The direction of this series hasn't always been clear—the way it jumps in and out of various genres can make it tricky to anticipate—but at this point, there's a definite shape to the ten episodes: Setup (Episodes 1 & 2), engagement (3), initial conflict centerpiece (4 & 5), and, in a moment of downtime, reassessment (6). Episode 7 feels like the beginning of the grand finale.
Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor), as we learned from the previous episode, needs to see Wolfe (Eddie Izzard); we don't know why, but Johnny's little Sway enterprise—manufacturing and distributing a drug made from Wolfe's cells—has apparently set in motion something widespread and ominous.
Johnny's henchman, Simons (Aaron Farb), has been growing into an interesting character over the past two episodes—something more than just a visual effect moving through the background. It dawns on me that, while I've frequently complained about less-than-impressive special effects on the show, one effect in particular has been right in front of me in nearly every episode—and it's been done very well.
Simons, we've known from at least the second episode, is a Power who can create replicas of himself. At various moments, several of these identically-dressed clones have appeared in Johnny's clubs and drug labs, working in perfect unison—as they should, since they're all the same person. Lately, we've been seeing Simons's protective feelings toward Calista (Olesya Rulin) and the internal disputes he can turn into physical form, literally arguing with himself.
Simons becomes a prominent figure in the series when Walker (Sharlto Copley) and Pilgrim (Susan Heyward) show up at Johnny's club, having enough dirt on Johnny to finally nail him for his Sway activities. Walker, once again eschewing proper police procedure, forces all of Simons's clones to come quietly by grabbing one and threatening to blast his head off.
Simons goes to jail, but one of his clones is still out in the world. When Simons is forced, shrieking, into the cell with the drainer, his powers are temporarily shut off and his still-at-large clone, unable to re-enter Simons Prime, promptly dies.
This death plays into a scheme of Johnny's to prove that drainer technology isn't safe; by making a case against it, Johnny's lawyer gets her client a visit with Wolfe. Johnny reveals to Wolfe that there's a network spanning the planet of Powers kids now hooked on Sway, all of them with abilities and life-essence that Wolfe can absorb—and Walker can too, if he takes another hit of Sway (it's how he temporarily gained his powers back from Wolfe during their battle in the Shaft).
Even though Sway will kill any normal, non-super-powered person who takes it, Calista insists that she has latent powers, and finally decides to take the hit of Sway that Simons had been trying to get back from her. Not only does she survive the dose, but something is awakened within her. Is she a Power?
In what looks like another agonizing marketing synergy meeting for Zora, the rising young superhero gets to spend some quality personal time with Retro Girl, who offers her reassuring advice on not letting it all go to her head: powers can be mastered, but not fame.
Walker visits Wolfe after Johnny. Wolfe promises that Walker can get his powers back if he helps Wolf escape.
Walker isn't buying it.
He later tells Retro Girl about Wolfe's deal, and, as she did with Zora, she urges Walker not to make a bad choice (another good scene with Copley and Forbes—they should just star in a rom-com together).
But the award for this episode’s best performance goes to the frequently underused Heyward, who once again proves herself a better cop than her partner, gets wise to his urge to take more Sway, stands up to the crooks and corrupt cops that surround her, and generally makes it clear that she’s the cleverest character on the show. Deena Pilgrim is one of the liveliest and most enjoyable characters in Bendis & Oeming’s comic, and it’s nice to see some of that make it to the small screen.
This is the episode where Krispin's Kaotic Chic slogan goes from being a graffiti tag to being an actual movement against Powers. After an earlier attempt to paint his Kaotic Chic logo on a building leads to him filming a car accident caused by a Power, Krispin goes to an anti-Powers rally to meet Kaotic Chic herself.
But signs that this public protest is going too far crop up at the end, where the same Power who caused the accident is killed, and a Kaotic Chic logo is left on the corpse.
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.