by Billie Doux
Dean: "Apocalypse apocalypse? Four horsemen, pestilence, five-dollar-a-gallon gas apocalypse?"
Bobby: "That's the one."
Can I start by saying that I just loved the title of this episode so very much?
by Billie Doux
Claire: "If you can't feel anything, do you still have a soul?"
Geez. Dark much?
So Bob is toast and Angela Petrelli is now running the Company. I always liked the jovially despicable Bob, but I can't say I'm unhappy about this new development. The Petrellis are the core of the show, and Angela is a more complex (and scarier) character than Bob as well as the mother and grandmother to my favorite characters. I'm certainly up for some extreme family conflict.
There was so much death in this episode that for a moment, I thought we were going to lose Elle, and that would have really turned me off. We also saw Angela's vision of many future deaths: Peter, Claire, Noah, Hiro, and Matt, pretty much all of our main characters, killed by Niki/Tracy, Adam Monroe, Morey Parkman, new villain Knox, and possibly Sylar. It was odd to see Niki in that group. Except that it might not be Niki at all, since she had a whole different power as well as another name. (Psychotic break? Evil twin?) And all of this happened because Future Peter told Claire not to come to Odessa when Nathan died? (Which, of course, is the Butterfly Effect.)
And now we have a gang of supervillains on the loose, killing innocent bystanders in particularly ugly ways. Fortunately, Peter is with them. But unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be as effective as he was in Cork last season. Does Peter still have his own powers, or does he just have Jesse's sound whatever it is? The latter, I think. This can't be good.
After her unfortunate bout of brain surgery, Claire can feel no pain. I guess it could be worse. What if she felt no pain but couldn't regenerate? On the other hand, what about pleasure? I was also disappointed that HRG wouldn't partner up with his own daughter. He can't keep Claire at home forever. Maybe Claire's bio-mom will help Claire, somehow. She doesn't seem like the "keep Claire at home forever" type.
Mohinder has a serious problem, too. I get the feeling he should have done just a bit more research before clinical trials. I was definitely getting Jeff Goldblum vibes long before he started having skin problems. Have you noticed that they rarely let Sendhil Ramamurthy look good for long? If it's not terminal stubble or a big bandage on his nose, it's something worse. I wonder if the producers think he's just too pretty for television.
So this was a great (dark, but great) episode right up until the end, when the train went right off the rails. Sylar is a Petrelli? Peter and Nathan's brother? Come onnnnn. Of course, we have heard more than once that the Company has, or had, a breeding program. And Sylar did grow up in New York... okay, maybe I can swallow this. But it's certainly not going down very easily.
-- Peter and Claire's relationship in these two episodes felt oddly romantic, not at all as if they were uncle and niece. I wonder how I could be getting an impression like that? It's a mystery.
-- Elle has officially morphed into a sympathetic character. Last season, she was frying people. This season, Sylar victimizes her and Bob and Angela reject her, and we all go "awww." That's Kristen Bell's superpower: tugging on our heartstrings.
-- Dan is officially finding Maya less annoying now. I still don't like her, though, and I was kind of making a bleah face during the love scenes. She's the least interesting character in the cast. Why didn't they add Kristen Bell to the cast, instead? Did they reach their blonde quota?
-- Poor Matt. Scorpions, rattlesnakes, vultures, talking turtles. That was really funny.
-- Speedywoman is Daphne Millbrook, a thief who lives in Paris. Was that the same street address that Peter and Adam went to in Montreal last season, Rue St. Jacques?
-- Bruce Boxleitner's character now has a name: Malden. And apparently, he's governor of New York. And "Niki", aka Tracy Strauss, is his assistant and girlfriend? And he wants to use Nathan for his own nefarious purposes. Okay.
-- Nathan is gonna be a senator. Just a hop, skip and a jump to the presidency these days.
-- I was right about Linderman; he's not really there. Or is he?
Bits and pieces:
-- The "butterfly effect" of time travel is, of course, from the classic sci-fi story.
-- Future Peter was doing Future Hiro's "string theory." Why is Peter so much sexier with a scar?
-- William Katt played the reporter that Niki/Tracy froze. He was the actor who played the lead in the old series, "The Greatest American Hero."
-- There was a brief Veronica Mars Kristen Bell/Francis Capra reunion. I think it was like, five seconds.
Tracy: "Do you think that you know me?"
Nathan: "The word 'biblically' comes to mind."
Now that's the Nathan I like.
Hiro: "We need to set a trap. That's what Batman always does with Catwoman."
Spirit Walk Guy: "You come from America. Do you know Britney Spears?"
Matt: "Your cell. I got to use your cell. I got to call home."
Spirit Walk Guy: "No service here. Should have gone with Sprint."
That was hilarious. If it was product placement, I loved it.
Let's give the premiere two-parter a high three. What did you think?
by Billie Doux
Sylar: "Let's just say I took a little detour from my career path. Spent a little time south of the border. But that's all behind me now, like a long night after a bad taco."
I had premiere anxiety. I was really worried that one of my favorite characters would die. So I was relieved to see that Mister Muggles was still alive and wagging. (Just kidding. Although actually, I do love Mister Muggles.)
I shouldn't have worried, though, because apparently no one stays dead on this show. Nathan came back from the dead with a new and disturbing religious obsession. Nikki survived the fire -- or at least her body did, since her name is different now. Or again. Linderman is still alive and healing. (Or is he?) Claire even survived getting hands-on brain surgery by Sylar. Okay, Hiro's father Kaito is still dead, but he still managed to make snarky comments from the grave. (That scene with Hiro and Kaito and the safe was hilarious.)
And apparently, the line between hero and villain has begun to blur. Sylar was almost, well, nice to Claire. Future Ando was evil. Future Claire tried to kill Peter. Future Peter actually did kill Nathan. How could Future Peter have become so evil that he could kill his beloved brother? And why does angry evil Future Peter always have a scar across his face? For that matter, is Future Claire always going to be a brunette?
Lots of other answers and fun developments. Angela Petrelli's power was finally revealed; she dreams about the future. And I always knew Mohinder secretly wanted to become a superhero, all of his talk about "cures" aside. He was loving bending steel and throwing people. Let's see how *you* handle the stress of superhero-ness, Mohinder.
One big question. Or continuity problem. We learned in "Six Months Ago" that Hiro couldn't change the past. How come Future Peter can?
-- Linderman healed Nathan. Or did he? Nathan came back right after Future Peter kissed him. Did Future Peter absorb healing power from some other gifted person? Is Nathan just imagining Linderman? You know, I like Nathan with ambiguity and snark, so this religious conversion was not my favorite plot point.
-- Present day Peter seems to be trapped in the body of a guy named Jesse Murphy (Francis Capra from Veronica Mars). I'd love to know how Future Peter pulled that one off; probably another absorbed power. Noah Bennet was in another cell in the same company prison. Is a buddy movie prison escape on its way?
-- Can Peter's blood cure, the way Claire's does? Have they ever addressed this? And what about Sylar, now that he's immortal, too?
-- We've always had ticking clock sounds for Sylar. This time we actually got chimes. Maybe because he just scored the big one, immortality.
-- I liked that they started Hiro's story with a clock again, only one that was a lot more expensive. Hiro is now running his father's business. Did Kaito leave everything to Hiro and stiff his daughter Kimiko? Ando said he was very interested in money. Is that what turns him evil? And how'd he get the lightning bolts? Like Mohinder just got his superstrength?
-- They introduced a speedster, yet another blonde woman. I really liked the red and white "wake". Speedy girl has now has half of the secret formula. Who has the other half? What does it do? Maybe it's the formula that Mohinder just discovered, that splits the human race into gifted and non-gifted. No, too metaphorical.
-- Did I see romantic vibes between Mohinder and Maya? Please, no. And hey, it was supposed to be the same day as last season's finale. Where was Mohinder's nose bandage?
-- Future Claire referred to herself as special. Sylar also said that Claire's brain was special. More special than she already is? She's pretty special already, guys.
-- Matt pretty much got bupkis in the premiere. Stuck in the desert with a scorpion on his face.
Bits and pieces:
-- "Volume Three: Villains."
-- The teaser was four years in the future, where the gifted ones were experimented upon and placed in camps. Did Future Peter want Future Claire's gun in particular because it had her fingerprints on it?
-- The graphic we saw twice looked like the earth being split in two by the broken helix symbol. Hey, at least they're thinking big. A lot more fun than a bomb or a plague. More sci-fi, less realism, I'm for that.
-- The Sylar and Claire scene in the Bennet living room looked like a chapel. Lots of religious undertones in this episode.
-- Governor what's-his-name was played by Bruce Boxleitner, who was the lead on one of my absolute favorite sci-fi shows, "Babylon 5." Like I said before, the producers of Heroes know their audience.
-- Nice use of the famous poem, "The Second Coming." I wonder exactly who is slouching towards Bethlehem? (Or is that whom?) Since this volume is called "Villains," hey, could be anybody.
-- I know way too much about Star Trek. The Sylar/Claire brain scene reminded me of what was probably the worst original Star Trek episode ever, "Spock's Brain." Zachary Quinto just spent the past few months playing Spock. Was this a deliberate in-joke?
-- Cristine Rose (Angela Petrelli) is now in the cast. The cast, ever moving and changing it is.
Hiro: "I knew I should have paid more attention in chemistry class."
Kaito: "Should it fall into the wrong hands, there is only one hope. A chosen one among you who carries the purity of blood, the light to safeguard against the darkness. Do you understand?"
Hiro: "No. Not really."
Sylar: "Eat your brain? Claire, that's disgusting."
Finally answered that big fan question. Very funny.
I was sort of hanging in last season; the last few episodes were fun, but for the most part I found season two to be a drag. This season has at least begun with a lot more excitement. I'm encouraged.
On to part two,
by Jess Lynde
This episode worked much better for me than last week’s, primarily because the mission of the week had a much more immediate impact on the characters. Showing Sarah and Charlie not only chasing after the cheese in Cromartie’s mousetrap, but struggling with the ways in which their own decisions had led them to this point was very effective. Charlie, Sarah, and Michelle all had some great scenes this week. I thought Charlie’s phone call to John and Sarah, the scenes in the barn, and the scene in the repair truck were especially strong. Kudos to Lena Headey, in particular, for the repair truck scene. I thought she did an outstanding job conveying Sarah’s frustration and her internal struggle with her desire to protect her son and her desire to preserve all life.
Cromartie was very clever in this episode. His trap for Sarah and crew seemed a bit more elaborate than usual. He used psychology and their knowledge of his past tactics against them. Impressive. Up to this point we've mostly seen him deploy a brute force, search-and-destroy approach. I found it interesting that his model also possesses the ability to use a wider array of strategies.
Charlie’s wife, Michelle, was a pretty tough cookie. Even though she was terrified, she stayed strong, and mostly managed to keep her wits about her. I was sad to see her die, even though I was fully expecting it. Her death should propel Charlie in some compelling new directions. Will he be an ally, or will he blame Sarah? Will he try to work with Agent Ellison, even though he clearly rejected the faith that keeps Ellison grounded?
The first half of the John story had me groaning and rolling my eyes (again). Must we suffer through John ditching Cameron and making time with Riley? I hope Charlie's loss at least serves as a wake-up call for John, and he accepts that the stakes are bigger than his “when do I get to live my own life” rebellion. The war wages on and Judgment Day approaches. I'm sure these things are never really far from John’s mind, but I’m hoping Michelle’s death will be a reminder that neither he nor Sarah are in charge of their own fate at the moment; the machines are. Good people are dying to protect him and protect the future of the human race. It is time to start working with Sarah and Cameron and not against them.
Catherine Weaver recruiting Agent Ellison to find an endoskeleton terminator is very curious. The more I think about it, the less I understand why Skynet needs to recreate itself through this Babylon project. Don’t they have the skills and knowledge to just jump back in time and re-build? Why does Miss Weaver need to reverse engineer the robotic arm? They know how to make new terminators in the future, why can’t they make them in the past using their future knowledge? Do the humans need to do it mostly on their own to ensure that the network is pervasive enough to release Armageddon? From a story perspective, it puts Agent Ellison in an intriguing position and I’m curious to see how he reacts, but I just don’t see why his efforts should be necessary in the first place.
Great ending sequence juxtaposing Michelle’s funeral with dinner at the Connor's. Very resonant.
I thought it was funny that they built actual mousetraps into an episode about metaphorical ones. Cromartie’s admiration for them was even funnier.
The terrible B-movie with George Lazlo as some kind of Tarzan was also highly amusing. I couldn’t believe that Agent Ellison was watching it. It looked just awful.
Sonya Walger did a good job with Michelle Dixon, but I prefer her as Penny Widmore on Lost.
I wonder if there is more to Riley’s story than meets the eye. Is she really just an average girl drawn to John’s loner type because she’s a bit of a rebel? Or is there more going on here?
Final rating: 3 out of 5. A strong main story, but some groan-inducing material for John keeps the episode from being above average for me. Here’s hoping John is learning some lessons that lead to less annoying stories for him in the future.
by Billie Doux
Demon: "So you get to just stroll out of the pit, huh? Tell me. What makes you so special?"
Dean: "I like to think it's because of my perky nipples."
Wow. Outstanding premiere, with an unexpected plot twist. I certainly wasn't expecting Dean to return so quickly. After his very Buffy resurrection, I spent the rest of the episode uneasy and wondering when the big, scary shoe would drop. And did it ever. You can't bring out bigger guns than the big guy.
by Jess Lynde
After an intense and exciting start to the season, we’ve hit our first transitional episode. Transitional episodes can be hard to pull off, because they tend to be less about advancing the story and more about getting characters in the right place (physically and psychologically) for the events to come. I thought Season 1’s second episode did a pretty good job of transitioning the characters into their new status quo, while still giving us interesting character dynamics and conflicts. This episode, sadly, did not work quite so well. While it dealt with some of the repercussions from the season premiere's events, it did so in a largely boring manner. Much of the episode felt forced and awkward, and at times the main plot action stretched my willingness to suspend disbelief to the breaking point.
I thought the lingering issues with Cameron's status were adequately addressed. She still seems not quite right, and everyone is appropriately edgy around her. Even Cameron seems a bit unsettled by what's happened to her, and worried that it could happen again. I liked the "ticking time bomb" parallel they drew between Cameron's state and Sarah's potential cancer. The reminder of that possible death sentence and its continuing effect on Sarah was a nice element of the story.
However, the fallout of the premiere events for John was not handled as well. John's behavior made sense—the kid just endured a series of highly stressful events and, it seems, took a human life. How is he supposed to sit through English class and be a normal teenager after that? Sarah wants to make it all better by trying to re-establish some normalcy for John, but I doubt that is even possible at this point. Especially considering that his world is anything but normal. So John ditching class and bringing home a strange girl seemed a perfectly logically progression. But watching it all play out was boring as hell.
I get that John is tired of being fate's bitch and wants to control his own destiny, but the writers need to come up with a more compelling way to tell his story. The school interludes and his fascination with oddball blonds are not making for engrossing television. I know Sarah said “We could all use boring today,” but I don’t think that should include the audience.
The nuclear power plant story was even more tedious than the John subplot. The initial arrival of another resistance fighter had promise, but he was quickly dispatched after uttering a few cryptic words. Apparently he also had time to leave some cryptic messages in blood, but it still felt like a wasted opportunity. It basically boiled down to an overly convenient plot device to give Sarah and crew an immediate mission. Unfortunately, the subsequent happenings at the power plant were not terribly engaging. I understood why the facility was important to the future resistance, but the mission itself was way too “disconnected” from our characters and had little meaning for the audience. Quite frankly, I didn’t care whether they stopped Greenway or not. And in the end, no matter what they did, Skynet won. (I hope the writers aren’t trying to send a subtle hint about where the series is headed.)
What’s more, aspects of the power plant story were completely ridiculous. I find it extremely hard to believe that Sarah and Cameron could just walk up to a nuclear facility, quickly get hired as temps, then be given such free reign. It was all too easy. How the hell did they get security clearance to work at a nuclear facility in the post 9-11 world? Especially in a mere matter of hours. And doesn't Cameron's i.d. say she is a teenager? Did she have time to pull off some computer magic that we weren’t privy to?
Derek had very little to do again this week. Hopefully they'll give him some more meaningful story soon, because he's such a great character. Last season got so much better once they introduced him. I'm bummed that he's been pretty much sidelined so far.
I liked that the parting exchange between Charlie and Agent Ellison echoed Cromartie’s eerie “We’ll see” to Ellison in the premiere.
I'm surprised Sarah has the resources to rent such a nice house. Did she fence some of those diamonds? Did they take care of that when they were planning to buy the Turk? Such a shame that the place will end up totally trashed.
Given how Greenway was replaced, it now seems clear that Skynet is sending back some of the endoskeleton variety terminators already looking like specific people. That must be what they did with "Vick" from last season. I'm starting to wonder if others are right about Cameron possibly being made in the image of a real person. Maybe someone John loved.
Final rating: 2 out of 5. Some of the story progression was logical, but it just wasn't very entertaining to watch.
by Jess Lynde
Sarah Connor is back, with another strong episode, and a great follow-up to last season’s explosive finale! This season premiere reminded me very much of the pilot episode: it largely focused on intense, thrill-ride action, but also devoted time to the impact on the characters. It did a great job of setting up some new story directions, and it ended with a fantastic twist. Even though Shirley Manson was practically screaming, “I’m a terminator! I’m a terminator!”, I loved the ending revelation that she was a T-1000 model! I’d been wondering why none of the terminators we've encountered thus far were of the liquid metal variety.
The opening sequence was outstanding. The action picked up pretty much where we left off, then went in a direction I was not expecting. I definitely did not see the “Cameron goes bad” twist coming, and I loved the way it all played out. The slow motion shots of John and Sarah, intercut with Cameron’s slow journey to the top of the stairs, and set to the great “Samson and Delilah” song (performed by Shirley Manson) were very, very visceral. It really ramped up the intensity, and things didn’t let up much from that point on.
It seems pretty obvious to me that John is the one who killed Sarkissian, likely to protect his mother. It is having quite the impact on both him and Sarah. John went from stunned to angry to hard all in the course of the hour. He’s becoming the mythic John Connor we always hear about. He even cut off his boyish locks to signify the transition to manhood. The hair cutting was an interesting allusion to the title. Like Samson, John cuts off his hair, but instead of losing his strength, he seems to be gaining it. Finding his way. Happy Birthday, John. Happy birthday to the new you.
Sarah, on the other hand, may be on the edge of losing her way. She’s spent the last 16 years trying to keep John alive and get him ready for this role, but at the same time, she never really wanted it to become a reality. And now she doesn’t know how to deal with it. Lena Headey did an excellent job with the scene outside the bathroom door at the end. We’ve seen Sarah struggle so hard with her own reluctance to take a life. But Lena managed to show how John’s having to take a life is even more devastating for Sarah. It is absolutely tearing her up. She tried rationalizing what happened throughout the episode, and even went so far as to tell John she was proud of him, but I heard a catch in her voice as she said it. She never wanted this for John, and yet she can’t seem to change his future.
Even though Cameron was primarily a relentless killing machine this week, she also had some fascinating character moments. Her interest in the images of Jesus and the story of the resurrection tied in nicely with her past interest in the soul. I wonder more and more what’s so different about her model (aside from the fact that she sees in color) and what she’s fully capable of. Sarah and Derek keep saying the machines don’t have feelings, but in her case, I can’t help but wonder. The scene where she pleads for her life as she’s trapped between the trucks was completely unsettling. I am simply not accustomed to such outbursts of seeming emotion from Cameron. Even though her behavior was almost certainly a ploy to get John to spare her life, the desperation in her pleas and her startling outburst “I love you, John! I love you, and you love me!” were downright freaky. Was there truth to any of it? Were her tactics based on past experience with him or simple observations of late? How did she know exactly what buttons to push? Her pleas may not have worked in the moment, but in the end, John couldn’t let her go.
On that subject, I wasn’t overly keen on the resolution for Bad Cameron. They obviously weren’t going to destroy her; it was just a question of how she’d become “good” again. I’m not sure I like the route they took. It felt a bit cheesy and didn’t quite ring true. I can buy that John would go that far, given all that had happened that day. He may feel that Sarah failed to protect him or somehow let him down in the confrontation with Sarkissian, and so he couldn’t bear to give up the “person” he still viewed as a protector. He told Derek about Cameron, “She saved my life. She saves my life,” with an accusatory look at Sarah. He’s only 16 and the machines keep coming for him. I can understand why part of him still needs a protector, especially one with Cameron’s abilities. But it seemed completely ridiculous to me that the others just stood around and let him hand her a gun. I don’t believe Sarah and Derek would just wait to see how it played out.
As for our other characters, I’m really loving Agent Ellison more and more. He brings such an interesting perspective and dynamic to the show. He’s got this great combination of practicality and deeply held faith. Even though everything he’s seen in the last few weeks has got to be shaking him to his core, he still manages to be calm and collected. His demeanor in his confrontations with Cromartie was amazing. Calm acceptance of his fate and steady determination not give to Cromartie what he wants in exchange for sparing his life. “I’ll never do the Devil’s work.” Followed by that positively eerie “We’ll see.” Great, great line delivery by Garrett Dillahunt. I can’t wait to see where they go next with these two characters.
Derek really got shorted in the “great character moments” department this week. He was mostly played for laughs, which I found a bit jarring, given that his scenes in the S1 finale were so emotionally resonant and this episode takes place on the same day.
I don’t like the new opening teaser. It comes across as very forced and cheesy. Kind of like a really bad movie trailer.
Lots of great visuals this week. All the action sequences were outstanding, especially the opening sequence. And even the quieter moments had some great visuals. I really liked the way you could see the people on the street reflected in the window in front of our newest terminator, flowing steadily along, as she was delivering her monologue about humans versus computers.
I wonder if Ms. Weaver is setting up the group that Wisher talked about in Derek’s future/past. He confessed he was part of a 10 to 15 member group that essentially created Skynet. He created the mind, which the Babylon project now has.
Final rating: 4 out of 5. The season premiere didn’t completely blow me away, but it had some fantastic moments and it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.
by Billie Doux
I watched the much anticipated and buzzworthy premiere of Fringe last night. And my reaction wasn't quite what I expected.
by Billie Doux
They completely retconned the entire series. What a bold, gutsy move.
But a necessary one. How many times could Michael break out of an inescapable prison? Twice was pushing it. The producers must have been thinking, hey, Wentworth Miller is a great leading man, we have this outstanding cast of well-developed shady characters played by top-of-the-line character actors, but if we put them all back in prison together for another season, the audience just won't buy it.
But will the audience stay on board with all these changes?
They made Michael the head of his own little semi-criminal team, sort of Mission Impossible meets The Dirty Dozen -- just add the requisite computer expert and stir. They moved a lot of the action to Los Angeles, which was shiny and new after an entire season of hot and sweaty Dallas pretending to be Panama. They even brought Sara back to life, which was a stretch but a good move since killing her off last season was a mistake of gigantic proportions. (Especially the brutal and gruesome way they did it.) I mean, if you're going to change everything, why not?
I did laugh out loud when they got rid of Michael's tatts, because it was just so improbable: you don't laser off tattoos covering half your body, people, and just act like nothing happened. Yes, they were a huge inconvenience for their lead actor since they stopped being a major plot device, but still, you could say it was a stretch too far. I'm almost surprised they didn't glue Michael's missing toes back on, too.
So it was a smart move. But did it work?
The two-hour premiere was certainly fast-paced and fun to watch. It was great to see Michael and Sara reunited, although the brief hotel room scene was too ambiguous and somewhat unsatisfying. (Yes, sex was implied, but are they a couple now? Come on, guys. I want to know.) But the plot 180 occasionally felt forced and unrealistic. And did they have to do what they did to Mahone? I like Mahone. Poor Mahone.
The jury is out. But I'll keep watching. That's not exactly an endorsement, though, because at this point, I'll watch anything with Wentworth Miller in it.