NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Powerless” are present in this review
Powerless is continuing to find its ideal groove again this week, with another contender for one of Season One’s strongest overall episodes! “Green Furious” made for exceptional use of the show’s entire lead ensemble, between a solid main storyline with most of the Wayne Security crew, and an inspired subplot involving Jackie and Wendy. We also got another particularly strong DC Universe connection in these latest story events, which worked to both build the show’s world, and integrate superheroes into it in a clever, subversive way.
The episode begins with Emily saving Green Fury from taking a fireball hit from Jack-O-Lantern (who just immediately flies off afterward?), which leads to Green Fury giving Emily a pager that she can use to call her at any time. As another note to DC fans, this episode also explains why Powerless refers to Bea da Costa’s fiery alter-ego as, “Green Fury”, rather than her proper superhero name, “Fire”, namely that it’s a dumb nickname that the press gave her. This was actually a pretty solid way to poke fun at so much live-action superhero media giving the heroes their names from press exposure, while also providing a logical way for Green Fury to grow a proper connection with Emily and Wayne Security.
This connection was further developed as Emily gets the chance to sit in on a board meeting with Van, where she’s advised to stay quiet. Naturally though, Emily doesn’t heed this advice for long, and speaks up about a protective poncho that isn’t selling, by declaring that it has no style. Just when it looks like she’s about to be dismissed though, she calls Green Fury into Wayne Security, suggesting that the company do a superhero spokesperson deal to promote the poncho. Again, this is a clever and effective way to tie a DC superhero into the story, while in turn giving Wayne Security something great to do that logically fits with their company vision.
This also gives Teddy an opportunity to keep trying to figure out how to approach Green Fury, hilariously trying to make use of a focus group that Ron is trying to use for a different Wayne Security product, which only nets him extra scorn. Teddy’s increasingly inept tricks led to a genuinely funny conclusion too, as his research turns him into a douche-y feminist poser. Green Fury, naturally, doesn’t take to Teddy like that, with Ron swooping in to tell Teddy that he’ll never break out of his dating slump if he doesn’t be himself. This is a sweet, if overdone message, and better cemented Teddy’s and Ron’s apparent close friendship. It also led to Teddy meeting another woman at the end of the episode, which may disappointingly signal the end of Teddy’s Green Fury desires. That’s a bit sad.
The rest of the main storyline with Emily and Green Fury involved Emily’s commercial pitch for the poncho, unsurprisingly, being hijacked by the boys’ club that is the Wayne Security board. After the pitch is twisted into a sleazy and sexist ad, Emily eventually tells Green Fury that she shouldn’t do the commercial. Fortunately, Wayne Security still gets what they want however, thanks to a hilarious twist that has Emily and Green Fury call in The Olympian, who fills in for the sexy scenes, while Green Fury promotes the product itself. This was a brilliant, unexpected way to end the storyline, even if Emily unrealistically got off without any real consequences for her dissent. Considering how much warning she was given about defying the board, she certainly got away with her actions very easily.
The subplot with Jackie and Wendy, meanwhile, involves Jackie taking her daughter into work, after she is suspended for hitting another kid. Jackie’s daughter, Ruby won’t open up to her mother about what happened either, much to Jackie’s annoyance. Said annoyance only grows when Wendy takes a liking to Ruby as well, and demonstrates an uncanny resemblance to Jackie’s daughter in turn. Wendy is a very interesting trainwreck of a woman, and putting her outward immaturity on full blast made for a subplot that was both funny and heartfelt, since it in turn highlighted just how much Jackie has to be the bad guy, and how much it doesn’t seem to be getting her anywhere with Ruby’s situation.
Eventually, Jackie directly confronts Wendy and tells her that she’s an immature, barely-functioning mess, but this is the point where Ruby interjects to say that the only reason she hit the other kid is because he called Jackie a, “Garbage lady who can’t keep a husband.” This was a surprisingly sweet turnout, one that realistically allowed Jackie to forgive her daughter, before also apologizing to Wendy for being harsh. Again, there was a surprising lack of consequences to Jackie so bluntly calling out Wendy’s clear maturity issues, and you’d think that Wendy would be more deeply hurt, but maybe the half-hour constraint got in the way. Regardless, this subplot was a great way to develop both characters, and give them their own better-established personal connection to each other. It also made for an equally effective way to introduce Jackie’s daughter, who will hopefully get another chance to show up at Wayne Security.
“Green Furious” is another great display of what Powerless is capable of in a true highlight episode. The show’s consistency still isn’t perfect, and it’s still got some growing pains to work through, but it’s episodes like this that make me really cross my fingers that NBC won’t just scrap the series after Season One. As I’ve said before, the odds are unfortunately against Powerless at this point, but we can hope. Fortunately, if the show keeps up on a note as strong as this for its remaining Season One episodes, that hope will grow brighter. Granted, positive reception didn’t ultimately save Constantine after just thirteen episodes and a cancellation, that beingNBC’s previous stab at a DC-inspired show, but maybe Powerless can thrive in the digital space to help boost its ratings numbers. Maybe it’s futile, but the fact that I and so many others are rooting for Powerless despite the odds, must mean that the show is starting to turn into something at least a bit special.
Powerless hit an especially effective high note this week, with two smart plotlines, plenty of great jokes, and a clever, subversive integration of two DC superheroes.
Reader Rating1 Vote
THE GOOD STUFF
Funny, subversive core storyline with Green Fury
Teddy's amusing attempts at re-invention
Jackie and Wendy butting heads over Jackie's daughter
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
Emily not being punished by the board is a bit too convenient
Wendy gets over being called a trainwreck pretty fast