And so, Playstation Network released the 8th episode of the 10 episode first season of Powers this week and we wonder, will this show find its footing, and will it be renewed?
Powers: Episode 8 “Aha Shake Heartbreak” (Playstation Network)
If you’re just joining us you’ll be a bit lost, but no worries as the episode adequately reminds us what is going on and where the characters are in the story. Walker AKA ex-superhero Diamond has been semi-kidnapped by Johnny Royalle, old friend and teleporter. The episode opens with them as young adult twenty-somethings and a new apartment Walker is showing off to Johnny. They were good friends back then, (more like each other’s only friends), and now they are living very different lives and in some sense dislike each other. This opening shows us there was a day Walker once looked after Johnny as an older brother would, however unconventional his teaching methods may be (jumping off a building to force him to push his powers further).
While it appears this episode is all about them, it also focuses on Walker’s partner attempting to stop Calista, a girl who is stubbornly certain she has powers, from accidentally killing herself. Apparently one of the best ways to test if you have powers is to jump off a building (or at least that’s how Walker figured out he had them and it would appear helped Royalle learn she had them also). This story serves as a reminder of her continuing obsession over gaining powers, which is growing tiresome, but is a connection to another sub story of her semi boyfriend Crispin and his desire to get revenge on people with Powers for his father’s death. This drives the tension of the episode as his possible attack, or continued outreach against Powers anyway, on a Retro Girl mentor event is soon to take place.
Do they look all that similar?
About midway through the episode the story shifts to the latter story as the Retro Girl event takes place. Walker is attempting to figure out who the tagger is, but his character arc gets lost between the drama of the event and how things are set up. When he does run in late, like all cops in movies and shows, he’s dumbfounded and lost. It feels as though they had to connect him somehow to the big death of the episode, but it feels false. When the episode connects Johnny and Walker to cap things off it feels very forced. It’s also frustrating, because for what seems like the 100th time we are reminded Walker can’t comprehend living without powers.
This imbalance makes me wonder if the length of the show is hurting it or if the writers just aren’t getting enough time to tighten things up. So often with this show the writing feels like it’s either half baked, or half written. I also wonder if there isn’t enough story in the show in its entirety. With Walker and Calista reminding us over and over that they want powers, one wonders if they could be busied with new stories to entertain us instead.
As far as special effects I’m growing to like Zora’s powers. There’s a nice puppy dog effect she displays for some children that looks great, and while her powers have a lame Jubilee look to them they look realistic. A new character gets to fly around and morph his hands a bit, and yes, the wire work still looks silly, but it works well enough for the scene.
The show has superpowers, but tends to do them in a smaller way. Probably due to limited budgets.
This episode didn’t completely fail to entertain, but felt so unbalanced everything past the midway point felt confused.