Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heroes 013: Bury My Heart At Wounded Daphne

This was not a promising follow up to last week promising reboot, I gotta tell you.

OK, so Daphne is as dead as you get on Heroes (that would be Mostly Dead), and out of respect I will finally actually use her name. Then, because anger leads to hatred and hatred leads to fear and fear leads to the dark side, Parkman used his mind control powers to murder those responsible. Now, Heroes has killed so many characters that it honestly doesn't pack much of a punch anymore (especially since Claire's blood would have just brought her back, and, duh Claire, you were standing right there). But this scene really takes the cake for shooting yourself in the foot, dramatically. You know what really helps a scene like a major character's tragic death, followed by another character's quick shift to a very dark place? A split screen with yet another character on the phone, explaining what you are watching as though you can't see it yourself. That really puts you in the scene, doesn't it? Honestly, there's not a worse way to do that sequence, unless you rotoscoped some cartoon animals in there and cut to the salsa music.

And to what end? To further underscore the "Nathan talks on the phone to an undisclosed person" framing device? It's been done before, and the reason is always to reveal who is at the other end, usually a game-changing shocker. You know, you're supposed to think he's talking to one of his co-conspirators, i.e., his mother or President Warf, and then you find out . . . DA DA DUM! HE'S TALKING TO SYLAR! OMG! HE'S THE VICTIM OF SYLAR MIND CONTROL. Or you know, something like that. Nope, he's talking to his mom, one of the two obvious possibilities, and we find out that in fact his mom is NOT one of his co-conspirators (like she clearly and obviously was, um, last week), and she is in a snit about it, and won't help him with her resources (which all burned to the ground two episodes ago), oh, and she has a dossier on the bald psychopath who is running ground operations for Nathan. It all adds up to a big, "huh?" and that's about it.

Meanwhile, we discover that Nathan is conflicted, for reals, y'all. Because the thing is that Nathan is doing this to protect the supers from themselves, because Peter is just a dangerous idealist who was going to endanger everybody with his . . . idealism, which is . . . Peter is . . . uh, wasn't Peter just living a mild-mannered, low-key life as a paramedic until Nathan started nabbing everybody? Didn't he CREATE the situation he's trying to control by creating the situation he's controlling? I mean, that might be the point, I guess; the futility of fascist tactics, but if the show really wants us to see Nathan as doing what he's doing because he has to, I just can't find the logical thread.

Here's what was good. We have a super-team out there now. Peter, Mohinder, Matt, Hiro, and Ando. It's a bit of a sausage-fest, but I forgive it a thousand fold because THIS IS WHAT WE'VE WANTED ALL ALONG, HEROES! Don't you realize we are watching this show because we loved comic books and the Superfriends on Saturday morning. For crying out loud, finally! Now let's keep the team together a while and do something with it. Let's give them code names. Sponge Lad, Mindmelder, Supercharge, Professor Dumb, and Paperweight. That'll do it. Personally, I hope that Supercharge is destined to kill Paperweight because Paperweight won't stop yammering about his destiny, like he really mattered anymore. I'm sad. I really used to like Hiro.

Also, Peter lost his superpowers hard drive space. This is really good. First, it kills off my biggest problem with last week's show, which seemed to forget he could fly. Second, it allows Peter to be in a scene without killing any possible tension. Well played, Heroes.

Here's what is really, really, really bad. Draw the future power. This is a drama killer, and a silly power, and I don't want it anymore. It's such a lazy device to get people to do what you want them to do. And now, in order to keep it, they just GIFT it to Matt, which makes no damn sense at all. In fact, I hereby pledge to complain in every recap about this until it goes away. Hey, it got Peter's powers scaled back. That's right, I'm claiming credit.


Random Thoughts

* So Speedy is still "nemesis" to Ando, after helping him out for all but an episode and a half. Does he know what the word means? Does she run over water, like a whole ocean of water? How does she get to Japan otherwise? Also, "How did you find me?" "Hiro told me about your super secret hideout, where you aren't right now, you're just hanging out in Tokyo, one of the most population dense cities in the world. So knowing about your hideout tells me nothing." Quibble quibble.

* I enjoyed this bit of dialogue:

Mohinder: "You lost your ability? How?"

Hiro: "It's complicated. And idiotic."

I may have made some of that up.

* They still call Claire "the cheerleader," even when they know her name, and even when there is no reason that they would know of that aspect of her character. Is this for the benefit of new viewer, if any, who still recall the "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" tag, or what? She hasn't been a cheerleader for a long time.

* "Yes! Hiro is still alive because I kill him!" Man. I was really hoping that was going on the "we'll never speak of it again" reboot boat.

* Does the whole Bennett family talk exclusively through clenched teeth?

* Either Claire (and Sylar) can never ever ever die, as Sylar said at the beginning of the Season, or it takes one shot to the back of the head to kill her. Let's decide, shall we? I am willing to accept that they just HOPE that this will do the trick, and it won't.

* After last week's rather trenchant conjuring of real world Gitmo imagery and habeas corpus infringement, they went for an utterly ham-fisted and confusing conflation of the mess around the crash site to Iraq. Just saying the words "greeted as liberators" doesn't mean you're making a statement.

* Aw, Ace found his Gary. The Ambiguously Psychotic Duo lives! And Mohinder and Parkman are back together again, probably holding hands while Mohinder gazes into Parkman's milky, translucent eyes. They occasionally worry about Molly, wherever she may be, and what might be happening to her in this superpower round up. Sometimes they kiss, softly, tenderly. I am quite sure this is all happening off-screen, of course, but the sexual tension is there. On the other hand, Nathan and Peter shared a scene and didn't hug for an awkwardly long time, so maybe we aren't totally committed to the "obvious gay subtext" for this chapter.

* So who is contacting Claire with the OH HAI U R POWERS I CAN HAS REVOLUTION text? Peter, maybe. That one lady who can control electronics from Season 1 and never seen again, mayhap? Micah? Probably Peter. Hopefully it isn't Linderman's ghost who is really an apparition.

* Where is the Haitian Sensation?

* Um, Nathan? PETER is unpredictable? You change your entire raison d'etre pretty much every show.

* I like Baldy MacGenocide. A genuinely threatening bad guy, and I bet he's got powers, too.

* Remember when Tracy had a conscience for like a minute? I actually don't mind this inconsistency. I think that's how people are a lot of the time. My point is, Tracy's a B. That's right, I said a B. Don't faint, I think harsh language was needed.

* I imagine the missile strike was to cover up the plane crash. Hilariously, the tail of the airplane still factors in prominently for the rest of the episode. Maybe Eko and Bernard and Ana Lucia are in there still.

* The Emmies are nonsense. Three years in and Zach Quinto still hasn't won Most Eyebrows.

14 comments:

Astin said...

Random Answers

Ando and Hiro seem to have a problem with names. Claire has always been "the cheerleader", Daphne is always "nemesis" (and I always forget her real name anyway), Peter is always "Peter Petrelli", Nathan is "flying man", etc..

The writers' concept of time travel is equivalent to a retarded monkey's. The concept of cause and effect is lost on them, as obviously the future that Hiro first travelled to has changed now due to the actions of everyone in the first half of the season. On top of that, you'd think one of them would have figured out Ando wasn't killing him but supercharging him.

A bullet the brain will kill them as long as the bullet is there. As evidenced by the tree branch to the brain from season 1.

Funny, I thought the same thing about Mohinder and Matt when Mohinder asked "when did you learn to draw?"

As soon as you said Micah, I realized that is who it was. Wireless girl died in the online comics.

Obviously, a giant plane tail isn't suspicious at all.

Mary said...

Here's a supposed explanation about Parkman's new ability:

http://io9.com/5150956/heroes-oracle-telepathic-cop-explained-kind-of

And I'm slightly confused. Peter explained that he can only hold on to the last power he's absorbed. When he was sucked out of the plane that power was Tracie's "cold as ice" touch. How did he survive the free fall to earth? Or did he absorb some other power before the suckage? Invisible parachute power? Moon-bounce butt?

HighOnPoker said...

Other obnoxious absurdities (amazingly missed by the Goat):

1. Daphne can run into a crowded scene at super speed, blowing over papers and all sorts of stuff in her wake, and yet none of the extras in the scene react to her sudden appearance? WTF!? I'm all for the idea of supersonic travel, but that doesn't mean that people wouldn't notice a sudden burst of wind followed by the appearance of a pixie-esque blond chick in the middle of a Japanese market. I mean, come on!

2. No one died in a plane crash? Noah Bennett (aka Horn-Rimmed Glasses) pops up half way through the episode and he looks like he just got out of the shower, fresh from the day spa. He doesn't have a scratch or bruise on him...AND HE WAS IN THE COCKPIT WHEN THE PLANE WENT NOSE-FIRST INTO THE GROUND!!! WTF!! I could even let them get away with his survival and perhaps even allow him no serious injuries, but how about a bruise or a bump or a scratch.

Safest. Plane crash. Ever.

Who is writing this damn show? It has the writing integrity of a half-assed daytime soap opera written by retards.

Julius_Goat said...

Yeah, yeah, everybody was in a plane that crashed nose first into the ground and nobody was injured. I guess I'm just going to assume that Claire blood brrzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . .. .

dueyv9 said...

It's funny how on Lost the idea of everyone crashing in a plane and 48 people surviving doesn't seem that far-fetched....and they did it in the first episode of the first season!!

In Heroes..you have people with superpowers and we STILL question their ability to survive!!

What a laugh.

Julius_Goat said...

Duey, a valid point.

Here's LOST vs. Heroes in the subject of people ludicrously surviving horrible plane crashes.

1) In LOST the plane crash is the premise, not a plot point. Thus, it is our starting point. We have no choice other than to accept these people as survivors of a plane crash.

2) In LOST, the characters openly question the unlikelihood of their survival, and as themes of fate and destiny are explored, we draw closer to some form of explanation for it. It isn't explained immediately, and not entirely even now, but it is dealt with as a part of the story. In Heroes, you see them about to crash, then you see these people (most of whom do NOT have invulnerable/healer on their resume) just swanning around like they just hopped off the jungle gym.

3) In LOST a ton of people died on the crash, and dozens of others sustained injuries. The first 20 minutes or so show how many probably would have died in the aftermath if not for the heroics of Jack. Again, in Heroes, the characters survive because they just do.

4) Lost is well-written. Heroes is poorly written.

5) Nyah, nyah, nyah.

spritpot said...

I was confused by the plane crash as well. Especially since the big cliffhanger of the last episode was that they were all going down. It would seem that we as audience members were interested in this because we wonder how and if they will survive. Then the next episode we just all see them on the ground without much except a couple of bumps and scrapes to show for it. Were we supposed to be worried about this plane crash or not? I think it's just another example of Heroes creating too many random things to grab the audience's attention, and not resolving them in a satisfying way.

-bruechips

spritpot said...

Also, why is Sylar so fascinated by the power of the Kid That Melts Things? He says it's "very impressive"...doesn't he already have about a dozen powers that do the same thing except better?

dueyv9 said...

I agree with everything you say Julius..I'm a big fan of both shows....heroes not so much.

Mary said...

Maybe Sully piloted the plane. That's why they all survived.

: )

Astin said...

Nathan explained in the first scene that the pilot was able to pull of an emergency landing. So it was probably very bumpy and shaky, but if Bennet was strapped in (as were most of the other passengers), then they SHOULD be fine.

As for Peter, he didn't go out the plane, did he? Mohinder grabbed onto him just in time.

Mary said...

Hmmm...I thought at the end of the previous show he got sucked out into the wild black wander. Maybe that was just my hopes and wishes rather than what happened on the show.

Unfortunately I've deleted the show from my dvr - but I'll have to search the interwebs to find a video of the episode.

lol - my word verification is "hotpie"

Mary said...

Astin, you are correct. The episode ended with Mohinder having a very tenuous hold on Peter.

AOysgelt said...

Dear Julius,

The biggest problem with Heroes isn't that it's a terrible show (which it is), but that the writers have NO REASON to change the way they're producing the episodes/seasons. Essentially, the show is written in such a way as to make it economical, and to show off some eye-candy special effects from time to time.

Sadly, it is these special effects that draw the audience to the show, nothing else matters. If this was a show that was grounded purely on acting or plot, without any sparks, flying pipes, or well-drawn paintings, we all wouldn't be watching this show.

The writers know this, and focus their attention accordingly. Personally, I just listen to the episodes online, and whenever I hear something that might be a nice special effect, I rewind to make sure I didn't miss anything. Otherwise, well, it makes for rather entertaining white noise.

This is, as you had once said, a show that Milks its audience. And it does it rather well....

~Arthur O.