Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"I look upset.": Heroes

The 'alternate reality future' storyline is an absolute hallmark for any comic book (employed most notably by the X-Men in 'Days of Future Past' and the epic 'Age of Apocalypse') and Heroes dived in this week with the suitably awesome "Five Years Gone" on Monday. There's so much that can be done in an alternate future: characters can be evil, or insane, or missing limbs (or all three!) and there's little repercussion on the main storyline!

Actually, this episode did tie everything in really well to the main plot, as we enter a three-part finale over the next three weeks. Specifically, Linderman's Ozymandias-esque plan to unite the world through disaster was shown her as having gone spectacularly wrong. The absence of Linderman himself was particularly telling--he was referenced only once, so either he ran off or was murdered. Of course, the real reason Linderman's plan failed was because Sylar murdered Nathan and assumed his identity early on. Which means the writers weren't technically saying that Linderman's plan, in theory, couldn't work--just that in practice outside forces would bring it down. Which is a bit daring of them! Anyway, it's definitely confirmed that the plan is bad, and unless we want Peter and Niki to get together (please God no), they have to STOP THE EXPLODING MAN!

Now, early on we were told Sylar was the exploding man, which had me thinking "huh?" because of Peter's dreams. Thankfully that was righted and it was happily revealed that Peter WAS indeed the exploder. Even better news: because of Claire's healing power, Peter SURVIVES the explosion! Which seems to confirm that the regeneration powers are pretty substantial, even better than the almost godlike status Wolverine enjoys in comic books these days (apparently, the only way to kill him would be to cut off his head and keep it a considerable distance from his body). Future-Peter was a little dour, and while his scar was cool I had to wonder how he got it if he can regenerate any wound. No matter--at least we saw him displaying a better mastery of his many abilities, tossing people around telekinetically and so on. Only shame was that budgetary restrictions obviously kept him from being a true powerhouse--especially in his big showdown with Sylar, which was hidden behind a door Mohinder was frantically keeping shut. Damn you, Mohinder, you killjoy! Maybe they want to save their dollars for the big finale.

Even better was future-Hiro and present-Hiro hanging out together. Future-Hiro seemed like a bit of a sad sack, so I was worried everyone's favorite happy-go-lucky time-traveler might get a bit tiresome as the show goes on, but apparently future-Hiro was just sad about Ando's death in his timeline. So as long as Ando's alive, there's no need to worry about Masi Oka adopting his natural low timbre (I was as surprised as you!) and growing a soul patch. Another cool thing was that they finally solved the whole "save the cheerleader, save the world" riddle rather effectively, and almost as an afterthought. Even though, as a Brit, I never really suffered the brunt of that advertising campaign, I'm glad to know they actually revealed a point behind it instead of just letting it dangle and hoping people would forget about it. I liked that Hiro retained his idealism, even in the sight of all the future-horror. I guess he knows he has to kill Sylar, but he doesn't seem to be willing to give up on life as we know it just yet.

Let's look at some of the other character transformations we witnessed. There was Greg Grunberg obviously relishing playing Matt as an evil interrogator, simply because it gave Matt something to do. I don't think he totally pulled it off (really, Matt's just a little too schlubby to be totally evil). Still, it was a welcome change nonetheless. Mohinder was kinda evil too, although really only a little, as the hero-experimenting professor/right-hand-man to President Petrelli. Definitely a more enjoyable Mohinder too, but again, hardly a revolution. I loved HRG and the wireless girl being hero protectors (sorry, but can the writers come up with an official name for people with powers? So far we've had "special" and so on, but there needs to be a noun!). I was...fine with Claire the raven-haired waitress, but she seemed vaguely tacked on (her appearance was essential, but I dunno, it didn't ring quite true with me). The less said about Niki, the better. We learned that she had fully excised the Jessica personality from herself, but it hardly made her character more compelling--if anything, she was more annoying.

Anyway, despite some niggly complaints, this was mostly a rather exciting hour, and seeing what had happened to everyone in the future really fed the nerd in me, especially as I've been binging on superhero comics recently. And I'm really hyped about the finale now, although I'm not especially looking forward to lots of Sylar next week (apparently it's his rehab episode). Still. IT'S TIME TO SAVE THE WORLD!


Todd VanDerWerff said...

This was the first episode where I really felt like this show could be ONE OF THE GREATS, roughly on par with the Surprise/Innocence two-parter in Buffy or Walkabout in Lost (damn Lost peaked early), but I fear that they'll back away from the rather smart political provocation and hard moral questions of the hour, since it did occur within the superhero constraints of "it was all a dream!" basically. (Addendum to that too long sentence -- Company Man always struck me as an anomaly. This feels like the sort of thing they could do from week to week.) Now, it's not going to just be enough to tell fun little stories and have all of the characters' lives intersect in witty little ways; they're going to have to make the drama of the moment match what they're capable of. It's all fine and dandy to invoke the specter of Sept. 11, but, boy howdy, you'd better know what to do with it when you've done so.

Other than that, the only thing I didn't like was Claire's fiance.

I'm SO stealing this show from you next season.

Jon said...

I was actually kinda meh about the whole thing. With the exception of Grunberg (The least convincing bad cop ever?), it was fun watching actors play it up a little (Pasdar played it a LOT, making him probably the funnest actor). However, the X-Men parallels came blazing through badly here, what with the "cure" and cutaways to the politician wanting to rid the world of mutants/heroes (Even said politician being impersonated by a mutant/hero! if or opposite reasons, of course), it got a little tiresome. Company Man was way better, but that's a high I'm not sure the series will ever duplicate (Hell, I'm not sure ANY show has duplicated its greatness this season).

David Sims said...

You're not touching Heroes, Todd. I got a RAPPORT with this show. SO SCREW YOU!