Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Heroes: Daddy's little indestructible girl

Spoilers for "Heroes" coming up just as soon as I get the name of Christopher Eccleston's wig-maker...

Well that was pretty darned good, wasn't it? An hour that took on the form of a "Lost" episode (single-focus A-story supplemented by the main character's flashback) and made everything "Lost" has done this year seem like the shiny con job that it is.

If there's a character worth spending an entire hour on in this show, it's HRG, both because we know so little about him and because Jack Coleman has done such a superb job playing him. Hard to believe he wasn't even a regular when this all started, that the producers thought there was more potential in Simone and Isaac and D.L. and a bunch of others, and by now he's the show's emotional core. It took me a second to realize what he meant when he told The Haitian to "take everything" that could lead Eric Roberts to Claire, but when it hit me (and Claire)... damn. I don't know what HRG's bosses are really about, but this was the single most heroic thing anyone's done on the show to date -- and, depending on how much Claire-memory got deleted, maybe so heroic that nobody's going to be able to match it for a long, long time. Will he even remember he has a daughter come next week?

Meanwhile, the writers gave us enough information on HRG and what he's doing to play fair with the audience and yet not rob too much of the guy's aura. There's a lot more I want to know, but I don't feel cheated by what they told me so far.

Really, my only complaint of the episode was the climax, which looked cool but by all rights should have ended with HRG, Parkman, Eric Roberts and maybe Claire's mom and brother winding up with a fatal rad dose. They spent far too much time building up the danger of Radioactive Ted if he ever lost control of his powers, and then presumably HRG's fine because he was ducked behind the kitchen island? Looked like there was a whole lotta radioactive nastiness in the house by that point.

A few other thoughts:
  • One thing I want to do is go back and re-watch George Takei's last appearance to see what, if anything, Hiro told his dad about his powers and destiny. If Mr. Sulu knows his boy is one of "them," would he pull an HRG, too, or would he want Hiro taken in for further study?
  • I like the idea of Parkman as HRG's new sidekick, if only because it would make him feel like a part of the show, which was a rarity for the first half of the season.
  • Speaking of going back to earlier episodes to make sure no one's been erasing my memory, wasn't Bluetooth Girl going to go with Matt and Ted for the raid on HRG's house?
  • I don't feel like HRG and Mrs. Bennet would have waited until Claire was 12 to tell her she was adopted, do you? Just seemed like that was the youngest the producers felt they could get away with still using Hayden in the flashback.
What did everybody else think?

41 comments:

Jaynee said...

What an AMAZING episode. I wanted to watch it again as soon as it was over.

This show is everthing Lost is not, as you said. I love how Heroes can totally give you whole chunks instead of mere crumbs and allow us to feel the story moving forward.

Anonymous said...

In this comic it shows where Wireless was instead of with Ted and Matt.

http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/novels/novel_021.shtml

It's like the deleted scenes you were talking about in your article, leaving somewhat important plot details for more hardcore fans to find.

Eric said...

I just need to geek out for a moment that we had The Doctor working for The Master.

Mark Woodvine said...

It's amazing what a good writer can do. I thought last night's episode brought the show to a whole new level. It was written by Bryan Fuller who created Dead Like Me and the tragically overlooked Wonderfalls. If you enjoyed this episode, do yourself a favor and pick up the complete Wonderfalls series DVD. It is one of the few cancelled shows that actually ties up the story, so it feels a bit like a BBC limited series.

Cheesesteak said...

I really thought Bluetooth girl was the one working at HRG's at the end of the episode ... was I wrong then?

Dan Coyle said...

That wasn't Hana Gitelman, though the actresses look similar.

Unsurprisingly, I loved, loved, LOVED this episode. Great acting from Coleman, great little revelations in the flashbacks, a genuinely tense finale.

Jennifer said...

What a phenomenal episode. And Alan, you're right on the money -- last night's "Heroes" fully delivered on answering a whole bunch of questions while leaving a ton more unaddressed. I can only hope the "Lost" writers are taking notes, especially after the spectacular waste of time that was last week's ep.

Eric: when you said "I just need to geek out for a moment that we had The Doctor working for The Master," which "Master" are you talking about? If you're making a Buffy reference, The Master was played by Mark Metcalf, who wasn't on last night's episode (unless I'm mistaken). The guy who recruited HRG was played by Eric Roberts.

Jennifer said...

...and then again, you could be talking about some other Master entirely. Heh.

Susan said...

IF Hiro's dad knows about Hiro's powers...

and IF Hiro's dad loves him the way HRG loves Claire...

Then I think his attempt to get Hiro to come back to Japan with him might have been to try to save Hiro. Think about it: pretty much everything we've seen so far has taken place in America, with the exception of Hiro's begining and Mohinder's time in India. But even Mohinder (and Chandra) had to come to America to do their work. Sylar is operating in the U.S. Primatech Paper is located in the U.S. NYC is the city that's supposed to blow up. Obviously Hiro would be safer - from a lot of things - if he were back home.

porter said...

Not 100% sure on this, but the way I recall Takei's other episode, Hiro kept talking about his "mission" and his need to get the sword, but never specifically mentioned what he could do. Mr. Nakamura seemed taken aback at the mention of the sword, though, so maybe he started connecting the dots?

Tobias said...

Jennifer -- I think this is what Eric's referring to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_%28Doctor_Who%29

Lyle said...

Matt, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who'll squeal at the sight of "Writen by Bryan Fuller"

Anonymous said...

Why can't Heroes fan's leave Lost alone? I am a huge Lost fan, who also loves Heroes, but comparisons between the two shows, at this point, are ubelievably unfair. Heroes is 17 episodes in, while Lost in 50. If Heroes still keeps up its current (and terrific) pace in 30 episodes then we can compare the two.

Lindy said...

Wow, that was awesome! Did other people know that George Takei was going to show up in this episode? Because I had no idea and I almost fell off the couch when he showed up as someone with major connections to "the Company." Very, very cool.

I really hope the Company keeps Parkman on as HRG's permament super-partner -- there's so much potential for that storyline and I'd love to see Parkman and HRG on Sylar's trail.

A question: when the Haitian said that he was obeying someone who has been involved in Claire's life longer than HRG, who was he talking about? Do we know, or is this one of our new mysteries?

alexsim said...

I liked the episode, but I'm getting a little frustrated that Parkman's mindreading power only seems to work when it's needed to advance the plot.

Zodin2008 said...

Pop Quiz...

Which NBC paper company would you rather work for? Primatech Paper or Dunder Mifflin? I am less likely to die at Dunder Mifflin but you sure get a lot to do at Primatech....

Niffer said...

That episode was AWESOME! Loved it! Answered questions, while creating more.

Loved HRG.... I so hope he didn't lose all his memories of Claire. Also, the fact that the "abudction" took place on the same bridge where Claude was (not) killed makes me wonder if the Claude execution was a fake as well, especially since HRG's gun fired at odd moments, like before he finished his sentences. It seemed as though he wasn't really the one causing it to fire, but he also wasn't surprised that it did when it did.

And, I agree, Alan, 12 is waaay too old to tell someone they're adopted. Then again, it's not like HRG and wife were working with a regular social worker who could give up-to-date professional advice. That to me seemed more of a plot device for the flashback. Or maybe HRG didn't want to tell Claire to keep her from looking for her birthparents and finding out the truth?

I'm still worried, tho, that HRG's boss is still going to think HRG was keeping Claire from the Company.

Sadly, it looks like Simone returns next week... *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anon above. Why so much Lost hate? It's all over the place. Granted, I read a lot of TWoP where it is to be expected. Most of what I see is that Lost should learn from Heroes. One could argue that Heroes may have already learned from Lost to create such a great episode with very successful flashbacks. I love both shows, and agree with many that Lost has been suffering lately. I hope that Heroes does not deteriorate, but who knows where it will be mid-third season?

This episode was amazing! Very curious to see how HRG will develop in the episodes to come...

Here's hoping that Simone in the preview was just a dream.

DonBoy said...

Am I supposed to believe that Eric Roberts (whose character name I don't think we know) buys the story that the Haitian (whose name we really should learn soon, plus of course why he pretends to be mute -- it's not like he's pretending to be deaf, which as least might be useful) hid Claire on his own, and that HRG had no idea? Because I don't know that he did, and I really don't see him trusting HRG to deliver Claire as ordered. He's supposed to be a suspicious kind of guy.

Extra neat moment: Little Hiro pushing his glasses up with his finger, just like Big Hiro.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Great episode. Easily the series' best so far.

But if my parents had told me I was adopted at 12, I would have been much more screwed up than I already am. Heroes' handling of Claire's adoption has always felt clumsy until last night (usually because it's an afterthought).

Anonymous said...

lindy-

Some people were tossing around the idea that The Haitian was taking orders from Future!Hiro! whose main job in the future is convincing people in present time to save Claire. So, Future!Hiro! went back in time to tell Peter to save the cheerleader, while at the same time he told the Haitian to save the cheerleader. Just an idea, but a fricken cool idea if its canon.

Kristin said...

This episode made me cry. That last scene was incredibly moving. HRG love--he was fabulous. Claire was so believable. I felt terribly for both of them...oh, so tragic!

Hurrah, "Heroes," Hurrah! Masterful ending!

Heather K said...

I really don't understand why there was not at least vomiting from the non-Claire's in the house with radioactive man. I guess they still have time to deal with it if they die in next episode, but somehow that seems unlikely.

I spent the end of the show being really bothered by the fact that no one was really being affected by the radiation.

J said...

Great Doctor/Master spot, Eric. I love how the show embraces its B-movieness by casting folks like Roberts.

I'd really like to see them lose Parkman. I suppose it's good the show never made him very bright -- it makes sense he'd fail the detective exam so many times -- but the man's a living, breathing Duh.

Good episode, at least until Ted started to go boom. Was it me, or was there a commercial break every three minutes? I guess time flies...

DonBoy said...

When Radioactive Man is trying to suppress his power, it manifests only as heat and light. So Claire got burned but nobody else got irradiated. Do I get a No-Prize now?

(I got an actual Marvel No-Prize once. They used to print envelopes that said "contains one No-Prize" and send those out. Sadly, this got lost in a subsequent move.)

Jennifer said...

Eric and Tobias -- my apologies. I've only seen Seasons 1 and 2 of the new Who, so Eric Roberts's presence in season 3 was a surprise. Thanks for the heads up.

Jennifer said...

Lost apologists: While the point about Lost having been on so much longer than Heroes is a good one, the thing is that Lost has never been forthcoming with the explanations, not nearly to the level that Heroes is. And now that we're three seasons in we're really no closer to understanding the big picture than we were when the series started. Think about all the intriguing mysteries established early on: Scary attacking smoke. Walt's abilities. Polar bears. The numbers. I mean, that's just the tip of the island, as it were, and there's only so long a fan can keep hanging on, hoping to have at least a teaspoon of resolution here and there.

For a show that developed a devout following from the very beginning, the writers (and marketing department) of Lost has done a masterful job of squandering a whole lot of their fans' goodwill. Hence, the frustration.

Heroes, in contrast, has done a great job so far of addressing certain key mysteries while keeping others unrevealed, all the while adding more compelling stuff to the mix.

Eric said...

Jennifer - Eric Roberts isn't going to be in Season 3 (as far as I know.) He played The Master in the (fairly awful) Fox Doctor Who movie from '96.

There are rumors that The Master will appear next season, but I doubt he'll be played by Eric Roberts.

Now if we can just get John Barrowman on Heros...

dez said...

What Jennifer said about Lost. I'm a huge fan of both Lost and Heroes, but Lost seems to be meandering more than usual, while Heroes is continues its forward movement. I'd love to see Lost get back on track.

Anyway, last night's episode of Heroes was so freakin' awesome that I can't even describe its awesomeness because it was too awesome for words. I can hardly wait to see the fallout from HRG's actions and find out who the Haitian is really working for (I like the conjecture that it's Future Hiro).

Lindy said...

I love the idea that Future Hiro is the Haitian's source of guidance, that seems consistent with Future Hiro's determination to save Claire and the Haitian saying it's important for her to remember. But I just had another thought -- what if it's Linderman? It doesn't make sense in quite the same way, but then again we don't know much about Linderman yet. Perhaps the Haitian and his real boss are not entirely benevolent ...

Zodin2008 said...

I still love "Lost" and love "Heroes" but I am definitely in the 'Heroes' camp on this one.

I appreciate how they've structured the show and there has been so much payoff (like last night) mixed with all the mystery.

"Lost" remains too much of an enigma for it's own good.

Bulldawg4life said...

I agree, Zod..."Heroes" has really passed "Lost" at this point.

Anonymous said...

Easily the best of the season in my opinion. Great combination of suspense and emotion, along with striking an excellent balance of revealing significant information and raising more questions. All the characters asked the questions they should be asking, and made the best plays they could in a tumultuous situation. Nice to be able to root for smart characters acting in understandable ways.

Also interesting to note that this episode focused on the strongest members of the regular heroes ensemble - Coleman, Paniterre (sp), Eccelston, and Grunberg (who's proven himself to me in other work if not in the boring subplots he's had here so far). Pasdar's the only strong actor missing from the mix this week, but should be a key player in the future with these actors.
-Lance

ant said...

I don't know if I think Hiro is the person the Haitian referred to, only because he doesn't seem to have been involved longer than HRG. Intriguing though, and I guess the time travel thing makes it a possibility.

Also, the HRG angle was haunting, mostly because I think at some point he'll end up hunting Claire down given he will no longer remember their relationship. Great episode.

J said...

I don't know if it's healthy to go comparing Season 3 of a stranded island show with Season 1 of a show that's still really finding itself...

But being one of those who doesn't give a whit about the answers on Lost, I've got to say that when it's on, it's so much more assured and... just better... than Heroes. The Desmond time travel ep>>>>anything that's happened on Heroes this season.

I think Lost's strengths lies in iconography and hinting that there's so much more going on than you will ever know. Heroes is doing a pretty good job barrelling ahead, finding its footing. But there's very little that's gotten me as giddy as Season One (or Two, or the Desmond ep this year) of Lost did.

Not to compare the two.

filmcricket said...

I agree that Bennet's become the show's emotional core and I'd even agree with "tragic" but I don't know about "heroic." I think a lot of people would sacrifice themselves for their kids. This episode showed that Bennet definitely has some qualms about being the company man, but it hasn't proven (to me, anyway) that he'd still have those qualms if he didn't love Claire.

That's not to denigrate Coleman's (and Panitierre's) awesome performances or the greatness of the episode in general, mind you. But I still think of all the heroes Hiro so far is the only one who's been acting for the common good from the beginning. Charlie's death gave him an extra incentive, but he was invested in this journey before he met her.

Donlee said...

Most powerful episode of the series by far, topping my previous favorite where Hiro tried to save Charlie.

I think more "Heroes" episodes should focus on more single stories like these because it allows viewers to get more emotionally involved.

Geri said...

This was definetly one of the best episodes of the 06/07 tv season, if not even one of the best episodes ever made for a series.

The pace was remarkable, the flashbacks were built in perfectly and it was focused on the most interesting character on this show.

I am a huge LOST fan as well but for some reason I don´t care for the revelation that one of the main character´s going to die, but I do care about a ´serial killer´s devoted love to his daughter (hence the tears).

Let´s see:
Bennet´s glasses = you thought it´s some kind of evil instrument whereas it´s chosen by little Claire and (always) made him remember she is HIS daughter...short but truly magnificent scene

Jack´s tattoos = you always thought it´s some kind of supernatural sign whereas it´s chosen by him and will always remember him of that Thai girl he used to nail...a long, long, long episode and horribly boring and trivial

Hopefully Heroes will not make the same mistakes LOST is doing three years in.

btw: Heroes doesn´t need the Micah-D.L.-Jessica storyline, get rid of it before it´s too late

Toby said...

The main rumor floating around now about The Master of 'Doctor Who' is that John Simm of 'Life on Mars' is up for the role.

Everybody's been calling the computer girl "Bluetooth Girl" here. Isn't her "hero name" already established by her screen name of "Wireless"?

Susan said...

I'm frustrated with "Lost" as well. But I want to point out that "Lost" HAS solved some of its mysteries/questions early on. It was just so early, before everything got so complicated, that most people forget that these were even questions in the first place.

For example, in the first episode I remember getting hooked when I learned that one of the survivors - we didn't know which one - was a prisoner traveling with the federal marshal. It was only one or two episodes later that we learned that the prisoner was Kate, which was totally shocking, since she had been cute-spunky-gal until then.

Also, we've learned why pretty much every character was in Australia and why they were on Flight 815.

It may not seem like much, but in the beginning, these were key mysteries of the show. It's just that since then, they've added so many questions and complicated storylines that we've forgotten how simply it started out.

Anonymous said...

Lost has become a parody of itself and needs to get over the fact that it's trying to string along the audience. Far too often I've read interviews, when asked hy Jack or Sawyer or anyone else just "didn't ask what was going on" - when they easily could - the writer said "that wouldn't be good TV, would it?" or words to that effect.

But I think the stringing along of audiences has been proven that it's NOT good TV.

Did anyone else notice that HRG got baby Claire on the same rooftop that Claude hangs out now with the pigeons. Does that mean that Simone - or her father - had something to do with the heroes back in the day?