Archive for November, 2007

I didn’t post a review last week, because I didn’t really have much to say about Chapter Six. But it’s clear now that “The Line” laid much of the groundwork for this week’s episode, proving once again that Heroes is an excellently functioning serial.

Last week, it was revealed that The Company is using the Shanti virus to stop Specials who either cannot learn to control their powers, or who, like Sylar, use them for evil. It’s an interesting moral quandary, and though it’s been previously explored in popular culture (most recently in Joss Whedon’s run on The Astonishing X-Men) it’s certainly an issue that would arise if people ever where to actually develop these sorts of gifts.

Is a man who can fly inherently dangerous to humanity? Should a woman who can spontaneously regenerate be exploited for the greater good? How is it decided whose powers should be quelled? As it appears these mutations are hereditary should Specials be prevented from breeding? Or will they placed into eugenics programs to create a race of supermen?

The question of liberty is also reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange—Anthony Burgess’s novel about free will.

Though I haven’t yet read the novel, I’ve seen Stanley Kubrick’s film version numerous times.* Alex, the protagonist of both, is a vile human being, raping, pillaging and performing acts of “ultraviolence” with his mates. After his eventual arrest and sentencing, Alex is reconditioned via an experimental treatment program to have a negative response to violence so that he might be reintegrated into society. The results are both just and tragic. As Alex grows to want a normal life, he encounters his victims who each exact revenge. Because of the conditioning Alex is unable to protect himself as he is now filled with nausea and paralysis when faced with evil.

According to Wikipedia,

“Burgess wrote in his later (Nov. 1986) introduction, titled A Clockwork Orange Resucked, that a creature who can only perform good or evil is “a clockwork orange — meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with color and juice, but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil; or the almighty state.”

By this definition Sylar is clearly a clockwork orange. (Ironically, The Company likely sees him as he sees Maya, as “a shiny new toy.”) Sylar has charm, as well as abilities desired by people in positions of power, and The Company may only want to subdue Specials with powers they can’t manipulate. But it does raise the question of free will. Should other Specials be punished for their gifts because Sylar missuses his?

But back to “Out of Time,” an truly riveting episode in which the relationships between our characters grow more complex. Mohinder is finally growing a pair, instead of splitting one with Matt. He begins to realize that Noah is impulsive, temperamental, and desperate, and that means regardless of his skills, HRG sees him as expendable. He begins to seek a way to better protect himself, as well as his own family.

Matt and Nathan show up at The Company’s headquarters to warn Bob that he is next on Parkman Sr.’s hit list and Nathan pressures Bob for information on “Adam Monroe” –a name that was first dropped last week.**

Bob, who as Mohinder notes is “morally gray, at best” again states that “we all have our parts to play” and that “with these abilities sometimes people begin to see themselves as gods.”***

As part of Bob’s plan to stop Parkman Sr. by injecting him with the virus, he pushes Matt to explore his capabilities. Matt’s terrified of actually becoming his father, but after a heartfelt moment with the unconscious Molly he finally resolves his Daddy issues. After noticing his daughter stir in her slumber when he tells her he loves her, Matt recognizes that with these powers of the brain he not only can enter Molly’s mental prison to release her, but he can trap the Nightmare Man there as well.

It seems Matt grew a pair too.

He and Molly awake to find Parkman Sr. unconscious and as they embrace Matt says: “Oh, God, I love you.” And Molly replies, “I heard.”

He IS her hero.

Back at the Bennets/Butlers Claire is finally recognizing the danger of West—who is a creepy, creepy, stalker guy. He is in her home, uninvited, having waffles with her mother, while she is asleep. When he text messaged her a good morning I half expected him to be hovering over her bed watching her. (icky-shiver.)

Claire tells West that “You can’t just do whatever you want, whenever you want.” She’s not only concerned that he and her father will discover each other—but that HRG will discover what she’s done and she’s embarrassed to have used her gifts so childishly. Before West, she was thinking about how her blood might be used to heal people, after hooking up with him she’s torturing the alpha Mean Girl at her high school.

Because of West, she’s drifting from who she is at her core. Compounded with standard-issue teen angst, she’s growing ever-more antagonistic towards HRG (with whom, by the way, she is developing a very Jack & Sydney Bristow relationship.****)

Peter and Caitlin are in the dystopian future Manhattan where they are abducted, decontaminated, separated, and quarantined.

We learn that the first case of the Shanti virus is (was) reported on 3/20/2007 (which means all other cases have been/will be kept quiet by The Company) and that 93% of the population has died from it. This must mean that the virus has mutated to affect Normals as well as Specials and that Mohinder’s blood is no longer a cure. (As we indeed learn later, when Niki turns a virus-filled needle on herself instead of injecting Bob. She is infected with a strain, which perhaps only Claire can cure.)

Mama Petrelli is one of the 7% who’ve survived and shows up to restore Peter’s memory. She reminds him that he is kind, selfless and caring and then charges him with “changing history” a theme that repeatedly came up in this episode.

In 17th Century Japan, Kensei announces that he is going to change history—although this is a bit of a misnomer. He can make or write history, but he can’t change it unless he too has traveled back in time. Now, since Peter has seen the future, he can change history. And who is he going to do it with?

Kensei. I mean, Adam Monroe.

(Yes, the big reveal, and most saw it coming, was that the two men are one and the same.)

Though Hiro defeats White Beard by destroying the guns, and seemingly blowing up Kensei with them, we know that as a spontaneous healer Kensei could not have been destroyed and will be a major player in this volume.

One of the sweetest moments of the night came when Hiro performed the final task of “Takezo Kensei” and cut out his heart for the dragon. He said goodbye to his sweet love Yaeko who told him that she will make sure his legend, the true legend of Kensei and his Princess will live on.

“The boy Hiro Nakamura will have tales to help him sleep,” she says, as I, watching, choke up just a little bit.

Next Week is the anticipated Vol. 2 Chapter 8, “Four Months Ago.” Will current timeline Peter travel back to Kirby Plaza and save Nathan? How did Matt and Mohinder come to be Molly’s parents? Where was Candace keeping Sylar—and was it for The Company? What did Niki and Micah do for four months? What about Ando and Nakamura, Sr.? What did Mama Petrelli tell Nathan’s wife about the “family secret”?

And in future episodes . . . will Mohinder kidnap and exploit Claire to save Niki? It’s obviously him in the painting. Does he shoot HRG? Is Caitlin stuck in the future, or did Maury invade Pete’s mind?

* The film must of course be on the minds of the creative team having had Malcolm McDowell guest as Linderman.

** The show seems to have a lot of nods to Marvel characters, and I wonder if Executive Producer, Jeph Loeb, has some clearance with that Company having been a writer for them. As Bob shows an old newspaper article to Nathan regarding a snowstorm in Miami, that could have been a tsunami, Ororo Munroe is immediately (and, I suppose, inevitably) evoked. It’s not clear if weather control was Kensei’s doing. Either he’s developed other powers, or the event was the result of him having brought Generation 1 together. Perhaps Nana Dawson will turn out to be our weather goddess (although, then she could have stopped the hurricanes in New Orleans—unless Parkman Sr. interfered. Hmmmmm….)

*** Again, themes from Marvel are at play. As Kimzilla
noted in the comments of Vol. 2, Chapter 4, there appears to be a Brotherhood of Mutants vs. X-Men –esque clash of philosophies.

**** Last week’s phone call of lies was straight out of Alias.

Oh Noes!!!!!!!

First the news that Heroes: Origins has been shelved as a result of the impending WGA strike comes a report from TV Guide’s Michael Ausiello that the currently-running season of Heroes may end in December.

Heroes’ second season may be coming to a close a lot sooner than expected due to the forthcoming apocalypse, also known in some circles as the damn writers’ strike.

Sources confirm that the show is going back and shooting an alternate ending to the Dec. 3 episode that, if used, would allow the episode to function as a season finale in the event of a strike. Originally, the episode was only supposed to serve as the conclusion of the current “Generations” arc. Should an 11th-hour agreement be reached and a strike averted (fingers crossed!), the alt ending would likely be scrapped.

It looks like our Heroes party will be on December 3rd!

Well THIS sounds interesting . . .

Dollhouse follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories, depending on their mission.

After each assignment—which can be physical, romantic or even illegal—the characters have their memories wiped clean and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the dollhouse). The show centers on Dushku’s character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness.

It sounds like good ol’ Sci Fi 101–with the Whedon touch.