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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Heroes: "Pass/Fail"

Illustration for article titled Heroes: "Pass/Fail"
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So Samuel is out for blood because a girl none of us knew existed until two weeks ago rejected the love he's harbored for 20-odd years—erupting from the depths of his desperation like Daniel Plainview going to town on a milkshake. Hiro's tumor, which I pretty much forgot about, is now gone thanks to a fantasy court trial containing a bunch of characters we barely remember and a decidedly non-soul patched sword fight with Takezo Kensei. Claire finally wants to hold a girl's hand because why the hell not? Welcome to the later episodes of a season of Heroes: where the resolution comes quickly, unsatisfyingly, and at no consequence to the story.


On a scale of passably infuriating to brain-eating rage, the Claire stuff was at the lower end of the spectrum. How sad is that? At one point, Sylar held Claire down with his powers and forced himself on her in a way that had me questioning why it took the writers so long to have him make good on his rapey vibe. And this was after he drew her a chart outlining the various obvious ways he and Claire are similar, and before he took on the role of Claire's shoe-faced lover-to-be and got Claire to spill the same dribble he'd slobbered all over her in the prior scene. That was the least offensive part of the episode. Well, if only because for some reason Heroes loves giving Claire BIG speeches and character changes you can see a mile away, and at least this storyline was predictable. That final hand hold: I squirmed with awkwardness, but it felt so, very, comfortable.

Then there's Hiro, next on the scale. For those of you who didn't watch, what I said up there is true. Hiro collapsed from his tumor, and was transported to a magical dream world, where up is down! Diners are court rooms! Adam Monroe is Barney Stintson! Daddy Nakamura has weird face light! Ando's best lawyer tool is his flop sweat! And everyone has gathered to judge whether or not Hiro has broken the Hero Code by going back in time to save all those people—butt-copier, etc. Even what's-her-name cheerleader from season one shows up, as does Hiro's mom and a gaggle of faceless extras working for their day pay on what they thought was a disgusting episode of CSI. But that's not even the worst part of it all. That, my friends, is the stupid, stupid, stupid fact that Heroes has proven time and time again that they will never kill a major character unless they pretty much decide to at the beginning of the season. I was not afraid Hiro would die. The show wasted precious minutes making us believe that he would die. I knew he would not. So did probably everybody. Yet the show did it anyway, taking eerie comfort in predictability. What is this, The Jay Leno Show?

The Samuel stuff, though, is a new low for Heroes. A new low, I say! This whole time, Samuel has been gathering other people with abilities under the pretense that he wants them to have a good life together, living as they want to among those who are like them. He also had this sinister side to him, and we weren't sure what was up. But hey, guess what? He really just wanted to woo Ellen Tigh (seriously, who the hell is this person?) with the promise of tequila cabins and strawberry milkshakes—her favorite! How did he remember?!? Then when she finds his creepy fixation creepy and bolts, he puts on the face of a lumpy ol' Arthur Petrelli, terrorizes the innocent milkshakery spouting something about how he "tried to fit in" with us normal folk, then he takes down the entire town with the "earth." Ok, that was a cool scene, but hang on a sec: How exactly has Samuel tried to fit in? Was it all really for this girl Vanessa? Did that brooding music from earlier in the season tell us nothing?

Heroes has done nothing in the last three seasons other than pray the end justifies the means, and it never does. Ever. So should I be excited that Samuel has "arrived"? Frankly, I couldn't care less.


Stray observations:

  • For anyone who thinks us jaded Heroes fans are looking at season one through rose-tinted glasses, let me tell you that is DEFINITELY not the case. I've been rewatching most of season one in preparation for an epic interview that's going down Wednesday (stay tuned!), and the episodes are paced well, shot beautifully, and include honest-to-goodness drama that flows naturally from the characters. Tim Kring had a hit on his hands.
  • One other good part from tonight: "Your honor, he's just quoting the beginning of Quantum Leap."

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