Hello, Freqs!  This week on Radio Static, we discuss the Frequency Season 1 Episode 10,  The Edison Effect, which originally aired on January 4, 2017.  Frank and Raimy Sullivan pursue the Nightingale but things don’t go according to plan. 

We had an action and character packed episode this week!  

We traveled back to 1993, and learned more about Deacon Joe Hurley (played to creepy perfection by Kenneth Mitchell), his wife, Christa (April Telek), and his step-children, young Meghan Womack (Britt McKillip) and Robbie Womack (Dodge Prince).  rs-s1e10-deacon-joe-and-meaghan-picHe beat his wife and the children with a belt, and easily flipped between angry enforcer and jovial, happy husband and parent.  But we are still asking ourselves, is this man really a serial killer as well as a wife and child beater?  Meghan disclosed these behaviors to her therapist (Veena Sood), but wasn’t believed.  When we see Deacon Joe in 2016, holding the now adult Meghan (Beth Lacke) prisoner in the cabin where he beat them as children, he does shoot her when cornered by the police.  The point is that he shot her – he didn’t kill her and wrap her in rosary beads, but perhaps it was because he was out of time.  Why did he never kill her in the preceding 20 years, and where is Robbie?  Is he really dead?

As Raimy desperately searches for Meghan, Satch Rayna (Mekhi Phifer) stops her with the information that Detective Kyle Mosbey (Rob Mayes), rs-s1e10-raimy-kyle-and-mom-picour very own “Detective Hot Stuff,” has been in a car accident and is in the hospital.  While still under anesthesia, he professes his feelings for Raimy in front of his mother, Joann (Michelle Martin).  She begins to appreciate this man and while she still believes Daniel Lawrence (Daniel Bonjour) is the only person for her and that she is fated to be with him, she spends time with him because she believes everything will change to the way it should be after her father kills the Nightingale.

That leads us to the discussion of fate vs. free will.  Raimy believes in fate.  She believes the world will right itself, and that she will be with Daniel, her mother will be restored, and all with be right in the universe.  Her father, Frank, is deep in free will.  He questions whether or not they should kill Deacon Joe, not simply for the moral reasons (Frank does not want to be a cold blooded killer), but also for the potential Butterfly Effect.  Could they do something that significantly changes the timeline and end up doing more damage to the people they love?  Yet he moves ahead with the plan, buying supplies at a local hardware store, lining his car trunk with plastic, stealing funds from the church to make it appear that Deacon Joe has absconded with the church’s money, and then finally kidnapping Joe.  

We were introduced to a new character this week that will likely be involved with possibly both Sullivans in their respective timelines.  Gordon Haas, Sr. (played by Chris McKenna) and young Gordo (Ty Consiglio) see Frank in the hardware store.  While it seems like a great father and son relationship exists in 1996, that has changed by 2016.  Gordo, whom we learn has a law degree like his father, doesn’t want to become like his father – his dad abandoned their family for a younger woman, who has now tossed Gordon Sr. out of their Washington, DC house.  Dad is back to stay, and it appears he may be a defense attorney – something Frank and Raimy may need in their respective timelines!

Frank Sullivan is making steps toward reconciling with Julie, especially after their “sleepover” which thrills young Raimy (Ada Breker).  rs-s1e10-julie-and-frank-picThe child then deliberately leaves her clarinet, which she needs for her Winter Concert, in the back of her father’s car after he has told her that he can’t attend.  Young Raimy is deliberately trying to manipulate her father into coming to the concert so that her parents can spend time together and reconcile.  Instead, Frank pays attention to the phone message about the clarinet from Julie and is involved in a car accident.  Is Deacon Joe still alive in the trunk, or will he escape?  Will Frank be arrested?  

And Raimy – after Deacon Joe flees the cabin after killing Meghan, Raimy gives chase.  She finds him and shoots him in cold blood.  What will be the implications of this darkness that she has embraced?  Regardless of whether she believes time will change when her father kills Deacon Joe in 1996 and this will not matter, she has deliberately taken a life.  It will remain in her memory and become part of who she is.  She cannot escape this.

What is the meaning of the episode title, The Edison Effect?  Thomas Edison and his team were trying to find a light bulb filament that would work effectively in the late 1870’s/early 1880’s.  They thought they had found a solution, but it was not working the way they thought it would.  He was able to determine that the electricity was flowing through the filament and through the evacuated bulb, and he could measure it, but he could not explain why the bulb was blackening.  Electrons could flow only one way but never the other way, like water through a valve.  He got a patent on this new device, but did not realize he had discovered the basis of the electron tube (also known as a vacuum tube).  

In 1904, John Fleming, working for the British wireless Telegraphy Company, recalled the Edison Effect, and used it to convert a weak alternating current into a direct current that could actuate a meter or a telephone receiver, because it would allow the electricity to flow only in one direction.  He invented the first vacuum tube.  

The lesson?  The creative inventor takes ideas out of their original contexts and uses them in new contexts.  How does this apply to our team? 

Raimy is looking at Daniel in a new way, out of the context of her “original” timeline, and she is seeing Kyle for the first time as someone with whom she could have a relationship.  Frank is seriously contemplating the Butterfly Effect as he and Raimy talk through the ham radio, considering that what they do may have a greater change and impact on their lives and the lives of those around them without realizing that each thing they are doing is changing the future.  There is much for our characters to think about.  

Link to The Edison Effect, at Engineering and Technology History Wiki

Links to “Engines of Our Ingenuity” by John H. Lienhard, Episode 23, The Vacuum Tube and Episode 1323, Fleming’s Electric Valve

What will be the consequences of Frank’s and Raimy’s actions?  Tune in next week to find out, Freqs!

January 11, 2017 – Season 1 Episode 11 – “Negative Copy”


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