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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Heroes 3x09: It's Coming

Hero: Arthur didn't take Hiro's power
I'm going to assume that Arthur already has the teleporting ability we witnessed when he popped back from Africa to chat with Sylar and that he didn't take it from Hiro, since Hiro clearly still has his powers and thus far, Arthur leaves a person dry when he nabs their abilities. The last thing this show needs is a villain with time travel abilities, because the "why didn't the he just go back in time and..." game is hard to enough to play with a good guy who at least has morals and guidelines.

Villain: Arthur didn't take Hiro's power
I'm happy he didn't, but why the hell didn't he? I know the episode later established definitively that Arthur can touch people without taking their power (so its a conscious decision on his part) but why wouldn't he take Hiro's power? Obviously, he wanted to wipe his memory, and we can assume he would have taken his power eventually if he hadn't been distracted by the eclipse painting, thus allowing Ando to get them the hell out of there, but why wouldn't he steal Hiro's power and then wipe his memory? Sure, I can come up with some answers to why that scene played out the way it did, but I shouldn't have to; that's the writer's job.

Villain: Sylar's power
I'm reluctant to complain about this, because for once the show made a point of explaining how someone's power works, and furthermore, the explanation involved a long-running question (if Sylar's power is to know how things work, how does that translate into the ability to do whatever he's figured out? After all, I know how a car works, but that doesn't mean I could build one...). But I am going to complain about it, because I would have liked for the explanation to be a little more clear cut and not filled with so much ambigous psychological mumbo-jumbo. Ultimately, I think they were trying to say that Sylar's power is like Peter's: he can use empathy to absorb someone's power without taking it away or slicing off their head. But of course, this makes us wonder how Sylar ended up with two "base" powers (intuitive knowledge and empathic power absorption) when everyone else just has one.

Villain: Hiro as a ten year old
Really, my problem has nothing to do with him thinking he's ten. 10-year-old Hiro, sadly, isn't a whole lot different than 28-year-old Hiro, but with so much else going on in the main Primatech vs Pinehearst story and stories peripheral to it, his storyline remains a distraction from the main events going on elsewhere. Once again, Hiro finds himself involved in a plot as far removed from the main narrative as possible. And from the sounds of upcoming episodes, his story is just going to continue to meander further and further away from the main plot.

Hero: Sylar's new clock sound effect
The creepy "ticking clock" sound effect used to underscore times when Sylar was in "harvest" mode is one of the show's best technical effects. So I thought it was pretty cool that they built on that idea by using a more triumphant (but still kind of omnious) "clock chiming" sound effect when he absorbed Elle's power. Hopefully this new sound cue will be used in much the same way as the old ticking was.

Hero: Nathan not as stupid as his brother
Sure, it can be argued that Nathan was more informed about Arthur's true nature when he barged into Pinehearst than Peter was, but I like to think Nathan's refusal to immediately embrace his father (literally and figuratively) is a sign that he's smarter than his brother.

Hero: Sides are chosen

I'm a sucker for those uber-cheesy "lines are drawn, sides are chosen" lineups, so of course I loved this episode's completely over-the-top flashing of a "Hero" followed by a "Villain." It suggests the climatic, powered free-for-all fight that we've been waiting for throughout the show's entire run is drawing ever nearer. Of course, I know we're probably not ever going to get that much-yearned for super brawl for three reasons:
1. The "Villains" side is ridiculously lopsided, with Matt and Daphne the only ones with any kind of offensive power alongside power-less Peter, defensive Claire, useless-power Nathan and Ma Petrelli with her vague dream powers.
2. The promos for next week suggest an eclipse occurs that takes away everyone's powers.
3. This is Heroes.

But I'll wait until that brawl officially doesn't happen to officially call it a "villain."

Hero: Claire's the catalyst
This revelation (while not nearly disguised well enough to warrant the final reveal, what with Arthur's comments, his file on Claire, and Knox and Flint going after her in this episode alone) almost makes you think these writers actually do map some of this stuff out beforehand. Now we know what it was that Sylar saw in Claire's head that made her different from the others, we know (presumably) who the "Chosen One" Kaito referenced in his video will to Hiro is, we can speculate as to why Kaito would even tell his idiot son about the formula (because even if it fell into the wrong hands, Kaito knew they'd still need Claire) and it even recalls the flashback scene in season one in which Kaito hands off an infant Claire to Bennet (though I don't think I'm quite ready to believe the writers had this plot reveal planned out that far in advance-they just made the best of the available material, something a good retcon should do).


  1. I don't mind Hiro as a 12 year old...for now. But he is far removed from everyone else. And I feel it's just a way to keep him away from everyone else because he's too powerful. Which is a cop out.
    Also, where did that 8th Wonders comic come from? Isaac's been dead for like...months.

    Regarding the de-powering eclipse that seems to be on the horizon (pun intended). This de-powering best not last longer that 5 minutes, because you know why I watch Heroes? Because the people in it have powers. Watching Heroes without powers is like watching Transformers without giant transforming robots. Think about what THAT would be like.

    Regarding Sylar's power, and this can pertain to the entire series, but the writers seem to be incredibly reluctant to not give any straight answers. Sometimes, simply stating what kind of power a person has, how it works, and what its limitations are, can do wonders for the viewers. Even if it isn't subtle or artsy.
    The writers act like the nature of someone's power should be treated like a secret that needs a big reveal...but they never reveal anything! They just have the power act the way they need it to to fit the current storyline and let the viewers try to decipher exactly how the power works. (i.e. Peter's ability and whether or not he can use two abilities a once.)

    But now I'm rambling.

  2. Regarding the writers' reluctance to clearly define someone's powers, I think its because they're afraid if they do so, then its set in stone and they won't be able to tweak it as needed for the plot.

    Which is complete and total lazy BS, as far as I'm concerned, because its not that hard to keep track of such things yourself, let alone have someone on staff do it, and if they absolutely do need to alter someone's power for the sake of the plot, it shouldn't be that hard to come up with an excuse. They are writers. I just think they're scared and lazy.

    If they truly are keeping Hiro removed from everyone else because he's too powerful, here's an idea: put a limitation on his power. For example, have Arthur attack him, trying to take his power, but Ando gets in the way before Arthur finishes the job and Hiro teleports them away. Hiro then finds out that while he can still teleport, he can no longer time travel (or only travel a few minutes back in time or something). Plus, it'd be easy enough to correct, if for some reason, they want to give Hiro his time travel ability back.

    Yeah, it's not perfect, but I came up with that while checking my emails. I'm sure a professional Hollywood writer could come up with that or something even better.

    I'm assuming the 9th Wonders comic is either left over from work Isaac did before he died (since comics have several months of lead time, and that issue could have been a month or two old) or, because the art didn't seem quite the same, it could have been done by someone else, but that would be a pretty big coincidence.

    My guess is the producers figured (hoped?)we'd be so distracted by a reminder of the first season we wouldn't be asking these kinds of questions.

    As for the eclipse and de-powering, agreed 100%. There's all this talk of how the show needs to be more character driven like it was in the first season. And I agree, to a certain extent.

    The show needs to be more character driven in that it needs to remember who the characters are, and doesn't force them to act out of that character to serve the plot. And while the first season was great, it was also a slow burn that built to a big super-powered fight scene we have yet to really see.

    I want character development but I still want plot, and big super powered fights, because when I watch Heroes, I want to see a live action comic book(in which character development is still important), not an intense character drama.

  3. I will third the fact that I hope the de-powering is only a temporary thing. I think that the next two episodes are a two parter though so we probably aren't going to be that lucky. At least we will hopefully learn the importance of the eclipse finally. That's been hanging out there since the first episode. Just out of curiosity, how often do these types of eclipses happen? It seems like there isn't much time between the two of these, but that might just be me.

    Overall I wasn't that impressed with this episode. Everything about it including the title seemed like it was just setting up the next episode and not much really happened. I did like the Sylar and Elle scenes though for some reason. Also did anybody else find it odd that for as much of a cold hearted bastard they have made Arthur out to be, it seemed a little odd that he would free Ma Patrelli like that.

  4. Yeah, there's definitely something goofy going on with the eclipses. I'm sure in true Heroes fashion, whatever "answer" we get will be half-formed, cryptic and unfulfilling to make things easier on the writers.

    Wow, I sound really down on the show, don't I? I'm really not...

    I have a hunch that maybe, the eclipse with only affect the "natural" powers and the "synthetic" powers will still work (or vice versa) so maybe we'll still get some powered action. But that's just a hunch, not based on any spoilers I've heard or anything; I won't be surprised if I'm wrong.

    This was definitely a setup episode. I have a tendency to like the "calm before the storm, forces gathering" type of episodes, but they're not everyone's favorite thing.

    As for Arthur, that whole scene confused me. I kind of got the impression that Ma Petrelli used a super persuasion power to get him to release her. Her power (as is the norm, it seems) remains fairly vague and undefined. We know she dreams the future, but she also communicated with Sylar when he was comafied. And at times before this episode, she seemed like she could persuade people to do what she told them to do. So maybe she has some kind of vague mental/"dream" power that allowed her, once Arthur was in her mind, to force her release. I was going to mention it in the post, but figured I covered the whole "we appreciate the power explanation, but could you make it less vague?" issue already with Sylar.

    Or maybe the power of love just conquered all...

  5. All you need is love.

    And better writers please.


  6. Despite the fact that I(we?) sound down on the show, it's not that simple.
    I mean, I like the show, the acting, art direction, and premise is great. I just feel like this show could be so much more but it's being held back by writers who, for lack of a better term, are afraid to commit.


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