Last week I slipped in my gumshield and stood up in the face of adversity to fight Heroes’ corner, but whilst the article was primarily aimed at encouraging people to cut the show a bit more slack and give it some time, I also found it quite cathartic. And after doing away with my own apprehensions I sat down to watch episode 5. You know what? I really enjoyed it.
I know people won’t agree with me, and indeed one of the best bits of this site is you can all post your comments and have your say. So go on, write something, have your say…maybe wait to the end of the article though, first…
A lot of people have been posting comparisons of the show against some other big hitting dramas, most commonly The Wire, which is unsurprising given that a large proportion of this season’s villains are played by ex-cast members.
Now I love The Wire and to be totally honest I rate it as one of the best pieces of entertainment around. But you just can’t compare Heroes to The Wire; its like comparing blancmange with a pair of socks, they just don’t go together. The terms ‘gritty’ and ‘realism’ get bandied around regularly in TV land, but never have they been more appropriate than in describing The Wire. The show is a contemporary exploration of a deteriorating city and the social, economic and political issues that come with modern America. In contrast Heroes is a live action comic book and should be seen as such. I mean people fly, shoot fire and cheerleaders are indestructible; this isn’t a gritty exploration of society, it’s meant to be fun and when you sit back and let it entertain you it really is a great show in my opinion. And this week’s episode was the pick of the bunch for me so far from season 3.
We’re now five episodes in and things are really starting to come together. This week I spent almost the entire 45 minutes gleefully putting the pieces together, feeling a little like Sylar now that I could start to see how things worked and how each of these seemingly distant plot lines could mesh together in the bigger picture. What was noticeable in this episode is how Kring and company started to reveal the people pulling the strings behind the scenes, and the show returned to familiar territory as the older generation were reintroduced as villains of the piece.
It was revealed that Maury Parkman (Matt’s father) was behind the Linderman visions that had been appearing before Nathan and Daphne, and in turn it was revealed that the man behind him was Arthur Petrelli who we had been told was dead previously but who appears alive in mind if not in body at the end of the episode.
The older generation of heroes was one of the successes of season one and it’s a welcome addition as series three gathers pace. The great thing about having an earlier generation of heroes is that you can have them screwing around with our present day protagonists, which fits perfectly with this season’s continued examination of the fine line between good and evil.
Nowhere is this concept more pronounced than in Angela Petrelli’s admission that the formula was once used to create heroes, something that is sure to drive a wedge between the Petrellis, but also raises the possibility that there will be some element of conflict between those heroes who are born with their abilities and those who are a result of experimentation and the formula. Explored correctly this could provide the show with a powerful vehicle to explore race and class as well as setting the characters at odds with one another. I suspect this also explains why Claire is ‘special’ in Sylar’s words, and I believe Peter too was born with his abilities.
We were also introduced to new villains and the comic book references continued with the puppet master character who was beautifully introduced in a disturbing little sequence, as he took control of Meredith Gordon (Claire’s birthmother and would-be bodyguard). I don’t think this guy will play a pivotal role in upcoming events but he is a fascinating and disturbing distraction.
Elsewhere Noah and Sylar hunted down Stephen Canfield, but not before he played his part in revealing the innocent victims who slip between the cracks of the Company’s operation. It seemed his speech was as much directed towards the viewers as it was Claire Bennet, who is fast become the writers’ vehicle of choice for blurring the boundaries between good and evil if Sylar’s backseat philosophising is anything to go by.
Elsewhere, Hiro and Ando were up to their usual comic shenanigans with some hilarious scenes in the graveyard, and also at the bar where an Appletini was ordered, a drink as familiar as Bond’s martini to those who watch medical comedy Scrubs. Sensationally though Hiro stabs his own boy wonder in order to gain acceptance to the league of villains. Now I have no doubt that either through the power of time travel or his expertise as a swordsman Hiro has not killed his friend and cohort, but it is bound to piss Ando off. I know it would me and so could be another wedge between the firm fan’s favourites. Finally I think I should mention Mohinda, but I just don’t know what to say really. His continued fly-like transformation is a baffling and in my mind over complicated distraction, but maybe next week will reveal all.
Finally then my predictions. Well last week I sucked. Admittedly the tortoise was never going to turn into a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash and I’m starting to think that my Hammertime prediction could be wide of the mark. But there was one glimmer of hope as in the dying moments I smashed one home and am now sitting smugly in the knowledge that Daphne is indeed working for a rival company.
Read Daniel’s prior review and predictions here.