Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Cross-posted to Racialicious!
"Heroes" is, at its heart, a family drama that deals with two main families in particular, the Bennet family and the Petrelli family. -- Series creator Tim Kring, as quoted in Entertainment Weekly.
“Eris Quod Sum,” the series' first episode since that unfortunate statement by Kring was published, inched things along for members of both families, but really, the episode just moved sideways. Is the show banking on another big finale to save its' season? How are we to feel about the series' other Heroes? More on that later.
This week's best development was the prospect of a double-cross contest between the increasingly “good” Sylar/Gabriel and Mr. Petrelli. While breaking the de-powered Peter out of the Pinehearst facility at the urging of their mother, Gabe is detained by Arthur for a father-long-lost-son heart-to-heart, during which, we're told, he revealed Mrs. Petrelli's Deep Dark Secret.
When Peter later urges his new bro to “just kick his ass,” however, Sylar demurs, standing right by Papa P. and hurling Pete out of a seventh-story window. How does the mundane Peter stay alive? Looks like Sylar protected him, freeing his brother while he went undercover with Team Pinehearst. Hopefully this leads to a Lionel/Lex Luthor-like duel of wills between the newest Petrelli and the oldest. Hell, the show's cribbed enough from the X-Men; why not throw some Smallville in? And can we get a side order of Buffy with that? What's Principal Wood up to these days?
After landing, Peter is taken to safety by Claire and the returning Elle, fresh off a highly-implausible cross-country trip (last-minute plane tickets? Rental cars for people under 25? Could Elle at least have flashed her Primatech ID to explain this?!). While Elle's excited by the prospect of getting her powers removed, Claire wisely turns to biological dad Nathan, yet unwisely does not turn to Mr. Bennet, who presumably would have more of an idea about how to deal with a superpowered cadre. Nathan, meanwhile, teases an actual working brain cell (he lies, promising Peter he'll call the Justice Department on Pinehearst) before stomping off with Tracy in tow to “bust a few doors down.” Yeah, 'cause guys who can fly and do nothing else are soooo scary.
Elsewhere in Pinehearst's tentacles, Daphne further ingratiates herself with hubby-maybe-to-be Parkman, who actually does reveal a working brain cell, by suggesting they go to Primatech for help; Suresh joins Mr. Petrelli's cause in exchange for a cure for Maya, losing her in the process. But on the bright side, he got to give Sylar a righteous beatdown; and alleged covert op Hiro lands himself into a trance after tasting some of The Artist Who We Should Have Been Introduced To As Usutu's family recipe for Spirit-Walk Sauce, and much like the episode, flops to the floor.
You'll note the limited involvement of anybody who's not a part of Kring's aforementioned Big Broods. In earlier years, you could explain these things as being part of the season's natural rotation of characters in and out of primary storylines. And in earlier years, standout moments did involve the Petrellis and the Bennets (Company Man and the first-season finale come to mind), but they felt like natural responses to the bigger story. Kring's statement suddenly makes one question how seriously the creators originally took breakout characters like Hiro and Mohinder, and Parkman, and now Daphne and Elle, who are not related to the main families.
Hiro was the heart of the makeshift team in the first year, the character we could believe in the easiest before he was refocused into cutesy comedy relief, and Mohinder was the audience surrogate, learning about the complex web of possibilities metahumanity presented, who is now, literally, slinging webs. Are we supposed to invest our emotions in characters, in people, who are just there to prop up the series' squabbling families? Are we to wait for the next few weeks for this volume's finale to rekindle the series' spark? Does the steep decline in viewership – a mind-boggling 50 percent in just two seasons – afford Kring and company the luxury of waiting for everyone to “catch up”? Earlier this year we asked, Is the worst over? What started with the promise of a generation's learning to take its' next step genetically and philosophically has degenerated into just another set of family squabbles. Heroes brought us in by showing us the best we could be. Now it wants us to stay by showing us the worst parts of ourselves in the mightiest among us. The signs are not good.
The Racialicious Scorecard:
Suresh: A strong episode for the character, as he sides with Pinehearst and, despite losing Maya, retains some humanity: both his anxiousness in questioning Peter about his future and his fury in beating Sylar down (referencing Chandra's murder) shone through well. Of course, this is the second year in a row he's blindly joined a Company, but you can't ask everything of a guy.
Usutu: Ramblings about choosing fate, “Dark Sun” risings, family potions dating back “thousands of years,” and no name to speak of ... man, Jesse Alexander was playing Mystical Minority Bingo when he wrote this one, wasn't he? And does going from “Africa” to “Somewhere In Africa” on the locator cards count as movin' on up in this universe?
Hiro & Ando: Usutu's newest trainees went on the back-burner this week amid bickering over whether Hiro should go back in time and figure out how to beat the Villains (as opposed to, say, using the resources of a corporation which Hiro now controls). But Hiro's latest foray into temporal tempests should place him in the thick of the action in the next episode.
Knox: His “tracker profile” (seen at left) lists his power control index as 75 percent mental, and it's been mentioned during our weekly roundtable discussions that he has a college degree. Yet once again, he's suckered. This time, Parkman fools him via Mind Mojo into thinking he and Daphne are killed by the power of his incredible flaring nostrils. Makes you wonder, if somebody gets really scared around him, is Knox going to yell, KAMEKAMEHA! before taking that person out?
MIA: The Haitian
In Two Weeks: Hiro goes back to the creative well, errr, back in time, as it's time to play the Secret Origins game!
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Images courtesy of HeroesWiki
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