– Spoiler Review –
All hell breaks loose as Wolfe gets free from containment and choices in the pasts of both Royalle and Walker come back to haunt them full force in “Devil in a Garbage Bag,” one of Powers most riveting episodes yet.
“Devil” broke the show’s mold of investigation and questioning by turning into a tense action-packed episode which paid off in dividends. As Walker, Pilgrim, Triphammer, Cross, and some of the Powers Division descended into hell to fight the devil himself, Wolfe, the death-toll rises really quickly and grisly, as most of the supporting actors meet their doom to the hunger of the Wolfe. Their whole time in the Shaft, the PD prison for Powers, was really well done, as it played up some horror tropes and used some great camera angles to frame the hunt for Wolfe.
Walker’s choice to take Sway leads to some interesting consequences, and acts as a call back to the final scene in the pilot, where his desire to be a hero one last time trumps living powerless. The bonding he has done with Pilgrim so far takes a step back after he admits his ‘hero-complex’ got the best of his judgment, as his Sway dosing puts the entire team and operation to recapture/depower Wolfe at risk. It also leads to some weird bonding/mind transference between Walker and Wolfe, with the former trying to talk Wolfe down because he doesn’t want to kill him…something which Royalle won’t do either.
Both Walker and Royalle look up to Wolfe as a mentor, father-figure, and most importantly, they both love him in their own weird way. It’s that love which not only caused his first killing spree to go mostly unabated, but it also lets this second one begin. They both confess Wolfe actually gave them the option to kill him and they just couldn’t, leading to the big slaughter they’ve mentioned before, until Walker managed to capture him instead. Obviously taking Wolfe’s suggestion would’ve been a good idea, but much like Batman never kills the Joker, you’ve got to hope the person might always have a chance to be redeemable.
Since this episode starts right where the last one ended, Royalle faces his former mentor and has a chance to end all this slaughter before it starts. But, as Wolfe points out, how can you kill the one you love? Royalle can’t bring himself to kill Wolfe and pops out of the Shaft before the carnage begins, deciding it’s time to run as there’s too much evidence to link him to what’s about to go down. See, Royalle’s been getting blood from Wolfe for Sway, but his prodding is messing with the lobotomies which are carefully planned to counter-act Wolfe’s regenerative abilities. But his reasons for making Sway, his overall plan, was way more benign than I imagined, leading me to question whether you can explicitly call Royalle a ‘villain.’
In the world of Powers, no one’s strictly good or evil, but rather some place in between, another refreshing aspect of its take on superheroes. Royalle might have killed people in the past and his Sway might be killing them now too, but he did it so that those with weaker abilities wouldn’t have to feel helpless to save others or insignificant to the stronger Powers around them. It’s all from his own feelings regarding what happened to his sister after he popped away and was never able to get back in time to save her. Treating Calista like his sister means Royalle will listen to her, and when she admits her plan to kill her father because he used to beat her mom up much like what Royalle’s father did to his, Royalle’s convinced to stick around, face the music, and stop Wolfe. That totally backfires though, as Royalle unknowingly steps into the Drainer Triphammer quickly installed into Wolfe’s cell. Does this mean Royalle is done popping about for good? That would drastically change his character and would be a surprising turn of events.
My only issue with the episode would be the visions Wolfe has throughout. I wasn’t sure if they were due to the lobotomies, if that’s what he sees all the time, or if it was just due to his contact with Walker, but he had a similar vision last week so I’m unclear what they meant/where they’re coming from. If I’d hazard a guess, it’s due to the lobotomies, but still it’s not made clear here. Anyone have a better idea/do the comics have an explanation?
Here are a few other things:
- I said I wanted to know what happened to Triphammer, after we got to see him take off his uniform in “Mickey Rooney,” and in “Devil” he mentions at least one of his legs is due to Walker’s negligence in a previous event. The history here is fun to learn and uncover, but I’d like to see it even more.
- Retro Girl deals with the fallout from her anger issues at the club by not responding to the media and going out to help those affected by the hurricane she mentioned to Calista in “Like a Power.” Though her reasoning for not helping with the Wolfe situation almost sounds a bit like her being afraid of him.
- I’m happy to see Cross and Triphammer weren’t actually in on Royalle’s visits to Wolfe.
- Krispin gets a few short scenes, one where he trades numbers with Calista and another where Chaotic Chick thanks him for the graffiti, then suggests the next thing he should do would be for himself. Though she offers her skills at the end of the exchange, it seemed a little odd that she wouldn’t offer to do something explicitly for him and that he has to do it for himself. Makes me wonder about just how Chaotic this Chick really is.
- There’s some trouble brewing in the house of Simons and Royalle, caused mostly by the one affecting everyone: Calista. Could she already have her power and its persuasion?
- Zora’s ability is still a big unknown, but having her head to the Shaft could give us a chance to see it in action/what it can actually do.
With Wolfe officially out of the containment from the bottom level, ready to feed on a Powers to exponentially bolster his abilities, can a drugged-up Walker, Triphammer, or anyone be able to stop him? If they manage to work together and get Wolfe back to his cell, how long would the Drainer’s effects last on such a powerful Powers? “Devil in a Garbage Bag,” was not only an entertaining and intense hour of TV by itself, but it also set up another gripping hour to follow it in the growing ever so stronger first season of Powers.
+ Wolfe on the loose
+ Royalle and Walker’s ties to Wolfe
– Confusing vision/dream/whatever sequences
Season One: Ep. 1: “Pilot” | Ep. 2: “Like a Power” | Ep. 3: “Mickey Rooney Cries No More” | Ep. 5 “Paint it Black” | Ep. 6: “The Raconteur of the Funeral Circuit” | Ep. 7: “You Are Not It” | Ep. 8: “Aha Shake Heartbreak” | Ep. 9: “Level 13” | Ep. 10: “F@#K the Big Chiller“