Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heroes Episodes One through Six

Yes, this is a day light, but I figured it was for a good cause as it allows me to include episode six in this list. So let’s get to it!

Heroes started out with a bang, literally, as we find out Nathan’s would-be killer, send Parkman on a whole new quest, Sylar gets to Claire, Mohinder furthers his experiments, and we meet (briefly) Ali Larter’s new character. On top of this the rest of the cast all get new storylines in one form or another. I thoroughly enjoyed the focus on everyone, and the established goal of actually getting everyone involved with this season’s saga. The holes (like Maya’s sudden near perfect English) are not readily noticeable and every character seems to be allowed to come in to his own. I kept this section relatively spoiler free for anyone who has not read it, but everything following is SPOILER WARNING! You have been warned!

Episode Two moves Sylar in to an attack on Level 5 which starts with the death of Bob. He unleashes all the criminals on the floor but in the process comes in to conflict with Elle. A massive power surge allows Elle to level Sylar, but the arrival of Angela Petrelli as her father’s replacement spells the end for Kristen Bell on the show (at least for now). Future Peter laments her actions and Claire questions the change in her abilities. Hiro and Ando’s pursuit of new character Daphne takes them to Paris and is played mostly for laughs. And finally, Mohinder and Maya’s relationship deepens even as he realizes the transformation he put himself may be going wrong. Already Mohinder and Maya start to wear out their welcome, just as they did with the previous two seasons. Hiro and Ando are already falling back in to their zany adventure stereotype, while future Peter is even more angsty than his younger self. The only real breathe of fresh air in this episode is the arrival of the mysterious African guide for Parkman, a character that may finally get the respect he deserves this season.

Episode Three forces the new Petrelli brother, one Gabriel Gray, in to a partnership with the man who hates him more than any other: Noah Bennett. (An aside here, the continued use of HRG to refer to him in both the fan community and by the show itself annoys the heck out of me. He has a name for a reason, folks!) They take up the main part of the story as they chase down several of the villains, including Jesse (where future Peter somehow stowed present Peter). Hiro and Daphne have a powerless battle in German movie theater, but Daphne escapes with the second half of the formula. Tracy Strauss travels to New Orleans where we learn she isn’ Niki Sanders. Niki is dead, and Micah makes what may be his final appearance on the show. Disappointing, as I really thought Monica had the most potential of any character introduced last season. A sub-plot with Claire and her biological mom Meredith proves pretty much fruitless.

Episode Four already brings us to the future that will never happen episode. I honestly dislike these as they prove to be more waste of times than anything else. The dual narrative of present Peter in the future and Parkman’s dream vision interacts for an interesting narrative. Molly makes a brief appearance as her future self as we get more details on Parkman and Daphne’s relationship. Peter meets future Sylar, and as always, it ends in great tragedy. Angela sends Hiro and Ando to track down Daphne. They let Adam Monroe free in the process. Mohinder falls deeper in to his dark side (yawn) and we finally begin to understand the origins of Linderman.

Episode Five brings Claire back to the forefront as she takes a taser and goes after a Level 5 escapee, Stephen Canfield, a man able to create miniature black holes (and interestingly enough played by Bubbles of The Wire. This brings her directly in to conflict with Noah and Sylar, and serves to change her relationship with both. Peter learns that his power to understand things brings with it the same hunger Sylar possesses, but Angela sedates him before he can kill. Suresh binds up Maya (saving us from her acting at least, if not his), Monroe escapes only to run afould of the villains, and Linderman is revealed to be only an illusion projected by the senior Parkman. Mr. Parkman also pays a visit to Angela Petrelli, who locks Angela in a trance even as we catch the first glimpse of Mr. Petrelli. Hiro apparently kills Ando to get in with the Villians.

Episode Six from last night revolves around Daphne’s quest to recruit members to Pinehearst, the company the Villains exist under. Mr. Petrelli reveals himself as a power leech of some kind as he steals Adam Monroe’s powers. Without his healing factor, the ancient Monroe crumbles to a dusty, dissolving skeleton. Mr. Petrelli stands up, fully healed again. Claire and Sandra go after Doyle, a mad Villain that can control people as if they were puppets. Doyle eventually fails after assuming a shot Claire was dead. Meanwhile Nathan and Tracy fall in to the clutches of Suresh, but Tracy uses her new powers to free them as the show ends. Peter confronts Sylar, captures him, and heads out to find the secret of Pinehearst, only to run in to his father... and lose his powers.

All in all, season three is shaping up well. It doesn’t quite offer the depth of character as season one, but it avoids all the pitfalls of the lackluster second season. The sudden reversal of the roles of Sylar and Peter offers an interesting dynamic for the writers to work with, and the developments in the life of Parkman, Nathan, Tracy, and Daphne. Meanwhile the original characters come off as flat at times, especially in the case of Maya (who really seems to be just worthless as a character) and Mohinder (who has thoroughly outlived his usefulness). Even Claire seems to be floundering this season. I still cannot help but think that the show would have been better handled with Monica and Micah retained instead of some of its current cast. Nonetheless, Mr. Petrelli promises a few new intrigues over the next couple weeks. We will have to see as things develop.

Hopefully, my plans to update within a couple hours of each new show will come to fruition after this post. Stay tuned for that.

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