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POWERLESS Recap: “Emily Dates a Henchman” and Robin Shows Up (Sorta)

POWERLESS Recap: “Emily Dates a Henchman” and Robin Shows Up (Sorta)

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.

Our number one wish so far has been for Powerless to rely more on its unique premise to create a situational workplace comedy that feels fresh and different, rather than on the same kind of workplace comedy tropes we’ve seen time and again. So this week’s episode, “Emily Dates a Henchman,” was exactly what we want to see more and more of from the show. Unfortunately, it was light on the consistently great one liners that have made us laugh in weeks past.

It wasn’t only that we loved Emily’s seemingly ideal new boyfriend turning out to be an evil henchman for the Riddler, which is a pitch perfect problem for someone living in a world of superheroes to encounter, it was how her coworkers recognized his sinister true identity immediately, whereas she was long in the dark. With so many super villains running around, there must be an enormous demand for disposable soldiers, which would make meeting–or accidentally dating–one of them commonplace. Finding absurd but authentic problems for this silly setting gives the show a chance to have a lot of fun, which makes it a lot more fun for us.

POWERLESS -- "Emily Dates A Henchman" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Vanessa Hudgens as Emily, Robert Buckley as Dan -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

That’s why the CharmFeed list (uh, a better choice would have been to call it Charmist), “5 Signs You’re Dating a Henchman,” was one of the funniest jokes of the whole episode. It made total sense for the people inhabiting this universe, and it was one of our favorite quick gags. (Plus, not overusing it like the “Fantasy Superhero League” from the second episode was a smart call.)

The secondary story also utilized the super setting successfully in making Van a secret superhero fanatic, even though he holds a grudge against the “Dork Knight” for once taking off his rear view mirror during a heroic rescue. Not to mention we’d totally freak out if we found an actual batarang, and having an encounter with the Caped Crusader (even if we didn’t technically see it) would be our own big fish tale.

POWERLESS -- "Emily Dates A Henchman" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Danny Pudi as Teddy, Ron Funches as Ron -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

We also liked that both plots got everyone outside of the office, placing Teddy, Ron, and Van out on the streets, and Emily, Jackie, and Wendy in a local a bar. They weren’t exactly the most original locales, nor the most aesthetically compelling, but it’s a good step.

The real complaint this week is that the big laughs weren’t as big or as frequent as in the other episodes thus far, mainly due to a lack of great one liners. There were a couple, with plenty of chuckle-worthy moments, but we missed the punch that Jackie and Van have peppered the first three episodes with.

POWERLESS -- "Emily Dates A Henchman" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Vanessa Hudgens as Emily, Christina Kirk as Jackie -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

That said, Christina Kirk’s deadpan delivery makes even the simplest lines funny–for instance: “She’s not okay with it, numbnuts.” There’s nothing to that line the way it’s written, but her deliver still made us laugh.

Despite being the episode that made us laugh the least, which seems like a real problem for a comedy, this week made us optimistic that the show is improving where it needs to the most. Better plots that have fun with the premise will keep the show moving, and we’re confident the laughs will follow.

Now just a couple of notes before we head back to Skull Island…

–Fewer racism jokes this week, but Ron did get in a great one: “The acceptance of a racist grandfather is still my white whale.”

–Is it illegal to do a superhero comedy without making a joke about villain’s spilling the beans before executing their plan? Seems so.

“Why, unprompted, did you just tell us your entire evil plan?”

“I don’t know…it’s just a thing we do.”

–Someone please blow this image up and frame it for us.

POWERLESS -- "Emily Dates A Henchman" Episode 107 -- Pictured: Alan Tudyk as Van -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

–Oh, and because we love you, here’s the full CharmFeed article:

5 Signs You’re Dating a Henchman

Honestly, you should have seen it coming…

1. He has cuts and bruises all the time and can never recall exactly how he got them.
2. He only pays in cash.
3. He owns more than one turtleneck
4. He has no friends of his own.
5. He takes you away on a romantic weekend to his boss’s lair carved into the side of a mountain.

Uuuuugh. Why didn’t we think to write that!

But what did you think of this week’s episode? Fly into our comments section below and let us know.

Images: NBC

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