Powers S:01 E:04

Episode Title: The Devil in a Garbage Bag
Original Airdate: 3-17-2015

Today on Powers, we learn that the human body is compromised of 240% blood and 10% quips! Also we learn that teen romance is boring and Eddie Izzard is surprisingly terrifying.

This week’s episode can be unfocused at times, as various half-baked teen romance plotlines and heroine celebutante angles cook away on a backburner. The mess going on with Calista and Whatsisname the Forgettable Whoever and “Chaotic Chick,” yes, seriously, they named the cool hacker girl Chaotic Chick, that stuff I am not in the target demographic for and I’d love to pretend those segments do not exist.

But when the show does focus… BOY is it focused. Specifically on the Big Bad Wolfe, played by Eddie Izzard. Yeah, the guy who did those stand-up jokes about Star Wars on YouTube, that Eddie Izzard.

That guy? He freaking eats people.

Or rather, he jumps on them and then the VFX team immediately splatters the room with a super-high pressure spray from what looks like sixty seven necks at the same time. It’s 1995 Mortal Kombat Movie levels of gross and digitally implausible, but they somehow make it work, selling it with the sheer butt-clenching terror characters feel and the intensity of Eddie’s performance. He makes this ridiculousness feel great.

What’s LESS great is the “slowly stalking from room to room hunting the alien” style horror movie Act II, which is stupendeously boring and made all the more obvious by giving each of the doomed guards a memorable quirk or character trait. This one’s having trouble getting a date, this one is six months from retirement, this one has a tattoo, etc. And they all die, and we expect them to die, and we do not care, and we want the story to just get on with killing them.

In the end… very few questions are answered, a few new ones are raised, and the episode ends in what feels like the middle of the story. Clearly this is part one of two, and we’ll see how the rest of the prison outbreak plays out next week.

Johnny and Calista’s B-Plot ends up in the background this time around. We see Johnny as less of a black hat than before; his “drug ring” wasn’t a play for money or power or fame. He legitimately just wanted to help out the “Powerz Kidz” who seriously use two Z’s in their clubhouse name. Granted his method of doing so was amoral as hell and involved plenty of murder to cover his tracks but he’s still open and honest with Calista, and comes across as genuine rather than conniving. I’ve always preferred my “bad guys” as grey area types who do wrong things for the right reasons, and this plotline continues to work for me.

Much as the rest of the series burns slowly, this one burns slowly too. It makes missteps, it has subplots that make me roll my eyes hard enough to crit a natural 20, but there’s still enough amazing stuff here to justify the continued run of the show. If they can make all of this pay off, and keep the less interesting stories in the background as they did today… I’m looking forward to the end results.

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