Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
There’s a point in tonight’s episode of Powerless where Vanessa Hudgens’ Emily takes one for the team and spends 24 hours watching the world’s worst, most soul-sucking anti-bullying video. It’s tempting to draw comparisons between that and the experience of actually watching Powerless. That’s a little overly harsh, as the sophomore episode is at least marginally better than the first. But the fact remains that this series is much less entertaining than a comedy set in the DC Universe has any right to be.
Two weeks in, probably the biggest knock against Powerless is that the DC elements still feel so superfluous. One could very easily rewrite the script to remove any mention of the superhero fantasy draft or the “Rumbrella” and have a very generic workplace comedy on hand. If anything, the DC elements are even less prominent than in the pilot. Other than another brief appearance by Jack O’Lantern (a one-note gag of a character who’s quickly wearing out his welcome), this episode didn’t even feature a single hero or villain in the flesh. An occasional name-drop for characters like Batman and Flash doesn’t cut it. If Powerless wants to bill itself as a DC Comics-based show, it needs to make more than the absolute bare minimum effort to be one.