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Coming away from last week’s series premiere of Heroes, I believed that the show had a lot of potential. Of course the most difficult part about identifying something as having potential is for that something to live up to its potential. I have really enjoyed the way they have introduced the characters, and the twists that they throw into the show seem like they were designed to make you rethink what you just saw instead of just being thrown in there to massively confuse you because you are expecting it to happen. This week, we learned a little bit more about our heroes (not all of it good), and whole lot more about the catastrophe that they are trying to stop.While I enjoyed most of the episode, the narrator at the beginning was kind of annoying. I am assuming that once we get into the season a little bit, it will no longer be necessary to have somebody explain in words what a “Previously on Heroes…” with some pertinent video clips to fill us in. However, I did pay attention to what Mohinder was talking about in the beginning is his little “Philosophy 101″ introductions that he does. This time, he talks about the age-old debate of whether we are actually agents of our own destiny. In other words, do we determine our own fate, or does fate determine the actions of our everyday lives.
A lot has been written on the subject, and the question has a lot to do with the show. We know of a lot o people around the country with special abilities, and we sort of have the notion that they are supposed to save us, but if they don’t know the others exist, or try to deny their abilities, or somebody or something gets to them before they get to help, what happens then? Go through it a few times in your head and you’re bound to get a headache.
Somebody who really missed out on a big headache is Peter Petrelli. You remember Peter. He has a politician brother, a clepto mother, and has the hots for a girl named Simone (sounds like the pilot to a Martin Lawrence movie). Oh, and he thinks that he can fly. Last week, he jumped off of a building to show his brother Nathan that he could fly, but when he went five or six stories before levitating, it was actually Nathan who flew up to save him. Unfortunately, Nathan wasn’t quite strong enough to hold on and Peter slipped. We don’t know what happened, but when Peter wakes up, he is in a hospital bed. What’s more, his brother told him that nobody flew anywhere. Peter jumped off the building, landed on a fire escape, and then Nathan climbed up to get him. Peter seemed a little space, but was he that delusional? Did his brother just have his mind erased or something? I guess we’ll just have to find out.
There was a lot of creepy things that happened last week, but none was creepier than finding out that Claire, the invincible cheerleader who thinks that her life is over because she is hot, popular, and, you know, invincible, is the daughter of the guy we are assuming killed Mohinder’s dad. I am willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but really, have you EVER seen a guy with that haircut in a television show or movie that didn’t end up being a psychopathic killer? This guy could be on Sesame Street and I assure you that he would probably be killing Big Bird or something.
If there was anything that put us slightly at ease about Claire’s psychopathic father it was finding out Claire herself was adopted. Ever since discovering that she pretty much couldn’t be injured, Claire has been looking for answers. Doesn’t every kid dream of finding their birth mother and asking, “So, does invincibility run through the family?” Claire’s father is really concerned about his daughter wanting to get in touch with her roots, and although he said that he was holding off because it was a very emotional decision, you got the feeling that he has some idea about Claire’s abilities and he knows he is going to have to do something about it. Like when he says, “I just don’t want you to be in a hurry to grow up”, you expect him to say “because I will probably have to kill you soon”.
You know, I thought it was a little random that Mohinder simply ditched his cab last week, but I guess the real reason he is in New York is to continue his father’s work. What I want to know is this. If Mohinder’s father said that people were looking at him, and creepy haircut guy found his apartment in India, and then found Mohinder in his cab, why didn’t Mohinder move all of the stuff out of his father’s apartment and find a new place to live, move there, and leave a forwarding address in Kazakhstan or something? Throw them off your scent! Don’t just stand there and wait for them to come and kick your ass!
Therefore, I was not surprised at all to see that there was somebody in Mohinder’s apartment when he got home. This guy said that he was an exterminator, but he had some pretty sophisticated electrical equipment along with him, so Mohinder, who picked up the first weapon he could find – an elephant statue – and hit the guy in the leg with it, demanding to know what they did to his father. Exterminator guy manages to knock over Mohinder and pulls a gun, but instead of capping him, decides to leave instead. It looks like the guy is going to get away, but as he is rushing out; he bumps into another girl in the building.
Mohinder rushes out to confront the repairman, but his attacker’s gun is now in the hands of his neighbor. Normally, one would be worried that this could all end up in a big mess, but the neighbor possesses not only a pixie-ish urban hippie quality about her, but is remarkably street savvy as well. The exterminator tried to say that Mohinder was harassing him, but pixie girl was skeptical as why this guy needed to have a gun holster as well. I know the Orkin Man promises to kill your bugs, but doesn’t he do it with some DDT and not a glock? Pixie girl has the gun pointed at the two of them, but I let’s be honest, the way she was holding the gun it would probably knock her out on recoil. The exterminator gets away, but of course Mohinder has a new friend.
People looking for a breakout star in Heroes need look no farther than, well, Hiro, the Japanese office worker who dared to believe that he was destined for something else. I apologize for missing the “Super-Hiro” joke last week. Sometimes after a long day, I treat subtitles like bills and pretend they don’t exist. Hiro is just so full of enthusiasm; you cannot help but love that this guy can now bend the space-time continuum. He’s short, a star trek geek, and probably has never seen female genitalia since the day he was born. But he loves New York, and even though you get the feeling that somebody is going to punch him for being so happy, you love seeing him jump around and say hit to everybody.
Hiro is so happy to be in New York, he almost misses seeing himself on the cover of a comic book. Yeah, that’s right; Hiro is on the cover of a comic book. To many geeks, being on the cover of a comic book is a situation more desirable than several hours of sex with Scarlett Johansson, which I think is preposterous, unless, of course, Scarlett Johansson’s nipples shoot laser beams. Now that is something scary. Hiro starts to read the comic book, but the owner of the Newsstand tells him that he needs to pay for his copy of 9th Wonders or get the hell out of there. Since Hiro didn’t have time to exchange any money, he gives the guy some Yen and runs off before the owner can chase after him. I am not sure what was more humorous: the look on Hiro’s face as he was running away, or the Magnum PI remix that was playing the background while it was happening.
I am actually surprised that it took so long for me to figure out what was going on here. Somebody has put Hiro in a comic, but how could anybody come up with that idea? Well, if you are an artist and draw the future, maybe it would work. We know somebody like that and his name is Isaac Mendez. The only problem with his predictions is that he apparently needs to do a lot of smack for it to work. It’s bad enough that the paintings are freaking him out, but it’s worse that his girlfriend, Simone, tells him that he has to choose between her and the paintings. I’m not sure why he doesn’t just tell her that he makes money off of this comic book he’s doing? She doesn’t have to know the comic is predicting the future as well, does she?
So, what about our last superhero from last week, the lovely Niki Saunders? Last week, we saw her wake up and get call from her son to come pick her up. You see, Niki had lost track of time, which is difficult when you consider that she apparently gruesomely killed a couple of gangsters while she was sleeping. She ran out of the garage, locked the door, and went to get Micah. When she was stopped at an intersection, she decided to check what was on the tape in the camcorder she took from the garage. To all you single mothers out there thinking of taking off your clothes for money: just think about how those extraneous video cameras can come in handy if you believe who have an alter ego that is murdering people.
Anyway, I am not quite sure what Niki was planning to see on the tape. She was covered in blood, and two guys were dead, so it doesn’t take much imagination to come up with what came in between. Niki couldn’t be stopped though, but when she plays the tape, it’s all static, or at least that’s what they showed us. As she was watching herself being forced to strip on video, it seemed like Niki could feel everything that was happening to her, and not just like she was reliving the experience again. She could actually feel when the guy slapped her.
I was waiting for her to be snapped out of her trance by somebody beeping at her from behind, but that never happened. She woke up with clean clothes on and her son was calling her once again. It seemed like only five minutes had passed, but Micah said it had been hours since she last called. After picking up Micah, Niki realizes that she is going to have to make a run for it. Eventually somebody is going to look for the people who came after her because she still owes somebody some money, and she actually made it worse by telling her friend that she killed them.
When she gets back to the house, she tells Micah to go inside and pack some stuff and prepares herself for the grisly scene inside her garage. She lifts up the door, but instead of seeing brains and viscera all over the place, she sees her garage cleaner than it has ever been, and there is a key hanging from the ceiling, and her alter ego is smiling at her in the mirror.
Now, I know it was nice of her alter ego to kill these guys who were probably going to rape her, and apparently clean up the mess that she made afterwards, but wouldn’t it be easier if her alter ego could just give her stock tips or something so she could just pay the money back and have some left over for Micah’s tuition? Also, I would be stoked if I had an alter ego that was a bad ass, but really would hope that he would stop at sever beating and not double murder. Like what if your waiter brought you the wrong drink? Does that mean death to the waiter? Or if somebody cut you in line at the deli? Does the alter ego find that person in the parking lot and beat them to death with a marble rye?
Back to the story, Niki notices that there is a vintage red Cadillac parked across the street. She tries the key that was in her garage, and sure enough, it’s a match. I was worried that the car would be stolen, but apparently this alter ego is really smart, because Niki there is already a vehicle registration with her name on it in the glove compartment. And better yet, there was a note in the glove compartment that said she should follow the map in the trunk. Whoa! This alter ego even planned a getaway? They should really get her to work on solving some important world problems, like finding a ten million digit Mersenne prime.
Niki must have wondered what the heck was going on, but if somebody gave you a vintage Cadillac as a getaway car, how could you say no? Well, I guess if you are making a getaway, it would be a lot easier if you weren’t driving the most conspicuous care car on the road. Oh, and it would be much easier if two maimed and bloody bodies weren’t in the trunk. That’s right, Niki’s alter ego did a good job of cleaning up her mess, but apparently didn’t have enough time to drive out to some random patch of desert and bury the bodies. What a rip off? I bet the alter ego leaves the seat up after she pees, or, well, you get the idea.
Remember last week how Claire promised to talk to her friend Zach at school because he was quite obviously the social outcast? Well, she kind of forgot about that. I am seriously wondering why the hell this guy is content being her whipping boy. I haven’t seen somebody take such self-punishment so easily since I left the theater after that second Jackass movie. Claire is trying to attract the attention of a male classmate, probably not wanting to take the chance on waiting until Halloween so she can dress like a real slut with no consequences, and instead trying to appeal equally as air headed by listening to him talk about how big and soft his hands are. I guess you have to do more than drive a Camaro and wear buckets of Polo Sport to pick up the ladies in these modern times.
Everything is going according to plan, but then the principal calls her over. The sheriff wants to put all the cheerleaders in a lineup because they want to be able to thank the girl who saved the burning man from the building. The fire marshal is just about to pick Claire when another girl steps up and says that it was her. Claire hates that this bitch that was trying to steal her boy toy five minutes ago is also stealing her credit, but is actually kind of relieved. I am not sure how her friend can pull it this charade, especially when people start asking her questions like how she wasn’t burned and why isn’t there a pile of ripped and burned cheerleading clothes at her house, but it takes a lot of pressure off of Claire. Or at least it takes pressure off of Claire before Zach puts a whole lot of pressure back on.
For some reason, Claire decided to document everything that was happening to her. I thought it was strange that she would do this because she was so desperate to fit in and why would she trust her deepest secret to a kid that she barely acknowledges at school, and now I think Claire will think it is a bad idea as well. Zach tells her that he lost the tape of all her exploits, and she is so stupefied that she can’t get out of the way of a football player as he is barreling down the field. Claire is knocked over, and her head is literally spun all the way around, like Meryl Streep in Death Becomes her, until she, well, fixes it. The only thing that could be worse is if she had videotaped herself having sex with a popsicle or something.
Now, if you think Claire has problems, wait until you hear about poor Hiro. He decided that he had to visit Isaac in order to figure out why his likeness was in a comic book. When Hiro gets to Isaac’s apartment, he not only finds a pool of blood and a gun on the floor, but he picks up the gun! And as I learned from watching Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam, anytime you walk into a bloody scene and pick up a gun you are almost guaranteeing that the cops will drop in on you within five minutes. Hiro picks up the gun, and right on cue the police find their way into the artists loft, and of course Hiro is holding the gun.
It looked bad for Hiro, but I’m not even sure Isaac died of a gunshot. After all, he was lying face up on the floor of his apartment with half of his head cut off and his brains scooped out. Hiro fainted on screen, and it made me rethink my craving for pho (you know, those great Vietnamese noodles). I never worried about having my flank and tripe as long as there was plenty of hot sauce to go with it. But not only were Isaac’s brains gone, but they were nowhere to be found. If you ever saw Hannibal (mmmm, Julianne Moore) or read the book, you know exactly what I was thinking.
OK, so by now I’m thinking that this is kind of fucked up, but it only gets crazier from there. We move to Los Angeles and meet officer Matt Parkman for the first time. Matt has always wanted to be a detective, but has failed the exam numerous times. While doing crowd control at the scene of a crime, he begins to hear a little girl’s voice. He follows the voice, and as he enters the house, we learn some more about the crime. There is some woman hanging on the stairs, and no, she’s not upside down or swinging by her neck. Somebody took a dozen knives and used them to nail her to the side of the stairs. Oh, and there is another dude in the next room who has his head cut open like Isaac. Still, Matt hears the voices.
Now, the actual detectives on the scene are trying to figure what the hell is going on. One of the detectives is played by Clea Duvall, who stars the best “Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, and Jordana Brewster fight off crazy aliens controlling their teachers (Selma Hayek and Famke Janssen included, like any high school had two teachers that hot under the same roof)” movie of all time, The Faculty. No, seriously. Robert Rodriguez kicks ass. So, Clea’s detective is wondering what the heck this loser beat cop is doing on HER investigation, even when Matt discovers that there is a hidden door under the stairs where a little girl is hiding and saying to herself “please don’t hurt me”.
So, does Matt get any reward for helping find the only survivor of this gruesome scene? Of course not! That would be too easy. Instead, Detective Clea Duvall decides that Matt looks like such a hero and found the girl so quickly that he must have done the crime in order to make himself look good after failing the detective exam so many times. I’m sure he’ll get cleared when they discover that he was at Krispy Kreme with his partner at the time of the killings, but right now it just adds insult to injury. He fails the detective exam, finds a missing girl among a grisly murder scene, gets arrested for finding the girl, and the worst is yet to come. He is going to miss couples counseling with his wife, which means that there will be hell to pay when he gets back home. Poor bastard just can’t win.
A lot of people call me cynical, but I think it is justified. Take, for example, the Mohinder and his new friend, Eden Mackenzie. Just the sort of name you expect from somebody who works at an antique bookstore. Eden tells Mohinder that she was a friend of his father’s. She didn’t like to cook for just one, so she would bring him over a meal every now and then. What’s the matter? Wasn’t there a blogger in her building that could have used that food? She says she called Mohinder’s father Papa Suresh and suddenly, Mohinder is opening up to her. He explains how his father had been studying human genomes and DNA migration patterns, and wouldn’t you know? Papa Suresh talked about a lot of the same shit with Eden! What’s my point? How do we know that Eden is not among the bad guys? Wasn’t that encounter with the exterminator just a little too easy? Am I just seriously paranoid here?
I know what you are going to say next. Eden knew too much about Papa Suresh to be a spy trying to get information from Mohinder. Besides, she seems to care about the old guy, and is even worried about his pet lizard (also named Mohinder) might be hungry. To that I say that she was probably assigned to watch Papa Suresh and it was her job to get close to him and feed his lizard. OK, that didn’t sound quite right, but you get the picture. I think Mohinder trusts her a little too much. Luckily, I think we’ll get to test my theory soon. Eden finds a thumb drive in Mohinder’s pen, and when the human Mohinder looks to see what is in side, he discovers that his father was able to do all of that genome and DNA bullshit. There is a way to find out where the heroes will pop up on the radar, and it all starts with patient zero.
And what about patient zero? Well, that would be Silar, who left a creepy message on the answering machine thanking the professor for showing him his full potential. Where have we heard Silar before? That is the name Detective Clea Duvall used to describe the serial killer. If all our fates are pre-determined, and all of these heroes have a destiny, don’t you sort of wonder what kind of destiny requires a man to freeze men alive, chop their heads open, and pull out the brains like they were scooping cantaloupe?
I would like to speculate more, but we are starting to get to the end, starting with Niki. She follows the map to the desert, and when she gets to the designated location, she sees a shovel. OK, if the crazy alter ego drove all the way out to the desert to leave a shovel, why not just bury the bodies? Niki starts digging, hits a human skull about two inches down, and realizes that she probably found the place where Frank Marino and his goons beat up Nicky Santoro and his brother and buried them alive during that scene in Casino. But hey, Micah’s asleep, and those bodies are just taking up space, so she just starts digging.
Next up, Claire had a close call at school, and is still worried about the missing tape, but her father has good news. He called the adoption agency and is going to start the process of looking for her birth parents. But why the change of heart? As Claire leaves the room, we see that her father is watching something on a small screen. HOLY SHIT! It’s Claire’s tape! Creepy father wants to find her parents just in case they have powers because, well, it looks like his job is to kill them all. What the fuck?
The show wrapped up with Hiro, but before we get to that, I should fill everybody in on Nathan and Peter. After learning everything he saw about his brother flying was a delusion, his mother comes in to say that his father committed suicide and he didn’t die of a heart attack like she told them. His father had depression and she never told Peter because he was always so sensitive and the trait is genetic. That doesn’t really answer why she decided to tell him now, but she does say that she cannot lose Peter because he was always her favorite. Well, of course, the younger sibling, unless physically deformed, in prison, or watching Opera on a regular basis, is going to be the favorite. Why is that new?
This whole talk about depression gets Peter to thinking. This time, he heads for the roof of his own building. Nathan goes up there once again to try and talk him down, but Peter wants to know about the other secrets Nathan is hiding. You see, Nathan knew about his father’s depression, and kept it away from Nick. Peter threatens to jump off the roof unless Nathan tells him the truth about flying. Peter gets mad at Nathan because his brother recants and says that he flew, which is good, but then he said that Peter flew as well.
Peter thought he was just being patronized, so he starts to get angry with Nathan for telling him what he wants to hear and not the truth he is expecting. But then, dreams become a reality. Peter was yelling at his brother so much, he didn’t realize that he had stepped off of the balcony and started floating in mid-air. The strange thing? Peter drew a stick figure scene hours before, and then it happened with his brother. Can Peter predict the future as well?
I know I promised a lot of twists in the show, but nothing prepared me for what happened to Hiro. Hiro, believing that he can bend space and time, tries to explain all of this to the police, but they won’t believe him, so Hiro has them call his office buddy. When the translator calls, the guy on the other end says that Hiro has been gone for five weeks. But what is going on? Before I can wrap my brain around it all, a huge explosion hit New York City, and the last thing Hiro sees before he dies is the mushroom cloud destroying everything in its path.
But wait! Hiro didn’t die. The intense moment seemed to trigger his power, and suddenly, he was back on the Japanese subway. Wha? Oh man, I was NOT expecting that. I guess Hiro was on a different timeline, and we should probably look for clues as to whether other characters share the same timeline. Hiro thought it was October 2nd, but it was actually November 8th. The good news? Apparently, Nathan wins his election race. The bad news, some guy named Silar/Sylar/Syler/Sylar is on the loose, and apparently most of New York is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust.
I guess this means that our Heroes have five weeks to save the world.
I thought this second episode was great. Better yet, it seems that Heroes was good enough to be second place and was tops in the 18-45 demographic. I usually don’t watch ratings, but if a show is to succeed it needs viewers, and I really hope this shows succeeds. I like the introduction of the serial killer because every hero needs a villain or arch nemesis to keep themselves motivated, no?
What did you think of this episode?