Oh, there you are, Heroes. I was scared for a minute that I was seeing a different side of you, a side I didn't quite understand. You hadn't insulted me for a few weeks; actually, you seemed to be going out of your way to make me feel good. Who were you, and what had you done with the show I've known for so many year (singular)? Had you changed?
No, you didn't change, Heroes. You're still the summabitch I used to know. The one who took me to that magical Houlihan's dinner—oh, how we wined and dined!—only to stick me with the check while you went off to photocopy your butt with another man. What's he got that I don't have? Grace? Charm? The ability to smell people's fear and punch against said fear to the proper degree of fearitude? A butt? All of the above.
What I'm trying to say is that after two weeks and three episodes, I was actually feeling a little hopeful about Heroes' chances this season. Big mistake. We're back to the shit factory tonight, with an episode that squandered all the good mojo garnered last week. And boy, what a week that was. No Ando/Hiro! No Tracy! No stupid Nathan Petrelli stuff! No HRG acting like a wuss! No Angela Petrelli's skull-like visage that skin doesn't so much cover, but grapple onto for dear life! Carnies!
Well, you'll never guess what happens this week. Go ahead. Guess. Oh, forget it: Literally everything that made last week's episode tolerable, this episode did the opposite. And it replaced last week's intolerable stuff with the promise that it'll continue next week, along with all the crap that made this one miserable.
First of all, there's Tracy. Look, I'm not a television writer. I don't claim to be. Those guys are way better at their job than I would be in my wildest imagination. But I do have one simple suggestion that, if you're reading, Heroes writers (and we all know they are), you might want to consider.
Seriously, what is she bringing to this show right now? Does she target a "demo"? Is she moving the plot forward? Is her power interesting/special? Does anyone even like her? SHUT UP.
I know a lot of you are reading the recap and not watching the episode—how I envy you, little ragamuffins—but here is exactly what happened with Tracy tonight, no embellishment, no punches pulled.
1. She emerges from the bathtub as water, then becomes a person again who is wearing a towel that for some reason made the trip with her.
2. She dolls herself up to meet with her ex-employer, who is suprised to see her and tells her he'd like to get her back to work.
3. She meets with HRG and talks about moving on with her life, which HRG poo-poos and says something to the effect of, "You have to think about the past before thinking about the future," or something equally related to the formula, "You have to do this thing before doing the opposite thing as before the thing."
4. Flustered, she goes to meet up with the governor dude, who instead of putting her to work, tells her he wants to stick his barnacle buddy inside her watery lady cave (left purposely vague). But wha? She'd better go to the bathroom and turn her hands into water! Wait, what just happened?
5. And… she's gone.
Take all the time you spent on her, give it to the Haitian, have him sit in a chair and stare at a wall, and it'll be the best Heroes episode to date. (Free sweeps week advice.)
Now, as for Hiro and Ando…
I don't even want to write this. Seriously, it literally pains me to even think about it. Ok, so remember how Hiro was going to go into the past and save people's lives or something? He gets a call on the Hiro For Hire phone from the roof of the office building—this is just after his sister had a very serious talk with him about giving her away at her wedding, which for some reason was over and done in the middle of a work day. He goes up there and finds some employee who is going to kill himself. Seems he photocopied his butt at an office party, and was so shamed that he was later fired (timely tie-in to the economic downturn?). Hiro goes back in time to the office party and prevents him from photocopying his butt, and in the process gets ink on his face. Did he somehow push the butt with his face? Reminds me of my favorite line from Blank Check: "Butt to face. Butt to face. Butt to face…"
That didn't take. Our little friend photocopied his butt at another time, so Hiro goes and prevents that. Same deal. Goes back. 47 times.
Think about it. Let that sink in.
There was a meeting in the Heroes writers room. 46 times? Not enough times. Also, it has to be a guy photocopying his butt. You know, for humor. Of the laughter? Always of the laughter. Ha ha.
Nathan, meanwhile, "enjoyed" a plot so eager to develop, it was over about halfway through the episode. So he's Sylar, right? And Sylar had the power where he can remember things by touching objects. Nathan doesn't know this so he touches a baseball hat and sees himself as Ferris Bueller poolside with a lady, who slipped on a diving board and died. He goes to the girl's mom, who's convinced she fled the country. But it turns out Angela covered the whole thing up—presumably with the Haitian—and left it at that. Nathan, not content to let sleeping dogs lie, goes back to the girl's mom and tells her he committed the crime. She sends him away, so he calls the homicide division of his local police department to turn himself in, but doesn't do that, either. Then some guy shows up, drags Nathan from his car, shoots him, and buries him. But he's Sylar, so he emerges from the dirt looking like Sylar and remembering things like Nathan. CLIFFHANGER.
Here's the problem: Heroes is always willing to rewrite its characters' backstories rather than look ahead. That was what made the first season so… well, I'm hesitant to say "good" anymore, but I'll use the word "tolerable" again, with "consistently" in front of it. There was no backstory to speak of, so everything was focused on the impending nuclear attack on New York and showcasing people's badass powers. Deep character development requires, at the very minimum, decent writers. And it seems those are in short supply on Heroes.
Like, writer guys, was it really necessary to effectively neuter everyone's favorite character, HRG? This episode finds him not only relegated to his stupid apartment, but making the lamest dad jokes I've seen outside CBS. Peter shows him where the magic compass tattoo was on his arm, of course it's not there, and the best thing HRG can say is that he's got a nice arm? Then act skeptical that there was ever a magical tattoo at all? If there's anyone—anyone—on the show that should marginally buy into all the magical mumbo-jumbo, it would be HIM! His old partner was invisible.
To make matters oh so infinitely worse, he has to give an inadvertent shout out to his former self. Claire, who stops by the DC apartment for an unannounced visit, asks him who he is—really, who are you, papa? "I'm a company man." Not anymore.
- "It's like you're the parent and I'm the kid."
- I got a screener of next week's episode, and the press notes said something about, and I quote with caps too, "AN UNEXPECTED KISS." Watch the preview for next week, and it's pretty obvious who it is.
- SPOILER: That kiss? It's the future Irish girl and RoboCop.