Apr 22, 2017
Powerless: The feminist and the furious
I said in my last recap that I would love to see Green Fury become a recurring character since Crimson Fox has been moved up to the big leagues and I was really digging the chemistry between her and Teddy. Green Fury has returned for a second appearance but instead of developing a potential romance with Teddy, the writers have made her a friend for Emily, which is the way better option. In addition to more #femalefriendships on the screen, it’s great for Emily to interact with someone outside of her workplace who doesn’t hate her.
But let’s explain how these gals became pals: the episode starts off with Green Fury saving a bunch of people from a burning build as a crowd gathers to watch. Photographers and paparazzi are on the scene but instead of exclaiming over Green Fury’s feats of heroism, they ask about her break up with The Olympian and if she’s gained weight recently. Emily is indignant on Green Fury’s behalf and shames all the reporters for asking her stupid questions instead of thanking her for saving the city.
Green Fury is appreciative of Emily’s remarks and is even more so when Emily saves her from an incoming fireball.
Unfortunately for the them, the press ignores their feminist protests and run gossip articles speculating if Green Fury is “over men.”
As a thank-you for standing up to the reporters, Green Fury gives Emily a little button to use to call her in the event of an emergency. Teddy, who is crushing on Green Fury, wants Emily to use it so he can have another chance to try to impress Green Fury but Emily insists on saving it for something important later.
For now, she’s focusing on accompanying Van to the Wayne Security board meeting. Van just wants to use Emily as “a lesser person to make [him] feel important” but Emily plans to impress the board with her ideas for their latest product, the Wayne Security Poncho. However, the board wants to discontinue the product, citing poor sales. Emily argues that the poncho just needs a celebrity spokesperson, like a superhero. The board is skeptical of the idea until Emily calls in Green Fury to make an appearance.
Green Fury is not thrilled to be called in for some dumb product placement, but Emily argues that being a spokesmodel could finally get the papers to stop talking about her break-up and maybe get the Justice League to take her seriously. Green Fury agrees and trusts that Emily will make her look good.
Teddy gets excited about working with Green Fury and buys an ugly leather jacket in hopes of looking cooler in his eyes. He interrupts Ron’s focus group to get their opinions on the jacket and all the women unanimously agree that it’s ugly and Teddy seems like a judgey, pompous douche.
Meanwhile, Jackie’s daughter Ruby is hanging around the workplace because she got suspended from school for fighting, although she won’t say why. Jackie’s punishment is derailed when Wendy and Ruby instantly bond over their mischievous natures and same taste in clothing.
Jackie wants to put an immediate stop to this budding inter-generational friendship because she believes Wendy is a bad influence on Ruby and is jealous that Ruby confided in Wendy why she beat up the other kid. She blows up at Wendy and tells her that she doesn’t want Ruby to end up like her, which causes Ruby to intervene. She admits that she beat up the boy at school because he called Jackie “a garbage lady who can’t keep a husband.” Jackie immediately feels ashamed for being so hard on Ruby.
Emily heads to the filming of her commercial idea and is disgusted to see that the marketing department turned her commercial idea into an excuse for showing Green Fury in various states of undress. “It’s like the say goes, if you want to make an omelette, you have to compromise all of your principles,” shrugs Van.
After getting feedback from various focus groups, Teddy reinvents himself as a woke feminist with a single mom who died trying to save Christmas in hopes of impressing Green Fury. Green Fury ignores him because she is displeased with the new direction of commercial. Instead of trying to convince her to go along with it, Emily decides it’s better to keep her principles than impress a bunch of sexist jerks on the board. However, Green Fury can’t quit the commercial because then the press will call her a diva. She sighs that The Olympian would be better for this because he loves being famous. This gives Emily the idea of calling in The Olympian for the commercial. He’ll get naked and get sexy for the camera and Green Fury can keep her clothes on and talk about the product.
Now that we’ve reached the end of our twenty minutes it’s time to wrap up all of the plotlines: Teddy decides to give up on Green Fury and be himself. Luckily for him, he meets a girl who likes his ugly jacket and hopefully, he won’t make the same mistake in trying to ditch her when a superhero shows up. Jackie apologizes to Wendy for insulting her and and the commercial is a huge success. Green Fury is taken seriously by the public again and she and Emily ignore Van’s attempt to take credit for their ideas and explain feminism to them.
At least they cracked the glass ceiling a little bit. Hopefully.
Most Powerful Line(s)
“I love kids. You can put anything in their pockets and no one ever checks. Hey, Ruby, do you want to go shopping?” –Wendy, meeting Ruby.
“Here is [Ruby’s] certificate. By the way, the father is not unknown. I was just pissed at him that day.” –Jackie, to Wendy.
Powerful or Powerless?
It’s another powerful episode! This episode built off previous plot elements–Teddy’s crush on Green Fury, Van allowing Emily to take a more prominent role in the workplace, Jackie’s daughter Ruby–which results in a better built universe and more emotional impact in the heart-to-hearts that the characters have with each other. As I mentioned earlier, I like that Green Fury and Emily are friends instead of reluctant workplace allies. Previously, the writers had everyone react to Emily like she was the most annoying person in the world and while she may not be everyone’s cup of tea, she’s hardly as unlikable as Van is. Again, I hope Green Fury returns because it proves that Emily’s character can exist without having to be in opposition to her co-workers.
This episode was also great development for Wendy, whom the writers don’t really know what to do with. Wendy generally plays the third wheel in Ron and Teddy’s adventures and gets the occasional outrageous one-liner. The writers have been slowly building up Wendy to be a ditz, albeit a ditz with a very amoral compass and vaguely hinted sexual perversions. The friendship with Ruby and the conflict with Jackie over it shows that even though Wendy is one kooky character, she still has a lot of heart and can still get her feelings hurt.
Superheroes seem to function as celebrities in Charm City and I liked that the writers used Green Fury to poke at the ridiculous treatment female celebrities get from the press–speculation about their weight, analyzing reasons for their breakups, caring more about their personal lives than personal accomplishments–and present a world where they can take charge and steer the conversation to something more meaningful.
And I Think to Myself, What a Comic Book World
I don’t really keep up with the DC TV Universe but are superheroes treated like celebrities in Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Green Arrow, etc? Obviously, their fights are reported on television and the like but in Powerless, a lot of pop culture and news revolves around superheroes.
The headlines on the sidebar read: “Heading toward a future where robots replace superheroes? Both sides weigh in”, “Can drinking give you superpowers? One study finds intriguing results”, “10 Best Tips for Surviving Supervillain encounters Number 8– MONOLOGUING”, “How do superheroes keep their suits so clean? Top dry cleaners reveal best kept secrets” and “Best waxing parlors superheroes swear by and where to find them”.