Fringe Rewatch – 1.05 Power Hungry

Power Hungry Rewatch

Synopsis: When it’s discovered that a rather simple man has the ability to harness electricity, dangerous and deadly occurrences follow, and our unlikely trio investigates this super-charged oddity. Meanwhile, Olivia has a high-voltage encounter of a different kind when she is rocked by a blast from her past, and Dr. Bishop turns to his feathered friends and enlists homing pigeons to help him break the case in the “Power Hungry” episode of FRINGE

General Thoughts: This episode held up a lot better than I expected it to. The premise is perhaps the most believable of the first 5 episodes, giving it extra relevance.

Below the jump I share my new observations and perspectives, explore the unresolved mysteries, highlight the mysteries closed by information gained in this episode and cap it off with my final thoughts on this episode retrospective.

New Observations & Perspectives

Kiss me before my battery runs out!1.) Considering that the A-story centered around a guy who could harness electricity, is it mere coincidence that John Scott seems to make contact with Olivia via electricity (both in this episode and “The Arrival”)?

2.) Meegar mentions that Fischer put him under ‘some kind of hypnosis’ – could this tie in to any of the subsequent green-green-green-red hypnosis techniques?

3.) Broyles mentions that they found “7 other potential Joseph’s”, who had not yet been “activated” – the phrase Cortexiphan-lite springs to mind.

4.) When Olivia confides in Walter about her ‘John visitations’, he asks her “do you want him (to go away)?” I just find this to be a very interesting question for Walter to ask – he can be surprisingly aware when he wants to be, particularly with matters of the heart.

5.) Peter asks Walter: “So you’re saying that people can control electronic devices?” On second watch I take it as an almost knowing question, and possibly ties into my theory lightbox from “Ability”. Not to mentions Peter’s TSOS comment about being able to bring “anything mechanical back from the dead”. I’m telling ya..that boy has ability.

6.) When John appears to Olivia in the FBI building, he tells her that he can prove himself, but “not here, it’s not the way it works”. Are there ‘rules’ that govern the ‘afterlife’? Perhaps he can only serve as a guide and not a direct influence?

7.) John says that he didn’t betray Olivia, that he “wasn’t the one”. Is he suggesting that someone else did betray her? If so, who? Phillip, for sending her to the storage facility, perhaps?

8.) The words “Your Choice” on the drinks machine – possible foreshadowing to later concepts involving choice (“The Road Not Taken” particularly springs to mind)

9.) So, we know that David Jones attempted to use massive amounts of energy (Nina’s energy cell) to cross over to a parallel reality. Could Meegar – or his power, have been used to open up such a portal? Was this Fischer’s intention, to create human energy cells? Could David Jones have been Fischer’s anonymous client? (I know he was in jail at this time, but since when did that stop him from scheming?)

This idea is slightly tempered by the fact that Fischer appeared to be aligned with Massive Dynamic.

Unresolved Mysteries

Walt1.) Walter mentions that John Mosley (The Arrival) looked “so familiar” – he spent the previous night thinking about it. This is never mentioned again, although I definitely stand by my original belief that Mosley is an Observer-of-sorts!

2.) Why did Peter drop-out of MIT?

Closed Mysteries

born to run1.) Meegar survived the elevator fall because he was both the “conductor and the source” – he produced a kind of electro-dynamic levitation, which momentarily allowed him to avoid the impact of the fall.

2.) Olivia was able to see John because a part of his consciousness crossed over (to hers) during the synaptic transfer.

Final Thoughts

OliviaThere’s a saying – “be careful what you wish for”. Olivia not so much wished, but demanded answers. Finally she began to find them..or rather, they found her – the truth about John Scott, even though in her heart, she already knew that he didn’t betray her. Over-thinking can sometimes cloud judgement, and it’s that questioning which begins to plague Olivia to the point where she is not satisfied by the answers she does get (heck, even Broyles had to ask her if she ever smiles. Oh Broyles!).

Then there was Joe Meegar, an unimpressive guy who longed to unlock his hidden potential. He was given the ‘gift’ of power..more than he could handle – “look what science has made you”. Very deliberate words spoken by a man too power hungry to see the human suffering his science had caused, or too committed to the cause (whatever that is)  to worry about collateral damage.

Joe’s final words before he was carted off for more probing:- “I wanna go home”. Olivia’s expression tightened – she had recently asked Broyles something eerily similar. It was now her turn to relay the bad news: “I’m afraid we can’t let you do that”. Initially her response seems to contain a little less sympathy than Broyles afforded her. But on second inspection I simply heard her say: “I’m afraid (too)”.

Best Performer: Anna Torv

Best Moment: “Wool socks” – classic.

Retrospective Rating: 7/10

You can find our original “Power Hungry” eastereggs here.

Next rewatch episode: The Cure – Sunday (ETA)


  1. mlj102 says

    Nice catch with the hypnosis comment possibly relating to the green, green, green, red pattern. It’s probably one of those little details that we’ll never see confirmed, but I think you’re right and that it likely was the method used.

    I also found John’s comment about not being the one who betrayed Olivia to be interesting. He’s implying that someone did betray her, and if it’s not him, then who? There really aren’t that many options – she doesn’t really associate with many people – Broyles would seem the most obvious, but in what way could he have betrayed her? Sending her to the storage units doesn’t really fit the definition of betrayal — at least not to the same intensity as I would consider John’s betrayal to be. The only other people we know of who she worked with enough who could’ve even been in a position to betray her are Astrid or Charlie (in the pilot, she’s barely met Nina, Peter, and Walter, so I don’t think they could be considered in this case) but there’s no indication of anything they could have done that could be considered betrayal. So I’m rather puzzled by that whole mystery. Of course, I still don’t buy the idea that John is innocent, so it could just be another lie he’s feeding her to try and cause her to mistrust those around her.

    Anna Torv does such a great job in the scenes involving John. She manages to convey the fear and the hurt of betrayal, while also showing the vulnerability and how Olivia still loves him. Given that she can still feel love for him even when she believes he betrayed her, I think it really shows just how much she must have loved him to begin with.

    I’m also not completely convinced that her communication with John is merely a side effect of being connected while in the tank. I might be completely making something out of nothing, but I think it’s more complicated than that. For now, I’m sticking with my theory that it’s an alternate universe John trying to contact her.

    I don’t really blame Olivia for getting to the point where she isn’t satisfied with the many questions that remain unanswered and she doesn’t believe the answers she does get. Especially at this point, she’s still in a sensitive position where she feels like she was betrayed by the person who she probably trusted more than anyone else. After your trust has been shattered, you’re bound to be reluctant to trust anything again. As she mentioned in The Same Old Story, she feels like she has to reexamine everything she and John ever did together. She doesn’t know what she can trust. And, a lot of the answers she does get are cryptic and shaky at best. Considering all that she’s been given in these first episodes, I think she’s doing a very good job at making sense of it and handling it all one thing at a time and being cautious and rational about it all, while also having an open mind.

    Broyles reports that eight people died in the elevator crash, but from what I can tell, there were only four people in there, not including Joseph Meegar. Perhaps this is just an unintentional goof, but it could be a clue. The numbers could have been anything, yet Broyles reported 8 deaths – which is exactly twice as many as the amount of people seen in the elevator prior to the crash. This made me think of The Road Not Taken, where Olivia is seeing two different crime scenes: one where only one person died, and one where there were two people who were killed – as if she were seeing double. If the numbers had been anything else – five and eight, or seven and eight, or whatever – I would probably dismiss it without a second thought, but the exactness of it makes me wonder if the discrepancy was intentional.

    It really stood out to me when they spent a great deal of time using the song “Can’t fight this feeling” as the background music in the beginning. It wasn’t their typical style of opening scenes and music and such. I know there was speculation in episode four if there was any significance behind the use of the song “Crazy” in the diner, and I wonder if the same could be said of this song choice. But if there is any hidden meaning behind it, I really have no clue what it would be.

    There were a couple of reflections that I noticed in this episode. First was in the beginning when Meegar looks in the tiny mirror in his locker. The other one is near the end when Olivia and Peter are in the car, ready to follow the birds, and we see Olivia’s reflection in the side mirror. Pretty good ones in this episode.

    Favorite scene: The “wool socks” scene truly was classic, but since you mentioned it already, I’ll mention a different one. I thought the way they handled the concept of the birds was done very well – lots of funny moments. I particularly liked when Astrid and Walter opened the cages so the birds could fly away and…nothing happened. Too funny!

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    • FlashWriter says

      Very, Very well said (and well written, BTW). Excellent points, all. Like you, I especially liked the the “wool socks” scene and the bird release scene. When Walter flipped open the cages and nothing happened, well, it so completely mirrored some of the things that happen in my day job (I.T.), that I laughed out loud when I saw it the first time. It lent the feeling of reality into this new world where, already, we were starting to see instances where things that should have added up, didn’t. As Sherlock Holms once said, “When you have eliminatged the possible, whatever remains-however imporobable-must be the truth.” (Sound familliar, all you Walter fans out there?) Anyway, I digress. It was that I so liked your comments I just had to give you a well-done.

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    • says

      “Anna Torv does such a great job in the scenes involving John. She manages to convey the fear and the hurt of betrayal, while also showing the vulnerability and how Olivia still loves him. Given that she can still feel love for him even when she believes he betrayed her, I think it really shows just how much she must have loved him to begin with.”
      Very true.

      I wonder if we’ll see some of their backstory at some point? I’m certain we’ll see Olivia’s, but it might be interesting to know their journey as a couple and whether John truly struggled with hiding secrets from her/what he knew about her past, etc.

      “I’m also not completely convinced that her communication with John is merely a side effect of being connected while in the tank. I might be completely making something out of nothing, but I think it’s more complicated than that. For now, I’m sticking with my theory that it’s an alternate universe John trying to contact her.”

      I agree that it’s more complicated than being a side-effect of the tank – I think it is also something to do with Olivia’s innate (or Cortexiphaned) abilities. I’m still not convinced that the Scott we saw was communicating to her from an alt. reality other than her subconscious (although it’s a very worthy and possible idea!). The main sticking point for me would be that Scott seems to believe he is ‘dead’, rather than manifesting himself from a parallel world. He also speaks as if everything that has happened, has happened because of what he/they did in ‘this’ reality, as opposed to something his alternate version did. He also says that he knows that can’t be together – would alt. John say that if he knew so much? I’m not sure, but maybe.

      That said, perhaps there is a way for characters in certain advanced realities to use manifestations of themselves to communicate, almost like ‘avatars’? This may be one of the story elements which come into play later on. In Scott’s case, this could either erode the emotional resonance of 1.13 (if it wasn’t the Scott she knows who said all of those things post-death, than does it really matter to her?), or build upon the idea that all versions of ourselves are ‘connected’ in a way more important than has so far been explored.

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      • mlj102 says

        FlashWriter: Were you referring to me? If so, then thank you! I love having a place to share my opinions and observations. I know my posts tend to be rather long, so I apologize, and I’m glad you read and enjoy them!

        Roco: I agree that it would be amazing to see some of the back story to Olivia and John. I’d like to see more of the cases they’d worked on together and what other things John was involved in and how he managed to hide it from her. I’m really hoping they’ll give more information on John and his motivations to a greater extent as there’s certainly a lot more they could explore and a lot of questions left to answer!

        You make some good points about the origin of the communications with John. I’d always kind of thought the comment of “we can’t be together” would make sense with the whole alternate John theory because if he’s in an alternate universe, then technically they really can’t be together. I don’t know… I know there are a lot of holes in that theory, but it seems like there are a lot of holes in the “side effects” theory, too (although I do like what you said about it possibly being enhanced by the cortexiphan– that’s a definite possibility!). I guess we’ll just have to wait to get more information before we can know for sure.

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  2. Gil_Cdn says

    Kill Report # 5

    Here is the death toll count for ep.1-05 Power Hungry:

    Bethany (the receptionist, that Joseph Meegar has a crush on) plus 2 male and 1 female staff in the elevator (although Broyles later mentioned that eight (8) passengers had died!?!?) = 4

    Joseph’ mom (dead at 1:15 am due to pace-maker malfunction) = 1

    Total Death toll (up to and including ep.5):
    149 + 3 + 13 + 12 + 5 = 182

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