If you were hoping that the third episode of Powers would slow down with all the new characters and back-story threads, prepare to be disappointed with Episode 3. Personally I think it’s sort of fun trying to keep up with characters called Retro Girl, Wolfe, and Levitation Boy, but there’s no denying that Powers is not stingy when it comes to colorful characters and enjoyably circuitous plot contortions. But it’s fine by me: I’ll take a superhero story that’s slightly overstuffed with characters than one that just focuses on a solo hero and his central core of helpful sidekicks.
What’s most interesting about Powers‘ third episode (aside from its amusingly strange title) is how it puts a bookmark in front of some of the subplots we’ve been following — just to introduce a few more super-powered lunatics. Triphammer, for example, steps up as a pretty important supporting character; he and Captain Cross are working on some sort of device that seems to devour powers–and it sure seems like they’re up to no good. (But with this show it’s really difficult to tell.) We also get a few rather gruesome moments with Wolfe, a character that pretty much sums up how Powers is not your typical, family-friendly superhero TV show.
Aside from a brief demonstration of Zora’s pretty wild power, another sighting of the frequently abused Zerotron X, a few intriguing moments between Krispin and two different young ladies (Calista & Chaos), and an always-welcome appearance from Dr. Death, episode 3 is mostly about the official appearance of “Sway,” a rather nasty drug that makes Powers more Powerful, and makes normal humans drop dead.
Once the painfully naive Calista drops a few hints here and there as she plays both sides of the Power grid, all signs point to Johnny Royalle (and his multiplying henchman Simons) as the purveyor of Sway, which means we get a nice, long sequences in Johnny’s club as A) Retro Girl stops by to send an angry message, B) Christian and Pilgrim break in to find some evidence, and C) Krispin and Calista briefly make out. (Whaaaat?)
Suffice to say that with this many characters tossing around so many back-stories, subplots, and conflicting alliances, Powers is fast becoming the tough-talking, ass-kicking, and amusingly vulgar “superhero soap opera” it’s clearly trying to be. If you don’t care for one particular character or plot thread, just wait around for five minutes because that’s when something else unexpectedly weird (or violent) breaks out.
Overall, Powers seems to be just settling into a groove with its wise-ass, cockeyed, mean-spirited tone. Once some of these minor characters start meeting their untimely yet well-deserved demises, we can turn the focus on the return of Diamond, the rise of Wolfe, and the mysteries behind Retro Girl. At this point you almost need a scorecard to keep track of who’s who in the Powers universe, but that’s not to say it hasn’t been fun trying.
Powers is available for your viewing pleasure on the Playstation Network.