NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Powers”, including a major character death, are present in this review
Powers’ season finale had the unenviable task of trying to wrap up the many disparate story elements from throughout Season Two this week, and that means that, “Legacy” provided a reasonably interesting, but also somewhat confused ending to the season. The whole SuperShock dilemma was resolved in a fairly clever, but excessively quick way, no doubt constrained by the season’s ten-episode length that was already mostly focused on the Retro Girl murder, and it felt like all of the other story elements that were tossed in later on were just hurried to a hopeful starting point for a potential Season Three, without much in the way of satisfying story resolutions.
Now that SuperShock has been clearly established as the major threat to the world, and Morrison stands in Powers Division’s custody, both New Unity and Powers Division quickly debate how to deal with the escalating global issue of a thoroughly insane SuperShock. It turns out that SuperShock was always off his rocker too, with Retro Girl burying his mental condition, partially by convincing him to go into self-imposed exile. Now that Retro Girl is dead, nothing is holding back SuperShock’s madness anymore. Honestly, this was a decent way to try to tie together the two major story angles from Season Two, but it didn’t completely fix the issue of the season awkwardly changing gears just over its halfway point, and it still feels like too much of the SuperShock story elements have been awkwardly tacked on and rushed through, just so the season can end itself.
Where the episode stood strongest was in the interplay between Walker and the New Unity members, who are also trying to decide how Krispin should fit into the group. Calista is very eager to have Krispin join New Unity’s ranks, but Zora and Martinez are against it, and so is Krispin himself, who tries to simply flee to his grandparents’ place, far away from Los Angeles at first. The idea of Krispin struggling with whether or not he should join New Unity, despite his previous hatred of Powers, might have made for an interesting story angle in a less over-stuffed season, but sadly, since this comes up in the season finale, the conflict is brought up, and then quickly abandoned, with Krispin simply joining New Unity without incident shortly after hesitating. That’s annoying.
Fortunately, Walker yet again having to confront his arrogance and shortcomings during his career as Diamond was also a stronger point, especially when he must lead New Unity in the final battle against SuperShock. This also ties into the clever way that the show eventually kills off SuperShock, despite him being nearly invincible too. Actually, on the note of SuperShock, he sort of has the same problem as Wolfe from last season now, in that the show isn’t really clearly demonstrating a handle on what exactly SuperShock’s powers are. He’s just sort of all-powerful, and does whatever the script demands, which feels lazy. In this season finale, he demonstrates power over basically any form of energy or frequency or physical force, but it might have been better if the show had just picked one. When SuperShock now has the power to summon tornadoes, lightning storms and sound blasts all at once, on top of being able to accomplish literally any physical feat, it just makes him seem inconsistent.
Also an issue, and a frequent one in Powers, but worse than ever here, are the dodgy special effects. Granted, this is a PlayStation Original Series, so you can only expect so much out of the effects budget, but there’s some visual beats to the final duel with SuperShock, New Unity and Walker that look really dodgy. Some of these scenes are actually poorly-rendered to the point of looking unintentionally hilarious, which somewhat deflates the major conflict that’s supposed to be unfolding in the season’s big climax. At the very least, the way that Walker saves everyone, by donning his Diamond costume (sans mask), and convincing SuperShock that Diamond was Morrison the whole time, was a decent way to end the fight, as well as have Walker redeem himself through self-sacrifice, as he convinces SuperShock to fly both of them into the sun. SuperShock seems to be dead, though Walker is instead left floating in some sort of void during a post-credits scene, as some mysterious individuals discuss observing him, and potentially upgrading him to, “Level 2 Trials.”
This seems to suggest that Powers will start cherry-picking new major story arcs from the source comics like, “Legends” and, “Cosmic”, which tie into the late Cobalt Knight’s anti-Powers legislation, now appearing to be put into effect at the end of the season, and Walker being rescued by some sort of intergalactic protection force, who appoints him as a new protector of Earth. These story elements probably won’t be exactly adapted, especially as they incorporate the character of Triphammer, who is now dead in the TV series, but the evidence is there that this seems to be where Powers hopes to go next, should it be renewed for Season Three.
Another hint to this effect is a subplot with Pilgrim, who is continuing to suffer the effects of the mysterious affliction that she sustained upon being sprayed by the bile from Queen Noir’s corpse. Just as SuperShock warns about how Powers often mentally degrade over time (Retro Girl seemed to be the only exception), Pilgrim starts becoming unhinged rather quickly, decking Nicole Glantz in her yard after Glantz gets nosy with defaming Powers Division (despite Cross wanting her to get involved to spread the word about Morrison), and later, breathing poison into Morrison, which immediately kills him, before Pilgrim comes to her senses and flees. Pilgrim even runs afoul of SuperShock, though in this case, SuperShock simply rips her heart out, before comically trying to stuff it back in, and amazingly, Pilgrim lives, though spends the rest of the episode, and the season, confined to a hospital bed, until she’s awakened by the sensing that Walker has sacrificed himself to save the world from SuperShock. Sadly, there are no updates on Kutter, which is a let-down.
The threat of SuperShock has been neutralized, and Morrison is now also dead, with his powers having waned since his, “Last Hurrah” during the Cuban Missile Crisis, apparently, but the damage has been done, and the world of Powers is quickly outlawing superheroics, just as New Unity begins to form. Thus, Season Two ends with a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, so it would be very frustrating if the show wasn’t ultimately renewed for a third season, since there’s clearly a lot of teasing and buildup for it, at the expense of creating a true feeling of resolution with the end of Season Two. Like I said though, the show suffered for its over-stuffing of ideas this season in this episode especially, which brought a busy, albeit improved second season to an end. This was a pretty decent season finale, all things considered, but it definitely would have been better if the series had been more focused, and not tried to cram in everything and the kitchen sink.
- Clever tying of Retro Girl's death to SuperShock's menace
- Walker's big sacrifice
- Pilgrim gradually losing control of herself
- Krispin and Pilgrim arcs are rushed
- Story suffers from having to wrap up too many dangling plot threads
- Some especially dodgy battle effects