Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Heroes Retrospective

To pass the time until April 23 (scrunching up my face really hard didn't work), I'll be re-watching "Heroes" from the top every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and making some observations along the way. Today: Genesis. Since this was the pilot, I'm going to be a little more forgiving of inconsistencies.

1. Okay, the very first scene sets up a plot hole that hasn't been resolved yet: how did Peter acquire his prophetic dreams? They're obviously not an extension of his natural ability - so far, every Hero has had just one power, even if they can use that power to achieve multiple effects (ie: Hiro, the Haitian). But as we learn here (and will see again in episode 10), Peter was having these dreams long before he could have copied them from Isaac, Charles Deveaux, or anyone else we've seen on-screen. My guess is he picked it up from his father, but there's no real evidence to support that.

2. Mohinder's accent was much thicker in this episode - Sendhil Ramamurthy was clearly making an effort to sound Indian, but that's pretty much gone now. Too stereotypical?

3. The first appearance of Mr. Bennet shows how Tim Kring and company approached the issue of generic expectations - given the context of his two scenes here, one might be forgiven for dismissing Mr. Bennet as yet another "shadowy malefactor" in the vein of the Cigarette-Smoking Man, Malcolm Janus and so on. And those expectations were subverted: he's only a pawn, and not an evil pawn at that, and he had nothing to do with Chandra Suresh's murder - had no desire to see the Professor dead at all, in fact.

4. While "Heroes" may suffer the occasional glitch, Niki's first scene serves as an excellent example of how well-coordinated and well-planned this series is. In hindsight, I realize that this scene actually introduces us to Jessica, not Niki. Jessica's the one doing the stripping - it's only after she walks past the mirror that Niki emerges. It's a very subtle moment, because you have no reason to suspect anything's wrong; Ali Larter plays the personality shift as befits a woman who just ran a stint of online porn and now must take her young son to school. In fact, if you review this episode knowing about the Niki/Jessica schism, it becomes a lot more complex in terms of who's doing what: which of them, for example, threatened Micah's principal? Which of them loaned money from Linderman?

5. Claire's growth as a character is astonishing; power-related angst aside, she's pretty much the typical self-absorbed cheerleader here, who thinks talking to an outcast in front of people is an appropriate reward for loyalty. I do wish, though, that we could've learned more about how she ended up confiding in Zach to begin with; it doesn't seem like something she'd think up on her own.

6. "Yoguruto?" Hee. :)

7. And here's another unanswered question: did Nathan know he could fly before he saved Peter at the end of the episode? If he didn't, the discovery doesn't seem to freak him out much; if he did, he would've reacted more strongly to Peter's claim that he could fly. Of course, there's a measure of artifice here because the interaction between Nathan and Peter was part of the reversal Kring used to mislead the audience - we expect Peter (the dreamer) to be right and Nathan (the skeptic) to be wrong, and that's not exactly what happens. But it serves as a very effective climax to the episode.