SPOILER WARNING: While I have tried to remain as spoiler free as possible in previous episode reviews, I don’t feel that I can properly review this season finale without going into pretty huge spoilers for the episode. If you plan on watching it yourself and want to avoid knowing anything about the episode, enjoy this giant picture of Calista to provide a gap between here and spoiler town.
I’ve previously lamented the number of conveniences that push the plot forward, rather than naturally advancing the narrative based on character development, and the season finale feels extremely contrived. After escaping at the end of the last episode, Wolfe is now free to wreak havoc on the world, but it feels like the writers are making up the rules as they go.
Through a series events such as the complete ineptitude of the powers division, and Zora randomly thinking she can take on a newly super-powered Wolfe (remember, he consumed 19 powers when he killed Simons last week), somehow Wolfe ends up with Calista in Royalle’s club. I’m not really sure how he got here, as the editing in this episode is really goofy and perhaps tries to convey things that aren’t quite imparted on the viewer as intended. No, he’s not here to kill Calista. Somehow she’s different, and he wants her as part of his ‘family.’ I’m getting a really Charles Manson vibe from this guy, except that Wolfe actually loses control and devours people. These scenes are really, really bizarre, and do little to help make any sense of what either Wolfe or Calista are after.
About halfway through the episode, and after an extremely lackluster final “fight,” Walker conveniently runs up to Wolfe with a drainer core and drains him, which is a pretty big sacrifice for Walker, given that he can never get his powers back now. This moment may have had more impact if they had allowed Walker to have a final super-powered fight with Wolfe, but instead we see him drained, shot by Pilgrim, and then beheaded by Royalle without much fanfare. This final confrontation was a complete missed opportunity, and for all intents and purposes, it was simply boring.
During this whole event we see Crispin with the nameless Khaotic Chick, and their part doesn’t intertwine effectively with the events of the finale until the final moments of the episode, but I’ll get there. The most these two get to do for the majority of the episode is sit in a hotel room and make tinfoil hat remarks about how everything is a conspiracy and there’s so much more that they are not being told about powers. Again, it’s an arc that is great in concept, but the execution is particularly lacking. And that’s a consistent theme that rears its ugly head again and again through Powers.
Alright, so Wolfe’s now dead and there’s still a ton of episode left, which they spend setting up for season two. Everyone’s learned some lessons and they try to further some character development and relationships, which feels awkward because it should naturally occur through the events that are occurring. So suddenly they are trying to Walker and Pilgrim (which feels forced and weird), and Walker and Retro Girl (which feels more natural, but is a blatant set up for the final moments of the episode).
Let’s Kill Another One
The final scene in the episode is Retro Girl dead in a pool of blood on the same stage that Crispin’s mother was killed on, with a large white sheet that says “Khaotic Chic” on it. We aren’t shown that it was Crispin and Khaotic Chick, but it can obviously be assumed. This is a pretty massive moment that will have huge implications leading into season two, and is a great cliffhanger, but I wish it would have tied more closely to the rest of the events in the entire season instead of feeling tacked on at the end after an already lacking finale.
I can’t help but feel that Powers is a collection of great ideas with poor writing that fails to intertwine them into a cohesive narrative. Character development be damned, the writers found ways to make their ideas fit into the makeup of the show regardless. Coincidental plot piece after contrived narrative point, the ill-cut puzzle fell into place, but characters barely grew (except when it was convenient to the story), and relationships never felt real. The only one that had an inkling of heart was that between Walker and Retro Girl, which actually made the impact of the final cliffhanger all the more heavy.
I’m glad that I got Powers free on with PS Plus, because it feels like a B-list TV show that almost isn’t even trying. When we have absolute powerhouses in streaming exclusive shows like House of Cards or Netflix’s latest, Daredevil, Powers by comparison is laughable. It really needs to step up its game if PlayStation exclusives want to have any chance of competing with these other shows that have far better writing, development, narratives, characters, and production value. If season two is going to ask me to pay anything more than my time, I don’t think I’ll be continuing my journey with Powers.