Fringe Observations: 2.11 Johari Window

Welcome to Fringe Observations: the comprehensive Clues and Eastereggs Round-up for episode 2 of season 11 – “Johari Window”.

Below the jump we explore the various clues and eastereggs from the episode and try to figure out what it all means.


Walter references the Cowardly Lion from Land of Oz, (perhaps more popularly known from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), when he says:

“I’m learning to appreciate cowardice. The Lion had a point..the Cowardly Lion”

In Oz, the Lion was unknowingly brave because he acted in the face of fear. This parallels with Walter’s own bravery, despite his fear of being kidnapped again.

I don’t think there’s much else to be made of it. Although I do find it mildly interesting that Walter is absorbing pop-culture.


In a moment of classic Fringe humour, Walter mistakes Teddy for the banjo duelling boy from the 1972 movie, Deliverance. Peter reminds Walter that they watched it together – presumably during the week after Walter’s kidnapping, in which he spent his time watching old movies (i.e. Oz and Deliverance, referenced in-episode).

Liv’s old Hearstyle

Olivia was the first from our group to notice the “Edina Hum” – a possible nod to her left over super-hearing, giving her the edge in the auditory department? Although her super-hearing seemed to be a one episode thing (“Desirable Objects”), it sure would be nice to think that some of the remnants remain.

Observing The Observer

The Observer was among the crowd of Edinans as the sheriff gave his speech. Clearly September only turns up at important events. Right. Right?

I guess….(and I’m taking a leap here) the speech was the moment that almost triggered the end of our intrepid duo – and we know from previous episodes that the ‘important events’ which the Observers observe come in all shapes and sizes.

What? No Wii?

Our “Johari Window” ‘game reference’ comes in the form of Operation. The timeless classic was played by Astrid and Teddy as Walter tinkered around down in the basement. This isn’t the first time the game has been seen on the show – Olivia and Ella had buckets of fun operating on “Cavity Sam” back in 1.12 “The No Brainer” (see here for reference).

Other Clues

  • Peter knew that Therianthrope is Greek for a mythical creature. Not all that interesting in itself, but it seems like another way of reminding us that Peter’s mom used to tell him secret codes in Greek (which Belly somehow knows about..).
  • The “Project Elephant” idea may have been inspired, in part, by a ‘real-world’ invisibility experiment – Project Rainbow. (Update: Thanks to Amalia in the comments for pointing out that “Project Elephant” may also be a hat-tip to the film, “The Elephant Man”.
  • Walter was a fan of Drake’s Devil Dogs – an un-frosted food cake sandwich with vanilla filling. Aside from the scene’s  humor, I think the point here (if any) is that they are a 70’s food product. 1970 seems to be an increasingly important decade in the Fringeverse.
  • Walter told Astrid that when Peter was sick, his work was the only thing that kept him going. We always seem to get at least one reference to Peter’s childhood, reinforcing Walter’s motivation for taking him from his original universe. As an aside, in the lost episode from season 1 – Unearthed, Peter told Lisa that he was sick as often sick child, which would infer that both Peter’s suffered from illness (since we know that Walter’s original Peter died from a rare sickness). I guess we can put this down to current Peter being sick due to the effects of crossing from his reality over to ours? However safe Walter’s Door was, I’d imagine there would still be some consequences (although not enough to kill them). Perhaps this is why Walter electrocuted him as a child – to calibrate his tolerance to our reality..or something.
  • Bad Robot’s infamous number 47 was referenced yet again, this time through Peter: “17 people died, 47 people were born”.
  • As mentioned in my Johari Window review, Walter reveals that he was a chum of science fiction author and inventor Arthur C. Clarke, and Olivia’s joke about her “third eye” is probably rooted in more truth than she thinks.
  • The glyphs for Johari Window spelled MUTATE, in reference to the genetic deformities of the Edinans.

As always, if you have anything to add to the above, or you think that we’ve missed something out – feel free to let us know in the comments.


    • says

      Nice! Is it the same butterfly? I guess it’s a tie-in nonetheless..

      That’s two butterfly references so far – the other coming in 1.09..

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  1. Bobby says

    Is it wierd that walter cannot open the blue body bag yet astria wearing blue walks up and opens it with no problem. Not sure what the relation is, but it seems like they went out of their way to make it a point with walter saying the zipper was stuck again.

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    • says


      Yeah, it was a bit strange. Personally though, I think it was just to give us a sense of forboding. I think they could possibly have played that scene more naturally, it might have come across better.

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    • Inter-dimensional Dave says

      That’s exactly what I thought Amalia. When I saw the afflicted people of Edina I immediately thought of the “elephantiasis” that purportedly plagued Merrick. He may have something totally different but I was sure that “Project Elephant” was a direct reference to the movie also.

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  2. mlj102 says

    At one point, as Olivia and Peter were looking over census information for the town, Peter asked her if she had found anything that said what the population was for the town. Olivia was able to tell him it was 1,943. There was a brief moment where he looked at her kind of funny and she explained that she had seen it on the sign when they entered the town. It was subtle, but I took this as a reference of Olivia’s ability to remember numbers. (I’m not sure if this goes here in the Observations, or if it fits more with the review, but I decided to put it here since you also mentioned the possible recurrence of Olivia’s superhearing.)

    Also, there were a couple of neat reflections in this episode…

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  3. Raifer H. says

    Does anyone have any thoughts on what the clue for the next episode might be? The only thing that struck me this time is that we got more than one shot of the “Population 1,943” sign, so I thought that might be the clue. But what it might mean, I have no idea!

    Another possibility could be the Devil Dogs – rampaging animals (again) perhaps?

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      • Stefan says

        Let’s do some math:
        1+9+4+3=17 – Number of people that died (“17 people died, 47 people were born”.).
        Don’t forget: 1+7=8 – I think we know that one from somewhere (Olivia’s lucky number / August) :)
        I really don’t think this could be unintentionally.

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        • Pedro says

          1943 is also the first time that scientific testing was done on LSD through self ingestion by Albert Hoffman. Walter loves some Tripping.

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  4. Pedro says

    One observation that I have is that Walter evidently has crap hidden all over the Boston area. You’d think someone would find some of this stuff by now and move it or throw it away. I can’t keep a hammer in my garage, but he can keep Top-Secret Army files hidden in a vent for 30 years.

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  5. FringeFan2009 says

    Yes! Please get them a field office. I don’t know about all of these classified conversations in public places.

    In my opinion, this was definitely one of the better stand-alone episodes. I really liked the theory of hiding in broad daylight, changing only the perception. Very cool!

    I have a few questions though. Why did the boy run away? My guess is that there was some kind of family dispute. But, he must have known about his deformity, and had a hint of the possible consequences of his actions. Evidence of this was his reaction when he was picked up at the police station. Any regular would have been crying or surprised when anyone, even if it was his dad, came in killing people.

    Astrid’s reaction was completely unreasonable when Walter brought back the moth. Also, I think that she needs to stop listening to Walter. You figured she would have learned by now.

    When they found the body in the woods, they did not take any crime scene photos. If they had taken photos, the deformity would have been revealed.

    Are those stationed at the military base, other than those directly related to the experiments, aware of the existence of these people, and the transmitter?

    Also, Olivia was knocked completely unconscious in the car accident. But a few minutes later, she is walking around with no bruises or cuts? More than likely she would have suffered something.

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    • mlj102 says

      You make some good comments, FringeFan! I agree with pretty much everything you said. One comment regarding the fact that Olivia was suddenly completely fine after the accident — I also found it odd that she was knocked unconscious after what appeared to be a relatively severe accident, yet there were absolutely no signs of any sort of injury or consequence. I would have liked to have at least seen someone checking her out, telling her she was fine, or something. But what I find ironic is the fact that, while Peter was the one to stay awake and seem somewhat unharmed by the whole thing, he had a few small scratches above his eye after the crash. It just amuses me that they went to the trouble to give Peter a few “wounds” but Olivia was unscratched.

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  6. Graeme says

    I know this is late, but I’m just now getting into the show. I’m shocked that nobody mentioned that toward the end, Peter has two small scares on his temple in the same location that the shape-shifters had tapped Walter’s mind for memories. They seemed too intentional to be coincidence.

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  7. Hayley says

    I know I’m very late to the party, but only just recently got into the show through a friend. On the Green, Green, Green, Red point, there’s one point about 10 mins 35 secs into the ep where there’s a shot of Olivia and Peter and behind them in the background, a sequence of four lights flashing on and off. Now, I’m colour blind so the lights may not be red and green, but I thought it was worth flagging up anyway!

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  8. matt says

    Wow with all the latest distractions we’ve been given with Sam Weiss and BBMs and Over There, I forgot about the GGGR lights and the blue lights and the pattern until you said something! I hope they don’t just ignore the cool stuff like LOST. I get the feeling they have something crazy hidden up their sleeves.

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