Finally, I feel like ‘Powerless’ found its balance. This week the plot, though an old sitcom trope of being a “bottle-episode,” was entirely launched by their presence in the DC Comics world (they were trapped in the office instead of going on their corporate retreat because of a gas attack by Doctor Psycho), and even while dealing with the fallout of the supervillain attack, the show had some of the strongest humor I have yet seen it deliver. The highlight of the episode for me was with Van (which is not unusual as I love Alan Tudyk) but his story of having hired writers and using an earpiece to get zingers from them throughout the episode was amazing. Jumping in, the episode starts with the gang very excited at the prospect of their corporate retreat which Emily has spent A LOT of time planning, trying to make sure (as always) that everyone will be happy and has something to look forward to do during the company outing. Unfortunately for her team (which includes the entirety of the main cast) their group also includes the elderly Dorothy who they have to wait for, which is why they are still in the office when the city is hit with the gas attack, trapping them inside. And to make matters worse, they discover that Dorothy had already left with another group and is now enjoying the retreat, even having stolen the hazmat suits for her ‘Breaking Bad’ themed outfit for the costume contest Emily had planned. So Emily makes the best of things for her team and almost magically decorates the whole office in an island theme so those left behind can have a retreat party while trapped inside, and tensions are raised as they drink and discussed who they would want to be trapped with on a desert island. While Wendy hits on, and makes Van very uncomfortable discussing how she would want to be trapped with him because she could eat him alive, Ron pisses off Teddy by citing his bad attitude as the reason he would not want to be trapped on an island with him, all while Jackie insists she would want to be left alone on the island to die. When the group insults Teddy’s physical strength he tries to show off by launching a Tiki torch at a trash can and accidentally cracks the office window, letting the gas inside, and the gang has to retreat to the science lab, with no one bothering to grab any food, water, or the gas masks they need on the way inside. While Wendy hits on Van, and makes him very uncomfortable discussing how she would want to be trapped with him because she could eat him alive, Ron pisses off Teddy by citing his bad attitude as the reason he would not want to be trapped on an island with him, all while Jackie insists she would want to be left alone on the island to die. When the group insults Teddy’s physical strength, he tries to show off by launching a Tiki torch at a trash can and accidentally cracks the office window, letting the gas inside, and the gang has to retreat to the science lab, with no one bothering to grab any food, water, or the gas masks they need on the way inside. So, of course, it is up to Emily to make a makeshift haz-mat suit and retrieve the gas-masks, but she is attacked by one of Van’s writers who was left behind in the gas and exposed herself to the deadly fumes. So the gang has to rally to save Emily, who lashes out at them as they learn the gas is a truth gas that will kill a person if they are exposed to it for over 2 hours. Ron tries to head out and save Emily but she berates him and claims he uses his cuteness too much and he heads back inside, insulted, and then Van makes a rousing speech about how they have to come together to save Emily, especially after all she has done for them, which of course was written by his remaining writer. So they don the matching T-shirts Emily made for them with their catch-phrases on them, grab her Karaoke machine and launch into a Katy Perry song that lures her back inside, just in time to save her. And in the aftermath, in true sitcom fashion, Emily remembers nothing about her angry truth bombs and ranting at the team about their ungratefulness, and they all thank her for everything she’s done for them. While a little cheesy, it felt like the show earned it after a solid episode like this, and I feel bad because I can’t quite do the episode justice in this review, but know that it definitely is one you have to watch to appreciate all of the humor and how everything works. The cast just seemed to click really well in this episode, everyone had business and something to do, everyone had solid jokes and character moments, and it felt great to see the team become closer and more of a family, especially since I had worried the show was going to throw out any character development every week in favor of cheap jokes, which does not seem to be the case here. I know ‘Powerless’ is still not doing great in the ratings department, but more and more I am seeing the potential of this show, and they are really getting into their groove now, and I hope NBC is seeing that. A season 2 pick-up could lead to a great series, though to be fair, I don’t think anyone would blame the peacock if they pulled the plug on ‘Powerless’ at this point. They may finally be delivering, but it is really late in the game.
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.