Superhero fans! Are you ready for white-knuckle funeral scenes starring too many easily forgettable characters? How about teen romance plots that go nowhere? Maybe some vaguely menacing but completely empty warnings of impending doom? It’s Powers, baby! GET HYPzzzzz….
Episode Title: The Raconteur of the Funeral Circuit
Original Airdate: 3-31-2015
The title alone should tell you how exciting this one’s gonna be.
Powers is clearly between major story arcs, and choosing to spend an entire episode mourning the sorrowful loss of Lt. Expendable, Sgt. Disposable, and the rest of the Red Shirt Brigade is not exactly gripping television. They try so very hard to get the pathos of it all across and fail miserably; chucking a few generic Powers Division cops into Wolfe’s chipper-shredder two episodes ago is not exactly a Whedon-esque betrayal of sorrow and pity. At one point, Christian actually complaints to Deena that she’s an outsider and didn’t know good old Whatsisname and Whatserface and I feel more sympathy to Deena in that moment, because who gives two wet poops about them? They were in a bad clone of an Alien movie and died. If the writers wanted more reaction out of me than that, they failed.
Anyway, the primary plot focuses on nearly every single character in the series gathering in the police station to react to those deaths. It’s a framing device for how everybody feels about Powers in general; from Lt. Whoeverheis ranting about how they should all be locked up and drained to Deena’s father fanboying all over the place about them.
The angle with Deena’s father is especially annoying. Why did Deena play the fangirl in early episodes and then roll her eyes at her father then fanboy? Her character seems to exist only to react to the men in her life, to either scold them or to screw up and make their lives harder. The writers put her in the right or the wrong as the plot needs to her be, with the entire world perpetually stepping on her neck either way. It feels like a complete waste of the character. A new recruit to a police force does make mistakes, yes, but usually they’re the new element that shakes up the old routine, forces a change in a static system.
Deena does nothing of the sort. She’s a non-entity except as a plot device, and her actions rarely make cohesive sense. Here she’s delegated to being a wet blanket again, getting mad at her father, and finally pledging to move out of his house. Uh, two things. One, how OLD is she to be living with her dad? Times are tough, but really? Two… if she had this deep-rooted loathing of the guy this long why is it only now that she’s ready to leave? Very convenient.
Lastly, we have ominous rumblings of the next big plotline: THE BLACK SWAN. Scary sounding, right? Hope so, because that’s all you’re getting. Seriously. A drunk Triphammer drops that menacing name without confirming if it’s an it, a he, or a she, then passes out. Even his prison warden buddy Emil refuses to be anything but annoyingly vague and he’s still sober at the time. C’mon, writers, that’s a cheap way to build suspense. Either give us more or don’t give us anything, but just saying “BTW dude, doom and stuff” isn’t workable.
Oh, and guess who’s still on the backburner? The entire cast of My So-Called Superpowered Teenage Life. Calista and Crispin are arguing! No, now they’re kissing. Now she’s storming out in a huff! Now she’s sneaking in and they’re having sex as evidenced by an L-shaped blanket and I could continue not to care. Look, I’m actually into YA fiction and I like a well written romance, but this ain’t one; it feels obligatory, like a narrative checkbox and nothing more.
Also, I’m docking ten points from Gryffindor for calling their viral video a “Rick Roll.” Really? Hello, /r/FellowKids, we are hip and know your maymays!
So yeah, all around, this one’s a flop. A low-budget character driven flop which goes nowhere, does nothing, and only lightly pokes at things to come. Powers has never really exploded off the screen since starting, content with the slow-burn approach, but c’mon now. You have four episodes left before Sony inevitably cancels you. If your writers aren’t up to the task of making things interesting, at least wow us a little before you leave. I WANT to like you, Powers, and I have liked aspects of you so far, but give me a bone here. Let’s see you live up to the promise.