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

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.

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