Saturday, March 24, 2007

Heroes Retrospective Double-Shot: Hiros, Better Halves

The latter half of this week has been utter hell, so it's two episodes for the price of one today. :) "Passing Sentences" (hopefully) to follow tomorrow morning.


1. One of the glitches that has plagued "Heroes" from the start is inconsistencies between cliffhanger endings and the episode prologues the following week. Here, for example, Peter's first words to Future Hiro are very different from what he says at the end of "Collision". And in this case, it's a pretty significant difference, because here he makes the connection that a person might have stopped time whereas in the previous episode, he's more concerned about how time could have stopped in the first place.

2. Okay, let's talk about "Save The Cheerleader, Save The World". Part of the cliche with time travel is that any message from the future will be sufficiently garbled that you don't instantly know what's going to happen, even though it's in the future's best interest that swift and decisive action be taken. Here, though, there may actually be a reason for the enigmatic nature of Future Hiro's message... if we're willing to play a bit of future-reconstruction.

So assume, for the moment, that Peter never went back to Isaac. He doesn't find out about Claire, doesn't go to Texas to save her, and therefore Sylar kills her and steals her power, making him virtually unstoppable. No one but Isaac would know, and he'd be in no position to do anything about it. So it's very likely Future Hiro isn't being deliberately vague - they (meaning Hiro and whoever else survives in the future) never found out who the girl in the paintings was to begin with.

What's less clear (at this point, anyway) is how Claire factors into the greater problem of New York's destruction. But we'll have to look at that again after the season's over.

3. Another example of being a little too subtle - Peter's encounter with Future Hiro allows him to copy Hiro's chronokinesis, but we won't see any evidence of this for a good long while. In fact, this is something that hasn't been stressed enough: Peter's mimicking is unconscious. He doesn't necessarily know when he's doing it, or even when there's another superpowered person in the room.

4. Nathan's in excellent form this episode. First we have his little demonstration of power, which was just "Okay, he's tensing up, what's he gonna HOLY JESUS OH MY GOD AWESOME!!!" Extra points for shirtlessness. Then he meets Hiro in a collision of extremes - the latter has completely embraced his powers and his heroic "destiny", while the former is in denial and just wants to pretend everything's normal. It's hard to gauge whether Nathan's humoring Hiro or accepting the man's claims at face value (also a possibility, given his own experience). And finally, Pasdar pulls out this slimy, sleazy grin when he turns the tables on Linderman's henchwoman... wow. Very much a politician's smile.

5. Obligatory "Aww, Hiro's So Cute!" moment - the waffles. :)

6. It's unfortunate that the "Heroes" version of telepathy is a passive power, since it's really limited Matt's storyline; there's something not kosher about using his wife's thoughts to "fix" his marriage, but then again, he's only trying to make her happy. Now, if he'd been manipulating her thoughts, that'd be a whole different shade of grey. But Matt's function doesn't seem to extend beyond "hearing thoughts", and it's just not very kinetic as the axis of his storyline, especially when you consider this episode ends the way the last one did, with Matt passing out on a dirty floor.

7. Another bit you can only appreciate in hindsight: Peter's right when he says that Isaac's paintings are like panels in a comic book, telling a sequential narrative... but he's arranged them in the incorrect order. This will become clearer when the events actually take place.

8. This is the first time Peter consciously calls on someone else's power, and really, it says a lot about how completely this show hooked me that when I first saw his eyes go white, I was in pure geek-out mode.


Better Halves

1. Did I mention that I'm ignoring Mohinder's opening/closing monologues? Because I am. Yawn. Really.

2. This episode is almost completely Niki-centric, and introduces DL to the cast. Unfortunately, it's full of the same muddled writing: where's the terror Niki felt last episode when the police told her DL was in the vicinity? Is this tame, loving figure the person everyone except Micah was terrified of? If DL escaped from prison, as he said, that means there was a trial and conviction, but there was no money and no witnesses. How could he have lost? Why doesn't Niki remember anything Jessica does while Jessica is aware, at all times, of what's going on? Why does Jessica hate DL? Why is Jessica the only Hero to wear the Godsend mark on her shoulder? None of these questions are answered, and not because of delaying tactics - rather, it's pretty obvious Loeb and the other writers working on Niki just didn't consider those questions to begin with.

3. Only Claire and Hiro have subplots in this episode, but I don't have much to say about them. I suppose I could be charitable and say this is one instance where Niki does affect another protagonist: Jessica's actions form the first crack in Hiro's self-confidence, and that will come into play later with Charlie. But it's a little too indirect for my tastes.

4. Oh, and Eden works for Mr. Bennet. Big shock - I was half-expecting her to be Sylar. Here's something I never figured out: while on the phone with Eden, Mr. Bennet picks up a pair of cracked glasses. Whose are they? Chandra Suresh's?

5. I'm not clear on the significance of Sandra's revelation at the end of the episode, and what Claire might have learned from it. That her healing factor was active since she was a baby? That the people she just met couldn't have been her birth parents because... well, what? Thoughts, anyone?