The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Quick Takes: Heroes, Season 2, Episode 8

Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageSeason two of NBC’s Heroes finally got started last night.

After seven episodes (six stinkers, one hit), show creator Tim Kring flashed back four months to show us what happened between the season one finale and the formal beginning of season two.

He should have just started here. Kring and director Greg Beeman jettisoned the square-jawed tone that has dominated the show so far and replaced it with an episode that focused on alienation, paranoia and all-around creepiness.

More after the jump!

To wit:

The always stellar Cristine Rose (Mama Petrelli) encounters Nathan’s wife, Heidi (Rena Sofer), after Nathan has told his wife everything: his powers, the fate of the world, Peter’s seeming nuclear demise. Rose tries to cover up Nathan’s confession by saying that mental illness (and with it delusions of grandeur) run in the Petrelli family.

But director Beeman knew better than to shoot this scene normally. Instead, he broke their exchange into a series of off-kilter close-ups that culminated with an extreme close-up shot of Rose squeezing Sofer’s arm while dark strings hummed in the background. Meanwhile, Rose and Sofer delivered intense performances in their brief roles.

In fact, great acting abounded in this episode. Ali Larter kicked ass in every scene (and every personality) she was in. Leonard Roberts gave his best performance as D.L. only to get unceremoniously capped by a coke fiend.

That said, Kring’s lack of experience with superhero fantasy often leads him to make maddening plot choices. Don't get me wrong: Kring isn’t a comic book guy, and that’s a good thing. In the same way that the fresh perspective of non-Trekkie Nicholas Meyer revitalized the Star Trek franchise, Kring brought new energy to the idea of the superhero and kept aloft the banner hoisted by M. Night Shyamalan in Unbreakable.

But last night, we saw Peter Petrelli agree to break the immortal Adam (presumably Kensei from Hiro’s storyline) out of the Company’s prison so they could use Adam's blood to cure Nathan of radiation sickness. This raised the question: Didn’t Peter already absorb regenerative powers from Claire?  Why wouldn’t Peter's blood have healed his brother?

Kring made a similarly bewildering choice in the finale of season one, when Nathan arrived just in time to fly the soon-to-explode Peter away from New York City, but again, hadn’t Peter already absorbed the ability to fly from his brother?

Fans everywhere tried to figure this one out, and I read lots of great hypotheses. Personally, I like the idea that Peter’s impending nuclear detonation canceled out his other powers, and if memory serves, Peter hinted at that in last night’s episode.

In the case of Adam’s and Peter’s blood, I presume that Adam has a different regenerative capacity than Claire.

But it irks me that a high-caliber writer like Kring either doesn’t notice this stuff, or doesn’t think these plot holes are important enough to fill. True, I may be nit-picking the plot of a well-meaning show, but these details matter. To ignore them makes for distracting television.