A Case of the…. Heroes – Episode 2-10

And we’re back!

Before I get to this past week’s episode of Heroes, I’d like to talk a bit about the ongoing writers’ strike. I’ve stated numerous times that I side with the writers here, and that I can’t possibly conceive what argument could be made as to why they don’t deserve a percentage of Internet-related sales. That said, I’ve also gained some new insight into this whole thing, in part due to the recent news that Carson Daly will be airing his show once again next week.

With all due respect to any readers this may offend, but in general I am not a fan of unions, as it’s been my experience that once a union is formed, they basically bully the industry that gives them a living (by picketing employers who hire non-union workers, even though it may cost them a 1/3 of the amount) and when they are unhappy with their work conditions, they strike. Think about that…they stop doing their job, and they prevent anybody else from doing their job as well. How many people can say to their boss, “I’m not doing my job, and you’re not allowed to hire anybody else to do it either”? Most people aren’t satisfied with their job, but most don’t have the luxury of striking. In worst-case scenarios (and by no means is this a blanket statement), I’ve also seen unions take advantage of the benefits that they receive.

So Carson Daly (who I positively loathe. Why exactly is this guy famous?) is returning to work, and the unionized writers are “appalled” that he would not only cross the picket line, but ask non-union writers to help come up with jokes as well. You know how I said that not many people have the luxury of not doing their job without losing it? Well, when this strike is settled, I can guarantee that the vast majority of these writers will have their jobs waiting for them, and I’m sure that whatever compromise or agreement they come up with will compensate the fact that they spent several weeks or months not working. But you know who doesn’t have that security? And you know who won’t be compensated by the new contracts? The hundreds of crewmembers that are now out of work (or will be in the upcoming weeks).

Unless I misinterpreted the article, evidently there are only four union writers employed for Carson Daly’s show, while there are up to 75 crewmembers. It’s ironic that the writers are accusing the producers of being greedy and selfish (which is a justified criticism), but meanwhile they expect 75 people to lose their jobs, during the holiday season no less, for four people.

I know the issue is much more complex and complicated than that, and I truly do hope that the writers get what they deserve (which is what they are fighting for), but that’s how I feel right now.

So with the second to last episode of the “season,” Heroes is really starting to mesh together, tying in several of the various storylines (like I said it would). This episode had the difficult task of continuing the momentum of last week’s phenomenal showing, and in some ways it succeeded, in other ways it did not (although I will not be so harsh to say it “failed”). However, before I get to my thoughts, let me just note how much I’ve missed Nathan the past few episodes. He has been an absolute highlight this season, whether he’s portrayed as a drunkard who has nothing to live for, or as somebody who is attempting to gain his redemption. As far as I am concerned, he has been sorely missed.

I opted not to use the “two people who haven’t been missed” segue, and thought I’d kick off with the Wonder Twins, Paulo and Nikki. As predicted, it seems like these two are heading down the same path as their Lost counterparts, with Alejandro biting the bullet this week. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Sylar kill somebody, obviously. In fact, it’s not even the first time we’ve seen it this season. But what I’ve found interesting is the fact that he’s essentially turned into a serial killer, without the promise of power in return. Last year, for the exception of a few rare instances, all of Sylar’s kills were in order to acquire a new ability. Now, he no longer has that motivation. He no longer needs Maya and/or Alejandro to get to Mohinder, and he only seems mildly interested in gaining Maya’s ability. The TV Watch blogger over at the EW website argues that Sylar is far less interesting this year. I tend to differ. I think we’ve seen a far more sadistic aspect of his character, as he now kills without explicitly benefiting from it. But really, Maya needs to be knocked off next week.

For me, Adam (yes, I will now refer to him by that name) was the real highlight of this past week’s episode. We learned much more about his past, his motives, and what makes him so dangerous. We already know why he initially needed Peter, so that he could escape from the facility. And while we suspected that he saved Nathan in order to earn Peter’s trust, we didn’t quite know why. That’s become a bit clearer. With Adam as public enemy #1, he doesn’t quite have the luxury of walking up to somebody like Victoria and obtaining crucial information regarding the virus. Peter’s multiple abilities have also come in handy, by reading Victoria’s thoughts and protecting Adam from Hiro.

I understand that Adam wants to unleash this virus, which will kill off nearly all of the world’s population, but I’m not quite sure as to why. I’m assuming he has a very Darwin-esque, Jordan Collier-esque outlook on evolution: Basically, he believes that the general, “normal” population should be killed off, and those that survive (presumably those that can heal themselves, like himself and Claire) will restart the population. It’s already been established that more than one person can share a given ability (both West and Nathan can fly, and both Claire and Adam can heal), so it’s possible that there are countless people out there with the ability to heal. Along with that, all indications show that when two people with abilities have a child, that offspring will have an ability as well (shown with the Petrellis, Micah, and Claire). I’m only speculating at this point, but perhaps Adam’s intention is to restart the world’s population so that everybody has a power.

By the way, I do appreciate that this episode established that those with the ability to heal can be killed if they are decapitated.

Kristen Bell as Elle has been another highlight of the season, as it’s always fun seeing the usual goody two shoes playing somebody bratty and evil (I still love Sarah Michelle Gellar performance in Cruel Intentions). I’ll admit that I never watched Veronica Mars, and I’m actually partial to Hayden Panettiere in the looks department, but Kristen Bell (who is lovely, don’t get me wrong) does a wonderful job of delivering her lines and making them believable, whether they’re witty, sinister, or cowardly. I would really love for her to become a regular character. And I don’t know why, but I loved her inability to start the car because her arm was in a sling and she didn’t want to drop her Slushy.

I’ve been salivating for the Claire/Elle throw down all season, and we got one step closer this week. What I particularly enjoyed about the scene was the out of character behavior. The usually passive Claire was a hard assed bully, while the typically confident and savvy Elle was intimidated and backing down. Heroes has a bad reputation for coming up short as to relates to the big battles they have built up all season, so I’m hoping they don’t let us down here.

Last year I considered Niki’s story arc as the most boring and the one that really seemed to drag on. While I still think that’s true, I really came to care for and appreciate her character and her relationship with Micah this past episode, more than any other time the entire series. In the end, I was really hoping that she’ll survive, and that her and Micah end the season happily. It was also cool seeing Monica taking full advantage of her abilities. I wouldn’t mind if they integrated her into the next season, as I feel like her ability (which is pretty cool) has been underutilized.

Mohinder has progressively devolved into the stupidest character on television. Sure, I appreciate the fact that he saved Bennet’s life, but every other thing he’s done in the past few episodes has been moronic. I liked him enough last year, but now he’s down there with the Wonder Twins. I’d like to say the less said about him the better, but there’s a rant related to him at the bottom of the column.

When Hiro traveled back in time, was I the only one who worried he’d spend the next gazillion episodes in 1977?

I defend this show an awful lot, but one thing it does that annoys me to a great extent is the way they have some characters absolutely devote their allegiance to certain people who have done nothing to earn their trust, while having other characters continuously question the motives of individuals who have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can be trusted. There are a few cases in points here, like how Mohinder chooses to ignore every single warning or indication that Bob and The Company can’t be trusted, all while insisting up and down that they “save people.” Who exactly have they saved? Niki? You know, the woman who had to inject herself with a deadly virus? A deadly virus that The Company created, mind you. Aside from that, who have they helped? I don’t see what they did for Molly other than provide her with a comfortable bed. If anything, it was Parkman’s renewed understanding of his ability that saved her. And they did nothing for Peter other than drug him, shock him, and manipulate him.

Speaking of Peter, he’s in a very similar boat with Adam, except for the fact that I can at least understand why he is so willing to trust him (he saved his brother, after all). But even when you consider his natural denial, he should still recognize certain warning signs, or at least question some of Adam’s suspicious behavior (speaking of Peter not asking questions, isn’t he the least bit curious over what his parents’ abilities are? Come to think of it, other than Parkman’s dad and Bob – yes, I remembered this time – have we seen what any of the previous generation of heroes can do?) And even if he is looking at Adam with rose-colored glasses, he still has more reason to believe Hiro, whom he wasn’t even willing to listen to before whipping out the shock hands.

Meanwhile, on the flipside, you’ve got Claire’s sudden refusal to trust her father. I’ve mentioned this before, but I really don’t get how she’s all aghast at finding out about her dad’s past, considering she already found out everything last season. Since then, her father has displayed in virtually every way imaginable that he loves her, and that he’s willing to do anything to protect her. In fact, every single thing he’s ever done on this show has been for the sole purpose of protecting her. Naturally, we’re privy to certain information that she’s not, but nevertheless there is absolutely no reason why she shouldn’t trust his motives, as she should realize by now that his intentions are pure, even when his actions may be morally questionable. Am I simply to believe that she’s such an angst ridden teenager that she doesn’t even see that every time her family has to move, like in this most recent instance, when she called her dad a “bad guy” that she hates, it’s because she didn’t listen and stupidly revealed her abilities?

Then you have Maya burning the candle at both ends, with her opting not to listen to her brother, and instead siding with some perfectly creepy stranger with a conveniently angelic name. I should note that I’m not necessarily against Maya having faith in Sylar, since it has already been established that she’s religious, and the fact that he personally knows Mohinder, the son of the man she was searching for, is a pretty wacky coincidence. Along with that, she’s wanted for murder herself, so I can understand her willingness to accept that he may still be a good man, even if he did kill his own mother. Plus, Sylar is doing an amazing job of manipulating her. My qualm is with the fact that her devotion to him is so completely blind (and not completely believable), to the extent that she’s totally unwilling to listen to anybody else, including her twin brother, the only person she had considered her family.

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