TV Review: Powerless S1E4 Emily Dates a Henchman

powerlessbigWhen Emily sets her sights on the dating world she unknowingly falls for one of the Riddler’s henchmen; Teddy and Ron find a Batman artifact and discover Van’s superhero fantasy.

Powerless continues it’s slow climb in improvement as it adds a little personal dating experiences to the workplace comedy. While it’s still focused on the office, the various stories in this episode gets characters out of work for what feels like more than usual.

This series is absolutely the most improved of the comic batch. After a rough debut, each episode has improved on the last delivering cute chuckles though not quite the comedic slamdunk that we’ve seen in previous NBC Thursday night comedies.

This episode focuses on two stories, the first being Emily meeting a guy at a bar… and he turns out to be a henchman. The second involves Teddy and Ron finding a batarang and attempting to lure Batman in to meet him.

Each have their good and bad and the series as a whole is doing a much better job of working in the comic aspects of the world its set in, more so than just a name check here and there. The henchman? He works for the Riddler in a getup that has a bit of a throwback to Batman ’66 in its simple style. Robert Buckley guests as the henchmen and for those who watch The CW’s iZombie, you’ll recognize him as Major. Buckley brings a similar swagger to this role as he does that one. He has solid comedic timing in a dry sort of way and it’s fun to see yet another “comic” actor cross over into another property. It’s the details of this plot that really stand out like a ring’s imprint left on Buckley’s face that he chalks up to a rock.

The batarang plot is a bit mixed. The concept is good, but the execution doesn’t quite work. Van comes into it and his inclusion complicates what could easily have been a funny plot of the two trying to meet Batman and using the weapon to do so. Alan Tudyk‘s Van distracts a bit making what is two kids excited to meet their hero into something that’s a bit odder.

The show seems strongest when it keeps things simple with subtle hints and jokes. It’s not the outright name drop that makes the series work, it’s when a ring’s imprint is the ring of a superhero. The series seems to be recognizing that and going in that direction. Four episodes in, it’s getting its footing and showing some impressive improvement. I almost gave up after an episode, but happy I’ve stuck around and excited to see where the series is by the end of its first season. While it’s not quite breaking new ground, it’s getting its formula down and so far that’s working for it.

Overall Rating: 6.95

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