by Billie Doux
[Note: Salon.com recently started a new section called "Open Salon" that allows anyone to contribute. I wrote a piece in response to their open call for a true Thanksgiving story. It didn't make the front page on Thanksgiving, so I thought it sort of sank beneath the waves. But then, it was on their front page today -- Saturday. Here's the link. And below is the story.]
The last time I saw my mother, it was Thanksgiving.
My mother was weird about food. She was Pennsylvania Dutch and her parents suffered through the Great Depression, so she was extremely tight with a buck. She never threw food out until it had hair long enough to wind into rollers. She sometimes did things with food that I was sure would kill us, but somehow never did.
There were usually five of us for Thanksgiving. There was Mother. My sister and her son. Me and my son. (Yes, three single mothers, veterans of many divorces.) And various friends, boyfriends, etc. would come for Thanksgiving, too. But they changed. The core was always the five of us.
That Thanksgiving, I had a brand new job in Norfolk, Virginia. Mother lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She and my nephew decided to drive down to Norfolk on Thanksgiving morning; Mother would bring the turkey. (Mother always made the turkey. She insisted on making the turkey.) So that's what they did. She got up before dawn, half-baked a turkey, covered it with tin foil, and she and my nephew got in the car and drove to Norfolk.
See, I hadn't been in Norfolk long, and I thought it was about a four hour trip from Atlantic City. And they believed me. Wrong. It was seven hours. As the day stretched on, my nephew kept calling from his cell phone and giving us status reports. They had finally hit the Eastern Shore. They were approaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. He reported that the turkey, riding in its pan in the back seat, was looking more and more deadly as the trip wore on. As they rode over the bridge, he called and told me Mother said to turn on my oven.
They did finally arrive, and there was much hugging. I offered to give the turkey a decent burial and make chicken, but Mother would have none of it and she prepped and popped the half-cooked turkey into the oven. We spent the next few hours reminiscing, catching up, and making side dishes, joking nervously about salmonella.
We didn't get salmonella. We had one of the best Thanksgivings we ever had, and the turkey was delicious, although I'll admit it tasted ever so slightly odd. It had been five years since we had had Thanksgiving together, since my sister had killed herself. After her death, I had moved myself and my son to Texas so I could get a master's degree. I was deeply depressed the entire time I was in grad school. I hated it. I hated Texas. (I'll admit that wasn't Texas' fault.) But I was determined to get that damned degree so that I could get a better job and make more money and we could have a better life. Even though I wasn't sure that I wanted a better life without my sister. When someone so close to you dies, you start feeling that there's no point to life. We're all going to die anyway, and much too soon, so what's the point.
But the four of us were finally together again for that Thanksgiving, and it felt so good. I think we felt a little fragile from the burden of grief we'd been carrying for so long. I think we also felt, without saying so, that enough time had passed without her and we could finally enjoy a holiday again. We walked on the beach. We went to the aquarium. We talked a lot, and laughed a lot, and had a lovely couple of days. The half-cooked multi-state turkey became a standing joke. And then Mother and my nephew went home.
Fast forward to a few months later. I was pulling into the driveway, just coming home from work. My son ran out of the house with the phone in his hand, telling me I had a call from Atlantic City Medical Center. It was an emergency room doctor. My mother had had a massive heart attack. She had already been unconscious and unresponsive when the ambulance came. They were trying to keep her alive, but it didn't look good. If she survived, it was likely she would have to be kept alive by machines. Would I authorize heroic measures, he asked me.
I knew she would hate that. She was over sixty. She had lost one of her two children. She had nursed both of her parents through long, debilitating illnesses. I knew she wasn't afraid of death, but she was terribly afraid of being kept alive by machines. I couldn't even think, but I knew what she would want.
"Let her go," I said. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to say. We'd had to say it about my sister, too. As soon as I said it, I wanted to take it back.
"We'll get back to you," the doctor said, and hung up. Ten minutes later, he called and told me she was gone. I lost my mother in ten minutes.
Mother wasn't that old. She should have lived a lot longer. I'm certain a lifetime of smoking had something to do with it.
The point of my little story is that we had that last Thanksgiving together. It was last time I saw her, and it was a wonderful holiday. Every Thanksgiving, I think about that lovely weekend with the turkey that didn't kill us. I think about my mother. And it makes me smile.
by Billie Doux
Elle: "We can't take what we want any more."
Sylar: "Says who?"
Is it possible to enjoy something and be annoyed with it at the same time?
Yes, there was some fun. Like Noah and Sylar wrestling on the floor, for instance, or Matt trying unsuccessfully to hear thoughts. But then everything sort of fell apart. As character after character lost their powers, everyone seemed to be in a really crappy mood. Nathan and Peter were at each other's throats. (I'm a U.S. senator and you're a nurse? Come on, Nathan.) Noah training Claire in that empty house felt a lot like Meredith and the cargo container: pointless, and sort of cruel. (Hit the wall with a stick until you do it right? Come on, Noah.)
I'm starting to think that there's not a lot of there there. An episode where superheroes all lose their powers should be pretty, well, powerful. This one wasn't. Maybe part two will make it work for me.
Again, Elle and Sylar were pretty much the best part of it. Loved the two of them taking off in a car together like young lovers about to embark on a killing spree. And there was kissing, and everything. Sylar with a dislocated shoulder was pretty funny. Without his powers, Sylar seemed to be thinking for himself for the first time in the entire series. Is he bad again? Elle apparently wanted him bad. I'm not sure what I want Sylar to be -- good or evil. I'm confused.
Claire, as usual, is the Heroes nexus. She's not only related to everyone, her blood has actual power. And now it's all over the place. The blood, I mean. Did she die? Will the end of the eclipse bring her back? Duh.
So what will happen when the extremely long eclipse ends?
1. No one gets their powers back. Show becomes extremely boring and is immediately canceled.
2. Everyone gets their original powers back, and it's like nothing happened. That's sort of dull, too, but probably the best choice.
3. Everyone gets a new power. I'm not sure I like that idea, either.
4. Mohinder's formula works, and lots of people unexpectedly get powers. The world comes to an end. Also not good.
So I think I'm on the fence. I hope they surprise and delight me. Stay tuned.
Bits and pieces:
-- At least, Mohinder was back to his beautiful, normal self again. For five minutes, anyway. We even got a nude scene, which was different and new. Is he still evil, though?
-- Arthur promised Tracy the White House. Aha.
-- Arthur's pencil drawings were a little easier to decipher than Usutu's stylistic rock paintings.
-- Daphne, the real Daphne, can't walk without braces, which is what you might call ironic. I didn't find this revelation moving, although it did explain why she was so desperate to hang on to her superspeed.
-- The Haitian's brother, Baron Samedi, had impenetrable skin. How come he gets a name (that sounds like an old James Bond villain) and the Haitian doesn't? What will it take to give the Haitian an actual freaking name?
-- Seth Green, my favorite werewolf, was in there for about a minute. Which definitely wasn't enough.
-- I don't know what this red Hulk thing is. Is it happening in real life? Does it have something to do with the plot, i.e., everyone's powers are changing? My lack of comic book knowledge is showing.
Guy: "I should kill you now, say it was self-defense. I'll be famous. A bona fide hero."
Sylar: "I hate heroes."
Ando: (translating for Hiro) "You must not doubt your mission. The corn will keep on coming." Corn? Was this a comic book reference I just didn't get?
Haitian: "The universe has decided our fate."
Nathan: "Can the universe get me a phone?"
I think I'll hold my rating until part two,
by Billie Doux
Dexter: "Did he just lie? To me?"
I spent most of this episode with my stomach in knots, so I'm thinking it was extremely suspenseful. I kept expecting George King to go back and finish Anton off, and he very nearly did. Anton escaped by the skin of his teeth. (Had to say it; sorry about that.) And now that Deb has seriously disrespected King, I'm betting she's the next target. Oh, my stomach. (That poor Mario guy should be worried, too. I hope he and his family are on a fast train out of town.)
by Paul Kelly
Chapter Ten: Jack, Meet Ethan. Ethan? Jack.
Jack is searching the beach for luggage containing medicine when he's approached by Ethan, who gives him a small suitcase full of drugs. Ethan commends Jack on "having perspective", and complains that most of the other survivors are too busy thinking about rescue to bother with the practicalities of their situation. Ethan points out that Claire could give birth at any moment and that Jack would have to deliver the baby right there on the island. Jack volunteers Ethan as an assistant, but Ethan seems unhappy. He tells Jack that he lost both his wife and baby in childbirth.
by Paul Kelly
Part Three. Capture
Inside a darkened warehouse, Santiago slowly regains consciousness. Elisa and the mysterious blonde lady stand nearby observing him. MBL senses that Elisa is attracted to Santiago. Elisa denies it, saying that he's just a project. But MBL isn't convinced.
Elisa goes over to Santiago. He wants to know where he is and what's happening to him. Elisa tries to explain, but before she gets a chance, Santiago tries to use his powers to escape. But there's no way out. All the exits are locked.
MBL tells Santiago that they want to help him. Elisa reassures him that he's not alone and that there are others out there just like him.
Santiago asks how they know about his powers. MBL tells him that his gift was inherited from his Father, a former employee of their organization. She wants Santiago to take his Father's place and work for them as an assassin. Santiago refuses, and MBL points a gun at his head. Santiago uses his powers to take away MBL's gun, and points it back at her. MBL says that if anything happens to her then his mother will die. Knowing that he has no choice, Santiago asks who the first target is.
Whilst Santiago is having a shower, Elisa materializes behind him. She says that she's there to save him. They kiss.
Well, now we know how The Organization knew about Santiago's gift. It was inherited from his father. So presumably they've been watching him from afar, waiting for his powers to kick in.
It appears that Elisa has the hots for Santiago. Hardly surprising really. Everyone on this show is so amazingly attractive, it must be difficult to get through the day without someone catching your eye.
Would Santiago have shot MBL I wonder? A lot of effort seems to have gone into portraying Santiago as some kind of modern day saint. But if MBL hadn't blackmailed him, what would he have done? Was it all just bluff on Santiago's part?
And no obvious connections to The Company thus far. MBL's employer appears to be another organization entirely, with a decidedly darker purpose. Killing rather than capture. Nasty fellows.
MBL seems straight to the point with Santiago. She doesn't sugar coat what she's asking of him. Yes it will involve killing. Elisa however seems to be under the impression that The Organization are all about helping people and making the world a better place. Two sides of the same coin perhaps? Or is Elisa simply repeating the kind of spiel that attracted her to The Organization in the first place? Spiel she's since become disillusioned with?
Longest webisode so far, clocking in at almost six and a half minutes.
MBL: “You're attracted to him, aren't you?”
Elisa: “He's a project, just like the others.”
Elisa: “You're not alone. There are others out there like you. Each of us have a gift. We want you to be a part of something much larger than yourself.”
MBL: We've learned that it's better to apologise than to ask for permission.”
Elisa: “You've been given a gift, Santiago. We're offering you a future. A purpose. We're trying to make the world a better place.”
by Paul Kelly
Chapter Nine: Tropical Depression
Dr Arzt is catching spiders on the beach when he's approached by Michael. The raft is finished and Michael wants to know the wind conditions for the next day. Arzt confesses to not knowing the first thing about weather prediction. Everything he'd said earlier, about the closeness of the monsoon season, had been nothing more that an elaborate bluff designed to get them off the island ASAP.
by Billie Doux
Anna: "There's loyalty. Forgiveness. Love."
Anna: "Chocolate cake."
Dean: "Yeah, you got me there."
What do you do when killer angels and killer demons are after you? Godzilla versus Mothra. Of course. The main reason Supernatural has been my favorite show the past two seasons is their gutsy storytelling. They just go for it.
by Jess Lynde
This week’s was a pretty good episode. Between Sarah’s dreams, Cromartie’s missing body, and Derek and Jessie’s prisoners, this one kept me guessing throughout and managed to leave me with a lot of questions. (The good kind of questions---the kind that keep me coming back to see where it is all going.)
There’s no avoiding the time travel theory train this week. It was pretty much front and center in Derek and Jessie’s story, and, as usual, we didn’t get any clear cut answers. What’s really mind-boggling is that they broached the notion of a changeable future, while still seemingly fulfilling key elements of the loop. We know that John, Sarah, and Cameron traveling through time changed the future relative to the one from which Cameron came, because in the current timeline Sarah didn’t die from cancer in 2000/1. What’s more, we know that Derek changed the future relative to the one from which he came, because he killed Andy Goode (Wisher). At the same time, John acquired the photo of Sarah that he will give to Kyle, causing Kyle to fall in love with Sarah before he’s ever sent back to save her. Ellison delivered the exoskeleton to Weaver, presumably aiding in Skynet’s ultimate creation. Young Charles Fischer ended up in the prison where he’ll be on Judgment Day, well on his way to becoming the man that tortures humans to train infiltrator models.
More than ever, it seems we’re dealing with a subtly shifting, ever-evolving loop. With so many forces trying to maintain the status quo while others try to dramatically change the future, I guess a loop with minor variations from iteration to iteration makes the most “sense.” Of course, it doesn't bode well for Team Connor's efforts to make sure Judgment Day never happens.
I’m still having trouble sorting out Jessie’s true mission. Did she really bring Derek to Fischer to give her lover the chance to kill his torturer? If so, why kill old Fischer before Derek could kill young Fischer? She may have a valid point about young Fischer not being the man who tortured Derek (or some version of Derek), but it seems her actions all but ensure that young Fischer will now become someone like the old Fischer we met. Was that her real purpose? To preserve the loop?
Sarah’s dreams are also pretty much still a mystery. There seemed to be a lot more to them than just the three dots. Foreshadowing about something regarding Cameron? Or just an expression of all Sarah’s fears, especially regarding John and Cameron? What was up with the strange dress Sarah was always wearing? I’ll have to re-watch at some point to see if I can make any more sense of the dreams.
It was nice to see Dr. Sherman again. I guess, in a way, he did help Sarah to discover the source of the three dots. He asked Sarah where she was going when sleepwalking, and ultimately that location is where she solved part of the mystery of her dreams.
Great work by Brian Austin Green this week. I loved his scenes with Fischer, and he was great when Jessie revealed that Derek was the one held and tortured by Fischer.
I don’t understand why John choose to trust Ellison. Could he just not let Cameron kill him after Ellison saved John’s life? Seems like another critical error.
And how ironic that Ellison delivered Cromartie's body to Weaver thinking he was doing something to prevent the machines from ever rising. Critical error #247.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at Cameron turning over a “helpless” Ellison a la the turtle, so that he wouldn’t be on his back. Too funny.
The actor playing young Charles Fischer (Adam Busch) played Warren on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, maker of lifelike “girlfriend” robots. Funny timing given that some of my readers were just discussing the whole “sex with robots” issue last week, and included a reference to one of Warren’s works.
Final rating: 4 out of 5. I especially liked the Derek and Jessie story this week. Can’t wait to see where we go from here.
by Billie Doux
Tracy: "People have to know."
Nathan: "No. The last time I tried to tell anybody anything like this, my brother came back from the future and shot me. Twice."
Lots of build-up-y stuff to, I assume, the looming eclipse. Or I guess we could call it the Apoca-Eclipse. An amazing amount of couple-y stuff, too. And many reminders of early season one episodes, like Hiro and Ando talking about superheroes and Star Trek, and Claire jumping out of a window and plummeting to the ground.
Gabriel/Sylar and Elle were my favorite part of this episode. The deadly antagonism turning into romantic vibes felt a lot like Battlestar's Starbuck and Leoben; Elle kept venting her rage and grief on Gabriel, killing him over and over again, and he let her do it. As he did pennance with Elle for his past misdeeds, Gabriel reached a new power plateau and became exactly like Peter used to be. Life and death super sado-masochism that was oddly sexy. Maybe it was the dark room. Maybe it was Elle burning Gabriel's clothes off. Maybe it's because the two of them could well be our two strongest Heroes actors. Yes, it's unlikely that Elle and Gabriel would completely change their spots the way they have this season, but you know, I'm liking it. So there.
Peter and Claire made some progress, too. (And they still feel like a couple, somehow.) Claire was determined to protect Peter, and Peter tried his best to save Claire from herself. He finally told her the truth about her future. And now we know Claire herself is the third part of the superhero equation. That explains why Kaito took Claire from Meredith and gave her to Noah to raise. And you know what? Maybe Claire's catalyst thing has something to do with the change in Gabriel. It was implied, wasn't it?
Nathan and Tracy have been joined at the hip for awhile now; I wonder why she just betrayed him and made a deal with Arthur? Not that we weren't expecting it; I seem to remember her as one of the bad guys in Angela's future dream. So Arthur has Gabriel, Elle, Tracy, Knox, and Uncle Flint, while the rest of our Heroes await them at Primatech. But are Gabriel and Elle still bad guys? All those sparks, all that angst about being good. And Gabriel did indeed save Peter from their father.
Bits and pieces:
-- The title screen went back to normal.
-- Matt and Daphne made some progress, too, as he was saving Angela. Daphne confessed her unwilling betrayal, and Matt continued to have faith with her. Must be love.
-- I was sort of bored with Hiro as a ten-year-old. Will he stay ten? If so, how could we tell the difference? (I take that back; it was sort of mean.) It was confusing, too. What did Arthur do to Hiro? Obviously, he didn't zap Hiro's powers, and I thought that was what Arthur does.
-- The big fight in the basement was Claire's Uncle Peter versus Claire's Uncle Flint. :)
-- Usutu was back in Matt's vision and holding a big staff, sort of like Obi-wan Kenobe.
-- Where did the Ninth Wonders comic come from? Other people who can paint the future, I guess? Like whoever is doing murals on buildings of the earth splitting into two parts?
-- Mohinder is developing scales and turning people into monsters. It didn't look all that convincing, though. Sort of like someone has gotten him with a bedazzle kit.
-- Arthur is such a misogynist. Let's add that to his long list of really horrible characteristics. Except I think he let Angela go in the end. Probably so that his minions could kill her.
Ando: "How is this going to help you remember? It's a comic book store."
Hiro: "Correction, my grown up friend. This is the source of all knowledge."
Hiro: "I don't get it. How could this happen? Captain America DIED! Spider-man revealed his secret identity! And the Hulk is red?"
Another better episode. Three out of four stars,
by Paul Kelly
Chapter Eight: Buried Secrets.
Sun sneaks off into the jungle and tries to bury her forged Californian drivers license. She's disturbed by Michael, who's out looking for Vincent. Sensing that Sun is upset, he goes over to comfort her. Sun looks down at her half buried drivers licence. He picks it up and hands it back to her. She confides in him that she'd been planning to leave Jin and start a new life in America....but had been too afraid to go through with it.
by Paul Kelly
Part Two. Intervention
The football game is tied at 2-2. Santiago's team need to score if they're to take the Championship and win the cash prize. Thirty seconds remain on the clock. Santiago tells Esteban that he doesn't play for money. Esteban points out that he'll need money to take out Elisa, who's sat watching in the stands. So Santiago makes a deal. If he wins the game for them, Esteban must convince the team to donate their winnings to the needy. Esteban agrees, as long as they can keep the trophy.
The whistle blows and Santiago uses his abilities to calculate the best way to score. He calls for the ball and scores with a spectacular scissor kick. They win the match.
He gives the prize money to Elisa, hoping it will lessen her family's burden. He tells her that her prayers have been answered, and buoyed by his new found purpose, he shares with her his belief that God wants him to make a difference.
Elisa kisses Santiago, but when they break she's holding a syringe full of blue liquid. Santiago uses his super speed to escape, only to be caught again by Elisa in liquid form. She materializes in front of him, and before he can escape again the mysterious blonde lady blasts him from behind with a Taser. He falls down unconscious.
I'm not sure where MBL got her Taser from, but it packs way more punch than Noah's. At first I though that Elle had blasted him from behind one of the pillars.
You really can't fault Santiago's motives. His Catholic upbringing has certainly instilled in him a generous spirit. And although he fidgeted his way through church last webisode, he still took Father Juan's sermon to heart. What a lovely chap. Something awful's going to happen to him isn't it?
When Santiago asked Elisa “Do you believe in God”, she replied “I suppose”. Not overly confident in the big guys existence then? Despite her telling Santiago she'd been praying for answers last webisode.
I'm not sure that the Heroes webisodes work as well as the Lost webisodes. The Lost webisodes focus on characters we already know, eliminating the need for introductory dialogue and exposition. There's an instant connection. With the Heroes webisodes, every week it feels like you're going in cold. I'm not sure whether I care for any of these new characters yet....in fact I haven't made up my mind whether I care for any of the characters from the first Heroes webisodes yet. And therein lies the rub (sic).
Santiago: “I told you, your prayers have been answered.”
Santiago: “My mother's always telling me that I don't know which way I'm headed. But right now I think I know what I'm supposed to do.”
Santiago: “Do you believe in God Elisa?”
Elisa: “I suppose. Why do you ask?”
Santiago: “Because I think he's here, all around us. I think he wants me to make a difference.”
Santiago: "What are you?”
by Paul Kelly
Chapter Seven: Arzt And Crafts
Where it fits:
Between the episodes “House of the Rising Sun” (1:6) and “The Moth” (1:7).
Sun and Jin are sorting through their clothes whilst discussing Shannon and Boone's relationship. Jin thinks that they're lovers. Sun thinks that they're brother and sister.
by Paul Kelly
Part One. Let Us Pray
Santiago is late for church. On crossing a busy street he narrowly avoids being run over by a scooter. But the inertia of this near miss pushes him into the path of an oncoming van. Time slows to a crawl, and suspended two feet above the ground, Santiago is able to visualize a possible escape route. Time speeds up again, and at super speed he manages to pursue the path to safety.
During church Santiago is distracted. After the sermon, he tells his Mother (Iris) about his near miss. She deems it a miracle, and says God must have saved him for a reason.
Santiago sees a beautiful girl across the street and uses his powers to navigate a route to her, before arriving at super speed. The girl (Elisa) opens up to him, and confides in him that she's been praying for an answer to her problems. Santiago tells her to stick around. He has a feeling that her prayers are about to be answered.
Minutes later Elisa is seen standing beside a mysterious blonde lady, who instructs her to get close to Santiago. Elisa promptly dissolves into a puddle of water.
Is no one ever what they seem to be on this show? I was just falling for Elisa's sob story too. Seconds later, she's conspiring with a mysterious blonde lady (who we all recognized as Andrea Thompson from Babylon 5, right?). So who is MBL working for? It's tempting to think The Company. The “one of us, one of them” pattern holds true. But no black suit! So the jury's out at the moment.
Santiago's power is a combination of accelerated probability and super speed. A nifty pairing. Without the super speed element, accelerated probability alone may not have been enough to save him from the oncoming van. Lucky break.
Quite right too that he should use his powers to save himself from an untimely death. But can no one see him stop? I can buy that he's too fast to be seen in transit. But people must be able to see him popping out of nowhere surely? Particularly when he approached Elisa. That was a pretty crowded area where he came to a halt.
Oh, and using your powers to save wine is cool too. No more needs to be said on that subject.
Elisa's power is water mimicry. I was wracking my brain, trying to remember whether we've had anyone else on the show with a similar ability. All I could come up with was the Liquid Man (well, what else would he be called?). He's mentioned by Ivan Spektor in the episode “The Line” (2:6). Apparently he was captured by The Company in a train yard.
And what did Elisa mean by “He's ready?”. Ready for what? He's only had his powers less than a few hours. In fact, how did MBL identify him so quickly anyway? Did she see Santiago escape death before church? A lucky coincidence, if that's it. Or maybe he's a known synthetic, and they've simply been watching and waiting for his powers to become manifest.
I'm happier with the slightly longer format (five minutes instead of three). It's still not perfect, but at least it gives us more time to get to know the characters.
Santiago: “There are many who suffer while others feast. Father Juan said that in his sermon today. We have to help each other.”
Iris: “Open your eyes, Santiago. There is a world of opportunity in front of you. Can't you see it?”
Santiago: “Actually, I can. I really can.”
Elisa: “He's ready.”
MBL: “Good, get close to him. Just be careful. Understood?”
by Paul Kelly
Episode Six: Room 23
Room 23 is a locked room located inside the Hydra compound. Alarms are sounding and people are running around frantically. On Benjamin's arrival Juliet tells him that the boy “did it again.” Ben orders Juliet to go talk with him. Juliet refuses. Ben suggests sending in Beatrice, but Juliet informs him that she won't go in either. Neither will Tom. In fact everyone's scared of the boy.
by Paul Kelly
Episode 4: The Deal
Where it fits:
This webisode fits in around the time of second season episode Dave (2:18).
Juliet visits the imprisoned Michael with good news. His boat to freedom has been granted. But it comes at a price. To earn it, not only must he free Benjamin Linus, he must also lure Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer back to the Others' camp.
by Paul Kelly
Chapter 3. “Let’s Talk”
The knock at the door is of course more agents (again dressed in black suits so as not to confuse us).
After pressing ear plugs into Gina's hand and shoving her out the door, Echo lets the agents in. They of course don't want any trouble. They just want to talk. The trouble is, so does Echo. And he does... and more agents die.
We then skip forward thirteen weeks to find Echo bound, gagged and a resident of Level 5. Angela Petrelli's there, observing him through the glass. She lifts a finger up to her lips and goes “shhhhh”, a scene reminiscent of Sylar shushing Jesse Murphy in the episode “One of us, one of them.”
And so the webisode ends.
I have to say, I was a little disappointed with the wrap up. How did The Company finally capture Echo? Is Gina dead? What happened to the cat? If the writers intend to answer some of these question in the series proper, then the webisodes may yet turn out to be an interesting addition to the Heroes canon.
But as a stand alone story, there just wasn't enough screen time to make you really care about Echo DeMille. His powers were vaguely interesting. But haven't we already had a sound manipulator? His abilities seemed identical to those of Jesse Murphy. So why was Echo restrained in his cell at Level 5, while Jesse was allowed to roam free and ungagged?
And I can't help but feel that the Constrictor was a feeble villain, with probably the duffest super power I've seen on the show. Great for taking lids of jars and cracking walnuts. Useless for just about anything else.
Lets hope there's a satisfactory payoff somewhere down the line.
Gina: "What are you gonna to do?"
Echo: "Tell these guys to get the hell off our front porch."
Agent: “We just wanna talk.”
Echo: “Nah, you're gonna listen.”
Angela: “Echo, Echo, Echo. You always were the mouthy one. I guess some things never change. Welcome home.”
by Paul Kelly
Chapter Two. “The House Guest”
The mysterious girl in the photo turns out to be Gina, Echo De Mille's girlfriend (played by the lovely Rebeka Montoya). As he enters the house, Echo is greeted by a semi-naked Gina, clearly intent upon seduction. But Echo quickly dumps cold water on proceedings by confessing "Gina, I think I killed a guy." And if this isn't enough to cope with, he then goes on to tell her all about his super powers. Poor Gina. Not the afternoon she was expecting at all.
Despite Gina saying she trusted Echo, I have to confess that when I first saw the door ajar, I thought she'd slipped out behind him and done a runner in her underwear. But Echo takes the open door as a sign that there's an intruder in the house. Wielding his guitar as a weapon, Echo begins a slow search of the property. In not sure why the cat was there exactly, but lovely creature, eh?
Finally we see the Constrictor with Gina's head between his hands. Echo briefly tries to reason with him, but afraid that the Constrictor's about to crush Gina's head with his mad powers, he again opts to use his gift. As in the previous webisode, the Constrictor drops to the ground in agony and is finished off with a super focused sonic blast to the ear. Blood splatters everywhere. The Constrictor is dead.
There's a knock at the door and the episode ends.
Why is Gina not affected by Echo's super shriek? I'm not altogether sure. Yes her ears were semi-covered by the Constrictor's hand and chest. But when Echo starts shrieking, the Constrictor loosens his grip on Gina, surely exposing her ears for a split second? That's all the time it took to floor Agent Howard outside. He had his hands clasped over his ears both times. It did him no good whatsoever.
And after the troubles encountered facing Echo last webisode, why on earth did the Constrictor confront him again without back up? It's blatantly obvious that his powers are totally useless against Echo's superior abilities.
Echo: "There's something I haven't told you. About this thing I can do. It's like sounds I can make..."
Echo: "Yeah, yeah, except today it was really loud. Like shatter your eardrums loud. It was scary."
Echo: "Okay, please, just let her go."
The Constrictor: "Why would I let her go? I'm just getting to the fun part."
Echo: "Oh sh..."
by Paul Kelly
Chapter One. "A Nifty Trick"
The "one of us, one of them" theme continues as we're introduced to Agent Howard, dressed rather predictably in a black suit and tie. With him is the Constrictor, a bald man with a somewhat fidgety demeanour (also wearing black, because he's a bad guy and that's how bad guys dress).
As far as super powers go, the Constrictor's gift (at first glance at least), seems a touch underwhelming. He can squeeze things, hence his rather imaginative name. But his gift pales into insignificance when up against Echo DeMille's sonic scream, which is seemingly enhanced by his sense of danger. When faced with the barking Doberman, his shriek simply frightens the dog away. However, when faced with greater danger, Echo's vocal abilities are capable of causing pain and bleeding. They're again intensified when Agent Howard pulls out a gun and points it at Echo, which results in a third scream, leaving the Agent a shivering, semi-conscious wreck on the floor.
I'm not sure why the Constrictor's ears weren't bleeding too. Obviously he needed them to make the phone call which came next. So maybe it was out of plot necessity. Or maybe, with the Constrictor restraining Echo from behind, he was partially shielded from the full impact, which would presumably be semi-directional.
After shooting Agent Howard dead, the Constrictor phones Bob Bishop to report their failure. This presumably places the webisode, chronologically speaking, sometime before The Butterfly Effect (I say presumably, I'm of course working on the assumption that Bob Bishop is indeed dead. With this show however, exposed brain or not, who can really say?)
The constrictor looks at a photo of Echo and a mystery woman on his phone and says "It's a shame, she's so pretty". Which leads us nicely into our next installment.
Echo: "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Hey! You not bothered by the cliche of this... you being a dog, me being a mailman? It doesn't have to be like this. You could just roll over. I could scratch your belly."
Echo: "Next time, don't mess with the mailman."
Agent Howard: "My friend here is what we call 'a constrictor'. You keep struggling, he'll keep squeezing."
by Jess Lynde
This episode had some good elements and some not-so-good elements. Overall, I liked the general pacing, the “semi-flashback” technique, and where the story ended up, but there were a couple of bumps in the road along the way.
I’m glad that they brought the Cromartie arc somewhat to a close (assuming he truly is terminated)---if only because the continued near misses would have gotten stale pretty quickly---but I hated the final shootout. I’m all for cool, slow-mo, shoot-em-up sequences, but when you throw in the Spaghetti Western/Mexican Standoff Music it pushes things right over that line from cool to cheesy. Cromartie going down in a hail of big, honkin’ bullets was well and good, but the staging and the music just made the scene so corny that it didn’t feel like an end truly befitting his character.
For me, the best part of Cromartie’s death was the emotional breakdown it triggered in Sarah. She’s been wound so tight, for so long, hardly ever letting a trace of emotion other than anger show. Even in her in her private moments, she keeps her emotions reined in pretty tightly. Finally letting go of some of that tension, fear, and grief for all that she’s lost will hopefully do Sarah some good. At the very least, it seems to have shown John that she feels the toll of their war just as keenly as he does. She's not an emotionless, hard ass. She's just trying to deal with the cards they've been dealt as best she can. Maybe now they can repair their relationship, or build a new one and move forward. Of course, every episode I think we’ve gotten a breakthrough that will finally be the turning point for John, but it has yet to pan out. Is this finally the one?
I’m glad that Agent Ellison got to be involved in the takedown of Cromartie. I especially loved his exchange with Sarah at Cromartie’s graveside. Her response of “That’s a lot to you?” to his complaint that he’d lost his marriage and his career to her war against the machines was perfect. Such an understated, simple response that says so much about what the war has cost Sarah and her family. The enormity of what was left unsaid in that response is no doubt what led to her finally breaking.
John and Cameron having a heart to heart in his room: intensely creepy and fascinating all at the same time. Watching Cameron trying to manipulate John was really eerie. She really pulled out all the stops: stripping down a bit, joining him in bed, etc. It’s unsettling to me that he would even remotely consider being romantically involved with her. The things she said about them talking in the future make it sound like they are pretty close. But how close? And is it only because she took the form of someone he cared about? Shuddery.
John and Riley trying to have a heart to heart in the honeymoon suite in Mexico: not nearly so interesting. For me, most scenes between those two are like nails on a chalkboard. This episode spent way too much time on their budding, dysfunctional relationship. Especially after the great teaser scenes with Sarah and Cameron. At least it wasn’t in school. I give Riley credit for having enough chutzpah to grab the camera from the guy in the bar and to later help in their escape from the cell, but the “teenagers in doomed love” bit I can do without. I’m with Team Connor on this one: John needs to ditch Riley before he gets her killed (and before they lull the audience into a coma).
I liked the title for this episode. At first it seemed kind of bizarre, given that the events of the episode had nothing to do with a Mr. Ferguson. But I started thinking that maybe “Mr. Ferguson is ill today” was something Cromartie said when we first met him way back in the pilot and he was pretending to be a substitute teacher for John’s class. I don’t actually recall if that is the case (and I don’t have the DVDs to check it out), but if so, I love it as a title for the episode in which Cromartie is finally vanquished. It brings things full circle. Very fitting.
Some of the staging for the various scenes was awkward and struck me as overly "artsy." It drew too much attention to the "art" of direction and left the scenes feeling very unnatural. Too much conspicuous foreground/background positioning. Especially the shootout, the Sarah/Ellison/John/Riley scene in the hotel, and the gravesite scene at the end.
Sarah cutting her hand on the aluminum can was pretty gross, but I love the way she was then going to defend herself with the can. A very resourceful fighter that Sarah.
I hope someone went back to Cromartie's car and collected all the Connor research. Don’t want to leave that paper trail laying about.
When did Cameron make a small bomb? She told Derek she raided his stash because they needed to make a small bomb. Is this something that happened awhile ago? If she hasn’t done it yet, why is she making a bomb?
Final rating: 3.5 out of 5. It was better than last week, but had too many disappointing and/or boring elements for me to go with a higher rating.
by Billie Doux
Angela: "I lied. It's not your mother's recipe."
The episode title is "Villains", and it's part of a volume entitled "Villains". Do you think maybe this episode was about the villains?
At least it was worthy of what this series used to be. And I loved how it was like puzzle pieces snapping together, or like Lost when they blend old footage and new bits to form a more perfect flashback. A lot of stuff makes more sense now. Some stuff doesn't, but that's okay.
The biggest revelations were about Arthur and Angela. We finally found out what was going on with Angela, and now I like her again. In a way, Angela used to be a lot like Sandra Bennet, permanently mind-messed and under her husband's control. She *does* love Nathan and Peter, and she was the one that nearly killed Arthur. Go, Angela. Although I can't really reconcile this with early season three's Mommy Monster whose favorite son was Sylar. But moving right along.
Apparently, Arthur can not only screw up your head, he can actually rip it off. All of the other villains were given good sides and reasonable motivations for their actions -- except for Arthur Petrelli, who seems to be the Antichrist. I wonder if trying to kill Nathan and Heidi was what turned Arthur to the dark side of the Force? He didn't even seem conflicted. I mean, I think most evil people would feel just an itsy bit conflicted about killing their own child.
Elle and Sylar have a past. I loved that. It was fun watching her fight Noah in hopes of keeping Sylar a good person. Full of guilt after his first kill, Sylar actually tried to hang himself. That was rather endearing in a creepy sort of way. Elle was a total sweetheart, almost cuddly and kitteny; she so didn't want to corrupt Sylar. Yes, I loved it, but it didn't really jive with her earlier persona. This was supposed to take place *before* she was frying people in Ireland, after all.
There was a lot about Meredith, and I enjoyed those segments, too. Yes, she was a bad girl, but she loved being a Company agent -- for awhile, anyway. And she tried to take care of her brother, Blue Hand Flint. (That means Claire has yet another superrelative.)
Linderman wasn't so bad, either; he kept trying to talk Arthur out of killing Nathan, and he healed Angela. And Thompson had a good side, too. He let Meredith go -- coincidentally, right in front of the burning train wreck where her daughter was about to do her first good deed. Even though Meredith didn't see Claire and wouldn't have known her anyway, that was really lovely. It was fitting somehow that it was fire Meredith set herself.
And in an interesting reversal -- or actually, was it a return to what he was before? Noah was pretty darned evil. Sylar's rampage was probably Noah's fault. He was practically cackling with glee as he watched Sylar rip the top off his second victim. Bad Noah, no biscuit.
Bits and pieces:
-- Really loved the new opening title screen.
-- In the scene where Thompson let Meredith go, there was a sign for the Burnt Toast Diner.
-- The late Trevor was a human gun. That was fun. Certainly more fun than the guy with the iron fist. Meredith's power of burning things is sort of a nasty, wretched power to have, unless you're lost in the woods and need a campfire. Give me Claire's or Nathan's any day.
-- Peter's overhanging forelock was back. Neigh.
-- Anyone else expect Usutu's disembodied head to open his eyes and talk?
-- Sylar has more books than I do. Not many people have more books than I do.
-- There was a commercial for another webisode, available at
http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/heroesdestiny/. I'm not up for reviewing or recapping any
other webisodes. Anyone out there interested in doing it for my site?
Elle: "Say something."
Sylar: "Forgive me."
Flint: "These people been nice to me."
Meredith: "They're tricking you because you're dumb. You remember what Daddy used to say? God gave you a big sister instead of a brain."
Arthur: "You're my wife, Angela. I know you like I know my own heart."
Angela: "Really? So what am I going to do now? Am I going to kiss you, or am I going to kill you?"
I guess Arthur's heart was really, really mad.
Despite some teeny tiny character inconsistencies, this was a great episode. Four out of four stars,
by Billie Doux
Dexter: "Marriage, children. You never expect it to end in tragedy. Unless you're me."
I rarely figure out Dexter plotlines in advance, so I have to pat myself on the back for television prescience -- I knew three of the plot points in this episode were coming.
by Billie Doux
Dexter: "I could get used to the simple joys of male bonding."
Dexter and Miguel have become simpatico kill buddies. But they still haven't actually killed together. Are the two of them really friends? Truly like-minded? Come on, tell me another one.
by Billie Doux
Teddy Bear: "It's a terrible world! Why am I here?"
Audrey: "For tea parties."
Teddy Bear: "Tea parties? (sobs) Is that all there is?"
Absolutely marvelous interpretation of the classic "Monkey's Paw". Although it didn't go quite as dark as I thought it might. Not that I'm complaining.
by Jess Lynde
This episode did not inspire me to write much. I’ve been pondering it for a few days, trying to decide what to put in my review, but my reaction pretty much boils down to, “OK, what’s next?” This one basically served as another transitional episode, building from previous events and moving pieces into place for action to come in future episodes. I think it worked reasonably well in that regard, but it was nowhere near as good as last week’s episode.
One thing the episode did do well is show how the Connor "family's" relationships and secrets are sabotaging their war against Skynet and putting their safety at risk. John’s ongoing relationship with Riley (and Cameron not telling Sarah about it) led to the house being robbed and to Cromartie nearly finding them. And now that Cromartie has seen Riley, she’s likely to become a pawn to use against John. Cameron’s time at the halfway house and her attempted murder of Jody (which I don't think Sarah knows anything about) also contributed to Cromartie finding the Connors. Sarah’s inability to kill the kid in the bathroom at the bowling alley (and lying to Cameron about it) has helped Cromartie even further. Even Derek’s secret relationship with Jesse will almost certainly lead to trouble for the Connors. I’m not sure what her angle is yet, but her decision to kill Moishe seems designed to keep Derek in the dark.
I actually thought Agent Ellison’s story was the most interesting part of the episode this week. At first, I thought he was having some kind of dream. But based on later events, it seems that the terminator double for him was real. That raises all kinds of questions. Why would Skynet send someone to replace Ellison if he’s helping Catherine with her project? Is this something she knew about or does it raise warning flags for her? Is it a sign that he’ll turn back to the Connor’s side somehow? And why would Cromartie be working against Skynet? Just because his primary mission is to kill John Connor, and he believes that Ellison will lead him to the Connors? Or is there some larger split going on here?
It was good to see John and Sarah finally confront (at least partially) his murder of Sarkissian. I have long suspected he was angry with her for not protecting him in that moment, and it is good for him to finally say it to her. Maybe they can start to deal with it.
I appreciated the time the writers spent showing the toll all of this is taking on Agent Ellison. The scene in the car between him and his ex-wife was very powerful. I look forward to seeing where all his doubts and regret lead him.
I thought that Casey recognized Cromartie as George Lazlo (since she was a caterer for one of his terrible movies). I was surprised she didn’t say as much to John. Of course, maybe she just didn’t have time and it will come up in a future episode.
Final rating: 3 out of 5.
by Billie Doux
Dean: "It's Halloween, man."
Sam: "For us, every day is Halloween."
Again, really loved the title. And it meant something important, too: disillusionment with childhood beliefs. Sam's beliefs in particular.