Power Hungry

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Power Hungry
Episode105.jpg
Season: 1 Episode: 5
Air Date: 14 Oct 2008
Written by: Jason Cahill
Julia Cho
Directed by: Christopher Misiano
Starring: Main Characters
Guest Cast: Mark Valley as John Scott
Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Joseph Meegar
Max Baker as Jacob Fischer
Diane Davis as Bethany

Ash Roeca as Agent Rodriguez
Marylouise Burke as Flora Meegar
Glenn Fleshler as Ron Boynton
Harold Surratt as PK Simmons
Hoon Lee as Richard (Co-worker)
Marcel Simoneau as Co-worker
Doug Yasuda as Daniel Chin
David Bishins as Crewcut
Benim Foster as Man (Clinic)

Next: The Cure
Previously: The Arrival
Transcript  —  Additional Images
Introduction

Power Hungry is the fifth episode of the first season of FRINGE. It first aired on October 14, 2008. When a harried under-achiever discovers he has the ability to harness electricity - dangerous and deadly occurrences follow. The science team tracks the man through his personal electro-magnetic signature. Dunham sees John Scott on three occasions; on the last he leads her to a repository of Pattern files. Doctor Bishop reveals that he knows that Dunham has seen Scott.

Synopsis

Prologue

A sad-looking young man, Joseph Meegar, is awakened by his shrewish mother. He is late for work because his clock-radio is on the fritz. He scribbles some numbers in a notebook, then takes his temperature. When his mother berates him for his irresponsibility, she suddenly grabs her heart -- her pacemaker is malfunctioning.
Joseph arrives at work, BiCoastal Parcel service, and opens his locker to reveal an advertisement torn from a magazine and pasted in the locker door reading "Unlock Your Hidden Potential." As Joseph gazes fondly at the picture of a girl captured on his cell phone camera, his supervisor ridicules him. When Joseph's package scanner starts smoking, he is required to record deliveries by hand.

Joseph makes a delivery to an office in downtown Worcester. The receptionist is Bethany, the woman whose image was on Joseph's cell phone. Joseph makes awkward small talk, until they are interrupted by Bethany's suave and confident co-worker. They're going out for drinks later. While Joseph absorbs that blow, Bethany complains as her computer crashes.

Pre-Plunge
Joseph enters the building elevator just as The Observer exits. Bethany enters too, on her way to locate an information technologist. Joseph drops his phone, and she sees her picture on it. She is troubled and Joseph tries to explain himself -- but then the elevator car takes a sudden jolt. A momentary pause... and then the elevator plummets downward, accelerating, slamming into the ground floor in a spectacular crash. Bloody and broken bodies cover the floor. But Joseph, seemingly unharmed, gets up and sees the dead Bethany. Joseph exits through the parking lot, and all the cars' ignitions turn over, sirens blaring as he runs from the building in terror.

ACT I

Olivia and Charlie are walking down the street, and Olivia is clearly not herself. Finally, Olivia confesses that she saw John Scott -- her dead partner and former lover -- in her kitchen the previous night. She imagined it, of course, but it bothers her. Charlie says it's okay; this kind of reaction to trauma is to be expected.

In the lab, Broyles tells the team about a mysterious power surge in downtown Worcester that caused an elevator to literally drive itself into the ground. A similar event caused a Mag-Lev train in Tokyo to plow through the wall of a train station. These events may be harbingers of a new weapon technology.

Crash Site
At the elevator crash site, a technician explains that the elevator's motor drove the car right through the safety brakes -- almost as though another generator had come online. Walter, inspecting the bodies, says the passengers were electrocuted. They were all dead by the time they hit the ground. Walter takes Olivia's necklace and lets it float in the center of the elevator car, thus demonstrating that the whole area is still charged with magnetic energy.

Back in the lab, Walter discusses a Cold-War era project to make people trackable by homing pigeons. Humans are actually highly complex electrical systems, and each person possesses a unique electromagnetic signature that, in a theory, a pigeon could follow. But the human electromagnetic field was too weak to detect, so they tried to amplify it. The unfortunate result was damage to nearby electrical systems. As Walter explains this, a human heart from one of the elevator victims lying on the table unexpectedly beats. Someone has amplified a person's electromagnetic field, Walter says, and that's what is powering this heart. A person was the source of the accident.

Meanwhile, Joseph returns to BiCoastal Parcel, where his boss rebukes him and then fires him. Joseph pleads for another chance, but is interrupted when the boss's arm gets trapped and mangled in a package-sorting machine.

ACT II

Olivia is working late when Broyles comes in. Upon hearing Walter's theory that an altered person may be controlling electrical devices, Broyles tells Olivia about a cluster of off-the-grid medical clinics that collect clients using bogus claims on TV -- weight loss plans and so forth -- and then experiment on the subjects. Broyles says a man named Jacob Fischer is behind a number of these clinics, and he's wanted for illegal human alteration. This suggests that if someone is controlling electricity, maybe someone else made them that way.

Later. Olivia's work is interrupted by the lights going out. Olivia goes into the hallway with a flashlight. The elevator rings,
noframe
and to Olivia's shock, John Scott appears. He says he's here to help her. She's on the right track looking for a person, but Fischer is after him, too. She has to reach the guy before Fischer does. Reacting to Olivia's accusations of betrayal, John says that one day he'll prove he really loved her, always. But until then, she'll just have to wait. Then the elevator doors close. Olivia runs down to lower level to catch the elevator opening. But when the doors open, John is gone. And at the rear of the elevator car, Olivia sees the weight capacity sign: "Maximum capacity: 2000 pounds."
Olivia goes to Peter and Walter's hotel room, number 141. She reveals her discovery that the weight sensor in the elevator showed a total weight,
Apartment #141
before the crash, of 165 pounds more than the total weight of the victims. Someone must have survived the crash. There is no immediate explanation for that person not getting electrocuted and crushed like everyone else. Walter posits that the survivor must have been the source of the electromagnetic energy, and a form of electrodynamic levitation allowed him to escape the brunt of the impact. The senselessness of wrecking an elevator on which you are a passenger leads to the conclusion that the effect may have been unintentional. This person may not be in control of his powers, which means the team should be looking for small electrical anomalies.

At the FBI, Charlie documents a variety of electrical anomalies in downtown Boston, from malfunctioning automatic gates to closed circuit television cameras.

Joseph arrives at home and tells his mother he thinks he made a mistake. He read an advertisement in a magazine promising to unlock his hidden potential. He went to an office, where they said they could realign the electrical impulses of brain to mimic those of a more confident person. His mother denounces him for a fool, and as Joseph becomes increasingly upset, his mother's pacemaker fails and she dies. A shocked Joseph packs his bags to leave -- but on his way out he is intercepted by Fischer and an accomplice, who shoots Meegar with a tranquilizer.

ACT III

Charlie gets a report on a man who lost a hand in a conveyor malfunction at BiCoastal Parcel. He links this to the building's visitor log, where Joseph Meegar had signed in to make a delivery for BiCoastal Parcel. Olivia goes to Joseph's apartment and finds the dead Flora Meegar.

Back in the lab, Walter finds the Walkman that Joseph left behind in the elevator. He says the cassette tape inside was magnetized by Joseph's unique electromagnetic signature. Walter isolates the signature and says they can use it to find Joseph, relying on the homing capacity of pigeons.

In an undisclosed location, Joseph is strapped to a surgical bed with electrodes implanted in his temples, pleading with his captors
Tesla Cylinder
to be released.

Back in the lab, the team has brought in cages full of homing pigeons. Walter places them in a cylinder situated between Tesla coils. He activates the coils, surrounding the birds with electrical current to reorient their magnetic sense to seek out Joseph's unique signature.

Olivia is in the hallway again, getting a soft drink, when John reappears. He kisses her and, when she accuses him of trying to kill her, says, "I wasn't the one." Peter arrives and is unable to see John. it is unclear whether he was really there.

ACT IV

In Harvard Yard, the team prepares to release the birds. With a wild thrumming and fluttering, the pigeons take flight. Astrid and Walter track the birds using GPS transponders strapped their feet, while Peter and Olivia follow them by car.

At the secret clinic, Fischer performs a painful procedure on Joseph. "You don't realize what you are," Fischer tells him. "Look what science has made you: special."
Peter Clobbers Meegar

The birds sense Joseph and begin circling over a building. The FBI arrives, and Olivia and Charlie enter with guns drawn. Olivia tells Peter to stay outside. Inside, Joseph's abductors put him in the back seat of a car and prepare to escape. Joseph uses his power to accelerate the car forward, smashing a thug against a fence. Meanwhile, Olivia confronts Fischer. Charlie handcuffs him while Olivia goes after Joseph. In a mad chase through a factory yard, Joseph powers up heavy machinery and blows out power lines to stop her. But he doesn't anticipate Peter stepping out from behind a bus and knocking him out with a crowbar.

ACT V

A heavily sedated Joseph is rolled out on a gurney, headed for the hospital. He tells Olivia that he just wants to go home, that he never wanted to hurt anyone. Olivia regretfully says they can't let him go home. He has to be examined.

Back at the lab, Walter shocks Olivia by asking if she's been seeing John. He's not surprised to hear that she has. There is a reason, he says, and explains that these are not mere hallucinations. When Olivia and John's minds were linked (Pilot), part of John's consciousness and memories crossed over into her mind. Olivia says that John appears in the flesh and talks to her, and Walter says that's because he doesn't belong there. There is only room for one consciousness in Olivia's brain, so her mind is expelling John's. Will he go away? Walter says doesn't know, and pointedly asks: would she want him
John's Files
to?

Olivia is driving her car somewhere in Boston when she sees John walking along the sidewalk. She jumps from her car and follows him down to a cellar. John seemingly entered through the exterior door without a problem, but Olivia has to shoot the lock to enter. Inside, after moving down a hallway, she discovers a room filled with files. Later, at the FBI, Broyles explains that John Scott must have been doing his own investigations. There is no sign of who he was working with. Many of the files are encrypted and could take months to translate. But John definitely knew about the Pattern, and he knew more about Fischer. Fischer is refusing to cooperate with the authorities, but John's files have allowed them to locate some other test subjects like Joseph.

"ALWAYS"
Broyles also tells Dunham that they found John Scott's personal effects, and some were seemingly intended for her. Inside a box, Olivia finds photographs from John's youth and a diamond solitaire -- almost certainly an engagement -- ring. Olivia remembers what John told her: "You know I loved you... always." And then she sees the word "always" inscribed on the interior of band.

Quotes

"In the course of investigating other 'Pattern' cases, we’ve come across a handful of clinics... off-the-grid operations that solicited clients by making the same kinds of claims you see advertised on TV at 3AM... only they weren’t actually providing weight loss, or hair growth". - Broyles (to Olivia about how individuals are being lured into illegal experimentation as test subjects)

Walter's Lab Notes

Project 491 Exploration 7
Project 491 Exploration 7Trimmed Copy of Typed Notes
  • Sodium (atomic symbol "Na," atomic number 11) and potassium (atomic symbol "K," atomic number 19), mentioned in the text about Joseph Meegar's ionic transport system, are in the Group 1 (alkali metals) on the periodic table and, in physiology, both are electrolytes.
  • Walter refers to "my poetic namesake" and "the other Walter." The first stanza of "I Sing the Body Electric," by Walt Whitman, poem number 19 in his collection "Leaves of Grass." The full text may be found here
"I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul."
  • The River Lethe is the river of forgetfulness in the Underworld in Greek mythology
  • "Did you ever chance...to be forgotten." is a direct quote from "Birds Migrating at Midnight," prose by Whitman and featured in "Complete Prose Works" by Walt Whitman, which may be found here: [1]
  • Paumanok is a reference to Whitman's "Starting from Paumanok," poem number 10 in "Leaves of Grass."
  • The King of Cups is a card from a Tarot deck.
  • The "Golden Spiral" Walter refers to is curious. A rectangular shape drawn around a Fibonacci spiral will be a golden rectangle.

Trivia

General
  • The Observer exits the doomed elevator seconds before it crashes.
  • Elevator cars do not have onboard motors. They are lifted by an external motor, a reel, counterweights, and a flexible cable; they are allowed to fall by a controlled unreeling of the cable. There is nothing on an elevator car that could "drive" it downward into the ground.
Recurring Themes
  • Mind Control. Thought transference between individuals.

Previously

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    Illegal human experimentation was hinted at (The Arrival). Found on a telephone pole outside of the East River Diner is a flyer similar to the one Joseph Meegar possessed in his quest to unlock his hidden potential.

Music

Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon {{#icon: ITunesBadge.gif | Download from iTunes | 61 | }}

Glyphs


—   Plot Relevant Questions   — Address theories about questions on Power Hungry/Theories   Ask minor questions on the Talk Page  

 1) Do not answer the questions here.
 2) Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.

  • Why was Meegar being physically altered by Fischer to conduct large amounts of electricity?

Episodes

Season 5 : Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11In AbsentiaThe RecordistThe Bullet That Saved The WorldAn Origin StoryThrough The Looking Glass And What Walter Found ThereFive-Twenty-TenThe Human KindBlack BlotterAnomaly XB-6783746The Boy Must LiveLibertyAn Enemy Of FateSeason 4 : Neither Here Nor ThereOne Night In OctoberAlone In The WorldSubject 9NovationAnd Those We've Left BehindWallflowerBack To Where You've Never BeenEnemy Of My EnemyForced PerspectiveMaking AngelsWelcome To WestfieldA Better Human BeingThe End Of All ThingsA Short Story About LoveNothing As It SeemsEverything In Its Right PlaceThe ConsultantLetters Of TransitWorlds ApartBrave New World, Part 1Brave New World, Part 2Season 3 : OliviaThe BoxThe PlateauDo Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?Amber 314226955 kHzThe AbductedEntradaMarionetteThe FireflyReciprocityConcentrate And Ask AgainImmortality6BSubject 13OsStowawayBloodlineLysergic Acid Diethylamide6:02 AM ESTThe Last Sam WeissThe Day We DiedSeason 2 : A New Day In The Old TownNight Of Desirable ObjectsFractureMomentum DeferredDream LogicEarthlingOf Human ActionAugustSnakeheadGrey MattersUnearthedJohari WindowWhat Lies BelowThe Bishop RevivalJacksonvillePeterOlivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.White TulipThe Man From The Other SideBrown BettyNorthwest PassageOver There, Part 1Over There, Part 2Season 1 : PilotThe Same Old StoryThe Ghost NetworkThe ArrivalPower HungryThe CureIn Which We Meet Mr. JonesThe EquationThe DreamscapeSafeBoundThe No-BrainerThe TransformationAbilityInner ChildUnleashedBad DreamsMidnightThe Road Not TakenThere's More Than One Of Everything

Transcripts

Season 5 : Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11In AbsentiaThe RecordistThe Bullet That Saved The WorldAn Origin StoryThrough The Looking Glass And What Walter Found ThereFive-Twenty-TenThe Human KindBlack BlotterAnomaly XB-6783746The Boy Must LiveLibertyAn Enemy Of FateSeason 4 : Neither Here Nor ThereOne Night In OctoberAlone In The WorldSubject 9NovationAnd Those We've Left BehindWallflowerBack To Where You've Never BeenEnemy Of My EnemyForced PerspectiveMaking AngelsWelcome To WestfieldA Better Human BeingThe End Of All ThingsA Short Story About LoveNothing As It SeemsEverything In Its Right PlaceThe ConsultantLetters Of TransitWorlds ApartBrave New World, Part 1Brave New World, Part 2Season 3 : OliviaThe BoxThe PlateauDo Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?Amber 314226955 kHzThe AbductedEntradaMarionetteThe FireflyReciprocityConcentrate And Ask AgainImmortality6BSubject 13OsStowawayBloodlineLysergic Acid Diethylamide6:02 AM ESTThe Last Sam WeissThe Day We DiedSeason 2 : A New Day In The Old TownNight Of Desirable ObjectsFractureMomentum DeferredDream LogicEarthlingOf Human ActionAugustSnakeheadGrey MattersUnearthedJohari WindowWhat Lies BelowThe Bishop RevivalJacksonvillePeterOlivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.White TulipThe Man From The Other SideBrown BettyNorthwest PassageOver There, Part 1Over There, Part 2Season 1 : PilotThe Same Old StoryThe Ghost NetworkThe ArrivalPower HungryThe CureIn Which We Meet Mr. JonesThe EquationThe DreamscapeSafeBoundThe No-BrainerThe TransformationAbilityInner ChildUnleashedBad DreamsMidnightThe Road Not TakenThere's More Than One Of Everything