Powers: “Devil in a Garbage Bag” Review
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow…
Wolfe and his extraordinary savage powers were at the forefront of “Devil in a Garbage Bag,” an episode that started out feeling fresh and dangerous but then sort of spiraled into a bit of a mess toward the end.
I think the fact that Wolfe’s prison escape/rampage is (I’m assuming) a two-parter hurt the story overall. Because the story clicked here until everyone split up and started looking for him. Then it was a lot of bland, blue-lit hallways with occasional darkened, hard-to-make-out gore. Along with Walker undergoing yet another emotional collapse in front of Pilgrim. No wonder she got fed up with him. Every time Wolfe comes into play, which then trudges up the backstory, Walker becomes a mess and has to scream out confessions. In the pilot it was “He has my f***ing powers!” Here it was all about the guilt he felt about not killing Wolfe when he had the chance.
The dim lighting and the lack of clear space and geography also gave the second half an Alien 3 vibe. We knew they had to lure Wolfe back to Triphammer’s “Drainer” but never at one time did we really know where anyone was in relation to the goal line. Or, truthfully, how they were going to get him there other than pure luck. Because Wolfe’s pretty much an unstoppable force. And the only thing that kept Wolfe from being a danger to Walker was that, in his confused state, he didn’t know Walker was part of the team that was after him. Well, that and the weird Sway visions the two of them shared whenever they touched.
Getting into what was good about the episode now, the whole set up was a breath of fresh air. An intense, isolated story confined to a single place that immediately took us out of the Olympia Case/Calista Hunt. And, at times, it was more frightening to hear people talk about Wolfe and his horrible abilities than to actually see him blurrily rip people apart. Just the idea that Wolfe ate Triphammer’s arm and leg was gruesome enough. And it’s in moments like these when Pilgrim’s outsider status serves her well. Because she’s able to react to all the descriptions with epic “WTF?” responses. “He can sense electricity,” Walker revealed. “He can what the f***?” came Pilgrim, reacting to someone listing off powers as if they were making them up on the spot.
But yeah, the first half of the story really sold the crisis element. This was a big deal. News vans swarmed the prison. Retro Girl had to decide whether or not to get involved (and whether it would redeem her nightclub faux pas). All while Zora saw it as a chance to finally make her mark and become famous. Once, however, the tactical group split up and went out to look for Wolfe, haunted mansion style, the tension diffused.
While Royalle’s over-arcing plan still still feels pretty weak (just give out Sway so no one can feel powerless) we did get an interesting reveal with regard to what Sway actually is. Royalle wasn’t trying to free Wolfe like some may have thought at the end of last week’s episode. He’d been going in and sucking out drops of the dude’s brain and converting it into a drug. But since Wolfe was on a regimented torture schedule, Royalle actually messed everything up and caused him to heal faster than normal. I thought that was a nice twist. A lot nicer than the Royalle/Calista dynamic that we still have to sit through. I don’t buy their affinity for one another, on either side.