It’s safe to say that by the time we reach the eighth episode of a ten-episode series, we’re dipping a toe into “Act III” territory, and that certainly seems to be the case with the first season of Powers. New alliances are forged, old enemies are (semi-)forgiven, and something truly awful has to happen before all hell can logically break loose. By now, it’s been well established that Powers is considerably more interested in the character dynamics than it is in non-stop action sequences, but now that we’re getting down to the wire, it looks like we’re about to lose a few characters and witness some high-end ass-kicking.
The central hook of this episode is that, after years of animosity and hostility, Walker and Royalle have to learn to work together — kinda like they did before they both grew up and went their separate ways. Also, there’s the whole situation involving a young Power who got her throat slit in an alleyway (still a memorably unsettling moment) that Walker and Pilgrim have to dig into, which of course ties into the Krispin/Kaotic Chic/anti-Power movement, and that ties directly into the subplot involving the dazzling newcomer Zora, her misguided publicist Candace, and a horrific accident at a swanky fundraiser run by Retro Girl.
Oh, also Calista finally downs a dose of “sway” and definitely seems to exhibit an early-stage power bloom… or something. (The Wolfe-made drug didn’t kill her outright, and that can only mean one thing!) Also Triphammer is still fiddling around with his nasty “power drainer” machine.
So while there are a lot of moving parts whirling around the Powers narrative, this is the episode where they start to tie together in tangential but interesting ways. We all remember how Krispin lost his dad (way back in episode 1), and given what happens to his mother at the end of episode 8, it sure looks like we’re dealing with the birth of a new super-villain. On the other side of the episode we have Walker and Royalle, two guys who have wanted to kill each other for most of the entire series, but now have little choice but to work together (at least temporarily) before Wolfe breaks free and commits all sorts of massive atrocities. And no, Walker still hasn’t been able to locate his missing powers; Royalle insists that they’re gone for good, but I still don’t trust anything that guy says.
Aside from the soap-operatic plot twists, a few nice action beats, and a tragic finale I didn’t see coming, this episode also has a little fun with the social commentary. We’ve already established that Powers are big-time celebrities in this universe, but here’s where we get to see a full-scale WWE-style “faux battle” staged for millions of dazzled viewers. The idea that superheroes might stage a big brawl just to get some media attention is a pretty clever one, and it (along with the Walker/Royalle progression) is part of what makes episode 8 (aka “the beginning of the end”) such an interesting chapter.