On ''Heroes,'' as Hiro tries to find his sword, the heroes begin to suspect they're being toyed with by God -- or Linderman

By Gilbert Cruz
Updated January 24, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

Heroes (TV series)

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”Heroes”: Higher powers

Welcome back, TV Watchers. It’s been a looong time since we last gathered here. I’m glad to be back and glad to be watching Heroes again, because I was in withdrawal for a few weeks there, reading the NBC.com graphic novels over and over again and madly scanning fan sites, all while seriously contemplating buying a Nissan Versa. (They threw in yet another product-placement shout-out in tonight’s episode! And yet, here I am perpetuating this vicious capitalist cycle.)

I have to start off with one of my favorite sequences of the entire series so far — simple, wordless, and completely representative of what Heroes is about. I’m talking about the scene showing Ted Sprague, our ”radioactive man,” sitting out in the middle of some windswept middle of nowhere in a Unabomber-type shack. He was sitting there producing mini-explosions from his hands, like a magician, like the Human Torch, like someone who is simultaneously frightened and in awe of his abilities. It’s what all of the show’s main characters must feel.

Akin, perhaps, to what one feels in the presence of something otherworldly. It’s an appropriate comparison, for episode 12, ”Godsend,” had its moments of divine invocation. Let’s put aside the night’s closing words (Jessica’s responding to Niki’s plea of ”Oh, God, please help me” with the unfortunate line ”Who needs God when you’ve got me?”), as well as the translation of the characters on Hiro’s sword handle (”great talent” and ”godsend”), and instead focus on the Haitian. Though I’m glad he’s finally talking, it didn’t seem as if the man had any semblance of a personality until he broke out with ”What you can do? What I can do? That is God. Respect that calling.”

Whoa. Who knew the man was a philosopher? Am I crazy here? For while it’s sensible to blame evolution for these abilities, there’s got to be something else at work bringing these people together, because in the world of Heroes, what Nathan said just before his mind was blown — ”These things can’t be connected. The world doesn’t work like this” — is completely incorrect. These things are connected, Nathan. The world is a strange place.

And I think he’s beginning to realize this. Check the look on his face when Hiro rushed in and mentioned Linderman’s name. These things are connected. This Linderman guy is everywhere. When the hell are they going to show his face? His arm? I’d settle for his lower torso as he sits in front of a monitor stroking a cat, à la Inspector Gadget‘s Doctor Claw. I wonder, if and when Sylar gets taken down, if Linderman is going to turn out to be the show’s major long-running villain.

It was as shocking for me to see his name on that sword replica as it was for Hiro, who remains the only character to get any funny lines on a regular basis. He really is the star of the show. If it weren’t for Hiro, Heroes would be sort of a downer. I’m sure many of you saw the sneak peek that Masi Oka offered on Jay Leno last week, but that scene of him trying to pronounce the word villain to Nathan (”Billan.” ”Billan?” ”Billan.” ”Villain.” ”Vee—” ”V.” ”Veeelain.”) was still pretty hilarious the second time around. I must say though, I was disappointed by the way they incorporated the dinosaur from Isaac’s painting into the show. I was stupidly hoping that somehow Hiro would end up back in prehistoric times. In retrospect, that was probably an idiotic hope. The special effects on that would have been ridiculously expensive. I don’t know what I was thinking. (To be fair, though, that painting did show him holding a blade in some fiery-looking place, not a sheath.) Alas.

Or maybe bollocks, as the newest addition to the show’s lineup — a British invisible man — would say. Now, we’ve all read that this is going to be the guy who helps Peter learn how to focus his abilities, but they’ve definitely started off on the wrong foot, and the invisible man is definitely a shady man. (Though, if you were invisible, wouldn’t you indulge in a little petty larceny — or worse — from time to time? Maybe not. Character is what you do when no one is looking or, in this case, when no one can see you.) I’m eager to learn about this new character, though I feel that adding more and more people, which the show seems to be planning to do, will only shorten the amount of time we get to spend with those we already know. It was odd that Peter had seen the invisible man in his visions, even though he’s never crossed paths with him before. But he also saw Niki’s family in his visions, so maybe he’s still got a little bit of Isaac in him. I can’t wait to see if Peter figures out a way to hold on to powers permanently, instead of just when he’s in proximity to others.

And lastly, the Niki-Jessica story line continued, with Niki in jail possibly facing the death penalty. She flipped back and forth between the two personalities in a Gollum-like scene with her lawyer and appeared to break a guard’s baton in two as Niki. While I’m still unsure if she’s going to turn out good or bad, it’s possible that she’ll learn how to use her super strength without having to turn into the psychopathic Jessica. While this story line is the least obviously connected to the main plot of the show (the New York nuclear bomb — between this, 24, and Jericho, we are collectively obsessed with the idea of nuclear obliteration. One word: Iran), it might be the one I’m most interested in, solely to see where it goes and how it’ll play out.

As usual, tons more happened, but I can only mention details in passing. If you were Matt’s wife, wouldn’t you leave him permanently after he told you he could read minds? Can you think of anything worse than being in a relationship with someone who could hear all your thoughts? It’d be creepy, even if it were someone as sweet as Matt. Didn’t you think the scene between H.R.G. and Mohinder was a little too reminiscent of a Darth Vader speech. (”You’ve no doubt realized things can go terribly wrong with these abilities. If you work with me, we can control that. Together we can actually make a difference.”) Yes, H.R.G., and rule the galaxy as well). And am I the only one who thinks the closing narrations are getting more and more incomprehensible? I wrote this episode’s down and listened to it twice. It still sounds like utter nonsense.

Thoughts? See you next week.

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Heroes (TV series)

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