This was the episode I had waited for. Season 3 had its lot of sci-fi wonders but so far the 4th hadn't raised the bar as high as I hope it would. This 12th installment left me speechless and can be compared to masterpieces like Reciprocity and "Concentrate and Ask Again". There're few superlatives to describe how its acting, writing, direction and overall production have to be praised. Has Fringe reached the acme of science-fiction ? The show could end right there and I wouldn't mind. Indeed now I worry that the upcoming episodes will disappoint me. Would it be inappropriate to compare "Welcome to Westfield" to Smallville's Booster ? I don't think so because I have tremendous respect and admiration for the people behind these TV series. However in the case of our favorite X-Filesean production I have no doubt that the 13rd episode will push the mind blowing barrier even further. Yes because it's what the incredible talents behind the show do. Their expectations are probably higher than ours and this time it was obvious from beginning to end.
Olivia's blue fantasy was a perfect way to introduce the writers' new televisual experiment. It's reminiscent of all these life changing works of art that excel to immerse their audience into their fictional universe in only a few split seconds. You forget everything around you, from the projects that drive you to the things that hurt, and for a moment you really feel like making love to the partner you have always dreamed of. I love you. Je t'aime. Te amo. And it got even better when we soon realized that this new Olivia was operating a mental transformation into The One we miss. The Alpha and the livia. What a stellar ending she could give birth with Peter ! In fact I was so thrilled by the ride they offered us that I didn't see the kiss coming. I shouldn't have left my guard down ! But there're worst ways to get knocked out.
When it's time to joke, it's John "Walter" Noble time ! His evolution slightly mirrored Olivia's one but the writers' were wise enough to make it as subtle as possible to leave our three-two (#?!) love birds some space. And with The Return of the Killing Pancake I already anticipate how much his reunion with Peter will make me cry of happiness like someone having its bare feet licked by a giant bear with a bird hat who has a beard and probably drank way too much beer ! But for once the comedy elements were anecdotic and the story couldn't have been more serious. It was quite welcome considering I found Making Angels a little soapy. First the parallel disaster was reminiscent of Amber 31422's wormhole. I can't imagine how much it was expensive to produce so many visual effects heavy scenes ! It really felt like the merging of two worlds even if I found the eye of the storm part a little rushed. Why did it end so abruptly ? At least the last thing we saw was Peter looking at Her. An other element I appreciated was the overall Stephen King's spirit. People trapped in a creepy town ? Of course the dimensional loop can only remember the time bubble from "And Those We Left Behind" but in my humble opinion it was more in the fascinating vein of a Groundhog Day or a King's novel. Indeed there was just something scary about the abandoned village, don't miss Nightmares & Dreamscapes' "You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band" by the way, and there was even a freak in the schoolbus ! Last but not least the black smoke, unrelated to Lost's one, some people had in their eyes was probably an homage to the cult oil from The X-Files. So definitely yes, this was the episode I had waited for.
Note : This review was first posted on Kritikenstein, my weblog.