Powers 1.09: “Level 13” Episode Review

Episode 9's official title is “Level 13,” but for a show that favors music-related titles, a fitting one here would be “Who's Zooming Who?” Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) has agreed to join Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor) on his excursion back to the prison known as The Shaft to kill Wolfe (Eddie Izzard), before Wolfe becomes too powerful to ever be stopped.

Obviously, sneaking into a prison to shoot someone isn't the kind of activity we would hope for from our law enforcement personnel; but wait a sec, maybe Walker hasn't gone completely rogue.

Jumping around in time, the episode keeps skipping back from Walker and Johnny prowling through the bowels of The Shaft to the days and hours leading up to the break-in, with Walker revealing his plan first to his partner Deena (Susan Heyward), then to their boss, Cross (Adam Godley). Walker tells them that this is the perfect opportunity to catch Johnny, something they've been angling for through pretty much the entire series.

But then, Walker doubles down and tells Johnny, as they're planning their illicit foray, that he told his boss and partner. Don't worry, Walker reassures his furious old teammate that he only did it to get their cooperation so they could get past security. They're being hustled; once in, Walker will help Johnny do what they came to do.

And THEN, Walker TRIPLES down and confesses to Deena/Cross/Triphammer that he WAS lying to them, using their help to get inside the Shaft, but they can trust him now—he was originally intending to get his powers back, but he's committed to going the good cop route. Deena later tells him she can tell he's not pretending to do the right thing to get what he wants; he's sincerely interested in doing the right thing. We shall see, Ms. Pilgrim, we shall see.

It's worth noting here that this is the only episode of the show so far to be written by Brian Michael Bendis, the creator of the comic series on which this show is loosely based. Bendis is known for long exchanges of telegraphic dialogue in his comics, and in this episode, a lot of the action, tension, and revelation is done verbally. Walker is spinning lies, but we don't know which half of his patter is genuine and which is bull. Someone, though, is getting played, and it's too appropriate that the action plays out at a place called the Shaft.

Walker's not the only one with his own agenda. Inside the Shaft, Johnny has a detour to make—to the cell of Simons, his henchman. Simons is, in a way, Johnny's insurance policy—sending out copies of himself, Simons subdues guards. Deena, Cross, and the prison's designer Triphammer (Andrew Sensenig) take the elevator down to stop him.

How does all of this scamming left and right turn out? We find out when we get to the cell where Wolfe lies, face-down under the light of the drainer. Walker hits a switch and traps Johnny under the light of a drainer as well—it was set up in advance by Cross and Triphammer—but then, he reveals that his goal all along was to get his powers back.

But when he confronts Wolfe…

He sees that it's not Wolfe at all in the cell, but another guy with a similar haircut. Deena, Cross, and Triphammer walk in, letting Walker know that they moved Wolfe to a portable drainer unit on a different level. They never really trusted Walker either.

The problem is, Simons is still running around, and for reasons that can only be explained with “he's suicidal,” Simons frees Wolfe. He's promptly absorbed (I think? I'm not exactly sure what happens, though his life force is apparently imbibed by Wolfe), and Wolfe heads over to where the rest of the cast waits, to let them know that its time they all had a nice talk.

So the next episode opens with the Wolfe vs. Everybody Else showdown that we've been promised for the whole series. Tune in later, same Powers channel, same Powers time!

See also: Powers 1.08: “Aha Shake Heartbreak” Episode Review


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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