Calista is an obsessive fan of superheroes — particularly Walker’s ex, Retro Girl (Michelle Forbes) — but she’s plagued by mediocrity, worried that she’s doomed to a life of normalcy. She truly believes that she’s a Power; she just hasn’t actually gotten her powers yet. She tries to force them, in the pilot’s most memorable and gripping scene, only to be shot down once again (and to nearly take Walker down with her). Calista’s a smartly written character, and Rulin provides a great interpretation, nailing her expressions and reactions as Calista slowly learns that not all heroes are heroic, and not all powers are powerful.
Powers suffers from a few predictable problems, such as relying too much on gritty crime-procedural tropes. Walker and Deena are both great characters, but their relationship isn’t fully established here and instead revolves around the typical cynical veteran/eager rookie dynamic. Deena is especially underwritten in the first few episodes, though it’s clear she’s in for some meaningful development in future installments. The dialogue, particularly in the first episode, is too expositional and overwrought at times; there is no need to explicitly state that Walker is a man “who walks because he can’t fly anymore.” And, as expected, Powers doesn’t have the biggest budget for special effect but it does make do.
As the series moves on from the pilot, however, it gets stronger. In the two subsequent episodes provided to critics, the writers deepen their characters and the world of the show begins to pop off the screen. Episodes 2 and 3 are engrossing and addictive — when I finished them, I not only wanted to watch more but was tempted to revisit the source material, which is why it’s a little frustrating that the weakest episode is the one available for free viewing. Powers could very well have been a hit on television (or on Netflix, if its plate wasn’t already full with Marvel adaptations). Now, the question is: How will it fare on PlayStation?