Monday, September 29, 2008

Heroes, "One of Us, One of Them": Shoot the hostage

I was going to write another long rant about how "Heroes" has become incredibly dumb even by its own dopey standards -- especially involving any decision anyone makes about Sylar -- but then I decided I didn't have the energy, or the interest, to say it all again. I'm going to bed. Feel free to complain without me, and maybe I'll jump in on the comments tomorrow.

47 comments:

filmcricket said...

Well, I thought this was infinitely better than last week, although that's not saying much. (Also, the photo above was from one of the storylines I paid the least attention to.)

Unsurprisingly, the best scenes involved HRG and Sylar. As dumb as it is to have Sylar working for The Company, I thought Bennett was going to make out with him when he impersonated an FBI agent. And I was pleased to see the return of the Haitian.

On the other hand, no Elle, Pasdar being wasted yet again, and the fact that for the first time since Tobolowsky's Midas touch, we see someone with a unique power (Capra's voice-boom) and they appear to be killing him off. Sigh.

SJ said...

I'm just glad to see Jamie Hector look all menacing again.

David said...

The insane thing is, I was with Heroes all throughout last season, mainly because I read an interview in which Tim Kring admitted the show needed a change, but when I came back this season, he clearly didn't think it through. I said this on here last week (I think): this whole season seems like ridiculous knee-jerking fan service, and if life has taught me anything, its NEVER TRUST THE FANBOYS (unless we're talking about the film fanboys. Stop Darth Weinstein! What's that? They did? Hazzah!!!).

Take into account what's wrong with the show, but don't replace good writing with "lots of crap happens. Loudly." It was the same problem I had with X-Men 3: The X-Men Meet Abbott and Costello in China...and Space.

I'm giving this show only one last three season chance to win me back! I mean it!

vacelts said...

The Tracy storyline was the most interesting. Apparently paternity is going to be an issue in this Volume.

Thankfully Mohinder and Maya were missing this episode. But I can definitely see where Ando’s going to be visiting Mohinder soon in search of his own power?

Also, it’s been suggested that Angela might, in addition to her premonition power, have the power to persuade. Anyone think that Nathan’s Linderman visions might be Angela getting into Nathan’s subconscious and persuading him to do as she pleases?

It was nice to see the return of the Haitian. Too bad he’s working for Angela.

Anna said...

Everyone in this show is too stupid to live. Except maybe -- maybe -- Noah and Sandra Bennet. Maybe. I think Claude needs to come back, stat, and beat some frickin' sense into everyone (oh i wish, I WISH). But at least there was no Mohinder in this episode. He's the idiot to trump all other idiots.

dez said...

I'm just glad to see Jamie Hector look all menacing again.

Glad Sylar didn't eat his brain. I think.

I definitely liked this ep better than the pilot and am worried for Ando and Hiro being stuck in Level 5 so close to Sylar. I hope HRG lets them out soon--they're my favorite characters.

What did Parkman paint? I got a phone call and totally missed that part (and since I wasn't watching on the DVR, I couldn't rewind, dammit).

dez said...

But at least there was no Mohinder in this episode. He's the idiot to trump all other idiots.

You say that now, but wait until Peter's next stupid move.

Was that Mohinder's real-life wife doing the exchange with the Haitian?

Brian E said...

I fast-forwarded all the non-HRG/Sylar stuff, and even that wasn't particularly interesting. (Why does HRG keep pulling his gun on Sylar? There is no drama at all in this; he can't die, get it? HRG knows this, Sylar knows this, we know this, ugh.)

But hey, at least the series is functioning as a meal ticket for actors from great, lamented series like Veronica Mars...Wait, Francis "Weevil" Capra got like two lines? Kristen Bell pops in and out like an extra? Nevermind then.

I don't think I'll stick around to see how they butcher Jamie Hector and Andre Royo's roles. Cancel it now, before Colonel Tigh is brought on as Claire's crusty grandpa with x-ray vision, Gareth Keenan is Mohinder's dopey college roommate and suddenly all my favorite series of all time are forever corrupted.

On the other hand, it beats watching Suze Orman lecture all of us on how very, very bad we have been with our money.

Christy said...

I finally figured it out! New blond Nemesis is the poor man's version of Gigi Edgely's Chiana. Looking for the same charm, but it's not there.

dez said...

(Why does HRG keep pulling his gun on Sylar? There is no drama at all in this; he can't die, get it? HRG knows this, Sylar knows this, we know this, ugh.)

Shouldn't he be stopped by a bullet to the head or a stick to the brain, though?

Was that the Nemesis chick in the old future pic of Parkman happy with a wife and child? Sort of looked like her, I think.

Kenrick said...

I think I'm done with Heroes. I haven't watched tonight's episode and I only watched the first 30 minutes of last week's. Judging from everyone's comments I think I just saved myself an hour this week and every week hereafter.

I can no longer tolerate all the loopholes and the idiocy of the characters. When I watch this show I can't help but roll my eyes every five minutes. I'm not a writer (obviously), but I just think to myself, "What could have been...." I think the same thing about X-Men 3. The premise could have been used to tell such great stories (I love comic books), but the writers painted themselves into a corner early in the first season. Time travel is not a good thing (unless it's Journeyman ;) ). Bringing people back to life is not a good thing. Giving certain individuals ridiculous powers is not a good thing.

Ah well, I'll still keep checking back here each week to see how things are evolving though.

Mrglass said...

I am thrilled to see that I am not the only one to have noticed how erratic and downright stupid most of 'Heroes' characters have become. It has been the case since season 2, they should all be dead by now if Survival of the Fittest actually played any role in this series.

Peter and Mohinder: Dumb and Dumber, the TV show.

HollyMartins said...

I stopped watching in the middle of last season, but I decided to give Heroes a fresh start this fall, since I really did enjoy the first year -- though, looking back, I probably shouldn't have.

Heroes has to have some of the laziest writing on TV -- I really get the sense that if they would just spend like TWENTY MINUTES extra on the script every week, the show could be significantly better. And I don't think the plot has made a lick of sense since roughly the sixth episode.

Anyway, I zoned out long before tonight's episode was over. Even for a guilty pleasure-type show, Heroes just isn't doing it for me anymore; I have zero faith that they're going anywhere interesting with any of this. And I'm so incredibly annoyed with Peter Petrelli by now that Milo Ventimiglia has actually ceased to be attractive to me! Bastards.

Rachel said...

Man. That poor African guy has the worst superpower EVER.

sedeyus said...

Alan I suggest that you stop reviewing Heroes. It's clear you don't like the show, your readers don't like the show, the ratings are going down so much I'm wondering if Heroes will make it past next season. Why don't every Monday you spend your time reviewing the second season of the wire instead?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan I suggest that you stop reviewing Heroes. It's clear you don't like the show, your readers don't like the show, the ratings are going down so much I'm wondering if Heroes will make it past next season. Why don't every Monday you spend your time reviewing the second season of the wire instead?

Two things:

1)The Wire reviews take far, far, far longer to write than a review of Heroes (particularly one like this, but even the standard rants flow out pretty quickly). At a time when I'm also reviewing Mad Men, The Shield, Dexter, and Friday Night Lights (dramas that also require a fair amount of thought and time), plus the usual fall rollout, there's no way I'd be able to do those Wire reviews anytime soon. I barely had time to do them in the summer.

2)For whatever reason, every year on the blog there seems to be one bad show I stick with reviewing because I can't help but keep watching it, and neither can the readers, and we all get some kind of catharsis out of bashing it. This year, that seems to be Heroes. Maybe I'll lose interest in even doing that later in the season, I don't know. But right now, I can't kick the habit.

Ingrid said...

Boring and lame. The Sylar/HRG pairing made for a few good seconds, but even that got boring quick. Everything else is so stupid, especially the Hiro scenes. Ugh!

Anonymous said...

Really, this show now reminds me of the worst elements of Alias, where the writers are so married to the characters that they will do anything to maintain some type of status quo among the main cast, including having the characters behave ridiculously just to give them screen time or forestall an exit that the course of the narrative clearly demands. Add to that the fact that we have been to the dystopian future too many times now in this series and each season now is about stopping some vague future threat. We are even recycling future painting powers in order to effectuate that plot retread. But worst of all, now, the writers have fallen prey to the belief that drama is somehow heightened if it turns out the characters are all somehow related by blood. Claire is Nathan's daughter? Sylar is Mrs. Petrelli's son? Nathan, Peter and Sylar are brothers? Uncle Sylar tried to take his niece's brain? Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it will turn out that the formula was written by Rambaldi and that the Heroes have to fight zombie Nadia.

Oh, and the "meet your new partner" bit was so lame it reminded me of that scene in "Last Action Hero" where clearly odd police partner pairings were being handed out.

lungfish said...

I was kind of hoping it'd be Locke in the coffin.

Bobman said...

I loathe Mohinder, but I seriously might not have watched this week other than to see if he turns completely into the fly. The ONE TIME in the history of this show I actually wanted to see what happened with Mohinder and HE'S NOT IN THE EPISODE. Sweet irony.

studda said...

the tracy strauss stuff was boring,and micah is such a wasted character,he needs something to do.if claire doesn't become a villain they should just get rid of her.

Amy said...

We should stop calling the characters dumb and start calling the writers dumb.

I can't figure out if they think any of this makes sense or if they just don't care if it does anymore.

Of everything that made me mad last night, and it was lots, the number one was the writers choice to use Peter in the scenes where Peter was supposed to be trapped in Jessie's body. If all the other characters are supposed to be seeing him as Jessie. Why weren't we too? Does the audience have super powers now too?

I don't even love to hate this show....I think right now I just keep watching because I can't actually believe the choices they have made with it... more like train-wreck watching I suppose.

jim treacher said...

"If all the other characters are supposed to be seeing him as Jessie. Why weren't we too?"

Because Milo's the star. Plus the Quantum Leap precedent.

Not that it isn't stupid. But that's why.

Nevada Smith said...

This show sucked last year and what I have been able to watch this year sucks even more. My 10 year old loved it for a time and still watches it but even he is getting bored. I have given up on it and now wait for Lost which was always the infinitely better show.

dez said...

It's been a long time since I read an SF novel, but isn't there some SF concept that if you meet your future self, you're not supposed to touch each other for fear of a matter + anti-matter reaction? Or was that just in a story I read once as a kid and my kid brain generalized it to all of SF? Because as soon as Future Peter grabbed Present Peter, I was hoping for an explosion (or would it be an implosion?) :-)

Bjooks said...

Guess I'm alone in thinking it was an okay episode. I did have problems, but not the same ones you guys did.

My biggest problem came during the Nikki funeral home scenes. Micah seemed to be the only one there. Shouldn't his cousins and grandma have been around. It just seemed so weird to have a 10-year-old be the only one there, especially in that last shot where he's sitting in a chair alone, and no one else is in the chairs around him.

I also groaned when Micah revealed that Nikki and Traci were born at the same hospital; surely they weren't going for the "twins separated at birth" route. Fortunately, it seems its something more clonish than that, which leads to a second doctor who might know about powers and who could actually be the one responsible for the formula.

In fact, the formula parts that Hiro & the Hatian used to have were around for some time, apparently, so while it looks like Mohinder is the one to create the hero expansion in the future, there are more options than that.

But as for the characters, by this point I think part of the problem many people are having is that the show recognizes that being a hero doesn't mean you do smart things, while being a villain doesn't mean you do dumb things. Yeah, Peter is usually royally stupid, but that's almost part of his charm -- all-powerful, but incredibly stupid (worse than Kryptonite, I think).

Same with Hiro. Everyone seems to think he should be making brilliant decisions all the time based on his fanboyish hero worship, but I think the point is that, despite his fanboyness, he's still quite niave in the ways of the world. It's almost a commentary on the nature of fanboys who think they know everything and could do it all better because they've read every comic book or Trek episode produced, but who in reality wouldn't know a thing about being a hero if they suddenly woke up with super powers.

Suresh -- another idiot. Claire -- not an idiot, but incredibly gullible and niave for her age. Nathan -- maybe not an idiot, but again gullible and easily persuaded.

In fact, the only ones who don't seem to be idiots are the ones who've either had their powers the longest (Ma Patrelli, the Hatian, Claude) or who have been dealing with this world the longest (HRG). Or Sylar, who was back to form in this episode (loved his FBI impersonation). I think it's interesting who's portrayed as dumb, and who's not. For me, it's not about "I wish Peter or Hiro weren't so stupid"; it's more "why the hell are Peter and Hiro so stupid, and what does that say about them (and us)?"

While the show is called Heroes and this season is called Villains, I think its central point is more that there are no clear cut heroes or villains, only stupid people sometimes lucking into saving the world, but who more often then not just get in the way and create the problems themselves. Kinda like humans.

Bjooks said...

nevada smith wrote: ...and now wait for Lost which was always the infinitely better show.

I told my boyfriend last night while watching that the Heroes first season broke out like it did because it came during the low point of Lost. Now that Lost is again the show it used to be, Heroes doesn't compare. Lost is complicated, literate, and at times brillant. Heroes is the goofy child of comic books and soap opreas. I enjoy Heroes, but it's not Lost, and never was.

Byron said...

Come on: Heroes wishes it were the "goofy son of comic books and soap operas." If it were that, it would be awesome (and Seth Cohen).

David Thiel said...

I'll also admit to enjoying this episode. All of the playful Hiro, Ando and Daphne stuff worked for me. I always find Hiro's enthusiasm infectious. He loves having a "nemesis;" he so obviously wants his own personal Catwoman. I also loved Ando's straightforward alternative to Hiro's goofy "calling the usher" plan for dealing with the Haitian.

The HRG/Syler pairing also led to a few fun moments, but I'm glad that they didn't waste any time before demonstrating that neither character took the idea seriously. I do truly hope that Mrs. Petrelli is lying about being Syler's mom as her method of controlling him; the alternative is one blood relationship too many.

I'll agree that too much of the story arc so far has been based on the characters making outrageously stupid decisions, but on the whole I do find this season a step up from last year. It's moving at a fast clip; we didn't spend five episodes hunting down the escaped villains. Unlike season two, it's not just rebuilding the same web of interconnections that existed at the end of the first season.

The thing that's annoying me the most about this season is the sheer blatancy of the "Fly" ripoff. As much as I'd like to see Mohinder turn into a horrible monster that must be destroyed, does it have to follow the exact same beats as the Cronenberg film?

Hey, one unrelated question: does anyone think we'll ever find out what happened to Peter's Irish girlfriend? The one he left behind in that alternate future?

Anonymous said...

That was Olga S...(Can't remember the last name), who is married to Mohinder in real life. She was on Spooks (or MI-5 in the US)

Jennifer said...

We're never finding out what happened to Caitlin. I gather Word of God says they won't bother with that.

Mama Petrelli's new love for Sylar is just...fucked up. I hope she remembers that she's got a power and her and her other kids are just as likely to be Sylar-targets as anyone else, even if she "feeds" him. She's worse than Bob covering for Elle in only a DAY.

HRG/Sylar...kinda works, kinda doesn't, as expected.

I am disappointed that the Big Deal is supposed to be that prisoners escaped, and of the prisoners we've seen escaping, two are dead, one's back in jail, and only one is still on the loose. What a bust.

The Wile E/Roadrunner show is amusing, at least.

I didn't see a resemblance to Daphne in the Matt/babymomma painting, but that did look like her from the back in the revised one- white hair, same haircut, back cut up, skanky-looking outfit. Other than that, already loathe the spirit walk and GET OUT OF IT PRONTO, PLEASE. Already, no one cares, and I'd rather watch Matt go evil (the way they hinted at last season).

I totally thought Tracy was a clone. Called it!

Anna said...

Yes, Bjooks, I'm sure the writers were all sitting in the writer's room going, "You know, making the characters all idiots would be a really great meta-commentary about fanboys," rather than, "Hey, you know how we could advance the plot!?" Characters don't have to be idiots in order to be human.

Anonymous said...

I tried following this show last season & I gave up. But the photo Alan used to lead with makes me wonder why they're re-enacting the Voices Carry video?

Mo Ryan said...

Cancel it now, before Colonel Tigh is brought on as Claire's crusty grandpa with x-ray vision

That's the funniest thing I've heard in ages.

Also: Daphne as poor man's Chiana? Brilliant call.

Otherwise, I wanted Jamie Hector to say "My name is my name!"

The "nemesis"-Daphne stuff made me laugh a few times. Sylar asking for coffee was funny. But 5 amusing minutes in an otherwise nonsensical slog ... I'm out. There's enough to watch on Mondays. I can't justify this show being in the rotation any more. Not saying I won't watch it, but I certainly won't expect it to supply more than 4-5 amusing minutes in the entire thing.

Asking it to make any sense - well, that's a lost cause at this point. It's my own damn fault if I keep on attempting to make sense of it. I should know better by now...

mjryan said...

The biggest tragedy with this show is the wasted potential of it's great original premise. I took it off my season pass last week.

Kelly said...

Eyikes, I'm starting to feel like maybe I should stop reading Alan's blog because I'm not smart enough.

I sorta, well...like Heroes. After all the comments from other readers of Alan's blog I am self-aware enough to have a little shame about that. But I can't help but like it, even with all of the inconsistencies, the writing, etc. I like that it's fun and enthusiastic and has cool visual effects. It's just good, solid entertainment for me because I don't stop to think much about the inconsistencies or stupidity of it. I just hop on and enjoy the ride. Alan! Don't ban me cause I'm feeling the Heroes love! :)

Also, take everything I say about my idea of quality television with a grain of salt because I watched an entire hour of Dog The Bounty Hunter the other night. Dog. The. Bounty. Hunter. Don't kick me out of the club!

dez said...

That was Olga S...(Can't remember the last name), who is married to Mohinder in real life. She was on Spooks (or MI-5 in the US)

She was also on All My Children as Bianca's love interest a long time ago, too (her nickname on TWoP was the "Hot Polish Fox"). Anyway, thanks for the info!

@jennifer--That's the painting I meant, thanks :-) I kind of like Parkman and wouldn't mind seeing him wind up happy with Daphne, even though she's a little annoying right now.

I still like the show and will keep watching it, but I do wish they'd stop dumbing everything down. Or just spin Ando and Hiro off onto their own show.

Steve said...

I don't know if it's a case of lowered expectations but I enjoyed almost all of last night's episode with the exception of the Parkman spirit walk in Africa crap.

When you put pull together a story line featuring Mama Petrelli, HRG and Sylar, I'm all in.

dave s said...

I have nothing to add but it's cathartic to rant. What a terrible show.

There's not a single storyline going on right now that doesn't force everyone to betray what little characterization was developed in the first season and make astronomically poor decisions.

I think what's so sad to me is that the superhero storyline is monopolized by this show. Anything else would be seen as a ripoff. But it's a terrible, terrible show and there's so much they could do better. I want it to end so someone else can have a shot.

Anonymous said...

dave s:

ditto that.
:)

during season 1, we use to have Monday gatherings, where everyone watched silently without blinking.

now...i watch it by myself online so i can have the luxury of skipping ahead.

*sigh*

aulayan said...

Hm...I actually enjoyed the episode myself, though the African Man's superpower was the worst superpower EVER. Seriously, someone who can only heat up tea would have a better superpower.

I enjoyed the Sylar HRG partnership, because while it made so little sense to happen, it was entertaining to watch.

However, the end. "I will find his weakness and kill him." was stupid on two points. First...it's not a surprise HRG would want to kill Sylar. It is about as effective a end of week "Cliffhanger" as "I'm going to go get breakfast" would be.

Second. He was saying that *to the Haitian*. Hm, let's see. Bring the Haitian with you. Shoot Sylar, cut off his head, seperate his brain into small parts and spread it around the globe. ... Then do that with the rest of his body. Grisly, yes. But his weakness IS THE HAITIAN.

barefootjim said...

Coming late to the party, as always, but I wanted to point out that if Sylar is Mama Petrelli's natural son, that might mean that Nathan isn't.

Which would leave the door open for a Claire/Peter fanwank romance.

But dear gods, that episode was boring.

Anonymous said...

An explanation of WHY Angela Petrelli gave Sylar up for adoption might be nice. Because right now it seems like nothing but the world's lamest plot device.

Gapers said...

"The biggest tragedy with this show is the wasted potential of it's great original premise."

This is what makes watching this show so frustrating.

Anonymous said...

An explanation of WHY Angela Petrelli gave Sylar up for adoption might be nice. Because right now it seems like nothing but the world's lamest plot device.

I have this theory that she was knocking boots with Hiro's dad back in the day, whose name escapes me for some reason right now. In season two, just before Mr. Nakamura's death, Angela has a scene with him on the rooftop. I got the feeling they had something going on between them in the distance past.

Although, I don't think the writers are that intelligent to remember something from that far back. It would be an interesting route to take, kind of a cliche I guess, but I guess it does explain why Peter and Sylar both have everyones abilities.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Cancel it now, before Colonel Tigh is brought on as Claire's crusty grandpa with x-ray vision"

But not depth perception.