Because this show appeals to my inner 14-year-old, I will let him write the opening of this blog entry. Take it away, 14-year-old Alan:
Dude! Doctor Who just threw whiny Peter off a building! Dude! Mr. Sulu's license plate is NCC-1701! Dude! HRG and The Haitian totally came in and saved his wife from Sylar! Dude! Did I mention the NCC-1701 plate! DUDE!
Sorry 'bout that, but the longer the season goes on, the more I realize that I have to watch "Heroes" on this level almost exclusively. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but deep analysis of interpersonal dynamics and literary themes feels wasted here. So let's look at some of the more interesting developments on a purely superficial level:
- Mr. Sulu travels back to Japan, presumably on impulse power. George Takei's not the most subtle actor around, but like his former captain, the man can do larger-than-life presence, and that's the sort of thing this show needs. The resolution of Hiro's crisis was obvious from the second Ando explained that the hot businesswoman was Hiro's sister, and I wouldn't have minded as much if Takei and Masi Oka had gotten more scenes together. Still, as Fienberg said when I lamented Takei's quick exit, this is a show where the producers like responding to the fanboys, so I doubt this is the last we've seen of him and his vanity license plate.
- Peter is more powerful than we could have possibly imagined. So he doesn't just mimic people's powers temporarily; he stores them for later use? Way cool. He and Sylar were already presented as flip sides of the same coin, both of them obsessed with the idea that they were destined for something greater than the life they lived, so it makes sense for Peter to have a kinder, gentler counterpart to Sylar's power-stealing schtick. I'm sure the producers have some limitations in mind so that the other characters become superfluous to the big showdown. The idea that he has to feel some kind of emotional connection to the person he's copying also fits nicely with Peter's emo sensibilities, and is another counterpoint to Sylar's cold-blooded theft of other people's powers and lives.
- Nathan is Claire's daddy. Another case of the promo department ruining what would have been a much cooler reveal. No other character on this show dresses as nattily as Nathan (even HRG doesn't favor cufflinks and designer shirts), so that shot of his arm in the ads meant it had to be him (my guess) or Linderman (which several people suggested last week). I know there had been some 'shipping for Peter and Claire, and this revelation nips that neatly in the bud. The revelation aside, I thought the scene where Claire and her bio-mom revealed their powers to each other was touching and even a little spine-tingling. I have to assume that HRG doesn't know Nathan's relation to Claire, or his interaction with him back in Vegas would have gone far differently. And speaking of HRG...
- Whose side is this guy on, anyway? "Heroes" is obviously an expensive show, and it seems one of the way the producers are staying on budget is by pulling a Rob Thomas and only using a small handful of characters in every episode. Unless I'm remembering badly, those would be Peter, Hiro (and Ando), Niki, Claire and HRG -- and Jack Coleman wasn't even a regular when the show began. It's a testament to his work that the writers can keep HRG's motivations so vague for so long without it getting frustrating. Both the good and bad things he's done lately have been motivated by self-interest and protecting his family --- even mind-wiping his wife and daughter could be viewed as trying to help them -- and the fact that he had some kind of falling-out with Claude the Invisible Man doesn't give anything away, since Claude himself isn't automatically on the side of the angels.
- Niki's not here, man. Ali Larter has really grown on me, and the way she shifts so clearly between Niki and Jessica with only minor changes of body language are in the spirit of Christopher Reeve toggling between Clark Kent and Superman. (I'm not saying she's as good as Reeve, but she's getting there, and much faster than I could have expected.) The jail stay feels like a waste of time, especially since the shrink didn't get to make any real headway in analyzing the split personality situation before she got herself bug-zapped. When Peter David started pushing the MPD angle hardcore in Incredible Hulk, he made sure the rules of Banner and Hulk's struggle for dominance were clearly-established, and I don't know that I have that handle on Niki and Jessica just yet. Obviously, Jessica comes out when Niki's in danger -- or when Jessica believes her to be -- but what changed in their relationship that's seemingly allowed Jessica to lock Niki away as long as she wants?