Heroes: The Recruit #1: Private Mills

Recap

At an undisclosed facility in Tappen, NJ, Angela Petrelli interrogates Rachel Mills, one of the Pinehearst recruits. Mills is ignorant as to the whereabouts of the serum, but suggests it was stolen to synthesise a cure. Angela tells Mills that things will get much worse if the serum isn’t recovered. She expresses regret over Mills’ injury and touches her wound, causing Mills to have a brief flashback. Angela rests both hands on Mills’ head and asks her again “Now where is it?”

We go back in time twelve hours. At Pineheart HQ Mills is in a lab, talking to Hanover and Sullivan. Hanover picks up some serum samples and makes a sexist comment to Mills about girls in the military. Mills defends herself by telling him that she’s served her country the same as he has. Sullivan speaks up in her defence and reminds Hanover that she’s on their side. Hanover walks away, commenting that when the time comes she should be the first to be injected. Suddenly a massive explosion rips through the building.

Mills tries to pull Sullivan free from some fallen debris, but it’s too heavy. Whilst looking for something to help her, a piece of ducting falls from above, causing her to teleport across the room to safety. Sullivan, having observed her superpowers in action, wants to know what just happened. She begs him to forget what he just saw.

Thoughts

I have to admit, it was with some trepidation that I watched this weeks webisode. I do like the idea of webisodes. I think they’re an effective way of adding depth to a story, and when used correctly they can enrich a series no end. So what’s the problem you may ask? Well, succinctly put, the problem is with the payoff.

In this season's main show finale (“Dual”) we had our first webisode payoff. Was it worth waiting for? Well, in a word no. Echo DeMille was on screen for about 30 seconds, mostly in the background. He didn’t speak, he didn’t use his powers, and half of his screen time was spent dead, killed by Sylar. So why introduce us to a character if they're to have no impact on the main storyline whatsoever? Isn’t that just a waste of everyone’s time?

So does this webisode have any redeeming features? Well actually, I think it does. Firstly, it immediately ties in with the series proper. Rachel Mills is one of the Pinehearst recruits, first introduced to us in the episode “Our Father.” Secondly, it’s not all about new characters this time. Angela Petrelli features heavily in this episode, which right away makes us feel like we’re dipping our toe into familiar waters.

The first oddity of the episode is that Mills can teleport even before being injected with the serum. Does this mean she was born with her abilities? Or has she somehow been exposed to the serum via other means? Was the explosion that destroyed the lab the same explosion caused by Flint in the third season finale (“Dual”)? How much serum is needed to cause a person to develop powers? Does it just need to touch the skin (as with Mohinder)? Would the airborne spray from the explosion in Mohinder’s lab be enough to cause a change?

It’s most likely that the missing serum referred to by Angela is the serum we saw in Hanover’s possession, seconds before the explosion. But it did occur to me for a fleeting second that she might have been referring to the serum that Daphne stole from Pinehearst in the season finale.

What was the significance of Angela placing both hands on Mills’ head whilst interrogating her? Was she just being tactile (albeit freakishly so)? Or was there something else going on there? Does she have other powers we're not yet aware of?

An interesting addition to the Heroes canon. I just hope they don’t disappoint with the payoff.

Quotes:

Angela: “Well, truth is a relative thing, my dear. You’ll come to learn that in life. If you live long enough. And with truth sometimes comes pain. Life. Death. Truth. Pain. They’re all related.”

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