Apr 20, 2018
Powerless: The (hench)man of your dreams
Awhile back, I saw this post on Tumblr about how if the writer lived in the Marvel universe and anything happened with super villains and superheroes, she would just be like, “There they go with that BS again.” For the most part, Charm City residents have adopted an “over it” attitude toward the super quirks in the daily life, but I’m glad that they’re still capable of getting excited at seeing a major DC superhero. After all, doesn’t that make being a civilian in a superhero universe almost worth it?
Teddy and Ron are fixing the flaws in a Wayne Security vault that Two-Face and his henchmen broke into before Batman caught them. Ron loves Batman–he’s got a tricked out ride, wears expensive belts, and is always feuding with people dressed like pimps. “He’s like a rapper who saves lives,” says Ron, although he insists to Teddy that Batman is not like Macklemore. (BTW, question for the commentariat: if Batman was a rapper, which one would he be and why? I’m leaning towards Kanye for some reason.)
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Before they can truly debate if Batman is Macklemore or a Jay-Z type, they find something interesting in the vault.
Teddy and Ron are excited to find that Batman left behind one of his “Bat-arangs”, which is basically a boomerang. “Boomerang” is easier to type so that’s how I will be referring to it from now on because “Bat-arang” is a dumb word. Van informs them that Batman puts GPS tracking technologies on all of his weapons so they don’t land in the wrong hands so Teddy and Ron get excited at the prospect of meeting their hero. However, Van confiscates the boomerang because he wants to use it as leverage. You see, back in ’03, Batman cruelly sideswiped Van’s expensive car on his way to save some orphans or whatever and Van has been waiting for his compensation. Until now.
Justice will be served in the form of insurance statements to GEICO, everyone.
Meanwhile, Emily is depressed because her ex-boyfriend sent her an invitation to his wedding to his new, gorgeous, model (“She only does print!” snaps Emily) girlfriend. Emily’s co-worker feel don’t want to see her sulking (because then her misery becomes their problem) so they suggest a girl’s night out to the local bar.
Emily meets Dan, a doctor, who rescues her from a douchey bro from Arizona State. She gives him her number and crows that Jackie that she has a good feeling about him. However, unbeknownst to Emily, Ben is a henchman but her co-workers are able to see the signs: Dan has bruises that look like Green Lantern’s ring, carries a skull cap, and has lame excuses for why he has both.
The crew decides to just let the relationship fizzle out on it’s own. “Maybe it’ll flame out or he’ll die,” says Ron. “Just like dating a bass player,” agrees Jackie.
After work, Ron sets out milk and cookies next to the boomerang and waits for Batman. Teddy points out that Batman isn’t Santa Claus. “You don’t know that,” retorts Teddy.
Van takes the boomerang away from them again and Ron and Teddy notice that he’s wearing a cape, squeaking as he walks, and has unusually pointy nipples. They both agree that something is going on besides Van’s insistence on getting an insurance payment.
The next day, Emily happily tells her co-workers that Dan is taking her to a romantic trip to his boss’s house, which is carved into a Skull Mountain and features fun things like a shark tank and a laser that shoots straight to the moon. Emily’s co-workers inform her that she’s dating a henchman and needs to dump him.
Emily is angry that Dan lied and tells Jackie that her ex-boyfriend cheated on her with her current fiance and now she has to send them a pizza stone for a wedding present because she’s a pushover. But not anymore! She decides that she’s going to tell Dan off when he comes to pick her up after work, but Dan reveals that he and his fellow henchman are going to steal Wayne Securities’ indestructible cell phone cases to build a super tank for the Riddler. He also adds that his real name is Reggie.
“I know what you’re thinking,” he tells Emily. “Not a lot of white guys named Reggie.”
Jackie and Emily get tied up and are doomed to be dumped in the river because Emily couldn’t resist solving The Riddler’s text to the henchmen on what to do with their bodies. She sighs that she just keeps picking out terrible guys
“Just because you can’t avoid all the dirtbags, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve better,” Jackie tells her. Emily is touched and tries to hug her.
Meanwhile, Van admits to Teddy and Ron that he wants to meet Batman not just to collect a check, but to offer his services as a sidekick. He reveals that has been secretly wearing a Robin rubber suit under his clothes just in case even though Ron points out that at least two Robins have allegedly died on the job. I wonder how people know that. Does Batman issue a press release or do people just notice the people in costumes look differently?
Anyway, the three go to a dark alley in hopes of finally luring Batman to their location. They end up getting mugged, but Batman takes out the mugger, gets their wallets back, and gets his boomerang–all unseen. Still, the three are excited that they “met” Batman.
And Van, still dressed in his Robin costume, accidentally scares off Reggie and the other henchmen when he passes through the office so all’s well that ends well.
Except Van still doesn’t have his insurance check.
Powerless or Powerful?
I am happy to say that this is the first powerful Powerless episode! The writers have spent a lot of time trying to squeeze comedy out of the clash between Emily and her co-workers instead of focusing on what really makes their workplace comedy unique: the fact that it’s set in the DC universe.
I don’t know about you, but I get excited seeing how Charm City residents live their lives as the background characters in a comic book way more than seeing Emily try to rally her co-workers to be better people. I hope future episodes do more to integrate the world of Charm City with the Wayne Securities workplace because currently, the characters aren’t interesting on their own to carry the plot. I don’t want them to stay paper thin sketches forever (I mean, can anyone list five character traits about Wendy?) but I think character development can be created when the characters have interesting scenarios to react to beyond a grump HR rep or landing a new client.
Most Power-ful Line
“Did you just get out of the I.C.U.? Because ‘I see you’ and you’re a liar!”
–Emily, to Dan/Reggie
Okay, that crack about the similarities between Batman and rappers, Jackie’s joke how dating a henchman is like dating a bassist, and Van’s monologue about the day Batman wrecked his car were actually the best lines in the episode but I’m giving this award to Emily because Vanessa Hudgens’ angry, self-righteous delivery and then subtle check for Jackie’s approval was hilarious.
The show’s jokes gets tighter every episode, but I hope they’ll be able to focus on stronger plots from now on.