Powers: Level 13 Review

Powers surprised our reviewer this week with how tense and exciting it was. Here is our review...

Okay, I’m really excited to tell you that Powers wasn’t the worst this week. In fact, I was really taken by “Level 13,” even excited during several moments in the episode.

Wow, I even cared about Christian this week, which almost never happens. Sharlto Copley is one of my favorite sci-fi character actors, but he hasn’t been given enough room to really play with his character. Week after week, we’ve been witness to mopey Christian Walker, who lost his powers and will do anything to get them back. Sometimes, he tries to do something about it, but most of the time, he’s trapped in an awfully cliche cop drama that just doesn’t let up. 

But we return to the Shaft, the place where most of the best moments of this show have happened. Any time these characters are out on the street performing a poor rendition of CSI: Metropolis, doing “cop shit,” this show is unbearable. I mean, maybe I’m the one with the problem, right? I really dislike cop dramas that don’t aim at the high art approach of something like True Detective. I’m a snob that way, sure, but how many of these copycat cop shows can one overly-pampered, soft-bellied American viewer take?

About the only compliment I can give this show as a cop drama is that it doesn’t cop out with villain-of-the-week episodes every week. I don’t particularly enjoy those either (I’m the TV anti-christ). But now I wonder if Powers would benefit from such episodes? Anything beats whatever boring cop thing Christian is doing every week…or not doing.

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Oh, but Christian is really up to superhero shit this week, and that’s exciting. His team-up with Johnny is perfect, as they both take measures against each other, scheming behind each other’s backs. All of a sudden, Powers is a superhero buddy heist show, and that combination is exactly as awesome as it sounds. 

Very quick recap: Christian and Johnny, once friends turned mortal enemies, agree to team up, infiltrate the Shaft, and kill Wolfe before he can cause any more harm. Johnny is incapable of killing Wolfe himself because he loves him and Christian won’t kill the villain because he wants his powers back. There you have it: that’s all the baggage that will cause these two to fail in the end. Oh, and they totally do, after double-crossing each other, because now Wolfe is loose in the Shaft again.

Although the fragmented narrative that makes up the planning portions and the actual mission are a bit confusing at times, it all plays out quite well. Christian’s decisions during the mission aren’t predictable, even if the outcome is exactly what you expected. He plays both sides to get what he wants, which is nice bit of development. I love how egotistical and selfish Christian can get because that means he’s not just sitting around moping. This episode is all about him getting what he wants, no matter who he has to screw over. 

The Simons do a bit of screwing everyone over in the end of the episode, letting Wolfe loose in order to save Johnny. Eddie Izzard is perfect in his scenes as always, not with less of a grungy inclination and a more refined demeanor. The guy doesn’t even bother killing anyone on his way out of Level 13. A calm and cool Wolfe is even more terrifying than a frantically hungry one. Go figure. I really want him to get out of the Shaft and terrorize the streets. Of course, that would mean that we’d probably need a season 2 to bring him down. And I just don’t think that’s going to happen. All we can hope for is a season finale as exciting as this episode.

Power Points

– I like scenes that involve Michelle Forbes going on dates. Five stars.

– Krispin is on his way to becoming a really great villain if he keeps up his anger, Kaotic Chic, and takes the next step, embracing his inner supervillain. 

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– Calista doesn’t do much this week. I’m a little worried that we won’t get an answer to the mystery behind her powers and her relationship with Johnny. Or it’ll be totally rushed next week. 

– Poor Red Hawk. Wrong place, wrong time.

– I really want to watch Triphammer use that Drainer cannon next week. You can’t just introduce it and not use it. 


3.5 out of 5