POWERLESS Review: “Emily Dates a Henchman”

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didn’t quite live up to the promise of last week’s solid episode, though it brought one or two genuine chuckles this week, and did continue to use this superhero/supervillain universe in interesting ways that effect our characters.

We start out with Teddy and Ron discovering a “Batarang” in their office (basically a deadly boomerang that Batman uses exclusively). Not quite sure how it got there, but they obviously both want it. However, it’s their boss Van Wayne who takes the most interest in it as he has some beef to squash with Batman (who he does not know is actually his cousin Bruce Wayne). Turns out a few years back, the Batmobile took off Van’s sideview mirror on his car–which he reports cost around $30,000. Now, as we all know, Batman never leaves a dangling thread; he’s going to be coming for his Batarang one way or another, and when he does, Van is going to finally take him to task for that hit and run . Indeed a light starts blinking on the Batarang, which they assume is a GPS.

POWERLESS -- "Emily Dates A Henchman" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Danny Pudi as Teddy, Ron Funches as Ron -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

Meanwhile, Emily tells the gang how she got invited to her ex-boyfriend’s wedding, and everyone tells her she needs to meet a guy. She, Jackie, and Wendy decide they must have a girls night out. Headed to the bar, Emily points to every male in there and why they don’t meet her qualifications for boyfriend material. When she’s cornered with a terrible guy who swears he “had her in his bio class” at Arizona State, a kind, dashing gentleman gets him to leave her by telling him there’s a beer pong tournament outside. This is Dan, who claims to be a doctor. At the end of the night she gives him her number and they begin to date. What she doesn’t see is that he is in actuality a professional henchman, currently doing gigs for The Riddler (his shirt with a big green question mark tips us off on that).

It quickly becomes apparent to everyone BESIDES Emily the true nature of “Doctor” Dan. When he visits her at work after dating for a couple weeks, he’s got an odd mark on his face the rest of the gang positively identifies as Green Lantern’s ring. Dan says he actually fell off his bike onto a rock. At first they decide not to tell Emily, figuring the situation will work itself out (aka he’ll die soon, as he is a henchman). But when he invites her to a weekend getaway at his boss’s house carved into the side of a mountain with a shark tank and a ray gun that shoots the moon, she can no longer deny it. Dan is a henchman. He lied to her! She is going to confront him.

POWERLESS -- "Emily Dates A Henchman" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Vanessa Hudgens as Emily, Robert Buckley as Dan -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

Speaking of confrontations, Van is revealing he has different plans for his big confrontation with Batman when he shows up for his Batarang. Teddy and Ron discover he is wearing a makeshift Robin costume, hoping to become the big man’s new Boy Wonder. “You do know two Robins supposedly died on the , right” Ron asks him. Doesn’t seem to bother the delusional Van. While in a dark alley waiting for Batman to show up, the three encounter a goon with a knife looking to mug them. They end up giving up their wallets. But then, when they aren’t looking, the Dark Knight himself grabs the goon (and the Batarang) and returns to each of them their wallet. “We met Batman, we met Batman!” they chant like giddy schoolgirls. They absolutely did not meet Batman (and the audience didn’t even see him on screen). But, hey, I’m happy for them.

Emily’s confrontation with Dan doesn’t go exactly as planned. When she reveals to him she knows that he’s been lying, he admits to it. AND to the fact that Dan isn’t even his real name; it’s Reggie. Then his fellow henchmen flood the office. They’ve been instructed by The Riddler to steal the indestructible iPhone cases Teddy and Ron made earlier in the episode so he can construct a tank to break into Arkham Asylum with. When Van returns in his Robin costume, however, the henchmen see him and figure Batman is present. They quickly hightail it out of there.

In the end, Emily decides that she will NOT be going to her ex-boyfriend’s wedding and she’s getting a refund on the pizza stone she was going to buy him for his wedding gift. Finally taking charge!

POWERLESS -- "Emily Dates A Henchman" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Vanessa Hudgens as Emily, Christina Kirk as Jackie -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

The episode was pretty light on laughs, though it did have its small charms. Alan Tudyk continues to carry the show. Ron Funches, Dani Pudi, and Jennie Pierson as Ron, Teddy, and Wendy respectively all add an occasional chuckle to the half hour comedy, but I’m not quite feeling their chemistry as a group of friends/coworkers yet and have a feeling I may never at this point. Vanessa Hudgens just doesn’t have the chops for a comedic lead, though I can see her sharpening if the series gets a chance to go on for a full season or two. Right now everything is just too hit or miss, and this episode sadly has more misses than hits.

TB-TV-Grade-C+

Season 1, Episode 4 (S01E04)
Powerless airs Thursday at 830PM on NBC

Read all of our reviews of Powerless here. 
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Paul transferred from the Gotham City branch of The Tracking Board offices where he used to write reviews for shows with actual superheroes starring in them.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulgulyas
Keep up with all of Paul’s reviews here.

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