Monday, November 12, 2007

Heroes: Easy, sparky

"Heroes" spoilers coming up just as soon as I ask Company Bob why his super jail has no surveillance system...

Somebody want to tell me how in any way this season was enhanced by holding this for episode eight? Other than the Adam Monroe/Takezo Kensei reveal, which could been worked around, and the cliffhanger at the end of the season premiere with shirtless, amnesiac Peter in a can where the iPods should have been (not that that was ever explained; not that I care, either), they could have aired this thing sequentially without damaging what was to follow.

If anything, making "Four Months Ago" the premiere might have made people feel more favorably disposed towards this season, since A)It provided answers instead of jerking people around, B)It did a better job of answering the "Why didn't Peter just fly away on his own?" question from the finale than the finale itself did, and C)It would have actually added some weight to the handful of Niki scenes we've had this year, where until now I just assumed D.L. had died from the Linderman gut shot wound.

Oh, wait, I thought of one reason Kring might have wanted to hold this one for so long: becase if we knew from the start why Peter was in Cork with no shirt and no memory, that storyline would have been even more blatantly pointless than it was when we joined it in media res.

I don't want to be too hard on "Four Months Ago," as there were some good moments in it: Elle's confession to Peter gave Kristen Bell a chance to do more than the sexy pout; corny as the D.L. firefighter story was, it gave a very marginalized character a moment in the sun before an ignoble death; and naive as Peter is (I hear he and Mohinder once had a race to see who could check first to see if his picture was in the dictionary under "gullible"), David Anders at least made Adam Monroe a plausibly charismatic Svengali.

But I still think it would have played much better eight weeks ago than now. As an added bonus, if we had begun the season with Maya and Alejandro's origin story, we might have been spared week upon week of endless variations of the "Don't make Maya angry / You won't like her when she's angry / Unless her brother's around" song. Coming this late into the season, the origin scenes felt beyond redundant.

If it wasn't for Kring's point-by-point mea culpa for every one of this season's faults, I'd be feeling a lot harsher towards this episode and this season. But I'll try to think positive and hope that, while Kring's walking the picket, he's thinking up a much better idea for Volume 3, whenever it might actually get made.

What did everybody else think?

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

All I could think whenever Nathan was onscreen was Will Ferrell pleading "Someone help me. I'm still alive only I'm very badly burned."

Alex said...

Hee! I like the Mustafa reference!

I agree that holding this episode back sort of damaged its overall affect on the rest of the season. It was not as awesome as I'd been hoping for, but it did answer a lot of my questions. I thought D.L. died from Linderman, too!

filmcricket said...

just as soon as I ask Company Bob why his super jail has no surveillance system

Thank you! Wasn't there some kind of system like that last year, when Bennett had to think instructions at Parkman? Or was it just that they weren't being kept in adjoining cells, so they couldn't chat undetected?

Speaking of which, I swear when I heard the English accent coming out of the cell next to Peter's I thought "Yay! It's Claude!" And then realized how dumb that was.

Much better use of Kristen Bell this week, although a tough-as-nails hottie who's been kept under wraps by an over-protective older male still isn't that big a leap from Veronica Mars.

Also, while last year's most interesting character was Bennett, my vote this year goes to Ma Petrelli. I'm torn between wanting to know more about her and being afraid that knowing more would rub the bloom off.

joshjs said...

This was the best episode of the season so far, and I was hoping for more from this post than more about how the season is a let-down.

Heidi said...

Glad someone else is calling her sparky.
And is NBC the first network to start pointing out that they only have so many new episodes left? (and using that to get you to watch?)

bill p said...

Anybody know who was doing that version of The Monochrome Set's "He's Frank" that's playing in the club scene?

Devin McCullen said...

Yeah, there were some fun parts, but it wasn't that great. It is enjoyable watching Kristen Bell play the bad girl at full throttle, though.

The one thing that had me kind of wondering about things was that D.L.'s behavoir just seemed a little off before he got shot, plus the fact that the guy who can phase let himself get shot (again!) I wonder if that was some kind of weird Company setup, and D.L.'s really alive somewhere.

Anonymous said...

They seem to be keeping up the policy of using shirtless Peter as a distraction for bad storytelling. Shirt! On Fire! Must rip it off!

D.L.'s death was lame, dude. I liked D.L.

I agree that this episode should, if not started the season, at least come a lot earlier.

On a positve note, "Journeyman" was great!

Number Five said...

I'm impressed Peter didn't freeze to death, shirtless, in early March, in a shipping container going from New York City to Ireland!

That was a big wedding party...if they all really died, doesn't that make Maya one of the worst mass murderers in recent memory? I would think she'd be all over the news, in Mexico and the United States.

Kristen Bell was excellent. One full episode and she's already one of the better actors in the cast, although there was still some sledgehammer writing with regards to her backstory.

This was definitely a stronger episode, but unfortunately Heroes has been such a mess that they're still in a big hole. I did like that while Bob's ultimate motives still haven't been explained, they at least have offered more plausible reasons why non-Mohinder characters (Peter and Niki in this case) would trust him and work with him. I hope they can keep that up over the last 3 (!) episodes.

dez said...

I'm impressed Peter didn't freeze to death, shirtless, in early March, in a shipping container going from New York City to Ireland!

I'd fanwank that as his healing abilities working non-stop, even if he didn't remember he had them :-)

cgeye said...

Why didn't Niki rip her hubby's shooter into kibbles n bits? Hell, if I knew I was going into Conspiracy Land detox, where I get out of jail free, you couldn't stop me from administering a slow, painful death to the killer of my man, then promise to do better and get on the suppresso pillz.

jenmoon said...

Wow, this was like old Heroes again. Rock!

The whole Niki thing STILL sucks, though. DL dies because of some random fuck at a bar with a gun? What? What they should have done, if they really wanted emotional impact, was to have Niki/Gina kill him (hell, Jessica seemed to want to). But frankly, I'd rather have Leonard Roberts on as a regular than Niki any time. Not to diss on Ali Larter's acting, but Niki (not her alters) is just a crappy character.

Anonymous said...

Seriously Alan, this is coming from a guy who's not a giant Heroes fan and who thinks the second season has been lame but do you think you should continue to blog about a show that you clearly don't like?
In the first season, just about everyone of your recaps, besides Company Man and Five Years Gone, read like this, "Show kinda sucks but at least stuff happens". Now every recap starts with five paragraphs about why the show blows and how it should be done. It's not even that your points don't have merit but if you don't enjoy the show, don't waste time on are behalf.

Ransom said...

What a waste. We spend more than a few minutes with Maya and her brother, but only two or so on how Peter and Nathan survived last season? As such, how they were spared seems to be a throwaway explanation, conceived and written well after the season one finale criticism. In the end, their relatively easy escape just underscores how there were no meaningful stakes in last year's finale and that we should not expect Kring to take risks with his characters (whom he appears to love as much as Rhimes loves hers).

Kristen Bell's cutesy act was awkward and a bit embarrassing, although she recovered, ever so slightly, when Peter confronted her in the cell and she recounted her childhood. (It seems rather foolish, though, that Bob can afford "the best doctors in the world" for Nathan but entrusts the security of his pseudo-prison to an unstable 24 year old girl, albeit one with electricity powers).

I wholly agree that this could have been the Season 2 premiere, and in fact, with a few tweaks, it could have been a good one (even with the Maya scenes unedited). In fact, it might have been a better reveal if we had been introduced to David Anders in the pilot as Adam Monroe and he is revealed as Kensei an episode or two later by Hiro.

Speaking of which, how is it that we have a flashback episode like this without a scene with, or even a reference to, George Takei?

Kristin said...

I can see why Alan continues to blog about this particular show, even if he thinks it isn't very good (and I'm in agreement there). It's one of TV's biggest shows right now. And, last year, it did some really good episodes.

Anyway, as far as last night's ep goes, WHY didn't they show this as the season opener? I don't get it. You don't end the season with a cliffhanger (even if it was a lame one) and then not pay it off at the beginning of the season. Kring took away any suspense that might have been left at the end of last season and just wasted it by jumping ahead 4 months and showing us that all the main players were okay. Which sucks all the suspense out of this "4 months ago" crap...we know where Peter ends up, we know his brother is not horridly mutilated by radiation, we know who Adam is in the past, etc.

They could have used this episode very effectively to start out the season, and it would have been MORE suspenseful b/c we would have seen Adam revealed as the warrior in the past, Peter unable to remember that he is supposed to meet Adam in the warehouse, Elle out for revenge b/c Peter tricked her, etc.

It would have been a decent episode, but it was horridly misplaced. Did anyone else think that the reveal of Ms. Black Oil's powers would have been so much cooler if they'd started with the wedding rather than with a chase scene (as they did at the beginning of the season)?

The Pale Writer said...

anyone else confused by nathan and peter's survival? made no sense to me whatsoever - what was peter's plan? also, has there EVER been a clunkier, more clumsy transition than alejandro's stilted, "it's true - let's flee!" declaration?

agreed it could have and SHOULD have been the premiere.

Brian said...

The ratings haven't completely died, but facing "DWTS," it's been hurt somewhat. The creative troubles, whatever they are--I've only seen one episode, and because of other stuff, have yet to watch any other episodes from the first season--have only made things worse. It's really bad when you consider that this was supposed to be even bigger this season.

You have to wonder if NBC executives are putting the pressure on Kring and everyone else to fix things before they are beyond the point of repair.

Anonymous said...

This totally should have been the premiere. Every storyline worked better and would have worked better for future episodes. The amnesia storyline with Peter wouldn't have been hurt, because we still knew what he was forgetting even without the missing time.

Kristin Bell actually seemed slightly different from Veronica Mars in this episode.

Robin said...

Agreed, it should've been the season premiere, or MAYBE ep 2 (after we'd seen Adam revealed as Kensei in the past).

Still hate the twins, though I found it interesting how Maya's power suddenly manifested itself. But Sylar needs to eat their BRAAAAINS in the next episode.

I really don't like Elle. Do we really need another psychopathic female character who thinks that all the boys want to sleep with her? Her shtick is bo-ring.

Anyone else think that Uhura is going to end up having some sort of power? It definitely runs in the family.

Cinnette said...

Something that is really still bothering me this morning... How did Nathan grow that enormous pelt of a beard we saw at the beginning of the season in only 3 weeks? Damn, he's got some freakish testosterone! Wow.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this episode should have been the season premiere. With minor tinkering of the other episodes to date, this would have been fine as the first episode.

Very sad to lose DL...again. And Niki did, indirectly, have a hand in his death. He wouldn't have been there if she had taken her pills and avoided the whole Gina thing.

Interesting about Adam and his blood being able to heal. Why do they need Claire then? Doesn't the Company know about Adam? Shouldn't they be trying to find him as well, given that it is not a given that that HRG will let Claire become a blood donor for the Company.

I was bummed that there was no Matt or Claire stuff in this episode. There is obviously a back story to how Matt wound up staying in NY. And it has to be more than, "the baby my wife is carrying isn't mine." I don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

I had the same exact thoughts during the show as you did about the surveillance on Peter. They have been open about how important it is to track down every person with abilities. Then they make it their business to know all their is to know about the "heroes" and then they don't bother to look in on them when they have them in captivity? Heck, at least watch to make sure they take their meds...the "pretend to drink the pills only spit them out when the enemy leaves" has been done a million times.

The ONLY plausible explanation for this is that Bob and Adam are actually working together... i don't know how it fits with the rest of the season but it's the only reason i could think of for the lapse in security. Bob wants peter to trust and onfide in Adam and let adam become Peter's puppet master...does that seem plausible?

Anonymous said...

The ONLY plausible explanation for this is that Bob and Adam are actually working together... i don't know how it fits with the rest of the season but it's the only reason i could think of for the lapse in security. Bob wants peter to trust and onfide in Adam and let adam become Peter's puppet master...does that seem plausible?

It's not plausible, its inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Has it ever been explained what happened to Nathan's campaign?

He won, correct? Did he immediately resign the day after on the grounds of disfigurement?

Anonymous said...

Was this the first episode without HRG? -- Ted

Taleena said...

Still hate the twins, though I found it interesting how Maya's power suddenly manifested itself. But Sylar needs to eat their BRAAAAINS in the next episode.


Yes! to the nth degree.

It was very satisfying to see Milo get a hair cut. Thanks Sparky!

Anonymous said...

You know your show's in trouble when Rena Sofer is a guest star and it's still the best episode of the season.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Sylar cut off Peter's bangs last season?

Can someone cut off Micah's? The grinning pollyanna act is getting old, especially as the actor gets older.

Also, the poor kid didn't even get to eat his birthday cake.

Don't even get me started on the Curse of The Black Death Tears, which when combined with the Bob/Mohinder anti-virus that didn't work probably cause the future plague that has trapped Peter's Irish lass.

I also agree that DL was an infinitely better character than NiJessiGina, so it's sad to see him go in such an especially lame manner. DL couldn't have reflexed his powers once he saw the gun? He did it just a few moments earlier when the sleazy dude's fist went through his head.

Agree all points re: this episode would have made for a better season opener.

So the Haitian is both power kryptonite and a mind eraser?

Plus - rampant speculation Blonde
Kensai + Bob + Ma Petrelli, divided by Linderman-level conspiracy algorhythm =

A. Claire is Kensai's daughter.

B. West is Nathan's son.

Anonymous said...

[Whoops, algorithm]

Kris Eton said...

Claire could be Kensai's descendant, but we already know that Nathan is her dad...I think her mother would remember whom she had sex with.

I also think that somehow Claire and Elle are related. Didn't that come up somewhere? I can't remember. One raised by the company, the other raised in a loving family...see the jealousy building?

I'm also curious about where West came from. We haven't me his family yet. He could be another Nathan love child.

BH said...

So, if punches can go through D.L., why not bullets?

dez said...

^I hope not--that means he's making out with his half-sister, blech!

Alan Sepinwall said...

So, if punches can go through D.L., why not bullets?

The power doesn't turn on and off automatically; he has to do it himself. Though, given that the guy pulled the gun out with at least as much warning as he moved to punch D.L., there's really no excuse for D.L. to not turn the power on. At least when he took Linderman's bullet, you could fan-wank it as "D.L. was afraid the bullet would hit Niki."

Anonymous said...

"At least when he took Linderman's bullet, you could fan-wank it as "D.L. was afraid the bullet would hit Niki."

In this episode, both DL and Peter illustrated that they can make others intangible by touching them.
It's just a poor plot device.

Oh, and re: Claire being Kensei's descendant/daughter - some sort of switched at birth etc. scenario engineered by Ma Petrelli?

Plague said...

I think the reason Sparky was acting so "cutesy" at her first appearance with Peter is because she's emotionally stunted. Later she said she's been locked up since she was nine, so I have no doubt she doesn't know how to interact with anyone her age. She's completely immature in all areas.

Well, except for the fact she can somehow drive a car.

Donny said...

I have to admit I'm very disappointed with the recap. This was BY FAR the best episode of the season and had A LOT of good stuff going on. I agree, this episode should have taken place earlier, but why dwell on the past? Let's just appreciate that they finally got something right, and hope that the next 3 episodes build on this one.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I have to admit I'm very disappointed with the recap. This was BY FAR the best episode of the season and had A LOT of good stuff going on. I agree, this episode should have taken place earlier, but why dwell on the past?

Donny, perhaps I should introduce you to the "Friday Night Lights" commenters who want me to stop "nitpicking" about the Landry storyline.

Context is important, and for an episode like this, it's essential. As a season opener, or even a second episode, I would have been much more interested in it. Coming this deep into the "Generations" story arc, it wasn't nearly as compelling as it would have been earlier. And I would argue that any episode where the main characters are Peter (especially in mopey, gullible mode), Niki and the Wonder Twins almost by definition couldn't have "a lot of good stuff going on."

Stef said...

I really hated Kristen Bell for the first half of this episode. I LOVE Veronica Mars, just finished watching Sn 3 last week. I was not enjoying her superficial giggly mean girl thing, but then when she gave her "I've been locked up since I was 9" speech and came on as a bada@@ chasing Peter at the end, I thought they were finally using her talents. I hope they don't have Elle fall back to a default mode of giggly b@@ch. Blech.

Still love David Anders, though, and he's currently my reason for watching. I believe him whenever he's doing something evil or manipulative. I wonder how that plays out in his real life? I think it's the fake British accent that makes it work, though, so maybe it doesn't affect him personally.

I also thought DL's death was a letdown. Really, longhair guy thought Niki/Gina was so irresistable that he had to KILL the guy who cut in?

I also agree with filmcricket - Mama Petrelli rocks this year, and it's her storyline that I'm really interested in... what happened with the parents? How did she keep secrets for so long?

Strange thing I noticed last night - the opening credits only include those cast members that appear in the episode. Last night, no Greg Grunberg, Hayden, etc. Do they always do it that way? It seems like a strange way to set up actors' contracts.

And finally- in the scenes from future episodes, did it look like Mohinder is under the gun? The man sure is pretty, but I would NOT miss his character if someone takes him out!

Anonymous said...

Really, longhair guy thought Niki/Gina was so irresistable that he had to KILL the guy who cut in?

No, he had to kill the guy who dissed him on the dancefloor by punching him out. There could be racial/alcohol overtones as well.

Anonymous said...

"So the Haitian is both power kryptonite and a mind eraser?"

Perhaps he makes you forget how to use your power since power activation seems to be correlated to brain activity, a la Stick to the Brain.

drake leLane said...

Apparently the cover of "He's Frank" is some top secret collaboration that is going to be made available on an upcoming Heroes Soundtrack.

My best guess is it's Iggy Pop with a more obscure backing band.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone think Sparky is Bob's daughter? Do you recall the, "Yes, Daddy" comment in the Irish scenes when she was being chastised/called back(I didn't think she meant it sarcastically at the time, and I still don't). Just a thought...

jim treacher said...

Ma Petrelli is indeed great. Did you catch her little "Time to go to work" eyebrow-raise right before she convinced Heidi to keep shtum? So her power is super-persuasion or something? Super-hypnotism? That would explain a lot. Although I don't think Kring had any of this stuff in mind when we saw her in the pilot, just having been picked up for shoplifting socks.

Bell didn't come off as "superficial giggly mean girl" to me. More like "very crazy, unsocialized timebomb." Loved her line: "The shrinks say I'm a sociopath with paranoid delusions, but they're just out to get me because I threatened to kill them." (I thought she was Bob's daughter too, until he introduced her to Peter as "my colleague." Maybe she calls him "Daddy" in some other context? He wishes...)

dez said...

If not his bio-daughter, certainly his "adopted" daughter (or she was just being sarcastic).

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a great epsiode, full of old-school Heroes charm, energy, and pacing. But it cracks me up when people come here and critique Alan for, uh, CRITIQUING a show. Even when I disagree with you, Alan, I love coming here and reading your very valid points.

I am so glad they are giving Kristen Bell something to do other than being a giggly flirt, because frankly I don't think she's that good with that aspect of her character (and I was a huge fan of Veronica Mars). It was getting old.

I've really disliked all the episodes this season except for this one, so it was wonderful to cheer for Heroes again.

Anonymous said...

Count me in the this is the first great "Heroes" episode of the season category. Also, count me in the why the hell didn't anyone besides Linderman actually die in the finale category?

Hopefully these next three episodes or more quality like this and the Wonder Twins' brains get eaten sooner, not later, and Anders stays with the show as well.

Kerry said...

Yeah, I think Mrs. Petrelli's power is persuasion, but she needs to be touching her target to seal the deal. Which is nice, because she doesn't use it all the time--she's naturally charismatic, powerful, manipulative and persuasive and can get what she wants 90% of the time on her normal personality and brains.

Lis Riba said...

Has it ever been explained what happened to Nathan's campaign?

He won, correct? Did he immediately resign the day after on the grounds of disfigurement?


I was hoping to see some explanation of that. Perhaps Micah's massive voter fraud was detected?

Jim Treacher said...

"Also, count me in the why the hell didn't anyone besides Linderman actually die in the finale category?"

Because they could afford everybody but Malcolm McDowell?

Anonymous said...

SAVE HEROES!!
FIRE TIM KRING AND HIRE STEPHEN KING!!