Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I was blindsided

Over at TheTwoCents.com, I submitted a Heroes recap that praised the episode which is something that hasn't happened in a long while. I was ecstatic, happy with what I saw, and even called a couple of people and triumphantly proclaimed 'It's back!'. But I think that I've been duped.
You know how when you've been drinking, and someone seems really attractive and totally awesome, so you invite them home and you have what you think is the best time you've had in a while? And then the next day you wake up and you realize the person you thought was great was just smoke and mirrors to distract you and now all your money is gone and you're left wondering how you ever became so naive?

Yeah, that's how Heroes made me feel this week.

From this point on, there will be spoilers, so beware!

If you take the point of view of 'casual watcher' and take the show for what it is (a show about people with abilities) it was pretty awesome. We had family betrayal, betrayal of the heart and some interesting twists that connected the characters in ways that were previously unknown. But if you're like me, a watcher who tunes in to get some form of continuity and understanding, this episode did nothing but blow smoke in your eyes. Let's take it plot by plot and see exactly how far we've come.

The Petrelli family

We find out that the accident that paralyzed Heidi, Nathan's wife, was intended to kill Nathan because as ADA, he was investigating Linderman and intent on bringing him down. His previous crimes are unknown (at least to me; anyone know why Nathan is so hell-bent on this?) but we do know that if Linderman is brought down, all of Arthur's plans for world domination (?) will be discovered. Angela over hears Arthur telling Linderman that they'll have to try killing Nathan again, but he warps her mind and makes her believe that Nathan has to die. Good thing Linderman is secretly betraying Arthur though, because he heals Angela's brain so that her next logical step is to try and kill her husband so he can't kill her son.

The only thing this gives us is a reason for Arthur to mind-rape his wife and put her into her coma this season. It doesn't further the plot, it didn't give us anything new to work with. And I don't really feel like it told me anything that I needed to know. It was intense for sure, what with Angela pulling a knife on Arthur, and her little quip when she poisoned him: "It's not your mother's recipe." That's all though. Nothing groundbreaking happened.

Meredith and The Company

It turns out that Meredith's brother is Flint, the Level 5 baddie we've seen who can shoot blue flames. They were both caught by Thompson and Meredith was turned into an agent almost right off the bat. The gig didn't work out though, and she ended up breaking out her brother and hopping on the first train to Mexico with him. Of course, Thompson followed them and just happened to be on the train for who knows how long. It all led to a confrontation in which Meredith uses her power and starts a fire in the train car, resulting in the need for everyone to jump out of the moving train just as it explodes. It feels this entire story line, from Meredith getting caught robbing a convenience store to jumping out of the train was written for the last 2 minutes of screen time Meredith had: She explained to Thompson that she hated The Company because they got Claire killed when she was a baby. Of course Thompson knows the truth, and for reasons unknown, he lets her go. The penultimate moment though was the realization that the train accident Meredith caused was the same one Claire ran into back in the first episode of season one.
I was so excited initially when I watched the scene live because we caught a glimpse of young Claire running into the flames. But now that I've watched it again and thought about it, I'm mostly upset that we had to go through all of that long drawn out story line to get to that moment. A moment that seemed completely pointless and that I don't even see the meaning of. Can someone (anyone) explain the relevance of that scene to me?
Elle, Sylar, and Noah

Again, I was so excited by this story line that when it initially played out, I thought it was one of the best story lines this season. Now I'm mostly confused by it because it seems like there were a lot of glaring continuity issues, but it could just be me. We pick up just after Sylar has killed his first victim, the man he first stole a power from. He's suicidal and is just about to hang himself when in comes Elle. She claims to have a broken watch, but really she's partnered with Noah and their assignment is to get Sylar to kill as they witness it via streaming video. Throughout the process of baiting him, Elle starts to fall for him a little bit and he even feels like he's been given a second chance. He confides in her his power, and the fact that he gets so jealous of other people with abilities that he kills them to get what they have. With Elle around though, he thinks that maybe he doesn't have to be special. She gives him the Sesame Street lecture of 'everyone is special just the way they are' before luring in a young man named Trevor. He apparently has the ability of a sharp shooter, Sylar gets jealous and tries to kill him, then gets furious when Elle reveals that she too has an ability and she's been using him all along. Thus, the monster that is Sylar is born and instead of bagging and tagging, Noah tells Elle that their mission is to set him free. So they've let this monster out on the world and Noah doesn't even feel badly about it. That'll really come back to bite him in the rear, won't it?
After all of this; after Noah tells Elle that he has to follow orders (that come from Arthur?), he gets into a taxi cab heading to JFK Airport. And wouldn't you know, it's the same cab Mohinder was driving in season one. Which is where my biggest moment of confusion hit. Sylar was upset about killing a man with the ability he stole as we saw from his flashbacks. If Mohinder was driving his father's cab, that means that his father was already dead, because Mohinder only went to New York after his father was murdered. And I could have sworn that by that point, Sylar had already escalated into the monster we came to know in season 1. So, is there a continuity issue there, or do I have the timeline wrong in my head? Something is nagging at me, telling me that Sylar had probably killed more than 2 people by the time Mohinder was in New York.
Hiro, Ando, and African Isaac

Of course, we've seen all of these things that happened in the past via Hiro's spirit walk. Which was useless because the only reason it was even done was to set up African Isac's death. I'm all for killing needless characters, but how did Arthur Petrelli even know where Hiro was? Are we to assume that he used Molly Walker somehow to find him?

So, there it is. The shiny exterior has been buffed away, and this is the episode as I finally see it. It's not as great as I initially thought it was which is a little saddening. It seems as if the only thing we accomplished in the hour was the death of African Isaac and something adverse happening to Hiro, although we're not exactly sure yet if he's been killed or drained of his powers. I'd like to know what you thought. Am I dwelling too deeply on this?

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