Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Heroes Retrospective: Nothing To Hide

1. This isn't one of the more engaging episodes, as it deals almost entirely with subplots that aren't going anywhere. The lead in the Sylar mystery fizzles, as does Matt's newly-found marital bliss; DL spends all his screen time spouting platitudes at Micah, whose view of the situation is shockingly simplistic (isn't he supposed to be a supergenius?); Niki and Tina have some more meaningless psychobabble, at the end of which Jessica emerges and chases Tina away (forever?). There's a lot of padding here.

2. It's unfortunate that Simone was killed off, not so much for her sake but because it always seemed like there was more to Charles Deveaux than we saw, and she was in the perfect position to investigate that. It would've given her something to do other than recite some awful dialogue about saving the world. But that road's pretty much closed now.

3. This is the first time we've seen the extended Petrelli family dynamic, and it's just as deliciously twisted as I'd expected. These people are constantly manipulating and betraying each other, each of them secure in the belief that they're doing the right thing. But Nathan... hoo boy. It occurs to me that at some fairly recent point, the writers suddenly realized Nathan was becoming really unlikeable, so suddenly everyone from his mother to Hiro (a perfect stranger, really) recognizes Nathan's enormous depth of feeling and caring just by looking at him. And... no. Disowning your brother because he might embarrass you in front of a reporter isn't the sort of thing that connotes emotion, at least not the kind you want an approved character expressing.

4. Hiro and Ando meet DL and Micah. It's not an especially interesting team-up, because it lacks a crucial element in these meetings: recognition. When Peter and Isaac met, it was with the explicit revelation that they were both "different". Here, the meeting is almost absurdly contrived (they all just happen to be on the same road out of Vegas), both Hiro and DL use their powers, and yet they all walk away none the wiser. In which case, what's the point?

5. Matt playing Ghost Whisperer for Ted and Karen is a perfect example of what's wrong with his character: his basic function is reading thoughts and repeating them aloud. But we as viewers are usually privy to those thoughts anyway, thanks to the magic of voiceover technology. So most of the time he's just reciting what we already know for the benefit of other characters. Telepathy, here, is interpreted as a thoroughly passive ability, and that comes into play in terms of how his subplot is handled: all this domestic melodrama with Janice that goes on and on stems in part from Matt having a passive power, and therefore needing to cope with situations in a way that allows for passivity. It's just not very interesting.

6. Micah is, I believe, the first child of two Heroes who exhibits abilities of his own. As we'll see later, he's not alone, but at the time it was a nice (if somewhat predictable) twist. I also love that he's shown as knowing a lot more than we might have given him credit for, but if that's the case, why was he being such a silly twit before, when he called his father a "bad guy" and insisted on saving his mother like he's the goddamned Batman?