Now this felt like a comic book.
I know I’ve said that before about episodes of “Heroes,” but those who frequent this blog on a regular basis are hopefully aware that I don’t say it very often. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not really a good thing, since, y’know, this is a show about people with superhuman abilities. As such, you’d like to think that just about every episode would feel more or less like a comic book…but they don’t.
Shall we once again chalk this up to the return of Bryan Fuller?
Oh, what the hell. We might as well, right? I mean, after all, it might’ve been written by Aron Eli Coleite, but Fuller’s influence is all over this episode, from the flashback structure to the use of one of his regular players: Diana Scarwid, who was a regular on “Wonderfalls” (Karen Tyler) and popped up on “Pushing Daisies” on more than a few occasions as well (as Mother Mary Mary Superior).
Last week ended with the Petrelli family literally digging up skeletons from Mama’s past as they scoured the now-desolate area known as Coyote Flats. Why? To find Mama’s long lost sister, Alice. So let’s cue up the flashbacks and drop into black and white mode, shall we?
It was cool to see some well-established characters in their younger years: Charles Deveaux, Daniel Linderman, Bob(by) Bishop, and, of course, Mohinder’s pops. The references to the Nazis – specifically, Mengele – and the Jews were almost inevitable. It’s focusing on a camp filled with people who have been deemed different in some way, and it’s filmed in black and white. Even people who’ve never seen “Schindler’s List” were thinking of that movie from the moment the color faded away…and, somehow, I can’t imagine the comparison wasn’t completely and totally intentional. There were several nice uses of music in this episode, with Santo and Johnny’s “Sleepwalk” definitely being among the highlights, but my personal favorite moment was the transition between the last 1961 flashback sequence and the present, with Roy Orbison’s original version of “Crying” segueing seamlessly into k.d. lang’s cover. That was some sweet, sweet stuff right there, my friends.
The only problem with the flashback sequences being so good, however, was that the present-day bits needed to be exciting enough that you didn’t keep thinking, “Geez, I wish they’d flip back to 1961 already!” The storm surges served that purpose nicely, since we weren’t entirely sure if indeed Alice was still alive or not. I certainly didn’t think she was controlling the winds from beyond the grave or anything, but I wasn’t sure how they were going to handle it.
As it turned out, she ended up looking suspiciously like the Cat Lady from “The Simpsons,” but I didn’t think about the point of comparison until afterwards. While I was actually watching the episode, I was far more focused on the interaction between Scarwid and Cristine Rose, which was a lot of fun to watch. Wow, so Mama Petrelli lied to her sister outright. Yeah, that’s a pretty big secret to carry with you for that many years, though it had to at least be a little bit of a load off to learn that Alice was actually still alive, what with having believed her dead for 48 years. I dare say we haven’t seen the last of her in the “Heroes” saga.
All told, a very, very solid episode for those who enjoy a well-told bit of back story…and since I count myself among that number, you may color me pleased. The last few moments, however, definitely left me chomping at the bit for next week. Clearly, the future isn’t going to turn out exactly as it was foretold in previous episodes, but with Sylar doing his best Nathan impression, there are definitely some seriously dark clouds on the horizon.
In closing, don’t forget to check out my interview with Greg Grunberg over at Bullz-Eye, part of our latest TV Power Rankings festivities.