Monday, May 07, 2007

Heroes, Chapter 21: The Hard Part
Tonight’s episode didn’t quite pack the punch that the previous two did, but it was still pretty cool. I felt that they were trying just too hard for that whole nature vs. nurture angle, and some of it came off as contrived. It’s like they didn’t want Lost to be taking home the prize for “Characters with Most Parental Issues,” so they had to cook some up here. And they had to somehow tie it in to everyone. But that said, Heroes is simply following what the best shows have done: Buffy, Lost, Angel – ALL of these shows usually had one slow episode that needed to build up material that would allow the final one or two episodes to pack a major wallop.

Moronder has proven that, while he doesn’t have a brain in his head (“I can hear you dialing 911… now I can hear you pretending not to… now I can hear you screaming like a little girl… Mohinder, you cannot HIDE the phone and make this go away… sigh”), he clearly has a big heart. And we find out that his parents had him so that his blood would have the antibodies it would take to save his sister. (I read an article a couple of years ago about people who had seriously ill children and they had other children just to try to save the first ones, and in one case the blood type on the second child didn’t match, and they were extremely disappointed and said the second child had been a waste of time and now they had to try for a third and hope the first one didn’t die in the meantime… I remember thinking what an awful start to life that kid had.) Moronder deals with Thompson and is now working with him to save a child’s life . . . since Thompson is with Primatech, we pray Moronder is doing the right thing. But since he usually does the stupid thing, we just don’t know… The child he is saving is…

Harry Potter Molly Walker. Molly was in her house one night when Voldemort Sylar came into her house and killed her parents, but when he tried to kill her he couldn’t, and instead left her with a lightning bolt scar sitting in a doorway. Now Molly Potter, er, Harry Walker… whatever, is the only person who stands between the world and Sylar. Will JK Rowling kill Molly in Book 7?

Micah is the other child who may be involved in the bomb incident, and he’s been trapped by the illusionaker Candice. After many months of ribbing one of my readers on whether she’s a shapeshifter or an illusioniteer, turns out I was wrong, he was right. (Bask in this, Brian. It’ll only happen once.) ;) He said an illusioneer can change the environment around her, and I said she was only changing her body. Now she has to go and change her damn environment. Argh for me being wrong. Anyway, it was pretty creepy, and led to him trying to get away, only to realize every room is the same because the illusionator is making them that way. Micah looks at her like she’s Jessica, but then we realize he’s even more perceptive, and knows that this woman is not Niki, not Jessica, but another lookalike. Talk about future therapy bills on this kid. Did you notice when Candice was on the phone to Linderman there was a vase on the counter and it appeared to have something coming out of the top that was bomb-like in shape? Also, Micah said Linderman smelled funny… is that supposed to be a clue about something?

Micah’s parents, DL and Jessiki, break into Linderman’s place and discover that he’s been tracking them their entire lives, like his own little research experiment. Then they run out of the room to find they’re on an island and have just come out of the Darwin Hatch, and Dharma has all the files on them. Someone comes through the jungle, DL grabs Jessica and melds through a cave wall, Charlie sees it, runs back to the camp and tells everyone what he saw, and Locke punches him in the face for being back on heroin. These two shows were ripe for crossover stuff, but I didn’t realize it would happen so soon.

As DL and Jessica try to talk their way into the 2nd Island Open Golf Tournament, Claire prepares to go to Paris, but Peter is trying to talk her out of it. He believes she has a part to play in stopping him from his apocalyptic blow-up, and tells her all about it. She immediately recognizes that he’s talking about Ted, but what’s strange is that it never occurs to Peter that if she can lead him to Ted, Peter will absorb his powers. Duh. When they head over to her dad’s office, she sees him with Thompson, the very man who her father took a bullet to keep her from. Now she doesn’t trust Nathan (despite thinking his new flying ability is pretty cool) and wonders if he really has her best interests in mind.

Does Nathan really care about his daughter at all? Or is the election the ONLY thing he cares about? We see his mother – i.e., Granny to Claire – only cares about him winning so he can help “us,” as she puts it, blow up NYC. By “us” she means she’s running with Linderman’s crowd. Linderman did mention that he’s from a past generation of heroes, and it looks like Gran is part of that generation. If Nathan were married to her, I’d call her Lady Macbeth… but it’s still pretty apt. Nathan’s parental issues are perhaps a little deeper than we thought… Has anyone noticed that for someone who’s a day away from the PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, Nathan doesn’t seem to do ANY campaigning? What sort of candidate hangs out in his office meeting with family and friends the day before the election?

However, the deepest issues rest with Sylar. In an overwrought attempt to show he’s a sympathetic character who was raised by a mom who’s pretty loopy, and who had SUCH high hopes she instilled in him that innate need to be special, to be important, to be the greatest person on earth, the writers seem to work a little too hard to say, “Oh, right, he’s cut off the tops of dozens of heads, but look… he was ABUSED as a child.” Or something. In this episode we see how Mommy Dearest gave him the idea to be President of the United States. While I liked the ambiguity of the scenes – it’s not clear what’s up with her, and the relationship is absolutely a difficult one, without being overly clichéd – her death scene was WAY too contrived. The guy has the ability to throw an elephant across the room, yet he can’t wrench a pair of scissors from his mother without stabbing her in the heart? I don’t think so. (Unless they’re suggesting that for a brief second, his bad side took over and did it intentionally.) However, it does add another layer to Sylar, and once again makes me hope Sylar isn’t done away with by the end of this season. The moment where he’s making the “snow globe” in the air, something changes in his eyes, and his mother doesn’t seem surprised – she seems deeply disturbed, as if she’s seen that look before. Has she? At the end of the episode, Sylar paints the same picture that Isaac did, but in his mother’s blood, showing us that if he wasn’t before, he is now completely batshit crazy.

Throughout the episode, Hiro and Ando know their mission, have seen the future, and realize they have to kill Sylar the day after the election. But if they can do it NOW, they think they can save more lives. Hiro should know better – he MUST follow the comic strip and fulfill his destiny the way it was prophesied. Hiro’s teleporting skills have improved vastly – not only does he remain in the same time frame, but he only moves them a couple of floors away from where they started. But Hiro’s not the cold, dark-hearted person that Future Hiro was, and Ando sort of wants him to be, assumes he MUST be if they’re going to kill Sylar. It’s only when Ando tells him the truth – that Sylar is going to kill him – that Hiro hardens his heart. But Sylar still manages to overpower him. How did he do it? How does he break out of Hiro’s spell? We definitely know that now that he’s seen Hiro’s power, he’ll definitely be coming after him. Who WOULDN’T want to do what Hiro can do? How will Hiro kill him now that his sword is destroyed?

The episode ends with Bennet, Ted, and Matt finding Claire Bear again, and FINALLY we see a parental relationship that’s based on nothing but unconditional love. This episode has had dead parents, parents who had their child just to save another one, parents who manipulate their children, illusionatory parents, crazy snow-globe-lovin’ parents, parents who’ve lost their son… Bennet is definitely a breath of fresh air. But with him he brings Ted, and the meeting between Ted and Peter – that we’ve dreaded for most of the season – finally happens. And it’s just as horrible as we thought it would be.

Just a note that this week’s Entertainment Weekly has Heroes on the cover and has exclusive coverage on the finale. I haven’t yet read it, but for collectors, there are 5 covers. (I was thrilled that my copy had Bennet and Claire on the cover!)


Anonymous said...

The correct term is illusionist. Yes, just like David Copperfield. :-)

Molly reminds me of Lalya Miller, the dues ex machina from Marvel's House of M , who "knows stuff."

I really liked the Sylar bits with his mom. It shed's a lot of light on his character.

Peter was too realived that he might not be responsible for the explosion that he didn't think things through to well.

Oh, and Nathan is running for Congress, not President.

Nikki Stafford said...

Got it. Illusionite.

The Chapati Kid said...

No, Nikki. You got it wrong. Candice is an illusionifter.

Slow episode, and one thought... remember how Ando and Hiro took a flight from Tokyo to New York? When Hiro could have just teleported them? And the argument was that maybe it had to be through space and time? But now it's just space.

leor said...

quick correction: it's the congressional election, not the presidential election...not that he shouldn't be campaigning anyway :)

Anonymous said...

This episode wasn't as good as the last few...I venture to say Lost has regained its top spot with me!

I didn't quite buy Sylar's sudden "guilt" over killing millions of "innocent" people. Someone who is obviously as cold blooded as he is would not feel sorry about mass killing IMO. It would make more sense that he'd be scared of himself blowing up and biting the bullet.

I may have missed something, but how did Sylar suddenly wake up from Hiro's freeze spell? Does he have this power?

And the Illusionista has an interesting power, but I don't find her a very compelling character otherwise.

Looking forward to the finale though!

Anonymous said...

The idea is, Nathan will be elected to congress in NY, take charge when NYC is devasted, then ride that popularity to the white house. Not like any mayors or presidents have done that before or anything.

I like this show. It's very comic-booky, though I could do with more Jeph Loeb and more Christopher Eccleston (though Claude could be in all the scenes and we wouldn't know it).

It's no Lost in my heart, though, proving audiences are fickle and deserve crap like American Idol.

Anonymous said...

I definitely felt Sylar's guilt was justified. So far, he has only killed in order to get what he wants: more powers. Sometimes, normal humans get in his way (like Molly's parents), and he has to get rid of them to get to his goal.
I can see why he feels the deaths of thousands of innocents would be useless...because he wouldn't gain anything by it.
However, by the end of the episode, I felt he found a reason to go through with it.

Anonymous said...

We don't know for sure that Molly's parents didn't also have powers. Considering Sylar did eat their brains too, they probably did.

Nikki Stafford said...

Oops, sorry for the presidential screw-up everyone. D'oh. I thought he was president when the bomb went off, and Ando keeps saying it'll happen in 2 days after the election, so that's where that was coming from. Oops.

Colleen: I'm with ya -- I love Claude and miss him, but you're right; maybe he IS just standing in the background all the time, witnessing everything. Hmm... I guess only in the non-Peter scenes, since Peter can see him.

Roland: I'm wondering the same thing about Sylar; still can't figure out how he unfroze himself.

Chapatikid: Illusionifter! Of course. I think Hiro has finally honed his talent, and it's definitely been perfected since he met with Future Hiro, so maybe he gave him some tips that we didn't see. :)

Jeff: I agree with you; I think Sylar DID become a sympathetic character in this episode, even if the execution of that was a little clumsy, and I do believe his guilt that maybe he didn't want to continue. He hoped his mother would help him stop, but she is the one who wants to see her son go so far, and the only way he can do that, he thinks, is by being Sylar.

Brian: Agreed. I think Molly's parents were wizards, too.

Anonymous said...

Many real-life serial killers do want to stop, but aren't able to do it themselves. However, Sylar has been pretty cold about his killings so far, so this sudden burst of conscious on his part seems forced.

Could it be that Sylar is more offended by the chaos of the event rather than the morality of it? So far his killings have been for a purpose, whereas this explosion is more random.

Don't know how Sylar could unfreeze like that. Maybe Hiro's hesitation broke the time freeze? But Sylar has more powers than we know about, so it could be that too.

Also, he used his freezing power again.