Monday, December 8, 2008

Super-Powered Television: Heroes the Eclipse pts. One and Two (season 3-10,11)

I honestly have put off watching both parts of “The Eclipse” on purpose. After two solid episodes, I feared that this would be more of the same from the first several weeks of the series.

Angela puts Claire in the hands of Noah for safe keeping. Claire is snarky and standoffish, so dad proceeds to train her... badly. They have a heart to heart momentarily before Elle shows up... and finds her powers don’t work. Noah proceeds to beat Gabriel and Elle senseless, but not before Elle can shoot Claire with Noah’s gun. After Noah takes her home and binds the wound, he leaves to go after Sylar, but Claire’s wound opens again.

Nathan and Peter head to Haiti... to find the Haitian, and fall out of the sky as the eclipse approaches. The two of them end up in an argument about their own world views. They end up meeting the Haitian, and Nathan gets captured by the men of Baron Samedi, who is apparently the Haitian’s brother.

Mohinder learns that he may soon die... especially if Claire does so. Mohinder starts to fall apart as the eclipse approaches, but I doubt this will be enough to actually kill him. Instead, he apparently cocoons himself. (Ugh.) He wakes up quickly, apparently cured.

Parkman and Daphne are sent out to find Hiro, unaware that Hiro has the mind of a ten year old. Daphne starts to come in to her own, as her paranoia about betrayal gets teh better of them. Hiro and Ando find them instead, in the hopes that Parkman can cure Hiro. The first irk comes here as Parkman isn’t clever enough to mind-link with Hiro AND Ando to reset his mind. Anyway, they follow Daphne after she runs to Lawrence, Kansas. After Hiro leaves, Matt goes inside and learns that without her powers, Daphne apparently suffers from some kind of muscular dystrophy.

Hiro’s story breaks off from Matt’s as he goes to a local comic shop... ran by guest stars Seth Green & Breckin Meyer. And I have to admit, framing the Robot Chicken creative team as comic shop owners is great fan service. On the other hand, I wonder how much fan service is really necessary in a show that is already so blatantly dredging up old comic storylines.

Tracy plays double agent, ratting on Nathan. Arthur sends her on a mission of her own.. to Paris Island, and almost gets caught by Angela.

As the first chapter starts, Arthur sends Sylar and Elle on a mission to capture Claire as our show opens. Elle proceeds to become the problem child again, as she sets up Sylar to battle with a rental car worker (who for some reason has a rifle). After the debacle of their attack, Sylar and Elle have a Bonnie and Clyde style chat as they become human once more, even as Noah has Sylar in the sites of a sniper rifle...

Oh, and I am kind of annoyed that Lawrence, Kansas, equates to a farm house. It’s a town of nearly 90,000 for goodness sakes! Althought it is big enough to have a comic shop... well done, California writers! Well done!

Okay, so the first part was decidely better than expected... on to part two.

Part two opens with Peter and the Haitian plotting to recover Nathan, and attack Baron Samedi. The Haitian and Peter blindside Baron Samedi, and beat him down.

claire is rushed to the hospital, where we learn her lack of abilities has left her immune system basically non-existent. She is stabilized by the doctors (I am not really sure how...), and her mom finds herself answering questions from the police. But Claire goes in to cardiac arrest... (Sigh... really?), no wait it’s apparently septic shock. The doctors can do nothing to save her. (Powers should be coming back anytime now...) Oh wait, the eclipse clears, lighting up the corpse (as this morgue apparently has windows) and Claire wakes up.

Nathan is tied and chained by Baron Samedi, a character in full super villain mode. He begins to realize that he’s not the hero he thought he might be, but he does help to free the other would-be prostitute. His story reconnects with Peter and the Haitian, and Peter stays behind to let the others escape. After the powers return, Peter comes under fire from Samedi’s forces, and with his gun empty has no choice but to surrender. The Haitian and Nathan return to save him. But Samedi’s powers have returned also, and with his invulnerability, only the Haitian can bring him to his knees. The Haitian helps the prostitute escape, and Nathan and Peter have a heart to heart. Nathan begins to move to his father’s worldview... and proceeds to abandon Peter in Haiti.

Arthur threatens Mohinder to keep him working, even though now powerless, Mohinder (selfish, spoiled brat that he is) wants out. Mohinder beats Jesse senseless in order to escape captivity, and immediately goes running for Maya (Damn you, Heroes!) Mohinder arrives at Maya’s doorstep, but his powers arrive before they can speak. Mohinder returns to Pinehearst, ready to return to his work as his body begins to degrade again.

We learn Daphne actually has cerebral palsy, a condition her powers cured. Now she continues to punish herself again and again for her past mistakes. After a brief stop at the comic shop to find Hiro, he returns to the house and finds his and Daphne’s powers have returned. Parkman helps Daphne come to terms with herself and her past mistakes... hopefully for good this time.

Seth Green & Breckin Meyer continue to have a fight over whether or not the newest issue of 9th Wonders featuring both themselves and the visiting Hiro and Ando. Breckin figures out that the eclipse is what blocks their powers, and quickly become fanboys for the real life heroes. But Hiro runs away as he learns of the perils he faced as an adult. Seth Green proceeds to help talk Hiro out of the comic shop bathroom. Meanwhile, Breckin Meyer finds a secret in an old issue of 9th Wonders that gives him the answer to retrieving his powers. He flashes away from Ando and the comic shop to find Claire Bennet. Parkman & Daphne come back to learn that Hiro is gone, and Seth tells them of a legendary lost issue of 9th Wonders that may hold answers for their future.

Gabriel and Elle “make love” (as much as two sociopaths can do so) on the floor of the safehouse, only to come under attack by Noah. Elle gets hit by a bullet, but Sylar pulls her away (after the two of them magically put some clothes on). Noah’s own sadism begins to shine through again as he starts the hunt for them. Noah pursues them to a supermarket, where Gabriel bandages Elle’s wound then sends her away. Noah beats down Gabriel, and then slits his throat. (Powers should be coming back any time now...) Nathan comes back to learn Claire died, but is alright now. Gabriel and Elle arrive a moment later and assault Noah’s family. Gabriel tortures Noah, but Noah reveals that Gabriel is not Arthur or Angela’s son at all. Noah works mind games to try and save himself, but Gabriel starts to cut him down anyway. Hiro arrives, teleports Gabriel and Elle elsewhere. Then he runs off with Claire. Claire and Hiro watch as Kaito Nakamura hands over baby Claire to a younger Noah as the show comes to an end.

Gabriel begins to doubt Elle after Noah’s words, and Elle seems to still be slightly afraid of him. Gabriel comes to the understanding that he hasn’t changed at all, and proceeds to cut open Elle’s skull.

Well, these episodes were decidedly better than I expected, and I go in to tonight’s episode with less trepidation than I expected. But the Petrelli family storyline seems to me to already be past due to end. The quality of the Sylar, Hiro/Ando, and Parkman/Daphne storylines really show that the show is at its weakest when its treading out the Petrellis again and again. I have no interest in Nathan and Peter’s storyline at all... Honestly, are there any comic fans out there that are tired of the whole Havok trying to come out of Cyclops’s shadow storyline. It feels like a lot of retread, and bad retread at that. Jeph Loeb especially should be ashamed of his hand in this, but then, anyone reading his Ultimate Universe work knows that Loeb has little or no shame.

Here’s hoping that in a couple months, when Heroes returns with volume four, the series will learn to refocus. Give us an actual ensemble for the first time since season one, and push the Petrelli family to the wayside. Here’s hoping... but I’m still not holding my breath.

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