So in the way of comic book references, this week's "Sinking Day" included the Olympian, the third member of the Global Guardians to appear. A newscaster named Gail Simone. Ace Chemicals. The Kane Family. Bruce Wayne secretly being the Flash. And a number of references to Aquaman and Atlantis.

The Aquaman/Atlantis bit was probably the funniest as well as the longest. To recap, Van blows a contract with Wayne Security's biggest client, Ace Chemicals (where the Joker got his start). To regain his father Van Sr.'s respect, Van orders Emily to find him a new client. She contact the Atlanteans, who send three lawyers (Lars, Albert, and Anthony) to negotiate a deal. Van promises them a Sinking Day party and a guest appearance by Aquaman. Sinking Day being the anniversary of when Atlantis sank into the ocean.

Emily sets up the party but Aquaman doesn't show. Van bribes the Atlanteans--all blonde Nordic types--with personalized gifts. Van Sr. (Corbin Bernsen) sweeps in to close the deal. But the Atlanteans won't deal with anyone but Van, and Van Sr. almost hugs his son. But as he notes, the moment passes.

This loosely ties into the b-plot, which has Ron obsessed with a co-worker who Ron thinks is the new superhero, Olympian. Teddy and Wendy pretty much sit around and put Ron down for his paranoid surveillance, which includes putting hidden cameras in the men's bathroom and claiming that there's a mugging going on to get the co-worker Alex captured on camera changing clothes.

Ron gets in a number of his now-typical comments about supposedly "racial" comments that Emily makes. For instance, he points out that saying "good catch" around an Atlantean is a bad idea. It also turns out that Ron (and William H. Macy) is from Atlantis, although everyone thought he was from Atlanta. That's racist, too. Also, at the Sinking Day party, Wendy has enough of Ron's suspicions and hits Alex over the head with the chair. Since Alex isn't superhero, this has predictable results.

At least, I think we're supposed to think that Ron is Atlantean. Teddy and Wendy point out that Ron doesn't look very dour, blonde, and Nordic like the three lawyers. But near the end Ron gives an Atlantean salute and the real Atlanteans accept him as one of their own.

Powerless still seems to be a bit muddled on integrating the DC comics into the show. There's even less superhero shenanigans than usual this week. We see the new superhero Olympian (who looks more like Son of Vulcan) rescue a school bus and zip by a window at superspeed. And that's about it. As noted, Aquaman never shows. The overall plot is the same you could find in any office comedy. Boss screws up, Boss has daddy issues, Boss prevails on underappreciated underling to bail him out, boss and underling bond.

This is livened up a bit by having Alex Tudyk sing. Van likes to go to his office and compose ballads on the guitar about his daddy issues while sitting with his pants off. This gives him and Emily the chance to bond: over the daddy issues, not removing their pants. There are a few cute bits about Emily's endless stream of father-figure stories, including Van wondering if her mother committed suicide because of all the stories.

I liked Ron Funches as Ron this week. The "everything Emily says is racist" bit is getting old. Fortunately, that's not the only note he hits. He gets off a Donald Trump joke, and has a desperate need to prove Alex is Olympian. By comparison, Teddy and Wendy really don't do much of anything this week. Jackie just moons over Alex, and Christina Kirk doesn't have much else to do. She's good at it, but it's pretty one-note. I did like her calling in a gift basket that Van wanted to send to himself, and her "I can't believe it, either" to the person at the other end.

As noted, this episode sets up Emily as Van as co-workers rather than rivals. I'm still not buying Jackie's claim from last week that Van helped her out a few times. But at least this week we get to see Emily discover why Van isn't as bad as he seems. Or he is as bad as he seems but he's still a lovable guy underneath being a jerk. That works better than Jackie talking about non-jerky things that Van did.

Overall, I'd consider "Sinking Day" a success. Barely. The Atlantean gags are good, although they don't really start up until halfway through the episode. Then there's a lot of oddball stuff that's just off-the-wall enough to be funny. Among other things "half-circumcision" is an Atlantean thing, and Brendan Frazier is revered as a saint. Nobody says it, but he's basically the Jerry Lewis of Atlantis. And Atlanteans really really look forward to seeing Aquaman. And their Sinking Day parties aren't half as cool as the one that Emily throws them.

I also liked Royce Kane as a friend of the family and the CEO of Ace Chemicals. He brings a certain charm to a pretty brief role, whether it's trading obscene/bleeped comments with Van, or giving Van the cold shoulder after Van blows the account. We also got a joke about how Ace Chemical vats aren't that safe, resulting in one clown villain every three months.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Comments (8)
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Feb 22, 2017
Yeah, this show isn't getting much better. It's okay, it has a nice moment here and there. But nothing that gets you laughing out loud on the floor sort of thing.

The characters are also so inconsistent. The boss was pretty evil in the pilot - he pretty much swore revenge on her. Episode 2 he's just an incompetent buffoon and yet now they are buddies and he's pretty good at what he does?

I get that they need to slightly find their place, but they aren't doing a good job so far. It's okay, but not really great.
Feb 17, 2017
Your comic book references missed the return of the roving reporter, Marv Wolfman.
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