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Heroes: A Clear and Present Danger

Peter: "Did you ever get the feeling, like, you're meant to do something extraordinary?"
Mohinder: "I used to. Turns out I was mistaken."

So there I was, apprehensive, but ready and willing for Heroes to win me back. And you know, they may have done it. I wasn't blown away, but I wasn't turned off, either. And I watched the episode twice, something I couldn't bring myself to do earlier in the season. Cautiously optimistic, that would be me.

What worked?

Loved the way they retconned Peter's powers. They set it up in the opening scenes, where Peter (now a paramedic, a slightly more macho health care job than nurse) couldn't save someone because he wasn't "strong enough." And they paid it off in the final sequence, where Peter got superpower hits off Mohinder and Tracy. Clearly, Peter is still empathically acquiring superpowers (and a big yay to that) but now he has to actually touch someone. And he doesn't appear to retain them; he lost his superstrength when he touched Tracy, and was clinging desperately to that net in the plane, a big clue that he can't fly any more. He may even have trouble controlling them, what with accidentally freezing the plane fuselage and all.

Mohinder is still superstrong and, thankfully, scale-free; in a way, he's the new and improved Niki. Matt managed to pick up Isaac Mendez's power along with his own, because apparently, we can't have Heroes unless someone is drawing or painting the future. It might as well be Matt; I like Matt. I wonder if they're also going to retcon the way too powerful Hiro, too? If he ever gets his powers back, that is.

Setting up all of the superheroes as fugitives will indeed force them to work together for their own survival. Even, quite possibly, Sylar. I was pleased that Sylar was still around, still evil, and still looking for mommy and daddy. I'm assuming Samson Gray, taxidermist, was just a set-up to capture him? Except there was a childhood photo of Sylar and a snow globe there, which was just weird. Whatever. I suppose we'll find out.

What didn't work?

The big problem for me was Nathan and Noah as the bad guys. I rambled on about that in my last review so I won't repeat it now, but I hated Nathan exchanging nasty barbs with Peter, not to mention capturing him. (Nathan hugging Peter felt Arthur-like to me; I could probably handle Nathan evil a lot better if I knew he was possessed by Arthur.) Noah turned against Claire, too, and that felt even worse; I can only hope he was undercover or something. I guess if Nathan and Noah really are the bad guys this time, at least we love the actors and the characters already and it's better than adding new villains that don't work. I think.

And then there's the obvious rip-off resemblance to X-Men. I don't read comics, but even I know about their being persecuted and treated like second class citizens by the government. Yes, let's have a Nazi-like round up the freaks and send them all to superhero Gitmo. So it's a rip-off. If the story works, I won't complain.

Bits and pieces:

-- Really liked the cab scene. It felt like a message from the producers that yes, we were going back to the beginning and trying again. Peter was even wearing the same trench coat.

-- So the bad guys are Claire's real father and Claire's adopted father. And her grandmother. Like I said before, Claire is the Heroes nexus.

-- Matt and Daphne were practically doing an episode of Bewitched, with her all wanting to use her powers and him trying to make her stop. Come on, Matt. She loves her superpower, and who can blame her. Stop making her feel bad about it.

-- Tracey talked to "the Governor", i.e., Bruce Boxleitner. I hope they bring him in this season.

-- Hiro's GPS chip is going to be important, since their plane is crashing and all. Isn't it lucky he did that?

-- Hiro's attempt to get Ando to go completely superhero was somewhat cute. The firehouse thing sounded familiar. Yeah, I know, Ghostbusters, but wasn't there a superhero who worked out of a converted firehouse, too?

-- Come on. Even I knew immediately that the password had to be 'ando.'

-- Are the soldier bad guys the red jello guys? They kept getting into locked homes and sneaking up on superheroes. The all-over soldier outfits were similar to the sensory deprivation suits they put on our heroes, too.

-- Who was the someone from Memphis?

-- Pointed reference to Claire getting her GED. She was also wearing more adult make-up. Claire's a grown-up now. Message received. She certainly took the initiative rescuing everyone the way she did.

-- Why hasn't Matt painted that dingy apartment? The stuff on the walls looks like camo. Maybe he likes the unrestrained growing mold look. And where's Molly, by the way?

-- In this week's hair report, Peter's is shorter than season one but longer than season two. It's practically perfect in every way.


Nathan: "I'm a god-fearing man. I just want what's best for our country." A deeply religious political figure who does the wrong thing because he thinks he's doing God's will? Why does this sound so familiar?

Noah: "You want to live? Get in." Direct reference to Terminator. But then he turned around and betrayed Mohinder. This is so wrong.

Three out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I just finished watching heroes's first installment of Volume 4 and it's was ok, great even.

    About Sylar being set up by Mr. Gray, for me i don't think so.. Remember that Sylar is also a walking lie detector machine... he knows that his old man (uncle) wasn't lying.

    I hope Sylar's a good guy in this volume.

  2. Hah! Good point about Matt and Daphne doing Bewitched. I love Parkman, but his whole "my powers are a curse" attitude bugs me. Powers are awesome. I really want to see Matt embrace them. And it wasn't like Daphne was using her power immorally or anything.

    And I'll whole-heartedly endorse you giving the story a pass on the whole "ripoff of X-Men" bit; I hate when people point that stuff out, for just about any story. Seriously, all stories can be boiled down to a handful of essential plots. It doesn't matter if something's been done before, as long as its being done well.

    I'm waiting to pass judgment on Bennet as a bad guy until his role in this whole thing is explored more. To work with Nathan to this end in return for Claire being removed from Nathan's plans is certainly in character, even if it would be more exciting to watch him work against Nathan, shepharding the fugitives to safety and facing off against Nathan's own HRG in that lead Hunter guy.

    The sequence with Peter taking everyone's powers at the end wasn't clear to me at all. Obviously, I got that he needed to touch them to get the power, but it wasn't at all clear to me that he lost the previous power when doing so. So at the end, I was just wondering "how is this a cliffhanger? Peter can fly. They even reminded us as much earlier."

    And when Peter gets a power, does he take it from the donor, like Arthur did? These are the kinds of questions this show is terrible about answering.

    Still, a promising start, not without its faults. My fingers are crossed.

  3. (a little nitpicking from a comic book nerd:)
    A retcon, or retroactive continuity, is changing established facts or events after they happened. Basically it means "rewriting history".

    When Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes, and than later decided that "wait, he didn't really fall down that cliff", that was a retcon. Or when they said in Heroes that Sylar was actually a son of Angela and Arthur, instead of his previously established parents, that was also a retcon, or at least it would have been had they not dismissed the idea a couple of episodes later.

    Peter losing his abilities and then getting new ones, that's not a retcon, that's just a normal...uh...con. Dtto Hiro.

    (end of nitpicking)

    @Teebore, re Peter's powers:
    What I gathered from the airplane sequence is that besides taking powers by touching people Peter is now limited to one power at a time. When he got Tracy's freezing power, he obviously lost Mohinder's super strength. That would imply that even if he had still had the flying power when they put him on the plane, he lost it when he got the strength from Mohinder.

  4. I guessed pretty quickly that the password would be Ando.

    This episode was one of the strongest ones we've had but I felt the Peter/Mohinder cab scene was a little tacked on.

    Nathan's motives for rounding up everyone didn't feel right. I could understand ensnaring the likes of Sylar but people with powers who aren't hurting anyone is wrong.

    Was Daphne caught as well? We didn't see her on the plane but it would've made given that she didn't appear later in the episode.


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