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POWERLESS Recap: “Cold Season” Let Danny Pudi Shine

POWERLESS Recap: “Cold Season” Let Danny Pudi Shine

Fair citizens of Nerdist, beware! This post contains spoilers for this week’s episode of PowerlessIf you haven’t seen it yet and want to avoid them, turn back now, because Superman is way too busy to fly against the rotation of the Earth and bring you back to a time before reading.

One of my biggest issues with Powerless so far has been that Danny Pudi hasn’t just been underutilized, he hasn’t been used at all. His Teddy has mainly been talking scenery, with little relevance to the plot and few chances to show his great comedic chops. But this week’s episode, “Cold Season,” finally put him front and center with great success.

The main story about Emily submitting Teddy’s heat-producing gloves into the Wayne Enterprises’ contest without his consent gave Teddy a chance to carry not only the plot but the majority of the comedy. The scene where he stormed out of the lab after realizing his gloves hadn’t popped every popcorn kernel (impossible!) was easily his best yet, but the flashback to the last time he had been disappointed wasn’t far behind. With all apologies to the good people of Tampa, if one of our friends was wearing cargo shorts and spending all of his vacation time there we’d be very worried too.

POWERLESS -- "Cold Season" Episode 105 -- Pictured: Danny Pudi as Teddy -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

Now that we’ve seen how funny his insecurity and resulting freak-outs can be, we hope to see him losing it far more often. Teddy’s story worked so well that even the classic trope of having a super successful brother, in this case an astronaut and a doctor (a “space doctor”), was a highlight because it got in and out of the joke quickly, which is when Powerless is at its best. Danny Pudi is a great asset for the show, as any Community fan knows, and hopefully this is just the start of utilizing him in a way that makes the show better.

In truth, the jokes were so fast and furious this week it was hard to keep up with them. They started right away, too, with the great premise that gave the episode its title. The Cold Season of Charm City is “when all the icy super villains start fighting and freezing stuff.” The show is at its strongest and funniest when it explores its universe and central concepts. It also ended up tying in perfectly with Teddy’s gloves, which proved to be quite useful for saving Crimson Fox and for defeating the Cold Season villains.

POWERLESS -- "Cold Season" Episode 105 -- Pictured: Vanessa Hudgens as Emily -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

As for the secondary storyline, the delightful and pleasant Ron continued to make us laugh, as did Van (Alan Tudyk dressed like a Soviet czar was the perfect visual for his character). Getting to see the two of them interact was a nice change of pace. However, the reason for their interaction, a boss forcing his pushover employee take on tasks that have nothing to do with his actual job, fell back to the show’s problem of just rehashing old workplace stories without doing anything new with them. With such a great premise, Powerless should never feel like just a normal show set in an office.

In fairness, making Ron build a miniature version of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet was an A+ joke, but overall it would have been better to use something more unique to bring them together.

POWERLESS -- "Cold Season" Episode 105 -- Pictured: l-r) Ron Funches as Ron, Danny Pudi as Teddy, Jennie Pierson as Wendy -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

(Note: Did you pick up on the other Wonder Woman reference? One of the clocks on the wall was set to Themyscira time. Could we eventually get some Wonder Woman/Amazons based episodes? I hope so.)

Overall this was a strong episode, with a constant barrage of jokes and one-liners that had us laughing throughout, and with a breakout performance from someone who was overdue to have one.

A few additional thoughts…

–The best line of the week is a tie between Van’s explanation about dating women with children (“The agreement states that we can’t make any kids, but it doesn’t account for the preexisting conditions.”), and Jackie’s line about what would happen when Teddy didn’t win his contest (“I have a feeling this is all gonna end with a call from the Busch Garden’s coroner’s office.”)

–Challenging Teddy by comparing him to The Hobbit movies was the meanest thing Emily has done yet. Some lines you just don’t cross.

POWERLESS -- "Cold Season" Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Vanessa Hudgens as Emily, Christina Kirk as Jackie -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

It might be impossible to dress for a wedding on the beach, but I don’t know how to do it. People who can are basically superheroes to me. And I hate them.

–If someone could build a machine that pops every kernel in a popcorn bag they would deserve every Nobel Prize for the rest of eternity.

What did you think of this week’s episode? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s your thoughts in our comment section below!

Images: NBC

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