Broadcast Date: 11 January 2010
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Writer: Jim Martin
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: “Uh-oh. Nap time for Sancho.”
I know how Sancho feels. It’s ironic, really. In the last couple years, my biggest qualm with Heroes has been its frantic pace, which gave the characters so little time to experience every twist and turn that the whole shebang ended up feeling arbitrary. To their credit, the writers have gone to considerable lengths to address the issue in this volume, but I’m now wondering if the pendulum hasn’t swung too far in the other direction.
Nothing much happens in this episode, or rather nothing much of consequence. Yes, I know: Samuel kidnaps his beloved Vanessa; Mohinder escapes the mental institution; and Peter gets to smash a cello. However, I’m not getting any sense of momentum here. It’s all pointless running around, which might still have been fun if not for all the whining and hackneyed psychobabble. I mean, people complain about Claire, but have you met her dad?
Matt a.k.a. The Psychic Family Guy
I was surprised to see Matt again, since he’d already got his redemption when he sacrificed his life to stop Sylar’s displaced psyche. Sure, the guy failed, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Well, no. Now Matt feels guilty for coming back to his family instead of chasing after Sylar, so he’s looking to be redeemed all over again. It’s consistent with the character, I suppose, but the whole thing feels terribly contrived.
It’s all Noah’s fault at any rate. The self-absorbed jerk lashes out at Lauren, pressures Matt into using his powers unethically, endangers the life of an innocent woman, and inadvertently precipitates Samuel’s evil scheme, all so he doesn’t have to deal with his angst over Claire not talking to him. How very emo. Then again, I might have considered putting the world at risk too just to avoid Noah’s cringe-inducing apology to his daughter.
Hiro and Ando a.k.a. The Dynamic Doofuses
You know that guy in the office who keeps throwing punchlines left and right but all the jokes fall flat because he’s trying too hard? I feel the same way about Hiro and Ando’s subplot, in which they break Mohinder out of his cell and crazy hijinks ensue. Part of the problem, I think, is that Ando was conceived as more of a straight man. As much as I like him, James Kyson Lee doesn’t really do slapstick, at least not very well.
Mind you, the shaky writing doesn’t help either: Hiro keeps losing his fanboy speak whenever the plot requires it, and the level of security at the mental institution is frustratingly inconsistent. Also, the Heroes Powers That Be don’t seem to know the difference between a psychiatric hospital and a jail. The guard dogs (or, as Hiro calls them, “Ewoks”) are extremely unlikely, as is the complete absence of doctors.
Peter a.k.a. This Is Your Cello on Drugs
This week, Emma is unhappy because Peter obliterated her cello without so much as a, “Hey, how’s it going?” Actually, she’s got a point this time. Would it have killed the man to explain the situation before going Pete Townshend on her instrument? Hey, if some guy I barely knew told me he stole his mom’s psychic ability and saw a terrifying future in which thousands die because I play the cello in front of a mirror, I totally would’ve… Never mind.
What amuses me most, though, is that of all the elements in his vision, Peter chooses to focus on the cello. You’d figure Sylar showing up at the end would have been more upsetting to him. It certainly was to me: the last thing I want to see is a cuddly Sylar saving the day just so his character arc can fit the volume’s redemption theme. So convoluted.
Bits and Pieces
- I quite like Lidia using her ill-defined powers to seek out a new leader, who, of course, turns out to be Peter. Given the latter spent the first half of the season yammering about finding a purpose, it makes me feel like the writers really do have a plan.
- I’m sure her full name was revealed before, but I just learnt Elizabeth Röhm’s character is called Lauren Gilmore. Is that a reference to Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls? Is her secret superpower going to be that she can spew out obscure pop culture references at the speed of thought? Actually, I’d watch that.
- Okay, I’m confused about Ando’s powers. I thought his ability allowed him to supercharge other heroes, which was a cute metaphor for a man whose empowering attitude allowed Hiro to become a better man. Now Ando can short circuit electronic panels, and, get this, cure dementia through single-dose electroshock therapy. I fully expect to find out next week his red lightening can generate a continental breakfast with fresh-squeezed orange juice.
- Never play Guitar Hero with Peter.
Noah: “The Sylar thing was a terrible idea. We all admit that.”
Yes, now stop bringing it up.
Hiro: “Hulk! Grr!”
Mohinder: “Where am I? You put me here!”
Hiro: “To be continued.”
Angela: “People think that dreaming the future is a gift; they’re wrong.”
For a moment, I thought she was going to end that sentence with, “until they get decapitated.”
Janice: “I didn’t think a law office could be such a soap opera. I mean, the human drama of it all! Matt, you remember my boss, Pressman. So he’s totally gay; he’s totally in denial; and he’s totally married…”
Yeah, if I’d been Matt, I’d have stopped listening too.
Noah: “I know what ratatouille is! This woman’s been kidnapped!”
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found my new ringtone.
Too much unintentional comedy, not enough of the other kind.