Heroes: Pass/Fail Review - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A

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  • TV Series: Heroes
  • Episode: Pass/Fail
  • Starring: Jack Coleman, Robert Knepper, James Kyson Lee, Masi Oka, Zachary Quinto, Hayden Panettiere, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Robert Knepper, David Anders, George Takei
  • Written By: Oliver Grigsby
  • Directed By: Michael Nankin
  • Network: NBC
  • Series: Heroes

Heroes: Pass/Fail Review

A Return to Classic Heroes Drama

By Kent Ninomiya     January 19, 2010

 

It is always a treat to see a legend like George Takei on television again. This episode of Heroes is full of treats for fans who have faithfully followed the timeline since the first season. Hiro suddenly loses consciousness and finds himself in Charlie's diner. However, it is being used as a courtroom and it is full of dead Heroes characters. Chief among them is Hiro's father, Kaito Nakamura played by George Takei, who is the judge. The prosecutor is Adam Monroe AKA Takezo Kensei who disintegrated when Papa Petrelli absorbed his indestructability power. Hiro's alleged crime is breaking the hero's code and altering the timeline for personal gain. This is all happening in the afterlife, another dimension of time and space, or Hiro's imagination. It is never explained. Wherever it is, it is a fun way to enjoy beloved Heroes characters we thought we would never see again. It also gives us a chance to reflect on everything Hiro has been doing with his time travel ability since he got the brain tumor.
 
In another storyline, Sylar visits Claire at college asking for her help to get his mojo back. Apparently he lost it while he thought he was Nathan, Claire's biological father. When Claire refuses, Sylar gets creative using a new power he picked up from Lydia at the carnival. In a truly disturbing scene, Sylar and Claire share an intimate moment. You read that right. Sylar and Claire share spit. If the intent was to shock the audience, it worked, but that was just the beginning of the surprises. There is a very strong suggestion about the direction of Claire's sexuality followed by an unexpected flurry of violence. Claire isn't our little cheerleader anymore.
 
This interaction between Sylar and Claire produces significant development for both characters. Sylar realizes that he needs to get rid of all his powers in order to feel human again. He actually seems receptive to this despite the fact that the only motivation the character has ever had was acquiring more powers. It leaves us wondering if this is another swing from bad guy to good guy for Sylar. Claire realizes that she will turn out alone like Sylar if she does not allow people to get close to her. She suddenly steps up her “special” relationship with her roommate Gretchen. After all, college is a time for experimentation.
 
The third storyline follows Samuel as he woos his long lost love Vanessa played by Kate Vernon of Battlestar Galactica fame. This storyline with relatively new characters seemed out of place alongside the other two. It was difficult to care about the teenage love of Samuel and Vanessa when we just met her last episode. When Vanessa refuses Samuel's advances, he loses it. This presumably is the catalyst that releases Samuel's inner super villain. We have been waiting all season for this to happen, and it's a bit disappointing how they handled it. You would think that the writers would have come up with a more compelling trigger.

The episode comes full circle with Hiro's conviction and a samurai showdown to the death. Despite all the convoluted plot twists that got us to this point, it is obvious that the resolution is a basic battle between good and evil. This is the essence of what Heroes is about, and it is played out with clanging katanas by the show's purest character Hiro. When everything is on the line, the hero Hiro does not give up and is rewarded for his efforts. This episode also rewards fans who stuck with the show through an eternity of mediocre mid-season episodes.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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IceMonster 1/19/2010 3:30:39 AM

I haven't kept up with Heroes this season, but I find it difficult to believe most of the ratings given in reviews at this site. I rarely agree with the reviewers. IMO, the first season is the only good thing about Heroes. I'd like to know just what the hell happened to make everything fall apart so drastically. If I'm wrong about this season, please, somebody set me straight. But really, how do you go from a perfect, awesome first season and then give us seasons 2 and 3?

Also, what does this article mean, talking about people who have faithfully watched the timeline since the beginning? In the first season, we see the last comic book that Isaac Mendes wrote but never published...it showed Hiro's showdown with Sylar at the end of season 1. Did the guys behind season 3 even watch season 1? The took the premise of Isaac Mendes' last comic and totally made up something new to suit the season 3 circumstances. One might argue time travel as one friend of mine who loves to play devil's advocate has, yet no time travel in the show ever affected how or when Isaac Mendes died. He's been dead as dead can be since the first season. Also, even if I were to subscribe that somebody's time travel somehow affected a character who was already dead, are you going to tell me that a heroine junky who (it was established by his girlfriend Simone at the start of the season) was always late and behind deadline would have a couple of years worth of unfinished comics just waiting? I don't think so. So just what timeline is this article referring to? I haven't seen any cohesive timeline to stay faithful to thus far.

mike10 1/19/2010 5:49:03 AM

 I think this episode was pretty good but I guess the "A" grade is relative to the episodes of the past year and it is graded on a curve or sliding scale.

 Heroes in my opinion is a missed opportunity and the creators and writers whould have stuck with a core group of characters and developed them better. Also, with all of the characters running around the "Heroes" should be well know and out in the public. Hopefully this season continues to improve.

 If Smallville can turn itself around, why can't Heroes? 

IceMonster 1/19/2010 9:43:15 AM

I gave up on Smallville this year too...lol.  I wouldn't know about turning things around.

jdiggitty 1/19/2010 9:59:36 AM

"A" seems very generous for an episode with so much eyebrow

cheekymonkey 1/19/2010 1:25:39 PM

The Hiro part was fun, but a little pointless.  Did anyone really think Hiro was going to die (besides Ando).  Seeing Adam was a highlight...his character dies way too soon.  Lucky for him, he's on 24 for now.

I think an A was rather high...more like a solid B.

The problem since season one is too many heroes, too little villians, and no running plot line.  I think the death of a few heroes and some sort of resurrected company with 'one of us, one of them' would go a long way towards returning the series to its former glory. 

ponyboy76 1/19/2010 3:54:24 PM

No, the problem since season 1 was that the writers didn't really know what they wanted Heores to be. Should be a representation of comic book s or how real people would deal if they suddenlt found out that they had powers or something totally different. So we instead parts of all these themes from season to season. This is the first season since the first that the show is actually really moving forward IMO.

noahbody 1/19/2010 5:08:05 PM

The Quantum leap defense was funny.

Glad to see Samual pushed over the edge.

jabberwookie 1/19/2010 7:19:32 PM

LOL!  I LOVED the Quantum Leap defense!  I caught the line just before they called it out.  Priceless moment.

I really wondered for a bit if they would have killed Hiro off on this episode.. there's been enough fan sentiment to either make him cool  (The Future Hiro version that they killed some time ago).... or dead.  From a dramatic standpoint, it would have been nice for him to die. 

The big problem with Hiro is that he is overpowered.. They handled this with Peter by reducing him to 1 power at a time, and that seems to work.  It even sounds like they might do this with Sylar (the whole 'lose the powers to avoid being alone' thread)

Overall, I agree with ponyboy.. One of the show's problem's is that is can't decide if it is a comic book show or a character drama where the characters have powers.  They compound the problem by taping the rough edges together with bad logic, too much 'deux ex machina' (sp?), and not enough of the right kind of character moments to make us care about the cast and build up to the payoff.  Every once in awhile, we get some gems, but it seems like they have to work a whole lot harder since the superpower thing is now several seasons old for most of the cast.

Given the two directions, I'd opt for character drama 1st.  Make us care about Hiro again.  Keep us caring about Peter.  (I think the scenes with Emma could potentially be a great direction with post-Nathan Peter, for example) 

dracor00 1/20/2010 6:53:40 AM

i think they will kill of hiro still. It sounded like that is what he was asking for, If his punishment was to be death then let it be a Heroes Death fighting the good fight so I wouldnt be surprise. The So be it from his father made it seem like that was the verdict. That he is still to die for his crimes but gets to fight evil once more.

I would not be surprised at all if he dies during the final showdown/fight or whatever will happen with Samuel

marcd30319 1/20/2010 8:56:22 AM

I gave up on Smallville after the pilot, and I gave up on Heroes after the second season.  Make mine 24!

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