First of all, just to confuse things, NBC mucked with their schedule yet again. "Emergency Punch Up" was supposed to air on 4/6. However, it features a poison gas attack. And in real-life, there were poison gas attacks. So NBC pre-empted it for "Van v Emily." But... not all the affiliates (particularly in Canada) got word of the last-minute preemption. So they aired "Emergency" anyway. And I believe "Van v Emily" is on NBC.com, too. So next week, who knows who will air what? Or NBC may pre-empt the entire show yet again.


Since I get U.S. and Canadian feeds, that means I got to watch both episodes. Yay, me! So rather than wait a week to review an episode that might not air anyway, and because it was still fresh in my mind, I'm doing two--count'em, two!--reviews for the price of one. And does anyone who watches Powerless really care that there was real-life poison gas attacks that, other than the name, are in no way similar to the poison gas attack in "Emergency"?

Anyhoo, I had personal stuff, so the overall review is a day late. Oh well.

Anyhoo, let's start with "Van v Emily". The basic non-DC plot is that Van isn't giving Emily an office. Emily wants an office. When Van gets his childhood toys sent to him (because his mother has converted his childhood bedroom into the butler's second pantry), Emily finds Van shooting Green Arrow darts and challenges him to a shooting match. If she wins, she gets the office. If not... she doesn't lose anything.


Emily soon discovers that Van's rich parents have never let him fail at anything. He's been Employee of the Month 48 months in a row, they hired a prostitute to go to the prom with him, he beat Dr. Dre in rapping, and won a spelling bee despite not knowing how to spell "failure." Emily confronts him with this and he's very sad, especially since he gave her the office anyway since he was so cheered up by winning. She crushes him like a puppy and finally admits that he's a champion. This cheers him up.

In the subplot, Teddy runs afoul of Jack-O-Lantern and former Global Guardian Green Fury (Natalie Morales) shows up to rescue him. He falls in love with her despite the fact he already has a girlfriend. Teddy spends the next couple of scenes plotting ways to get Green Fury's attention. This involves a scheme where he prepares to throw a test dummy dressed as himself off the balcony but falls off himself. He gets rescued by The Olympian instead (remember him?), and is none too thrilled.


Later, Teddy goes back to Hannah but Green Fury takes out Hannah's purse -snatcher and seems mildly interested in Teddy So he craps all over Hannah some more, and that's it for the subplot for this week.

Alan Tudyk is fun as always, but a little of his Van Wayne goes a long way. Maybe the writers are hoping that he does and that's why they fall back on Van's total oafishness so often. They'll do it in "Emergency Punch-Up", too.

It seems like there should be a C plot because the A plot with Van and Emily just goes on way too long. The flashbacks (with Alan Tudyk with a goatee) are cute. But it's typical office-comedy stuff, which is kinda boring by now.


The second episode, "Emergency Punch-Up," features the off-screen Dr. Psycho, an old Wonder Woman villain who has been retconned almost as often as Wonder Woman has. The Wayne Security team is going on a corporate retreat, which seems to involve millions of dollars and a trip to a Caribbean resort. This is the same struggling corporation that put Van in charge of their Charm City branch?


Anyhoo, Dr. Psycho unleashes a cloud of poison gas on Charm City. This causes a lockdown at Wayne Security, and wouldn't you know it, Our Heroes are sealed inside by the emergency measures. And Psycho Emily decides to have an improvised corporate retreat. She somehow makes a tiki bar, complete with alcohol, and the team starts to loosen up a bit.

Things end in tears when they play Desert Island Companion. Jackie would rather die alone, Wendy would like to be with Van because she figures he'd be easy to hunt down and eat. Teddy would rather be with Jackie then Ron, and the two of them bicker about how useless Teddy is. This leads Teddy to demonstrate his spear-throwing ability with a tiki torch (don't ask), and he shatters a window, letting the gas in.


They take refuge in the airtight lab without supplies, so Emily rigs up a (very crude) hazmat suit and goes out to get the gas masks. One of Van's gag writers (more below) yanks open her helmet and she's exposed to the gas. Turns out that it's truth gas, and makes Emily blurt out how little she appreciated making sure everyone has a good time. The gas is eventually fatal, but the team lures her back in by singing karaoke, which everyone hates except Emily. Emily doesn't remember anything, and at the end they all agree to invite her to karaoke.


In the subplot, Van hires two gag writers to feed him jokes via en earpiece. Most of which are at the expense of Jackie. Van runs out of material when the funny one gets stranded out in the poison gas cloud. The other one writes a big inspirational speech for Van on a whiteboard, but he's no good for jokes.

Overall, I liked "Emergency" better because it juggled a lot of balls in the air and threw in a decent third-act twist with Emily suddenly blurting out the truth. There were lots of little flash gags (for lack of a better term), like: Emily giving Teddy a catchphrase t-shirt that says "I Don't Have a Catchphrase." Ron trying to lure Emily into the lab with a cherry Danish. Wendy going into graphic detail about why she could catch Van on the desert island. Jackie saying she'd rather die than be stuck with her idiotic teammates. Old team member Dorothy that the team was waiting on getting to the retreat and showing up in goofy photos. Emily singing karaoke! The running gag of the team hating Emily's karaoke idea. Ron's belief that Dr. Psycho is innocent. ("He's got a medical degree.") The newscaster Gail Simone who is inadvertently exposed to the gas and starts ranting onscreen about how her male anchor won't leave his wife for her. The team eventually putting on their catchphrase t-shirts and the cute little messages like Jackie's "NO!"


Everyone also got little moments instead of just one or two team members being the focus. Yeah, Emily and Van got most of the screen time as usual. But for once Teddy, Ron, Wendy, and Jackie have their own little bits and aren't subservient to the main plots. It's probably the most... well-rounded episode to date.

It also uses a DC villain to start the plot. Yeah, he doesn't show up. But being locked in a high-tech building and hit with truth gas is at least more than your typical office comedy.

So overall, I'd say that "Van v Emily" was okay, and "Emergency" was the best episode that we've seen so far

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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Apr 09, 2017
Well I've seen the Emily vs Van. Honestly I was sure the Teddy plot would resolve by telling us that Hannah is Green Fury and she'll dump him when he dumps her regular self for her superhero self, or maybe he'll eventually go with Hannah and we the audience will learn that she's Green Fury as well.

But... They didn't go that way. Pretty good choice I have to say.

The Van vs Emily plot? Meh. To be honest, I'm not even sure that even worked. First we are told that everyone kept making sure that Van is happy because he is a sore loser - but then again in the end it's just a pity for a loser?

The fact that the episode are without any logical error makes this so much worse. For example, let's take the Atlantis episode.
Didn't Van's dad made a point to constantly tell him how much of a loser is he in that episode?!? And wasn't that episode the one where they actually showed how good Van is at his job?

And pardon me... But isn't sort of the same issue that the Teddy episode had? That basically we have a guy who isn't allowed to lose at anything? So Teddy, Van and Emily all share the same trait?

Sure, a lot of sitcoms are inconsistent. But this one in particular is all over the place. I think that's part of the reason why characterization is so much of an issue in this show.

It really is a shame. This show could have had so much potential. Great cast, nice gimmick - yet they constantly tread mediocre ground.
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Apr 09, 2017
Teddy was considered the second-ran to his brother. And while it didn't look like his brother was imperfect, I never got the impression that it was because of anything his parents did to cover up for the fact he was inept.
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Apr 09, 2017
I was thinking more of the issue of "Teddy can't compete because there's a chance he might lose and become extremely unpleasant"

The reason might be different, but it's essentially the same as Van and Emily here. It just seems like again, characters are interchangable on so many thing it's absurd.
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Apr 09, 2017
Well, thanks for the heads up. I went to the place I usual download stuff and downloaded all of their copies of powerless episode 7 - it turns out each one was of a different episode.

So if you hadn't brought that up episode would have probably eluded me. Thanks :)
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Apr 09, 2017
Were there any episodes besides these two? "Van of the Year," "Green Furious", and "No Consequence Day" are potentially floating around, too.
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Apr 09, 2017
After a quick view, it seems there are also 2 episode 6

One is the one where Jackie needs money and Emily stalks her.
The other has the following description (which I don't recall seeing)

Emily deals with Van stealing credit for her generosity at the office. Meanwhile, Teddy pushes Ron
to get his new invention to the masses.
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Apr 09, 2017
The Jackie needs money one is last week's (US) "Im'a s Friend."

The second one sounds like "Van of the Week."
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Apr 09, 2017
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Apr 09, 2017
lol. I watch the Canada upload. Oh thats good.
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Apr 09, 2017
So which one did you see?
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Apr 10, 2017
was the gas episode.
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Apr 09, 2017
I'm not even sure if all of the affiliates in any given country showed the same episode.
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Apr 08, 2017
I haven't seen Van vs Emily, so I skipped the review for it.

I agree that the gas episode was one of the best (I still liked the henchmen episode more, but it's a close second).

For one thing, it made the science team feel like individuals. It says quite a lot when this episode seems to flush Teddy more than the Teddy central episode.

The use of the gas was also a good way to utilize the theme of the world of the show, without just randomly tossing hero names or needing a major special effect.
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