'Heroes' recap: Claire gets her girl on and Peter trips the light fantastic

Heroes-Claire-Kiss_lTwo 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?

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  • fila19

    I thought this was the best episode of Heroes in a long, long time and definitely better than anything season 3 had to offer. It wasn’t completely bleak and dark. Nor was it empty of substance.

    The season is slowly getting better and better, making it much easier to justify still watching it.

    • Mo

      Honestly I turned to my ex-boyfriend and said, “this season isn’t great, but it’s light-years ahead of any episode from last season.” I think I can stand by that statement. I’m kind of annoyed with the show as a whole though. I’m hoping it gets better…enough for me not to forget watching it when 24 comes back.

      • nosey

        you’re watching this garbage with your EX? fail on two counts…

      • Sigh

        I have officially given up. I gave this show three seasons longer than it deserved. The writing is trite and hackneyed, and kudos to the Buffy/Willow comparison, because you know Heroes can’t do anything with depth beyond Claire whining she wants to be normal, HRG whining that his choices cost him his family, Sylar whining he doesn’t know who he is, Peter whining he wants to help people … ad infinitum.

  • Justin

    This was not the best episode in a long time, it was ok (last season’s “Cold Snap” was the best episode in a LONG time). All i do know is Heroes needs to explain who these carnival folk really are and do it quick. This show is on it’s last thread with me, if this season don’t do what it needs to do, i’ll be done with it. By the way, Sylar is one of the reason’s i still watch the show (Peter too) his storyline isn’t anymore stupid then that of Claire’s.

    • Mo

      I agree…who are the stupid carnival people? I’m not intrigued with them, I’m annoyed!

    • Chris

      I agree with you about “Cold Snap” being the best episode of last year (can’t believe I watched that whole season), but disagree with you about Sylar. They should’ve paid off what they built up in Season 1 and had Peter finish Sylar off. Not that I don’t enjoy what Zachary Quinto does with the character, but the ways they keep trying to bring him back/keep him in the story keep getting lamer and lamer.

      • matthew

        the carnies are the reason this season isnt horrible. the mystery is why you continue to watch. they are very intriguing

  • ProStudent

    Looooving Emma with her musical visions plus the joy that is the occasionally smiling Peter. Rooting for Claire (although the world seems hell-bent on thwarting her quest for normalcy) and wondering just how messed up Sylar now that his body has been separated from his “soul” (and just how long that will last…sigh).

    Conclusion: I’m caring about these characters again, after groaning through the past couple of years. That’s pretty good in my book! :)

    Ok, back to rewatching all the musical stuff… :)

  • Kara

    I’m sorry, but this just felt like a stunt to me. If it wasn’t, then why was it that all the commercials featured the kiss, instead of promoting other parts of the ep?
    While we’re at it, why are there never two guys kissing on primetime(unless it’s on a show with primarily female viewers, i.e. Brothers & Sisters)? But they wouldn’t get the ratings they’re hoping for, so of course not.
    The problem with lesbian relationships on TV is that they’re rarely TRUE lesbian relationships. Claire hasn’t shown any interest in girls prior to this, so I’m doubtful of the storyline.
    That being said, Emma is awesome.

    • jenn

      Whenever men kiss on tv, they are gay, which I imagine appeals to gay men, and when women kiss it appeals to men and lesbians. How about some good ol’ straight men kissing for the benefit of us straight women? I don’t really care if it’s a stunt, but the reason why it doesn’t happen is because straight men are afraid people will think they’re gay if they kiss another man, and since men run the networks, they think about what pleases them and not women.

      • uuu

        ….because “straight” men don’t kiss. You are a sicko if you want to see that.

      • Owen

        Straight guys LOVE other straight guys. Deep down they probably would kiss other men. They certainly experiment when they’re younger. Men are so consumed by their own junk, its normal to be curious about another guys’s. Not that they’re gay, they just have that same naturally fluid sexuality that girl’s do. They just feel the need to repress it more, thusly no “college expermimentation” for normally straight guys…though I’m sure it does happen…

      • Nick

        This has to be the single dumbest response I have ever read. You want to see two straight men kiss? What does that even mean, and why would that be something good to see?

    • Melinda65

      What I don’t get is why same-sex couples kissing is titillating. It’s certainly not true that every guy wants to see two women kiss, or every woman thinks that two guys kissing is hot. My husband just laughed when Gretchen kissed Claire last night. It seems like nothing more than a stunt, when Claire has been only interested in boys up to now.

      • Neon82

        Fair enough, I haven’t heard of a woman who thinks 2 guys kissing is hot. But I have yet to meet a guy who doesn’t think 2 girls kissing is hot.

      • Ronaldo Ferrora

        Yes, he’s laughing in front of YOU… that’s what husbands do.

      • TK

        Oh, naive Melinda.

      • lori

        2 guys kissing is hot if they are

    • lol

      @ Kara, you can say the same about Willow before season 4 of Buffy, she never had any interest in women(unless you count the time she was a vamp) and that played out pretty well. I think this’ll prove to be a stunt if this storyline goes nowhere.

    • Mo

      My husband and I just watched Fast & Furious (talk about crappy storytelling) and it seemed like every two scenes you’d have girls kissing – it was so eye-rollingly out of nowhere pure dumb dumb dumb lazy titillation that Claire’s smack felt like Shakespeare in comparison. The lesbian kiss has been done to death by now. Apparently most guys still find it hot. I have reached a point where unless there is some context to it that makes it hotter, it’s just purely “meh, there they go again.”

  • Chris

    Marc – Peter can only have one power at a time. Its been this way since he injected the powerless version of himself with the synthetic formula, ages ago. What I don’t understand is why did he accidentally absorb Emma’s power, when this season (up until this point) he has shown complete, conscious control over the power he chooses to take from other “specials”?

    • PJ

      No, when he touched Sylar last season he collected Sylar’s power, thus the ablity to collect multiple powers.

      • Melinda65

        But wasn’t that before his father took his powers away from him? I can’t keep the timeline straight–I thought that he lost his powers, then injected himself with one of Mohinder’s syringes which gave him the “sponge” power right before the end of the season, but that he can only absorb one power at at time. Then again, he did fight with Sylar in the last episode, and could have taken his power then.

      • Amy Leigh

        Peter gained all of the abilities that Sylar had collected up until that time, but with the way his ability works now when he fought that superspeeder he lost the other abilities he had before. I miss the old empathic Peter who was a real match for Sylar.

      • Jason

        Peter absorbed Sylar’s ability to shape shift, not to take on multiple powers. He is still limited to 1 at a time. When he took on super speed, he lost Mohinder’s super strength. Now that he took on sounds as colors, he lost super speed. Now why that happened by accident whereas it hasn’t before, I do not know.

      • Neil

        Last season he had Nathan’s flight power and carried his mom and kept flight and didn’t aborb dream procog. so he has control of the power if he concentrates. i think he has was caught by surprise when he grabbed Emma and copied her powers.
        BTW i like peter being a 1 power person rather than superman/sylar.

      • krich20

        he did not collect mutiple powers from sylar just the shapeshifting ability so he could stop sylar from meeting the president. And he has always known the person who he was taking a power from and what their power is so that is how he knowingly takes a persons power. he did not know emma had a power and in a momment of high pressure he may of absorbed not knowing

      • BillS

        He had super speed and strength when he saved the injured person – by ripping off the car door early in the season – so he had at least two powers at the beginning of the season. If it was true that he was losing powers still when taking them from someone else, then he would only have the super knife fighting ability that he took while in the bank vault with the dude from the carnival.

      • Jason

        He only had Mohinder’s super strength when he ripped the car door off, but Suresh’s power is a little more than strength, I believe it also includes dexterity. But when they showed him get out of his ambulance and run to the accident where he ripped off the car door, it wasn’t at super speed, he was just jumping and flipping off of things using Suresh’s powers.

  • david

    What is a TRUE lesbian relationship? There’s a first time for everything, so I don’t think it’s a problem that she hasn’t shown interest in girls before. She hasn’t shown much interest in guys either. She’s still young. Who knows?

  • Heather

    I love Emma and I can’t wait to see more into her life. I feel like she is one of the more realistic characters on heroes so far and I love watching her sign. I hope Peter eventually picks up a little ASL to communicate with her better. I am also very curious about her past. The rest of the episode was just alright, but hopefully will continue to go in the right direction.

  • Binky

    I am soooo bored with the Carny folk already. Carny folk with super-powers ought to be, like, just a little interesting?

  • smryan23

    Emma & Peter are the cutest couple I have seen for awhile (excluding the couple in Slumdog Millionaire, Sawyer & Juliet on Lost, Chuck & Blair on Gossip Girl, the couple in 500 days of summer, Ron & Hermione and Spock & Uhura) since Sylar and Elle last fall. I also loved watching Peter interact with Emma, and treat her as an equal, but I’m bias because I’m half deaf and would love to have a guy like peter be that tender and respectful towards me.

    The Claire plot is ridiculous and the kiss is a complete cry for ratings. Its clear that the show doesn’t know what to do with her anymore and since both the bio parents are dead (I liked that dynamic), there seems to be no place for her anymore. Only bringing in Monica again to be her sidekick and give Claire a friend her age who wants the same thing as her, or killing her off for good and giving Noah a good vengence plot can redeem the dead weight she carries on the show (yes, even more dead weight than Ali Larter because her plots are mostly stand alone when she is not with her biological family).

    As for Syler, well yes his character has run its course, but Zachary Quinto is without a doubt the best actor on the show (next to Adrian Pasder- spelling? and Christine Rose who by the way, needs more screen time these days). He is also the big markability because of Star Trek. He’s not going anywhere, at least until Star Trek 2 begins production. He kicked ass tonight (Zack, not Syler). However, I think the problem is that the writers can’t decide on a path for him. They don’t want to make him pure good because most of the audience wants him to remain the badass murderer he was in season 1, but at the same time they need him to evolve as a character to create good drama. They can’t decide what to do with him. And unlike Smallville, Lost and Dexter, they are too afraid to take risks with his character and settle on a direction for him. I think the biggest mistake the show made for his character was killing Kristen Bell’s Elle off. It was clear when you watched the scenes leading up to her death that they had a plan for Sylar but scraped it for shock value when they couldn’t contract Kristen Bell. They should have at least left open the possibility of her character being able to return so Little Noah (Syler’s child in one future) could be introduced in order to provide a direction. Watching Syler/ Gabriel trying to raise a child, esp. one with abilitiesa and expanding on that friendship with Peter in the Peter visits the future episode would have been much more fascinating than what the writers have given us since Elle’s death (a carousel of Syler’s old plots- Daddy, amneisa, trying to be good but eventually going bad etc). The only way I think the show can do this is by bringing Kristen Bell and Little Noah back, or making another woman Noah’s mother. Another suggestion- Begin to expand and provide closure for the Syler & Claire attraction. That would help shape the character’s arcs since Zachary Quinto’s talent deserves better than the material he has been given for the last year on this show.

    My biggest issue with this show overall, is that they don’t have a direction for the show’s end and as a result, the story can’t progress to a second or third act unlike Lost or Smallville for example which seems to have an official end point, a long with plot points that direct the road of the story. However, I don’t think Kring & co. understand that this is the reason for the show’s failure to continue to captivate the audience for what was an amazing story in Season 1.

    • Heather

      Yes to everything you just said about Sylar. If only the writers read this stuff.

    • Too Long

      Started to read- quickly lost interest.
      No one has time for this. Learn to edit.

      Haven’t you got any friends you can go to with this?
      Sad.
      And I’m not even really being ironic.

  • cyberelf

    I felt like Comic Book guy when it was over. Worst Episode Ever.

    This was absolutely the worst hour of television I’ve put myself through. Amnesia? Really?
    Lights ooo pretty. Who cares? We’re how many episodes into this season and NOTHING has happened. I’ve never abandoned a show that I’ve been watching from the beginning but this was so awful that finally and at last – I’m out.

  • Brit

    I have just one question. Where are Monica and Micah?

    • fila19

      Off playing in an alternate universe where stupid choices weren’t made just to move along the plot.

  • Cary

    I saw the reviews before the episode and I’m not even plan to watch it! Worst. Episode. Ever.

    Why? – I don’t like Emma – she is useless and boring. Newbie – that I can’t stand along with Gretchen. I could care less about them both!

    Why? – She looks older than Peter is and that just doesn’t work for me. Sorry! Just doesn’t! I could tell which one stands best to him, but you all is gonna jump on me!

    ‘The Kiss’ – WOW! Shameless attempt of gaining more audience – and loosing even more! (me included)! If I want to watch that kind of a show I’d switch to ‘The L word’! Please don’t ruin Claire’s character more than it is!

    I can’t recognize Heroes anymore! This is not my show and not the characters I know and love! It turns into something I don’t like and even hate right now! Just – disappointing!

    • Beth

      Heroes has not been good at all since the end of the 2nd season…I have not watched it since then…totally bites!

    • You’re Amazing

      I had no idea people you actually existed on the interwebs. I thought you were all parodies of 4chan weirdoes.
      Amazing. I’ve passed your hilarious post on to all my friends so they can laugh at you too.
      I don’t even give a tinker’s damn about Heroes, it’s your bizarre logic and hilarious semi-literate writing style that’s so darned precious!
      Keep up the good work, and if you really are just some snide satirist, keep up the good work….

  • Sara

    I thought this episode was pretty good. I actually liked the Sylar moments. I think his predicament as Nathan/Sylar is pretty interesting, actually. That said, wretchin’ Gretchen is really getting on my nerves. I mean, she doesn’t even seem like a cool person. Her sole thing in life is to like, stalk Claire. If Claire suddenly turns Lesbian that will be a jump the shark for me. Carni-people are boring to me. They don’t seem to have much going on and I can rarely understand what they are talking about. I am not sure if they are good or bad. so…
    It’s boring. But I liked this episode anyway! I thought the new girl in the sorority was pretty neat.

  • Peggy

    I don’t think anyone should expect to see Micah and Monica any time soon. Monica wasn’t on last season at all, if I remember correctly. And Micah was only on as “Rebel” intermittently. I am not crazy about the Emma character, although it got interesting when she was kind of destroyed the wall. So what happens to “Nathan”? Have we seen the last of Adrian Pasdar?

  • Brad

    Interesting. Dazzler also didn’t want a life of fighting villians like herself. She wanted to be a pop star. This show should have shown people using their abilities doing other things than world-beating applications. Too little, too late.

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