Heroes: Chapter Five “Fight or Flight”

on October 23, 2007 in Uncategorized

Last night’s episode was slightly disappointing. I’m sure it’s difficult for the writers to include each member of such a large cast in a whatever number of episodes each is contracted for. But it means that actors get obligatory screentime without much to do—time that would be better spent by going into narrative depth, a la last season’s episode Company Man.

Take for example Niki’s two minutes on screen. She rushes through The Company’s hospital ward in her violent Jessica persona, her clothing and demeanor evoking Sarah Connor’s asylum stay in T2 until a taser knocks her unconscious. All that really happens in her storyline is that Bob says something about her having multiple personality disorder.

(Really writers? You really decided to go that route after all the feminist fangrrrl commentary about women’s power being contained/diminished/invalidated by labeling her insane!?!?!? When compounded with the single mom/stripper thing, they are really failing with this character—which is too bad, because I thought after Jessica willfully gave over control to Niki in the season one finale things would be different.)

Then there were the token appearances of Ando, Hiro and Kensei that also didn’t tell us much.

And Nichelle Nichols gets one Gramie-line in the whole episode?!? If they continue to under-use her it’ll be obvious that her presence is just a bit of stunt-casting and nothing more. I hope that she’ll just appear frail and quiet and then bust out in some Yoda-esque butt-kicking a la Attack of the Clones.

The biggest developments happened in the Parkman and Petrelli arcs. Nathan accompanied Matt to Philadelphia to find Parkman Sr., a.k.a. “The Nightmare Man.” (And speaking of Beta Males, I loved Nathan schooling Matt on how to be an Alpha before they busted down the door to apartment number 9.)

Parkman Sr. at first appears to be a schlub and Matt’s desire for a reunion with Daddy overwhelms his own paternal protection of Molly. The nightmare man has had much more to time to practice faux sincerity than Sylar, and his earnest tales of days of yore, “We found each other years ago . . . like we were connected somehow . . . we thought we could save the world” were certainly believable. It’s clear he has searched the minds of Matt and Nathan (and perhaps others of our new generation of heroes) and echoed their sentiments back to them in order to temporarily gain their trust.

But then he trapped Matt and Nathan in their respective nightmares. Matt’s: imprisonment and abandonment

and Nathan’s: the post-explosion Manhattan that was avoided by the sacrifice of his brother. Nathan feels responsible for the death of Pete, and appears haunted by his tendencies to destroy what’s around him. Is this symbolized by the demon self that he sees?

And will Matt, who managed to wake both himself and the politician from their illusions, continue to develop mental powers that echo his fathers?

And what’s with all the Daddy issues? (This was something I was going to bring up last week—it’s like watching something from the Tim Burton oeuvre, yes?) Even with Mama Petrelli, Niki Sanders and Meredith Gordon, difficult dads take the cake here. I’m tired of multifaceted fathers overshadowing the possibility of complex mothers—especially when mothers are shown being nurturers, (or absent, as in the case of Claire’s birth mom) and dads are shown being research scientists, detectives, and senators, or running/taking down shadowy global organizations.

Petrelli’s Box
Nothing exciting happened when Peter opened but the box, but finding this by way of Katherine Keller made me laugh. On a side tangent, what’s with telling Caitlin that her brother’s death was his fault right after she sees him charred? Bad timing, Pete.

Wanted more from Kristen Bell. I felt she came off restrained, but perhaps that was just the writing. And again, it appears from her phone conversation at the end of the episode that there is yet another manipulative daddy. Could it be Bob?

Micah and Monica made me smile. He was thrilled to find someone he could share his powers with and how wonderfully childlike that he used a comic book to explain what was happening to her. The title was about a muscle-mimic, or copy-cat, named “St. Joan” (A Tim Sale, Helix Comics original, I’m sure) and of course a nod to that tragic savior of her people, Jeanne D’Arc, who like Monica had a close relationship with God.

I love Micah’s suggestion that “if this really happening to you, perhaps we outta go test it out” and Monica’s going in for some Double-Dutch—which she “always did suck at.” It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a “hero” take pleasure in their abilities, and the shared joy on their faces was infectious.

I also loved Monica flipping through the channels and picking up skills (particularly Jeet Kune Do—as Bruce Lee is arguably superhuman) as well as the irony involved in watching a television show about heroes in which one of them picks up her heroic skills by watching TV.

I did the think the “I’m just looking for some answers, that’s all” and Mohinder showing up on her doorstep with them scene was rather forced. And I like Mohinder, but he’s such a tool. Let’s hope he doesn’t betray Monica for Molly—but I think he’s already put Molly in the wrong hands.

Finally the from the preview, the next episode looks badass!!!!!!!

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