Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Super-Powered TV: Heroes 4.1: Redemption and 4.2: Push, Jump, and Fail

Welcome to Volume Five of Heroes: “Redemption”. We have two episodes to cover from the first night, so let’s get right to it!

We open with a funeral of a character named Joseph attended by a handful of folks we have never seen before. We get a montage of some of the Heroes we do know in the process (most of which are from season one) before we move in to images that appear to be of the characters’ current location. Our eulogist (already a better narrator than Suresh) uses his powers (I assume telekinesis) to bury his brother as the funeral breaks up.

Chapter one, “Orientation” starts after the break as Claire makes her way to her college dorm room in Arlington, Virginia. Her roommate ends up being a little overly pushy; far pushier than any normal human should be. Seriously, I met some overly pushy people in college, but this goes a little far. Claire meets Gretchen after bailing on her new roomie during a test. Gretchen is a far friendlier student (despite her resemblance to a former ward of a nanny named Fran). She discusses her new surroundings with her father and embraces truthiness. (Stephen Colbert must be proud.) After a party where she chooses to hang up with Gretchen instead of

In Japan, Ando and Hiro have set up a business called Dial A Hero. Hiro’s sister Kimiko shows up to tear them a new one for wasting the company’s money. But after she leaves, they do get their first call. It is of course, a stuck cat. Ando goes to get it and predictably falls. Hiro uses a time freeze to keep him from getting hurt, but when he flashes the power off he seems to get stuck in time himself. After he awakens back in the office, Hiro reveals he is dying. He talks about his history in the carnival... before disappearing fourteen years in to the past.

Peter is a medic again, and uses his flight (or is it strength) powers as a really cheap form of parkur to get to an injured patient on the other side of a traffic jam.

Noah and Angela discuss the death of multiple Building 26 agents by Traci Strauss. Traci tries to murder Noah in his car, but he is rescued by Danko of all people. We get several tense and rather pointless moments. Later, Noah tries to convince Traci to work with him to find redemption, but Traci declines. Danko & Bennett have another terse converstion about Traci, but this time the Haitian lies in wait to make Danko forget his target.

Angela sits down for dinner with Nathan, a dinner she saw only moments before in a vision... only with Sylar. She begins to get worried about the nature of Sylar/Nathan.

Parkman receives Angela’s phone call for help, but he refuses to help. He is dealing with his own issues with “darkness” that has arrived recently.

Nathan begins to display Sylar’s power traits while in his office. He reaches out to Peter, but Peter ignores his calls.

At the circus, Lydia the tattooed woman works with the carnival master to uses his powers to summon up an image of Emil Danko. Our villainous carnival master assigns Edgar (go, Ray Park, go!) to hunt down and assassinate Danko. Edgar goes after the mind-wiped Danko and kills him in his apartment just after Traci decides to let him go. He cannot cut water and Traci chases him away from the scene of the crime before he can get the “compass” he wants.

Episode two, “Push, Jump, Fall”, opens with Parkman having headaches in Los Angeles, while Nathan is having the same in Washington. Parkman finds his son gone, only to have him in the hands of Sylar. Sylar demands to have his body back. It seems instead of wiping Sylar from Nathan’s mind, Matt absorbed the villian’s consciousness in to his own. Not quite sure how that would work, but let’s run with it. Parkman uses a police drug recovery program to discuss his powers in the loosest sense. Sylar pays a visit, and as always, Matt ends up looking crazy. He again looks crazy in the interrogation room. Sylar’s influence finally strikes with the water guy, as Matt forces him away from the house.

At his apartment, Noah calls Sandra only to have a man answer at the house. The phone dials right back, but this time it is Traci. Traci calls Bennett to the scene of Danko’s demise. They discuss the unknown killer and find a key buried in Danko’s stomach. This seems to be getting slightly preposterous. Noah pays Peter a visit, and after a brief conversation about Peter’s situation, he asks Peter to back him up. They open the safe deposit box and find that it is an actual compass, a broken one. Edgar arrives, but Peter uses his own speed and strength to keep the fight moving. They start a super-speed fight, and either Edgar clearly does not have any fighting abilities past his speed or Peter is a secret ninja, because Peter easily defeats him with one less blade. After the fight, we learn the compass isn’t so broken when held by Peter. Peter refuses to follow Noah on the mission, but he quickly finds that Noah has become a victim of Edgar after Peter leaves. Traci visits the injured Noah in the hospital... and Noah ends up hitting on her. Really?

In the past, Hiro realizes his location. He encounters Samuel the carnival master, himself time traveled in to the past. With Samuel’s influence, Hiro stops the accident that made Kimiko have a grudge against Ando. Now they are in love, and Hiro immediately decides that he must fix every mistake of his life.

In the aftermath of her roommate’s death, a suicide note appears out of nowhere in the room. She moves in with Gretchen who seems set on solving the murder. They start talking about a push, jump, fall test to determine how the body landed. Alone, Claire decides to run the test all by herself. She finds that her roommate did commit suicide. But Gretchen watches her recovery.

We end in the carnival with the words we gather the rest, and images of Sylar, Peter Petrelli, and Claire.

All in all, the debut shows a cohesiveness that hasn’t been seen since the end of season one. The loss of Mohinder (so far at least) gives the show a chance to pull itself out of its old funk. The new villains have solid potential, but so did every other villain introduced on Heroes. The challenge will be to keep them from derailing the way every other villain did. The characters seem to have received a reset as well, with most of their personalities reverting back to season 1. Nicely done, if not for the fact that we had two seasons of wild motivation changes. Hopefully the stream-lined writing staff can keep the show focused asd we progress over the next few weeks.

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