Post Game: Heroes 3.4 - I Am Become Death

Post Game: Heroes 3.4

I think that I’ve finally figured out the proper context in which to enjoy Heroes with maximum efficiency. Heroes is like a really awesome cover band, the kind that you and your buddies go to see regularly in college when there aren’t any major acts in town. You know that it’s not going to be quite as great as something that’s totally original, but you enjoy hearing the classic tracks crunched out with abandon. The creators of Heroes have to be aware of this, too. This episode directly references elements of Watchmen ( a regular occurrence), Kingdom Come and 52, The Fly (ongoing) and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. While they are trying to take bits and pieces in new directions, it frequently feels like that band.

This episode (which my wife pronounced “convoluted”) was pretty packed with story, but much of it takes place in a future that will again be irrelevant (like two other possible futures we’ve seen) if the heroes are successful. Things kicked off with Mutating Mohinder, or, if you prefer, MohinderFly, or Mohinder Samsa. Realizing that he’s in trouble without admitting that he’s totally screwed, Mohinder vigorously records his notes on himself. He busts up a domestic disturbance and realizes that he may be going. Too. Far. This doesn’t stop him, however, from lashing out at Maya (whom the producers are trying really, really hard to “hot up”), who splits. Later, the abusive husband comes by to sucker punch our Jeff Goldblum stand-in, but Mohinder yanks him inside. That’s all we get of that, as most of the rest of the episode is spent on larger concerns.

Before getting into the big future spin, we need to address some things going down in the present. Matt Parkman gets his trip on, eating something gross in the desert at the behest of the visionary painter that he met; slipping on some earphones (Pink Floyd, perhaps?), Parkman sees what is happening with the twin Peters in the future. Elsewhere, Hiro and Ando bicker in their Level 2 prison before getting yanked out for sit-down with Mama Petrelli. Turns out that if they want to fix their screw-ups with Daphne and find the formula, they’ll have to dig up Kenzei/Adam. Hooo-boy. Also, Tracy finds out that she’s one of a set of triplets (presumably dead Nikki, heretofore unseen Barbara, and Tracy), and that their powers were given to them by experiments. Wracked with guilt over killing Marvel’s PR guy (seriously; dead William Katt’s character’s name was Jim McCann) she tries to resign from Nathan’s office and kill herself. Nathan catches her, and the two get friendly over really, really cold drinks. We’re hoping that the Lenderman vision, who wants Nathan to be president, didn’t stick around past his welcome.

The rest of the installment concerned itself with Peter’s race through a future four years hence where everything is turned upside down and super-powers can be bought. He’s supposedly a dangerous terrorist, and Claire, Daphne and Knox are out to bring him in. Future Peter gets gunned down quickly by Claire, but Regular Peter escapes after flat bitch-slapping The Haitian with a trash can lid. Capitalizing on one piece of information, Peter goes to confront Sylar in Costa Verde and finds him . . .with Mr. Muggles . . . making waffles . . . for him and his son?!?! The Petrelli boys chat, Peter gets Sylar’s power (and hunger), and Claire’s team shows up to royally screw things. A fight ensues, and Knox apparently kills Sylar’s little boy (who was, we should note, named Noah). Sylar goes all end-of-season-one and detonates, killing 200,000 people in Costa Verde. Daphne races home to her true love, Matt Parkman (?!?!, and they have a kid and are raising Molly), but dies.

Claire (who is immortal) and Peter (who is the popular star and likely unkillable) escaped Sylar’s blast, but Peter’s a prisoner. Nathan arrives and begins explaining to Peter that the Costa Verde incident now allows the Imperial Senate, er, Congress, to begin the building of a Clone Army, er, army of super-people. Peter starts to go Sylar on his brother, but leaps back into the past into Sylar’s cell. As Peter slams Sylar to the wall, the killer sees that Peter now possesses his powers (and hunger) as well.

Geez, that’s a lot of stuff! The good here remains the impressive effects, many performances, and the fact that no one has tried much of this on TV before. The down, again, is that so much of it is too familiar. Kingdom Come was referenced very, very heavily, as there were discussions of the irresponsible with powers and the whole notion of a hero pushed too far causing a nuclear disaster. I think that things in general are moving in the right direction, but certain characters are begging to be pared from the narrative.

On the cover band analogy, here’s a twist: the show often feels like it’s jamming, rather than having an organized plan. I know that it’s too much to ask that the direct referencing stop completely and go with only totally original ideas. But we would like to see some of those plots cloaked just a little more frequently.

So, the verdict? Good energy, but the stories do get weighted down in spots from their frequent familiarity. And what did you think?

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