I know I talk about Heroes a lot. Too much, probably. But Monday’s episode was so fantastic, I cannot help myself.
Note: I make no effort to avoid spoilers either from the episode, online speculation or the previews for upcoming episodes. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know.
- I love how this show can walk the line between comic book cheese and straight TV drama so effectively. Case in point, the sinister exchange between Dale and Sylar culminating in the line, “What’s that sound in your heart?”
It could have been devastatingly cornball since it was such a comic book moment, but it worked flawlessly here.
- At this point I think it is fair to say that we have three main candidates for possible causes of the explosion in NYC: Peter, Sylar and Ted. Despite the constant impression we’re being given that it is Peter, I have a hard time accepting that as reasonable. I still think it will come down to Sylar and my theory gained a little support in this episode when Sylar showed that he may figure out how to acquire other people’s powers, but that doesn’t necessarily ensure that he knows how to control them right away.
- People pointed to the exchange between Sylar and Mohinder outside the hotel as evidence that Mohinder may have some sort of hero-tracking power that Sylar wants. I completely disagree; the scene was there solely to plant the seeds of doubt into Mohinder as to Sylar’s mental health.
- I honestly thought for most of the episode that Ando would be the one to die. They seemed to telegraph it from the exchange with the gaming commission guy saying, “You only end up with [a partner’s] blood on your hands.” I doubt we’ve seen the last of him (as someone on a forum said, he has the show’s key product placement in his possession, so he has to be back soon) but in any case I’m glad the side-trip for Hiro is over. It feels like they have been putting a few too many artificial obstacles in front of him lately and I’m anxious for him to get back on track.
- Speaking of back on track: Parkman’s merry gang of house-crashers was the kind of definitive plot advancement moment that makes this show 200 times better than Lost. In many ways I feel like the writers are using Parkman as an avatar for the audience: When he’s all confused about what the heck is happening, so are we. When he gets frustrated with his inability to make progress, we are too. Now he’s finally had enough and he’s going to get answers one way or the other and we can do nothing but cheer him on. And the pacing for this confrontation is masterful because we just came off of a good episode that followed two ho-hum hours fresh off a break that ended with a slew of developments. We’re ready for this scene now, and Parkman’s our guy.
- One thing about the exchange between Isaac and HRG that was actually featured in the previews but didn’t sit well with me: Isaac suggests that he’s been painting Peter all along but he’s invisible and HRG immediately calls out Claude. Wait, why would he automatically assume that someone he “thought was dead” was not? Isn’t that the absolute last conclusion you’d draw? My first instinct would be: Hey, there’s someone else out there who can turn invisible now. Occam’s Razor and all, you know? Instead HRG shows a super-power of his own: He seems to know as much as the writers do most of the time.
- I was very happy that right after they finally started getting somewhere with Niki/Jessica/Micah/DL they gave the storyline a break. I think this might be the first time that plot thread has missed an episode, too. It worked because now I know what is going on with some of the other characters and I’m—gasp!—sort of curious as to what happens next with Niki/Jessica. Well played.
- Simone’s death was handled perfectly. I didn’t exactly see it coming but it wasn’t like some major story-rending kick in the pants. Which is actually good because as much of an advocate of disposable main characters as I am, it’s too early to knock any of the heroes off just yet. But killing someone who has as much influence on two of the main characters, and in that particular manner, introduces a fantastic dynamic to an already impressively dramatic situation. More kudos.
- Claire’s confrontation with HRG was equally stunning. Good acting by Hayden Panettiere showing how frustrated she’s gotten that even though she suspects she may not be able to stop the memory loss this time, she has to at least try to make Bennett see reason. And they did a good job of making her sound like an actual teenager who has a legitimate beef with a parent. Usually when kids are shown in TV and movies confronting their parents they come across as more mature than the parent, but here she maintained the child role in the relationship while still making her points crystal clear.
- I like Hana/Wireless. Interesting power and something that hasn’t been done to death in comic books. Her vendetta against HRG is only explained in the online graphic novels which is a shame because it seems a bit arbitrary that she would show up and know all this stuff without the backstory. Still, let’s hope they keep her around for a bit since there aren’t that many non-dude heroes in the show (especially since we still can’t be sure what to expect from Niki/Jessica at this point).
- One note to NBC: Work on the marketing of the show a little. The insane level of hyperbole and the apparent need to constantly have some sort of catchphrase is going to get old really, really quick. As in, it was old about halfway through the “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” campaign. The show is good, you can just advertise it normally and people are going to watch.