The irony of the title of this week’s episode was not lost on me. After a stellar fourth episode 2 weeks ago, it seems the week off did little to help ‘Powerless,’ as it returned this week with a so-so episode in ‘Cold Season,’ where once again they seem to be struggling to find the balance between office-comedy and a show that capitalizes on the fact that it takes place in the DC Comics universe. It is not the worst episode of ‘Powerless’ (that title still goes to the second episode of the season), but it is definitely not the best, and I definitely did not laugh nearly as much as I had in previous weeks.
The main plot involved Teddy’s newest invention, a pair of “heat gloves” which he is showing off now that the city is in the Cold Season, that time of year when super villains like Mr. Freeze, Killer Frost, and Captain Cold come around and wreak havoc on the weather (too bad we never see the villains or really any weather aside from a few snowflakes and some ice). Emily thinks the gloves are brilliant and wants to enter them in a Wayne Enterprise competition, especially when some snobby scientists from the Wayne X department sneer at her that she and her employees are a bunch of nobodies, and she wants to show them up.
Unfortunately for her, Teddy doesn’t handle pressure well, and despite how well the gloves perform, he insists they are not ready. So she enters them anyway behind his back, and is then warned by Jackie about Teddy’s insecurities, and about how he cracked under the pressure the last time he was in a similar situation. To keep up Teddy’s confidence, Emily tells him the gloves were in the finals, which makes him way too happy, and he runs off to call his parents.
All too soon the Wayne X snobs show up and announce they won the competition, and Emily has to tell Teddy what happened, but learns he has taken a sick day, and she assumes he already found out. She goes to his apartment to console him and finds his family there for an impromptu celebration for Teddy’s doctor/ astronaut brother who is going into space, and she learns Teddy has always lived in the shadow of his sibling.
Back at work, Teddy sulks and says the company does not appreciate good work, so Emily shows him the highly advanced humanoid robot the Wayne X guys won the competition with, and Teddy has to admit he was outclassed, and tells Emily out on the terrace that was why he did not want to enter the competition in the first place, just as Crimson Fox lands and is frozen by one of her cold enemies. Teddy uses the gloves to unfreeze her while he and Emily have a (rather sappy) bonding moment, which Crimson Fox claims was tortuous to have to listen to, and then she asks for the gloves to use on her enemies. In the end, we learn from a newscast that Crimson Fox has used the gloves to apprehend a number of cold villains, and Teddy’s work is validated because of how it has helped a superhero save the city.
In the B-Story of the night (which had little if anything to do with the DC world), Van takes advantage of Ron’s niceness to make him build big toys for the daughter of his new girlfriend. The ONLY connection to DC is that the second set of toys Ron builds are invisible Wonder Woman jets for the girl and her crew, but other than that the bland storyline could have fit on any office sitcom, and I was very disappointed as it was not even that funny, and the storyline kept Van on Skype the whole episode, meaning one of the best parts of the show (Alan Tudyk) was barely present, another reason why I felt this was one of the weaker episodes. The only really funny bit I liked from this storyline was when Van first realized he needed someone to build the initial toy when he and Jackie open the first box, and he looks up and finds Jackie’s chair spinning as she has sped away Flash style, and he comments that the old girl still has some moves.
If the show continues to perform so schizophrenically it is going to have trouble maintaining an audience (including this reviewer), so for their sake I hope they can reign it in and figure out their formula soon. They are on NBC after all and the peacock has not been very nice to sitcoms or superhero shows for the past decade, and since ‘Powerless’ is both, they better watch themselves. Here’s hoping they come back next week with a much stronger episode.
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.