It's nice to see Heroes has finally gotten its teeth back. These last three episodes have booted the first six right in their collective crotch. Although one might suspect that the impending writers strike caused the show's creators to accelerate the pacing for the abbreviated season, I don’t think that’s what's happened here. As I understand it, only one episode was retooled to be a potential season finale, and that's still to come. So this abrupt change from tedious death march to fast paced roller coaster of intrigue was planned from the very start of the season. It's almost like the writers forgot everything they knew about pacing. One can only guess what the rest of this season would look like if it wasn't interrupted. Eight episodes of Maya & Alejandro in a hot air balloon anyone?
One thing I really enjoyed about this particular episode was its limited scope. Only three subplots were present this time, with one of them taking up the vast majority of the screen time. This felt like a much better arrangement than past episodes this season, where five or more separate subplots got juggled back and forth, none getting more than a few minutes of screen time. I’d even tolerate the Wondertwins for half an hour, if by the end of it they finally did something.More things we learned: (after the jump)
Mohinder’s motivations remain a real mystery for me. He’s always been a fairly transparent character, so I doubt he’s hiding anything, but I don’t think we’ve seen any particularly good reason why he’s gotten himself so morally invested in the Company. His progression from test tube jockey to gunslinger has been really unconvincing.
According to Bennet, Veronica Mars may not have come by her powers naturally. This would mark the first time (I think) that someone had their abilities forced upon them by a third party. Which provides a window of hope for all of us puny ability-less homo sapiens. I encourage every one of this blogs readers to plug your brain into some electricity, and post back in the Comments section with your results. With any luck, this blog will become a new gathering place for people with abilities – which is of course assuming that it doesn’t land me in jail first.
Aside from Mohinder’s dubious motivations, I really liked the way the “Bennet dies” prophecy was handled. No equivocations, no shape shifters, no swapping places with a bespectacled homeless guy. Bennet got shot in the fucking head, and he died. Not for long of course, but still. It felt raw.
Hiro’s visit with his father was a nice aside from the main event, and really solidified Hiro’s place as one of the most human characters in the show. From a writing point of view, it also neatly placed some boundaries on Hiro’s all-powerful abilities. If Hiro was capable and willing to travel back in time to save the life of anyone who died, the show would quickly become ridiculous. “Hiro, I need to dart across this freeway here to get to that AM/PM over there. If I get clipped by a semi or anything, could you be a bud and go back in time and stop me? Thanks dude.”
The other side plot this episode centered around Parkman, who has gone from being a sadsack to a possible psychopath with moderate to extreme father issues. We didn’t learn much new from his interrogation of Angela Petrelli, but his no-holds barred approach was a surprising development. He’s turning into a doughy Jack Bauer.
And finally, I noticed a lot of pretty glib one-liners this episode. Somewhat out of character for the show, but a welcome reprise from all the “Alejandro!” wailing we’ve sat through. Some particularly fine examples included:
“Hey Fight Club.” (Veronica Mars to a nose-bandaged Mohinder)
“Stings like a bitch don’t it?” (Bennet to a soggy and now smoking Veronica Mars)
“They were in an organization in the seventies. – You mean like a disco?” (Parkman’s boss)
Of course if I was writing the show (I’m not, for many, many very good reasons) I’d have capped off this one-liner spree with another during that scene on the Mystery-rooftop. When the camera cut to the close shot of Hiro as he finally sees Adam/Kensai’s face, I’d have punctuated that with an exclamation in Japanese followed by the subtitle: