Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Heroes Sucked.

I sat down last night with popcorn and a blanket ready to be entertained. Heroes was on and last week's episode was pretty good, completly confusing time travel aside. But this week...Oh boy. What a stinker. One moment of fantastic promise was tossed aside, three boneheaded moments spoiled the fun and one overarching pattern seemed to become clear.

First, that moment of promise. For me that was just after Sylar realized he was going to flatten New York in a huge explosion. The despicable, hated villain was scared. More then that he was concerned for all the innocents who would die. So he picks up his phone and dials Suresh. Now how cool would it have been if Suresh had handled his fear and listened to Sylar? Walked quickly to a public place, yes, but just listened. And then maybe, somehow, tried to help. I don't know how this would have gone but more interesting to me then bad guys and good guys have been the guys who straddle the middle or cross back and forth. Sylar, worried to death that innocents would die and seeking to charge that. Suresh knowingly helping a serial killer in aid of the greater good. Ah well. Suresh dialed 911 and Sylar got pissy. Opportunity lost.

Then comes the bit where Syler runs home to Mommy. It appears that Sylar was a spoiled single child who's mother put a lot of pressure on him to be special. If only she'd spanked him more. The whole bit felt like it was tacked on to quickly establish how Sylar got to be so bad (it's always the mother), make him even badder (ooh! He killed his mother! And doesn't mind killing millions more!) and give him presidential ambitions. It wasn't interesting or compelling and the silly Edward Scissorhands bit with his mom dancing in snow with the dark-fairgrounds type music was just distracting.

Next was little Molly. There's this bin in studios where horribly cliched characters/plot devices are stored and whenever a writing team has a mass brain fart and is lost for ideas they run over to the bin and grab something from it. You'll find magic negroes, mystical natives and gay best friend in there. You'll also find the little oracle girl. You've seen her before. Remember Newt from Aliens? They generally have seen evil and will tell other characters about it in 'boogeyman' code. They are very sad and very cute. (Take little oracle girl further, have her not just see evil but know it and you get little spooky girl who generally wears black and carries knives and/or decapitated teddy bears. Think Wednesday Adams and American McGee's Alice.) The one thing all the characters in the box have in common is that they're there simply to move the lead character forward. I suppose that's why they have power but in a neutered form. The oracle female is a child, the magic negro is a janitor, the mystical native is an old man, etc. Anyway, so there was Molly. Little Oracle Girl. I almost flicked the TV off. Good thing I didn't or I would have missed the next bit boneheaded moment.

Suresh cures a virus in a matter of hours by looking at a family photo and then givng little orcacle girl a drip filled with his freshly drawn blood. If the whole crisis of a dying child was going to be introduced, solved and cured in less then an episode then why the fuck even bother with it in the first place? Especially since it was so rushed Suresh was resorting to weird and crazy on-the-fly medical procedures.

This was also the episode that made a pattern clear for me and the pattern is this; All the women in the show are there to push the men and all the men are there as the actual power brokers. The power players are Linderman, Sylar, HRG, the Petrelli boys and Hiro. The women are their to prod their sons, die tragically or further the plans of the men. Even Clair, as much as she's the supposed center of the show isn't an honest player. She's there as the prize...Who gets her powers? The women are the the middle of the wheel, spinning and getting nowhere while the men are at the rim being the actual movers and shakers.

I hope it gets better. This episode ended with Peter glowing for an awkwardly long time so maybe next week we get around to the big bang. Heroes, at the best of times, is almost never brilliant (the ONLY exception being Hiro and Ando who, to go off on a rant, were basically sidelined as peeping toms last episode) but it's usually decent and leaves a person anxious to see the next episode. Last night though, to repeat, was a stinker and I won't be watching the next episode with the same anticipation as I have every episode fo far.

5 Comments:

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Eudaimo said...

I agree that the episode sucked, and find most of your criticisms apt and completely true.

The only exception is your idea that the women in Heroes are merely plot objects for the men. First, that's highly subjective criticism to make in an ensemble show. Who is the focus is all a matter of perspective.

Second, here's a strong counter-example: I'd hardly call Micah a "power player." He's barely a developed character, and is mostly just a plot object to motivate Jessica/Nicky. Her husband is only marginally more substantial. She is the focus of that story.

 
At 8:19 PM, Blogger Kitty said...

Good writeup! Yeah, that was a disappointing episode. I crack up at TV junk science where life-threatening maladies are just plot points to be solved over the course of one episode.

I also agree about the role of women in the show. It's incredibly frustrating!

The men are power players with respect to their focus. I disagree that Niki/Jessica is on their level. She may be a main character, but she does not have the same high level of goals and purpose as the other central male characters.

Nathan and Linderman plan to effect change on a national, even global scale. Hiro and Peter aim to save millions by preventing disaster. Sylar wants to consume at least dozens of others, and Mohinder wants to find and help them instead.

Meanwhile, of the major women characters, we have Claire and Niki/Jessica, who just want to lead normal lives or look out for their families. There are men characters who do that too (like the Petrellis), but that's just an aspect of their characters. They also have goals beyond just their personal spheres and their families. I don't feel like I can say that about the women characters.

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Ahermitt said...

I must be easily entertained... I enjoyed it.

 
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At 6:27 PM, Blogger BA said...

Great post, very interesting.

 

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