Fringe Rewatch: 1.05 Electric Standalone


Like the ghost of John Scott, today’s rewatch sees us revisit episode 5 of season 1, “Power Hungry”. The plan? To fill our wool socks with as many new perspectives as we can muster, while sowing up the remaining mysteries.

We are renaming this episode “Electric Standalone”. Will we ever stop vandalizing episode titles?

New Perspectives

  • Sweet scene with Olivia and Charlie. There goes that lingering look of his again. There was a time when I thought this indicated that he had ulterior motives. It turned out that, like the rest of us, he was was just concerned for Olivia. Will you ever forgive me for doubting you, Charlie?
  • Walter says that he finds John Mosley “familiar”. I guess he means from the description Peter gave him of his harrowing kidnapping? Is this ‘familiarity’ more evidence that Hat-Man was a rogue Observer – perhaps from a less advanced time or state than the regular Observers (considering his technology was more crude)?
  • On the rare occasion that we see Olivia wearing a pendant it actually comes in handy for Walter’s little demonstration. How con..venient.
  • The episode offers some clarity on John Scott’s previous attempts to communicate with Olivia while providing early subtext for the true capability of the human mind, particularly in those who have been “activated”. It’s interesting to compare Joseph and Olivia – two ‘victims’ (although I would never call Olivia a victim) ‘made special by science’. *slow clap for science*.
  • Olivia offers Broyles some breadcrumbs that he probably already has: “A person who has developed the ability to effect, or maybe even control electrical devices. He thinks this person was altered in some way, extensive procedures, chemical therapy”. Oh Olivia, if only you knew how the irony of which you speak!
  • “Wool socks” – Ha-ha! gets me every time. :) Again, Walter, again!
  • Joe’s mom. What a sweet angel that women was. Such grace and charm, with a voice like silk. When she died, she took a bit of the light with her. RIP.
  • Walter: “but since, Mr. Meegar has been enhanced, he’ll give off a stronger signal than your average Joe“. I’m not sure if I caught Walter’s little joke first time round, but hey, better late than never.
  • Is it just me or does Walter look a LOT older in this episode?
  • Lots of yellow as Olivia’s chasing Meegar. I’m not sure that it’s an intentional nod to Olivia’s childhood fears. In fact I was about to filter it out, but then they go and stick the yellow school bus in there too. Either they went to great lengths to offer subtle color references, or the universe had a hand in this. Because it’s absolutely ridiculous, I’m backing the universe.
  • Meegar’s “I wanna go home” followed by Olivia’s “I’m afraid we can’t let you do that”, echoes the Olivia/Broyles conversation from the Pilot. I really like those instinctive moments when someone just wants to go back to before while another, more informed, person has to break it to them gently that before doesn’t exist. I also appreciated the fact that Olivia was on the other side of the coin on this occasion.
  • Broyles claims not to have any idea who John was working for. I have to say, I don’t buy it. What you gonna do Broyles, send ME to the storage facility?
  • I didn’t think the voice-over at the end was very necessary. I guess it was there for the casual viewers who might not have made the connection between the ring and John’s earlier words to Olivia. To be honest, I don’t think it even bothered me until now so I’ll give them a pass.

Mysteries & Answers

  • How did John Scott communicate with Olivia?
  • My Opinion: As Walter kind of explains, Olivia fused with John’s consciousness in the Pilot episode. In effect, a part of him was literally still alive inside her mind. He tried communicating through electrical means  – phone, email, elevators, vending machines – because the mind is comprised of electrical impulses. Scott was probably able to manifest in such visual form due to Olivia’s heightened ability (Cortexiphan). In essence John was literally helping Olivia to crack the case  – as is all but confirmed towards then end when we find out that Fischer was on John’s list. (At last, John solved a case!).
  • Who was Jacob Fischer working for?
  • My Opinion: I’d have to say Massive Dynamic (or a rival company). Their logo was even on one of Fischer’s posters, so I have to think that was the writers original intent. It’s probably not all that important at this stage, although we might get reference to it in a broader sense.

New Clues & Observations

  • None of note recorded.

Possible Retcons

  • I think they may have originally intended to go a bit deeper into the Pattern. I doubt that the Pattern is dead, but these early episodes sure do have a different tone and focus.

Theme Tracker

Dreams and Sleep

  • Olivia: “I haven’t been sleeping very well”
  • Olivia: “These aren’t memories. He appears, right in front of me he talks to me.
  • Walter: “yes he would, like a waking dream, because he doesn’t belong there”.

Faith

  • Peter: “Seriously, if this works…”
  • Olivia. You’re gonna have more faith in your father?”
  • Peter: “No”

Evidence of Narrator

  • The consciousness of John Scott helping Olivia to crack the case could open up new possibilities for the narrator not being entirely in control of their own narration. This fusing, or sharing, of consciousness, memories and experience is an interesting factor to bear in mind when considering who is telling the story and whether the perspective being shown is entirely derived from their singular mind.

Quote Terrific

  • “Look at what science has made you, Joseph. You are special”

Best Retrospective Performance: Anna Torv

Favorite Retrospective Moment: Olivia seeing the word “Always” on the ring John was planning to give to her before he died.

Retrospective Episode Rating: 6.5/10

Useful Links

Next Rewatch Episode – 1.06 “The Cure”, Tuesday, August 3rd Wednesday August 4th, 2010.

If you have any comments on the above rewatch, or you have your own rewatch thoughts and observations, feel free to share them in the comments below. While I have personally chosen to tackle new perspectives, feel free to approach this rewatch however suits you best.

Comments

  1. mlj102 says

    “We are renaming this episode “Electric Standalone”. Will we ever stop vandalizing episode titles?”

    You? Never!

    “On the rare occasion that we see Olivia wearing a pendant it actually comes in handy for Walter’s little demonstration. How con..venient.”

    Yeah. Have we ever seen Olivia wear a necklace aside from this episode? It definitely stands out as odd and unlike Olivia… If they were going to have her wear a necklace, they could have at least given it some significance, like having it be the necklace her mom gave her…

    “Joe’s mom. What a sweet angel that women was. Such grace and charm, with a voice like silk. When she died, she took a bit of the light with her. RIP.”

    Even Meegar’s mom gets a eulogy? You are definitely going the extra mile with this rewatch! Remember when she won Fringie of the Week? How exactly did that happen?

    By the way, I just re-read the eulogy and caught the bit about the light… nice one!

    “Walter: “but since, Mr. Meegar has been enhanced, he’ll give off a stronger signal than your average Joe“. I’m not sure if I caught Walter’s little joke first time round, but hey, better late than never.”

    You and me both, Roco! I did a double take when I was rewatching, and I had to rewind it and and watch it again. Clever. Very clever!

    Other thoughts:

    This episode has never been one of my favorites. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it also seems superficial and insignificant, lacking in substance. I think this is an example of an episode that is a bit too standalone for my liking. There really isn’t much to discuss or analyze…

    While I was never thrilled with the whole John Scott story, I do think they did a great job of showing Olivia as she struggled to come to terms with John and what he did, and the subsequent hallucinations. It may not have been a story I was too fond of, but they did a good job with the continuity of it and showing how it affected Olivia over the first half of the season. I thought it helped add greater depth to her character. I was particularly interested in her reaction to seeing John in the elevator. It’s really quite unusual to see her so scared and agitated and vulnerable over something. She’s usually so professional and able to remain in control no matter what she’s faced with. So it was odd to see her stumble backwards and looking genuinely terrified. Of course, I understand the reaction… but it’s rare that we see that kind of reaction from her. It seems to only happen when things happen that are deeply personal to her.

    Glyph watch: I’ve been keeping an eye out for times when the glyph objects are incorporated into an episode, and in this episode I noticed that Meegar’s mom’s robe had butterflies on it… The one on the back of the robe was particularly noticeable.

    Funniest moment: Is there even any question? Wool socks. Need I say anything more? I think it speaks for itself.

    Favorite moment: Everything surrounding Walter and the birds: from him suggesting the idea, to preparing the birds, to finally letting them go. The acting from the three main characters is outstanding and something about those scenes is so entertaining that it just pulls me into the story every time.

    My rating for the episode: 6.0 (It’s a rare occurrence when I actually go lower than your ratings, Roco… I enjoyed the episode well enough, but there just isn’t much in it that stands out to me. It’s just a so-so episode as far as I’m concerned. I’ll watch it, but I’m not really invested in it)

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  2. Elaine says

    “Joe’s mom. What a sweet angel that women was. Such grace and charm, with a voice like silk. When she died, she took a bit of the light with her. RIP.”

    I nearly spit red wine all over my computer screen behind this one. What a apt description of mother Meagar. ;-) It is a wonder that Josheph hadn’t attempted to smother that woman in her sleep prior to his unwittingly causing her pacemaker to go on the fritz.

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  3. number six says

    This episode is such a letdown after The Arrival. Poor, poor Joseph Meegar, even an evil scientist can’t help you with your mommy issues.

    I like the continuity from the previous episode with Peter having physical and psychological sequels from the torture session. He’s obviously traumatized and doesn’t want to talk about it.

    Charlie is great, as always.

    Ugh, John Scott! The good: just 8 episodes left to get rid of him. The bad: still 8 episodes left to get rid of him.

    Wool socks! And John Noble steals a whole episode again. I love you, Walter.

    “They’re rats with wings, Walter.” You tell him, Astrid. :D

    The pigeon chase is fun. Nice to see them all smiling. Except for poor Joseph, who is screaming in pain. Oops!

    And then there’s the deleted scene with Olivia, Peter and one of Peter’s weird connections. Not terribly important, but I think it is interesting, because it shows that Peter does have friends outside the Fringe family.

    I agree with Roco’s rating, just because of Walter’s wool socks.

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    • kittyofdoom says

      Re the deleted scene: I cannot help but giggle inanely every time I hear Peter say, “I was going to say to try not to look like a cop, but I don’t think there’s any chance of that” and Olivia kinda make a “Hm. Too bad.” expression. For that ALONE, I wish they’d kept the scene in.

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      • number six says

        Well, he does have a point :P She couldn’t look more like a cop… and he couldn’t look more like a criminal in that scene :D

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  4. FinChase says

    I probably like this episode more than most. I’m a big Anna Torv fan and this was a good early episode for her.

    Sweet scene with Olivia and Charlie.

    I agree that the scene between Olivia and Charlie was wonderful. The fact that she trusted him enough to tell him about what was happening tells me a great deal about their relationship. I miss Charlie.

    Joe’s mom. What a sweet angel that women was. Such grace and charm, with a voice like silk. When she died, she took a bit of the light with her. RIP.

    That made me laugh so much! I think she was channeling momma from “Throw Momma From the Train”.

    How did John Scott communicate with Olivia?

    I think Olivia’s cortexiphan-enhanced mind had a great deal to do with this communication. I’ve wondered if in some way she didn’t shape some of those events, such as the sending of the emails and the phone call. Her mind was looking for ways to expel this consciousness and she unconsciously made these things happen. I believe that part of Olivia’s cortexiphan ability, maybe the largest part, is that to some extent she can shape events or reality around her–or at least influence them. Would the email have been there later if she went back and looked, or did her mind create a literal email? John is dead, no matter what part of him may still live in Olivia’s brain, and so my money’s on the strongest of the cortexiphan children creating those events.

    I loved the scene between Olivia and Walter near the end of the episode when he realized something was wrong. It’s the most significant scene they’ve had together since the pilot and both actors are so good in it. I like how perceptive Walter was here in observing Olivia’s distress and guessing the cause of it. Did he suspect that this would happen when she went into the tank? If so, why didn’t he warn her? It might have saved her from thinking she was losing her mind or else being haunted by a ghost.

    Things I liked:

    • Continuity – This episode took place the day after the events in “The Arrival”, and Peter looks like he’s been held captive by a guy who stuck wires up his nose. He’s got bruises on his face and he’s got bandages on his wrist.
    • The elevator scene – I like that this shows that no matter how shocked or distressed Olivia might be, she never stops observing or connecting the dots. When she chases the elevator downstairs and it is empty upon opening, she still observes the weight sign and makes the connection with the weight discrepancy in the crashed elevator.
    • Humor – This episode had a better blend of humor and drama than “The Ghost Network”, I thought. Walter’s wool socks bit was hilarious, and I also liked the whole part with the pigeons, from Olivia’s “Walter, you’re not going to fry one of those pigeons, are you?” to Astrid’s “They’re rats with wings!”
    • Emotion – I loved the scene between Olivia and Walter near the end of the episode when he realized something was wrong. It’s the most significant scene they’ve had together since the pilot and both actors are so good in it. I like how perceptive Walter was here in observing Olivia’s distress and guessing the cause of it. Did he suspect that this would happen when she went into the tank? If so, why didn’t he warn her? It might have saved her from thinking she was losing her mind or else being haunted by a ghost. I also liked his questioning if Olivia really wanted John to go away, and she couldn’t answer. Not yet.
    Things I didn’t like:

    • Joseph Meegar – Ok, it’s not that I disliked him, but I felt the imaginary “Kick Me” sign that he was wearing was a little too large.
    • Jacob Fischer’s experiments – It seemed like they rounded up Fischer’s other experiments a little too easily. An example of Fox’s early insistence on having a “victory” at the end of episode. I wished they had explained more about him and his effect on the Pattern.
    • Continuity – Yes, I know I listed this as one of the things I liked, but could they have been more obvious with having Olivia wear a necklace for the one and only time so far in the series? At least they could have had her wear it in another episode just so it wouldn’t seem like such an aberration.

    I’d probably give this episode a 7.0/10.0. I always find it entertaining.

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  5. Elaine says

    You know, I didn’t even remember this episode until I re-watched after getting my DVD set. It certainly wasn’t any ‘The Arrival’ (the episode, much like ‘Walkabout’ from Lost, sucked me in to the series) but it had wonderful continuity.

    Peter looked even worse for the wear after his encounter with September in the woods. I found it interesting that we probably witness our first conversation between Walter and Peter that wasn’t permeated with animosity and resentment…from Peter’s end primarily. Peter sits behind the piano, tickling the keys softly (something we discovered from the previous episode calms Walter, and apparently calms Peter, too) and they speak honestly with each other. The same goes with Olivia confiding in Charlie about her recent encounter with “John Scott”. Charlie, who is neither shocked or bewildered gives Olivia some sage, comforting advice in relation to what has recently happened to her. And then there’s Olivia coming to Walter at the end of the episode in search of a deeper understanding of why she’s continuing to see and interact with John.

    The story vehicle wasn’t the strongest in terms of Joseph Meagar, but it did provide a sort of foreshadowing of what we’ll discover about Olivia later with the Cortexiphan trials. The ability that Josheph showed towards the end of the episode turning on the car, the industrial trucks, power lines and buses was more deliberate…much like Olivia was able to help Nancy Lewis focus her pyrokenetic ability towards Agent Harris in ‘The Road Not Taken’. And also Olivia being able to somehow affect electricity when she defused that bomb in ‘Ability’….it came in a desperate moment, but both were able to focus their abilities when they previously seemed unable to control them.

    Despite not remembering the episode intially, I’ve always enjoyed re-watching it, because it functioned properly in continuing to set the stage of the idea the writers would continue to explore with our characters.

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  6. says

    I can see where you were coming from as regards Charlie. He’s stoic, so it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking.

    Actually, at the time I thought Astrid had ulterior motives. I’ve since changed my opinion.

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  7. mlj102 says

    Roco, when did you change the date for the next rewatch? I’ve been waiting all day for it to get posted, and I just now thought to double check that I had the right day, only to find that you had updated it at some point to make the day Wednesday instead. So sad … not to mention cruel!

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    • says

      mlj,

      Sorry about that – something came up which meant a slight delay to the 1.06 rewatch. It’s up now though, so looking forward to your thoughts, as always!

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      • mlj102 says

        It’s all good… I just had to give you a hard time for messing with my mind! But I understand that things come up. I’m just glad you post the rewatches at all! Thanks!

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  8. SF says

    I’ve always enjoyed this episode, because it is about an average “Joe”, in fact a loser guy, who gets more than he bargained for when he answers an ad to improve himself. I mean, before now, all the experiments were with people in the past, or university students (who always need that $100 offered to be a guinea pig). Meagher is average, and unconfident, and yet, at the end when he just wants to go home, I feel sorry for him. This is another case of: ‘ where is he’? Is MD looking after him now, even if Fischer wasn’t with MD? My money is yes. They just suck up whatever weirdos and science frights are still alive after Fringe Division solves the case :-) I was thinking that Meagher would be a good soldier (ok, he could never be a soldier. Helper to the cause then) to have if they have to face the shape changers. I wonder if his electrical ability could affect the shape changers in any way?

    I personally find the elevator scene with John and the dark hall very creepy and frightening. In dream images, elevators are symbols of consciousness, so maybe Olivia’s waking dream of John is her consciousness trying to show her what John in her mind knows – I agree with you, Roco, I think some of John is alive in Olivia – some part of his memory – and as she works on these cases, he is trying to get her attention to help her with them. I also think it is having the effect of opening her mind to the unusual and to perception, too. Peter had his mind opened roughly in The Arrival, Olivia is having her mind opened more gently – but still shockingly – through the shared consciousness with John. Anyway, that’s my theory! It kind of makes sense!

    This episode is like a cautionary tale of be careful what you wish for. I even find the electrical signal of a person interesting. I’m someone who slows down watches,and interferes with radio signals, so I’m aware that our bodies do give off an electrical impulse. I don’t know about tracking electrical impulses through birds, though!

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  9. says

    I think much of what this episode shows, even though it’s a standalone, is that everyone is starting to gain each other’s trust and get closer, more family like. Peter and Walter share one of their first friendly moments over the piano. Astrid is joking with Walter over her name. And Olivia feels close enough to Walter now to even snip at him, as she did when she berated him for not telling her sooner about the pigeon idea so that she could be working on it. That then leads them to their final moment of the show where they discuss what’s going on with her and her visions of John. The whole pigeon chase scene, where they are all getting a kick out of Walter’s boylike joy is sweet. Yes, it wasn’t the best episode overall, but I liked it for these nuances that show the team becoming closer.

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