To read our reviews of episodes 1-3 of Powers season two, click here, episode 4 here, episodes 5-6 here, episode 7 here. To check back on all of our Powers coverage, including reviews of season one, click here. The review below contains spoilers for the previous episodes of Powers, as well as spoilers for episode eight.
Buckle up. After episode seven disappointingly cut ties with the first half of season two — starting what feels like a third season of Powers — episode eight, titled Chasing Ghosts, takes away comfort zones and stirs the pot with an intense series of disparate events that significantly changes the trajectory of where Powers is headed. It still feels like a major shift away from the arc of the initial six episodes, but the ante has been upped in game changing ways.
Walker is doing extensive research on newly revealed villain, Morrison — AKA The Ghost. All of his findings put Morrison’s status as deceased more than 40 years earlier, corroborated by statements made by SuperShock and Retro Girl at the time. Turns out that they lied, or at least fudged the truth to assuage the public when a body failed to materialize. There isn’t much time to process this before Walker collapses on the ground with one of his ringing headaches as SuperShock calmly looks on. Scenes that follow make it clear that Supershock has some idea of what’s going on with Walker, and still thinks of him as a fellow power. In fact, I think that SuperShock’s line saying “once a power, always a power” will have much deeper implications than just a sense of brotherhood.
In the face of Walker’s impending powers reemergence, SuperShock is shown to have some possible mental instability. This has previously been hinted at as we see his disdain for the primitive and destructive nature of the “apes,” his term for regular non-powered individuals. There’s also some indication that SuperShock has been around for about 300 years, which is a bit of an anachronism to evidence presented in Origins that he discovered his power in WWI.
It now feels like he knew he had powers long before that scene in episode seven, but was against the mindless killing and destruction. If that’s the case, why even enlist in the army in the first place? And what’s up with his aging over time too? Minor details, but ones that make it difficult to pinpoint SuperShock’s origins and intentions. Going off of the graphic novel, he’s the original power that has basically been around forever, but the show’s narrative seems to alter that origin story somewhat.
Letters From Retro Girl
Whatever’s going on with SuperShock, he’s definitely hiding a secret. Walker discovers an odd shrine to Retro Girl in his remote mountain cabin, along with an old letter, apparently written by Retro Girl herself. Walker makes no mention of the letter out loud, and the glimpse of it is fleeting, but pausing reveals that it’s basically an ultimatum saying that if Retro Girl is in any way unable to protect the world anymore, SuperShock needs to be killed or incapacitated by another level ten power. It also makes mention he will try to claim that The Ghost is out to kill him, but that The Ghost is a fantasy created by SuperShock.
This is quickly countered by Kutter and Pilgrim actually encountering Morrison after Walker going missing sparks a search for The Ghost. I’ve been really impressed with the evolution of Kutter’s character as more than just a one sided misogynistic jerk. His complicated relationship with Pilgrim gives a sense of depth to these characters and it all makes his fate hanging in the balance as the capstone cliffhanger of the episode have that much more impact. Powers cast be warned, if they start developing your character more, you’re probably about to get stabbed, or thrown out a window, or crushed by a building.
At this point I’m quite confused. Retro Girl seems to not believe in The Ghost, but he’s been shown numerous times now, and left Kutter bleeding out on the cold concrete of an old record store. Clearly there’s some reality to The Ghost, but why did Retro Girl think that SuperShock needed to be kept in check and eliminated if it should come right down to it? A lot of questions need to be answered in the next two episodes, and we’re not done with Chasing Ghosts yet.
Unrelated to everything else, Calista’s father holds up a bank complete with a bomb vest. Finally, something for New Unity to do, except that the situation resolves with only Calista going in to confront her father, flying him up to the stratosphere, and making him explode (did she really have to let the money go up with him?). Zora gets a few throwaway lines, and if Martinez was actually in the episode, I don’t remember him. It’s a little situation that doesn’t really play into the grand scheme of things apart from evolving Calista’s character as she learns to deal with her father issues calmly and come into her own. There’s some question of if she survived the explosion but I think it’s pretty clear she’s still alive.
Night of the Living Dead
Finally, the bizarre bombshell of the episode, cleverly revealed after Walker states that people don’t come back from the dead. Krispin Stockley, who had hung himself in the first episode of the season, kicks his way out of a morgue fridge and is met by the disgustingly zombified Marigold (yes, still missing her arm and with nice bit of rebar through her head), who had died under the rubble of the collapsed building when Walker confronted her a few episodes later.
It’s quickly made apparent that Marigold is not actually a zombie as she cannot be seen by anyone around her except Krispin, and she continues to try to control him in the way that she did prior to her death. Realizing that he must be a power to have risen from the dead, he understandably freaks out for the duration of the episode, with Marigold acting as the devil on his shoulder throughout.
In the end, Krispin comes into his own and realizes that it wasn’t him that needed Marigold. It was her that needed him. So he throws himself from a building to rid himself of Marigold and see if he lives. And live he does. The post credits scene shows Krispin walking in to powers division to register himself as a power, where Captain Cross sees him, jaw hitting the floor. Krispin having the power to not die (or possibly die and just come back from it) seems to make him a level ten in my book, so I’m certain he’ll play a very, very important part as the season closes out.
Though it still deviates heavily from the arc in the first half of the season, Chasing Ghosts has been my favorite episode of Powers so far. It’s done a lot of developing important characters, adding twists to the familiar, and bringing back a character thought long gone. The only regrettable thing about season two of Powers is its lack of really developing the villains and allowing them to shine before being hauled off by the FBI or tossed out a window. I’m just hoping that the end of season two doesn’t also mean the end of the delightfully dark Morrisson. I want to see season three haunted by The Ghost.
New episodes of Powers will be released each Tuesday free for PlayStation Plus members. Everybody can watch the first episode here.