Mondays at 9:00 EST on NBC
Feedback: Let's hear your opinion!
Heroes 3.25 – Lives Come Together, They Fade Apart: Here are now, at the finale of another season of “Heroes.” Entertain us…or, at the very least, leave us happy ’til the beginning of the next season, right? With the return of Bryan Fuller to the fold, the show has been working its way slowly but surely out of the creative doledrums in which it had found itself, but does anyone even care anymore?
It’s a fair question, particularly when you look back at how few people are commenting on this blog nowadays. Once upon a time, we actually used to get a discussion going about the episode of the week, but if you look back over the course of the past several weeks, we’ve been averaging no more than 2 or 3 comments per ep, with one week receiving absolutely no comments! I figured Fuller’s return would kickstart the blog, but has it really reached a point where even the return of one of the show’s seminal writers (if, indeed, a show only in its third season can be said to have such a thing) can’t stir much in the way of conversation? I’m not even taking it personally anymore. I’m really just surprised.
Frankly, I feel like the show’s been relatively strong in recent weeks. Are there really so few people who feel the same way?
Last week ended with Zeljko looking darned surprised about Sylar surviving a knife blade to the back of the skull, but given the amount of shapeshifting Sylar had been doing, I wasn’t terribly shocked. Since he’s now able to move his size and shape around in a rather dramatic fashion, I figured his Achilles’ heel might not be where we last left it. I was, however, wondering whether we’d see Sylar slaughter Zeljko immediately or if he’d toy with him for awhile first. Nice touch, taking on his form to discredit him, ruin his reputation, and get him thrown into prison with…HRG?
Yep. HRG, Claire, and Mama Petrelli are driving along outside of Arlington, VA, when Mama has one of her famous dreams (“It’s Nathan. He’s in trouble.”) almost simultaneous to HRG realizing that they’re on the verge of being caught. He sends them off together while he pretends to fall into the trap that he knows has been set for him, but while it’s no surprise that Mama ditches Claire in order to follow the events of her dream, namely that Matt Parkman saves Nathan, it is a little shocking that Claire actually does what Mama tells her, going up to Nathan’s office. Fortunately, Claire falls back into her usual ways by completely falling for Sylar’s Nathan impression, while the real Nathan takes the opportunity to stumble from his office to Peter’s apartment and seek brotherly assistance.
Hiro’s nosebleed from last week has got Ando worried, but it doesn’t stop Hiro from still demanding that his time-stopping ability is the only way to save the day and infiltrate Building 26. He does pause momentarily when Ando suggests that his head might explode (his expression when he said “Really?” was priceless), but in the end, a hero’s got to do what a hero’s got to do, even if it does end up leading to blood streaming out of that hero’s ears. It was a sad but somewhat touching moment when Hiro explained that he was basing his sleep habits on those of Bruce Wayne, but even with Mohinder’s assurances that he absolutely positively could not use his powers again, I dare say we all knew he’d be using them, anyway, no matter what the cost.
The scene between HRG and Zeljko in the cell was a nice one. Though it’s a cliche, the hoary old “you are in my position” joke still made me chuckle, as did Zeljko’s reaction when they suddenly noticed that the door was wide open as a result of Hiro’s machinations.
I was glad that, after Sylar screwed up by using the wrong hand to sign in, there was precious little attempt to pretend that he might still manage to get away with his portrayal of Nathan. I mean, c’mon, even Claire isn’t that stupid. Instead, we just got a reveal of “Claire” answering HRG’s phone call, leading up to Sylar saying in his most evil voice, “Because it’s me.” Sylar’s scene with Claire gave him the opportunity to make with the supervillain schtick that he does so well. I laughed out loud when he mistakenly referred to Claire’s brother as “Larry” (seriously, I have to look up Lyle’s name every time he makes an appearance. He’s just that memorable), but even funnier was his reply to Claire’s assurances that she would continue to try and kill him: “Everybody needs a hobby.”
I admit I was a little surprised to see Nathan reveal his abilities to the President’s right-hand man, but they had been friends since they were kids, so I guess he figured that, if he can trust anyone, it’s this guy. Similarly, I didn’t expect that the big throwdown between Nathan, Peter, and Sylar would occur after Claire had been thrown out of the room and into the hallway. And, okay, here’s the trifecta: I was actually surprised that Sylar killed Nathan. I mean, I knew we were going to see someone die by episode’s end, but…well, truth be told, I hadn’t really worked out who I thought it would be, but for some reason, I just didn’t figure it would be Nathan.
Matt Parkman, of course, was surprised to see Mama Petrelli greet him the moment he got off the bus, but it didn’t come anywhere close to the reaction we got from Mama when she happened upon the body of her son. Good lord, that was a hair-raising shriek. Not that it wasn’t warranted, given the circumstances, but, still, wow. In the end, she managed to get some semblance of revenge on the man who killed her son, with the assistance of Peter (“Bet you didn’t think I took that one from you”) and Parkman. And, hey, wasn’t it nice to see “Heroes” ripping off DC Comics for a change instead of Marvel…? If you don’t know what I’m referencing, then go pick up a copy of “Identity Crisis,” then compare Parkman’s actions to what Zatanna did to Dr. Light. It’s not exact by any stretch of the imagination, but the resemblance is more than enough to catch the eye of the average fanboy, mark my words.
So where will we be when Volume 5, “Redemption,” kicks off…? Well, of course, we already know from the teaser at the end of the episode that Tracy’s return is imminent (and that turning into water apparently doesn’t help your sanity any), so it’s a fair bet that Micah will rear his head again as well. Obviously, Sylar will be getting his memory back at some point, though if there’s anyone who didn’t know that was going to happen from the moment his memories were buried, I’d be very surprised. Clearly, Hiro’s fate is yet to be determined, though he’ll presumably at least survive ’til the season premiere. (How pissed would people be if they just came back for Season 3 and said, “Damn, I still can’t believe Hiro died two months ago…”) And as Greg Grunberg suggested in his interview with Bullz-Eye a few weeks ago, there’s no way that Matt Parkman’s going to be able to cope with his actions for the entire season. Most importantly, though, we’ve got a brand new Company to look forward to, which has a lot of potential.
See ya next season, folks. Or will I…?
Heroes 3.24 – “That hurt.”: Two full-fledged “comic book” episodes in a row? Has “Heroes” ever managed to pull that off…? If so, it’s been ages. Tonight’s installment may well have been the most successful portrayal of Sylar as a complex villain in the show’s history, revisiting the character’s established mythology in the midst of his new shapeshifting abilities and the curse they bring with them. Plus, c’mon, Clint Howard? Are you kidding me…? The show’s coolness factor just jumped exponentially.
Obviously, Sylar’s storyline has consistently been one of the strongest parts of the “Fugitives” saga, but this took it to new heights. I never would’ve guessed that the path to his mimicry of Nathan would take him on a psychological journey of such magnitude. When he questioned his identity as Agent Taub in the initial moments of the episode, it became clear that he was having some issues dealing with his transformation into other people. You don’t get much more disconcerting, however, than that sequence where he was flip-flopping back and forth from himself to his mother – once again played by Ellen Greene – in order to rationalize her death and his ongoing existence. (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt the echoes of Norman Bates’ relationship with his mother in their discussions, was I?) Given that we’ve seen Sylar’s semi-soft spot with the youth of America in the past, I guess it shouldn’t have been too surprising that he was willing to give li’l Micah a pass. I don’t know how well the kid’s poignant speech will work in the long run, but, hey, it worked long enough to prolong his life for a bit, so that’ll do for now. Zeljko’s constant grumblings through the episode were highly entertaining, and you knew full well that he was eventually going to view Sylar as a loose cannon who couldn’t be controlled and needed to be taken out permanently (which he clearly must’ve known all along, anyway), but the one-two punch of the thrusting of the knife in the back of Sylar’s skull being followed up with Sylar’s brilliant episode-closing line was totally awesome.
Zachary Quinto’s performance this week was tremendous. Sometimes he takes his villainous rantings too far over the top for you to be able to take him seriously, but not this time. This was definitely a well-considered look at a complex character.
Indeed, the episode was so Sylar-centric – not that it was a surprise, what with it being entitled “I Am Sylar” – that the other storylines of the chapter often felt significantly less important than they might otherwise have. Still, in the grand scheme of things, they had significant weight to them.
Based on Greg Grunberg’s comments during my interview with him for Bullz-Eye’s TV Power Rankings, I couldn’t help but view Parkman’s conversation with Hiro and Ando about how he wanted to be sure his boy would grow up with a father as a season finale set-up. It seems pretty clear to me that, when we get the moment Grunberg’s promised, where Parkman does “something that he will regret forever,” it will be a moment where he’s forced to do something because it’s the only way to save his son’s life. Maybe at the expense of his wife’s life…? We’ll see.
The Crimson Arc? Yes, it is dangerous and ladylike at the same time. I enjoyed the whole Batman / Superman comparison between Ando and Hiro, particularly when Ando likened his introduction to Hiro’s time-stopping power to Batman visiting Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. I still think Hiro’s decision to use Ando as bait was a shady one, but at least he came around by episode’s end. That nose bleed can’t be a good thing. Are we to presume that there’s some sort of protection in place around the building to prevent heroes from utilizing their abilities? I’m not sure how the science behind that would work, given the variety of abilities, but I guess we’ll see what’s up in next week’s season finale.
By the way, thank you, NBC, for already having provided me with an advance screener of the finale. Given how late I ended up posting tonight’s blog (my daughter just would not go to sleep!), it’ll be nice to have my write-up ready to roll before the episode ever even airs!
Heroes 3.23 – It’s Like 1961 All Over Again: Now this felt like a comic book.
I know I’ve said that before about episodes of “Heroes,” but those who frequent this blog on a regular basis are hopefully aware that I don’t say it very often. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not really a good thing, since, y’know, this is a show about people with superhuman abilities. As such, you’d like to think that just about every episode would feel more or less like a comic book…but they don’t.
Shall we once again chalk this up to the return of Bryan Fuller?
Oh, what the hell. We might as well, right? I mean, after all, it might’ve been written by Aron Eli Coleite, but Fuller’s influence is all over this episode, from the flashback structure to the use of one of his regular players: Diana Scarwid, who was a regular on “Wonderfalls” (Karen Tyler) and popped up on “Pushing Daisies” on more than a few occasions as well (as Mother Mary Mary Superior).
Last week ended with the Petrelli family literally digging up skeletons from Mama’s past as they scoured the now-desolate area known as Coyote Flats. Why? To find Mama’s long lost sister, Alice. So let’s cue up the flashbacks and drop into black and white mode, shall we?
It was cool to see some well-established characters in their younger years: Charles Deveaux, Daniel Linderman, Bob(by) Bishop, and, of course, Mohinder’s pops. The references to the Nazis – specifically, Mengele – and the Jews were almost inevitable. It’s focusing on a camp filled with people who have been deemed different in some way, and it’s filmed in black and white. Even people who’ve never seen “Schindler’s List” were thinking of that movie from the moment the color faded away…and, somehow, I can’t imagine the comparison wasn’t completely and totally intentional. There were several nice uses of music in this episode, with Santo and Johnny’s “Sleepwalk” definitely being among the highlights, but my personal favorite moment was the transition between the last 1961 flashback sequence and the present, with Roy Orbison’s original version of “Crying” segueing seamlessly into k.d. lang’s cover. That was some sweet, sweet stuff right there, my friends.
The only problem with the flashback sequences being so good, however, was that the present-day bits needed to be exciting enough that you didn’t keep thinking, “Geez, I wish they’d flip back to 1961 already!” The storm surges served that purpose nicely, since we weren’t entirely sure if indeed Alice was still alive or not. I certainly didn’t think she was controlling the winds from beyond the grave or anything, but I wasn’t sure how they were going to handle it.
As it turned out, she ended up looking suspiciously like the Cat Lady from “The Simpsons,” but I didn’t think about the point of comparison until afterwards. While I was actually watching the episode, I was far more focused on the interaction between Scarwid and Cristine Rose, which was a lot of fun to watch. Wow, so Mama Petrelli lied to her sister outright. Yeah, that’s a pretty big secret to carry with you for that many years, though it had to at least be a little bit of a load off to learn that Alice was actually still alive, what with having believed her dead for 48 years. I dare say we haven’t seen the last of her in the “Heroes” saga.
All told, a very, very solid episode for those who enjoy a well-told bit of back story…and since I count myself among that number, you may color me pleased. The last few moments, however, definitely left me chomping at the bit for next week. Clearly, the future isn’t going to turn out exactly as it was foretold in previous episodes, but with Sylar doing his best Nathan impression, there are definitely some seriously dark clouds on the horizon.
In closing, don’t forget to check out my interview with Greg Grunberg over at Bullz-Eye, part of our latest TV Power Rankings festivities.
Heroes 3.22 – Here I Stand and Face the Strange: Tonight’s “Heroes” was one of intertwined stories bound with ridiculous coincidences and total mindfucks…which is to say that there was tension to be had, but there were also a couple of moments where the Plot Police should have been called in to charge the writers with including events which were just waaaaaaayyyyyyy too convenient.
Between Zeljko and Sylar, it was clear from early on that HRG’s mind was going to seriously played with tonight, but as I observed last week, HRG’s been around the block way too many times with Sylar to just accept his death as a given without checking into it a bit…and, of course, it didn’t take long before he’d confirmed that, indeed, the body that looked like Sylar actually wasn’t Sylar. What he didn’t realize at that point, however, was that he’d already had an encounter with the now-shapeshifting villain. When Sandra first turned up, my first thought was that it was Sylar pretending to be her…until it turned into the tale of two Zeljkos.
Of course, HRG did soon get an encounter from a Sylar in Sandra’s clothing, though could you really blame Sandra for serving HRG with divorce papers? No, of course you couldn’t, but I’m sure it occurred to most of us that it was either Sylar pulling a shapeshift or someone controlling Sandra’s mind and making her ask for a divorce in order to blow HRG’s mind. And it did…right up until the point when he realized that Sylar had developed shapeshifting abilities, which is when his head pretty much exploded. The scene with HRG seemingly on the verge of killing Sandra was pretty intense, but it all fell apart for me at the moment the phone rang and it was Lyle on the other end of the line, asking a question about the dog’s medication. It was obnoxiously convenient. In the end, I knew full well that HRG hadn’t really killed an officer and that it was actually Sylar, but, man, it just left me disappointed that I knew that. I really wish “Heroes” was a little darker, because I’d love to have seen HRG have to deal with something like that for real, instead of finding out an episode or two down the road that didn’t actually kill an innocent man. Still, I did like the bit where Sylar hocked up the bullet…
I think we all learned a brief but valuable lesson about stereotypes when Hiro, Ando, and Baby Parkman met Sam Douglas from El Paso. I believe I actually laughed out loud when Sam made his comment about Hiro and Ando being “from the mothership.” The whole concept of Touch and Go Baby stealing the power from vehicles when he’s unhappy was silly, but Ando looked so ridiculous when he made his face to try and keep Matt Jr. smiling that I was willing to endure it.
Does anyone really trust Matt Parkman to go through on his plans anymore? Granted, they always start strong, as this one did, when he decided to get even with Zeljko by making him paranoid and sending him off to check on the person he cares most about. And, wow, how sad and lonely is that guy? When he’s told to go to the person he cares the most about, he heads to a woman from an escort service! You almost felt bad for the girl, though, given how much he’d been lying to her and how Parkman basically caused her whole world to fall down around her. Typically, Parkman couldn’t bring himself to finish the job he’d started, but – what luck! – Hiro turned up at just the right moment. Again, I say: too fucking convenient.
We got precious little Mohinder this week, except his piss-poor attempt to talk Parkman out of going on his quest and the revelation that his father’s things contained a reference to Operation Icarus, which means that we’ll almost certainly be seeing him pop up next week with the Petrelli family. Man, trust Mama to get a chilling final line: “Keep digging.”
Heroes 3.21 – A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Action: So Peter saved his mother last week not so much because he loves her but because he wants answers, but the sequences with he and Mama Petrelli initially seemed designed solely for longtime fans who’ve been complaining about a lack of character development…and, indeed, it’s fair to say that’s what both of the Petrelli-centric storylines were tonight. Once the government agents arrived at the church, we were taken a little bit further into Mama’s past, making her seem more human than she ever has before. (HRG’s sigh before giving the fake all-clear sign to his men was awesome, by the way.) Still, in the end, we spent a whole lot of time watching Peter and Mama doing very, very little. As for Nathan and Claire, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Patzcuaro, Mexico, but you have to respect any city where the hotel clerks are familiar with the old “unless you’re paying hourly” joke. How is it that Nathan didn’t think to get a stockpile of cash before heading off to Mexico? Maybe he didn’t think his plan through very well…or, more likely, the writers came up with the idea of a tequila-drinking contest and had to figure out how to make it come to fruition. I’m sure all the ladies in the “Heroes” viewing audience enjoyed seeing him dressed semi-spiffy and sporting a couple of days worth of stubble, and all the guys blew a blood vessel when Claire whipped off her shirt to take her dad’s spot in the game. Win-win, right? I admit that Nathan’s drunken confession to Claire helped make him seem a little more fatherly, but Claire’s “Superman” speech before her teary departure the next morning was too melodramatic for my tastes.
The use of Del Shannon’s “Runaway” tonight was inspired, with Sylar popping up in the back seat so abruptly. The tension between HRG and Zeljko was palpable this episode once Sylar turned up, but none were better than Zeljko’s reference to “the big book of letting (Sylar) slip through your fingers.” It didn’t occur to me that Sylar had been the one who offered up the Puppet Master, nor did I entirely imagine a scenario where Sylar would team up with Zeljko. The idea of having a head in a box hasn’t had the same impact since we imagined Brad Pitt got that very special package from Kevin Spacey in “Se7en,” but it was still a pleasantly macabre way of allowing Sylar to offer intel to Zeljko. The shapeshifter special effects probably didn’t break the bank, but they were delivered cleverly enough. The reveal that the shapeshifter had decided to take on Zeljko’s appearance was fantastic. Just when you think Zachary Quinto isn’t capable of looking any more evil or crazed, he surprises you, as he did with the look he offered up when Zeljko asked him if there was any way to take the shapeshifter’s abilities without leaving his traditional forehead slice.
So we close on The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,” with HRG almost certainly not believing that Sylar’s really dead, Nathan and Claire are homeward bound, and Mama’s taking Peter to meet…his sister? Fair enough. But let’s hope there’s a little more action next week, huh? I’m all for character development, but for the most part, this week’s episode really dragged ass.