Powers S:01 E:08

Remember back in the nineties when live action stunt shows based on your favorite cartoons were a thing? Your parents paid inflated ticket prices so you could watch guys in rubber ninja turtles costumes kick a rubber-costumed Shredder’s butt and maybe there was a musical number or two. How stupid would that be in real life? How stupid and contrived and ill-designed would it be for someone to hire an actual bad guy to attack a good guy for publicity? Hey, let’s find out!

Episode Title: Aha Shake Heartbreak (and yes seriously, that is the title and no, I have no idea why)
Original Airdate: 4-14-2015

When we last left our heroes, they were saying and doing random things and I had mentally checked out of the entire affair. But as a valiant trooper I will soldier on, holding my AK-47 over my head as I wade through chest-high dreck to bring you these reviews. So I’ll admit that up front I am no longer inclined to give Powers the benefit of the doubt anymore. Nothing wrong with bias as long as you’re open about it, I hope.

Today’s episode is concerned with three things, in increasing order of absurdity:

One, there’s the situation with Wolfe. Apparently he can eat people by remote control now…? That’s what his incoherent speech about a “vast reservoir of power” meant. Anybody who ever took Sway, and that means Christian and Calista, can be omnomnom’d no matter where they are if Wolfe ever escapes the drainer. Not sure how they drew that conclusion, but okay, let’s go with it! So, Johnny proposes that he and Christian have a good old fashioned superhero teamup and… go shoot Wolfe in the face. That’s the plan. That’s really all the plan is.

Two, Calista wakes up from her Sway episode to find she’s… still powerless, but ready to do increasingly silly and stupid things to try to awaken her powers. So basically, back to square one, including jumping off the same building as last time. Oh, and she gets arrested, on charges of… something? I don’t know. Ask Deena, it’s all she gets to do this episode. Let her have this, she has so little else in this series. It’s a kindness.

Three, and this is the big ‘ol cake topper… Retro Girl is having a charity concert event, and the evil celebrity publicists have arranged to hire a supervillain to play-fight with Zora, to help Zora’s public image. Well, technically they tell him to bring his A-game, so he takes Sway and yeah, that goes about as well as can be expected. The assembled crowd in the theater reacts to someone being exsanguinated on stage with remarkable calm, patiently filing out of the auditorium. Great direction there, guys, top notch.

That alone would be stupid, but the entire setup really makes it the stupidest. Let’s put aside how insane it is to hire a Power to fight another Power just for ratings. Let’s put aside how literally criminal it is to pay someone to assault another person. What’s the least implausible thing about all of this?

When Retro Girl figures out what’s going on, she… fires her publicist and walks away. That’s it. Doesn’t call the cops, doesn’t confront or stop the villain, she lets the unprepared and unaware Zora have her little battle and as a result of doing absolutely nothing, someone dies.

But that’s not even this episode’s greatest sin. Far from it.

Remember the “Black Swan” which was hyped to hell and back two episodes ago? The ominous thing that caused Triphammer and the captain to tremble in terror and speak only in vague, incomprehensible foreshadowing? Remember how the writers completely forgot about it for an episode? Well, the “Black Swan” has been revealed. Are you ready? Are you sitting comfortably? Are you SURE you’re ready for this terrifying menace which has them scrambling to finish that drainer?

It’s a computer program which, according to various unexplained data points, says the world’s gonna get chaotic and bad because Powers exist. So they need to drain all the Powers, apparently.

That’s it. That’s the Black Swan. Insert scare chord here.

There are only two more episodes before we put down Old Yeller. He was a good dog once, so full of promise, with a bright future ahead of him. Now he’s just foaming at the mouth and flailing around and it’s for the best, I promise.

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