Warning! SPOILERS for The Power!
CW for abuse and harassment.
The Power begins with a surprisingly dark storyline after Margot Cleary-Lopez’s (Toni Collette) introduction because of how it pivots to Allie (Halle Bush). How a show chooses to frame its opening scenes is critical, because in the same way the first line of a book sets the mood and tone for the following novel, a show introduces what an audience can expect with its first scenes. The Power is particularly unique in that it had to select one of its ensemble cast to open the show with, making it all the more telling that the series elected to begin with Allie’s complex, but dark, beginning.
The Power tells the story of an alternate history where the present-day world changes due to a seismic socio-political shift. This shift occurs due to many women among The Power‘s cast of characters developing the ability to manipulate electricity, fundamentally changing the power dynamics of society. One such woman is a girl named Allie, an orphan who begins her journey from humble and tragic beginnings but then finds her way to a very different life, largely by way of her newfound abilities.
Allie’s Origin Story Is Its Darkest (But Most Important)
At the beginning of The Power, Allie is an orphan who has recently been placed with a new foster family, a white couple. Allie refuses to speak for her first six months with the family, but it is later revealed that her foster father abused her, a fact her foster mother seemed to be aware of but chose to ignore. Allie’s incident with her foster father at the start of the series is harrowing, as is her narrow escape after killing him in self-defense. While it might seem jarring that a story about supernatural abilities begins with such a dark introduction, Allie’s origin reveals the themes and tone of The Power.
Allie uses her abilities to free herself from a terrible situation, protecting herself when no one else will. This foreshadows the upheaval that is to come for The Power‘s cast of characters who typically have less influence in society, such as women and people of color, when they are granted a supernatural ability to fight back. But Allie’s escape is not necessarily a heroic or jubilant moment in the show, either. It’s traumatizing and graphic, foreshadowing the corruptive nature of power, and showing that The Power will not tell a story where a paragon saves the day, but where people are thrust into a more dangerous world.
The Power’s Opening Also Hints At Allie’s Future Story
Beyond The Power‘s opening with Allie to reveal its overall direction, it sets up Allie’s arc as well. Firstly, Allie is ostensibly the main character of the books, even though she’s part of a general ensemble cast. But the fact that The Power begins with her escape and her portentous meeting with The Voice (Adina Porter) shows the importance of who Allie will become. Particularly with how Allie’s story already begins with religious influences, The Power hints at her future as a spiritual icon in the new world order, and what that kind of influence entails.