Two things of note happened in “Hysterical Blindness,” this week’s edition of Heroes, and only one of ‘em was interesting: 1) Claire kissed a girl, and 2) We finally saw the Heroes version of Dazzler.
Claire kissed a girl. We don’t know if she liked it — and Claire and Gretchen were pulled away for sorority rush duties — but I do know that unless Heroes devotes some real story time to this plot thread, the whole stalkery-Gretchen-macking-on-Claire business will feel like a cheap and tawdry ratings stunt. Not to continue to invoke the hallowed name of Buffy, but the care with which Joss Whedon brought Willow into college life and then out of the closet is a good model to follow. I just hope Heroes doesn’t hastily retreat from homosexuality with the same clumsiness it’s cozied up to it.
The one bit I did dig about the Claire chapter this week was the whole invisible sorority rush chair girl, Becky Taylor (Tessa Thompson). And how she was working for Samuel since the season began, maneuvering the world around Claire to isolate her and push her towards the fellowship of the carnival. It was nice to see the Heroes folks pay something off — the apparent suicide of Claire’s first roommate — in rewarding fashion.
Dazzler in the Heroes-verse. One of the things I dislike about this show’s structure is that it doesn’t really allow for standalone episodes, with rare exceptions (like season 1’s “Company Man”). Because I’d have loved to spend a whole hour with Emma (Deanna Bray) the deaf woman who sees sound as light. Granted, we later find out that her ability isn’t as decorative as it first seems, but I kind of dug the idea of exploring a useless ability. Useless, in that it has no offensive application. Heroes has always been about people coming to grips with world-changing power — stopping time, flying, reading minds, hurling electricity, invincibility, etc. — you’d think that someone would’ve come down the genetic pipe with the power to sense incoming calls.
But if you think about it, Emma’s power wasn’t useless — it made her happy. How could seeing sound as waves of beauty make one anything other than happy. And shouldn’t the purpose of live be to be happy, to feel good? (Before you chastise me for advocating a purely selfish lifestyle, this is the way everyone lives: the only difference is what makes us feel good. For some, that’s charity work, or medicine, or working with disabled kids; for others, it’s making money, or excelling at sports, or getting their rocks off. But we, all of us, do what’ll make us feel the best at the end of the day.)
Through her interaction with Peter, who opened her eyes to the fact that she’s neither a freak, not alone, Emma could come to accept her world of beauty — even if its a world that only she can see. It’s a wonderful idea — though I’d have to think that the joyful noise of a children’s choir would be more majestic than that — and I guess I should be thankful that Heroes devoted as much time to it as we got.
(Emma’s encounter with Peter begs new questions about the nature of his ability. He seemed to be able to collect powers, and switch off the sponge at will — otherwise, how did he still have flight, and the superspeed, after shaking hands with Samuel? But after saving the Emma the Electric Light Orchestra chick, those are all gone?)
And for those of you who aren’t Marvel Comics experts, Dazzler was a heroine created in the early 1980s to capitalize on the waning days of disco. She could turn sound into light and energy — and she preferred music as her fuel. So much so that she was a pop songstress. Imagine Debbie Harry fighting crime, with roller skates. She evolved quite a bit since then, but she’ll always look like this in my mind.
Oh, and Memory-Free Sylar was arrested by Sgt. Zeddmore (no, that wasn’t the name of the cop played by Ernie Hudson, but whatever it really was isn’t as interesting), who interrupted Sylar’s therapy session with a rookie police shrink with an arrest warrant. On the lam, Sylar ends up at Samuel’s magical mutant carnival. I’m a little done with Bambi Sylar — in fact, the character has rather run his course.
Not the best episode I’ve seen — not by a longshot — but “Hysterical Blindness” had moments of grace that gave me hope for Heroes‘ future. (Not much, but more than last week.) How about you, PopWatchers? When do you think the real plot will kick into gear — next week, week after that, November sweeps? And should we start a pool on when we’ll see Mohinder again?