Join us for our Fringe Summer re-watch, where we review every episode of Fringe during the summer hiatus. Comments are welcome as we dig into the connections made over three seasons.
I chose to comment on "Power Hungry" because there are just some episodes of Fringe that crawl into your brain and make a home there(well, most of them do for me, actually)and this is one of those.
"Power Hungry" was written by Jason Cahill and Julia Cho, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the only Fringe episode they've written together to date, and it's a shame. Even though the feel of this one is different from the Pinkner/Abrams or Pinkner/Goldsman/Wyman episodes I've come to adore in this series, 105 is smooth and fits right in flawlessly after "The Arrival," which is a tough episode to follow.
On the surface this is the story of a common man trying to do the right thing every day, but feeling as though he falls short. There are things lacking in his life, like in Roy's in 103.
Our man Joseph answers a newspaper ad that promises to unlock his brain's hidden potential, and give him confidence. He gets alot more than he bargained for, as afterwards he can effect electric machinery of many types, from the simple alarm clock on his stand, to the fancy elevator generator in the Worcester parking garage. But apparently Joseph can't control his effects on said equipment, especially when he gets emotional, like when the apple of his eye, a cute office secretary flirts with a coworker in front of him, and her computer mainframe goes haywire.
Such is the fate of all those in the elevator car when the secretary picks up Joseph's phone that has fallen on the floor and sees dozens of pictures of herself on it. She's scared and repulsed, Joseph gets emotional, and the elevator car does the unthinkable and drives itself into the ground killing all the passengers except Joseph, who can apparently levitate due to his abilities.
Like a good Season 1 episode, the layers unwrap as the Fringe Division attempts to solve the mystery and find Mr. Meager, and thanks to a very livid Walter Bishop, we learn that again, Walter is reminded of a project he did for the US government. This time involving enhancing a person's electromagnetic signature, exposing homing pigeons to it, and finding said person. Peter and Olivia noodling move things along. As they look for little events rather than big ones, they find Joseph Meager's apartment, and his poor deceased mother.
In a brilliant plot addition, John Scott appears twice to Liv in this episode, the first time as a scary ghost in the dark of her FBI building. Amongst other things he tells her she's on the right track looking for a person. He also mentions Jacob Fischer but doesn't elaborate. Olivia, of course, has to race down to the lobby to see if John Scott really was on that elevator. And of course, it's empty. But Liv sees the maximum capacity is 2000 pounds. That gives her an epiphany and she wakes Peter and Walter in their hotel room in the middle of the night for the second time in the series. John Scott also appears to Olivia in the hallway at Harvard while she's trying to get a soda. He sneaks right up behind her, and tells her he didn't betray her. "You know that. In your heart. You know I wasn't the one." Now I find that wording very obscure, whether you've watched 105 before or after Season 3, it's still strange wording. (More on that later.)
At the end of the episode Olivia spots John Scott again on the sidewalk as she drives down a street in the Boston area. He leads her to a door in an alleyway. Liv parks and follows. She discovers many, many file boxes in a basement that looks like a makeshift office. Broyles explains to her that John Scott seemed to be leading his own investigations, and knew about "The Pattern."
Broyles tells us John Scott knew of 7 other "Josephs" being manipulated by Dr. Fischer. Broyles says fortunately none of them had been activated yet, and that all 7 have been rounded up. (It's nice to see some Pattern-related people tidyed-up. If you've watched through Season 3 you know there are many subjects still unaccounted for, like the almost 80 people with the brain chip implants from 205, and the other cortexiphan folks running around out there, to name just a few.)
Broyles hands Olivia a metal box and tells her they found some of John Scott's personal effects, and that "it would seem some of them were intended for you." With that Broyles scoots quickly out of the room, and you just know it's something personal. After Olivia looks at pictures of children that are probably John and his siblings, she spots what looks like a ring box in the bottom. She opens it and there's a beautiful diamond solitaire engagement ring. Olivia lifts it up and the word "ALWAYS" is inscribed inside in captial letters, as John's voice-over says "I will prove it Liv-that I love you-always."
There are 4 things, in my opinion, that make this episode memorable:
1) Peter's appearance and demeanor in the beginning. It may be the second time in the series the writers give Joshua Jackson some real meat. Peter appears freshly tortured by John Mosley, and this is vocalized by Walter near the beginning. Peter's bruises on his face and ligature marks on his wrists look fresh and believable. He tells us he hasn't slept well, and he looks totured. By the second half he's able to focus, thanks mostly to Olivia's presence by his side, and he gets some of his snark back. I love the way Peter stops Joseph Meager with a crowbar as he tries to run away from Olivia and the other authorities.
2)Walter steals the show in the second half. He seems 2 steps ahead of everyone on this case, and most likely is. He posited that the situation was pretty much identical to the electromagnetic/pigeon studies he had done, and knew what direction to head. Walter loves saying "Meee-gar," which while the young man's situation is pathetic, it is amusing to hear Walter and the gang banter his name about, and it would probably make a good drinking game!(Let us know if you try it.)
Walter also forgets Astrid's name a couple of times, which is par for the course. I honestly think he didn't forget it that last time, but just wanted to get a rise out of her.
3) The scenes with John Scott reappearing:I believe this was the real focus of this episode, and I believe this is all foreshadowing of Season 4 or even 5, that Olivia will "see Peter" in the exact same way. Walter explains in this episode that he has a theory that when Liv and John shared consciousness in the tank that some of his consciousness, memories, etc. crossed over into hers, which is foreshadowing of the episode "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide," and Liv's forced body-sharing with William Bell.
I have a theory that when our Olivia and Peter Bishop consummated their love, they shared consciousness, and that despite Peter Bishop's total disappearance at the end of Season 3, there will be pieces of Peter in our Olivia's consciousness that will come to light in the future.
4)Charlie Francis is catching on to the "P/O" element:There are 2 glorious scenes that prove this point. In the first, Peter glides right past Charlie with two cups of coffee, giving him a comfortable "Hey, Charlie," and scoots into the passenger seat of Olivia's SUV as though he's always been there, as Charlie looks on.
In the second scene, as the feds close in on the whereabouts of Joseph Meager, thanks to the magnetized homing pigeons, Charlie pulls up next to the SUV containing Peter and Olivia. Everyone's windows are rolled down. As Olivia Dunham kills the engine she turns to Peter and says in a very comfortable voice, "Hey, you stay here."
Less than thrilled with her direct order, Peter replies, "Whatever you say, Boss." Liv gets out of the SUV and falls into step alongside Charlie who stares at her and says, "I'm not gonna ask," to which Olivia snaps, "Good." Go watch that little scene again and you'll notice that Charlie knows the dynamic is changing with those two, and it's very amusing to see.
Unanswered Questions That Arise in "Power Hungry"
1) Walter's words on John Mosely:"I was thinking about that man. The one who tortured you. Something about him. So familiar."
How does our Walter Bishop know "The Rogue," AKA John Mosely?
2)Walter tells Peter it should be possible that people like Joseph Meager could deliberately control electronic devices. Did Joseph deliberately get his boss's arm stuck in that machine?
3)John Scott to Olivia:"Liv, I didn't betray you. You know that. In your heart. You know I wasn't the one." What does that mean exactly? John Scott appeared to try to run his lover off the road and put her in harm's way! If John Scott wasn't the one who betrayed Olivia, who was?
Following this strange line of thought, is this foreshadowing that someone else did or will betray Olivia in the future? Like who? Broyles? Walter? Lincoln? Peter?
If Peter Bishop Never Existed...
Interestingly, Walter might have figured this one out all by himself, BUT, if Peter never existed no one would have stopped Joseph Meager in his attempt to flee the authorites, and he might still be out there, causing electronic mayhem, injury, and death all over the globe.