The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for "Power Hungry," the fifth episode of the Fox series, "Fringe."
As the episode "Power Hungry" proves, answering a self-improvement ad in the world of "Fringe" can unceremoniously dump you in the role of a deranged scientist's lab rat.
Unknown to Joseph Meegar (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), his attempts to bolster self-esteem through a shady clinical trail leaves him mysteriously surrounded by electrical disturbances. Computers freeze, alarm clocks fail, and a elevator crashes, killing eight occupants!
Agent Olivia Dunham and her team are called in to investigate the elevator disaster. Walter is quick to indicate the occupants died before impact. He points out electrical burns on the bodies. In fact, the entire elevator is an electromagnetic zone. So powerful is the phenomenon, Walter floats Dunham's neckless in mid air.
Back at the Harvard lab, Walter once again reveals his past is tied to another "Fringe" mystery. He suspects a person is responsible for the elevator's electromagnetic condition. Walter was associated with an early government program to make humans trackable by pigeons. The theory was to augments a human's unique electromagnetic field, making it strong enough for the birds to detect. Unfortunately, side effects from the augmentation process were rampant. Test subjects suffered disastrous encounters with electronic devices.
Meanwhile, Dunham is haunted by hallucinations of a dead Agent John Scott (Mark Valley). He promises answers and insists he loves her. She finds a possible explanation from Walter. He guesses the previous experiment connecting her to Scott's mind may have imprinted her with his consciousness, experiences, and thoughts.
As the elevator investigation continues, Dunham discovers Meegar's involvement. But the scientist behind his electromagnetic manipulations, Dr. Fischer (Max Baker), seizes him first.
To reveal Meegar's whereabouts, Walter suggests another excursion in weird science. With the aid of a pigeon flock tuned to Meegar's electromagnetic signature, Dunham trails the birds with a GPS tracker. The pigeons prove effective, and Dr. Fischer is apprehended. Meegar attempts to slip the scene but is smartly subdued by a crowbar-wielding Peter.
It's evident Fischer and his experimentation serves as another enticing piece of "the pattern." Meegar is a trophy for their perverted mantle, and likely a future weapon had Dunham's intervention failed.
By the episode's conclusion, another encounter with Scott leads Dunham to a building's basement. There she finds stacks of his files and research. Scott was conducting his own "pattern" investigations, including tracking Dr. Fischer's activities. Amongst the room's content is also an engagement ring. Perhaps Scott's love for Dunham was real after all?
"Fringe" continues a confident trek through its inaugural season. Though not the show's best hour to date, "Power Hungry" is still a solid entry. Good directing, writing, and outstanding production values are maintained as the series' norm.
The casual surrender by Dr. Fischer is very interesting. In the past, those associated with "the pattern" exhibited a fevered desire to avoid capture, going as far as committing suicide. What's this guy's deal? He obviously has a plan. Dunham needs some serious interrogation time with this creep. After all, several disastrous electromagnetic events around the world were indicated by Agent Phillip Broyles, so Dr. Fischer likely played a part.
For a fleeting moment, we spot The Observer (Michael Cerveris) exiting the elevator before the accident. Nice! Good to see him consistently fixed to these whacked-out events.
What Didn't Work
It could just be me, but Agent Astrid Farnesworth seemed a little too comfortable with Walter after the events of "The Arrival." She may be a forgiving person, but working again with crazy Walter looming behind her takes a stout heart.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"Fringe" stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole and Kirk Acevedo. "Power Hungry" was written by Jason Cahill and Julia Cho, and w as directed by Christopher Misiano. "Fringe" airs on FOX Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
Bryant Griffin is the Lead Designer and a Staff Writer of Airlock Alpha, writing out of the Tampa, Fla. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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