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

Heroes: "Lizards"

Illustration for article titled Heroes: "Lizards"
Illustration for article titled Heroes: "Lizards"

On the suggestion of last week's commenters, I went and checked out the last couple of Heroes graphic novels posted, expecting to find some of that supposedly useful information that was hinted at–specifically, an explanation of what Maya and Alejandro's powers are. Doing so confirmed what I already knew from last season: While they may be an interesting diversion for superfans, there's nothing here that is crucial to the story. The Maya y Alejandro chapter, for example, established only that the twins were on the run for (accidentally) killing several townspeople, and the authorities were after them. All this, incidentally, I already inferred from the "Wanted" posters and the truckload of corpses in last week's episode, so I renew my position that I'm sticking to the show and the show alone. I see enough Nissan Rogue ads as it is.

Speaking of The Toxic Twins, tonight we got a look at what their powers can do but still no explanation as to how they happen, or even what purpose they may serve. We do know that whatever Maya's destructive power is, Alejandro obviously keeps it in check, and the comic I read (and here's maybe where I contradict myself on the whole "the comics aren't important" thing) also used an excerpt from Chandra Suresh's book to hint that their power may be a "seemingly unattractive mutation holding the potential for something great." So far, however, all we've seen it do is flush out X-Files-esque black oil from everyone's eyes and cause them to keel over, which is what happens to Nidia, their guide across the border. Luckily, Alejandro and Maya can join hands and–with the help of a few shaky camera effects–put everything right with the world, as Alejandro is apparently some kind of mystical Goo Gone. I know an explanation is just around the corner (and I wouldn't even put it past the producers to surprise me with the way their powers fit in with everyone else's) but occasional mass murder aside, I have to say I'm already growing tired of this weepy, El Norte immigration drama. Really, I'm just ready for them to get to America and turn moody and selfish like everybody else.

Still, as impatient as I am with the Maya and Alejandro storyline, it's nothing compared to my overwhelming desire to see Hiro's flight of fancy in feudal Japan come to an end. While Hiro has always been the comic relief and the character who could be counted on to inject a little levity into a show that often takes itself too seriously, I have to say again that his little lighthearted diversion is so predictable it borders on pointless. Sure, we're bound to learn some key piece of mythology–maybe something that explains why Kensei's "godsend" symbol is the same as the "bag-and-tag" mark on the rest of the heroes, seen elsewhere this week on Peter's necklace and again on the ominous "Black Spot" photos given to Kaito Nakamura and Angela Petrelli–and the fact that Kensei himself also appears to have previously undiscovered powers of regeneration is interesting, but is it really worth all of the cutesy cribs from A Princess Bride and romance-under-the-cherry-blossom scenes to get to that? I mean, did anyone out there not see it coming that Hiro would end up impersonating Kensei? Any chance I can squish my eyes together and skip ahead to two or three episodes from now, when Hiro thanks Kensei for everything and Kensei says, "No, thank you," and Hiro returns to the present and realizes that all of Kensei's famous exploits were actually his exploits, et-fucking-cetera? (Again, prove me wrong Heroes writers!)

Ditto for Peter Petrelli and his amnesia arc, which is one of my least favorite dramatic devices ever (except when it involves Martian secret agents, lesbians, or Goldie Hawn). As hinted at in the final scene of last week's episode, Peter doesn't remember his name or anything else about his past, but he suddenly has the ability to control his powers at will, without even being aware of them. He also appears to have picked up a new one–i.e. D.L.'s ability to pass through things–to go along with the telekinesis and lightning-from-the-fingertips he used to lay a beating on some of the most unconvincing "Irish" toughs since Tommy Lee Jones in Blown Away. Unfortunately, to regain his identity and put this little detour to rest, Peter has to commit to doing a job for his captors in order to get (cue ominous NBC announcer voice) The Box supposedly containing his credit cards–which apparently didn't burn up when he went thermonuclear–and everything else he had on him when he was found chained up in the shipping container instead of all those missing "OiPods." I just hope one of the things in The Box is a plane ticket home, so he (and we) can get away from the Fakey O'Brogues as soon as the job is done.

Elsewhere, most of "Lizards" seemed to be leftover scenes from last week: Here's Nathan, looking beaten and miserable, bitterly rescuing his mother from jail. Here's Parkman, already struggling with keeping his mind-reading powers a secret from the NYPD, something that seems like more trouble than it's worth. And of course, here's Claire struggling to fit in and lay low at her high school while creepy Captain Emo is busy making goo goo eyes and wooing her with lines like, "You're into lizards? I thought you'd be more into whales or unicorns." The relationship between West and Claire has potential (he is a flier, after all, just like her dad!) and it's possible that the two of them–aided by Chandra Suresh's book, which, like Frampton Comes Alive, obviously comes in the mail with samples of Tide–might actually push each other to their respective extremes, much as Claire experimented with by cutting off her toe in the episode's lone moment of excitement. So does it make me a bad person that I hope that West turns out to be evil and breaks Claire's indestructible widdle heart? (Whatever will save us from any more Veronica Mars-lite high school scenes.)

Much of the negative feedback on last week's episode centered on the fact that we haven't seen much forward motion yet–or more accurately, we've already missed all of the forward motion by skipping ahead four months–and this episode will likely do little to silence detractors. While not exactly spinning their wheels, the Heroes writers are certainly biding their time before making any big moves. The fact that The Haitian is back is certainly promising (plus it made for an oddly touching reunion between Bennett and his little memory-wiping pal) and Suresh is intiriguingly operating on a deeper level than he's let on, but too much of "Lizards" still felt like deliberately delayed gratification–not too mention "What's In The Box?" is one of the lamest teases we've seen yet. Fortunately, the brief glimpse of Sylar in the preview for next week is enough to keep me hanging on. What about you?

Grade: C

Stray observations:

— How did Mrs. Bennett know that Kaito's death would be of interest to her husband? I know they're not keeping secrets now, but did he really tell her everything about the operations of The Company? Is that what passes for pillow talk in the Bennett household? Speaking of which, does anyone else find the idea of Bennett and his wife having "pillow talk" really creepy?

— Since when is Hiro an equestrian?

— Oh no! The Rogue was stolen! The ROGUE!!!

— Lots more "God" talk in this week's episode: The Haitian believes God both gave him his "gift" and that he meant for him to suffer; Suresh doesn't believe in a God that would create something like his sister's virus. Again, what does God have to do with advanced evolution? And would God really "gift" people with the powers to wipe people's memories or, say, blow up cities?