Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heroes Season Four First Impression

Well, Heroes started back up tonight with its two-hour-long season four premiere. I decided to write down my first impression of the show. Some storylines I found enjoyable were those of Claire, Hiro and Ando, Peter, Matt, and Sylar. Less enjoyable were those of Tracy, Danko, and Noah. I flat out disliked the carnival people and their takeover of the mythology.
Claire, I have always felt, is the character with which I can most identify. Occasionally her character suffers when the writers mess with her self-esteem and she says horrible things like “I’m just a stupid girl”, but for the most part she’s a strong character. I was a little worried about how the writers would make her in season four, but she seems great so far. I can appreciate her apprehension about college, having personally had trouble with college algebra courses. She and her dad have a nice little daddy/daughter moment that makes you go “awwwww”. Things liven up when her roommate ostensibly commits suicide, and she and Gretchen suspect murder most foul. I love how Claire uses herself as a test dummy – that is awesome. I know she and Gretchen end up a couple. Knowing Heroesless than perfect history with depictions of gayness, I’m looking forward to seeing what they end up doing with an explicit lesbian relationship involving a main character.
Glad to see Hiro and Ando again. Since we last saw them, they’ve apparently turned into the Ghostbusters with a huge ad for their crime-fighting service posted on the side of a building paid for by Yamagato Industries. And, hey, Kimiko’s back! Season three seemed to forget about Kimiko, who was the one supposedly set up to run the company, but it had apparently been given to Hiro instead. As this episode would suggest, she has been running the company behind the scenes while Hiro was running around saving the world. I like seeing the continuation of the Ando/Kimiko attraction, and it going somewhere by the end. I somewhat like the fact that Hiro’s powers are killing him. I think that could lead somewhere interesting where Hiro sacrifices himself to save someone else – Hiro and I both like those martyr stories. I don’t like Hiro supposedly having been inspired by a fortune teller 14 years ago, which is why he decided to be a hero. It was firmly established that he wanted to be a hero because of the stories of Takezo Kensei his father told him as a boy. It seems like the writers are attacking the Japanese culture of the show, first making a samurai really an Englishman in disguise and now making Hiro’s inspiration come from a bunch of westerner carnies.
Peter now closely resembles a classic superhero, like Batman or something (I don’t know graphic novels). He’s a super-paramedic, making his whole life about saving people. His apartment is Spartan, most prominently featuring a police radio and a bulletin board with articles announcing all the people who survived because of his actions. Nathan!Sylar’s been calling him, but he doesn’t respond, clearly haunted by his brother’s death. I like that he took the speedster’s power as it is pretty cool, but on the other hand it also feels like the writers are just trying to make up for Daphne’s absence. Time will tell how his story will turn out.
Matt is back living with his ex-wife Janice and their son. I didn’t like that she left for season two, so I kind of like having her back now, but it still seems kind of a stretch. Did everyone just forget about Molly? Anyway, they’re playing the power-as-drugs angle, of which I am not a fan. Physical addiction is different from the desire to exercise power over other people in a way that violates their autonomy. Conflating the two seems unwise. I like that his mindmeld with Sylar put a little piece of Sylar in him. That’s just what you don’t want: having a serial killer’s doppelganger in your head, telling you to do bad things. On that note, I don’t like the way that he got jealous of Roy and used his mojo to make him leave. It seems fairly reasonable considering what they’re doing with the character, but it feels like he’s turning into a creep. I wonder if Sylar’s influence will turn him into the next Nightmare Man?
Sylar living as Nathan is interesting. While he technically is the continuation of Sylar, he is in some ways a new person. Angela is understandably worried about Sylar beginning to reassert himself, but I wonder if living as Nathan will allow him to become something different than just a heartless serial killer. After all, he previously enjoyed believing himself to be a Petrelli and Peter’s brother. Maybe spending some time as Peter’s actual brother will change him for the better. Nice seeing the electrical effect on Nathan’s hands, but it makes me wish Elle was still alive.
Tracy has always annoyed me. Niki was such a great character and the writers killed her off to replace her with a substantially inferior character. I kind of like her new mastery over water, and how knives just swish right through her, but the character still seems uninteresting.
Danko, I feel, could have been a great character. I don’t think he was handled right, though. His new role as a good guy changed him into a character that reminded me more of Claude or Thompson. After the Haitian wiped him, I thought he could have some potential. Maybe now he would work with Tracy with a clean slate and they could together be more interesting? No, he’s just a redshirt after all. Kinda lame plot device to have him pop in only to introduce the key.
Noah is a character I find to be either interesting or entirely too creepy. He was so creepy last season, and it’s nice to see him as the interesting agent again. I like his interactions with everyone, especially Claire. I know we’re supposed to feel bad for him when he finds out his ex-wife is seeing someone again, but I have to feel he deserves it for being such a creep. Wonder if he’ll end up with Tracy? That would make him dating the sister of a woman who slept with his daughter’s biological father… Some family.
And then there’re the carnies… Who are these people and what have they done with Heroes? They come totally out of nowhere and start narrating in place of Mohinder. Where is he, anyway? I want him back. I don’t know anything about these guys, so I can’t really follow what they’re saying. Sometimes cryptic storytelling is good, it’s intriguing, and other times it’s just confusing. This is the latter. They seem to have this grand mythology that connects all evolved humans with a magical compass and other stuff, but this just seems to contradict the previous stuff described by Suresh. There was all that stuff with the mysterious symbol, which I have not seen yet at all, and Takezo Kensei that seems to be entirely disregarded in place of mysterious carnies. Is this Heroes? It doesn’t feel like Heroes. What’s next, a dirigible?
So, yeah. Glad to have Heroes back. Some parts of it I’m enjoying, while others not so much. I’m glad that Kimiko and Janice are back again. I doubt the writers remember them, but I hope they bring back Audrey, Molly, and Monica too. (And let Mohinder narrate again.) I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the season.

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