‘Heroes’ recap: Problem with the ‘rents
Closure is a difficult thing for a serialized enterprise to come to grips with. On the one hand, every storyteller knows that everything that has a beginning must also have an end — and that applies to both the macro (the all-encompassing story itself) and the micro (each and every plot thread). But on the other hand, you’ve got the desire to add layers and reversals and loops, all in an attempt to stretch out that story for as long as possible. The latter can get tiring, as anyone who’s watched Lost for its entire run can attest — at some point, we viewers want answers to the questions that get posed, and it’s up to the storytellers to make withholding them feel like foreplay.
What made ”Angels and Monsters” better than your average episode of Heroes is that it actually answered one of this season’s biggest questions: What’s the deal with Dead Head Linderman? We’d seen him whispering sweet religious nothings into Nathan’s ear ever since the assassination attempt. What seemed a figment of the junior senator’s imagination has been revealed to be implanted by Maury Parkman (Alan Blumfeld) — who is a far more powerful telepath than his son, and not burdened with morality — under orders from the not-actually-deceased Arthur Petrelli (Robert Forster). And with that end-of-the-episode revelation, so many pieces fall into place.
Arthur is the principal mind behind the Pinehearst Corporation, which is angling to compete directly with the Company. How? First, by having ”Linderman” hire Daphne to steal both halves of the super-serum formula, most likely to create his own army of gifted and talented soldiers. Second, by manipulating Nathan into believing that God wanted him to keep quiet about his abilities, thereby giving him some breathing room to operate without the world at large poking into anything and everything hero-related. And third, by forming the nucleus of the Hero Hunting Squad of the Future around Daphne and Knox. All of this accomplished through nothing more than conversations with mental mirages.
Sometimes, the long con pays off. In spades.
Of course, this being Heroes, not everything in any given episode comes together quite as well as you’d hope — like the ongoing devolution of Mohinder Suresh. Also known as MohinderFly. Now known as MohinderAlienQueen. You know a character is in trouble when the only thing the writers can think to do with him is make him a shameless amalgam of other, better sci-fi flicks. And you know what makes me think the show has given up on imbuing MohinderAlienQueen with anything resembling legitimacy? The fact that when we see the good doctor, he’s slithering up on a drug dealer in some nameless NYC park. In broad daylight. And we’re led to believe that Mohinder then drags him — trailing blood, mind you — back to his nest. Also in broad daylight. Riiiiiight.
NEXT: Hiro runs with the idiot ball
And I’m not quite buying Claire ”the Punisher” Bennet and her newly myopic view of guilt and innocence. You’d think that she’d have seen enough over the last two years of powers-related shenanigans to know that what’s in someone’s file isn’t the sum total of who they are. And that the company that her father works for has never, ever been on the up-and-up. And that they’ve never been out to protect the public, only their own interests. But, no, she get’s her Bronson on and tasers a Level 5 escapee who just wants to say goodbye to his wife and kid. Even though she’s not entirely believable, this little story arclet did give us one of the more interesting scenes of the episode: Sylar, saving Claire’s life. Noah, forced to watch, helpless. And Claire, confronted with the man responsible for her skullshtupping coming to her rescue. That was a room full of conflicted emotions. And it led to that escapee, Mr. Vortex, proving himself possibly the most human character we’ve met on this show. Live as the person you want to be, and on your own terms.
I feel bad for Nathan. How does a pious man react when his faith is unassailably punctured by science? He was absolutely positive that his powers were a gift from the Almighty until Tracy provided a reasonable doubt: ”If God didn’t give us these powers, then who did?” ”A doctor in Reseda, California.” And then to follow that doubt to his mother, who copped to being responsible for putting him on the geneticist’s table? Learning that your parents, those unimpeachable pillars of comfort, allowed someone to hack at your insides in order to make you better (because you weren’t good enough)…that’ll shake a dude to the core.
As for Hiro, I’ve decided he’s the Forrest Gump of this here tale. The idiot ball firmly tucked away, Hiro took Adam Monroe to a ”Specials Bar” and allowed him to escape from his custody — and then get captured by Daphne and Knox. To top it all off, in order to join the badass club, Hiro stabbed Ando in the chest. Yes, it really is as dumb as it sounds. (Yes, I’m sure Ando isn’t dead, and that next episode Hiro will go back in time to rig Ando’s chest to merely look like he’s stabbed, but still…stupid is as stupid does.)
I will say this, though: I’m very intrigued to see what happens with Claire’s caliente madre, Meredith, and the Puppet Man. Sharp-eyed comic fans will, no doubt, recognize that from Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias, which related the harrowing events that forced Jessica Jones out of the superhero business. See, she was held captive by a mind-controlling villain named the Purple Man, who forced her to do the most demeaning things imaginable. (If you’ve never read Alias, get thee to a bookery — it’s masterful.) If what happens next week is half as creepy as that Alias arc, I’ll forgive them for the liberal story appropriation.
Not a bad episode, if only for the producers’ willingness to move the story along with the careful application of answers. Not quite as good as last week’s, but good enough to slide into second place for the season.
What did you think? Are Peter’s homicidal tendencies a welcome change or a shallow attempt at making him ”extreme”? Is MohinderAlienQueen cocooning those people in his flat, including Maya, for breeding purposes? And aren’t you glad the Parkman we saw this week was Papa Parkman?