"Welcome to Westfield" Review
For starters, “Welcome to Westfield” is a very different episode of Fringe. It has a Twilight Zone feel to it, mixed in with a bit of The X-Files, a bit of The Walking Dead, and even some Twin Peaks for good measure. As the small town of Westfield is overrun by crazed citizens, Peter, Olivia and Walter find themselves trapped in the town, unable to escape.
The cinematography is unique and lovely here. The town has a dark and oppressive feel, and the dark contrast helps bring that presence on screen. I like the dead leaves that float through every shot.
As the episode progresses, we find out the true reason behind the oddly schizophrenic behavior. I have to say, the reveal - that two universes are colliding and the people cannot cope with two distinct memory tracks - was surprising and appropriate. It gave the episode some grounding, and the mention of David Robert Jones gave it some connection to the overarching threads of the complex Season 4.
The change in Olivia, too, feels natural here, though the reasons for her altered memory are left hazy… to be answered in the weeks ahead. Still, I like some of the transitions, like Olivia recalling her experience in Noyo County from “Northwest Passage.” Of course, this particular Olivia never experienced this Fringe event, yet the memories of Original Timeline Olivia are taking hold. I can’t wait to see where this goes in the weeks ahead.
“Welcome to Westfield” is a strong episode of Fringe that ends big. It’s also notable to acknowledge the damage done to Westfield. Things didn’t just reset with the town going back to normal and everything appearing as it once was. No, lots of people are dead, and the town has sustained irreparable damage. Things are starting to get serious and the stakes are higher than ever: a great move as Season 4 begins to wind down.