I still have not made up my mind about ‘Powerless,’ and the second episode of the season, ‘Wayne Dream Team, ‘ certainly did not help matters. While true that it definitely felt a bit more consistent than the pilot, especially in the writing department, and I definitely found myself laughing a bit more than I did in the pilot, something still feels off about the whole show, and while I cannot quite put my finger on what exactly that is, I have some theories.
First of all, they still have not quite found the balance of how much of a “DC Comics” show they want this to be, as tonight’s episode especially felt a little light on the comic-book stuff, almost like they took a discarded ‘The Office’ script and threw in a bunch of references to superheroes and changed Fantasy Football to Fantasy Superheroes. Second, even if they want to do “office style humor,” they need to be doing stories that feel fresh and original, and not so generic. In the end, though, for “the first show based on DC Comics,” they need to make sure they are capitalizing on that premise every week, with every storyline, otherwise, why wouldn’t I just go back and re-watch ‘The Office?’
Anyways, tonight’s story still had some good moments, basically revolving around Emily trying to get her team to hit a deadline for an umbrella that would protect bystanders from rubble, despite the fact that they are caught up doing their Superhero Fantasy League Draft, and all of this while Emily tries to be both their friend and their boss at the same time (give me a moment to get this yawn out, because this is a very tired office sitcom trope). Inevitably she complicates the situation by getting HR involved which ends up getting the internet blocked in the office, a situation she can only fix by taking the hit about office bullying (more on that in a sec) for her team and spending 24 hours watching the same 6 hour bullying video 4 times (I know this is a heightened reality, but this felt a little over the top to me, and I did not really find any of the video or her reaction all that funny). In the end the gang forgives her, and gets the umbrella out on time, and they even let her join the league, chiding her for her number one pick of Crimson Fox, who actually turns out to be a really good pick after they hear on the news that the Flash has been trapped in the Phantom Zone by Sinestro and Crimson Fox just saved a cruise ship full of passengers.
In the Van Wayne “B” story (my favorite part of the night), Van is upset that the new “Wayne Dream Team” photo in the building lobby only features his arm, as he was somehow cropped out of the photo. To correct the issue, he has his own photoshoot and decides to insert a picture of himself into the group doing finger guns (as one commenter pointed out on another site, it is also hilariously un-PC and a little insensitive for a Wayne, considering how Bruce Wayne’s parent’s died), a photo which the science team steals and does memes with, embarrassing Van and causing HR to assign them all to watch a 6 hour bullying video (the one that Emily takes the hit for in her storyline). In the end, his assistant Jackie saves the day by speaking to the original photographer and learning that the guy thought Van was a dick and purposefully cropped him out of the photo. So she convinces the photographer to give her the cropped out part of the photo which she adds to the photo in the lobby, thus restoring Van to the picture. When Emily later asks Jackie why she puts up with Van, we learn that Van has helped her out on occasion with things like helping her “dumb” kid get into school, and once when her dog was really sick, sending someone to her house to put down the animal.
So, my plan as a viewer of ‘Powerless’ is to give the show one or two more weeks to prove itself, but at the moment it really needs to step up its game to keep me interested. While this episode may have been funnier than the pilot, it definitely lost some points in taking some steps back from its premise, and that was the whole reason I started watching in the first place. Let’s hope next week brings more ties to actual DC Comics, and keeps up the comedy game, and that this week was just a wobbly step into the first season following the developmental mess that was the transition from the pilot to the main season. See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.