POWERLESS Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Cold Season

This week’s episode of POWERLESS is all about self-confidence. Though this is definitely an overrun topic in television today, with most shows having a typical “You can do anything!” themed episode somewhere in their season, POWERLESS uses this opportunity to crack jokes about the typical extremes of a low self confidence. Last week, POWERLESS faced a bit of a disappointing reception, but this week brought about exactly what the show needs: a little bit of heart and a whole lot of jokes. 

The jokes were pretty hilarious, too. Though not every one of them landed, specifically the ones told by Vanessa Hudgens’ Emily that could be seen coming from a mile away, the jokes told by the comedic goldmines of the rest of the cast were a constant highlight of this episode. 

This week, Wayne Enterprises reveals a contest where divisions of the corporation can submit their greatest inventions. Teddy has developed a pair of heated gloves to save citizens from every inconvenience of the “Cold Season,” the time of year when all of the ice-centered supervillains come to town to stir up trouble. The team believes that, especially in this sickeningly cold time, these gloves are a shoe-in for the prize. 

When Teddy, who faces self-confidence issues of feeling inadequate to everyone around him, decides not to submit the gloves. However, Emily goes behind his back and submits them anyway, without knowing that Teddy’s additional fear of losing sends him into a spiral of emotional self-destruction. When Teddy eventually loses to another, more advanced technology team in the company, he has a breakdown, and Emily must do what she can to bring back his confidence. 

Danny Pudi’s performance of Teddy shines in this episode. Not only is his character highlighted in this episode, allowing the primary plot to focus on his emotions, but it also gives him opportunities to play the manic, hyperactive kind of character he plays so well. Teddy flashes back to a previous time at the company when he lost a competition, allowing Teddy to play his character is a psychotic, broken down way. Danny Pudi’s comedic performance carries the episode for a large part, and would have come off vastly different if played by any other actor. 

One of the other highlights of this episode is the side plot with Ron and Van. Van, who is off on vacation with a new woman he’s seeing, finds out that she is bringing along her daughter. When Van has Ron spend his free time building a kid’s version of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet to give to her, Ron can’t stand up for himself. What becomes so funny about this is having Van Skype into Ron, giving him demands of what he has to do for him. Their banter during these moments, and the side comments of Van yelling at this woman’s daughter, makes this side plot full of jokes that make the episode more memorable than the last few episodes. 

For those of you who have read my reviews before, you know how much I love Van. In this episode, he continues to be hilarious with every line he says. Alan Tudyk plays this absurd character so well, and when he starts to take advantage of Ron, who can’t find the confidence to say no, it only gets funnier. 

POWERLESS is getting to the jokes. In the last few episodes, the series may have had to spend its time developing the characters for the audience and crafting story lines that showcase what the characters’ personalities will be like. Though this is necessary to a certain extent, it does feel as though they’ve accomplished this and are now able to focus on the actual point of the series. 

As long as POWERLESS continues to write jokes that fit its style and utilize the character acting abilities of its cast, this show can do wonders for comic book television. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this comic relief is overdue, and if the future of the series follows suit to the improvements from the past few episodes, then POWERLESS is making itself out to be the much needed laughter in the dark worlds that the current comic book television shows live in.

Written by William Staton, POWERLESS Beat Writer -- Click to read William's posts

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