. Oh, yes, they will.

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