Powers: You Are Not It Review

The latest episode of Powers gets to the good stuff a little too late. Here is our review!

Powers could be compared to Silence of the Lambs, where so much of the thrill comes from visiting the madman in his prison. I love watching Eddie Izzard work, delivering a powerful, creepy performance even though he can’t really move an inch when he is in front of the camera. But being tied down to the floor and drained of his powers haven’t stopped Wolfe from becoming one of the best characters on the show. So often, the supervillain ends up being more interesting than the “good guys,” and that’s definitey the case in Powers. It’s clear that Johnny and Christian are obsessed with Wolfe. Johnny even calls him “sir.”

So the show is on the right track by setting up their separate visits to Wolfe’s cell. When they finally get there after 30+ minutes, we get a very calm, hungry, and scheming Wolfe, who is obviously still able to manipulate his former proteges even while powerless. In fact, the idea of a tame, remorseful Wolfe is what draws them back to the Shaft once again. And do they get the answers they’re looking for?

Christian continues to search for the source of his powers, unable to find fulfillment in helping people as detective for the Powers Division. Johnny, on the other hand, is trying to atone for his crimes. Several times, he claims that he is a humanitarian, even if most people think he’s on the wrong side. He’s a hero to the superhumans, someone helping them reach their full potential. I tend to give Johnny a lot of slack, even (especially) when he’s antagonizing Christian and the rest of the Powers Division. It’s become more and more apparent, when he’s interacting with Simons and Calista, that Johnny has a good heart. The problem is that it might be too late to right his many past wrongs.

In the very first episode, we watched Johnny decapitate a dude. He followed that up by selling Sway and dancing at his own nightclub. The guy was the superhuman version of a gangster at his best. But Johnny seems to have softened up a bit. I can’t imagine him killing anyone anymore. He just seems like such a nice guy…Besides the drug-dealing thing. He loves. 

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It’s harder to feel anything for Christian, who I just can’t quite like. Week after week, I like the villains more, while the supposed “hero” of the show just kind of whines for an hour. It’s not Sharlto Copley’s fault. I think he’s playing the role wonderfully, with a chameleon-like ability. The writers just don’t have him doing anything interesting.

In fact, nothing interesting has happened outside of the Shaft for a couple of weeks. After Christian and Wolfe’s big showdown in the prison, things just haven’t been the same. The second half of the season has been slow, contemplative, almost to the point of being way too serious for what it is. It’s hard to match the themes with what’s on the screen.

The effects and the costume design are, for the most part, awful. Action scenes play out in the most campy way. You could almost call it fan-made, as superhumans come flying down from the sky on very obvious ropes. This is almost Ed Wood bad. Adding the very grim tone and serious themes don’t help the show be any more interesting than a bad spoof.

But when the show basks in its campiness, giving us lots of superhuman action, plenty of fights, close quarters combat between heroes and villains, like it did two episodes ago in the Shaft…That’s the good stuff. I want so much more of that low-budget X-Men-like show. Watching Zora enter the ring for the very first time and Christian find his powers for a brief moment to defeat Wolfe has made up much of my love for this show. 

Everything since then has fallen a bit below my standard for Powers, which isn’t very high to begin with. I honestly just want the show to be fun, and it hasn’t been in the past two weeks. Hopefully, this show can right itself and give us back the bubblegum before it ends in three weeks.

Power Points

– Calista might discover what her powers next week, and that’s exciting! She’s become more interesting through the weeks, mostly because of her relationships with Johnny, Krispin, and Simons. It’ll be nice to see her come into her own.

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– Speaking of which, let’s not pretend Simons didn’t hope the Sway would kill Calista. Part of that is that she’s endangering their operation, and the other part is definitely jealousy. It’s been hinted before that Simons and Johnny love each other.

– The Simons chase was just the worst. It reminded me of a very tame version of that infamous Matrix Reloaded fight in the park. Also, I just really expected all the Simons to team up and kick Christian and Deena off their property. Missed opportunity.

– Krispin and Kaotic Chic round-out the more serious side of the show. It’s good that we have that animosity between humans and superhumans. That’s what’s going to keep this show unique.

– The Kaotic Chic murder is nice little endnote. I’m excited to see the consequences. I expect a full-out war between the humans and the superhumans by the end of the season. I bet Wolfe is primed to lead one side or the other. 

– Retro Girl eating ice cream is cool. I love anything Michelle Forbes does. She’s been under-used on the show. I want to see her punch more things. She must become a razor. 

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– I like the whole thing about Under Armour making superhero costumes and advertisements. Nice touch.

John Saavedra is an assistant editor at Den of Geek US. Chat with him on Twitter! Or check out all his work at his website.

Rating:

2 out of 5