Nov 05, 2007 02:57 PM EST

Heroes Season 2 Episode 7 (Out of Time)...Taking A Look Back

Heroes Season 2 Episode 7 (Out of Time)...Taking A Look Back
The iPod was clever. In The Matrix we saw people able to download skills into their heads at light-speed--and it was cool. In the show, the copy-cat girl, one of the better additions, can learn anything she sees on TV so The Company gave her an iPod video that's loaded with video-learning goodness. It's not clear how literal her learning ability is but I can see ways it could be good (she becomes an expert race car driver? A surgeon? A master of twenty different martial arts styles?).

HRG shooting his Russian victim in the head was good too: he's not a good guy--he's a tough guy. He's a secret agent man and just because he switched sides didn't suddenly give him the conscience he lacked all those years. Yeah, it was (maybe) unnecessary ... but it felt right. It felt like the first season where the show surprised me.

Speaking of surprises, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) being on the case (Peter Petrelli's) was a nice shocker. Unfortunately, although she's investigating crimes ... and working for her father ... like Mars always has, the new character's a villain and doesn't play to Bell's charisma (a review noted that it was like having Willow visit the Charmed girls when a character from a far better show drops in on this one). I'm not willing to be that harsh but it'd be nice if she wasn't just another evil super-girl.

Watching Greg Grunberg (the psychic cop) and Sendhil Ramamurthy (Dr. Suresh) argue over the girl like an old married couple kind of gets old as does their absolute inability to do just about anything right. There's an air of competence around the Peterelli brothers that, beyond HRG, most of the characters just lack. And it's a good thing too: in a plot where everything is related, too much open communication would ruin the various set-ups.

If Claire were to tell her dad the truth (she's seeing the one boy in creation that can ID him on sight and hates him) or her dad were to share with the family (his death has been seen in future-paintings) then the carefully constructed unlikely-climax would unravel!

So instead we get Claire selling out her family for her own selfish purposes (yeah, I got that she's a teenager--but blood's thicker than water: she should trust her parents with the truth--the stakes are simply too high otherwise). I don't like this dynamic: I have a hard time rooting for people who are acting in ways clearly sympathetic to the script-writers (Claire getting to be herself) when the situation is carefully constructed to make this, essentially, betrayal (she could get her completely innocent mom and brother killed).

Even worse is the lack of communication in the Sylar-Maya-Alejandro triangle. In this wonder of plotting, we get Sylar speaking English in a line of pure, frustrating exposition, talking to the camera (he's talking to the brother, who doesn't speak English, telling him his eeeevil intent--while the sister, Maya, who's around back, getting something out of the trunk can't hear him). Yes, clearly Sylar is evil. Yes, clearly it took great acrobatic contortions of the plot to keep him in the script. Yes, clearly the writers plan to keep him there.

I didn't like the Clair-cheerleading plot line: Clair decides to stand up to the queen-bee and take her down a peg. That's okay. But her plan involves a gratuitous use of super-powers--which seems like cheating. I'd rather Claire have stood up to the person on her own merits than use an unwise (and maybe unlikely) super-powered ploy.

I was more able to root for Hiro who finally recognizes his love for the sword smith's daughter (Eriko Tamura) back in time. We may not be getting much of a samurai epic but both David Anders (Takezo Kensei) and Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura) are really watchable. Watching Hiro finally decide to screw the space-time continuum and kiss the girl he loves was one of the relatively few powerful moments of the film: satisfying!

It'll also be good to watch Monica (Dana Davis) team up with the otherwise overly cute Micah and ... fight crime? Would it be too much to ask for to watch them clean up New Orleans superhero style? Probably--but I can still dream.

So what's going to happen? Here are my predictions:
1. Cassandra-like, the future-paintings are of no use to anyonein trying to directly avert danger. The payoff would be HRG and crew getting the paintings and just flat out, easily stopping his future-death. Like: "Okay, I know what to do--Claire's boyfriend is supposed to kill me ... Hatian? Liquidate his memories of me. Problem solved." In the Heroes-verse, nothing is that simple.

2. Sylar will continue to be boring. Okay, this isn't much of a prediction. How about: Sylar will continue to be frustratingly unkillable? Not so much either. Here's one: Sylar will get his powers back from The Company in order to stop an "even bigger threat" and it'll turn out be a mistake.

3. Niki's evil personality is in charge and will be keeping an eye on Dr. Suresh. That's more like clever observation than any kind of prediction but since the genius intellect that is Mohinder doesn't see it coming, I think I should get credit.

4. Claire's betrayal of her family and willingness to be herself, although really inadvisable and awfully selfish (and appealing to a demographic who is more interested in the character and the basic message rather than the carefully constructed context) will not bring ruin down on her family. Why? Because the script-writers also agree with the empowering message and are also ignoring their carefully constructed context. Also? Because cheerleaders are cute.

5. Alejandro, who does not speak English, has one, maybe two more episodes tops. You heard it here first.

Conclusion: It's getting somewhat better--but it isn't there yet.

-- Marco Chacon

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