– Spoiler Review –
Flashbacks and psychic fights frame a great wrap up to Wolfe’s escape, which ends in several surprising ways I wouldn’t have imagined in another solid installment of Powers, “Paint it Black.”
My confusion with the visions/dreams or whatever between Wolfe and Walker came to an end this episode: thanks to taking Sway, i.e. Wolfe himself in drug form, Walker is able to psychically link with Wolfe and he’s intruding in the former’s thoughts. He’s seeing Wolfe’s likely first kill, who could be a stranger/a sister/or a friend and for a while Walker is unable to stop Wolfe from killing her. As he mentally and physically struggles with Wolfe, fighting to regain his powers rather than outright stop Wolfe, Walker starts to win just by sheer force of will to be a hero again. But his desire to be a hero again might cost him, as the episode ends with his eyes still glowing red, despite the Drainer seemingly affecting both Wolfe and him. The big questions are what powers does he have now, as some pulsed out of him after he passed out and at what price is it worth it for him to have powers back so he can be a hero?
The extended flashback was something I’ve been looking forward to and it mostly paid off. The actors they picked to play younger versions of Walker and Royalle were fitting and it’s amazing how Michelle Forbes really pulled off looking 20 years younger. Plus, they acted much like I imagined me and my friends might if we had abilities at that age, adding to this series slightly grounded feel. Spending a little time with the charming, younger, and not yet known as a killer Wolfe helped build up how he might have gotten so far and never been captured for all his killings for so many years. He is a true psychopath, hiding behind a carefully maintained appearance and awfully sharp mind, but something causes him to snap in 1994 and unravels his otherwise benign and philosophical demeanor. I wonder what set him off?
The flashbacks also show as much as Walker tries to make his decision to not kill Wolfe seem like an act of love, it was really more for the fame and glory of being a hero than anything else. In fact, it was definitely Royalle would couldn’t kill Wolfe out of love/respect, just like he couldn’t in the present. But Walker’s choice, to use Wolfe’s vulnerability and not do what he asks to prevent further bloodshed mostly proves Wolfe’s haunting point, “There are no heroes.” In a way he’s right: that by only being virtuous can one be a hero, whereas most heroic acts seem to be done for glory and recognition. That sounds exactly like Walker’s MO to me.
Zora, who I didn’t mention in my review of the previous episode, makes the call to try to help fight off Wolfe despite warnings from her agents (who I misidentified as lawyers previously), throwing herself into the fray. It was great to see her more afraid of the attention of the media than of Wolfe himself, as her ‘light’ abilities worked rather well against him. It’s still not clear how/why they work, but they make for a cool effect and a strong alley in a tough fight. And even though she only mumbles how she knocked Wolfe back at one point, the media takes it out of proportions (sound familiar?) and claims she took down Wolfe herself. Zora and Retro Girl helped, but the fight started and ended by Walker’s hands. Will she try to deny the media’s claims later? And why is Walker not refuting that claim, even lying to Retro Girl about it, when telling the truth would gain him the hero status he’s been dying for since the “Pilot?” Is it because he’s afraid of what he’s become? What has he become?
Calista sneaks over to Krispin’s place during all the fracas at the Shaft and he beings to change her view on Powers. He makes a simple but effective point when he says people with abilities are like, “…having a bunch of Godzilla’s on the loose.” After all the time she’s spent around her heroes and seen what they are really like, disappointing her at every step, it’s not surprising to see Calista take to Krispin’s cause so quickly. Now it’ll be interesting to see how Chaotic Chick takes to Krispin starting a relationship with Calista.
Retro Girl’s break down at the end initially felt like it kind of came out of nowhere, though as she explains it, it seems to have started around the time she lost control at Royalle’s club, which is only added onto when she doesn’t end up saving that little girl’s brother and Wolfe almost eating her after losing to him. Regardless of her public face and controlled composure around everyone else, she’s just like all the other powers: still human. Walker consoles, showing his strong feelings for her still, though it did make me wonder if his actions are truly to help her or for him to feel like he has everything back again: the girl and his powers.
Here are a few other things:
- It initially threw me off with the flashbacks taking place in 1994 and everyone is in their 40’s now, but then I realized if they were in their 20’s then they’d be 40’s now. Makes me realize I’m old-ish nowadays, despite being born in ’89.
- Love when Wolfe decides not to eat Triphammer because he calls him a robot. And here’s hoping Triphammer is just down, not out from the beating he takes.
- How effective is the Drainer? If Royalle is back up and running with his abilities, how long before Wolfe has his back…or has Walker taken them all?
- Royalle recalls Sway and looks like he might start tracking down those who took it…but to what end?
It might feel like I’ve been asking a lot of questions, but good television in my eyes has always played a delicate game between revealing it’s cards and keeping secrets; since the questions I have for Powers are ones wondering just what will happen next, the show seems to be doing a good job of dangling enticing carrots on a stick to keep pulling viewers back. “Paint it Black” continues the series upwards tick, as we finish the first half of the season on a cliffhanger-ish note.
+ Walker regaining his powers…for better or worse
+ Giving viewers lots to invest in and pay attention too
– Some of the flying effects were a little silly looking
Season One: Ep. 1: “Pilot” | Ep. 2: “Like a Power” | Ep. 3: “Mickey Rooney Cries No More” | Ep. 4: “Devil in a Garbage Bag” | 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“