‘Fringe’ Episode 2.12 Recap: ‘Johari Window’

Episode Title: “Johari Window”

Written By: Jeff Vlaming

Synopsis: When a young boy with a monstrous face accidentally leads to the death of three police officers, the Fringe team sets off to the remote town of Edina, New York to investigate. Walter Bishop (John Noble), still traumatized from his own recent abduction, deduces that the boy is a metamorph, causing his physical appearance to oscillate between normal and grotesque. Eventually, Walter, Olivia (Anna Torv) and Peter (Joshua Jackson) begin to realize just how far the metamorph phenomenon extends.

Project Elephant: The mystery of the week was something of a combo package, evoking elements from “Children of the Corn” and “The Hills Have Eyes” to great effect. There were some genuinely suspenseful scenes — the opening in the police station and Peter’s forest shoot-out come to mind — that were unfortunately balanced out by some predictable twists, such as the whole town being exposed to the metamorph-inducing electromagnetism.

The Good Doctor: Thanks to John Noble’s excellent performance this week, the episode’s shortcomings are forgivable. Although Olivia and Peter had a decent amount to do, the focus was definitely on Walter, and rightfully so. He started the episode still fragile from his capture by Thomas Jerome Newton in the most recent new episode (no, I’m not counting “Unearthed“) and ended up in a bold and brave place. Peter was rightfully proud of his papa, just as I was impressed by Noble’s acting — though it should be said that Noble is almost always a delight to watch.

Missing Mythology: Sadly, “Johari Window” wasn’t a real plot propeller. It was a fine mystery of the week, but the close proximity to the unremarkable “Unearthed” definitely has me reeling from a lack of story development. The show’s format tends to shift between standalone and mythologically significant episodes from week to week, so if you take “Unearthed” out of the equation and only account for “Grey Matters,” this would fit the pattern. Still, after a month of being off the air, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully “Fringe” gets back on that track next week.

Walter’s Weekly Wisdom: “I’m learning to appreciate cowardice. The Lion had a point.” — Dr. Walter Bishop

Conclusions: A solid episode, thanks largely due to Walter Bishop’s wonderfully personal participation in the story. “Fringe” does need to get back on its feet in terms of pursuing the larger issues such as the alternate reality, but at the same time, this wasn’t a bad episode. In all likelihood, “Johari Window” will fall into the ether of forgettable “Fringe” installments, but it will ultimately rank on the more positive side of that spectrum.

Next Case: An infectious foe that has waited 75,000 years to kill everything on Earth is on its way — and unfortunately for the Fringe team, it’s infected Peter.

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