”Heroes”: An hour of powers
As much as I dread trying to digest and dissect television after 10 p.m. — mostly I prefer to drift off to sleep and see how many of the characters work their way into my dreams — at least I picked a good week to borrow the Heroes TV watch from Señor Cruz. For one thing, this episode featured people actually using their abilities. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the show. But there is so much inert superheroism, I often feel like I’m watching a weekly version of Unbreakable.
Tonight’s episode, though, was like a smorgasbord — a relative buffet of dazzling manifestations of mutant aberration. Yum! Not only did Claude and Peter Petrelli do their cool invisible sparring routine on the roof of the Deveaux Building, but Peter later invoked both Sylar’s telekinesis and Nathan’s power of flight to evade the tazer-wielding H.R.G. Come to think of it, Episode 16 really was the younger Petrelli’s time to shine, wasn’t it? The way he got the drop on Isaac at the end shows the kid is really learning to master his various abilities. It’s too bad his quick wits caused Isaac to shoot the woman they both love dead by accident. Oh well, collateral damage.
As if Peter’s hot streak wasn’t enough, Ted Sprague tended to the lawn at a cemetery and — finally, finally — Hiro got a little of his groove back, halting a bullet in mid-air and sending it back into the barrel of a gun. Unfortunately, this impressive feat was accompanied by the sad occasion of Hiro and Ando’s breakup. With The O.C. going off the air, whither shall we go for such doses of man-to-man affection?
Another reason I’m happy I got to sub in this week is, on a Monday night, home to one of TV’s greatest sources of unintentionally humorous dialogue — that’d be Studio 60 — Heroes boasted the goofiest exchange in primetime. It was uttered by Dale Something-or-other, a newly introduced character so clearly destined for a quick death that the show’s writers might as well have called her Ensign Dale and stuck her on an away team. Having presumably found her name on ”the list,” Mohinder and Sylar paid Dale a visit in Bozeman, Montana, to ascertain the exact nature of her particular mojo. Turns out, she possessed super-hearing, accompanied by a stinging case of tinnitus. Later that evening, Sylar paid her another visit to cut her skull open. Hearing his approach, Dale asked, ”That sound in your heart — what is it?” To which he replied, ”Murder.” To which I replied, ”Are you super-friggin’ kidding me?”
I’m also glad I’m writing the Watch this week so that, after it’s posted, I can peruse the message board to see how many of you geek out on the Stan Lee cameo. (It’s not a spoiler if the episode already aired, right?) Anyhoo, this totally unmomentous event occurred a little more than halfway through and undoubtedly will be the source of much online commotion despite the fact that Lee is well known to be the Waldo of comic-book ventures (see the last Spider-Man, the last X-Men, and — unfortunately — not the last Fantastic Four). Owing what it does to X-Men and the Marvel Universe, Heroes was bound to pay the man his tithe eventually.
While we’re on the subject of X-Men, am I the only person who thought Sylar sounded a lot like Erik Lensherr, a.k.a. Magneto, when Mohinder raised the idea of curing people of their abilities? ”You make it sound like a virus or a plague,” he said, his weird, narrow, Bert-like face showing something other than unabashed supervillainy for, like, the first time ever.
Some other stuff happened this week, too. Claire Bennet literally cried over spilled milk. We learned that the H.R.G. receives steady shipments of new pneumatic needles, which would be good if he was distributing them to heroin addicts, but since he’s using them to inject mutants with radio isotopes, it’s considerably less cool. And mind-reader Matt Parkman gave his partner a $40,000 diamond ring, which she promptly made him return — in case anyone needed a reminder that this is a fantasy program.
But the main reason I’m so pleased to be filling in this week has to do with superhero names. Heroes is about people with extraordinary abilities, people who can potentially save or destroy the world, and — I’m sorry — their names just don’t cut it. There’s a guy who is essentially a walking nuclear bomb — and he’s called Ted. Ted. Sure, Sylar has a nice ring to it, but it’s so ambiguous. And the Cheerleader? Come on. This week’s episode, however, opened with a glimmer of hope. A mysterious, raven-haired beauty appeared whose talent seems to be that she can send instant messages without the use of a laptop. Yes, I know that’s lame, but when she tapped into Ted’s computer, it registered her as, get this, ”Wireless.”
That is bad ass.
Okay, so I’m new at this, but I gather I’m supposed to leave you, dear readers, with some thoughts or talking points or whatever. Obviously, I’d love to hear suggestions on further cool names for the existing characters, but I understand these discussions tend to go a little deeper than my junior-high-level musings. So, here’s my little theory-slash-observation. It appears that Peter and Sylar could be perceived as racing Pokemon-style to collect and master as many different abilities as possible. Could this all be building up to a giant catastrophic confrontation between the two of them somewhere down the line? Debate that amongst yourselves — and take comfort in the fact that the guy who normally does this will be back next week.