Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Heroes: "1961"

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Oh man, if you hated last week’s Heroes, you probably had some sort of aneurysm tonight. For the record, I was actually fine with last week’s baddie-fest, because at least something happened. Tonight, we were promised the moon, and we were delivered the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons. Also: There were a lot of deep, deep conversations—pretty much the last thing Heroes needs at this point.


Anyway, the title of the episode, “1961,” is where most of it took place—in the past. The big deal about getting to Coyote Sands, where something mystical that Angela wouldn’t talk about last week occurred, didn’t turn out to be that big a deal at all. First she makes everybody start digging up graves but refuses to tell them why—leading to Peter as audience surrogate (“You could’ve told us this in the restaurant!”). Then she finally lets them know that she’s looking for her long-dead little sister, who she abandoned back in the ’60s and whose death she feels responsible for.

And then we’re back in time, in true comic-book form. I had a little bit of hope for these black-and-white sequences, that they might open up the Heroes writers to a little bit more fun and creativity. And that they would use this opportunity to give us an origin story that we could really sink our teeth into. No dice. It was as simple as, “This all happened before, and we have to keep it from happening again.” So we’re supposed to a) be enthralled that the backstory tells us nothing and b) believe that this big government facility designed to study and/or exterminate people with abilities was wiped out by a group of teens with powers? No. That’s just not good enough, Heroes. I’d rather you told me nothing at all.

And then you had to go and insert “deep” conversations between all of the present-day characters? Apparently we needed a way to get the whole Petrelli family on the same page, and the easiest way to do that is just to bring them all to one place and say, “Aww, isn’t family great? Family is the best!” But wait, isn’t this the family that tries to fucking kill and/or betray each other pretty much every week? If that was your life, wouldn’t your reaction be “Fuck family! I’m getting the hell away from these people!” But no, apparently time heals all wounds, even if that time is only five minutes long, and the wound is that your big brother started a government program to round up people like you and keep them sedated forever. Nah, man, it’s cool. Don’t worry about.

And then, oh sweet lord, Alice Petrelli. They couldn’t think of a better backstory than “I just waited here in this ghost town for 50 years”? What the flying fuck is that? And her power is controlling the weather? And Angela never had another dream in 50 years that told her to try and come back to look for her? And The Company—as envisioned on a whim by Angela and her three teenage friends—didn’t happen upon her when they were destroying any trace of these people? AND PETER PETRELLI FOUND A CLEARLY LABELED, 50-YEAR-OLD FILM CANISTER WITH SURESH’S DAD’S NAME ON IT, THEN PROCEEDED TO GIVE IT TO HIM AND ASSUME IT HELD SOME ANSWERS/CLUES? Please, Heroes, I’m willing to meet you halfway, but don’t insult my intelligence and bore me at the same time.

This rant, it should be noted, is coming from a Heroes apologist. I want to like this show the way I once did. But it’s so ridiculously rudderless sometimes that it almost feels like a taunt. It’s clear that nobody has a great vision for where things are going, so each week feels like watching a different show from the next. Make a plan, Heroes. (Well, it’s probably too late for that.) But wherever the hell you end up this season—only two episodes left—please leave yourself some room to plan an actual story for next time. I’m told that’s what good comic books do, and you’ve failed on that front. And flailed. And acted like a blind show. Make something happen, or there’s no way we’re coming back.

Grade: D-

Stray observations:

— Yes, D-, the gentleman’s F.

— So Sylar is shapeshifting into Nathan and he’s going to run for president. Good for him, at least he’s not hanging around in the fucking desert.


— Didn’t Angela meet up with her sister a few weeks ago and ask for money to go on the run? Or was that a cousin or something else totally meaningless?

— Are we supposed to know who Angela’s teen cohorts are? That British accent sucks.


— Suresh is going to stay in this abandoned complex and figure some shit out. Great plan.

— Claire got her own episode of My Two Dads, complete with a speech about how she can’t remember the last book she read.


— “This isn’t a company, this is a family.” Ugh. You have not earned this, Petrellis. Try again.