Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"I'm your daughter, and I can regrow my kidney": Heroes

GEORGE TAKEI! I never thought I'd buy into stunt casting like this, but Sulu lived up to the hype this week, in a much improved episode of Heroes. Takei's plot (aka Hiro's story thread) was actually one of the less interesting strands here, and without Mr. Takei's involvement probably would have been a complete wash. But he was so intimidating, so terrifyingly memorable (even though he did almost nothing except stand around and rip up a painting) that I hope they bring him back another time. Because the whole "you should come home, son...ah, okay, don't come home" thing was hardly original, more of just a stopgap in Hiro's quest. Giving Hiro a little backstory isn't a terrible idea, though, so I'm going to give the whole thing a thumbs-up. Somehow I feel Nakamura Sr.'s big giant corporation could end up being involved in the plot somehow, leading to an excuse for more Takei. After all, big corporations are always involved in these sorts of things, right? Maybe not.

My favorite this week was probably Peter Petrelli again, but that's probably just because of Eccleston. I should stop pointing out why he's so good for this show, but it can't be emphasized enough. He has just the right kind of earthy unpretentiousness to balance out the ponderous side of the show, which often makes itself apparent though Peter. Plus, he's someone who uses his powers far more indelicately and realistically than most of the main cast, who are still trying to figure their powers out. I was worried that this episode would spend time on Peter & Simone's connection, which is so sparkless I always forget about its existence, but instead their 'relationship' was effectively finished off, so that's pretty cool. Also, Peter finding out about Simone and Isaac (by secretly watching them on the roof) was well done, and it's a cool idea to have less noble behavior from him. The final revelation here was that Peter can retain powers he's previously synched (to use an X-Men term), which basically makes him the most powerful hero of all, a less invasive version of Sylar. Having him re-use Claire's power, rather than Nathan's, was a nice bait-and-switch by the writers as well as underlining Claire's Petrelli connection.

The even bigger twist concerned Claire's parentage, although others have informed me it was obvious thanks to 'next episode' previews (which I rarely see). Anyway, I'll put in a spoilers reminder if you haven't seen the episode yet, but, well, it's Nathan. Which is cool, although I guess I dunno who else it really could have been. Anyway, Claire doesn't know much of anything yet, except that her mother can make fire out of her hands. I'm not very familiar with Jessalyn Gilsig's work (I vaguely remember her on Nip/Tuck and don't at all remember her from Prison Break), but she was pretty good here. Although I can't figure why some of the people in Claire's stories have Texan accents, but others (particularly Claire, her father and Zach) do not. Did Tim Kring not want to bother with an accent for her? Because, as we all well know, Friday Night Lights has made the Texan accent cool again. Outside of Claire we saw her mother have a run-in with Sylar, who is not quite crazy evil enough for me. I think Zachary Quinto just looks a little too dorky for my liking. Power-wise, he's scary, though--we should see more of his powers, because right now all we know is telekinesis and faking his death. Although maybe talking to puppies is another one, seeing as he was so interested in the Bennett dog. Anyway, the final big revelation tonight was that HRG has met Claude before, which leads to the question: how long has HRG been raggin' on heroes, anyway?

The only other major storyline of note was Niki's attempt to subdue Jessica and how badly that went. I thought it was interesting that they were attempting to use real-world science (well, psychiatry) to bring Niki's powers under control. Until Jessica showed up and just killed the psychiatrist, making that point rather moot. How did Jessica kill the psychiatrist, exactly? All I saw were a bunch of smoky holes. Pretty creepy, but I couldn't figure how it had happened. Jessica's specific strengths remains somewhat of a mystery to me. Later on, Niki was released from prison by Linderman's people and was subsequently trapped in a mirror by Jessica. How does that work, exactly? Is it still just a metaphor, or is Niki ACTUALLY inside the mirror? On a show less silly than Heroes, I wouldn't ask, but here I feel I have to.

Other random thoughts:
--Funny hiding of HRG's name, Simpsons-style. I wonder how long they'll keep that up for.
--Was it me, or did HRG's gun look weird? What exactly was it, and what did it do?
--Although I'm no fan of Simone, I kinda like Isaac. His power is useful, I wish they could have him do a little more. Maybe he'll come into play more outside of the studio later on.
--No Mohinder this episode. And this episode was way better than the last two, which he was in. I wonder if those facts are at all related. Hmm.

Anyway, I liked "Distractions" quite a bit. Had some nice plot twists, moved along at a brisk pace and ended quite well. Anyone else got an opinion?


Hedwig said...

She used the taser on the shrink. Quite a bit, apparently.

David Sims said...

Aaah, that was it! That's pretty horrible, though quite creative.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Hiro's storyline was a TOTAL up-and-back, but, dammit, GEORGE TAKEI!

And, yes, Christopher Eccleston is doing wonders for this show. I hope they don't kill him off. I know they have too many characters, but they need him.

I ran into a family at an airport once in the South where dad had a New York accent and mom had a deep Southern accent. The little kid (probably around four) had a New York accent. I guess it's all about which parent you emulate.

As always, there was some stuff that didn't work, but this was fun.

Qualm: If Peter can use everyone's powers indefinitely, does that mean the show in season eight is just him, no need for help from anyone else?

David Sims said...

I doubt it, seeing as the powers seem to kinda overload Peter. They'll probably work out some sort of limitation on him--balance is the key here.

LaDonna said...

I'm trying to find out who the Niki's shrink was. I have tried everything I know to look her up. Any suggestions?

Sooty said...

I remember her from Little Miss Sunshine! She was amazing in the previous one, such a waste they had to kill her off.