Not even Noah Taylor’s excellent Johnny Royale can save this episode from being the worst.
For the first time since the series started, I rolled my eyes during Johnny’s scenes, which (in his defense) also included Christian, who I still can’t find a way to care about. In fact, Christian might be the character I least care about on a show of mostly forgettable players. Too bad he’s the main character.
Things have started to really shift on the show. At first, we’re forced to follow around a really bad version of the Justice League, which was made up of old dudes who were considering retirement. Olympia got offed, Christian lost his powers, Retro Girl is depressed, and Triphammer barely has any human parts left. But what should the show have proceeded to do? Convince us that the fight wasn’t over for these characters, that they still had a purpose, that they weren’t obsolete like in that one Twilight Zone episode.
It’s just that they totally are. As we’ve come to know the younger characters — Calista, Krispin, Zora — it’s just become annoying to have to hear the older heroes mope around episode after episode. Yes, they’re the ones that understand the gravity of what’s going on in the city, but their hard-earned wisdom hasn’t motivated them to do anything about it. Except complain. Powers is like if Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, and Colossus spent their later days playing cards and complaining about kids these days. It’s just boring.
Yes, Johnny decides to take action against Wolfe, who is the psychotic Professor X of this show, and enlists Christian, who is just the most selfish dude ever (and who can root for this guy?), to help him. I think the episode closed on a high note, as the estranged superhumans agreed to team up like old times, but that’s only after we have to suffer through a 30-minute long debate on the moral consequences of allowing Wolfe to live/get executed by the state or killing him themselves. And why do we need to watch the douchey 20-year-old versions of Christian and Johnny be little tools? Did Sony just have a surplus in the production budget? I would’ve allocated those funds to the effects.
Which brings me to the second half of the episode. Really, I’m not going to bother with the first 30 minutes because they’re full of unwanted exposition, flashbacks, and a chase scene between Deena and Calista that doesn’t make any sense. The acting is very stiff in scenes designed to repeat what we already know. Oh, and Retro Girl, Triphammer, and Christian are sad about everything.
But that second half, Retro Girl’s benefit, is what I want this show to be week after week. Any opportunity Powers gets to be a campy X-Men show with terrible effects and ridiculous superhumans, it should take it. The show’s brand of “bad television” is what sets it apart from every other comic book show out right now. Yes, maybe CW’s The Flash is really cheesy, Arrow is melodramatic, and Agents of SHIELD is super boring, but none of them bask as well in the awful bloodstained camp as Powers does when it decides to go there.
So often, the show is so poorly acted and the effects so awfully rendered that it almost seems purposeful. Were Sony to add a bit of surrealism, Powers would turn out to be the greatest Lynchian piece of good trash ever produced. In a world full of superhero and comic book adaptations cut from the same cape, the genre really needs a show like Powers.
All Powers has to do is accept that it’s never going to be a serious drama full of consequences, repercussions, and philosophies we care about. I don’t care. I care about grungy Wolfe eating dudes’ faces off, the blood splashing all over the walls like Kool-Aid.
The staged fight between Zora and Red Hawk, a throwaway villain who is just the lamest excuse for a character ever, really hit the spot this week, providing much-needed action after weeks of inactivity. I like how Zora is developing into this hero meme, like Retro Girl did before her. Only Zora really sucks at being a superhero — or is just too weak for the job. I’d like to follow her around some more. She doesn’t mope around half as much as her hero.