If you thought that the first three episodes of Powers did a fine job of introducing the tone, style, and characters of the series–but you’re ready for a few interesting answers to a whole bunch of questions, then the “prison escape horror story double feature” represented by episode 4 and (especially) episode 5 should be more than enough to keep you tuning in.
One of the more frustrating tendencies of episodic genre fare is that the producers bring up way more questions than they’re willing (or able) to answer, so instead of closing a few plot threads in a satisfying fashion, they simply throw a few more mysteries at the screen as a distraction. Based only on what we get in the fifth episode of Powers (“Paint It Black”), it sure seems like the series won’t be coy about closing down one plot thread before throwing two more at the screen.
In other words, yes, we do get a little sense of closure as Walker delves deep into “The Shaft” in an effort to prevent Wolfe from breaking out and (of course) murdering hundreds of people in the process. Almost all of our questions about the bad blood between these two guys are answered, and obviously their history is littered with devoured corpses and blood all over the place. When we’re not knee-deep in the underground super-prison, the episode switches over to a nifty series of flashbacks in which we (finally) get to see how Walker, Wolfe, Johnny Royalle, and Retro Girl got along back in 1994. (Suffice to say: not well.)
It’s this welcome bit of backstory that brings a lot of energy to episode 5, but “Paint it Black” is even more amusing once we flip back to The Shaft, because that’s where Wolfe is running rampant and kicking the Power snot out of Walker, Triphammer, Retro Girl, and … Zora? Yep! The beautiful young heroine who uses nifty light rays as her main offensive weapon has finally jumped into the Power pool, and she turns out to be a very handy ally indeed. Not only is it cool to see Zora join the fight, but it’s also pretty amusing to see a superhero who has to take career advice from an agent and a PR manager.
While the end of episode 5 does seem to represent at least a temporary respite from Wolfe’s reign of terror, we’re still left with a lingering issues like: A) the mystery of Walker’s still-absent powers, B) how Zora’s newfound fame may be built on a big fat lie, C) what sort of trouble Calista and Krispin are going to get into with the whole “chaotic chick” initiative, and D) where Johnny Royalle’s loyalties actually lie. Other questions: is Triphammer DEAD?!? And what ever happened to Zerotron X? How much does an ounce of sway cost, anyway? And when is Dr. Death coming back?
Powers is available for your viewing pleasure on the Playstation Network.