Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fringe: "Johari Window"

It's been a long time since I blogged on an episode of Fringe. As I mentioned last week, my husband and I finally caught up on Fringe over the holidays (we rang in the new year finishing off season 2) and I'm completely in love with it. So I'm going to attempt to blog after it each week (we'll see how long this lasts once Lost gets underway). This will be in no way as comprehensive as my Lost posts are, since I'm only starting to skim the surface of this show, and need to watch each ep a couple more times to really start to look for the threads of meaning throughout the series. But here's hoping all of you Fringe fans out there can help me out.

I jumped online after catching up last week, and was happy to see that many of the comments my husband and I made while watching fell in line with what other fans had been saying. In fact, we were referring to the "Spot the Observer" moments as "Where's Baldo?" and I was surprised to see that's exactly how Fox had been publicizing it.

I didn't see the Observer in this ep, but I wasn't really looking (and I'm presuming he was probably in that crowd scene where the sheriff was addressing the group of Edina inhabitants, or he's walking down the street in Edina when they're about to go into the diner). Did you find him?

I was also thrilled to discover there's a glyph alphabet, and that every time they show one of the glyphs before they go to commercial, it corresponds with a letter in the alphabet. I remember saying to my husband, "Do you think the glyphs have any sort of pattern?" And it turns out, they do. Use the alphabet, and you find the word.

This week's word: MUTATE.

Did You Notice?
• The episode's title comes from a psychological test that is used where people describe themselves as they see themselves and then as others see them, and they create a grid of four "rooms" (which, when drawn on a piece of paper, looks like a window) where they create the 4 facets of it: the first room is the person we and other people see. The second is what other people see but what we might not realize about ourselves. The third is the subconscious part of ourselves that neither we nor anyone else can see, and the fourth is what we know to be true about ourselves, but which we keep from other people.
• There were several Wizard of Oz references in this episode, almost all from Walter. He refers to the Cowardly Lion and the flying monkeys. There have been Oz references in other episodes as well, and it's apt here, just as it is on Lost. Dorothy goes over the rainbow to find a world that looks completely different and seems wonderful, but hidden beneath is a sinister underbelly, and she just wants to go home. I was disappointed that the population sign in the town said there were 1,943 people. I wish they'd gone with 1,939, which would have been the year of the Wizard of Oz movie. (But maybe 1943 is significant as a year, too.)
• Walter also refers to lions a lot. In "Snake Head," the episode right before the break where they found the parasitic worms in people, Walter was left behind in the car and was singing a song about Daniel in the lion's den. Here he refers to himself as the Cowardly Lion.
• When Teddy is sitting at his desk when his parents are setting the table, he has his comic book open to a page where you can see Robin and the Penguin's umbrella. The Penguin was similarly a deformed creature who turned to evil.
• Just like these people, Walter has undergone a metamorphosis (we saw a moment of bad Walter in "Grey Matter") and Peter's perception of him is different under certain circumstances. Peter is blind to the fact that Walter isn't really his father, he just appears to be.

• Did anyone else think of that SUPER-CREEPY X-Files episode, "Home," where the inbred family kept Mama under the bed? That one was deranged to the extreme, and thankfully this episode never went there.
• Why did the cop take Teddy away from the area where he's running away from? Presumably he's still within the Edina city limits when the cop picks him up, since he still looks like a boy, and the cop, rather than return the boy to his parents, drives him far away out of town. That didn't make a lot of sense to me.
• I have to think more about the butterfly/moth dichotomy, and whether or not they meant for it simply to mean butterfly = beautiful; moth = ugly. I don't think it's that simple (and I also think most butterfly lovers wouldn't be disgusted with a moth).
• Again, I don't know if this is a general fan thought or just mine, but I LOVE Astrid and really wish they'd use her more. I really liked the scene of her sitting with Teddy.

This episode lacked the punch of the final few episodes of Fringe before the break, but it was still a good one. What did you think?


Joshua said...

1 - 'Home' is one of my favorite X-Files episodes, and I think the scariest one they ever did. I was watching the show every week with my friends Pete and Nancy in those days; Nancy had been working late that night & missed the initial broadcast, so we had taped the episode for her and immediately put it on to watch when she arrived home. We got to the scene when the awful inbred brothers come to Sheriff Taylor's house; he and his wife hear them come in downstairs, and the sheriff knows right away who it is and why they're there. He tells his wife to hide, at which point she promptly crawls under the bed, and next to me, my friend Pete slaps his forehead loudly and says, "Aw, man -- that's the first place they're gonna look!"

2. I LOVE Astrid. When I attended that sci-fi convention last year, John Noble and Jasika Nicole were the two 'Fringe' cast members who were supposed to be there, and I was ecstatic about it, but they ended up canceling at the last minute. Since they both dropped out at the same time, I assumed it was to shoot for the show, but I was still mightily bummed. Maybe this year...

jsalexandra said...

The x files is the best sci-fi show I have ever seen. I have felt the thrill throughout the 9 season’s long run of the show.” Usual Suspects" is my favorite of all x files episodes; I have watched it countless times. The show is off air but the movies have taken over superbly.

Robert said...

This episode is one of Fringe's more one-shot cases, but hey, it IS sci-fi.

It's not as brilliant as Grey Matter, but this case intrigued more so than others, especially given its Twilight Zone-esque premise.

Joshua said...

PS -- Did you watch the 'lost' episode last week? SPOILER WARNING: I didn't know it was an old, unaired ep from last year and spent my entire viewing totally confounded by the fact that Charlie was back and no one was addressing it! I even thought at one point, "Maybe it's taking place in the alternate world... but no, they've shown AltChaz before, and he had that monster-sized 'Escape From New York' scar on his face, so that can't be right..." VERY confusing to a continuity geek like me. Pretty good ep, though.

WORD VERIFICATION: proun (a small class of crustacean found in many languages that are used as replacements for nouns or noun phrases; also delicious with butter & garlic)

Casey said...

Nikki - I've been a reader for a while. I don't comment often, specifically on the Lost stuff, because by the time I get there everything has been said.

I'm also a huge Fringe fan, and have yet to find a decent forum for intelligent discussion. Now that you'll be covering Fringe, maybe I've found the place.

With that being said, here is something I noticed. Did you catch Walter's shout-out to sci-fi legend Arthur C. Clarke? As he is showing Astrid the butterfly/moth transforming, he mutters: A good friend of mine once said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That friend would be Arthur C. Clarke. I like imagining Sir Clarke and Walter sitting around the lab discussing the possibilities of the impossible. It's a great quote, one of his most famous, and wonderfully appropriate given the nature of the show.

Keep covering Fringe, and I'll be in there commenting!

Word Verification: Pixiddi (proper noun) current name of Pixie rapper and producer formerly known as PixDaddy.