Broadcast Date: 4 January 2010
Director: Ron Underwood
Writer: Juan Carlos Coto
Cast: Jack Coleman, Greg Grunberg, Robert Knepper, Ali Larter, James Kyson Lee, Oka Masi, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Zachary Quinto, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Cristine Rose, and Milo Ventimiglia
Hiro: “A Jedi’s work is never done.”
I kind of like this one. Heroes is a peculiar show in that most of it consists of buildup, which means our enjoyment of every episode depends on whether we trust the writers to deliver a satisfying payoff at the end of the volume. The problem is the last three finales have been so spectacularly underwhelming it’s hard not to feel like we’re being jerked around just a bit. “Upon This Rock” is one of the few episodes to give me hope things could turn out differently this time around.
For me, it’s all about Samuel, who, with the ill-advised Sylar/Nathan debacle now behind us, can finally take his rightful place as the volume’s big bad. I love the ambiguity of his motives. In spite of his methods, Samuel seems to genuinely care for his community. That makes him different from all the other villains so far, and I think we call all agree it’s high time Heroes covered new ground. Have you noticed no one yet has had visions of a dystopian future in which New York blows up?
Claire a.k.a. The Invincible Nancy Drew
All and all, this is a good episode for Claire, who gets to do something other than whine about not fitting in and her father being controlling. You know, she’d been trying to find herself for so long now I was beginning to think there was nothing to find.
While trying to uncover Samuel’s dirty little secrets, Claire fights off both Eli the Multiple Man and Doyle the Ingrate Puppet Master (seriously, man, she saved your life just last year). She’s not much of a sleuth, though. Her detective skills consist of telling the suspicious villain everything she’s just learnt and then following him into the desert. No biscuit.
Emma a.k.a. The Discontent Dazzler
This week, Emma is annoyed because she didn’t make it into med school after applying on a whim. You’d figure a former med student would know how hard it is to get in, but then it’s as if the woman were looking for reasons to be unhappy. Maybe it’s a deliberate character trait. I have to say, it doesn’t make her the least bit endearing.
Her subplot is finally moving forward, though, which is good. Emma’s newfound siren powers certainly make it easier to see how she might fit into Samuel’s scheme. Incidentally, his speech about being special isn’t much different from Hiro’s, but she seems a lot more receptive to it. Maybe it’s the rush of helping a homeless Moss Man. Maybe she just digs Robert Knepper’s eyeliner.
Hiro a.k.a. The Fanboy Wonder
Once again, Hiro and Ando’s thread is played mostly for laughs, but you know what? This time, the joke’s funny. It was a hoot trying to place all the genre references as Hiro, with his scrambled brain, tried to communicate. I caught allusions to Batman, Battlestar Galactica, Don Quixote, Excalibur, Highlander, Sherlock Holmes, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Star Wars, and X-Men. Did I miss anything?
Also, I find it interesting that Hiro sees Ando as his Sancho Panza. That makes him Don Quixote, a man who spent his life battling dragons that were really windmills. I always thought Nakamura Hiro accorded more importance to his heroic endeavors. He did prevent New York from blowing up on several occasions, you know.
Bits and Pieces
- Moss Man turning the desert into a garden is a gorgeous scene, but I find the music a bit corny for my tastes.
- Heroes may not be consistent about its characters, but it is consistent about its subtitles: white for Japanese and yellow for that little bit of Spanish that Hiro spoke. Sign language is also subtitled in yellow. Does Emma sign in Spanish?
- Nathan’s funeral got to me a little bit. Claire flinching at the sound of the guns is a particularly effective touch.
- Hayden Panettiere is very pretty in this episode. I think it’s the grownup haircut.
- The low point of the episode is a flashback sequence in which we learn that Joseph was a snotty big brother and that an Irish accent is apparently really hard to fake.
As I mentioned, lots of good stuff from Hiro and Ando:
Hiro: “I am a humble knight from the Starship Enterprise.”
Hiro: “Unhand the princess or feel the sting of my lightsaber.”
I realize I’m nerding out here, but a lightsaber would do a lot more than sting.
Ando: “It’s like someone took a shabu spoon and stirred up his fanboy brain.”
Samuel: “Do you read lips?”
Emma: “Do you read hands?” [Closes door.]
Wow. Rude much?
I don’t know if I’m being too harsh or too easy.