Yeah they might be testing it but the fact remains that he still thinks he has that kind of power. Saying "I'm a power sponge" suggests that he some how already knew he could absorb powers and use them himself where as before when he confesses (if you went that route) he said he "caught it from him(Hank)" showing that at the time he didn't think he could absorb powers.
Before going to the city he clearly states that they don't need Augustine to save the tribe, they just needed her powers. Now given that they have no reason to believe at that point that he can take her powers the simple fact that he saids that before even having a reason to believe he can do that the story line is messed up right then and there. Now I could believe he comes to believe he can absorb powers if he made that statement after finding Fetch and gaining some of her powers. But not before.
The story needed more thought put into from what I can tell. Even I can write a better story line and my stuff is pretty out there most of the time.