Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Heroes, "Eris Quod Sum": Everything's relative

Spoilers for last night's "Heroes" coming up just as soon as I ask if I can have an exit row seat...

Hate... rising...

After spending the last couple of weeks feeling like I had vented so much of my spleen at "Heroes" that I had no anger left, "Eris Quod Sum" was such a stupid, boring episode that I feel some of the old-time fury coming on again.

Why does Arthur Petrelli want to give everyone super powers? Why is Sylar just as gullible and susceptible to mentoring as Peter? What happened to Nathan's political career? Why is Parkman so in love with a woman he barely knows in the present?

I have no idea what the answer to any of these questions is, nor do I particularly care. This season has been full of ominous portents with no explanation, and with people randomly changing allegiances to suit the whims of the story. There are weeks when I can ignore all the dumbness, but this wasn't one of them. Outside of a few amusing meta moments -- Tracey trying to figure out Claire's family tree, two characters finally being shown using an airplane to travel cross-country -- I was either groaning at the latest silly twist or else zoning out altogether. (I have a feeling they explained how Suresh knew to go to see Arthur Petrelli, but if so, I missed it while reaching for the defibrillator.)

The head-fakes like Knox "killing" Parkman aren't surprising (and, if anything, are frustrating, since Parkman is so useless that the show would be better off without him), and I can't decide which explanation for the Sylar flip is more boring: that, after pledging allegiance to Ma Petrelli, he immediately switched sides to Arthur (but couldn't bring himself to kill Peter); or that Ma's hold over him is somehow so great that he's going undercover.

Really, the only plus was that they took away Maya's powers. While I fully expect to see Peter get back his sponge abilities (and maybe all the duplicated powers along with them), I'm semi-hopeful that the writers will use this as an excuse to put Maya on a bus to go hang with Micah, Monica and other abandoned characters from seasons past.

What did everybody else think?

41 comments:

Dan Jardine said...

This show is still on the air?

People are still watching this show?

dez said...

Despite the lack of Hiro and Ando, I thought it was a pretty good ep. Things moved along nicely, and I liked seeing Parkman use his powers to fake out Marlo. As a bonus, Elle was back, although since Pa Petrelli already has her powers via Peter, I'm not sure he'll need a double dose.

As to your questions: 1) They haven't explained Pa Petrelli's motivations yet; Sylar appears to be playing double agent; not a lot of time has passed, so Nathan's career is ok; Parkman is an old-fashioned romantic; Danielle gave Suresh the Pinehearst card in the last ep.

I'm generally a proponent of you continuing to blog about shows you hate, but if you're hating it so much that you can't even figure out answers on a show this dumb, I'd say it's time to save your blood pressure and give it up :-)

James said...

I actually liked this episode. I think Sylar actually saved Peter since Peter came back to save Sylar. So Sylar, appreciative of Peter coming back, saved his life. I think Sylar has his own agenda here as well. He knows Arthur stole Peter's abilities which includes the hunger. However, Arthur seems to have it completely under control. Maybe Sylar's sticking around to find out how to control it?

What I don't understand is why they didn't use this opportunity to explain the scar that future Peter has. Couldn't they have made the cut on his face longer?

And Mohinder knew to go to Petrilli because the speedster gave him the business card last week.

Another plothole was that after Peter escaped but was still in the building, Mohinder sees Maya in the lobby and goes to talk to her. Shouldn't she have been gone hours (or even a day) before?!?

Alan Sepinwall said...

They haven't explained Pa Petrelli's motivations yet

I know that. I'm just getting annoyed by him randomly killing all these people, stealing powers, etc., with no explanation.

Danielle gave Suresh the Pinehearst card in the last ep.

I had forgotten that. Thanks.

It amuses me that the episodes I really rail against get defended, while the ones I go easier on inspire people to complain that I'm being too easy a grader.

Mrglass said...

The original sin of 'Heroes' is having characters with abilities just too powerful. Also, a few superheroes can even get ever stronger by stealing other people powers, via various methods.

But at least until this year, they were restrained by their erratic motives (Sylar), cluelessness (Hiro) or sheer stupidity (Peter).

Now that we have a super-super-vilain with all of Peter's abilities and god knows what else, what is stopping him from doing whatever he feels like? Why isn't Pa Petrelli teleporting to Africa himself and killing Parkman in a few seconds?

Still, for some weird reasons I find this show entertaining. It is much better than last year.

dez said...

It amuses me that the episodes I really rail against get defended, while the ones I go easier on inspire people to complain that I'm being too easy a grader.


Face it, old man, you're out of touch! ;-)

As for Pa Petrelli, he hasn't been on the canvas all that long. I'm willing to wait a few eps to get an explanation of what he's up to.

Anonymous said...

This wasn't as good as the previous couple of weeks, but it was still a vast improvement over the beginning of the season. Parkman is completely useless and boring and my one hope is that at the end of this storyline they'll write him and Daphne out to live happily ever after. They also really need to get rid of Milo Ventimiglia. I realize he's probably the biggest character on the show, but he's such an AWFUL actor that making him the emotional center of things was a huge mistake. Whenever HRG, any of the other Petrellis, Sylar, or Elle are on-screen the show instantly becomes 1,000x better because the actors involved are so good. But whenever Peter, Claire, or Mohinder takes center stage the show becomes kind of painful.

Steve said...

Aside from seeing Kristen Bell again, the show was mediocre as always.

Is there a power that Mr. Petrelli does nat have?

He can't die (Monroe) and has all of Peter's powers which include time travel, stopping time, healing, flying and everything else.

Alan, is it weird that I found myself pleasantly surprised for a HIMYM repeat of "Sandcastles in the Sand."

Normally, I bemoan when a show is not new... but when I started my DVR and saw the episode, I was ecstatic.

Anonymous said...

Entourage review coming?

Chris Littmann said...

Game over. Done. This is officially relegated to background noise at best for me. And honestly, looking back, I'm at a loss trying to find what was ever really compelling to begin with. I'll spend my time watching Chuck, HIMYM and even OC re-runs on Soapnet. The biggest problem I find while watching is that I literally don't care at all about what happens. That's when it's time to tune out.

Ryan said...

Does anyone know how Peter survived that fall out of the building? I feel like they should have made some sort of attempt to explain it...

dez said...

The only explanation they gave is Peter's guess that Sylar broke the fall on purpose. It's also possible that Pa Petrelli, having been weakened for so long, didn't quite suck all the power out of Peter.

And of course, I meant Daphne when I said Danielle earlier. Oof.

That First Andrew said...

The trouble is the writers of Heroes try to make everything a mystery. How many times did we hear people asking "How did he survve that fall without any powers?" or "Peter, why aren't you healing?" If EVERYTHING is a mystery, then nothing is mysterious.

The show just has an utter disdain for its audience. Having Knox/Marlo repeat over and over again how their fear makes him stronger is strong proof of that. Daphne saying again and again "I'm a theif. Not a _______."

When the show debuted, it was a very cool deconstruction of the idea of superheroes living among us, but now that they have added in this tremendously weighty backstory of fake deaths and The Company and this overly insular world where everyone is connected ad infinitum that it drains the reality.

I will say this: Pa Patrelli is an interesting new wrinkle. Hopefully they will scale back on the sermonizing and give him a clear cut path for him to follow (hopefully a more interesting goal than making lots of money). Robert Forster can add some much needed coolness to this show, not to mention give an ability-vasectomy to Peter, Sylar, Hiro, and maybe Claire.

They are in desperate need of the assisination of several characters, though.

BF said...

Does anyone know how Peter survived that fall out of the building?

Step 1: Have your father steal something from you. (Powers, a kidney, whatever)
Step 2: Confront him in a tall, glass-covered building.
Step 3: Get Pushed Out a Window.
Step 4: Confine yourself to a wheelchair and go to work for a box company, all the while screaming "Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do!!!"
Step 5: ...
Step 6: PROFIT!

Austin said...

Totally with you on this one, Alan.

While it was nice to see someone on a plane, how exactly did Darth Veronica get all the way through security and on a plane without electrocuting everything?

Worst line of the night ... "Peter, you're grounded." I almost turned off the TV.

And yet I still watch it in the hopes that it will get better. What's that definition of insanity? Repeating the same behavior in the hopes of a different outcome?

That's it, then ... I'm insane.

Bobman said...

Deleted this from my DVR schedule last week, and I"m glad to know I made the right choice. Except for missing Kristin Bell, but still worth it for the 42 minutes I could spend on other things.


I think the CAPTCHA (word verification) for this post is pretty apt for this show (assuming you pronounce it like I am):

amesse

Kevin said...

Forget about Nathan's political career....what the hell happened to his wife and kids?

Isn't he still married?

Anonymous said...

Dumbest moment of the night: Daphne lying to Parkman who can READ MINDS. Why did this obvious plot hole fail to raise a red flag with the writers?

Marc said...

In the scene after Knox "kills" Parkman, and Parkman puts his arm around Daphne, the look on Parkman's face was so ridiculous, I actually laughed out loud at how bad the actor who plays Parkman is.

Marc said...

And, to Anon: this show is very poorly written, so it's no surprise to see an obvious hole like that. Parkman is a mind-reader, yet can't read Daphne's mind. Huh? For a show with a well-written mind-reading character, see True Blood.

Anonymous said...

This didn't bother me as much as the past couple episodes have. I don't know why not, but it didn't.

Why is Sylar just as gullible and susceptible to mentoring as Peter? because gullibility is obviously hereditary. Claire has it, too.

There was some serious dumb (really? Elle thinks "I can't control my powers and I'm afraid of flying. Let's get on a plane"? No one thought that would be a bad idea? I know the Haitian swiss cheesed Mrs. HRG, but surely there's got to be some common sense somewhere). Daphne lying to a man that can read minds. Mohinder doing anything. Nathan running off to see daddy. But somehow it all kind of washed over me this week.

vacelts said...

I feel like a need a score card after this episode to keep track of who is in league with whom. So many alliances were formed, broken and double crossed in this episode that I’m not sure who is on whose side anymore.

http://redlightnaps.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/heroes-eris-quod-sum/

The best line of the whole night was when Mohinder asks Arthur how he could put his son through his fake death. Arthur replies “Have you met their mother?”

The episode title Eris Quod Sum means “I am what you will be” and I understand that it’s a motto often used on gravestones. Does that mean there will be more deaths?

I loved when Lyle doused Elle with water – apparently it not only put a damper on her power, but her chronic bad mood. Unfortunately, I’m not impressed with Elle’s latest storyline.

Sonia said...

I still like Heroes. While not nearly as good as the first season, I still enjoy it.

About Daphne lying to Parkman...maybe she was lying to Pa Petrelli? That's what I thought anyway.

James said...

Since Pa Petrelli has Peter's powers, can't he read minds too? So Daphne wouldn't be able to lie to him either...

pgillan said...

Does every single one of Sylar's lines have to include something about his new parentage? For the last three or four episodes, whenever he says anything it seems be a variation on "She's my mother too", "You're/he's my brother/family", or include some over emphasis on the word "mom" or "mother." Frankly, it seems like the writers are desperate to remind the viewers in the most ham-handed way possible that this guy who was season one and two's biggest monster is now one of the good guys. If you want to talk about a non-organic character development, you never need to go beyond Sylar, who didn't spend any time coming to grips with his lineage or changing his behavior.

The writers: "Hey, this guy's popular. Let's make him a good guy."

Sylar: "You're my mom? Now I'm a good guy!"

I'm really starting to hate this show. If the conclusion to this storyline isn't at least slightly satisfying, I'm totally done.

jim treacher said...

I said bye-bye weeks ago. Have not missed it.

Anonymous said...

Best line of the episode, "The Bitch is Back" by Claire's brother talking about Elle. This was the title of the last episode of Veronica Mars. Also a cuel reminder of how under utilized Kristen Bell has been.

Adam said...

This is why I read your blog and column, Alan. You're always right on the money. This show hasn't been good since the second-to-last episode of season one, and since that season's finale, appears to have been written by jumbling around magnetic poetry words and adding in randomly generated plot twists stolen from better shows. The title "Heroes," describes not one character on the show. All seem to be selfish, stupid, gullible cardboard cutouts bent on destroying the world in order to save it. Where is this show's Superman? Where is this show's Mr. Fantastic? Or for that matter, a Lois Lane or Mary Jane? Instead, what we have is a bunch of X-Men rejects too morally bankrupt to join Xavier's School for the Gifted and too stupid to join Magneto's army. Even those characters could maybe be forgiven if the plots were even "Superman Returns"-caliber (not that high a bar to reach).

The only thing that could save this show is if we were to find out that every major character we've met so far is, in fact, a villian, and the real "heroes" are ones we haven't met yet: people who've chosen to actually use their powers to help the world, rather than settle family scores and help out shadowy organizations. Would there be anything more satisfying than a new, real, well-drawn hero vanquishing these miserable characters of the past three seasons?

Bryan Murray said...

Wish I had the ability to take this off of series recording...

dez said...

Robert Forster can add some much needed coolness to this show, not to mention give an ability-vasectomy to Peter, Sylar, Hiro, and maybe Claire.

I shall brook no threats against Hiro. Pa Petrelli needs to leave him alone. I do hope he sucks the fly out of Mohinder, though.

@bf: ROFLCOPTER!

@marc: I disagree about your assessment of True Blood, but that's for a different blog entry :-)=

Dani said...

I havnen't watched the new episodes lately at all. Too many new characters, to much time jumping. I mean, one minute Claire has blonde hair and is a a good guy. The next she has brown hair and is walking around with a gun. What? To much goes on in the episodes for me to get it :/ But then again I'm am 15 xD

Anonymous said...

I think I was just jazzed that Sylar got out of that miserable coma, but I want to quit. I do. It's like crack though.

T said...

I just wonder that the show's producers, after the success of the first season, and then again after all the negative feedback concerning the shortened season two, don't have ONE person--a close friend, a colleague, an honest enemy--to say, "Look, you have all the working parts to build something good; here's what a viewer wants". How does this happen, on such a scale, and not once but twice? Has advice been given but simply not taken? I really don't get it. Such a waste, so many missed opportunities.

lungfish said...

Why is Parkman so in love with a woman he barely knows in the present? The same reason why Peter was so in love with that Irish lass last season he knew for approximately 30 minutes.

I love how Maya is able to doll herself up with make-up and a new outfit after being ripped from the slime and taken straight to Pinehurst. It was also nice of them to give her a suitcase in addition to cash and a passport. I also like how they just let Peter run around the building after locking it down and gave up looking for him... and Elle is able to walk right through the front door during this "lockdown".

BTW, please keep writing up your Heroes reviews. It's enjoyable on some level to rant about, right?

M.Chavez said...

No one else noticed it? Holy crap it yanked me right out of the show. 30 minutes in (hulu-wise). Mohinder approaches Maya. As he gets close, she puts up her hand and says...

"That's far enough!"

OMG WTF

I wanna give it a chance, but really? REALLY? "That's FAR ENOUGH!"?

:: facepalm ::

Jonas said...

I enjoyed the first season. I really did. I had some good moments with season two. I really did. And even when it was a bit bad, I always looked forward to the new episode, expecting and waiting for the showdowns, the developments and Now, I have to pause the episode in order to bear with the acting, the incredibly obvious writing suggesting people don't have attention span (it's almost like they start re-expositioning the characters every time, just to make sure people get that everyone are related, and a monster and a villain at the same time) and I even feel the music is cliched.

I am a casual viewer, mostly, so I don't mind quite a lot of the inconsistencies and stupid stuff in a lot of shows, but it's just beyond anything at this point.

For better or for worse though, I got so annoyed at this episode that I partially forgot my doomed crush for about an hour. Yey.

Tracey said...

I don't know why I keep watching this show...

I think the one thing I liked in this one was Claire and Elle. There was something nice about the bonding between two girls with abilities that did seem to work, and they did at least attempt to acknowledge that they were on opposite sides but are now coming together (unlike all the other realignments).

I may have mentioned this before, but... I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that this series suffers from Twin Peaks syndrome, that it doesn't know where it's going and it's just making it up as it goes along. I was worried about that from the very beginning of Season 1, but Season 1 seemed to be going somewhere, seemed to be coming together... until the last episode. Now it seems like just a complete jumble. I can't figure out who is on which side, or what each side is up to, and nothing in the stories to date have given me any confidence that the people behind this series have any better idea than I do.

Contrast this with, for example, Babylon 5, where it always seemed to be going somewhere, and there was recognizable progress toward that end throughout the show that meaningfully hooked up with prior episodes. Yes, some of it had to get reworked as the series went on, but it still had a focus that Heroes lacks.

Anonymous said...

I had this and the previous episode on the DVR, and I deleted them, unwatched. I am done with Heroes.

Anonymous said...

Whoever gave Kristen Bell the advice to choose this show over Lost should be sent to Siberia.

Anonymous said...

The problem was they didn't set limits or have consequences early. Peter can get every ability. Ok. Whats his kryptonite? Claire can't be hurt. Ok but what kills her? Why can people go back in time and to the future with nothing happening?

Would it kill them to give the bad guys an actual motivation besides blowing up the world? Do they have anything planned out or do they sit in a room and make up that weeks script on the fly?

I get the feeling the creator would rather be popular than actually do a creative show.

Dark Tyler said...

Amazing! NBC realized how crap Jeph Loeb is after two and a half years!

Now if they hired back Bryan Fuller as a showrunner (after Pushing Daisies is sadly canceled in a few days) then the show could maybe stage a comeback.