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'Heroes' recap: Stop. Hammer Time.

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I wish that Heroes and Project Runway were still in the same corporate family, because NBC loves cross-promotion. Tim Gunn could swing by the Heroes set and do something about these terrible, terrible clothes. Just look at that picture on my left. That was practically the whole episode. Two characters wearing literally the same thing – black jacket, black jeans, black shoes – walking around a studio backlot and muttering resentful stage whispers in each other’s general direction. It was like watching eleventh graders film a half-hour Spanish-language Waiting for Godot for Spanish class, except the eleventh graders would have at least worn some interesting clothes.

Everyone on Heroes wears black, all the time. Claire and Lauren apparently shop at the same Macy’s when they buy black jackets. In the flashback this week, Noah Bennet’s moral dissolution was signaled when he stopped wearing cheap black clothes and started wearing expensive black clothes. You could argue that all the black is a purposeful aesthetic choice. If you want to argue that, I’m willing to write a thirty-page thesis on why that’s the dumbest thing since Noah, the Struggling Playwright Who’s Just Selling Cars To Make Ends Meet.

I prefer to think that NBC is keeping costs down on Heroes by sending costume designers to the local Goodwill. Or maybe the actors just wear their own clothes. Or maybe the actors don’t even know they’re being filmed. Maybe Tim Kring tricked them into coming to the studio six months ago. He said, “I’ll let you out of you contract,” and they walked in with a smile on their face until the door locked behind them.

Now they’re trapped, locked inside hastily slapped-together sets, without any screenwriters or costume designers. Readers, have we become so cynical that we will allow such inhumanity to continue? Write your local City Councilman. Free the Heroes cast! Except for Greg Grunberg. And Ali Larter. And everyone except Zachary Quinto. But he has to actually follow through on the Gershwin thing.

I should point out that everyone’s hair looks great. I should also point out that last night’s Heroes was called “The Wall.” If you haven’t watched the episode yet, I recommend you watch it with the sound turned off and Pink Floyd’s The Wall turned up really high.

It would hurt my brain and yours to describe the shenanigans that formed last night’s two-and-half story lines. Suffice it to say the plot holes were roughly the size of the red spot on Jupiter. Oh heck, I’ll try to explain. So Peter had a premonition that Sylar is going to save Emma from murdering lots of people with her cello. Sylar was locked inside his brain. Peter went into Sylar’s brain and got trapped. They found a giant brick wall. Peter tried to break it with a hammer.

Years passed. They never changed clothes. Sylar read The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. Peter tried swinging his hammer, but he couldn’t break the wall. Sylar had an idea: What if I use a hammer, too? Peter bought him a new copy of The Pillars of the Earth. (Ken Follett should sue.) It turned out that the Wall was really just symbolic of Peter’s resentment. But the industry, my friends? That was a revolution.

Meanwhile, we finally got to see what happened to that chair Claire used to knock out the Multiplier in the Hall of Mirrors back in episode 12. Twist! The chair is still in the Hall of Mirrors! And Noah Bennet was being held captive thereupon. Samuel Sullivan (aka, The Plot Hole Who Walks Like A Man) decided to take an episode-long break from his plans to take over the world. He had to convince Claire Bennet that her daddy was a bad man. Because all he really wants is wuv.

Out walks a Special with the amazing power to project a person’s memory into a mirror. I’m going to ignore the fact that this is the third or fourth mute black man with vaguely-defined mental powers to appear on Heroes, and just get right to the point: this might be the stupidest power in the history of stupid powers. There once was an X-Man who could make bones grow out of her body in the shape of knives. That’s pretty dumb, but that’s a freaking tactical nuclear salvo next to the man with the memory mirror. I think he was the same guy who attacked Hiro and turned him into the third or fourth iteration of Amnesiac Man-Child Hiro (which is the action figure every lonely fat kid wants for Valentine’s Day this year.)

I once promised to never talk about “Company Man” again, but this episode utterly ripped off that brilliant season 1 episode. “Ripped off” is too kind. “The Wall” sliced open “Company Man” with a lightsaber and crawled inside that episode’s still-warm carcass to seek respite from the bitter cold barren wasteland that is aeason 4. They even brought back Allan Arkush, director of “Company Man,” to direct.

“Company Man” was an awesome origin story – it suggested the complete sweep of HRG’s life, showing how a man could end up fighting against the forces he spent his life defending, without diluting his essential mystery one bit.

In this new origin story, we learned that Noah Bennet was once a charmingly befuddled car salesman who sent nice-looking couples to the cheaper car dealership down the street. Noah had a pretty wife. She believed in him. She wanted to him to write plays. (Who writes plays in Los Angeles?) She was pregnant! But then a telekinetic impersonated a delivery boy and accidentally killed his wife in the most graphic way imaginable. Bennet seeks vengeance!

Of course, since Claire didn’t actually care that her father had a boring past, the only real lesson we learned from this subplot was this: having your pregnant wife murdered will make you a much better car salesman.

Also, Eric Roberts.

It turns out that next week is the season finale. Will Samuel follow through on seventeen episodes of claiming to have a master plan and actually maybe do something, anything? Will Peter and Sylar, the two most powerful Specials on the planet, somehow be able to defeat Michael Keaton and His Dancing Multiples? Will someone on this show actually die, or will we get another fun visit from Hiro’s tumor-healing ghost mama? Will Heroes sit peacefully in the river bed and beg Jeff Zucker to please tell it about the rabbits? Sound off below!

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