Fringe: Johari Window
November 5, 2014 9:11 PM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

A police officer in upstate New York finds a kid walking on the side of the road. The boy is taken to the station, where he is found by his relatives. The team gets called to investigate a series of reports of deformed, hideous people. Olivia hears a hum, Walter muses on his lycanthropic adventures in London, Peter goes through some stuff, Astrid is a lepidopterist, and Broyles calls an old contact.

A Johari window is a self-leraning metacognitive exercise. One possible example is the famous 'known knowns' quote from Donald Rumsfeld. Of course, Slavoj Žižek noted that the major threats come from the '"unknown knowns" – the disavowed beliefs, suppositions and obscene practices.' We saw Walter with his full faculties last episode. What else are we purposefully forgetting?
posted by the man of twists and turns (11 comments total)
Army projects experimenting on large areas, children caught up in their father's work, and secrets exposed for justice. This subtext is very loud!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:43 PM on November 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

OMG. Why is little Shawn Spencer running away from home? (Apologies for Psych reference.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:05 AM on November 6, 2014

Walter doesn't want to go out in public - so of course a case opens up in SUPER WEIRD CREEPY TOWN. Not weird because of how the deformities but because of how they ACT. All secretive and shootypants. I'd want to run away too, kid!
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:17 AM on November 6, 2014

Every single time I see/hear Olivia suggest checking the CENSUS because the entire F section is gone from the town records - it just results in many seconds of LULZ. "Hey, I'm in the fbi and have access to several completely bitchin' databases but eff that, let's look at the census!" The census which does not give them the info on Joe Falls but does conveniently give them the town population numbers. OMG, nobody ever moves - it's almost like there was some kind of agreement or vote amongst the townsfolk!

Also, I can just mosey on in to the Harvard Law Library and do hvac work, right? Nobody will notice!

I can't think of one time I've ever been fond of the "Don't worry, I'll take care of it" trope. BECAUSE SOMEBODY WILL HAVE TO GET DEADED IN BAD WAYS.

Yay! GoodGuyBroyles explaining to Walter about not finding the machine=nothing to report!
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:51 PM on November 6, 2014

Fluffy Battle Kitten, you're absolutely right.

General practice is to embargo census records for a hundred years. Although aggregate anonymised data is published within a year of a census. I'm not sure about how this works in the States, but in other nations this information should be freely available either online or from your National or Public Library. The Electoral roll is available from your local library should Olivia want to drill down more. I would suggest she actually look through council tax records if she's visiting her local council office. That and the property records.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 12:18 AM on November 8, 2014

So, it would be impossible for Olivia to find the kind of personalized information she's looking for using contemporary census data? Which the town record office shouldn't even have since this data would be stored centrally in a federal facility rather than in the town it was collected in? Information search strategy fail! Although, since this is an alternate universe, I guess we have to make allowances for the possibility that this is actually how it works in Olivia's world. Weird.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:28 AM on November 8, 2014

Correct. It should be collected, stored, aggregated, anonymised and published by a federal entity.

Also records are arranged by series, not alphabetically, making it a challenge to find all references to one particular name (just ask anyone who's ever done a Subject Access Request) which is why I suggest a property related search (how council/county records are most commonly organised) will pick up information missed by apparently walking into a room and removing everything from the "f" shelf.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 12:35 AM on November 8, 2014

And yes I did have a small fit during that scene as well.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 12:39 AM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

It also occurs to me that she could have googled. If you have a name and birthdate something will normally turn up. Even if it's super boring or not useful. Maybe the townsfolk of Edina don't interweb because of hum interference.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:59 AM on November 8, 2014

Probably couldn't get signal on her phone because of the weird hum. This is making me think perhaps sinister things must be afoot in Dorset as you can never get signal there either.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 4:56 AM on November 8, 2014

BAKERSFIELD!, to give them credit they did try with the council tax and property records first. Those were the ones that were missing. I'm completely with you on the census data though.

I don't understand why the only deformities are facial ones. The moth/butterfly was far more deformed. And it's one thing not to look deformed, but surely if someone had a deformed arm or leg it would feel different and function differently. Not to mention going to snog your honey and having their big facial tumour get in the way.

Still, Walter drops the reference that Arthur C Clarke is a friend of his and no one's Impressed! Guess they're insufficiently familiar with Clarke's laws.

Walter's comment at the end about how Peter chooses to see him fits in beautifully with all that subtext and also the strong emphasis on visual metaphors throughout the episode. It may be obvious to those of us who know more about what's going on, but those bits are very cleverly done. Just not the census records.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:40 PM on November 8, 2014

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