Fringe

2008, TV Show

Fringe Episode: "Johari Window"

Season 2, Episode 12
Episode Synopsis: A strange attack involving humans with horrible deformities brings the Division to an upstate New York hamlet that prefers to keep a portion of its population a well-guarded secret.
Original Air Date: Jan 14, 2010
Guest Cast Teach Grant: Trooper Bobby Sean Rogerson: Glen Brown Kwesi Ameyaw: Agent Frug David Orth: Trooper Pekarski Michael O'Neill: Sheriff Velchik Martin Cummins: Joe Falls Jacob Blair: Trooper Jerry Laura Mennell: Rose Falls Liam James: Teddy Falls
Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 2, Episode 12
Paid | iTunes
Length: 43:27
Aired: 1/14/2010
Also available on Amazon Prime and VUDU
play more info

Fringe Episode Recap: "Johari Window" Season 2, Episode 12

Fringe has always worn its B-movie roots on its sleeve. It owes as much to monster and sci-fi movies of the 1950's as it does to The X-Files (which itself owes a great deal to those movies). But one of the reasons the show doesn't feel like a mere rehashing of these movies and shows is the thoroughly modern conceit of the human body being weaponized. It's a potent and rewarding concept, and one that the latest episode almost completely abandoned. The team investigates a group of deformed people after they kill a few state police, and while the episode contained a "scientific" explanation, it largely felt like a by-the-numbers B-movie affair.

The episode opened with a young boy being picked up by a state policeman. As he drives him back to the station, the boy changes into a deformed freak; the policeman seems surprised but not too surprised. We find out there's a local legend about freaks of this nature, but before he and his policeman buddies can give the tabloids a ring, a pair of full-grown mongoloids burst into the department and blow them away with shotguns. Wonder who they'll call to handle this mess?

Walter is still recovering from his traumatic kidnapping, afraid to even go into the grocery store, when he and Peter receive the call about the disturbance. The dynamic father and son duo accompany Olivia to a small town called Edina to find the boy and his murderous guardians. As soon as they get there they notice a strange humming sound, which the sheriff explains comes from a local military base. Hmmm, I wonder if that will have anything to do with the case.

The team is attacked by one of the freaks in question and Peter kills the man in self defense. But he appears to be normal when they find his body down the road. They take him back to the lab where he once again reverts back to his deformed self. Walter realizes he may have had something to do with the project that turned these people into freaks and through an embarrassingly convoluted process finds old files he hid years ago. My problem with this plot point is that I'm afraid the creative team is beginning to use Walter as a crutch. He just happened to have worked briefly on this project, and he also conveniently hid some files. Why? It doesn't even sound like something he was that involved in, so why would he need to hide files? Because it provides a convenient excuse to move the story along, that's why.

One of the more enjoyable twists of the episode came when it was revealed that the entire town was made of freaks hidden by an electromagnetic pulse that kept them looking normal. This almost tipped the episode over into a goofy and fun B-movie homage until I realized there was no good reason for the whole town to murder federal agents. I know they said to prevent themselves from being experimented on and such but it seems like killing people that work for the government will only bring the hammer down sooner.

Eventually the more extreme freaks who felt they needed to murder to keep their secret are all killed and Walter makes a tearful plea to Broyles to let the town stay a secret. Of course, he agrees and then the writers shoehorned a message about how Peter sees Walter as a good man. I might have been touched if I hadn't written this episode off as a loss a good 30 minutes prior.

But enough from me, what did you think? Was this episode as tedious for you as it was for me? Or am I (again) being too harsh? Post your thoughts below.

Random Thoughts

- I did chuckle at Walter's line about Deliverance.

- Olivia's story about seeing an old high school chum was an awful, lazy metaphor for feeling like a freak. Shame on you, writers!

- As soon as I saw the deformed people I immediately thought of the classic X-Files­ episode "Home." "Johari Window" came nowhere near that terrifying masterpiece.

- I'm guessing FOX started the new year with this episode so as to not confuse any newbies who may have wandered onto the scene. Hopefully we get back to larger story sometime soon.

- There was an episode on Monday my DVR and I completely missed but from what I hear that was for the best.

show less

Fringe has always worn its B-movie roots on its sleeve. It owes as much to monster and sci-fi movies of the 1950's as it does to The X-Files (which itself owes a great deal to those movies). But one of the reasons the show doesn't feel like a mere rehashing of these movies and shows is the thoroughly modern conceit of the human body being weaponized. It's a potent and rewarding concept, and one that the latest episode almost completely abandoned. The team investigates a group of deformed people after they kill a few state police, and while the episode contained a "scientific" explanation, it largely felt like a by-the-numbers B-movie affair.

read more

Related Links

Other Links:
Fringe
Tags:
TV Recaps, FOX

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: September 09, 2008, on FOX
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (5,447 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: A drama with sci-fi elements following the FBI probe of mysterious deaths aboard an airplane that landed at Boston's Logan Airport. But the deaths aboard Flight 627 are only the beginning of the story. Executive producers include J.J. Abrams ('Lost') and his 'Mission: Impossible III' co-screenwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

Cast

Shop

Exploitation Retrospect 52: The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Buy Exploitation Retrospect 52: The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media from Amazon.com
From CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Paperback)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $6.00 (as of 8:17 AM EST - more info)
On the Fringe 'Choctaw Spirit People'
Buy On the Fringe 'Choctaw Spirit People' from Amazon.com
From Possum Valley Studios (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $9.99 (as of 8:17 AM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular