Powers: Paint It Black Review

Powers is probably (and accidentally) the most entertaining superhero show on TV. Find out why in this review!

Powers really is the cherry on top of my week. A delicious dessert that I look forward to every week. I’m sad that we’re halfway through the season, but I look forward to the bottom five episodes.

This week’s episode, “Paint It Black,” really closed the first arc of the show in explosive fashion, with the superhero vs. supervillain action that this show was desperately missing. I’ve said it from the start that Powers gets pretty boring when it focuses in on the cops (who should probably have most of the spotlight since this is a play on the cop show), so getting as much superhuman action as possible into the show is just the ticket. 

As Walker, Zora, Retro Girl, Triphammer, and Wolfe fought it out in the Shaft during the latter’s gruesome escape from years of captivity, I couldn’t help but think that I was witnessing the prototype for a really campy X-Men live-action series. Blood everywhere, lines that make you cringe, and comical special effects are splattered all over the screen like a fantastic B-movie. There is NOTHING serious about Powers, and I really like that. I can’t tell if this is on purpose, but that’s perhaps enhancing how much I’m enjoying the show.

Unlike like Arrow, Constantine, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and (probably) Daredevil, which generally keep things on the grim end of the superhero TV spectrum, Powers is always all-in on everything the genre has to offer: tragedy, explosions, noir, comedy, all-star team-ups, everything…

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Walker getting his powers back from Wolfe through a mental tug of war was entertaining to watch, eventhough they danced for about 10 minutes on the floor like desperate lovers. At one point, my girlfriend (who braved this episode with me) just said, “AGAIN?” Because they kept grabbing each other and sucking up the powers. Eventually, it’s Walker who gets the strength back and smashes Wolfe through an entire floor in order to get him under the Drainer (it drains superhuman powers duh), which inevitably takes Walker’s powers away again. 

I really liked Zora’s story this week. Up to this point, she’d been this fame obsessed teenager — obvious commentary on social media culture — who wanted to become the world’s next great superhero. But with only the ability to control light (and the effects for this power are TERRIBLE), Zora gets her ass handed to her by Wolfe. Luckily, Retro Girl and Walker come to the rescue. 

Zora reminds me of every X-Men storyline where uninitiated students get themselves into more trouble than they bargained for by jumping in with the big boys. I enjoyed seeing the confidence melt off of Zora’s face as soon as she arrived at the Shaft, unable to even introduce herself to the press. Yes, this shit is real, Zora. It’s not about how many “Likes” you have on Facebook. Wolfe is fucking eating people.

There’s a major lack of Johnny Royale this week, which makes me the most sad. He’s the best damn character on this show, and he should just be at the center of everything always, but he’s pretty much in the periphery for most of the episode, stuck in the Drainer until Walker unknowingly helps him escape. Johnny does decide to take Sway off the streets, which is a good idea, since it’s made out of Wolfe’s insane blood. 

The big weak point of the episode was the flashback portion. It is so poorly done, cliche, and boring that it made me want to fast forward back to “Walker and Wolfe on Ice.” The actors they chose for young versions of Johnny and Walker are the absolute worst, and they don’t even make sense when compared to the adults. Neither of them have the ridiculous accents from the present. Did they gain those accents over time like superhuman abilities? What’s up with young Johnny’s disco glasses? Why is young Retro Girl literally the same as old Retro Girl (as in the wonderful Michelle Forbes in a wig and some heavier makeup)? 

And I asbolutely DO NOT care about what any of these characters were up to before Powers started. In fact, one of the show’s best conceits is that the backstories are revealed through present action. I’d rather watch Walker jump off a roof again, trying so hard to fly like he did as Diamond, to reveal more of his character than have him partying at a club as one of Wolfe’s groupies. 

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Don’t come at me with the whole “it was to show how Walker became a hero on the fateful night that Wolfe decided to eat a whole club’s worth of hip people.” They said all of that last week. Walker literally told the story to Deena last week in the Shaft. So why do we have to suffer through this awful flashback? 

Powers, when you’re good, you’re so bad you’re good. When you’re bad, you’re just the worst. Keep up the good/bad work. 


3.5 out of 5