Friday’s episode of ‘Fringe’ opened with a magnetic anomaly that caused an airliner to crash. Wait a second, is the show suddenly crossing over with ‘Lost’ now?
Not exactly. ‘Welcome to Westfield’ takes place in a small town in Vermont where the boundaries between the two parallel universes have eroded, causing them to bleed into one another with disastrous results. In addition to the electrical and magnetic events, plus other such breakdowns in the laws of physics, no one is able to leave. As the try to exit at one end, they re-enter at the other. Perhaps worst of all, most of the people who live in the town have turned violently schizophrenic (recalling George Romero’s ‘The Crazies’ and its recent remake). Walter theorizes that they’re merging with their alternate universe counterparts, and that their brains can’t handle the flood of a lifetime’s worth of new memories they never experienced. Some of the victims suffer physical mutations as well, such as double irises, an extra row of teeth or (as the event intensifies) two faces growing out of a single head. Aside from Walter, Peter and Olivia, the only survivors unaffected by the madness are those whose counterparts previously left the town and no longer live there.
At first, our characters and the other survivors barricade themselves in the local high school (which looks much too large for a town with a population of only 584 people). Eventually, large chunks of the town start to vanish. Walter compares the disaster to a storm, and leads everyone to a bike shop directly in the eye of it where they should be safest. After it finally subsides, the bike shop stands alone in the middle of a vast empty lot. Nothing else survived, not even trees or grass.
Peter and Olivia believe that David Robert Jones is behind this, and that he used that energy source element he stole a few episodes back to punch a hole between universes as he’d threatened. This may have been a test run. He has enough of it left to do much greater damage if he wants.
In a final twist, Peter stops by to visit Olivia, who gives him a big kiss and acts as though she has all the memories of the Olivia from Peter’s original timeline. She’d been experiencing moments of memory bleed while she was in the town, but Walter ruled her out from being affected by the same symptoms as the rest of the victims. Whatever happened, it seems to have triggered her own mental merger, possibly as a result of her history with Cortexiphan.
Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that the Fox network’s ads for ‘Fringe’ still actively promote the show as being from “the mind of J.J. Abrams”? Aside from his (at this point honorary) Executive Producer credit, Abrams hasn’t had much of anything to do with the show since the beginning of the first season.