TV Article

Bipolar Exploration

On ''Heroes,'' Niki's bad side interferes with her reconciliation with husband D.L.; plus, Claire meets her supposed biological parents, and Hiro takes a fall

Ali Larter, Heroes | PHASED OUT Niki took a punch through the torso from D.L.
Image credit: Heroes: Chris Haston
PHASED OUT Niki took a punch through the torso from D.L.

''Heroes'': Niki's marital issues

Congratulations, Heroes fans — don't ever say your friends here at EW don't show you love. As a result of a wave of comments to the effect of ''Come on, suckas, get your act together and give us a Heroes TV Watch,'' we were forced to comply. Welcome. Now let the geeking out begin.

Chapter 6, ''Better Halves,'' was one of the season's most self-contained episodes yet, giving us brief glimpses of Mohinder, Peter, and Isaac (no Matt to be seen, which is fine, because I couldn't take any more of his freaky ''I love you baby; I will read your mind'' shtick from last week) and focusing on Hiro, Claire, and — most appropriately given its title — Niki, who continues to flex her Incredible Hulk-like powers in increasingly scary ways. I'm not claiming any Isaac-like abilities here, but surely I was not the only one who guessed that she did the bad things that put her husband, D.L., in jail (from which he promptly escaped, as seen in the show's fifth graphic novel, Snapshot. If that's her ''better half,'' then I don't blame D.L. for putting his fist through his wife's stomach.

Speaking of D.L., three things: 1. Apparently, the guy can ''phase,'' or pass through solid objects, much like Kitty Pryde in the X-Men movies and comics. With parents like this, Micah is bound to have some incredible powers. 2. As trivial as it is, D.L. won me over when he gave a shout-out to the old EC Tales from the Crypt comics. Anyone else with me on that? 3. Despite some general resemblance, D.L. is not the guy who hangs around with Claire's dad and erases people's memories. I've seen comments all over the Internet confusing the two. That other guy is a completely different character whom the show's writers refer to as the Haitian. So shall we.

Claire's dad — who still doesn't have a name other than Horn-Rimmed Glasses — gets more complex with every episode. He cruelly orchestrated a meeting between his adopted daughter and a pair of evidently fake biological parents, yet he seemed to show fatherly concern when he learned from Eden, who's been his mole with Mohinder all along, that Peter has to ''save the cheerleader.'' (Save the world! I can't stop saying that phrase in a loud whisper.) It was the natural assumption in the first few episodes that he killed Papa Suresh and is trying to do something similarly harmful to our heroes, but maybe not. Could anyone who answers the statement ''Also, there may have been an encounter with someone who can stop time'' with ''Really? That's cool!'' be that bad? Maybe he's just a superhero geek too.

Still, the Claire and Hiro plotlines felt a little like they were marking time, even though Hiro offered one of the episode's funniest moments with a look of utter ''hell, yeah'' on his face when Ando told him that he'll have a sword at some point in the future. (The other, of course, was Ando's answer to the old gambler when asked if he and Hiro were going to the bathroom together: ''Yes, it is how we roll.'') Though I hope these two don't turn into some ridiculous, simplistic, and stereotypical Asian comic-relief duo, I also hope that Hiro won't be completely bummed out by his inability to stop Bizarro Niki from ripping those three guys in half. For as Ando said, ''Every hero is on a journey to find his place in the world. But it's a journey. You don't start at the end. Otherwise they can't make a movie about it later.'' Or, for that matter, an awesome TV show.

And I guess he's right. Maybe I'm expecting too much, and this is a journey for them and us, and there's lots more episodes to come, but I definitely wanted to see each character's story develop a bit more. I'm greedy, though.

What do you think? Is H.R.G. good or bad or both? Is anyone else annoyed and unconvinced by Mohinder's sudden and complete turnaround? (I'm sure flights to and from India are not cheap.) What's the deal with the half-DNA-helix symbol that keeps popping up? And if you've developed any grand unified theories over the past six weeks, feel free to share them now or when we come back next week.

Originally posted Oct 31, 2006