Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 12 Season 4, Welcome to Westfield
Posted by Karl Withakay on February 11, 2012
A Gold/Yellow Episode
As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent
It’s Probably Safe and Not at All Laced with Drugs
Peter and Olivia are either brave or stupid. I don’t think I’d ever drink anything Walter prepared in his lab, even if I watched him prepare it.
I still can’t believe anyone would let Peter and Walter play around with the destroyer of universes machine.
Just a note: I checked every pair of glasses I’ve had in the last 25 years (which I still have for spare parts purposes), and none of them have frames that are attracted by a magnet.
Electromagnetism, Where to Start?
Wow, I don’t really fell like writing a primer textbook on electromagnetism, electromagnetic fields, magnetic fields, magnetism, electromagnetic force, and electromagnetic interference, but holy cow, the writers need to understand that these terms are not synonymous and the concepts are not interchangeable.
Only in Bizarro Wolrd (or Fringe Land)
“Approximately three hours ago, every vehicle on this stretch of highway inexplicably lost power”
“Could be some sort of interference. Are there any high frequency towers around?”
What is Olivia smoking? If all it took to shut down vehicles and electronics was a high frequency tower, any future wars would have to be fought steam punk style.
It Must Have Been a Rental or a Cab
Luckily Walter just happened to find a car that still used steel hubcaps, and didn’t have aluminum wheels or aluminum or plastic hubcaps like most vehicles these days.
May the Force Be With You #1
“On the contrary, it seems that the electromagnetic force in this area was increased dramatically.”
I think Walter meant to say either the magnetic field strength or the electromagnetic field strength increased dramatically.
This is Heavy, Man (Or Not)
“I didn’t think that those levitating effects that the witnesses described were the result of a change in gravity”
Well, that fact that only ferromagnetic materials (and only fairly light ones at that) levitated might have been a clue to that as well.
May the Force Be With You #2
“It was strong enough to leave a residual magnetic force in all metal objects in the vicinity.”
As a scientist with expert knowledge in this field, Walter would never speak those words. What he should have said was that the magnetic field was strong enough to permanently magnetize all ferromagnetic materials in the area. It’s absurd and nonsensical to say a residual magnetic force was left behind, and it wouldn’t have magnetized non-ferromagnetic materials.
Olivia Dunham: Keen Instincts Finely Tuned by 4 Years on the Fringe Team
After finding the payphone out of order, having no cell phone signal, and having just left the scene of a strange electromagnetic phenomenon that lead to a plane crash, it should have occurred to Olivia that the area might be dangerous, and that it might be a good idea to run back to Peter and Walter and get the heck out of town ASAP.
Turn Around, Bright Eyes/ You Spin Me Right Round
“You must have gotten turned around some place.”
Um, how do you get turned around without making a turn? No turn was shown, and you can tell from the sound inside the card that the car never slowed to make any turn.
I Need More Power!
Peter should be smart enough to know that you can’t just hook up a generator to a radio and boost the signal. All he would have ended up doing is frying the circuitry of the radio. Even if he tried to re-wire the radio, the components likely wouldn’t have been able to handle the extra power.
I wouldn’t have given Walter a gun either, but I wouldn’t have left those two shotguns behind either. You can always use a few extra guns in the apocalypse. It’s always good to have a spare or two in case one breaks, or you lose one. Also there’s the important concept of the hand out gun- a spare gun you can give to any new found survivors so they can help defend the group.
Guns for Beginners
If the teacher really had never used a gun before, one of the worst guns Peter could give him would be a hand gun. It’s actually fairly difficult to be effective with a handgun, even at close ranges. I don’t have a source handy, so take this with a grain of salt, but most handgun fights take place at about 7 yards distance, and most shots miss. (think about that for a few seconds) While a shotgun does not have the spray radius shown in the moves and video games (figure about a 1” diameter pattern for every yard from the muzzle for buckshot from 18” un-choked barrel), it’s still far easier to hit something with a (stocked) shotgun (or any long gun) than with a pistol, especially for a beginner.
But it Sounds Cool…
Of course, when possible danger approaches, Peter cycles the action of his shotgun. Knowing he was headed into a dangerous situation, Peter should have already had a round in the chamber to allow a faster reaction time in case of surprise. Either we wasn’t ready, or he just wasted a shell by ejecting it when he cycled the action.
Walter’s hypothesis/speculation about rapid mitosis being responsible for the duplicate body parts was barely superficially sensible. If it was accelerated mitosis:
-I wouldn’t expect new, duplicate parts so much as growth/ enlargement of existing parts.
-I really wouldn’t expect new tooth growth and especially not a complete duplicate set of teeth.
-I would think that the accelerated cell metabolism required for the rapid cell reproduction would require extra energy (food) intake to fuel it.
-If new teeth had grown in so rapidly, I would have expected severe pain from the teeth forcing their way through existing tissue to the open.
-I would also expect the possibility of quickly developing cancers from the extremely rapid cell division.
Was Causality Broken Too?
Peter to Olivia:
“Let Walter test your blood too. It’s the only way you’re going to know for sure.”
Art this point, Walter has not yet established if there is anything special in the victim’s blood, so he doesn’t yet know of a way to determine if someone is or will be affected or not.
“I found 92 chromosomes in her DNA.”
Again, as a scientist with expert knowledge of human biology, Walter would not speak this sentence. Chromosomes are made up of DNA, they are not found in DNA Walter should have said he found 92 chromosomes in (each of) her cell nuclei.
It’s Easy if you Try
I don’t know how powerful amphilocite is supposed to be, but we can peg an extreme upper limit on it. Amphilocite is likely a chemical energy source, which has a far lower energy density than a nuclear power source. Antimatter-matter reactions are the highest energy to mass yields that are possible to get, and using Einstein’s E=mc^2, we can figure out how much energy would be released from 1 kg (~2.2 lbs) of antimatter reacting with 1 kg of matter, and that number is 43 megatons.
If amphilocite’s energy is chemical in nature (or even nuclear), we can expect it has an energy density several orders of magnitude less than antimatter, but even if it was antimatter, although 43 megatons is a huge amount of energy, it is still 7 megatons less than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated. Considering Jones collected about 100 pounds of ore, we can expect that 100 pounds yielded significantly lass pure material, so I can’t believe he could produce an amount of energy from it so large that Walter couldn’t have imagined such an energy source, even outside of amphilocite.
What’s Your Vector, Victor?
“The sum of opposite and equal vectors is zero.”
Actually, you can’t have two vectors that are simultaneously opposite and equal, as a vector has properties of both magnitude and direction. If they are in opposite directions, than two vectors are not equal, though they can be of equal magnitude. Again, Walter should know this and not speak this way. The sum of two vectors of equal magnitude and opposite direction is zero.
First of all, is possible to have fuel injection without electronics. The 1957 Corvette was available with a mechanical fuel injection system, and the WWII Messschmitt bf109 fighter plane was available with a mechanically fuel injected engine as well. There were other even earlier instances of mechanical fuel injection
Secondly, though few cars in the 1970s featured electronic fuel injection, electronic ignition was standardized by Chrysler in 1973 and by Ford and GM in 1975, and so most cars from the 1970s would not function, contrary to what Olivia said.
Pepper Spray 101/ It’s Not aPhaser
At that distance, Peter would have undoubtedly gotten some pepper spray in his eyes and lungs, and, the rest of the people in the enclosed bus probably would have been somewhat affected by the spray as well.
It looked to me like there was plenty of room on either side walk for that bus to drive on one of them and that it wasn’t necessary to continue on foot when road was blocked.
Peter is still completely oblivious as to how his leaving might affect Walter, in spite of the fact that they are clearly growing closer to each other.