'Heroes' recap: Opening new doors
There are times when I have to give Heroes some credit. It's not often, given the nature of this past season and a half, but every now and again the show touches something genuine. This week, it was Gabriel and Elle. Granted, their interaction was set up by Arthur Petrelli, who told Gabriel that the way to control his all-consuming hunger was to learn a little empathy in other words, Sylar's got to turn on his heart light. But once he got into that barely-lit room with a shackled Elle, their face-off was something to see. Finally, the producers had given Kristen Bell something to do besides pout and smirk. She helped make you feel Elle's pain and frustration she did, after all, create the man who killed her father and her lashing out at Gabriel was a potent release. And the redemption of Sylar continues.
If I had two quibbles about the way this went down, they'd be these: (1) I didn't buy the quick little romantic reversal at the end of this plot thread. First she was trying to poach him like an egg and then she was sidling in like a handsy tennis pro trying to teach him to serve? A little quick, n'est ce pas? (2) Imagine how much more resonance this would've had if the Elle-Gabriel events of last episode weren't revealed...in the last episode. Had this seed been planted seasons ago when we first saw the origins of Sylar it would've felt a lot more meaningful than it did. This only lends credence to the idea that the producers are making this up as they go; that beyond a few half-formed concepts, there's no real grand design at work.
And if you needed more proof, look no further than Hiro. In case you've forgotten and it's understandable if you have Hiro was the breakout character of the first season. His journey from amiably goofy wage slave to time-traveling, katana-wielding hero played like an international gloss on the Spider-Man mythos; regular guy discovers great power within himself and makes good. The fact that Hiro has sunk to a whole new level of annoying a feat that I previously thought impossible troubles me to no end. So, lemme get this straight: Arthur, who we've established has nothing against killing people or planting thoughts in their brains, thought that the best way to deal with what can only charitably be called the Hiro Threat, was to erase the last 18 years of his life. So that he thought he was a waffle-obsessed 10-year-old. Really?
And while we're on the totally asinine decision to buck Hiro down to Private Nakamura, how exactly did Ando manage to teach young, stupid Hiro to use his powers? By mashing his eyes shut and making his cheeks wobble. I can't say for sure, but manipulating the space-time continuum has got to be more difficult than that. (And how exactly did Hiro and Ando come across a new issue of 9th Wonder, given that the comic's writer-artist, Isaac Mendez, was scalped by Sylar a couple of years ago? Unless the Mystical African Spirit Tour Guide was moonlighting as a work-for-hire fill-in artist.)
NEXT: Parkman saves Angela