Features TV

REVIEW: Powers 1×02 “Like a Power”

Written by Scott Swartz

That was an improvement, not earth shattering I need to watch the next episode right now, but still it was solid improvement over the basic flaws we saw in the pilot. Where “Like a Power” manages to succeed is when it tries to be nothing more than a story about people and what it is like to meet your heroes. Sure there are bad guys and people who abuse their abilities but this more turning into a story about how those powers effect those without them. The prime examples of this dichotomy are Calista, the one seeking to rise, and Christian, the one who has fallen back to earth. Both of them are clearly interwoven with all of the characters around them and that is really what makes them so interesting. Add on the fact that we are actually starting to develop some semblance of a Plot and this story may even turn out to be worthwhile.

Like I was saying this episode managed to work a lot better than the pilot for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one is that we are truly focusing on the characters. Allowing Calista to meet her idol, Retro Girl, and actually get to hang out with her for a day was a nice touch. From what we know about Calista she is seemingly a compulsive liar, so much so that even Retro Girl knew that she was bing lied to all the freaking time. That sort of character could have come off as some sort of weak one dimensional form, but somehow Calista manages to make it work. Her entire life she has wanted powers, wanted to be able to protect herself or even just escape her situation. So she has built up this defense of lying in order to protect herself and make the world easier to cope with and if anything that is one of the most human aspects that is rarely portrayed on tv.

Similarly we have Christian who, because of everything that has happened to him, is just trying to define his role in the world. Even from the opening moment when the old security guard shows up and immediately recognizes him we begin to see a side of Walker that was not revealed to us in the pilot. I mean we find out just how weirdly attached he is to all of the items that he queried at the beginning of his post powers life, but we also get to see just how much he hates those he used to be so close to. Case in point Johnny Royalle, at the same time Walker both hates and desperately wants to be around his old friend much in the same way he wants to be around Retro Girl. Johnny is a symbol of what Walker lost and just how much he was betrayed by someone he seemingly cared about, so for Johnny to just stroll into the police station and just raise himself from the dead was basically the ultimate insult to Walker’s pride.

Although I don’t know what to fully make of Johnny yet I will say he is a compelling adversary for Walker. I mean it is more than just random cockiness and instead Johnny seems to feel entirely disconnected from the world around him. He does not fear the repercussions of his action because it seems at this moment in time everything is coming up Johnny. For example let’s look at the two scenes involving Walker’s beloved tie, Johnny knew this was a pressure point for Walker and the exact right amount of force to exert in order to get his desired result. Inversely we have our final scene involving the tie where Johnny returns it simply because he knows just what that article of clothing means to our hero. Both scenes clearly demonstrate Johnny’s desire for control over Walker as well as his love for his former friend, and give us way more characterization than we previously had.

The only character who is seemingly left out of this entire evolving process is Pilgrim, who despite her best attempts, is forced off to the side. I can understand when you have some really compelling characters that you would want to focus on them, but when you are basically casting off one of your mains as a background character it tends to hurt the overall product. I really wish that her role was more clearly defined but I am confident in future episodes she will be given more to do.

Overall it was a marked improvement from the pilot episode.

Final Grade B-

+Johnny Is becoming more compelling

+Some great dark character moments

+For once not knowing the bigger plot

-Pilgrim still a weak character

-Cops still brutally violent

About the author

Scott Swartz