Know what I’d rather watch than Heroes? Head Detective, the wacky new sitcom following a psychic cop and the crazy dude living in his subconscious! From the people who brought you Cavemen, it’s the comedy fun-ride of the season. Seriously, if it wasn’t so boring, from a story perspective, it’d be interesting — only because Zachary Quinto seems to be having fun. In fact, he’s the only one on this show who does seem to be enjoying himself. Why are these heroes so friggin’ morose all the time? Wouldn’t being a master of the universe be a kick, even occasionally?
But, no. Heroes always feels as if it’s operating in the shadow of loss — there’s a funereal vibe to everything. And I think I’ve figured out why: Because no one wants anything. At least, none of the so-called heroes, anyway. And if you don’t want something, without something to strive for, you lead an aimless, dead-end life. Think about it: What do any of the main characters want? Matt: to not use his powers and be a cop? Peter: to help people? Claire: to tell someone her secret? Hiro & Ando: to, uh, hell, I don’t know. Those aren’t goals, those are…credos. Only the villains have concrete objectives. Sylar wants to get back into his body. Samuel wants to fill out his circus roster — we don’t know why, yet, but I’m willing to give the new bad guy some time to make his play.
(Speaking of which, I’m a little confused by Samuel’s power. He has command over ink — the pen is, in this case, mightier than the sword — which is marginally cool, especially when he uses his magic finger to alter photographic evidence. But during his quest to recruit Peter — for which he fakes a lawsuit, causing Peter to doubt his good samaritanness — Samuel goes to visit his childhood home, where his parents were manservants to the wealthy. Turned away by the lady of the mansion, Samuel somehow blows the house down. With ink magic? Or is the ink related at all to him burying his brother with his mind? The two don’t seem to reconsile.)
Heroes seems so enamored with metaphorical storytelling that it doesn’t even try to advance the plot. Take Claire, who tells her best new girlfriend that she’s impervious to pain — all while sitting around in short-shorts and playing with knives. Of course, Noah overracts to Gretchen: Essentially, he wants to send Claire to her room for breaking his rules. It’d be an interesting metaphor — the father who wants his daughter to remain a little girl for fear of the big bad world — if it weren’t so clumsily handled. You could get at the same metaphor without Claire having to act so irresponsible as to jump out of a window on a crowded college campus, thereby telling anyone who happens to be looking out their window that she’s magically delicious. (And you just know that Gretchen will probably get compromised somewhere down the line. Because that’s what happens.)
And Matt Parkman, wrestling with an addiction to power that we never really saw. We’re just supposed to take it on faith that he went on some wicked brain-bending bender and needed to rein himself in. But, whatever. Sylar is in Matt’s head and playing tricks on him. (Not sure how that works, since Heroes itself led us to believe that Matt didn’t siphon Sylar’s persona out of his body, he just buried it…sublimated it, while giving him Nathan’s face and memories.) And Sylar dupes Matt into believing that a petty drug dealer has murdered a kidnapped girl, causing Matt to brutalize Floyd (that’s what I’ve decided the drug dealer’s name was). Now, Matt has some esplaining to do. All to make Matt desperate enough to put Sylar back where he belongs. Ho hum.
There was one upside to this episode: The “I can see sounds” deaf girl. I don’t know how she’s going to impact the main story (if you can call it that), but she was responsible for a rare moment of beauty in the Heroesverse. She finds herself in “Central Park” and gets her hands on a street musician’s cello. It’s unclear if the people who gathered around to hear her play could see the colors emanating from the strings, or if the music was simply transcendent, but it was lovely. Finally, a moment of joy in the otherwise dour proceedings.
You know, I could swing with Heroes being bad, if it wasn’t so devoid of energy — so anti-fun. Where do you come down? You done, or are you giving it another week?
Image Credit: Chris Haston/NBC