Powers 1.02: “Like a Power”

So who is up to no good on Powers?

Is it Calista (Olesya Rulin), the runaway who wants to be part of the super-powered community? Is it Zora (Logan Browning), the attractive “Powers Kid” hoping to turn her abilities into celebrity cred? Is it Krispin (Max Fowler), the son of Walker's (Sharlto Copley) dead partner?

See also: Powers 1.01: “Pilot”

The correct answer is: it's Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor)—Walker's old buddy and teammate who faked his death years ago and has been running nightclubs and selling a drug called Sway in the interim. Johnny reintroduces himself to the world of the living in Episode Two, “Like a Power,” even registering himself at Walker's Powers Division HQ, causing a melee with his old teammate in the process.

Royalle, who looks like the bastard child of Nick Cave and John Waters, seems to be juggling a few suspicious sharp objects.

  • He appears intent on manipulating Calista, drawing her close for some nefarious purpose.
  • He is manufacturing Sway, the drug that killed Olympia (Adam Boyer).
  • And he's antagonizing Walker—playing the kind of nasty head games you can play when you're able to teleport—trying to get Walker to lose the cool that, frankly, he already lost years ago.

And if we needed further proof that Johnny is nefarious, he chain smokes and has a mustache.

Played by an often very entertaining Noah Taylor, Johnny appeared in Episode One using his teleportation powers to decapitate one of his Sway pushers who fucked up—and fucked up bad. But in Episode 2, he tangles with Walker and it gives the show some juice, while also nudging it back in the direction of a comic book/super hero story.

After all, Batman may be totally rad, but without the Joker, he's just an angsty guy who likes dressing up; and any super-powered protagonist without an arch-foe is only half of a good story.

So, Mr. Royalle is setting an evil plot in motion, one that brings him up against Walker, and which seems to involve Wolfe.

Another character introduced in the first episode, but given more depth in this one, is Retro Girl (Michelle Forbes). Forbes is not only one of the highlights of the cast, but she also seems to tower over her fellow actors making her an excellent choice to embody a superhero. Retro Girl appears at the end of the first episode to save Calista, who jumps out of a building with Walker jumping after her.

Retro Girl takes a big sister/camp counselor approach with the troubled Calista, which is pretty much all the younger girl ever wanted since she's not just a Powers groupie, she's a Retro Girl obsessive. But, when Walker comes to Retro Girl's stylish white pad—Walker and Retro have a history, by the way—Calista runs off and is back in Johnny Royalle's clutches in no time.

Oh Calista, the man's just no dang good, honey.

With Episode Two, all the pieces are established: Walker is a steaming pile of angst, longing to get his powers back; Johnny is his nemesis; Deena has big eyes; Calista is a confused kid caught up in other people's machinations; Wolfe is an escapee from Friday the 13th Goes to the Opera; Krispin the-son-of-Walker's-deceased-partner would like to see both good Powers and bad Powers in the ground; Zora looks amazing in purple; and Retro Girl is tall and enjoyably sardonic.

The pieces are arrayed on the chessboard, and the opening moves have been made. Onward to the game proper.


Hector DeJean can frequently be found in comic stores, bookshops, and the Eighties. His serialized story of a private detective who only solves food-related crimes is no longer online.

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