Love this new Powers show or hate it, but you sure can’t say it hasn’t hit the ground running while sort of daring you to keep up with all the colorful characters, supernatural powers, and circuitous back-stories that provide us with clues as to who hates whom and why. If the first half of episode 1 was mostly table-setting and the second half more or less leapt right into a wacky web of action, intrigue, and explosions, then episode 2 (“Like a Power”) is a no muss, no fuss, two-tiered procedural episode.
We do make a few detours, only so we can keep up with the devious mastermind Johnny Royalle, peek in on the aggressively moody college kid Krispin (I knew this guy was going to be trouble!), and get to know the stately and sardonic goddess known as Retro Girl — but for the most part, “Like a Power” focuses on two compelling story arcs: Walker and Pilgrim as they investigate the inauspicious demise of Olympia, and Calista’s ongoing search for superhuman powers.
We also get a bit more lunacy from the dorky ZeroTron X, another great sequence with the aggravated coroner known as “Dr. Death,” a little more flirty duplicity from young Zora, and a nice bit of aggression from the multi-talented henchman known only as Simons, but the best stuff in Powers‘ sophomore episode deals with Walker and Pilgrim getting more accustomed to their new partnership as they uncover some decidedly unsavory clues. (A scene in which they interview Olympia’s loose-lipped widow is a real treat.)
Even more interesting are some later scenes in which Walker and Retro Girl finally reunite; these moments would almost be sweet if it weren’t for Pilgrim’s no-bullshit cop demeanor and Calista’s consistent commitment to outright sneakiness — but there’ll be more time for that later. Special note: Michelle Forbes is going to own this entire series. I can tell it right now from only one episode. The character is fun because we’ve only been given a few enticing clues about precisely how powerful this woman is, but Ms. Forbes plays the role with sort of an arch, bemused detachment that’s simply fun to watch.
As Walker and Pilgrim track down the clues regarding Olympia’s demise, Calista finds herself under the temporary care of Retro Girl, but after an entertaining bout of fangirl enthusiasm, the truth becomes pretty obvious: Calista isn’t looking for friends; she wants to become a Power. And we all know how happens when a comic book character becomes blinded by power: she ends up in league with the bad guys, or worse. (I sense bad things in Calista’s future. Just saying.) We don’t get much of Wolfe in this episode, sorry to say, but we do get to see Johnny Royalle show a few new shades of evil, and it’s clear that Noah Taylor is having a lot of fun playing a character this irredeemably rotten.
And yes, it’s pretty cute that the name “Simons” works as both singular and plural. It’s those little details that count.
In the next Powers update: WILL Walker and Pilgrim figure out that Johnny poisoned Olympia by way of Calista already? Exactly WHO is Chaotic Chick and what does Krispin want with her? WHEN will Diamond and Retro Girl let their respective guards down and make out like I think they want to? WHAT is up with the cocky, sassy, drop-dead gorgeous Zora? And WHY is Zentron X such a huge dork? Tune in and find out!
Powers is available for your viewing pleasure on the Playstation Network.