Fringe 2.12: "Johari Window"




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.

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Apr 5, 2016 5:28PM EDT

I agree, the last two episodes were especially random. I keep waiting to get more Leonard Nimoy alternate/time/space dimension arc that seemed to be driving this second season - that was fantastic. but -- now they've thrown in lame plots that seem to depend upon one gimmick and have NOTHING in common with the overall conspiracy. It feels like I'm watching a different show suddenly - as if they wrote and filmedthese episodes yearsago during the pilot and now are throwing em in there after sweeps as filler. Yucky, hostess-twinkie level filler. So,if you figured out SPOILER ALERT --- if you figured out like i did during this latest episode that it was about perception rather than changing mutation, well that's aboutall there was to it, right? I mean 15 minutes in and anyone who's taken an intro literature course on theories of truth or representation or heck, Philosophy 101, well 15" into the arc the whole show was over for you. wish the writers/producers would raise the bar to the level of theiraudience a bit more like at the beginning. (writers r u listening/reading????? helooooo)

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Jan 20, 2010 10:09AM EST

They need to pursue the 'Peter' line and pull the show back to that.

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