Powerless: Wayners and Losers
A visitor approaches Emily’s desk and asks her to validate his parking. She tries to explain that she’s the senior vice-president of research and development and thus above petty administrative tasks like that, despite the fact that she has a tiny cubicle desk just like any another office drone. In fact, Jackie’s desk is bigger than hers and she’s just Van’s personal assistant.
Emily realizes that it’s time to get an office that matches her title and asks Van for a space. Van tells Emily that there are none available and she’s better off in a cubicle anyway, so Emily goes behind his back and talks to HR, who let her have a space that was originally sealed off because Van once saw a spider in there. Van is outraged because he believes that if Emily gets any sort of power, she will usurp him. He quickly takes the office away, claiming it as storage space.
“You know, it’s not often you see a modest dream crushed so quickly,” notes Wendy.
Emily is furious and decides that she’s not going to stand by and let Van take whatever he wants. Her team quickly tries to dissuade Emily from standing up to Van but true to form, she ignores them. She challenges Van to a game of Green Arrow Darts, which is basically a kid’s archery game. If she wins, she gets to keep her office.
Meanwhile, Teddy tells Ron about his upcoming date with this sweet, normal girl named Hannah when they get interrupted by the Jack O’Lantern throwing fireballs and causing general mayhem. A fireball hits where they are standing and Teddy gets knocked off the balcony, but is saved by the superhero Green Fury. The combination of the near-death experience, adrenaline, and being saved by a gorgeous woman in a tight spandex suit causes Teddy to fall in love with Green Fury.
However, Wendy and Ron point out that superheroes don’t date regular people and he should just be happy with Regular Hannah. Teddy tries to use Lois Lane as an example of a non-super dating a super, but she has a Pulitzer Prize so she’s not exactly a regular Joe.
Teddy hopes that maybe Green Fury developed a crush on him too and jumps off the balcony in hopes of being rescued by her again. Unfortunately, he gets saved by The Olympian, whom you might remember from an earlier subplot that never went anywhere.
Emily practices for the big archery tournament and the team interrupts her to try to convince her to back down, with the exception of Wendy. “She’s dreamed about this [office] since she was a very boring child!” Wendy tells the team. Jackie explains that it’s easier to keeping inflating Van’s incredibly inflated sense of self-worth because if anyone ever dares to be better than him, they get fired. Emily reluctantly agrees to throw the game for the sake of the office but during the game, she gets fed up with Van’s obnoxious trash-talking and starts shooting well.
Jackie calls a time-out and reminds Emily that she was supposed to lose. Emily shoots back that the office was enabled Van for too long and she’s going to teach him a lesson. However, Emily really does miss the last shot and Van wins the game for real.
Van is so happy with his win that he showers the office with presents and gives Emily back her office. Ron jokes that the new formula for letting Van win should be putting up a fight and then letting him humiliate you, much to Emily’s annoyance. “You got what you wanted, so who cares how it happened?” Jackie tells Emily in attempt to calm her down but once again, Emily barges into Van’s office. She gets worked up when she sees all the stupid trophies people have handed Van throughout the years–a spelling bee trophy for mispelling “failure”, a rap battle trophy for beating Dr. Dre with the weak diss “Dr. Dre man you gay”–that she blows up and tells Van that everyone has been lying to him his whole life so he wouldn’t feel like a failure.
Van is crushed by the revelation because he realizes almost all the good things in his life were never real. Emily tries to defend herself to the team by claiming that they needed to stop feeding Van’s ego, but Jackie points out that Emily’s big blow up was more about protecting her own. She reminds Emily that Van gave her the office anyway but she still crushed him because she was upset about losing. Emily apologizes to Van and offers to be allies, instead of enemies. Van realizes that Emily’s wins are technically his wins because he’s her boss and cheers up immediately and is back to his old, obnoxious self again.
Meanwhile, Teddy tries to summon Green Fury by building a version of the Bat signal but gives up after it catches on fire. He resigns himself to Regular Hannah but when the two are on a date, they meet Green Fury again when she stops a mugger from stealing Hannah’s purse. She remembers Teddy and he quickly tries to pretend that he’s not on a date, much to the disgust of Regular Hannah and Green Fury.
Superhero or non-superhero, no girl likes it when a guy tries to ditch her for another girl.
Most Powerful Line
“First, it’s the office. Second, she’s setting up meetings without me. Next thing you know, she’s the one who’s going to be high-fiving Bruce Wayne in a threesome.” –Van, justifying why Emily can’t have an office.
Powerful or Powerless?
This wasn’t the funniest episode, despite the fact that Alan Tudyk got a big chunk of screen time, but I do like that it developed the office dynamics even further. Van’s character is “the obnoxious boss” and although he gets the funniest lines (seriously, it’s been 7 episodes and I think he’s won the majority of Most Powerful Line) and he’s been interacting with the team more besides barking orders to Jackie, his working relationship with Emily hasn’t received much attention since their cheesy team up in episode 3. I like that it was pointed out that they are actually very similar–they’re both extremely stubborn and hate losing–and having them decide to become allies over that fact is more refreshing than painting Van as an annoying villain and Emily as a long-suffering do-gooder.
I also like that we got to see a new minor DC superhero now that Crimson Fox has been traded up to the big leagues.
You might remember Green Fury’s actress, Natalie Morales, as Lucy from “Parks and Recreation” and although she and Danny Pudi had maybe five minutes’ worth of screen time together, I was really digging their chemistry. I know the whole point of “Powerless” is to explore the lives of ordinary citizens in a superhero’s world but I think they could use Green Fury and Teddy to explore a story line about how tough it would be date a superhero as a regular person. Speaking of…
And I Think to Myself What A Comic Book World…
What is the likelihood of a superhero dating a regular person and I mean, a regular person? When I think about it, even the non-supers that superheroes date are extraordinary in some way: Lois Lane is an award-winning journalist, Mary Jane Watson is a successful model/actress, Jane Foster is a scientist, Peggy Carter is a kick ass secret agent.
Could a superhero ever date an accountant or a plumber or do regular people have to have some extraordinary talents that justify why they can keep up with a super?