To read our reviews of episodes 1-3 of Powers season two, click here, episode 4 here, episodes 5-6 here, episode 7 here, episode 8 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 nine.
There is exactly one bad thing about episode nine, Slain Dragons: What the hell is up with Martinez’s goofy looking headset? Every scene he’s in it looks all skewed to the side, with the microphone and eye piece never quite lining up with his face properly, like a four year old trying to wear a toy that says for ages 12 and up. They couldn’t have made the design a little more sleek and a little less like something you’d pick up at WalMart on a Black Friday sale?
Costuming faux pas aside, there’s a lot to talk about as things come to a head in episode nine. Last week I said Chasing Ghosts was my favorite Powers episode yet, and Slain Dragons easily managed to topple that with incredible pacing, emotion, acting, and one dumb headset. The viewer was fed a lot of different, yet disparate information in the last episode, and episode nine allows the pieces to come together as each of the major players gets back to the central narrative, bringing about the question: What if the most powerful being in the world is not really our protector?
Crazy Power and a Psycho Killer?
One of the biggest questions leading into episode nine is if Morrison’s existence — who is clearly not a figment of SuperShock’s imagination — actually meant that SuperShock was not mentally unstable. Turns out that nope, both can be true, though I wonder if Morrison’s ability to vanish and be nearly nonexistent drove SuperShock to his madness over the years. It seems like a lot of information, more than can be comfortably wrapped into one final episode along with everything else going on, though I guess we finally have an explanation for that really weird scene between SuperShock and Calista a few episodes ago.
Olesya Rulin gets some beautiful moments to show her acting ability after Calista is attacked by a crazed SuperShock. Fearful for her life, she bolts into the drainer and huddles in a corner, crying and stammering that she doesn’t want her powers anymore, that she didn’t know it would be like this. Walker is able to empathize with her as he compares her feelings in that moment to being attacked by Wolfe, someone he had looked up to but had instead betrayed him. It’s a nice scene of bonding between these two, as well as a showing of strength from Walker, which is a major pillar of this episode.
A few flashback scenes are dedicated to showing who Walker was just before, during, and after he fell from grace and lost his powers to Wolfe’s attack. Through this sequence of events we get a sense for how far Walker has come as a person since he was Diamond and even how much current trials and relationships continue to evolve him. It’s something that really helps to add a depth to the lead, and affords Sharlto Copley a chance to flex his acting muscles and do a larger variety with his character.
Now that SuperShock has gone off the reservation, dead powers are quite literally raining from the sky, and as much as I love the quirky female medical examiner, bodies on the table mean that everyone’s favorite Dr. Death makes a resurgence, back from paternity leave. What’s even better is that now we’ve got two bizarre, yet unique medical examiners who seem to play very well together from their limited interactions in this episode. With all the dead powers around, they’re certainly going to have their work cut out for them, I just hope they keep them both around.
Reconnecting With Old Friends
Powers dying isn’t the only thing they were looking at though. At the end of episode eight, Krispin shows Captain Cross that he’s come back from the dead, and Slain Dragons is everyone else’s reactions to that startling revelation. Walker’s simply in disbelief, having felt responsible for Krispin, so it’s a major weight lifted to have him back. Again, it’s part of that character evolution for Walker. Pilgrim gets a hilarious scene where she shoots him, trying to kill him again because “he’s supposed to be dead!” Of course, Krispin’s a power now, so he can’t die, and the female ME is just delighted that she got to witness a live test of his powers. And then there’s Calista, who needs that extra boost from seeing someone she cared deeply for back in the land of the living, and better yet, a power just like her, proving that she’s not alone in her fight.
It’s a good thing that Calista has Walker and Krispin to prove that, because aside from wearing a goofy headset, Martinez and Zora still seem to be doing hardly anything, waiting in the wings so that they can be part of the presumed grand battle that will take place next episode for the finale. It’s just a shame it wasn’t SuperShock that had killed Triphammer. With Heavy out of the picture, this story barely feels motivating enough for Zora and Martinez to have any strong connection or involvement, so instead they stand off to the side wearing a stupid lopsided headset until it’s time to play their grand part.
I’m relieved that Kutter isn’t dead, but his life hanging in the balance seriously motivated Pilgrim, who is just terrified that her world is turning upside down and wants to see everything made right. How do you take down the worlds strongest power? By giving him what he wants, and Pilgrim comes wandering in at the end of the episode with Morrison in cuffs. I’m still wondering how she managed to apprehend the elusive Morrison who evaded so many for so long. Unless it’s a major plot hole, it seems like he’s going along with his capture willingly. Pilgrim definitely didn’t use her powers to get him, because she hadn’t had time to develop them yet.
Pilgrim’s Getting Powers
Yes, you read that right. Pilgrim has powers now, after a freak accident where one of the dead powers innards burst and she ended up swallowing the blood and bile, or whatever it was. Previously hinted through conversation with the medical examiner, we find that powers are in fact biological hazards, and full research has not been done on what happens if the biologies of the humans and powers should mix in any way (though season one somewhat hastily explored this with Sway having come from Wolfe). So far it seems like Pilgrim got the equivalent of superhero comics’ radioactive goop, giving her as of yet unknown abilities, though with her purple eyes, maybe she and Zora should start a club. Judging by some seemingly throwaway comments from the EMTs however, I don’t think it will be all sunshine and roses for dear Deena Pilgrim.
I’m still holding out for Walker’s powers to reemerge in some way, even though they tried to make it pretty clear this episode that he wasn’t getting his powers back. Call it a red herring to throw us off the scent. Those headaches aren’t happening for no reason, and as Walker himself points out, he’s survived numerous situations in which normal humans have died. I’m all in with my chips for this one, and if it’s not part of the finale, it will be a major component of season three, along with further exploration into the biology of powers and what makes them tick.
Powers builds on a world where powered individuals are the norm, and regular humans must learn how to coexist. The old two dimensional stories and flat characters from the first season have given way to the depth of characters and narratives in season two, making the impending doom from SuperShock somehow feel much more powerful than Wolfe or Johnny Royale ever did in season one. Maybe there will be room somewhere in season three to reprise the Royale and Wolfe storyline with this new and infinitely better direction the show has taken? Powers has been continuing to improve, and Slain Dragons gives me exactly what I began watching the show for in the first place.
New episodes of Powers will be released each Tuesday free for PlayStation Plus members. Everybody can watch the first episode here.