Post Game TV Recap: HEROES S4E12-13 (2010 Premiere)


Newsarama Note: Our apologies, Heroes fans! This Post Game got lost in the shuffle of the new year. Here are the first two episodes of the season, which were presented back-to-back. We'll have this week's episode's Post Game up for you tomorrow, as well! And now, take it away, Russ!

Heroes S4E12: Upon This Rock (2010 Premiere Part 1)

So…Heroes was back this week and I didn’t realize it until a couple of days later. As often tends to happen, the first scene of the (second half of the) season is Suresh giving an obscure monologue that plays over a montage of flashbacks intended to fill in new viewers, those who have forgotten where we were. While it does eat up about the first three minutes of the show, I’m going to leave that aspect of the episode alone in the interest of brevity. The ACTUAL story begins with Claire wandering the seemingly-empty Carnival grounds, catching Eli staring at her and then having a brief conversation with Lydia in which she’s encouraged to go bring Samuel his pancakes and make nice with the ringleader.

When she enters his trailer, though, it’s clear that Lydia had far more complex machinations going on; when Samuel turns to receive his pancakes and sees that it’s Claire who’s brought them, he’s left trying desperate to hide the big box full of Primatech files he’d just had stolen from her father. Noah, of course, having had a lifetime of super-spy training, had stealthily labeled the box “Primatech files,” and while Samuel at least had the common sense to turn the box backwards so that Claire couldn’t immediately see her father’s handwriting, he didn’t remove them from said box or anything so artful as that. He covers it up with a sheet, and she immediately asks him about the box, citing its resemblance to the boxes used by the paper company that was her father’s cover. Samuel tries to convince her to stay with him as he seeks the superhuman “homeland,” and after she declines (on the grounds that she has to go back to school), he shrugs her off, shows her his “going to the City” outfit and preaches some more of his “promised land” stuff. Each of them discuss the meaning of freedom, each citing a different overused quote, and then he leaves. Eli, the duplicate dude, is charged with keeping her from breaking into the trailer while Samuel’s gone.

Hiro, then, finds himself appearing in Japan. The last time we saw him, of course, his powers were waning and he had started talking nonsense after that crazy rasta shaman dude had tried to mess with his head. He’s apparently lost his personality entirely and is speaking in pop-cultural references, as he refers to himself as seeking his “sidekick,” whose name is “Sancho Panza.” He refers to having come from the Starship Enterprise and then, upon seeing a woman whose purse is being stolen, declares that “a Jedi’s work is never done,” steals a cleaver from a snack cart and uses it to sever the purse strap (saying, as he does, “There can be only one.”), menace the mugger away and return the purse to its owner, whom he calls “Dulcinea.”

For those of you keeping score at home, that means in the less-than-three-minute scene, he references “Don Quixote”, “Star Trek”, “Star Wars”, “The Highlander” and then “Don Quixote” again. And those are just the ones I caught and cared to list. It may be worth noting that while Hiro has always wanted to be…well, a hero…, he’s never had much in the way of a real philosophy on how to follow through with doing so. It’s been one of his consistent struggles, and arguably has stood in the way of his actual ability to function using his powers for good. It appears to me as though his brain tumor, the psychic interference or both has given literal life to this conflict, causing him to just act out any stray heroic impulse that passes through his frazzled neural pathways. He throws out a few more—“Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica,” I think—as he’s being arrested by police officers who aren’t keen on babbling vigilantes swinging around great big cleavers and calling them “Lancelot.” Who would think they’re weird about that in Japan?

Instead of going to the city, Samuel heads out into the desert to reminisce about his pubescent years, as he discovered his powers, tried to perfect them and was taunted and belittled by his brother (who, as we know, was really trying to discourage his brother from becoming dangerous, not run him down).

Back at the Carnival, Claire notices that she’s being watched by Eli. In response to this intrusion, she listens in on a conversation between Lydia and her daughter. The two were arguing, and then Claire sits down with Lydia to talk about the Carnival, Samuel and the future. Lydia tells her that Samuel is looking for people and “spent all day in his trailer,” to which Claire adds, “…with my dad’s files.” She walks into the trailer and Eli’s already there. A few of him, actually, and he creepily advises her to move along to her chores.

Back in Japan, the police bring Hiro to see Ando, who explains to them he’s been missing six weeks. Before they can explain to Ando that Hiro’s speaking nonsense, Hiro is escoted in, recognizes Ando as Sancho Panza and begins to ramble about saving Doctor Watson from sea monsters at Castle Arkham. Or something; it’s hard to keep up. The police uncuff Hiro and offer Ando the help of a city psychiatrist; Ando tells them that he’s not crazy but, rather, suffering a rapidly-worsening brain tumor.

Back at the hospital where Hiro was once being treated, Emma learns that her med-school application has been declined as there are too many applicants to keep up with. She goes home to play her cello and is greeted there by Samuel, who shows her his tattoo in order to prove he’s the one who gave her the cello.

In Japan, Hiro is still talking nonsense—but it’s the same nonsense, in almost the same words, and this consistency leads Ando to suspect that he’s actually trying to communicate something specific. [The translation process kind of reminds me of that scene in “The Dream Team,” when the guy who speaks only in sports metaphors has to explain to his fellow escaped lunatics that their psychiatrist has been beaten and kidnapped.] In the end, they take off to find Hiro’s comic book collection, Ando suspecting it’s got clues, and leave Hiro’s puzzled sister in their office with tears in her eyes.

Back at her apartment, Emma has decided to let Samuel in. He explains the interconnectedness of all superhumanity, and suggests to Emma that the cello was originally meant for a girl he had feelings for in his youth (as seen in the earlier flashback). He asks for her help in locating a man who has the power to manipulate plant-life, but who has disappeared, reportedly in Central Park.

Claire, schlepping big boxes of junk around at the Carnival, sees Eli still watching her and tries to shake him. Ultimately, she leads three copies of him on a chase through a hall of mirrors, and while it’s all fun and games inside, he replicates himself at the exits, leading viewers to wonder what she’s driving at. We see it soon enough, though, as she uses a stool to beat the “alpha” Eli unconscious, causing his duplicates to vanish, and then runs off. Immediately, she heads to Samuel’s trailer where she finds the files. For reasons that may or may not eventually become clear or pay off, hers and Parkman’s names are among those you see in a brief glimpse of folder tabs inside of the box. She’s checking out a framed photo of Samuel and his brother, as teenagers, when she’s “pulled” out the door by the creepy puppet-master dude. They argue for a while, and he tells her that he’s not going to let her mess up whatever Samuel has planned.

In the “Danger Room,” where Hiro keeps his comics, Ando continues trying to figure out what Hiro’s going on about. Eventually a string of barely-comprehensible pop-culture references string together to bring him to realize they’re heading to Florida, where apparently there are lizards, as evidenced by the fact that somewhere in the mass of what he was saying Hiro referenced Curt Connors. It’s interesting that they eventually end up headed for Riverdale Hospital, given that Hiro has only been able to refer to it as “Arkham,” since his brain is thinking in comics, TV and literature right now. Apparently the popularity of Archie hasn’t reached Japan, or maybe he could have saved them a deductive step.

In Central Park, Samuel tells Emma that her music works like a magnet that draws people with powers to her. He urges her to play the cello and focus on the plant guy. She does, and immediately generates an audience for herself, including the man they’re looking for. As he stands silently against a tree, listening to her music, it starts to sprout leaves. They take him back to the hospital to get treatment of his basic injuries, the ones that result from his hiding homeless in the Park for months. Before Samuel leaves, he thanks her, invites her to join him “someplace where they could use a doctor, and a siren,” and gives her a compass to get there. She heads off in one direction, and Samuel takes the plant man in another. Before they go, Samuel sees a news story on Senator Petrelli’s apparent death in a plane crash and looks puzzled by it.

The puppet guy is talking to Claire, and insisting that Samuel is good because the place is good and has done good for him. She eventually talks him into the reason behind what she’s saying, and leaves him behind, looking despondent. One hopes that he’ll be the new ringleader of a less-menacing carnival when all this comes out because he’s right—Joseph set up some good ground rules for the place and without Samuel the Carnies aren’t all that bad. He lets her go and points her at Lydia, who tells Claire everything she knows, including the fact that Samuel killed his brother. Right after she promises to find someone who can stop Samuel and help them, though, she’s intercepted and abducted by Eli. Samuel comes back, though, and reams him out for having kidnapped her since Eli doesn’t know anything except that she’s trying to get away. He insists that the decision to leave it still one that anyone is free to make. She asks him what happened to Joseph and he dismisses Eli; he admits to Claire that he killed his brother but rationalizes it by saying his brother had turned them into Danko and endangered them all. She asks what Samuel is doing in the valley, and he takes her there to see the plant man standing in the desert basin. He tells Samuel that he needs water, and moments later the ground splits, offers up a well, and it’s a matter of moments before the desert is a lush, beautiful landscape. Samuel tells Claire that this is their new home, and that this is why he needs a bigger family. He offers to allow her to live there, but she declines, saying she wants to go back to her real home.

Apparently, her cell phone hadn’t been working the whole time she was in the carnival, because when she turns to leave Samuel, she’s got 15 new voicemails; we hear a few urgent-sounding ones from Noah, and then a message from Peter before the shot cuts to Nathan’s funeral. Claire arrives via taxi as it’s in progress, joining the silent throng of mourners and passive-aggressively arguing with her father about the compass before Peter starts to eulogize Nathan. The too-brief funeral sequence, which features only a couple of series regulars and mostly is taken up by the flag-folding and jet-buzzing that would happen at a high-profile Navy funeral, seems almost a metaphor for the hapless way that Nathan (and actor Adrain Pasdair) has been cast off from the show.

S04E13: Let it Bleed (January Premiere Part 2)

The episode opens on some good, old-fashioned mourning and self-flagellation on the part of Peter Petrelli, who joins Noah to plant evidence that his brother has died in the crash of a small, private plane (as was reported in “Upon This Rock”), as opposed to being murdered. He’s wearing all black, moping around and speaking in his low, serious voice as Noah opens the trunk to show him his brother’s corpse. When editing moves us forward to the present day, Peter’s at his brother’s calling hours, bitterly reporting to inquiring guests that the official findings labeled the crash an accident.

Back at the Carnival, Samuel is working with his magic ink, apparently trying to make it do on paper what it does on Lydia’s back (in order to make her expendable, maybe?), when he’s nearly struck by a flying object—which turns out to be Doyle, the puppet master. When the source of the tossed fat man turns out to be Sylar, Samuel orders Doyle to “get everyone too safety,” but cautions him not to go too far, presumably in the hope that if he keeps his “family” around him, he may have a chance of surviving an encounter with Sylar due to the proximal nature of his powers. It works, as Sylar pins Samuel to the wall of his trailer but can’t do his brain-slice trick before Samuel creates a tiny sandstorm that suffocates Sylar, who passes out.

Is it only me who feels like this is a glaring example of Sylar being nerfed to make Samuel seem like more of a badass?

Before the services for Senator Petrelli, Noah offers to drive Claire to the calling hours, which she rejects on the grounds that he lied to her about the death. She’s personally stung that, after everything Sylar has done to her, and to her family, and then to her birth father (Nathan), she inadvertently showed him affection when she was unaware that he was secretly being passed off as the Senator. After emotional conversations, both Claire and Peter tell off their respective parents for having kept the truth from them at the end of season three; Claire asks for some space, while Peter avoids commenting on his mother’s request that he not go after Sylar and taint his brother’s last wishes for him with revenge. The pair then join up for a private conversation. Cutting lemons and limes for the drinks outside, they share a moment when she slices her finger and feels the pain, because Peter still has the Haitian’s powers and hasn’t made the conscious effort to turn them off. They talk about missing Nathan, and use the opportunity to touch on the disappearance of Wes, Claire’s flying boyfriend of whom her father apparently disapproved. She tries to get Peter to tell a Nathan story, but he just leaves the room.

Back at his apartment, Noah seems to be moping around and unintentionally letting Edgar, Ray Park’s knife-wielding speedster, into the room. However, in the moment before he’s sliced to bits, he spins and uses a stun gun to subdue the attacker. Next thing you know, he and Lauren are bribing the proprietor of a Japanese restaurant to close the joint down so that they can use it as their personal superhuman-waterboarding HQ. With Edgar duct-taped and roped to a chair inside of a freezer (the cold tightening his muscles, slowing his heart rate and “leveling the playing field” for non-speedsters), they start drawing truth serum into a needle…

At the Carnival, Samuel has placed Sylar in Lydia’s trailer, where he tells her that she’ll have to use her charms to learn why Sylar was incapable of finishing him in their battle. He says that there’s something different about him—that he doesn’t seem truly to be Sylar or the blank slate they’d met before. After a brief bit of hesitation by each of the two principals, Lydia and Sylar begin to make out, with her getting psychic impressions from him as they do. She diagnoses that he’s scared of Hiro’s analysis from earlier in the season that he’s going to die alone, and that he wants love but doesn’t think he deserves it. He reverses the role on her, taking her powers without killing her and telling her that he knows she doesn’t really want to help him, only to use him in her agenda to kill Samuel. Dispensing with all pretense of foreplay, she tells him that he won’t kill her anyway, because he’s “impotent,” which causes him to shy away from her, take his clothes and run out.

Back at the wake, Claire is looking at a vaguely homoerotic photo of the Petrelli brothers when Angela approaches her to talk about Peter’s need to grieve and the fact that she can’t provide him closure because he, like Claire, is angry and disappointed with her and Noah. She urges Claire to go up to the roof, where Peter is listening to the police scanner. He has followed the scanner’s reports, though, to a building where there’s a man barricaded inside with hostages and a gun. He has snuck in to start treating an injured co-workers of the gunman. He leaves Claire to apply pressure to the woman’s wound while taking off to confront the man, with Claire and the entire audience calling after him that her power set, not his, would help her in the situation he’s charging into.

Back into the freezer at the Japanese restaurant, Edgar is all covered in blood and looking pretty shabby as Noah wipes his hands on a towel, barking questions at the ‘luuded-up speedster. As he starts to lose his patience and threatens Edgar with his own knife, Lauren comes to him and tries to discourage torture. She points out that Edgar doesn’t have a compass, and that Noah would get further with him if he weren’t so cruel, and instead tried to win him over by being better than Samuel.

Back at the hostage site, Peter is trying to relate to the hostage-taker by explaining to him everything that’s going through his head as a result of losing his brother and being forced to stage the death and plaster on a fake smile for the mourners. Ultimately, he guilts the man into hesitating, then leaps on the man and gets shot in the process. Lying on the gurney outside, after having subdued his shooter, he takes Claire’s powers after she talks to him at great length about not wanting him to go after Sylar. The two talk about what Nathan would have wanted, and Peter comes clean that he’s trying to keep busy doing other things so that he doesn’t stop to mourn or think about Nathan’s death and “make it real.”

In the freezer, Noah is asking Edgar what it is he wants from him—postulating that Edgar wants him alive, and Edgar says he doesn’t know what the real plan is—that he just does what he’s told. He explains that he’s not really a hitman, but misses being a juggler. He admits that he thought if he brought Noah back to Samuel, maybe he’d be allowed back into the community. Noah proposes that they work together to take down Samuel.

Back at the Carnival, Sylar is throwing boxes around, looking for ink so that he can make a tattoo and see his “map.” Samuel tries to convince him to stay with the carnival, and tells him a little bit about his lost love, Vanessa. He reveals that he knows Hiro told him he was going to die alone, and that it’s haunting him. He promises Sylar acceptance at the carnival, and Sylar tells him that if the tattoo tells him that, he’ll stay. Samuel turns some dirt into ink.

Back in Noah’s apartment, he’s partially untied Edgar and is planning to raid the Carnival and take out Samuel. Edgar, though, demands that they simply remove or kill Samuel and leave the rest of his friends alone. Edgar, having shared the plans for the Carnival which allowed Noah to make a strategy, blows past the pair of agents and steals the papers on his way out.

When Samuel applies the ink to Sylar at the Carnival, it starts to dance and skip around his chest, shoulders and back in a way we’ve never seen it do with Lydia. Samuel tells him that he’s trying to force a result, and that’s what’s screwing it up. When the tattoo comes to rest on the inside of Sylar’s arm, Samuel remarks that it’s interesting and Sylar says, “I guess you were wrong; I don’t belong here,” and takes off, putting his shirt on.

On the rooftop of Peter’s apartment, he’s sitting with Claire looking out over the city. She offers to stay with him instead of going to school, and he tells her that it’s okay—that she should go to school. He promises not to lie to her, and then asks her to contact Wes (her old boyfriend) for him.

Noah and Lauren diagnose the Carnival as a cult, and Noah’s worried that Claire might be brainwashed, but when Lauren tells him to go ahead and call her, he does so…hanging up almost immediately. On the rooftop of his building, Peter flies off into the night sky, while Samuel sits alone at the Carnival, filing away his umpteenth drawing of Vanessa. Claire returns home to a dark, empty dorm where Gretchen has left to study, and contemplates calling Noah, but doesn’t. Outside her window, predictably, stands Sylar with a tattoo of Claire’s face on his forearm. “Hello, Cheerleader,” he says, and the episode ends. Calling her “Cheerleader” has come to be kind of like Dr. Cox calling J.D. “Newbie” on “Scrubs”, now, hasn’t it? I mean, I can’t imagine anyone really just thinking of her as “the cheerleader” anymore outside of NBC’s marketing team, but it’s the only way Sylar ever refers to her if she’s in the room.

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