I won’t stoop so low as to tell you that The Eclipse part one is the first instalment of a double header, that, get this, revolves around an eclipse…clever stuff, huh. Of course, it’s not the worst episode title I’ve ever seen, but it does set the tone for a continuation of the type of low-grade writing that has, sadly, taken the shine off of season 3.
So what happens? Well in an astronomical nutshell: an eclipse comes and takes away everyone’s powers turning them back to normal, except that, unfortunately, in Heroes season 3 nothing is normal because, of course, the eclipse hasn’t come at a time when our central characters are out shopping, shaving their legs or tackling a rather tricky sudoku. Nope. Elle and Sylar are on the hunt for Claire, who it turns out may be the catalyst Suresh is looking for (and so perhaps not the self-centred brat I tagged her for last week; sorry, Claire-bear). Hiro, Ando and Parkman are in a cornfield looking for Daphne (who, it turns out, can actually barely walk without her powers) and Nathan and Peter are in the jungle looking for the Haitian, who in turn is looking for his brother (complete with Luke Cage invulnerability), who goes by the name of Baron Samedi, and no, sadly, it isn’t the Baron Samedi from Roger Moore’s Live and Let Die. Although, to be honest with you, that might have made more sense.
It might sound stupid or a bit convoluted, and to a degree it is, but in essence The Eclipse isn’t a bad idea at all; in fact, it’s a well-trodden path that almost every hero has gone down as they are stripped of their powers and we are left to examine the man or woman underneath. It is a means to explore what really drives a character and to inject some often much needed reality into the fantastical, but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work here for Kring and Co.
And it’s a shame because I think what season 3 has being crying out for is a sense of reality. Now I’m not talking here about gritty realism – I mean it’s a show where people fly and shoot fire – but each week seems to be more fantastical than the next with the cast drifting further and further away from everyday life. I mean how long has Nathan spent in his new job at the senate? Does anyone wonder why Claire isn’t at school anymore? And who’s nursing all of Peter’s sick patients?
I think one of the reasons why the first season was so enjoyable was that it was very closely intertwined with everyday life. Set in New York, each of the characters had a job, a family or a neighbour; you know, everyday occurrences that didn’t require superpowers and so really enabled the audience to engage with the heroes. But now, in season 3, very little action takes place outside of the superpowered fraternity and our characters end up in increasingly remote locales from African deserts to tropical jungles.
Now as I said, it’s not looking like I want some kind of jerky camera reality, but my suspension of disbelief can only go so far, and whilst I can readily accept that people can travel through space and time, I just can’t get my head around the fact that they won’t pop in to feed their cat every once in a while. The problem is that the longer this goes on, the harder I find it to buy into what’s going on, which is a shame because that’s when Heroes is at its finest, when it knocks you off your feet and all of a sudden you realise you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Whilst it had its faults, The Eclipse wasn’t all bad. There is a welcome return for the 9th Wonders comic, which I suspect is running short of issues by now seeing as Issac Mendez’s brains were decorating his apartment not so long ago. The comic book influence is also continued with a great scene with Hiro and Ando heading to the comic store where they are greeted by Seth Green complete with beard (who seems to be a go-to cameo at the moment after a recent stint on Entourage) and a sidekick who I recognise from Road Trip and Clueless amongst other things. With the reintroduction of comics, Kring certainly scores fanboy points and there is some welcome levity in this episode with Hiro returning to the kind of youthful energy we have missed in previous episodes, although why this required him being brainwashed to the state of a ten year old is beyond me.
So tune in next week for part two when, I bet the eclipse will pass and everyone will get their powers back, leading to the last two weeks of my life being a complete waste of time. Or, Kring could throw a curve ball as Peter, Nathan and the Haitian stumble across the I’m A Celebrity… camp enlisting the help of messers Kilroy-Silk, Ransom and some WAG in the battle against Baron Samedi.
Note to readers – I am sure, like me, you can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t function on a day to day basis without the knowledge of what was on the African dude’s walkman. Was it MC Hammer? Perhaps he was a musical fan and it was a Lloyd Webber number, but he’s dead and so we can’t ask him. So rather than continue to descend into the depressive slump I have found myself in, I have decided to write to Tim Kring to find out just what was on that tape. What will it be? I don’t know, but put your predictions below.
Read Daniel’s prior review here.