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the fringe files: 2×11, “johari window”

Real Fringe is back!  But just back to monster-of-the-week episodes, unfortunately.  This time, it’s a (nonsensical) calque of “The Post-Modern Prometheus,” more or less.  And, in the end, to “Humbug.”     There’s been references to it being closer to “Home,” but in the end it’s not close to being nearly as good as any of those episodes of The X-Files.

Like the inexplicable unaired episode they put up earlier in the week, the episode’s desire to semi-logically explain what’s happening is easily its weakest point.  Because when you think about a magical electromagnet generator that turns freakish mutants into normal-looking people (and moths), the first thing you need to do is explain how it works.  If they’d stuck to Walter’s semi-explanation and made it a town where when you crossed the city limits you went blind that would have made this a much more dramatic episode.  Instead, you get Astrid getting mad at Walter because he brought back an ugly moth (she hates moths, but loves butterflies? unexplained exposition alert!)  and, seriously, a machine that camouflages just people’s deformities.  That was so stupid it’s hard to get over it.

People spend a lot more time screaming at horrible deformities in this episode than they ever did in “Post-Modern Prometheus” or “Humbug,” or even “Home.”  We get it!  They’re ugly.  But when The X-Files managed to be nicer to its mutants than you… Well, let’s put it this way – there’s no dance party with a Cher impersonator at the end of this one, just Walter talking about how brave it was for one of the freaks to be willing to be seen as a freak instead of just murdering a bunch of people.  It’s an oddly deterministic view of things for Fringe, the monster-or-cute-person divide, and not really one that fits into the bigger view of the show’s hidden identities motif.

Anyways, Peter shoots a guy (how hasn’t he shot somebody before now yet?) and is sad but not as sad as Special Agent Olivia Dunham was when she killed Charlie so I guess we don’t need to meet the Lebowski-shrink this week.  This was a bland monster-of-the-week episode and, frankly, they need to get back to the mytharc ASAP.