Season 2 Episode 12

Johari Window

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 14, 2010 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • Johari Window

    We returned to the inevitable comparisons and bottom "Fringe" is not to blame. Our memory is that it leads to other sides, the shortest aroma. And this episode is a giant window into the past of terror television and film.

    Movies like "The Hills Have Eyes" or "Wrong Turn" appear as ready reference. Episodes such as the terrifying "Home" from "The X-Files" immediately break our retinas, which come in contact with deformed beings. A young man, apparently normal, is collected by police at the roadside and taken to the police station. On the way his face changes, the appearance is different. Fearful. Lead us to the police station, where suddenly erupt two adults of the same look and exterminate all the authority that lived there. Home well built, stranger than usual, which leaves the viewer thinking about the immediate possibilities without being able to actually fit all.

    The great achievement of this episode was precisely to make us think for a long time. Yes they could have revealed the answer later but in general the mystery was well insured, with certain tracks in the right place. Situations arise, we are reminded of those old references, but never managed to uncover the veil in its entirety. What was happening is that an entire population wore a transmission of electromagnetic energy that protected its true deformation. Were once subjected to an experience and it was this area that gave them a secure appearance. The research was divided in two groups activities and was funny to see Walter (John Noble) and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) outside the laboratory, to seek the true source of the problem. In addition we had the right to some action scenes very well achieved.

    What was missing then this "Johari Window"? Lacked a dirty bit of intensity. Blood, rot. You had to feel that claustrophobia of small land, little land to different people, with different people who want to see outsiders outside. It was necessary danger, and that evil appeared.

    I am an avowed fan of this kind of stories, from small towns on the map anonymous but hiding a huge secret. "Fringe" gave us his great chapter of this book and in general did not do so badly. He could have done better was.

    The Best: The History.

    The worst: The danger did not occur.
  • Different

    I can see that in this episode there was some different creativity going on here. It was good fringe did something new in their episodes that we haven't seen. Walter is also a mystery, how he found he army folders from the past at the end when he made that statement to Peter, that I'm glad you like me the way you do. Does he has his full memory back? the episode was good.
  • What the hell is Charlie doing in one of the scenes?

    Although the show is pretty damn good the wired thing is that Charlie suddenly appears while they are with the girl in the car bone yard. There is no way he could be alive after being burnt in an oven by the guy robot guy from the other world. And then again no body seems to be surprised that Charlie is back. What the hell is happening there? This actually made this episode almost unwatchable. But after reading some comments about this episode somebody noticed that Astrid had the same hairdo as in the first series, so it seems that this episode was just splashed into the second series. At least I haven't watched next episode so I don't know yet if Charlie will continue with his character.. But stupid anyway.
  • Walter and Astrid at its best.

    A runaway boy opens the proverbial Pandora's box for a small town affected by an electromagnetic pulse that caused a mutation for an uncertain number of habitants. Still affected by his own kidnapping, Peter's kidnapper forces his way out of their home in order to investigate the events and to collect a butterfly for Astrid in the process.

    However, the butterfly turns out to be a moth with a mutated wing just like the kid with a mutated body and "Harkness" the code name Walter used to remember his own brain the experiments he once was part of. The irony being that the pulse wasn't what cause the mutation but rather what it was used to conceil it.

    And thus is how lab assitant and deranged genious go out on their first field trip together in order to help Peter and Olivia, using their own private language to help the locals and lying about the whereabouts of the device used to keep their secret to avoid the townsmen any further humiliation.
  • Great Episode

    it was a great episode.. i like what Peter did in this episode but why do i feel that it's not the first time he kills someone? and his relationship between him and his father is moving for better.. good thing to get things moving more smoothly, and i really like it when Walter act sane, "more like a scientist.
    and about the Observer, it's the first time for me i catch him, when i was watching he wasn't on my mind really, but when i saw the sheriff talking to the people of Edina publicly, i was like: sure there will be an Observer between them, call it a sixth sense xD then i was pausing and playing after every second before i CATCH him :) only his head appears, he was standing in the back..
  • A bit out there.

    Even by Fringe standards. But a well executed story line nonetheless.

    In this installment, running away from home becomes deadly, and don't even consider leaving town when you grow up! Makes career choices easy, I guess! But how do they/will they deter folks who want to move TO Edina?

    I am glad to see Peter more involved in the real action of the show, and he well and truly got his hands dirty this time. He does remain surprisingly oblivious to Walter's past and his connections to the here and now though...

    Olivia took something of a back seat this episode, except for some exceptional target practice during the firefight at the end. Did anyone see her ever reload that firearm?

    And poor Walter. Even he is beginning to see/remember how his past life has irrevocably shaped the now and the future; sadly represented here by his knowledge that his son's view of him is far from reality.

    Sadly, I still just go episode to episode; my attempts at connect-the-dots looking more like a disturbing Rorshach test with each passing week. But hey, at least I'm still trying... :o}
  • Not a bad episode! Warning, spoilers contained below.

    So we get back to episodes that are part of this season, and this one starts off with some strange kid that changes into some sort of mutant. Not exactly the most exciting event, but they did manage to keep it interesting. We find out that they were never actually changing, but that they were just being masked by a machine. Military testing deformed the people, and though some of them were pretty violent, I liked how Walter stood up for them. They were not all so bad, and they deserved to live normal lives, even if it was just an illusion. It was another filler episode, but again, they did a pretty good job with it.
  • An episode with depth, just not enough

    It seems a lot of people were perplexed by the previous episode, which just goes to show how FOX is contributing to what is rapidly becoming an unnecessary sophomore slump for "Fringe". As intriguing as many of the ideas have been in the second season, the whole is not exceeding the sum of its parts. If anything, I feel as though the trend has been to loosen whatever serialization was established in the first season.

    At the same time, this episode reinforces my point about context. While it's not nearly as solid an effort as the typical "Supernatural" episode, where character and plot conflicts are routinely enmeshed, this was clearly an attempt to address Walter's anxiety in the wake of his abduction through the filter of the citizens of Edina. And in that sense, this largely stand-alone episode really only fits into this point in the overall series continuity.

    Walter was just trying to push for further independence again, when the parasite incident undermined his confidence and the subsequent abduction shattered his sense of security. After all, Walter had no recollection of ever being on the receiving end of the kind of experiments he once conducted; his comfort zone has been researching and resolving those effects on others. It's no surprise that he feels a desire to retreat from the world into a space filled with familiar and friendly faces.

    So it makes sense that Walter's first steps towards overcoming that renewed anxiety would come during a case that revolves around a group of people who have chosen to isolate themselves from the rest of the world at all costs. And, in keeping with the mythology of "Fringe", a group that is connected to something in Walter's past.

    The parallels may have been evident, but that doesn't make them particularly compelling. In fact, by the time I was finally getting a little bit invested in the deeper aspects of the story, the episode came to an end. Even by the time the layer of perception was added to the mix, it seemed like there wasn't time to build up to the interchange between Walter and Peter properly.

    I'm sure that part of my reaction to the episode is frustration over yet another stand-alone story. I was willing to be patient with "Lost" during its slower period because it's success made patience reasonable. The producers were going to have more than enough time to achieve their endgame. "Fringe" doesn't have that kind of luxury. And when the producers consistently mention that they have accelerated several aspects of the series arc for the second season, it's annoying when the evidence of that doesn't seem to be reaching the audience quite yet.
  • The New York Hills have eyes.

    After the catastrophe that was Monday's episode, an originally unaired Season 1 episode that should have been left unaired, Fringe gives a really good dosage of sci-fi goodness tonight with a story predicated on deformed individuals living in a small town upstate. The episode was fast-moving, exciting, made sense, and even at times a little bit scary. Those are just some of the characteristics that made this show a must-watch in the first place.

    The ending, with Walter, and later Broyles, standing up for the deformed people was a little bit cheesy, but the strong 37 minutes or so before that were good enough for me to ignore that.

    Great episode of Fringe tonight.
  • Fringe lapses back into its all-too-familiar Pattern with the frustratingly renamed 'Johari Window' (what was wrong with 'Edina City Limits'? Hmm?)

    Fringe lapses back into its all-too-familiar Pattern (hah! See what I did there? With punctuation? No? Philistines...) with the frustratingly renamed 'Johari Window' (what was wrong with 'Edina City Limits'? Hmm?), sending Olivia and the Bishops off in search of some scientifically perplexing, but entirely inconsequential, curiosity-of-the-week while the infinitely more interesting arc plot is left to stew in its own juices for another four weeks... you know, just in time for the episode that will precede the mid-season break. This format of compartmentalised storytelling has become so transparent at this point that, honestly, it would be a safe bet for you to tune out until the last hour before the next scheduled hiatus and not really miss anything. And perhaps we wouldn't mind this so much if the stand-alones weren't so gosh damn lazy. To be fair to the writing staff, there has been something of an upturn in quality recently, 'Snakehead' and 'Of Human Action' being two examples that immediately spring to mind, but sadly, this latest offering feels a little lacking.

    That's not to say Josh Singer isn't trying, of course. At its core, his script contains a plethora of inherently intriguing ideas. It is certainly refreshing to be served a story that doesn't contain a parasitic virus or rampaging genetic monster as its conceptual antagonist, with a shady government official or barking foreign scientist utilising either to wreak havoc. Instead, the 'genetic anomaly' trope is effectively turned on its head as the narrative steers away from using it to demonstrate an impending threat, and, instead, makes it a lamentable and irreversible consequence of a series of events that occurred long ago. As a result, the plot feels less like a traditional slice of stand-alone Fringe; the emphasis is not on dramatic event, but on explanation and understanding. In the end, we have no villain to arrest, no conspiracy to uncover. For all a portion of the townsfolk - including the sheriff - are prone to unwarranted murder, this is given very little fanfare and is dealt with as swiftly as possible, rendering it largely unforgettable. The main focus, pleasingly, is the crushing moral dilemma that Bishop presents to Broyles: the question of whether the inhabitants of Edina should be allowed to maintain their collective disguise. This works quite well as a minor allegory on physicality and the psychological and social machinations of human perception: the question of whether life is better lived as is, with deformity on show to the rest of the world, or if it is best to remain within one's comfort zone, literally seeing past the disfigurement and living 'as normal' (for want of a better phrase), is a very astute one and, refreshingly, Singer does not take the moral high ground and offer the 'be who you are' resolution. Edina's decision to remain internalised, as it were, is far, far more believable than, say, an epiphianic mass exodus and, as such, the narrative's pay off, in this respect at least, feels somewhat rewarding.

    Unfortunately, the manner through which we get to this point doesn't offer quite as many treats. While the narrative is refreshing for its lack of standard dramatic drive, it also falters under the weight of its level of exposition. A large proportion of what we're dealing with is historical; while it's interesting to discern exactly what has caused the townsfolk to become disfigured, the need to relate the explanation through dialogue, through the literal telling of events, makes the reveal seem a little dry. If this had been a recent development, and the people of Edina were trying to figure it out themselves, the story would perhaps have acquired a little more flavour. Unusually, the structure of the narrative feels rather disjointed in this regard. Walter and Astrid arrive at the truth well before Olivia and Peter, and as we flit between two separate strands, it becomes considerably frustrating to see Torv and Jackson poring over questions that have been answered fifteen minutes prior. What is more, it's fairly obvious to everyone with a few functional brain cells that at the very least the sheriff, if not the entire town, has the genetic deformity - when you're lingering on the guy using unusual slow shots, having him pause before he responds to Olivia's questions and information dumps and soundtracking his appearances with eerie, ominous music, it sorta gives it away, you know.

    It is also becoming rather tiresome to see Walter having a personal investment in literally every case that comes flying through Fringe Division's door. Once again, he just so happened to work on the exact project that has caused this strange turn of events and yup, he knew the guy who is ultimately responsible for it as well. This sort of plot development just makes it horribly easy for Singer to slot together the pieces of the narratalogical puzzle, to join the theoretical dots, and frankly, it's becoming insulting. Would it kill the writing staff to put together a story in which none of the protagonists have any historical connection to the exterior players involved? Honestly guys, it wouldn't limit your opportunities for character development or make the overall narrative seem any less entertaining. If anything, it would probably make a great number of us want to watch more. Yes, fine, Walter's personal investment in this particular case is used as a springboard to explore his state of mind in the aftermath of his ordeal at the end of 'Grey Matters'... but it needn't be. Find another way. Get creative. God knows, you've got one hell of a blank slate there writers, and a central concept fit to burst with possibility. Use it.

    'Johari Window' does try to offer something different to Fringe's standard 'curiosity-of-the-week' fare and, at times, it succeeds. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough here that proves truly engaging, especially in the wake of a beast like 'Grey Matters.' Singer's script falls back on too many familiar dramatic devices and plot tropes in its execution, which hampers the effectiveness of its admittedly rather nifty allegory. Sorry to have to say it again guys but... must try harder.