We’ve seen a pretty wide array of genres scattered across the first three episodes of Powers. It’s a soap opera (melodrama) about cops (crime story) and superheroes (sci-fi / fantasy) who have to contend with numerous bad guys (action / adventure) while trading profane wisecracks (comedy), after all. But for those with a taste for the violent, the creepy, and the overtly morbid, the fourth episode of Powers (aka “Devil in a Garbage Bag”) should prove to be a bloody blast. If we’re doling out genres for each episode of Powers, then episode 4 is more or less a horror flick. (A pretty gruesome one, too.)
Yes, that’s right, terror fans! After three episodes of hiding in the shadows (often while naked and covered in blood), the “Wolfe” is running loose in the high-tech incarceration facility known as “The Shaft.” (Stop that giggling.) And if the goal of a comic book (and a comic book adaptation) is to build up a super-villain to the point where we think he could destroy the entire planet with one angry swipe, then the Powers writers have done a very good job indeed. Not only is Eddie Izzard’s performance pretty fascinating, but Wolfe is just a disturbingly interesting character, period.
The bulk of episode 4 deals with: A) how Wolfe escapes from his cell (spoiler: it was that rotten Johnny Royalle again) to raise holy hell, B) how the entire Powers department has to descend on The Shaft (stop it) to prevent the monster’s escape, and C) the horrific truth about Wolfe’s unpleasant power– seems that he can not only absorb (and store!) the powers of his enemies, but he can also use them to become exponentially nastier. And this guy is plenty nasty already.
(START HERE MATT) When we’re not knee deep in blood thanks to Wolfe’s unsightly cravings, we cut across a few subplots involving A) Cross, Triphammer, and their creepy Powers-destroying technology, Calista’s burgeoning friendship with the duplicitous Johnny Royalle, a few quick tidbits with Zora, Krispin, and “Chaotic Chick,” and a welcome appearance from the still-inscrutable goddess known as Retro Girl. Each of these characters seem to be building toward some pretty juicy stuff, but for the time being the key players are Walker, Pilgrim, Royalle, and (all of a sudden) Triphammer as they (and several ill-fated red-shirts) do all they can to keep Wolfe locked behind a series of very strong walls.
It’s the (relative) focus on one specific plot thread that allows episode 4 to slow down a bit. Although highly entertaining, the first three episodes were dedicated mainly to setting up the world, the characters, and the tone of the series, and now it seems like Powers is just now getting comfortable. Instead of leaping around between subplots, “Devil in a Garbage Bag” concentrates on the prison escape story. The brief moments involving Retro Girl, Krispin, and Calista are welcome diversions — but for the most part we just want to get back to the “main story” and see what’s going down at The Shaft.
And you know what’s sort of a nice twist? Having superheroes who actually sort of frightened by a super-villain. You don’t see that too often in comic book adaptations.
Powers is available for your viewing pleasure on the Playstation Network.