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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Heroes: The Art Of Deception

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I stopped watching Heroes earlier this season after keeping up with it religiously since the beginning, and I haven’t regretted the decision once. It wasn’t easy for me: When I start a book, movie, or serialized TV show, I’m generally in it for the long haul. Hell, I watched Prison Break to the bitter end, including the straight-to-DVD post-show thing. (And I enjoyed most of it, to be honest.)

But it got to the point somewhere last year when I had a couple of Heroes episodes backed up in the DVR, and I felt absolutely no compulsion or desire to watch them. The various stories had gotten so desperately muddled and dull that I didn’t care about a single character or storyline anymore. (Even Robert Knepper from Prison Break couldn’t keep me around!) It’s only been a few months and I’ve completely forgotten what was going on, plot-wise. That space in my brain is being put to better use, with 24.


So I was tempted to go back through the recaps written by your regular Heroes man, Steve Heisler, before subbing for him tonight, but I decided against it. For one thing, I don’t really care, and for another, I thought it might be fun just to approach an episode of Heroes as a standalone, to see if it could be enjoyed as a simply an hour of escapism. Maybe my built-up feelings of resentment that came with each week’s frustrating episode would be diminished by the fact that I knew tonight would just be a dalliance, and next week I could go back to life without Hiro, Peter, Nathan, and whoever else they’ve decided to throw at the screen this week.

Alas: It still sucks. Or maybe sucks is the wrong word. Heroes suffers the worse fate of just being boring. Since there’s not a single character left worth caring about—because each has let us down in so many ways—it’s become a show that’s simply impossible to care about. There’s nothing cool to look at, nothing surprising, and nothing out of the ordinary—and that’s death for a show that’s supposed to be about some weird shit. You’d get just as much out of a Heroes episode if somebody gave you a two-minute recap.

That said, tonight’s episode had one merciful measure for me, and that was a complete lack of Hiro. NBC should maybe just consider spinning that character off into a children’s show, because he’s a good part of the reason I left in the first place. Anyway, I won’t complain about him, because he wasn’t here tonight. (I just cheated and looked at last week’s recap about Hiro’s magical tumor healing, which sounds almost watchable in its horribleness.)

Anyway, tonight was divided into a couple of stories, neither of which I needed any background to comprehend, because—you guessed it—the show has already told them. Sylar flip-flopped again! Six times in this episode! He’s constantly conflicted about his powers! One minute he wants to torture and murder everybody on the planet, the next he just wants to be a normal guy like everybody else and not murder anybody! His solution this time (it has to do with another character’s power!) is to have Parkman somehow block his ability to use his powers. (Why no one thought of this before is anybody’s guess.) After an interminable back and forth, Parkman decides to trap Sylar INSIDE HIS OWN MIND (deep), and then physically brick him up in his own basement. Not weight him down and throw him in the ocean. Not liquefy his body and brain in molten metal a la Terminator 2. KEEP HIM IN HIS OWN HOUSE.


In any case, it takes no time for the first part of Sylar’s eventual escape to take place, because stupid Peter, who never thinks or listens to anyone else, decides to jump into Sylar’s mind—because Sylar is apparently going to save Deaf Cello Lady from certain death at the carnival. (Peter done seen it in a vision!)

As an aside: When are these stupid fucking heroes just going to give up, a la Parkman, and realize that they should just lead the most normal lives possible? Trying to do good never works out. Being pure evil just leads to emotional flip-floppage of the most desperate sort. Claire should just charge people on the street $10 to stab her, or $20 to shoot her—she’d make a good living and perform a public service.


Or she could just work at a carnival! But Samuel has shown that that’s not all fun and games either. (Get it? Carnival? Fun and games?) He apparently got pissed in recent episodes because Ellen Tighe from BSG did something, so he wiped out an entire town. In order to win back the trust of his people, he has one of his guys start shooting at the camp and frames Noah Bennett for it. There, that was two sentences, and you didn’t need to watch the show at all. (Here’s an exercise: Make up a better plot for Heroes, any storyline, and post it in the comments. We’ll send them all to Tim Kring.)

And that’s it! Good thing I got this all down on pixels before it left my head completely. “What happened on Heroes tonight?” “Nothing much.” That, my friends, does not make compelling television.


Stray observations:

— It’s funny how much Heroes plays like a soap opera, complete with horribly wooden acting, when you’ve stepped away from it for a while. I’m kind of retroactively embarrassed to have ever enjoyed it at this point. Am I watching Passions? But you know what soap operas do with some regularity? KILL CHARACTERS. KILL, KILL, KILL.


— I hate Peter, but I like it when he does Sly Stallone’s Rocky-mouth a few times, where the jaw seems to work against itself.

— “Are you back inside my head?” “That’s so two months ago.”

— Parkman’s wife cut her hair.

— “A superpowered serial killer shapeshifted into a coed and then made a pie-chart of your life!” Guess I missed that.


— Nathan’s dead, apparently. Is Adrian Pasdar off the show?

— Bennett and his new squeeze are on a murder mission, and hey, is that a SPRINT phone? Looks like it gets great reception!


— “It’s time we show the world what we truly are!” (Out of ideas!)

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