Heroes 2.1: “Four Months Later”

Realistically, I’m not sure why I was so damn excited for the return of Heroes, even though it was last year’s best new show despite having (apparently unknowingly) borrowed rather heavily from X-Men mythos. You’ve got your Rogue, your Wolverine, your Shadowcat — and, amusingly, all the genders are reversed!

I love it. But I hated season one’s finale with a fiery, burning passion. It didn’t make sense. It cut out the most interesting characters from the final battle — what there was of that. It pretended to kill off one of my favorite characters in a totally unbelievable way that left not an iota of suspense as to whether he’d be returning this year. It was bad.

“Four Months Later,” season two’s premiere, isn’t that bad. But it’s a little weak all the same. ‘Ware spoilers after the jump!

The thing is, though, I can’t remember whether the thing that’s bothering me the most came up at the end of last season or not. It’s simple: Mohinder’s talking about a virus that can take away mutant powers and then kill them. When he talks to mysterious, creepy Midas about how this virus could mutate itself and infect normal humans, Midas gets a gleam in his eye that reminds me of Magneto in X2. Take Cerebro and use it to kill mutants! No, use it to kill humans!

Take this virus and mutate it to kill ordinary folks! Or not. I’m not sure where that’s going. But what bothers me is that this virus, which looks very much like it could be central to season two’s overarching plot, appears to have been discovered in the off-season. And that’s sloppy storytelling. If this is going to be a big deal — if it even really exists, and I assume it does and that it’s why Molly is sick — we need to see it arrive on the scene. And thus, what I don’t remember: Did we know before that Molly had a super-sekrit mutant killing virus, or that she just was sick? Did we know that it could spread to other special folks? Am I being crabby for no reason?

Well, anyway, on to the rest of the show. Spoilers crept out that one familiar face wouldn’t survive, and it was disappointing to see it be Hiro’s father, but not unexpected. To me, the episode’s highlight was one tiny line: “Now there are nine.” Nine! Nine older generation mutant-folks who used to hang out with Mama Petrelli, Simone’s dad, Linderman and Hiro’s papa (interesting how many of them are defined by their children, no?). Is Midas one of them? Is that shadowy figure one of them? What happens if Sylar gets to one of them? And when, oh, when will we get to discover Mama Petrelli’s power?

A quick rundown of characters: Claire, making a new life in California, is a doll as always, though the Nissan product placement for a hideous car I’d never seen before was certainly awkward. Her new friend Stalker Boy — sorry, West — had me in stitches simply because he looks like And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead maestro Conrad Keely — but he became more interesting when his power was revealed. Flight! A duplicate power! Why would they do that so soon? Are powers genetic? Did Nathan have more kids?

Mr. Bennett, as always, was fantastic, and though I’ve seen a few posts disparaging the Bennett family dinner, I loved the horrible discomfort, the undertones, the floating secrets. I want to know where the Haitian is and who he’s truly working for, though, and I can’t seem to remember how Mr. Bennett got his memory back after the Haitian wiped his brain to protect Claire.

Parkman and Molly were cute and perfect and while I think it seemed a bit abrupt to have Parkman divorce in the off-season — and wasn’t his wife pregnant? — the atypical family of Parkman, Mohinder and Molly appeals to me, as does their rather gothic, dark home in the elder Suresh’s old apartment. I don’t care much for the “I can see you!” baddie that Molly dreams of, but it’s appropriate for her age that he seems like something out of a crappy horror movie and not a believable imaginary character. Yet.

No Niki, but another pretty, mentally unstable killer lass (kudos to one of my favorite Heroes commentators, Yoon Ha Lee, for pointing this out). Was that really necessary? But, as she discusses, we’ve barely met Maya, and maybe there’s more to her than first impressions suggest. I still wonder if they left Niki out of this episode so as to avoid making the parallel between the two of them clear, though. And I see Maya very much as the Rogue character who will want the “cure” for her own safety/good/safety of those around her, though previews for next week suggest I might be wrong here.

Oh, Hiro! I do hope he gets more to do this season than wander around trying to figure out what he ought to be doing (rather like the trio in much of HP7 — though I did love those scenes). I kept expecting Takezo Kensei to a) be Hiro’s father, b) be Hiro or c) … well, something other than being a white guy (David Anders, whom IMDB.com says is from Grants Pass) with a familiar attitude about the whole hero thing (someone please remind me who he’s reminding me of?). This sets up a handful of amusing possibilities: Either Hiro is, in a twisty time-travel way, his own hero, or Hiro makes up the stories of this not-hero, or the swordsmith’s daughter turns out to be the real Kensei, or something else entirely. I’m rooting for the daughter, of course, and not least because it’s time there was a Heroes heroine who took charge of her own story. (I love Claire, but the girl’s only 17, still in high school, and it doesn’t seem like Buffy exists in her world. She didn’t even get to help stop Sylar.)

And then there were the Petrellis. One is living with a death threat (as long as that lasts — the living, or the death threat). One has a scary, scary beard and is unconvincingly drinking himself into a stupor and, it seems, blaming himself for his brother’s death. And the third, in a scene that calls to mind about half a dozen similar Whedon scenes (Darla returns from wherever! Angel returns from Hell! Spike returns from getting a soul!) is very confused, very caged, very messed up and with a very unfortunate haircut (I liked the bangs! But apparently the actor desperately wanted to lose them). Also, he’s got an iffy new bit of bling.

I adore Peter Petrelli, but this development did lead to some eye-rolling.

And that, dear reader, was that. Things Might Happen. Stuff Is Important. And I should Blog During Commercials for better commentary, but I was engrossed in another commercial-eating project. Next time, next time.

For what it’s worth, Journeyman was rather dull, but also slightly intriguing. Is that all there is to it? He, like, disappears into time to help fix somebody’s life, then he zings back again? Er … OK. But I’ll probably keep watching it with that post-good-show hangover thing.

Coming soon: The Bionic Woman, Moonlight, Nathan Fillion on Desperate Housewives (yes, I will ONLY talk about Captain Mal. Or at least try) and more!

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