Counterpoint: Heroes Episode 10

I’ve recently discovered the fascinating show _Heroes_ on NBC – and I’m already a huge fan. It’s fun to watch this comic book for TV, my only complaint being that some of the powers manifested by many of the characters aren’t exactly original. But I can live with that. It’s hard sometimes to come up with original material, especially in this technologically-driven day and age when new ideas are communicated around the globe in a matter of hours. What is important to me is how the writers of _Heroes_ handle these powers, how they portray them, and how they allow their characters to use them and, in turn, be shaped by them. There is a great deal of potential here, and I feel like they’ve already done an excellent job of the initial build-up.

The “SF Signal blog”:http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/004534.html today pointed to “another blog writeup”:http://jlbgibberish.blogspot.com/2006/11/heroes-six-months-earlier.html that complained about a few perceived problems with this week’s episode of _Heroes_, “Six Months Earlier.” I hesitate to call what follows a rebuttal; my intent here is not to argue but simply to present an alternate viewpoint. Let me present a couple of these complaints and attempt to dress them differently.

bq. It’s stretching the borders of credibility well past the breaking point that everyone discovers (or at least starts to manifest) at the exact same point in time.

I don’t find this too incredible at all, actually. They’ve already stated several times throughout the course of the show that all these “Specials” ((I’ve taken to referring to these characters as “Specials” because, while they make exhibit unique powers, I’m not convinced yet that they are all actually “Heroes.”)) are connected in some way. The writers have taken great care to demonstrate how completely the events of each of their lives are linked to all the others. So, it does not overly surprise me that they all began to develop their powers at roughly the same time. In the words of Stephen King, they are _ka-tet_, many individuals who share a common fate, a mutual destiny. Evolution though this may be, it should also be clear to all by now that there is something greater at work binding all these Specials together.

bq. Dr. Suresh’s list of names of potential meta-humans is just too convenient.

This is a fair point that I’m willing to grant. For now. I understood Suresh’s algorithm to be something that accounted for numerous variables in order to find all the Specials. How exactly the algorithm works has never been explained, so up to now I’ve been willing to suspend a little disbelief and allow that Suresh has somehow managed to take all factors into account. Yes, it’s a stretch, but for the time being it’s one I can live with.

bq. And [Nathan Petrelli] just happens to discover his flight powers at the instant his wife is paralyzed in an accident.

Discover? No, no. Completely accidental. The way I read this one was that the high emotional stress of the situation somehow activated Nathan’s particular gift at what turned out to be a most inconvenient time. Had this not happened, I think they stood a much greater chance of surviving the ordeal with little more than scrapes on the rear bumper (they were, after all, driving a sports car).

bq. But what annoys me the most about this episode is the ultimate pointlessness of it… [Hiro] Fails to change the future. That’s treading water in a narrative sense.

I disagree. All the Specials are only just beginning to learn their powers, learning how to use them, learning the ramifications and limitations of what they can do. The fact that Hiro was unable, in this case, to change anything at all should not come as a surprise. Again, it would seem that his unintentional leap forward was sparked by high emotional stress, something that all the Specials are going to have to learn to overcome. And I can’t help but wonder if Hiro’s leap forward and inability to leap back again was manipulated by something outside of himself. I can’t say for sure, though; it’s only a theory.

I’m eager to see what else happens from here. I know that the show has been signed for a full season, so there are 12 more episodes to come before the summer programming break. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

2 thoughts on “Counterpoint: Heroes Episode 10”

  1. I don’t necessarily disagree with your assessments. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re dead-on as far as the writers’ thinking goes. My biggest annoyance, I suppose, is that they’re falling back on comic book cliches to justify some of the writing. I’m wanting The Watchmen but only getting post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes.

  2. Yeah, Heros is great. I’ve been watching since episode 6.

    The one thing I thought
    of was weird was “wait a minute, Hiro gave her the Japaneese phrase book that she had before she met him…” ah the joys of time paradox.

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