Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Heroes: Monica see, Monica do

Spoilers for "Heroes" episode four coming up just as soon as I call the cable guy...

Glory be: an episode where things actually happened! Maybe not a lot of things, and maybe not the most exciting things, but the last few episodes have so lowered the bar that I'll take any episode where the stories aren't all running in place like manna from heaven.

It helped, of course, that of our three most foot-dragging stories, two (Peter and the Lucky Charms gang, Hiro playing Cyrano in feudal Japan) didn't appear at all while the other (Maya and Alejandro's road trip to nowhere) was livened up considerably by its intersection with our favorite brain-eating monster.

(Unless I'm misremembering, by the way, Hiro's absence would make this the first episode of the series not to feature Masi Oka, which would leave Hayden Panettiere and Jack Coleman as the only regulars to be in every episode, even briefly. Right?)

While West still creeps me out, I think (or hope) that he's supposed to, and I have to say that the show's digital FX team is doing a bang-up job with all the flying scenes, both last week and this one. If they don't always look seamless, they're usually close enough and really capture the wonder of flight in a way that we rarely got last year with Nathan's all too brief and infrequent trips into the sky. And if I don't like West, I like that he allows Claire to talk about and question her powers in a way that a real person might under these circumstances, where usually this show's characters are too busy talking about the plot (often in lieu of the plot moving forward) to actually stop and note, "Hey, I can do all this stuff; what does that mean?" I don't want too much navel-gazing, but it feels right that somebody's doing it on occasion.

Meanwhile, lots going on in the New York portion of our story, with Parkman and a freshly-shaved Nathan (who keeps seeing those odd glimpses of his own radiation-scarred reflection) joining forces and Parkman's dad appearing to be this year's Big Bad. (My money, though, is on the woman next to him in the photo -- who unless I miss my guess, was Joanna Cassidy -- being the real danger.) That revelation put some real tension into the My Two Dads arrangement with Mohinder and Molly, and the sequence with Molly looking for Parkman's dad and going comatose was a much better cliffhanger than the last few have been. When season one was arranging all the pieces at a leisurely pace at this time last year, the writers at least managed to keep things interesting with those cliffhangers; maybe if the last two episodes had ended on more surprising notes, we wouldn't all be quite as disenchanted.

(Nah; it's still the first season finale that has everybody's expectations lowered. Never mind.)

Maya and Alejandro continue to be duds, but placing them with Sylar has some potential. I assume sooner or later that he's going to eat one of their brains, and my guess is Alejandro, which would in turn force Maya to follow him around on his evil errands, since he'd be the only antidote to her black oil powers.

I'm far more into our newest newcomer, Micha's cousin Monica, though that may only be because she appears to have the same "photographic reflexes" powers of the Taskmaster, one of my favorite Marvel Comics villains. (Though his costume, pictured above, is kinda goofy, the idea of a guy who can mimic any fighting move by Captain America or Iron Fist or Daredevil really appealed to nine-year-old Alan.) Most of her dialogue thus far seems to be either in the Emo Peter mode (she feels like she's meant for bigger things than a McJob) or about Katrina (in a way that allows "Heroes" to stick it to flailing timeslot rival "K-Ville"), but her power is one that can be shown in interesting but inexpensive ways, meaning she can probably show off more regularly than, say, Nathan or Hiro.

So, mediocre episode, but better than the last couple. I hope this all starts going somewhere, soon -- or, failing that, that we get another "Company Man"-style spotlight episode. Who's in for an all-Tobolowsky hour? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

This episode was, I thought, lousy. The question: What was lamer, the dialogue between Claire and her new boyfriend, or that of the new NOLA hero? Sure, "Heroes" has its share of writing cliches but it seemed that there were far more in this episode's dialogue than in any previous episode.

Oh, and HRG worked for a serious and secret corporation for years and years and years and can't figure out when his daughter is plainly lying to him about something that is critically important to him (and her)? Give me a break.

Really, this episode also drove home how the show yanks the carpet out from under you when you believe it is going to take risks. Sylar and Nathan should be dead as per the season finale earlier this year, but we still find them lurking about, and their presence was less interesting than it was a reminder that Kring sets us all up for something big and then fails to deliver.

Anonymous said...

>>Unless I'm misremembering, by the way, Hiro's absence would make this the first episode of the series not to feature Masi Oka, which would leave Hayden Panettiere and Jack Coleman as the only regulars to be in every episode, even briefly. Right?

Masi Oka wasn't in "Company Man," and I'm almost 100% sure Jack Coleman wasn't in one episode towards the beginning of Season 1. I think Panettiere is the only one.

Sean said...

Alan, that's not his radiation-burned reflection -- it's a vision of radiation-burned Peter.

Agreed that this is the best hour this season, although that's a low compliment. (Any show that reboots the way this did -- Matt and Nathan essentially jettisoning their families, everyone splitting for the four corners, and oh yeah there are eight lost Isaac paintings even though two other heroes have the same prophetic-art ability -- strikes me as idea-starved. Matt living with unfaithful wife/bastard child while trying to raise/protect Molly is more interesting than, as you put it, this My Two Dads scenario.)

That said, if the only thing of merit that this season accomplishes is B-grade Greek tragedy -- Noah, trying to avert death by getting his daughter to swear not to date, which she agrees to so that he agrees to her ruse that will allow her to date, and to date someone that Noah has wronged -- then that won't be bad, if they pull it off. But I've very on the cusp with this show, and it won't take more than a bad use of Kristen Bell to free up my Monday nights.

For the moment (because I'm sure this belief will be dispelled next week) I like to believe that Monica's power is that she can do anything that she sees ... on TV. It would be a fun little fillip on a TV show about superheroes.

Taleena said...

The only reason I am tolerating West right now is the expectation that they are setting up a good couple of episodes about Noah and Claire. For all that you like Noah he is still shady and badass and I think that Kring needs to punch that up a bit more.

Noah went along happily doing the Company work for years and has a very much "rules for thee but not for me" attitude. I want to see that come back and bite him.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

It's definitely Joanna Cassidy in the photo -- we paused the recording to settle it.

I'm not as optimistic as Alan that West is supposed to be creepy. I fear he's that special brand of awful TV character, the creepy jerk whose writers don't realize he's a creepy jerk.

Homertojeebus said...

Horrrrribly expository dialogue,and I feel like the writers are stumbling around in the dark looking for a story. I like the characters in this show a lot, they need to be careful with the story.
Claire's BF is super annoying, maybe that's another of his powers.

Lindy said...

I like the idea of letting Claire have a superpowered boyfriend, but the way they've written West has been really clunky so far. He sounds more like a self-help book than a real live teenage boy. I hope you're right, Alan, and that we're supposed to be a bit suspicious of him.

Here's hoping that Sylar eats both twins' brains. Weepy, helpless Maya is starting to bore me, and her brother is pointless without her.

Parkman's dad is a bad guy? Interesting ... very interesting. So far I'm digging the Elder Heroes storyline. Do we know where and why Molly has encountered the Nightmare Man before? Did the Company ask her to look for him, or has he come into direct contact with her?

I can't wait for Kristin Bell's appearence next week!

Sean said...

I will agree with anon about the writing itself -- the first exchange that struck me with its emptiness was Noah and wife -- "Why do you think she's dating?" "Why do you think she's not?" -- which is clearly just there to deliver a beat and close that conversation so that Claire can arrive and begin the three-person conversation. A lot of hot air. (The Katrina montage was even more bloviated.)

But for a plot machine like Heroes, the turn of events at the end -- Matt's dad is the Nightmare Man that's been tormenting his adoptive daughter, and then she's trapped in her mind and only he can hear/save her -- redeems a lot.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, that's not his radiation-burned reflection -- it's a vision of radiation-burned Peter.

I thought that the last time, but we got a much better look this time, and that sure looked more like Adrian Pasdar's nose and hair than Ventimiglia's.

BF said...

"Half the county is still living in FEMA trailers".

Really? I'm sure most of you glossed over that. But for those from the Pelican State, that kind of error is on par with 2+2=5. I'm fully expecting next week to feature Micah & Monica walking down the street and see the San Gabriel mountains appear in the background.

Andrew said...

This show needs less monologuing about serious problems and big changes and making those things happen.

I'm close to giving up -- especially if November sweeps don't give us some episodes where actual character-developing plots actually occur. The revelation about Parkman's father could be a lead towards that, or just another interesting cliffhanger that fails to be interesting.

What is it about the writing on this show that makes it watchable, but just barely?

Mac said...

Masi Oka didn't appear in "Company Man", but Hiro did, as a child in a flashback.

Anonymous said...

The Katrina and FEMA references were clunky. "Hey," says a writer, "let's totally tie this character into Katrina" without doing any research on the current state of affairs in NOLA. It's pretty sad when K-Ville's research staff is better than yours.

And where the heck is the appropriate "you've got me, who's got you?" reference? I mean, how can they be writing the show this badly and not at least throw that in?

Bobman said...

I'm wondering if New Orleans girl actually has a similar power to Hiro's Diner Girlfriend from last season - really fast learning - or something different altogether. I always liked the idea of a hero who would just "pick things up" really well, so it's good to see them possibly revisit it.

On a broader note, I understand the mild disenchantment some of you have, but really, is our attention span that bad that 2 or 3 bad episodes of a series taht gave us a fantastic rookie season is enough to say "I'm done with this show"? They can't all be home runs, I think the show pretty consistently delivers entertainment, maybe we need to all lighten up a bit and just try and enjoy it rather than picking it apart (that's Alan's job) :)

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm wondering if New Orleans girl actually has a similar power to Hiro's Diner Girlfriend from last season - really fast learning - or something different altogether. I always liked the idea of a hero who would just "pick things up" really well, so it's good to see them possibly revisit it.

Again, the way it played out seemed an awful lot like the way the Taskmaster's powers work: he watches someone perform a physical action and can immediately (and perpetually) duplicate it. Given the presence of Jeph Loeb and some other comic book people on the staff -- and the show's willingness to "borrow" from books like Watchmen and Days of Futures Past before -- I'm going to assume that's what they're doing here until it's demonstrated otherwise.

is our attention span that bad that 2 or 3 bad episodes of a series taht gave us a fantastic rookie season is enough to say "I'm done with this show"?

I don't know that many people would call the first season "fantastic," even if you take out the universally-panned finale. At various points there were complaints about useless/annoying characters (Simone, Nikki, Isaac, Mohinder), storylines that took forever to get anywhere (Parkman), stories that were just clumsily-designed filler (Hiro losing his powers and getting mixed up with the tall blonde con woman), etc.

Really, it was only the final third to half of the season that the show clicked, with the characters crossing paths and episodes like "Company Man" and "Five Years Later," and even there it all went to pot at the end.

A lot of the love of the first season was born from anticipation, from the assumption that this was all going somewhere great. Since the destination stunk, now we have to focus on the journey, and the journey's been pretty lame thus far.

Susan said...

The promise of Joanna Cassidy is enough to keep me going. I'm also really interested in the Parkman/dad storyline. And I'm eagerly anticipating the upcoming episode that will show what happened in the four months between the end of season 1 and start of season 2. I'm interested in seeing what happened to Peter to get him in that cargo container. So I'm still hanging in there, although I think "My Two Dads" is pretty ridiculous, Maya and Alejandro bore me, and West is just annoying.

Kristin said...

It looks more like Nathan is the nuclear holocaust victim. I am wondering if the nuclear explosion didn't shake things up, as far as perhaps giving Nathan other powers...? Something similar to Nikki or even something where he can create a fake self to the real world, but really be horridly scarred and damaged.

I really think the boyfriend is bad and he is coming off as intentionally creepy. Why else would the painting depict her being distracted by the boyfriend while the dad lies dead on the floor?

I thought Sylar could no longer 'eat brains' and absorb powers. Isn't that what he tried to do with Candace to no avail? I think now he is going to be the Magneto of the show. Collecting people with powers for his own control and bad intentions.

This episode was better.

Kristen Bell, please come save the day! I can hardly wait!!!!

BF said...

What's also missing is a bad-ass supervillain. A de-powered Syler and flashes of Parkman's dad, Darth Hoodie and the Lucky Charms gang just aren't the same.

Eric R. said...

I agree 100% with Alan. Last year the journey was just good enough to keep our interest till the finale. This time, the journey seems very slow and clunky. I was dissappointed that Peter and Hiro weren't featured. They easily hold the slowest story lines. Putting them off for another week in favor of My Two Dads was dissapointing. If they payoff both storylines in at least a minor way next week, I will be happy.

I'm shocked only one person has mentioned the Kristin Bell preview. I guess the writers figured the tease of Bell would make up for the lackluster episode.

K said...

Am I missing something or can someone explain how Sylar was able to walk out of the middle of a rainforest in 3 days?

Also- does West's remind anyone of Owen Wilson facially?

Anonymous said...

I also thought it was Joanna Cassidy in the photo. But I laughed out loud when Nathan pointed to his dad and his face was turned away from the camera. It just makes me think the dad must not really be dead (and is probably the one behind the murders) but they haven't cast the actor yet. In either case, having a guy with his head turned to the side when everyone else is looking straight ahead was incredibly stupid.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Parkman's dad isn't the one with his head turned to the side. That guy is somewhere in the middle of the picture, and was uncommented on (though, of course, his was the first head that caught my attention). Parkman's dad is all the way to the right, next to Joanna Cassidy, looking right at the camera. A Hey It's That Guy! whose name I'm blanking on, but who doesn't seem the type capable of being the Big Bad.

jim treacher said...

Totally Taskmaster! I knew you'd know that. There was also a DC villain with a similar power, I think?

Marked improvement this week. And with Veronica Mars swooping in next week to save Peter from the Worst Subplot Ever... Yay!

Homertojeebus said...

West=Owen Wilson + Sam Shepherd

Anonymous said...

You're right, Alan. Parkman's dad was on the end facing the camera. But Nathan's dad was the one looking away. Nathan pointed directly at him and said "that's my father" and then pointed to the woman next to him and said "that's my mother."

DonBoy said...

The comic-book connection reminds me that one of the various Marvel comics characters who went by "Captain Marvel" was a black woman from New Orleans named Monica.

Anyway, West looks far too much like Claire's uncle Peter for my comfort. My guess is wacky casting, because otherwise, ick. Also Peter's probably too young.

Dereck said...

The Katrina and FEMA references were clunky. "Hey," says a writer, "let's totally tie this character into Katrina" without doing any research on the current state of affairs in NOLA. It's pretty sad when K-Ville's research staff is better than yours.

K-Ville actually shoots in New Orleans so you'd hope they'd be more accurate. At the very least they know that Louisiana has "parishes" not "counties". And don't get me started on those accents. (Can you tell where I'm from? LOL)

The comic-book connection reminds me that one of the various Marvel comics characters who went by "Captain Marvel" was a black woman from New Orleans named Monica.

I thought of Monica Rambeau too. She was leader of the Avengers for a while.

Cradock said...

I'm in no danger of bailing on this season. Yes, the XY-files twins are boring and annoying, and West's main benefit is as a sounding board for Claire. However, last season there were a lot of bread crumbs dropped in earlier episodes that paid off later, and I'm giving the show credit for doing that now.

But jeez, a hero whose superpower is that she's really, really good at watching TV? Doesn't that seem like a Tracy Morgan sketch from 30 Rock?

Number Five said...

I think part of the problem is that the writers use Isaac's paintings to create an end point, which makes us anticipate what's going to happen. This worked very well for most of season 1, but ultimately they boxed themselves into a corner with the nuclear explosion. I think they're in for more of the same with HRG and Claire. If the painting doesn't come true, then he wasn't in much danger in the first place. If it does come true, then they've committed themselves to killing off a popular character. Do they have the guts to follow through with that, especially after everyone except poor DL made it through the first season finale alive?

jim treacher said...

"But jeez, a hero whose superpower is that she's really, really good at watching TV?"

Not just TV, but anything. If she sees somebody doing something, she can do it. Goes to a gymnastics meet, she's a gymnast. Goes to the ballet, she can ballet dance. Etc. At least if she's like the Taskmaster guy Alan talked about.

The more I think about it, the more Heroes seems like baseball: Long stretches of tedium occasionally punctuated by spectacular "wow, cool!" moments. Like when Taskmaster Girl totally kicked that guy's ass, it made up for the awful Katrina stuff. That and her top. I really like what she does to that top.

Oh, and nobody else has mentioned Parkman and Nathan teaming up. The moment where Parkman "outed" himself, this show does that kind of thing really well. I also thought the Hollywood sign scene worked. "Wow, cool!"

Tim said...

Three pet peeves of mine concerning this show about this show:

Sylar

Nissan product placement

The boring Oily Eye Twins


I've been able to deal with all three of these so far this season but last night they put them all together. The scene where the Nissan pulls up and you see Sylan's face with the Nissan logo above... too much for me. Not sure if I ever want to watch the show again.

dez said...

I don't know that many people would call the first season "fantastic," even if you take out the universally-panned finale.

I thought it was pretty great (season and finale). I also don't recall everyone hating the finale, at least, not on your blog. Maybe all you TV critics have a hivemind, but the viewers don't :-)

dez said...

Oops, forgot to add: 1) That was totally scarred-up Nathan in the mirror; 2) I think West is a bad guy and I'm not sure whether it's West or Claire who shoots HRG (the picture makes me think one of them will do it, most likely Claire to get maximum cliché...er, emotional impact); and, 3) I really liked last night's episode, though I missed the hell out of Hiro and Ando. Didn't miss Peter one bit and oh, yeah, I like My Two Super-Dads, especially when they bitch at each other over Molly.

Stef said...

And where the heck is the appropriate "you've got me, who's got you?" reference? I mean, how can they be writing the show this badly and not at least throw that in?

Anon, I couldn't stop myself from saying the lines aloud... I agree, they should have just had the kids say it, too.

dez said...

Why is the Taskmaster wearing his tighty whities on the outside?

Anonymous said...

Clunky, clunky. I sure hope that this season really isn't building to killing off the best character on this show.

Are we supposed to be cheering on Sylar eating the twins' brains?

I feel like if you put Sylar with them or last season's Nikki, the audience can't help but root for the bad guy.

Also, what's the deal? Did that other guy he killed have powers as well?

jim treacher said...

"Did that other guy he killed have powers as well?"

No, he just got in Sylar's way.

Anonymous said...

I think they're in for more of the same with HRG and Claire. If the painting doesn't come true, then he wasn't in much danger in the first place. If it does come true, then they've committed themselves to killing off a popular character. Do they have the guts to follow through with that, especially after everyone except poor DL made it through the first season finale alive?

This nails the problem with the show. They set up these awful endpoints which we are supposed to fear (and which are apparently fated), but they chicken out at the end. If the writers had any guts, if they had any boldness, Nathan and Peter would be dead, as would Sylar. As it stands, the only hero not to survive the finale was D.L., who nobody liked anyway.

Of course they are not going to kill HRG. They would never do that. They don't have it in them. It's going to turn out that Claire betrays her dad, but has second thoughts when she realizes that West is bad, and then Claire and HRG "set up" West or make everyone believe that HRG is dead. Thus, the picture comes true, but not in the way we now believe. What a cop out. (At least that is consistent with Isaac's powers, though, as the season finale last year illustrated that the paintings only come true when the writers find it convenient.).

jim treacher said...

I didn't have the "WHY DIDN'T NEW YORK BLOW UP LIKE THEY PROMISED???" problem some people had, because once the characters saw Isaac's paintings of the future, it was already starting to change that future. But I agree that it blunts the impact of seeing HRG lying there with a bullet hole through his glasses. Especially considering we've seen what would have happened to HRG if Peter had nuked NY. He'd have lived another 5 years.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind that NYC didn't blow up. What I do mind is the laziness of the writers in not keeping their prophecies consistent. Either Isaac's paintings saw the future or they didn't. Either the future or our fates are immutable or they aren't. Pick a theory, and stick with it. But don't alternate between the two.

Quite frankly, I'm a little disappointed that we're still dealing with Isaac's paintings in Season 2. It seems like a retread.

Niffer said...

Did anyone wonder about Nathan, Ma Petrelli, and mirrors?

When they showed last week's scene where Mrs. Petrelli is attacked in the interrogation room, I noticed the one-way mirror shattering and bits of reflections in it. I thought of it again when Nathan saw himself in the mirror and smashed it. Since we didn't see anyone physically attacking Mrs. Petrelli, I began to wonder if the Big Bad is somehow able to create tormenting images in the minds of his victims as long as a mirror is around.

However, that is a completely different MO than shoving Hiro's dad off the top of a building. So maybe there are two assailants?

Or maybe I'm doing what I did w/ Phantom Menace.. Filling in holes to make it better ;)

Anonymous said...

If this show gets any worse, I'm going to think Tim Kring and Tim Minear are the same guy.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why is the Taskmaster wearing his tighty whities on the outside?

For the same reason Superman wears his tighty reddies on the outside. :)

Seriously, it's a leftover convention from the '30s and '40s, when superhero costumes were largely modeled on circus acrobat outfits, which often had a different colored section over the crotch for whatever reason.

It wasn't until sometime in the '90s when it occurred to artists that the circus paradigm wasn't something anyone was familiar with anymore, and you rarely see that design element on new costumes. Sort of like how Doug Henning realized that magicians traditionally wore tuxedos only because their audience did as well, and that by the '70s he was free to do his act without the penguin suit.

Anonymous said...

One thing that the lame Nissan product placement did get me thinking about was if the Rogue that Sylar's now driving is Claire's. Remember how the guy said he "picked it up" in California? Perhaps some Claire memorabilia in there will lead to another cheerleader vs brain-eater moment.

dez said...

Sort of like how Doug Henning realized that magicians traditionally wore tuxedos only because their audience did as well, and that by the '70s he was free to do his act without the penguin suit.

I always thought he was just a spangly hippy :-)

dez said...

BTW, I liked D.L. What is it about "Heroes" that brings out the generalizations about audience reactions to specific characters and incidents?

Oh, and niffer, I like the mirror angle. There's an old horror flick--one of the various "Boogeyman" movies--where the evil character appears in mirrors. Sort of like the Bloody Mary legend--maybe that's who's stalking Molly (I agree that it's got to be the Joanna Cassidy character who's the big bad because otherwise, why throw her in the picture?)!

Too bad it's not Candyman, but Tony Todd is busy on "Chuck" :-D

jim treacher said...

"Either the future or our fates are immutable or they aren't. Pick a theory, and stick with it. But don't alternate between the two."

When has the show ever said our fates are immutable?

Dark Tyler said...

Again?

Okay. The writers in season 1 went out of their way to show that every single painting eventually came true, and then the last one, the big one, just didn't. So, since nothing special happened to alter the nature of Destiny in the greater universe, are we to assume that this was merely a coincidence? Lazy, but then again this show sets the bar for laziness.

And again: okay. Even after a string of silly coincidences, it's eventually proven that Isaac's paintings aren't accurate. So, why is everyone acting like a lunatic again? What's the big deal? Oh, right, Isaac's paintings "usually" come true. So, HRG has a high probability of dying in a few months (which would be moronic) or again an Isaac painting failing to deliver when it most counts.

God, I love this show.

jim treacher said...

"Again?"

Still.

"The writers in season 1 went out of their way to show that every single painting eventually came true, and then the last one, the big one, just didn't."

They only came true because nobody was able to stop it. That doesn't mean they were DESTINED to fail. They just failed. Or what we saw in the paintings wasn't what we thought we were seeing. Or, in Isaac's own case, he realized how much he annoyed all of us anyway.

That said, the use of the paintings this season truly does suck.

Dark Tyler said...

Yes, see, I wasn't destined to get heads in 300 coin tosses in a row. I just did! Or what you saw on that coin wasn't what you thought you were seeing.

Stef said...

Ha! I worked with Tony Todd about 8 years ago, and I once saw him right outside of a parking garage. Scary, even knowing that it was the actor himself and not the character!

Anonymous said...

The answer can't be that the paintings only come true when the writers want them to, which is what Treacher seems to suggest. Either they do or they don't. The future is unwritten or it isn't. The characters can change the paintings or they can't. And if the future is unwritten as the paintings suggest, then so too is the past, and Hiro can go back in time and reset everything (which is a cop-out I'm sure the writers will try if they paint themselves into a corner, too, particularly when he learns of Takei's death). But I just can't believe it's consistent that the future is fated unless the protagonists don't want it to be.

jim treacher said...

"Yes, see, I wasn't destined to get heads in 300 coin tosses in a row. I just did!"

If they'd gone 300 episodes without anybody changing anything in the paintings, I'd agree. Maybe sometimes it SEEMED like 300 episodes...

"The answer can't be that the paintings only come true when the writers want them to, which is what Treacher seems to suggest. Either they do or they don't. The future is unwritten or it isn't. The characters can change the paintings or they can't."

They can. They always could. Otherwise, why would they bother to try? That was what drove the whole first season.

jim treacher said...

"The answer can't be that the paintings only come true when the writers want them to, which is what Treacher seems to suggest."

I had to think about this one some more. That's not what I'm suggesting. That's like saying a baseball team only wins a game when the players want to. They WANT to win, whether they end up winning or not. The first season, Hiro and Peter and the rest were like the scrappy underdogs. They kept trying, even when they failed.

Anonymous said...

Treacher, I get what you are saying. Objectively, there's no point to the hero's struggle if NYC is inevitably going to be destroyed. Why fight fate, when fate is certain? The narrative becomes interesting, ideally, if the heros can change it. Now, certainly, the heros BELIEVED they could change the future, otherwise they wouldn't have tried. No argument from me there. But, as noted above, every painting except one literally came true EVEN when the characters knew about it and were trying to influence it. In fact, some of the paintings came true only because the heros knew of them and were trying to change things (i.e. the painting of Peter and Claire at the football stadium.). I think it's fine for the paintings to come true, but perhaps be of a different context than we initially anticipated (i.e. maybe HRG is faking his death and in collusion with Claire to fool West but we and the characters don't know it yet). Thus, the painting comes true, but not in the way we first anticipated. However, to consistently adopt that approach, and then to switch midstream and suggest that the paintings do not come true, dilutes that which came before (and, as someone else noted above, really takes all the drama out of the new HRG painting as now we know that it can simply be changed without consequence).

dez said...

Ha! I worked with Tony Todd about 8 years ago, and I once saw him right outside of a parking garage. Scary, even knowing that it was the actor himself and not the character!

Did he call you "Helen"? :-D

jim treacher said...

"But, as noted above, every painting except one literally came true EVEN when the characters knew about it and were trying to influence it."

So they're not allowed to fail? If Rocky never lost a fight, there'd have only been one movie.

Anonymous said...

You're missing the point. It's not about failing or succeeding. You're looking at it from the viewpoint of the characters. It's not about the path to the endpoint. It's about the endpoint itself. Either Isaac is a prophet or he isn't. Either the paintings always come true or they don't. The series never implied that the future was unwritten until the final episode. It was set up as one of those deals where you know how it must end and the drama is about how you get there. They implied he was, then, in the finale, he wasn't.

jim treacher said...

"Either Isaac is a prophet or he isn't. Either the paintings always come true or they don't."

They don't. They come true when nobody's able to stop them, and they don't come true when somebody is. Apparently this violates some sort of cosmic rule I don't know about. Go back to Tyler's coin-toss example. If you toss heads 10 times in a row, does that mean it can never be tails?

Anonymous said...

You are correct, Treacher, in that is how the writers justify the inconsistency. My point is that there is an inconsistency. I'm just not as willing to forgive them for it.

jim treacher said...

What inconsistency?

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