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Monday, March 16, 2009

Heroes 3X19: Shades of Gray

Tommy Lee Jones: Parkman the human bomb
That resolved itself rather...quickly, didn't it? I haven't decided if that's a good thing or bad thing; I guess, in the end, the point of it all was the serve as the breaking point in the relationship between Danko and Nathan, and that was interesting in this episode, and should continue to be in future ones.

Wesley Snipes: Claire's interview at the comic shop.
Can I just say I'm getting very sick of how this show always defaults to the stereotype when it comes to portraying comic book fans? I'm not denying there aren't fans like what we see on the show, drooling over the presence of that most fabled of creatures (a girl) in their comic shop, but frankly, the majority of comic book fans nowadays are jaded twenty- or thirty-somethings with some social skills if not families of their own. I've been in my comic shop on Wednesdays, and nobody's jaw hits the floor the moment a woman walks in.

Frankly, if I could be bothered to get really worked up about it, you could even say the idea that Claire got her job simply because she's a girl and thus will be able to sell anything to the anti-social spazzes that apparently frequent this shop is insulting to both comic book aficionados and women.

Wesley Snipes: Sylar's dad
Seriously? That's it? Sylar's plotline this entire volume has been leading up to this, and all it amounts to is a conversation with his dad, confirmation that his ability to acquire powers, in general if not specifically, is hereditary and a resolution to...kill...people more...worthy...of it? Frankly, the whole "hunt bigger game" metaphor was lost on me, but perhaps my head just wasn't in it.

Props, however, to Lionel Sylar's mention of the Hunger, which, along with the destruction of the Primatech facility, is a rare throwback to volume three that managed to slip through the writers' apparent "scorched earth" policy regarding "Villains."

Also, if Sylar's quest for his dad results in him getting squarely back in the main narrative (which, given his presence in Danko's apartment at the end of the episode seems to be the case) I won't complain, too much.

Wesley Snipes: Matt Parkman, Junior.
Remember Hiro?

Frankly, I forget all about him until after last week's episode, at which point I realized he hadn't appeared in two full episodes and I didn't notice (or care) at the time. His brief appearance in this episode seems to be setting him up for another "comedic" side plot removed from the main narrative, and one that heralds the return of a character no one could care less about.

When things were going off the rails towards the end of the last volume, and it became clear that the fans weren't happy, the Heroes producers did their best to drum up support for this volume, citing a number of intended improvements, including an increased focus on characterization (which, for the most part, has improved this volume, if for no other reason than it forces the episodes themselves to be a bit more focused) and the return of writer/producer Bryan Fuller, a chief architect of volume one and the writer of "Company Man," considered theshow's best episode (Fuller's involvement in this volume is due to be seen very shortly, I believe).

One of the things Fuller mentioned was a return of some old characters, chief among them Matt's ex-wife, Janice. With the reveal this week that Hiro and Ando need to save an infant Matt Parkman, JUNIOR, it seems her teased appearance is nigh at hand.

At the time of that Fuller interview, both Dr. Bitz and I agreed that on our list of characters or plotlines we'd like to see returned to, explored and/or deepened on the show, Matt's skanky and boring ex-wife and their relationship were pretty much last on that list.

The origins (and goals) of the Company? The relationship amongst the Elder Heroes? Adam's role as the immortal progenitor of the Powers? Charles Deveaux, his powers and the issue of why he hovers in the backstory of so many characters (beyond his role as a Company founder)? Claude, the invisible man, and his motivation for training Peter in season one? The overall mythology of the show, going back to the first episode, including the significance of the eclipse and the Lost-esque occurrence of the number 9? Caitlin, Peter's forgotten Irish girlfriend, left behind in alternate future that no longer exists? The contents of and meaning behind the assorted items alongside the virus vial in the Company vault in the Odessa facility? What, exactly, Arthur's plan was last volume, why it was so evil, and why it led to the cracking in half of the world (as depicted in numerous paintings)? These are all people and plotlines we'd like to see returned to and reexamined long, long before we come back around to freakin' Janice.

Yet here are.

(And yes, I should probably hold off on calling the show on this until she actually appears, but I can see where this is going, and I couldn't care less.)

Harrison Ford: The Danko/Nathan fallout
The tension between Nathan and his "contain" policy and Danko and his "exterminate" policy regarding Powers has been gradually building since the second episode of the volume, helping make the payoff we got in this episode seem bigger. Danko's method of proving Nathan had an ability was neat, as well, and certainly in character (considering that if Danko was wrong, he'd have just killed a highly-regarded US Senator).

I also enjoyed the conversation between Dank and Ma Petrelli as well, especially Danko's comments about powers being hereditary, considering that with Nathan, power really did skip a generation, as his power was synthetically granted (or am I not supposed to remember that tidbit from the last volume?).

Also, it wasn't very clear in this episode if Nathan is truly out and Danko fully in (though the revocation of Claire's "free pass" and her rescue by Nathan seems to suggest it) but for now I'm hoping that next episode clears it up quickly.

Wesley Snipes: Return of the Mohinder Voiceover
It really hadn't been missed...

Harrison Ford: Nathan rescuing Claire
Putting aside the fact that she only needed saving in the first place because of what Nathan did, it was a sweet moment when Nathan retrieved Claire before she could get nabbed, and a cool final shot as they hovered outside her window while the agents swept her room.

Tommy Lee Jones: Rebel watch
Put me firmly in the Angela/Micah camp now. I still think Angela is orchestrating things, but with all the computer trickery that Rebel's been up to, Micah has to be involved. Especially after this episode, in which Rebel sent Tracy (Micah's aunt and a doppelganger of his mother) a message that was nothing more than an attempt to lift her spirits.


  1. I dunno. When I was younger I'd go to comic book shops and I was fairly socially inept. And I bet if they had a hot girl behind the counter, I would have frequented the store more often. Because working at a comic shop would make a hot girl more attractive to me, because the implication would be she's into comic books too.

    And of course my view of the geek community may be a bit skewed ever since I went to that Botcon way back when. I Let's just say after attending a Botcon, that scene seemed completely plausible...if not a bit over the top with how long the boys were staring. But that's TV.

    And I'd also point out that while the customers of the shop were ogling her, they did portray Aquaman as fairly 'normal'.

  2. Yeah, I'll give the show props for its handling of Aquaman more or less across the board. He managed in two episodes to be more enjoyable and interesting than West did in all of volume two.

    As for the geeks, I know what you're saying. And for the most part, I don't mind the stereotype. But it seems like Heroes is really playing it up lately.

    I look at it this way: Botcon was an extreme, a place where the nerdiest of the nerdiest gathered. A lot of Comic Cons are similar (though their appeal is a little broader, allowing for the appearance of more "norms").

    I mean, if you like Transformers, you're probably already a nerd. If you go to a convention exclusively geared towards fans of Transformers, then you're even nerdier than the average fan.

    So what you and I saw at Botcon was the extreme, the nerdiest outliers on the Transformer's already generally-nerdy spectrum.

    Which is just my convoluted and long-winded way of saying that while I don't deny that comic geeks as portrayed on Heroes exist, I just don't think every comic book store would always be packed to the gills with nothing but those super nerdy outliers.

    You can go into the Source on any given day and find plenty of people who would drool at the sight of a live girl, but you can also find plenty of customers for whom seeing a live girl in a comic shop isn't a big deal.

    But maybe you're right, and Aquaman's normalcy relative to his customers was the show's way of addressing that.

  3. Oh, and yes, I definitely agree, putting a hot girl behind the counter just makes good business sense.

    To me, it seemed less like he was saying Claire was hot and would thus attract customers, rather, the simple fact that she was a girl at all would increase sales. But maybe I'm splitting hairs now, and being a bit too sensitive towards the issue.


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