SPOILERS follow for The Power Episode 6.
Episode 6 of Prime Video’s The Power presented the show’s most horrifying moment yet. At the press conference where Mayor Margot Cleary-Lopez (Toni Collette) announced that she’s running for Senate, a man in the audience approached her and her family, doused himself in oil and set himself on fire. He was a supporter of the fictional right-wing conspiracy theorist UrbanDox, and the move appeared to be an act of protest against Margot’s campaign. In the series, which adapts Naomi Alderman’s novel of the same name, Margot is a politician fighting for gender equality. Teen girls around the world have been discovering a new ability to produce electricity from their fingers, and the Seattle mayor is one of the few voices in government advocating for its use.
UrbanDox’s misogynistic beliefs, on the other hand, have been spreading like wildfire across the Internet — even Margot and Rob Lopez‘s ( John Leguizamo) son, Matty (Gerrison Machado), is a frequent listener to the anonymous blogger’s channel. The conspiracy theorist views the power in teen girls as a threat to men, and the man at the press conference seemed determined to relay this message.
‘LOSING MY BOY’
“It’s the ultimate kind of rage against change from this guy,” Collette told Fandom of the scene. “And for it to come so close to my family, that’s the most worrying aspect for Margot.” The actor also discussed UrbanDox’s response to teen girls gaining the ability. “It’s really interesting because you can misconstrue the story and think it’s about females coming in and taking over,” she said. “But it’s not about domineering, it’s about inclusivity and equality.”
Unfortunately, Matty has almost entirely embraced UrbanDox’s ideology. As the rift in their family widens, Rob tries his best to speak with his son. “He’s my boy and he’s having issues with his sister having this power,” Leguizamo said. In the show, Jos Cleary-Lopez (Auliʻi Cravalho) is one of the first characters we see with the ability. ” So I had to try to explain to him that the world is better with women having power and that it’s not going to diminish him,” Leguizamo said. “But obviously, I’m losing my boy.”
THE REAL INSPIRATION BEHIND URBANDOX
UrbanDox plays a significant role in the Amazon Prime Video series, and was also a key character in Alderman’s novel. ” I can tell you exactly what I based UrbanDox on in the book,” she said. “I was a woman working in video games in 2014, during Gamergate.” Alderman recalled the online campaign that took place in the years before she published The Power. “I think that didn’t often break into the mainstream media, that women in games were really suffering just for being a woman who likes to make video games,” she said. “At that time, I based [UrbanDox] on the sort of rhetoric that was going around — women are supposed to be raising children, in the kitchen.”
Alderman said that Gamergate was not a unique event. “Unfortunately, every time there’s a liberation of any group actually — not just women — there’s also a pushback from people who feel like that is going to take something away from them,” she explained. “There’s always that line where people go, right, so you’re afraid that the world is going to treat you like you’ve been treating these people in whatever group it is.”
The author also discussed UrbanDox’s impact on Matty. “You don’t have to be a terrible person to be influenced by social media that has been really force-fed to a lot of young people,” Alderman said. “I think that’s also important.”
Executive Producer Naomi de Pear feels similarly about the character. “For more vulnerable listeners like Matty, it’s hard for them to differentiate who they should listen to and who they shouldn’t,” she said. “And that sort of radicalization is happening all the time.” De Pear also recognizes the parallels between UrbanDox and rising conspiracy theorists today. “In terms of Andrew Tate recently, and there are all sorts of people I could name and won’t but, the scary thing about this sort of rhetoric is that sometimes it can come in a very comforting form that seems very well-informed seems like it has humanity’s best interests at heart,” she said.
How Matty will respond to the act of violence at the press conference is yet to be seen. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Matty will experience an evolution in himself,” Alderman said.
The Power is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.