Toni Collette as Margot, frowning at someone off camera in The Power.

Why the EOD Test in Amazon’s ‘The Power’ Is so Repugnant—and so Real

The latest episode of Prime Video’s The Power, which explores what might happen if women and other people with high estrogen levels gained the power to electrocute people at will, introduces a new tool to keep women subjugated: an EOD test. EOD, or “electric organ discharge,” can apparently be detected by flooding someone’s body with electricity, and one of the show’s more misogynist characters quickly uses it to his advantage.

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Margot (Toni Collette) is the mayor of Seattle, and she constantly butts up against Daniel (Josh Charles), the governor of Washington, who’s trying to put a stop to her senate bid. Daniel announces that all women working for Seattle’s government are required to take the EOD test or risk retaliation. Margot protests that requiring such a test is illegal. However, Daniel has declared a state of emergency in Washington, granting himself extraordinary powers.

Daniel’s hatred of powerful women is evident from the very beginning of the show. He talks down to Margot and goes behind her back. He’s especially angry when she becomes the de facto spokeswoman for EOD. The test will accomplish two things for Daniel: it will decrease Margot’s political power, and put women in their place.

Margot takes the test. It’s humiliating, invasive, and physically painful, but she’s able to pass—even though she’s been given EOD by her daughter, Jos. Afterwards, Margot hurries outside, where she discharges a copious amount of electricity as soon as she’s alone.

If that scene doesn’t make you angry, then you haven’t been following news about gender in the real world.

The EOD test couldn’t happen in real life, could it?

A painful, discriminatory test that can get people punished because of their bodies? It absolutely could happen in real life. In fact, it already does.

Take, for instance, the transvaginal ultrasounds that countless people have been forced to endure when seeking abortion care. For years, anti-choice states have required abortion patients to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds (yes, that means an ultrasound probe inserted into your vagina) and view the resulting images before having the procedure. The only purpose of these ultrasounds is to shame and humiliate the patient.

More recently, transphobic states like Florida have tried to force female athletes to submit sensitive information about their bodies, including their menstrual histories, to prove that they’re “actually” girls and women. Some women, like Caster Semenya, are facing new rules that could force them to alter their body chemistry before competing.

Plus, there are plenty of routine tests and procedures that are painful and traumatic—and whose medical necessity has been questioned. Far too many gynecological appointments include painful and invasive pelvic exams, even when they’re not medically necessary. You can find plenty of rationalizations for these kinds of procedures, but many of those rationalizations are as flimsy as Daniel’s “state of emergency.” (Note that there are, of course, situations in which invasive tests are necessary!)

Women’s bodies are viewed as public property, both inside and out. Members of the public reserve the right to poke and prod our bodies however they please—especially when the goal is to keep the patriarchy in place.

Daniel’s EOD test is infuriating to watch. Similar tests are even more infuriating to live through.

(featured image: Prime Video)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>