Heroes 3.20 – Welcome Back, Bryan

Cue up the John Sebastian, people, ’cause it’s time to formally offer a hearty “welcome back” to Bryan Fuller. Tonight’s episode is the first time we’ve seen the man’s name in the writing credits since the glory days of “Heroes,” i.e. Season 1, and although his return comes at the expense of “Pushing Daisies,” you have to respect the guy for trying to do his part of save the series that he helped to make. And, yeah, I know, it’s not like he created the show, but given how many times Fuller’s “Company Man” has been held up as the series’ definitive episode, you can’t deny that his contributions helped make “Heroes” appointment television during the 2007 – 2008 TV season.

It was clear from the opening sequence, with Zeljko literally being handed a gift-wrapped Puppet Master, that we were finally going to get something we hadn’t seen in forever: a “Heroes” episode that actually felt like it was taken from a comic book. You wouldn’t think it’d be so hard to accomplish that in a show about people with superhuman abilities…and, apparently, it isn’t hard for Fuller, since he’s proven time and time again that he can manage it. Watching Zeljko turn the tables on Mohinder was awesome (“Why did you bring me here?” “I thought it’d be a whole lot easier than carrying you.”), and his typically tense conversations with HRG were typically solid, as was the HRG / Mama Petrelli chat at the beginning.

I don’t think there was anything that came out of Hiro’s mouth tonight that wasn’t genius, whether it was his addressing of Matt Parkman, Jr. (“Baby Matt Parkman, we will save you; if you understand, shake rattle once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no'”), his using a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode to rationalize how a de-aging process might’ve occurred and offering up a “Wrath of Khan” reference (“Life from lifelessness!”), or his asking Ando, “What are we saving the baby from? Lead-based toys?” I thought it was a great touch that, despite the TV being turned on and off repeatedly, Hiro and Ando still never once noticed that it was actually the baby’s daddy on the screen. The sequence where Hiro finally addressed having witnessed his mother’s death in the past and had an emotional bonding moment with Ando was unexpectedly effective (sometimes you forget that those guys can work together in drama as well as comedy), but then it was back to the comedy with the “E.T.” homage. And once the men in black busted in to take Li’l Parkman and Matt’s ex into custody…words fail me. Hiro’s powers are back! Thank you, Toddler Touch and Go! Except they’re not entirely, which means he can stop time again but still can’t teleport. Oh, well, so the kid’s not perfect. Anyone else do a spit take when Hiro rolled Ando out in a wheelbarrow?

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Heroes 3.13 – When They Said to Choose A Side, It Made You Want To Hide

First things first: Hayden Panetierre is not a great actress. When her time on “Heroes” has finally come to a conclusion, I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that she ends up doing the straight-to-video or TV-movie circuit for the remainder of her career. I’ve been wrong before on guessing people’s ultimate career fates, but having watched the scenes tonight where Claire and Sylar are battling over the intercom, I’m feeling pretty good about this one. With precious few exceptions, she just can’t seem to deliver a menacing line without making it sound like the height of cliche…which it is, of course. But a better actress could’ve made it sound cool, while her delivery just made me groan.

I was way disappointed with how little action we got out of HRG’s plan to release the villains to serve as chum. In the end, it basically just felt like an excuse to break out the Puppet Master again…not that there’s anything wrong with that. But even that didn’t pay off. You knew the showdown between Sylar and the Puppet Master was going to turn out poorly for the latter, but I was hoping for at least a little more action than just Sylar asking, “You think you can control me?” Bam, Puppet Master’s strings are cut. Boring.

Sorry to see Claire’s biological mom go, as I kind of liked her, but once she got that shot of adrenaline, I figured she wasn’t long for this world, and I was right.

Finally, Tracy breaks out her powers again…and, subsequently, Knox breaks into a whole bunch of little pieces. It was a nice and shocking moment, to be sure. We really only got one other Tracy moment that’s worth discussing, but it was arguably the best scene of the episode: her encounter with Hiro. First, Tracy’s David Spade impression made me laugh (“And you are…?”), then she called Hiro “Pikachu,” which earned a giggle, but then Hiro offering an apology followed by a sock in the face was almost as funny as Daphne’s expression thereafter.

Speaking of Daphne, when she said, “And you were there, and you were there,” all I could think was, “Hello, ‘Wizard of Oz’ reference,” and the same went for “A Few Good Men” when Sylar screamed, “Tell me the truth!” Was this intentional? Were there more unabashed line thefts that I missed…?

Who doesn’t enjoy the opportunity to see George Takei wielding a sword again? There wasn’t really much to that scene, except to get a good laugh out of the father/son battle and to finally show the moment where the formula was torn in half, but, again, it’s George Takei wielding a sword.

Overall, I was really only “meh” about this episode. The scenes with Nathan and Peter were just more brotherly bickering, the conversation between Sylar and Mama Petrelli had limited emotional heft, given that we knew full well that she wasn’t his mother, and the whole subplot about Ando developing his time-travel-related ability was just plain ridiculous. Frankly, I’m glad to see PrimaTech finally go up in smoke; it’s about time we got more of a look at the heroes and villains outside of the same world they’ve always been centered around.

Then again, maybe I’m just tired.

  

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Heroes 3.9 – It’s Coming…But Is It Something Good? (Could Be! Who Knows?)

Aaaaaaaand we’re back in the present again. But was it worth the trip?

Well, as goofy as they were, I have to admit that I enjoyed the breeziness of the segments with Hiro and Ando, though to do so required me to set aside my uncertainty about what the hell had happened to Hiro in the first place. I mean, we’ve seen Brother Voodoo make with the mind wipe maneuver, but based on the way Hiro was screaming, I figured Papa Petrelli was all but ripping his brain to shreds, and when he announced that he thought that he was 10 years old, my presumption was that Papa had wiped out everything he’d known prior to that age. But given Ando’s conviction that he can trigger Hiro’s memories to return, I guess we’re supposed to presume that Papa now has the ability to inflict hysterical post-traumatic amnesia…? Well, fair enough, then. It’s not like it’s the most ridiculous conceit I’ve had to buy into with this series. The scenes in the bowling alley were silly fun, and as a geek of the highest order, Hiro’s rant about the changes in comic books was very much of the “it’s funny ’cause it’s true” variety for me.

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