The more POWERLESS goes on the more powerless it seems to make me laugh. This week’s episode “Green Furious” was another episode that fell flat with the majority of jokes, and the ones that did work were carried by the performance of Alan Tudyk as Van De Very Wayne.
The episode opens with Emily walking down the street of Charm City when somebody inexplicably runs up to her and tells her that Green Fury is saving people from a burning building. She runs to it just in time to see Green Fury bringing the last Charm City citizen to safety. A bunch of reporters rush to the scene and start asking, not about the heroic act she just performed, but her break up with The Olympian. Emily stands up for her, and even saves her from a rogue fireball by dipping her to safety. However at this exact moment a reporter takes a picture that lands on the front page of the Charm City newspaper, making it look like she and Green Fury are dating (Teddy doesn’t like this, as last episode he fell in love with Green Fury, though she rebuffed his affection). Thankful, Green Fury gives Emily a button to press any time she needs her and she will appear.
Van is gearing up for a big meeting with the higher ups at Wayne Industries, and he asks Emily to come along. Not to offer any real substance to the meeting but to sit there, not talk, and basically be his pretty underling. Oh, and she’s allowed to laugh at jokes the executives make, but not as loud as Van, and she of course must laugh at all his jokes. When they get to the meeting, they find that their product the Wayne Security Poncho is being discontinued because it isn’t selling well. Van readily accepts this, telling them it’s a good move, but Emily speaks up saying that the only thing missing is a “cool” factor. They need a celebrity spokesperson and she has just the one: Green Fury. They laugh at her. Superheroes don’t do ads. But she thinks it’s worth a shot. She presses her button and Green Fury shows up in seconds.
Jackie has taken her daughter Ruby to work for the day because Ruby was suspended after punching a boy. Wendy and Ruby hit it off, becoming fast friends, because Wendy has the exact mentality of a ten year old girl. So is this her character? I can’t peg what the writers are trying to do with her voice. It’s all over the map and the only thing consistent about it is that she’s not funny. At any rate, Jackie learns that Ruby told Wendy the reason she punched the boy in the face, when she wouldn’t even tell her own mother. When she asks Wendy about it, she tells her she can’t tell her because they pinky swore. Jackie is baffled that she’s the one who gave her daughter life and she’s confiding in Wendy, a barely functioning human, instead. She says this to Wendy’s face.
Emily is having problems getting Green Fury to agree to be in the Wayne Security Poncho commercial. “I’m not hocking your dumb poncho,” she says. But she reminds the green hero about her current image problem, with the media covering hers and The Olympian’s break up making her out to be the bad guy. This commercial would be her taking control of that narrative, empowering her. Green Fury tentatively agrees.
Meanwhile, Teddy is trying to figure out what it was about him that Green Fury didn’t really go for. He raids Ron’s focus group/pizza party in his new leather jacket (“It’s a Yaast,” he proudly proclaims) and starts asking the all women panel if they do or don’t like the jacket. When they say they don’t, and that they don’t like him either, he calls them all stupid and leaves.
Emily pitches her idea to the executives (and Van who waits to see their reaction in order to mimic it) and they love it (and so does Van!). But the day of the commercial shoot, the exec tells her that they tweaked her idea a little bit, basically making Green Fury naked or partially naked the entire commercial. Emily knows she won’t do this and will find it offensive.
After, um, “testing negatively” with women, Teddy shows up at the commercial shoot with Green Fury wearing eyeliner and proclaiming to be a newly sensitive woke feminist whose mother died trying to save Christmas. He introduces himself to Green Fury as such, and she’s of course not buying it. Soon after, Green Fury learns of the changed commercial in which she’ll be mostly covered in bubbles and nothing but bubbles, and refuses to do it. Emily, still desperate to impress the executives and not have her product end in disaster and shame, has a great idea. If all The Olympian cares about is fame, maybe he would do the commercial! “What is he up to?” she asks Green Fury. Of course when he comes in, he’s right on board with being naked the entire time. He and Green Fury do the Poncho commercial together, and it’s a hit! Ron’s focus group loves it and will definitely buy one. They are still not digging Teddy, though. The exec tells Emily that she’s going places. It’s a big win for her.
Jackie and Wendy make amends after Ruby admits to Jackie that she hit the boy in her class because he called Jackie a garbage lady who can’t keep a husband. She didn’t tell her because she didn’t want to hurt her mom’s feelings. Jackie apologizes for calling Wendy a barely functioning human.
All is well. Oh, and after the commercial, Green Fury even got a call from The Justice League… Europe. But still one of the top five Justice Leagues in the world (not true, according to Emily). The end.
The best stuff this week was with Van trying to anticipate his bosses’ reactions to Emily’s ideas, again making Alan Tudyk the MVP. There are some other genuinely talented players in this cast. I’m still waiting for the writers to serve them up something good.
Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
Powerless airs Thursday at 830PM on NBC
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.
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Paul Gulyas | Contributor