Heroes s4 eps 18 & 19

How did it come to this? The season (maybe the series) finale of a former global mega-hit, tucked away at some ridiculously late hour on a Saturday night on BBC 2, “slightly later than billed” due to the snooker….Oh, Heroes.  What happened to you?

Sigh. Let’s not dwell on past glories, it’ll only hurt more. Although, if I could avoid it, I wouldn’t dwell too long on episode 18 either, for the same reason. Sylar and Peter spent it in Sylar’s head, “bonding” in a similar nightmare to the one Tom Cruise has in “Vanilla Sky”, where they wander around a New York empty of other people.  I hated “Vanilla Sky”.  Claire spent it finding out that Bennet has secrets and is a bit shady. You don’t say.  And T-Bag talked a lot before burying folk.  Again.  ‘Nuff said.

Onto 19, then, which I enjoyed, I suppose, but had very mixed feelings about. For instance:-

Matt was in danger.  “New And Improved” Sylar and Peter stepped in.  I was disappointed. 

Emma finally realised T-Bag’s a bad lot. Emma’s clearly as bright as midnight. In a tunnel. I rolled my eyes. 

Claire and Bennet cried.  The dialogue was a bit too corny to really make it work, but I was a little bit moved, nonetheless.

Tracy was useful for the first time in a long time, and actually, I really liked that bit, for all it made very little sense.

The Charlie story was resolved in a quite a sweet, poignant way, largely because K Callan is absolutely luminous.  I like her.  Hiro – not so much.

And then there was the big showdown at the Carnival with all our Heroes coming together to defeat the baddie, etc.  You know the drill.  More ropey dialogue, but thankfully some exciting bits.  I could have done with a lot more fighting though.  Peter duking it out with T-Bag was momentarily satisfying, but over far too quickly.  I mean, we spent about 70% of the season listening to the Carnie-man talk, could we not have spent a bit of time watching him get his head kicked in?

Anyway, the coda at the end – the beginning of Volume 6, somewhat optimistically – took us back to the start, with the cheerleader showing us what she can do.  Aw.  How I miss those days. But will there be a volume 6?  What’s going to happen to you, Heroes?

No word yet from the network, but commentators are suggesting that they might discount the humiliating first-run ratings; the show’s worldwide tv sales, DVD sales, DVR ratings, and the fact that NBC is struggling to fill its schedules with anything resembling a hit (even a fallen one like Heroes) all mean Heroes might make it back for a short fifth season.  Probably to be shown on BBC2 at 2.30AM on a Wednesday in Autumn 2011 or something.  Oh, NBC, don’t do it.  Stop torturing the show and the few fans remaining.  Let Heroes go.

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Heroes s4 ep 17

AKA “The Whining”:- yet another episode where Heroes’ resident mass murderers moan about how nobody loves them anymore. 

MM no.1: T-Bag’s upset.  His carnie pals don’t trust him any more.  They’re scared of him.  OH NOES! says T-Bag.  At length.  Given that he murdered his brother and a bunch of other folk, kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, and last week used his power to destroy an entire town, however, I have considerable sympathy with his carnie pals’ position.  And none at all with T-Bag’s, writers.  Anyhoo, T-Bag resolves to “do whatever I have to do to prove my worth.”  This means some more murdering, natch.  And some framing and manipulating.  Which I would have been quite impressed with, had I not been completely sick of this character.

Speaking of being completely sick of a character…. MM No.2: Sylar wants shot of his powers, so he can be a real boy.  Instead of a serial killer.  In order to convince Parkman he really wants to change, he throws Janice against a wall and threatens to kill her.  Well, that leaves no room for doubt at all, then. 

Anyway, all this is not great.  Claire does her best to liven things up, but screws things up for everybody by being prissy and interfering; Gretchen doesn’t like prissy and interfering.  Peter does his best to find his new BFF Emma, but he’s about to screw things up for everybody too by being stupid and blinkered; nobody likes stupid and blinkered, Pete.  And, inexplicably, somebody thinks it would be a good idea to bring Tracy Strauss back into the mix for what might be one of the last few Heroes episodes ever.  Sigh.

Heroes s4 ep 16

Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough.  When I said the key to a decent s4 episode of Heroes was in the talking, I meant when the talking was about something interesting.  Or moving.  Or related to the plot in some way.  An episode almost entirely devoted to people talking “emo-apologist” nonsense about rubbish while the story goes into neutral does not qualify.

True, Hiro’s sub-plot had a cute Quantum Leap joke and a couple of cool characters of old in it.  But even they were wasted in a long and pointless dream sequence about Hiro being on trial for “breaking the Heroes code.”  But then, “long and pointless” was this episode in a nutshell. 

The women had it worst, thanks to our two self-obsessed psychos, Sylar and T-Bag.  Sylar convincing Claire she’s a maladjusted loner just like he is by spouting a load of his whiny “I don’t wanna be alone!” babble and indecently assaulting her was as unpleasant as it was stupid.  Dude, if you don’t wanna be alone, stop killing everyone around you.  It’s easy.  And writers, if you need the help of a mass-murdering psychopath to persuade Claire to “bond” with Gretchen, then maybe “bonding” with Gretchen is not the way forward.

As for T-Bag trying to woo ex-girlfriend Vanessa, the woman he stalked and kidnapped, with milkshakes and dialogue so corny they should pop it and sell it at the multiplex – will somebody please shut this guy up already?  Peter, Hiro, Bennet; heck, make it Elmo and Big Bird if you want, at this stage I don’t care who does it.  Just end him.

Heroes s4 ep 15

You guys, this was kind of boring. 

After a couple of weeks without them, Parkman was back, Mohinder was back, and everything went downhill from there.  I don’t understand why Matt’s not in jail – as far as I remember the world thinks he threatened a waitress and got shot waving a gun at a bunch of cops – but he’s out and as wishy-washy whiny about using his powers as ever.  And as for Mohinder, Hiro and Ando  breaking him out of a psychiatric facility was played for laughs but was just not funny, for the most part.  A couple of good lines do not a witty escapade make. 

Still, the episode did seem to be setting us up for the final stages of the season; Bennet’s hot on T-Bag’s trail (when he’s not otherwise engaged with Random New Blonde Lauren) and hopefully ready to make Ando and the 3 numpties do something useful, Peter’s about ready to join the fight, and it looks like there might be some point to Emma after all, so hopefully the next couple of episodes will be worth the filler in this one.

Heroes s4 ep 14

Before I start, let’s just get one thing out of the way. I won’t be reviewing New Dr Who, but feel free to comment on it here if you like. It’s not like this thread’s going to get any other action….

Anyway, onto the show at hand. It’s becoming clear that the key to a decent s4 Heroes episode is in the talking. The effects and the action are cool, sometimes very cool, but they’re just “hairography” if the characters aren’t talking to each other about the things they should be talking about in the way they should be talking about them.

So this episode’s scenes with Sylar and T-Bag fighting or speechifying or whatever did contain some impressive special effects – Sylar with a mangled face and a wonky eyeball: er, yes, very nice – but who cares? Neither character’s motivations or behaviour has made any real sense for ages, and watching this couple of psychos bang on about looking for love and forgiveness, in between killings and general evilness, was just a waste of everybody’s time.

Contrast that with the scenes where Peter and Claire tried to help each other work through their grief and anger about the whole Sylar/Nathan switcheroo business. The scenes where this uncle and niece who’ve been through so much together just talked about those things. Those scenes were great. Less great was the ridiculous scene where they went to sort out a random hostage situation (as you do) – that was just silly, but at least it was over pretty quickly, and the lovely scene of them on the rooftop together, talking again, made up for it all.

Ditto with Bennet. While the “Torture doesn’t work!” speech from Random New Blonde Lauren was about as subtle as a flamethrower, and it was kind of fun seeing him in Bad HRG mode again, it was much more satisfying to see him talking to Slice’n’Dice Edgar, instead of beating him up. Even if it did all go belly-up in the end. Don’t stop the talking, Bennet! And don’t you stop them talking, writers. That’s where it’s at.

Heroes s4 ep 13

Well, what do you know?  Lots of decent stuff, most of it very engaging, and much of it unexpectedly so.

Top of the surprises list?  I’m enjoying the Claire-at-the-Carnival storyline.  No, really!  Probably because Claire sans Gretchen is a smarter and infinitely more watchable character than the other heroes who’ve visited with T-Bag; instead of whining like Tracy, wittering on like Hiro, or hamming it up like Sylar, she’s asking sensible questions and doing things about the answers.  But then she’s Bennet’s daughter, so fair enough.

Continuing the wonders-will-never-cease theme, even T-Bag’s scenes weren’t appalling this week. I wouldn’t have chosen to pair him up with the dull Emma but their story turned out to be quite sweet (as much as a story about a power-crazed murderer can be, that is).  They worked together to find a new character with an absolutely lovely ability, resulting in one of those precious Heroes scenes where someone does something amazing which makes you smile.  Aw. 

And Hiro’s storyline had some nice touches as well, with lots of sci-fi and fantasy references to appeal to us geeks.  Again, I’m not sure I would have gone down the route of making Hiro think he’s Don Quixote, and I’m even less sure why he suddenly wants to free the (appalling) character he just locked up (please no, Hiro), but thanks to a touch of the old humour that made us like him in the first place, his nonsense was actually a little bit endearing.  At times.

As for the big emotional set-piece at the end…. I won’t spoil it other than to say well done to the writers for remembering that Claire is related to the Petrellis and for putting them all in the same scene with Bennet.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was very good.

Heroes s4 ep 12

This was kind of great.

Honestly, I’m as surprised as you are, but, despite the focus on two storylines I’ve hated from the start of the season, I enjoyed it a lot.  Probably because it was about the Petrellis and Claire; characters I still care about, unlike the wretched Matt, Mohinder or Hiro. 

On the Petrelli front then, Peter had a reasonably sensible plan to tackle Sylar, there were a couple of great, hilarious, twists (particularly the scene with the nurse in the lift – watch it and you’ll see what I mean) and a powerful but pretty brutal fist-and-nailgun-fight.  Ouch.  All this lead to a far more poignant, though pointless, resolution of the Nathan-in-Sylar’s-head story than the whole stupid idea ever deserved.

Meanwhile, Claire did her best to annoy me by running off to join the circus, sorry, carnival, but even that kind of worked.  Hitching her Nissan to the loathsome T-Bag’s star was so obviously a bad idea that even the unspeakable Gretchen realised it, but hey, everybody does stupid things in their teens, and, given that the carny stuff seemed far less annoyingly written this week, I could sort of see why Claire decided to hang around.  If Peter could come talk her out of it next week though, that would be great.

The one false note in the episode however was the continuing, clumsy nonsense about Bennet and Random New Blonde Lauren’s apparently super-significant past relationship.  Which we only found out about a few weeks ago despite the fact it apparently peaked around Homecoming.  Er, that would be when Bennet was extremely busy with other things, according to season 1. Talk about a retcon.