What is this episode, "Tabula Rasa", about? Something definitive? Something we're still hoping to understand? Something just on the edge of what we'd define as "understanding"? Wait, here's a better question: What is TV?
It's this unanswerable question that ran through my mind as I watched the latest Heroes anti-"moving to LA with a suitcase full of dreams and a change of clothes also made out of dreams" PSA. Moving pictures with sound? Color waves? Magic show by Hiro The Magnificent? Part of an elaborate "sell people clothes made out of dreams that are actually invisible but really don't exist" hoax? Who knows what this things called, "teled-version" really is. All I know is, it makes with the happy time, and it bears me many mindfruits, with which to feed my family and bring honor to my household. Translation: I like TV that does something, anything, manything.
It is at this core level of accomplishment that Heroes fails. Nothing happens. If the requirement for a TV show to exist is that not nothing happens, not TV equals Heroes. TV equals not Heroes. QED.
But you're probably thinking, "Wait, ho boy, an hour just passed, and there was stuff on my… place where stuff comes from. Was that TV?" No, go have another So. Cal fish taco from your favorite chain restaurant—oh, you know the one.
But you would be wrong. Because here's what you thought might have been the plots on tonight's Heroes, and the (much more valid) counterarguments.
Plot? Hiro and the deaf girl are hanging out. Mischief!
"Backstory": Peter goes off to find a healer to get rid of Hiro's brain tumor (NOW they explain it!), and leaves Hiro at the hospital and his new girl, who looks like Tracy and the fire hands lady had an "old baby", to take care of him.
You think that's dumb? Here's the actual story… Hiro makes it his mission to convince her that her power is worth something, so he stages a magic show, freezes time, and allows her to run her hands through the multicolor run-off. Problem solved: She sucks all the color in to her hands for a massive fireball; "ha-DOU-ken!" Wait, no she just runs her hands around it and then Hiro teaches everyone how to clap for deaf people, which feels somehow condescending. Not enough, people. WHERE IS HER SPRINT COMMERCIAL?!?
It's okay, though, because at least they explained: That she can't easily read Hiro's lips because he has a Japanese accent. Fanboys, heel!
Plot? Peter and Bennet travel to find their healer, who is an angry boy with a shotgun.
"Backstory": Bennet tagged him once, but recalls quite clearly (and with the help of the computer system he still has access to for some reason) that he was a very conflicted boy who was having trouble seeing his power as a blessing or a curse. This sounds just like a conversation people have about things.
You think that's dumb? Here's the actual story… They show up to rescue the boy, and it turns out he's been killing people now, unwillingly. Bennet attempts to talk him down instead of sending time-stopping, space-traveling Peter in there first. Bennet fails, then Peter teleports in right in the path of a bullet. He's down for the count. (In all seriousness, that was a half decent shot, no pun intended. Hey-o!) Bennet must now talk the kid into healing Peter. He does, and Peter's fine. Then they did the logical thing, which is to have Peter teleport all three of them back to the hospital to heal Hiro. Nope. Peter steals the kid's power, then heads to the airport. This show sure is stupid, but for God's sake, teleport. Teleport. Teleport. Teleport. Teleport. Teleport. Fly? Teleport. Teleport. Oh, walk! TELEPORT!
It's okay, though, because at least they explained: That Bennet is going to stay back with the kid, maybe start a family, make the kid like the son he never had. Except for Lyle, who is… wait, who?
Plot? Sylar is with the carnies now, who want to make him feel at home.
"Backstory": He's here now.
You think that's dumb? Here's the actual story… Sylar can't remember who he is, except he wants to be called Nathan for some reason. So the carnies send him into the house of mirrors to confront his past, and he sees himself killing his mother again, and that emo kid with the finger guns. He remembers a few things. Also memory triggers: shaking hands "I've… shaken hands… before"; hearing planes overhead "I've… flown on a plane… before"; using his mind to move a knife "I've… used this one of my many abilities… before… and only… this… on…e". He eventually learns he has to kill that police officer from before, and he can't do it, but fast-moving guy does. Then he gets baptized and boffs the tattoo lady. "I've… given you a 'tattoo'… before."
It's okay, though, because at least they explained: That the carnies force people to dig holes, even though one guy's power is OVER THE EARTH.
Yeah, "Tabula Rasa" indeed.