I’ll say straight off that this week’s story, ‘My Father’, is actually much better than Heroes has been for some time. But that’s not to say my confidence in this show has completely returned. It still manages to do some pretty infuriating things amongst the good stuff it produces.
There have been reports this week that since Pushing Daisies got the big push, its clever show writer, Bryan Fuller, will be coming back to Heroes from episode 20 onwards, i.e. for the season finale.
My immediate reaction, to paraphrase a famous scene in Top Gun, is that by episode 20 this show will be over! But maybe I’m being overly pessimistic, as ‘My Father’ has some substance painfully missing from most of this season.
The first thing they get right this week is sticking with characters for a reasonable amount of time, rather than flitting around like a narrative honey bee. This makes the story easier to follow, and invests in the characters more.
The first decent chunks of time go to Hiro and Claire Bennett, returned by Hiro to sixteen years previous when Noah is given Claire by Hiro’s father to look after. In this we get to meet the real ten year old Hiro and his dying mother, and understand more about the ‘light’ or catalyst that supposedly ends up in Claire. Hiro’s mother is a healer, but it appears that power doesn’t extend to healing herself, curiously. It is she that is carrying the ‘light’ and intends to give it over to the baby Claire before she dies.
Claire can’t understand the Japanese-speaking Hiro, so she leaves and heads to protect her younger self, while Hiro poses as a really bad chef in the Nakamora household. Eventually, Hiro gets to be alone with his mother, and tells her who he is. She heals him, repairing the almost irreparable damage that having him as a ten year old for the past three episodes did to this show. He then convinces her to give him the ‘light’ so he can save the world, again. She gives him the catalyst, and dies. This is a remarkably subtle scene by Heroes standards, and is genuinely touching in places. Which cynically makes me wonder who wrote it? Not Tim Kring, I suspect.
There’s a side plot with cute Daphne, Parkman and Ando looking for the last unpublished 9th Wonder comic, but its all fluff to support the actual events they see drawn in the comic – which they can’t possibly understand.
Claire befriends her stepmom, and gets herself into the Bennett household, which does little but keep her on hold in that time zone until later.
She comes back for Hiro, who can now speak English! I’m slightly disappointed that we’ve never seen again the super cool version of Hiro who can speak perfect English and carries a Samurai sword from season one again. Time travel is a bitch.
Hiro tells her he has the light, just in time for Arthur Petrelli to turn up, take it and all his powers, and send Claire back through time to tell Angela she’s lost. He takes the catalyst with him back to current Pinehearst where they cook up a batch of super powers red flavour to inject into some really dumb Marines they’ve acquired somehow. This seems a very bad idea, but they inject one of them with the formula to find out just how dumb it really is anyway.
Meanwhile, Angela has set clockwork toy Peter off to kill Arthur, taking with him the Haitian, so that without powers Peter can kill him. But Arthur is strong, and defeats the Haitian just as Peter fires. The bullet stops in front of Arthur, Matrix-style, only for Sylar to magically appear. He’s been topping up his silly collection of powers, with that of a woman who can detect lies, and provides what comic relief this story had to offer. He did kill Elle at the end of last week’s show, although it sort of suggested he didn’t. He’s bad again, but now humorous with it.
He asks Arthur if what Noah said about him not being a son was correct. Foolishly, Arthur lies to him, and Sylar lets the bullet fly! Arthur is dead, and Hiro is lost in time. But this is Heroes, so how long do we think these facts will remain so?
The solider experiment works and the Marine is incredibly strong, if that’s actually a good thing. My experience of military people would suggest it probably isn’t.
Overall, this was much better than the utter drivel we’ve been subjected to for most of this season, but there’s a long way to go to turn this around entirely. The lack of any real lives for these people is really beginning to annoy, as no explanation is given to how these people eat or pay for their homes, or taxi fares. Heroes needs grounding in some sort of reality, which is sadly lacking at the moment. Maybe Bryan Fuller can bring that to the writers table, if his arrival isn’t too late to save the Heroes world, and/or the cheerleader.
Check out our review of episode 11 here.