Heroes Revisited. 1.03: One Giant Leap

Hi gang. Sorry for the late entry. Reece is smoozing in Hollywood, and I’m hungover. I’m doing this solo for the next two weeks, apologies in advance for the recap-y format. Anyway, let’s get straight to the crux of Heroes episode 1.03; aptly titled ‘One Giant Leap.’

Now you feel hungover too!

Previously on Heroes… things happened. Nothing of merit. I guess Hiro was a stereotype of how Hollywood sees geeks; Niki killed people off-camera; and Peter tried committing suicide a few times.

This episode starts as most episodes do with Mohinder droning on about something vaguely philosophical.

When evolution selects its agents, it does so at a cost. It makes demands in exchange for singularity, and you may be asked to do something against your very nature. Suddenly, the change in your life that should have been wonderful comes as a betrayal. It may seem cruel, but the goal is nothing short of self-preservation… survival.

 If any of that makes sense to you, send me an e-mail at IAustin.ian@gmail.com. Because I have no idea what Mohinder is talking about. I mean… at a stretch I think he’s saying that evolution is bad, but then he says it leads to self-preservation which is good? Either way, it’s another awful treaty by this show of saying ‘superpowers are bad.’ Which is inherently frustrating, because it falls into my pet peeve: the idea that beating up characters equals ‘teh drama.’ If a characters life never has any bright moments, after a while you are literally watching torture porn: because there’s no reason to care about said character.

Rant over, back to the episode.

Niki Sanders is a feminist!

So we start visually with Niki in the desert. Her story arc this week consists of her burying the people she killed off-screen in the first episode. Like the end of Megan is Missing (an awful film on a thousand levels), this goes on for way too long, to the extent that I wonder why Niki is wearing such nice clothes for such a sweaty endeavour. It also raises the question of why Micah doesn’t react to any of this, given he’s slept in a car for a good fifteen hours and is in close proximity to corpses that, ya know, tend to stink. He wakes up, asks Niki what she’s doing (poor kid gets three choices of dialogue, and that’s the main one he goes to), and Niki says they’re going to visit his Grandmother.

The scene gets more confusing when Niki, essentially, yells at Paulette (Micah’s Grandmother) about D.L. and his crew, then tells Paulette she’ll never see Micah again. Which… why visit her then? It seems a tad weird. We also get exposition that D;L is coming for Micah and escaped from prison. If that’s the case, where is he? Niki and Micah seem to have travelled halfway across America to get to D.L’s old house, and D.L is nowhere to be seen. Now you could buy that if the police were scoping the place out, but they aren’t; and it stands to reason D.L, upon escaping, would assume Niki and Micah would split. So… yeah!

Cutting their dull story short, they willingly go with one of Linderman’s men. Because why not. Micah at this point probably thinks he has the worst parent ever. But he’s wrong – Mohinder does.

Shenmue 3: The Suresh Tapes!

Mohinder’s Dad left their native country to go to America to investigate superpowered people; started driving a taxi for some reason (how’d he get a working visa to go to New York in the first place?; befriended a woman named Eden (apparently, she’s the most obvious mole ever); befriended a man named Sylar who may/may not have killed him and has a confession room in his house; and named his lizard after his son.

His lizard.

So naturally, Mohinder has major daddy issues. And whines about them constantly. We never get an answer as to how Mohinder got a visa to stay in America either. He explores Sylar’s sex dungeon/confession room, and appears freaked out. But when he goes back, the place has been cleaned out. Mohinder is shocked.

Who knew they were there?

DUN DUN DUN!

I guess Eden and Mohinder (who is with Eden) will have to wait to next week to find out who (Eden) is (Eden) the (Eden) mole (Eden) in (it’s Eden) question.

Claire gets… wait, this isn’t Heroes!

Claire’s story is… I have no jokes about her one. None suitable for print. And it’s so badly done, ill conceived and poorly thought out that I’ll just sum it up as: After school special about not drinking, not hanging out with a skeevy guy, and learning that if a stick is ripped out of your head you can come back to life.

Everyone knocks Wolverine’s origins, but at least it had bone-claws. Claire’s story just has a b… and I’ll cut myself off there.

Fun fact: Nashville is an epilogue to Heroes.

Less fun is Heroes going to the ‘rape’ well this early on. Bad form. Seriously bad form.

Isaac is a drug addicted artist with biceps

Isaac’s story this week involves drugs and Simone. No, it’s not deja-vu. I assure you the same thing is happening this week that happened last week.

Is it Groundhog Day already?

I guess something new happens, in that Isaac tells Simone to support his drug addicted prophecies or leave. She leaves. And that’s Isaac’s entire story this week. It was worth the time checking in. Perhaps next week Simone comes back to try and send him to rehab again, and we can get this scene redone again.

Onto the next scene.

Isaac’s story this week involves drugs and Simone…

Anyone else having the weirdest feeling of deja-vu?

Hiro stopping the plot, again!

Oh joy.

Hiro’s story this week, on the surface, involves him being a superhero. He saves the life of a young girl, confirming to Ando that he has superpowers; although Ando doesn’t know which ones, because he doesn’t see Hiro do anything. For all Ando knows, Hiro’s capable of super speed. Or even that he set the whole thing up? I mean, if you’re going to make Ando skeptical, it’s a cop-out that he suddenly believes Hiro when he doesn’t actually SEE him do anything.

But still, Hiro saves a young girl. He’s a superhero, right?

Wrong. Hiro’s a puppet of the narrative and prophecies. He’s not doing things to be a good person, or to help people, or because he feels a responsibility, or because he even has superpowers; he’s doing things because a comic-book tells him to. Or, rather, a comic-book tells him that he is going to do them. Essentially, Hiro is doing things because he believes he’s destined to do them; which makes him less heroic and more someone dragged along by destiny.

Essentially, he’s a passive character led on by an active prop.

There’s no sense that he’s choosing to do anything for the right reasons, or for any reason beyond ‘it says I do this, so I do it.’ And it differs from Doctor Who in that while the Tardis does plonk The Doctor in situations, he CHOOSES to stay and help. Hiro is being guided along like a puppet, and it’s really dull to watch. The great superheroes (Batman, Superman, even Spider-Man) make a conscious choice to overcome their tragedies and be heroes; Hiro is doing it for the LOLZ, and while you can script a good story around that (Kick Ass, the comic, was great for showing how naive that mindset is) there’s no sense here that Hiro’s going to be penalised for being so damn childish.

While the comic ties him to Isaac in a neat (ish) way, it takes away his ability to make choices. The idea of destiny was done better in the Star Trek film, where while it was clear destiny was trying to repair itself and put people where they were meant to be, characters STILL made choices; no-one was doing things simply because fate demanded it.

To wrap up Hiro’s crap story, he decides to go to Las Vegas with Ando. Why? Because of REASONS!

And now we come to the part of the review I dread.

Peter Pederelli!

Peter’s story this week revolves around him deciding that he’s too good to be a nurse for terminally ill patients, so he quits abruptly to go off and be a superhero. Or, well, not a superhero per se because he STILL doesn’t know what his power is; more that he wants to do something more than being a nurse.

Yes, you read that correctly. In fact, I’ll transcribe the exact scene.

[INT. (NEW YORK) DEVEAUX BUILDING (#210) – LOBBY — DAY] 

(The elevator bell dings. Simone walks across the lobby toward the elevators. Peter steps out of the elevator and stops to talk with her.) 

CAPTION: 
      SIMONE DEVEAUX & PETER PETRELLI
      APARTMENT OF CHARLES DEVEAUX

PETER: Simone.

SIMONE: Oh, hey. I was just coming up to check on my dad. Where are you going? Aren’t you supposed to be on your shift?

PETER: I was just filling in my replacement, and saying bye to your dad.

SIMONE: What?

PETER: Listen … 

(He pulls her to the side.) 

SIMONE: No.

PETER: I’m quitting.

SIMONE: Why?

PETER: I called the agency and told them this morning.

SIMONE: But my father –

PETER: Caroline’s gonna take really great care –

SIMONE: But she’s not you.

PETER: This is not where I’m supposed to be. It’s not what I’m supposed to do. I-I can’t really explain it.

(He sighs.) 

SIMONE: Well, try.

PETER: Look, the truth is, I’ve been trying to save the world, one person at a time. But I’m meant for something bigger. Something important. I know it now. That’s — that’s really all I can tell you. 

(They look at each other. Peter puts a hand on her arm and heads for the door.) 

SIMONE: I’ll miss you.

PETER: It’s New York. Everyone runs into each other sooner or later.

(Simone nods.) 

SIMONE: Maybe it’ll be sooner.

(Peter heads for the door. Simone waits for the next elevator.) 

DISSOLVE TO:

I mean… it’s not just me, right? That’s one of the most offensive things I’ve ever seen. First time I watched the show, I related to Peter’s ‘meant for something bigger’ attitude, but on rewatch… it’s so offensive it hurts. We’re not talking about an office job that someone ‘might’ feel they’re better than, we’re talking about a job where your goal is to make a terminally ill person as comfortable as possible. Peter, to Simone’s face (the daughter of the terminally ill man), effectively tells her that he’s better than being a nurse, and he can’t even explain why. And to make matters worse, he flirts with her as he does it.

I just…

There’s few words to do justice to how bad this scene is. Peter’s the lead of the show, and yet they script him as a selfish asshole ready to torpedo his brothers political career and screw over someone in his care on the hunch that he has superpowers. And the worst part is there’s no karma for this – in stark contrast to every other superhero character ever. When they’re selfish, bad things happen to them and the people they care about. Peter gets off from this selfishness scott free because he’s a ‘dreamer.’ And the worst part is that he’s meant to be empathetic, but is so unempathetic to everyone he comes across as everything the show accuses Nathan of being.

And this scene is even worse if you’ve been through a situation where someone you love has gone into terminal care… because you can’t believe the show has the audacity to write Simone as accepting of some asshole who’s every move screams ‘your Dad? I’m better than him.’ If Simone had a backbone, she’d kick seven shades of Hell out of Peter for how smug he is, but instead she – like Niki – acts as the passive victim and lets people get away with murder. Unlike Niki, she doesn’t have a ghost or some such nonsense to kill Peter off-screen. More’s the pity.

Poor Nathan. He’s beaten up by Peter for poorly thought out reasons, after Peter treats Simone like crap, and the episode still ends with Peter making out with a woman. Simone no less.

I… well, I’ve hit 2062 words. That’s plenty for this week.

Let’s give this episode an F. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but Peter’s stunningly vile attitude brings the episode down from a C-. Rape and offensive insensitivity are my berserk buttons for Heroes.

F

Oh snap, Sylar tries kidnapping Molly. He’s shot by Matt. The bullets have no effect.

That scene was pretty good. Let’s shift this up to an.

E

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