Review – Powerless S01E01: Wayne or Lose

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NBC has begun airing its DC Universe comedy series Powerless, which stars Vanessa Hudgens and Alan Tudyk. It looks to be a new perspective on the superhero show.

This week on Powerless:

On her Charm City morning commute, our protagonist Emily Locke (Hudgens) gets in a bit of a troubling situation after Jack O’Lantern pushes her train off the tracks. However, the train is saved by superhero Crimson Fox (Atlin Mitchell). Although the rest of her fellow passengers find this incident blase, Emily is starstruck, since she’s new to having superheroes around.

Emily’s set to start her new job at Wayne Security, where she’ll be the director of Research and Development. Her new boss, Van Wayne (Tudyk) doesn’t seem to like his workplace at all, or anyone in it. Van’s assistant Jackie (Christina Kirk) introduces Emily to her new team: Teddy (Danny Pudi), Ron (Ron Funches), and Wendy (Jennie Pierson). Emily promptly gets off on the wrong foot by (a) being horrified that all the research and development her seems to be doing is researching how to plagiarize LexCorp and then developing similar products and (b) being all pep with none of the experience to back it up. No one’s impressed, and they tell her that she’s the fifth boss they’ve had this year, which is contrary to what Van told her. 


Van’s not impressed with Emily’s anger with him and tells him her job is to get Van to the Gotham office by getting her team to come up with a big idea. After Emily leaves, Van gets a call from Bruce Wayne himself. Emily’s team hates her so much that Wendy came up with a device that notifies her when Emily’s in the vicinity. Van notifies the office that they’re being shut down: evidently, the ambitions of super villains transcend the need for inventors to come up with products to protect normal people. Everyone is upset that they’ve lost their jobs. 

Well, almost everyone’s upset. Emily discovers that Van’s thrilled the office is being shut down because it means he gets to go to Gotham. However, the office’s shutdown isn’t official until the next day, so Emily and her team have about that long to come up with a big idea and save the office. After a couple half-baked attempts show up (turns out Kryptonite glass isn’t that effective in a pinch), Emily’s a bit demoralized. Jackie tells her that she used to be peppy like Emily is now, and this job breaks everyone. Emily refuses to be broken and wonders if there’s a way to work out if a supervillain is near. She manages to recruit her team to help.

The next day, Emily, Teddy, Wendy, and Ron meet Van on Wayne Security’s balcony. They show Van the Jack O’Watch, which tracks Jack O’Lantern based on his scent, and tell him to show it to Bruce Wayne. Van is reluctant but agrees to do so when Emily threatens to show him up by showing the watch to Wayne herself. This saves the Charm City Wayne Security office, much to Van’s dismay, since that means he has to stay there. 

Teddy and Emily see on the news that Batman has captured the Joker using an invention that’s suspiciously similar to the Jack O’Watch. They comment on how it’s a weird coincidence.

Thoughts on the episode:

“Wayne or Lose” wasn’t particularly groundbreaking, but that’s not that surprising. The episode did its job of introducing us to the characters and laying the groundwork for their relationships. It’s a pilot with a lot of potentials.


  • Bruce Wayne is kind of a jerk in this universe. Not only does he steal ideas from his employees and effectively sanction them to steal from LexCorp, he probably came up with the “Superman is the leading cause of broken windows” statistic.
  • Charm City = the DCEU Baltimore, right?

Joke of the episode:

“I feel like I could commit vehicular manslaughter and I would get away with a slap on the wrist. Now I haven’t that, but I think I could.” -Van Wayne

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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan is a 24 year old MLIS student who prefers to read over socializing and is passionate about diversity and accessibility.{subid}&url=prodinfo.asp?number=FU14012EE

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