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”Heroes” recap: Battling fate
I remember when Star Wars: Episode I came out. A bunch of us here at the office were talking about it, and former EW executive editor Mark Harris said something to the effect of ”It’s kind of amazing that George Lucas’ saga is actually about the redemption of the bad guy.” And he was right. It is kind of amazing. Watching this episode, I thought the same thing to myself: How amazing would it be if Heroes was all about Noah Bennett, the bad guy who tries to redeem himself — even if it costs him everything and everyone he’s trying to redeem himself for?
And good for Claire, standing up to her father. In the words of Aretha Franklin, sisters are doing it for themselves. (But for a second, when she built her little sign for West — who I’m still convinced will eventually turn bad — I thought she was gonna bust out that old Notting Hill chestnut: ”I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” And then I’d have had to puke all over my keyboard. Thankfully, the saccharine level didn’t get that high.)
I guess it’s only natural for a man who can do almost anything to run from the bonds of fate. What looked like petulance in Hiro, unable to eulogize his father, actually fit perfectly in the character of a young man who lived his whole life in his father’s shadow, only to become the one who sheds the light. He never knew the man. And now it’s too late. Regret is a powerful motivator for casting nature’s laws to the four winds. Hell, Superman did it — by spinning the Earth backward to reverse time — so why shouldn’t Hiro?
Because Nakamura-san said so: ”We have the power of gods. That does not mean we can play God.” But it is for children to learn their own lessons, I suppose. Is that why Hiro took his father back in time to his mother’s funeral at the same cemetery? To show Dad the depths of his pain? Seems a little futile, given that the elder Nakamura remembered what that pain was like. Or was it to appear to the young Hiro, because grown-up Hiro remembers meeting a twentysomething dude at his mother’s funeral who told him to honor his father?
Though I guess it was all just a way to get us to that last goodbye between father and son. For all the missteps in plot and structure, for all of my derision of the creative choices this show has made since last season’s finale, Heroes still has the power to affect me in its smallest moments. A final nod of respect.
Speaking of respect, I’m starting to feel a little bad for Kristen Bell. Since her character was introduced, she hasn’t had all that much to do. And this episode, she was pretty much reduced to eye candy — that shot of her in the bikini, the camera rolling its way up her legs? Objectify much? (By the by, if you couldn’t figure out that Elle is supposed to be a Hitchcockian noir blonde, Bob said that her compass faces north-northwest.) And we learned that Elle is Bob’s ”daughter,” much in the same way that Claire is Noah’s. In case you missed that those two men are flip sides of the same coin.
Suresh. Mohinder Suresh. Why in the world would anyone ever give him a gun? And why would Bob and Elle decide to follow his grand plan? His long record of operational brilliance? Because he threatened to tell Bennett ”everything”? What exactly does Suresh really know, anyway? I ask the jury, once more, why the hell is this powerless schmuck still drawing breath?
(”Did you pack Mr. Muggles’ doggy bath?” I can only imagine how many times it took Jack Coleman to deliver that line with the appropriate intensity — without breaking out in hysterics. Hell, it took me three times to type it without laughing.)
NEXT: The father-daughter tag team match
So the big hostage exchange. I suppose no one thought to do it in, say, the water on the beach 20 feet away, so Elle couldn’t do exactly what she did. And Jeebus, stupid Suresh. Why is he still on the Company’s side? Because they were the only ones who could save Molly? She’s fine, now, or did he not call home to check on the girl he’s risking everything to save? Because Bennett’s a bad dude? So is Bob, and he’s got to know that Elle is, like, nine kinds of crazy. He said that he’s on his own side. Yeah, the incredibly stupid side. But he’s a good shot.
Well, I’ll be damned. It’s not often I’m surprised by TV, but I was to see that Bennett was the dude on the slab getting a magic-cheerleader-blood infusion. Didn’t see that coming. But why would Bob want H.R.G. alive? To hold as a bargaining chip? Or better yet, will he hold Claire’s safety out there as a carrot, using her well-being as the lever to make Bennett a compliant lapdog once again?
Oh, Parkman can ”push” people’s minds. He pushed Molly to eat her cereal (baby steps), nudged his boss to let him stay on the Petrelli case a little longer, and literally browbeat Angela into giving up her secrets. (Of course, most of them were secrets we already knew, which robs them of most of their punch — except for Victoria Pratt’s name. I guess Parkman didn’t respect Angela’s privacy after all. What a slippery slope he’s trying to tread.)
All in all, a pretty solid episode, because it stuck to the core characters and pretended that the Oilies and New Orleans’ Magical Negro don’t exist. And even if we didn’t get any real storytelling resolution, we got some emotional closure.
What did you think, folks? Has Parkman crossed over to the dark side? Is West as puppy-dog friendly as he seems? What was Kaito Nakamura’s power? And does Angela really have one, or is she just conditioned to withstand mental assaults?