Fringe: Johari Window Review -

TV Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • TV Series: Fringe
  • Episode: Johari Window
  • Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jaskika Nicole, Lance Reddick
  • Written By: Josh Singer
  • Directed By: Joe Chappelle
  • Network: Fox
  • Series:

Fringe: Johari Window Review

Not Everything Is What It Seems Here

By Kent Ninomiya     January 15, 2010

Fringe Review
© Fox/Bob Trate


This episode of Fringe is all about things not being what they seem. It succeeds on several levels. It is set in the small town of Edina where a runaway boy suddenly transforms into a mutated beast in front of a police officer’s eyes. Other creatures kill the cops and take the boy, but
they are too late to stop a photo of the boy from being uploaded into a police computer. Stories of deformed creatures have circulated around the rural area for years, but now there is proof. Call in the Fringe team.
On the surface this appears to be your typical family of deformed hillbillies story, but it turns out to be more. There is a twist in the way the creatures were created and how they are seen. The story is also a sneaky but effective vehicle for the development of the major characters of Fringe.
We get to see a different side of Peter when he kills one of the creatures. When the body transforms back to human form after death, Peter is troubled that he killed a man. For a moment, he slips away from his flippant persona and needs to be consoled by Olivia who has killed quite a few people in her time as an FBI agent.
As with so many strange things that happen on Fringe, Walter did research on this very phenomenon decades ago. He just has trouble remembering it since parts of his brain were cut out and he was sent to the insane asylum. With a little prompting, Walter and Astrid manage to retrace Walter’s steps and piece it all together.
We get to see the developing relationship between the Walter and Astrid. It is a fun dynamic since Walter’s scatterbrained intensity contrasts with Astrid’s gentle skepticism. It was nice to see Astrid getting a slightly larger role in this episode. She promises to be a significant character on Fringe if the writers would let her get out of the lab and do more than fetch things.
Walter shows the most character growth in this episode. As it starts, he is still traumatized from his experience being held against his will in the asylum after a visit. This was from the last season 2 episode, Grey Matters, that aired on December 10, 2009. Walter is afraid to go into a grocery store or even leave his home. As he solves the mystery with Astrid, he gains confidence and asserts his independence. He begins to realize that he can do things without Peter by his side. In fact, he brazenly disobeys Peter and continues to investigate the mystery after being told to return home. The Walter of a few episodes ago probably wouldn’t do that.
In the end, it is revealed that a government conspiracy is responsible. Isn’t that the cause of most of these things? Walter feels sympathy for the creatures and guilt over exposing them. In an uncharacteristic act, he personally stands up to Agent Broyles and pleads to keep the town’s secret. Broyles shows that he is more than a by-the-book FBI agent by agreeing to Walter’s request. This exhibits his increasing trust for Walter, a man whose judgment he initially doubted. Peter later tells his father that he is proud of him for standing up for the townspeople, thereby acknowledging Walter’s growth over the course of the episode. We now know the characters of Fringe better than we ever have.


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braveheart79 1/15/2010 11:48:57 AM

Very fair grade. It definitely wasn't the show's most exciting episode, but it did a great job on character developement! I just hope they keep this show going. I would hate to see this show fall on the ever expanding list of cancelled shows that where "ahead of it's time" on Fox. They need to move it back to Tuesday nights!

jdiggitty 1/15/2010 1:16:30 PM

I'd give it a "C", especially after the weak Tuesday episode. Probably my least favorite episode of all so far.

They have a new genre show "Past LIfe" debuting on Thursday, Feb 11. Hope this isn't a bad sign of things to come for Fringe.


invisioner 1/15/2010 4:12:25 PM

 This episode was so, so ripped off from X-Files, the episode with the town of Vampires feeding off cows told from two points of view, and the infamous Hills Have Eyes episode with the inbreds.

ponyboy76 1/16/2010 9:43:04 PM

Fair grade/ I remember those 2 X-files episodes and the only thing in common this has was it was in a small town. None of these people were Hills Have Eyes inbreds. That is such a knee jerk comment. Of course some things from Fringe will be like the X-files. Many have already been noted, but they aren't ripping anything off. Its like saying Ford is ripping of Chevy because they use tires on their vehilcles.

SelectiveRealism 1/17/2010 12:42:35 AM

 One thing that sets Fringe apart is the Agent Broyles character.  In most shows he would be the unbelieving skeptic, a suit that the main characters would have to constantly work around and constantly butt heads with until he begrudgingly helps them.   Instead, Broyles has their back, believes in them and serves as a buffer between the Fringe team and the bureaucracy of the FBI and their superiors.  

ultrazilla2000 1/17/2010 6:09:23 AM

This episode was awesome, and no, it did not rip off X Files.  Was it very X Files-ish?  YES, and thank God!  Being like the X Files should be a compliment, not a complaint.  Fringe continues to impress me and I'm looking forward to (hopefully) many more future episodes.



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