Review: Men of a Certain Age - Powerless
by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 5th 2010 9:27AM
(S01E05) As the title of this episode suggests, the guys were all feeling a big powerless and it looked for a time that it was a position overwhelming to each of them. What was reassuring, then, was to realize that with age comes experience and wisdom and a way to figure out how to deal with just these kinds of issues. Each of our men of a certain age were powerless in some way for a time, but not by the end of the hour. That's one for the old guys, if you're keeping score.
You couldn't ignore the Rocky analogy in the episode. From Joe talking about filling gaps to Owen's victory dance, even Terry's inarticulate appeal to Annie, these were all references to Sylvester Stallone's first Rocky. Thank goodness they didn't dwell into the sequels.
Joe's relationship with Sonya was back under the microscope because of her concern about Lucy, their daughter. It doesn't take more than a crack in opening the door for Joe to get back into family mode. He only wants a sliver of "yes" and he gets it when Sonya agrees about the cell phone. As parents they could be unified in wanting to protect their child.
Joe was imagining a Fatal Attraction situation with Travis going after Lucy. After assuring Sonya that it would be all right, Joe took action. This was a Joe we hadn't really seen before; not even when he helped Albert with the bus. In this instance, Joe confronted Travis and instead of a Clint Eastwood moment, it remained a Ray Romano schlemiel moment. Joe recognized how he was a lot like the teenager. He still protected Lucy, but he showed humanity for Travis.
Owen's power issue was real. The friggin' contractor took off and left the house undone and without electricity. The family living in his father and mother's home was beyond impossible for Owen. After nearly getting arrested for taking Terry's advice about getting the power back on -- and wasn't that the blind leading the blind -- Owen took charge. Melissa urged him to fight city hall again.
Owen's figuring out how to "sell" the government clerk was the best scene in the show and a really great Andre Braugher scene. I don't know if the story about the record store was real or not -- probably was -- but it was the key to getting to the man. It might have been more realistic that even after hearing Owen pour out his heart, the county worker still was powerless to help him. But that would have meant no Rocky dance and we wanted that dance.
Does is seem like Terry has his head up his ass to you? I loved Owen calling him on his chasing tail, chasing time lifestyle. "Who are you?" isn't a question that Terry wanted to ask and ultimately chose not to deal with. He got back his Circadian rhythm by being true to himself and letting his charm do the work. He wins Annie back with very little effort when you think about it. It would have served him right if she dumped him.
Other points of interest
-- What is the best scene in Rocky? Is it "we fill gaps"? "Cut me, Mick?" The dance? My favorite: "Adrian!"
-- Travis had no idea what Rocky is. And the teens at the store hated the music. God... I feel old.
-- Terry knows how to reconnect an electrical box. Owen was astonished that Terry could do that. So was I!
-- Joe to Travis: "You're going to do the right thing or I'm going to kick your ass. That's what you're going to say."