'Heroes' recap: Scaring Claire, killing time, and drinking the bad man away

heroes_lComic book writer Warren Ellis once had a character offer the following truism: “Do you know what twenty superhumans working in concert are capable of? Given a day, twenty superhumans could destroy all life on Earth.” Which makes the superhumans of Heroes feel like the biggest underachievers ever.

Because when they could be, oh I dunno, dominating mankind — or, conversely, helping them — they’re scaring sorority girls, drinking to excess, or running a carnival recruitment drive. I’m just saying, these superbeings have set the bar awfully low.

Here are the three items of note in “Strange Attractors,” a placeholder of an episode if ever there was one:

1. If you’re going to do the four-pretty-girls-in-a-haunted-house bit, and not play it for laughs, then you’d better kill someone. I actually didn’t mind the whole Screamin’ Scavenger Hunt thing — it was a little Hostel-cliched, but it allowed Claire and Gretchen to have a couple of nice moments. I like that they’re not closing the door on their relationship, but not dodging it, either. And Claire’s newly admitted virginity plays into her wanting to keep that door open: she’s never even sampled what love has to offer, let alone know which flavor she’s built to love.

But to have a charnel house run by a homicidal carny exchange student, and not kill either of the nameless girls, feels like a fundamental betrayal of the horror ethos. Especially for a show that kills its extras with glee.

2. Noah never learns. This is a man that’s been screwing with people’s lives for decades — locking them up for simply having abilities — and he’s surprised when his efforts to help Jeremy the Good/Bad Touch Boy fall short. Jeremy’s story is a sad one — and one that is clearly meant to evoke the lives of small-town kids who grow up under the heel of small-town ignorance. Noah tries to get Jeremy out of jail (he did kill his parents) and set him up, alone, in DC — going so far as to bring Tracy down to Georgia to assist. But as soon as Jeremy steps out of the police station, he accidentally kills a man. One of the deputies, explaining to Jeremy that he’s “not normal,” takes him to the edge of town and proceeds to drag him behind his car — bringing to mind some of America’s more brutal hate crimes.

It’s a well-modulated metaphor — even if X-Men comics have been equating having powers with being a repressed minority for decades. But then there was the following exchange between Tracy (who’s clearly gonna join Samuel’s carnival crusade) and Noah:

“Do we have to be invisible? You ever think we could just live, Noah? Out in the open.”

“After today? No.”

“After today?” What about about after all of last season, when people with abilities were hunted by their government, assisted by Noah? Or after most of Noah’s adult life, which he devoted to imprisoning would-be heroes or villains or erasing their memories? Or hasn’t Noah been present for that?

3. Head Sylar is screwing with Matt. And screwing Matt’s wife. And I can’t bring myself to care. Firstly, it’s never been adequately explained to me just how Sylar’s personality ended up in Matt’s head when it was, according to the show, simply overwritten by Nathan Petrelli’s. Secondly, watching a fat dude drink by himself does not a good television episode make. “Let’s quiet those voices, shall we?” If I wanted to watch that, I’d turn on my own damned webcam. Thirdly…ah, who cares. Just kill Parkman already, so we can move on. So something can happen. Because I’m tired of waiting.

Heroes had made some interesting progress up until this week — never entirely on-point, but each of the last three episodes had something to recommend, some novel treatment of what could’ve been pablum. Tonight? Not so much. Heroes had better deliver…big and soon. What do you think?

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/NBC

Comments (135 total) Add your comment
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  • madeleine

    wow! I was kind of surprised by your recap. I thought this was a really good episode. The recap left me with the feeling that no matter what the episode had been, you were not going to like it. I thought it was exciting and sad, and I agree with you that the Claire/Gretchen “relationship” is being handled well.

    • Danny

      this guy is a total douche who reviews this show, if I saw him in person I’d spit in his face!

      • KRang

        It’s evident by your comment, that you are the actual douche

    • Pete

      So you love watching a fat guy get drunk and talk to himself?

    • Daniel

      I actually agree with the review. As a fan since the moment the show premiered, I find myself, after nearly every segment, going “Meh.”

      • tiko

        what is “meh” that sounds like the dumbest thing i have ever heard anyone say. You actually sit at home and say “meh”? what are you a cat? Your an idiot if you dont like the show say ” after every segment i find myself thinking its not that great” saying something like “meh” is stupid. some people who post on this thing are complete idoits. save yourself some dignity and keep stupid comments to yourself

      • EL

        Daniel the goat boy

      • Glory

        Nope…”meh” is a very viable term and expression. Get a grip, tiko. And check your spelling and punctuation before posting if you’re going to call out other people.

      • tiko

        Where I’m from no one ever says that. This is a message posting board not the championship for spelling in grammar Glory hole

      • Pete

        Since this is a message posting board STFU and stop complaining about other people’s comments! This episode was horrible, which is the pretty much the norm.

      • tiko

        no I just dont understand why people who think the show sucks and still get on here and stay stuff and still watch the show? Pete if you think its horrible then why do you watch it? Its people like you that keep the show on the air by giving it ratings. If its so horrible dont watch stay home and drink your problems away like Parkman im sure your as fat as him anyway.

  • Jasmine

    Nothing about the Parkman storyline makes sense. Everything he does is impossibly absurd, every move devoid of even simple logic. You have mind control superpowers, and yet you turn to alcohol to cast away Sylar??? Seriously? This show needs to start shedding these walking dead characters.

    • Maserda

      I have to agree, Parkman is getting a bit dull and boring. Too bad you opted not to call up Bennett for advice. At least he’ll give you more of the time of day on this situation than Angela did a few episodes ago.

    • Pete

      More than just boring, it makes no SENSE. Sylar was never put inside Matt -Nathan was put inside SYLAR!

      • EL

        I’m guessing that since Nathan was put inside Sylar, Sylar’s mind had to go somewhere, so it latched onto Matt (kind of Harry Potterish)

    • Zan

      1. Well Quinto finally gave that maniacal laugh that I knew was coming. Last week I begged the directors to reign in Quinto’s in-Matt’s-head over acting…
      2. Whatever, I’ve just about given up on this show. I can’t event be bothered to provide real production notes.
      3. The clock’s ticking. I’m expecting Jay Leno to soon take over the time slot…

    • Jack

      The plot line only makes sense when you consider what every review of this show was screaming last season: “more Zachary Quinto!” So now, as requested, he is in two places at once, Carnivale (good steal NBC) and Parkman’s gorgeous, his wife must have landed a really amazing job to be able to afford that as a single mom, condo.

    • Q

      The logic behind “Head Sylar” was copied from X-Men, where the act of wiping Magneto’s mind caused Professor Xavier to become Onslaught. Basically, the stress and trauma of the wipe rebounded and caused elements of the wiped psyche to go into the telepath’s head.

  • Andrew

    I just came here to skim through this awful review from this awful writer.

    This episode was fantastic as been this season. And T-Bag literally bringing down the house was a nuts!

    • heroine

      i love t-bag so glad he’s on the show!

      • Lindsey

        And, I’m glad Darth Maul is on the show too !

    • Pete

      The reviewer was spot on. ONE act of superhuman ability in an hour is all we get? And not even by a main character?

      • Q

        One? Tracy went watery, teleportation to the carnival (not sure who did that), Claire healed herself after being pulled off the spikes, the giant sinkhole, invisible girl being invisible… Unless you redefine “human”, there were quite a few superhuman abilities shown off.

  • Ace

    Your recaps suck.

  • smryan23

    I’ve given up on this show, its not worth it. Even for 40 minutes of Zachary Quinto.

  • elena

    ZQ needs to get himself a better show, STAT. He’s such a crazy-good actor (re: Star Trek), and to be honest, I’m surprised he’s not left Heroes already. (although he seems like a nice guy, so maybe that’s why?)

  • goaliepam

    Can’t wait for the pain of Heroes to end. The contrived lesbian subplot for Claire? Wow…never seen that before. How original. It is a train wreck and I know I have choices when watching television, but I don’t want to be a “giver upper”. However, more episodes like this and my DVR will have much more free space on it.

    • Cookie

      Another awful recap by Mr. Marc Bernardin whose clearly just now out to throw subtle jabs at Heroes.

      Hey, it beats watching 80% of CBS.

      • pool

        CBS beats NBC by a thousand miles.

      • Pete

        The WB, ABC and cable beats NBC and CBS every single time.

  • Bryan

    I think this is a great recap. Let’s admit it: Heroes hasn’t been good since Mid-Season 1. For someone to watch this show and say that is is great TV (or even great TV writing) is horribly mistaken. This show has so much potential and never comes close to reaching it. The writers should be ashamed. I mean, Bryan Fuller is the only reason the good episode are good. They have wasted amazing material and conned us into liking it or continually watching it out of some sort of obligation. It really is too bad. This episode was just one of those Heroes Episodes that just saddens me.

    • Virginia

      Just admit it Bryan, you didn’t even watch the episode.

      • Bryan

        Oh no, I did watch it. If I didn’t watch it, I wouldn’t have commented. You can’t have a real/true opinion of something you don’t watch. (Plus House and HIMYM weren’t new, freeing up plenty of Heroes time…)

  • Dusty

    Heroes is still on????

    • Mike

      And of course, here’s the inevitable “this is still on, I’m so cool I didn’t even realize it” response …

  • Michael

    I’m officially done trying to make sense of your perceptions of this show. Lined with strong moral themes, a couple truly frightening moments, and that whole frekkin-twisted Sylar storyline, this episode was anything but a placeholder.

    Obviously you should not be recapping this show anymore. You have nothing positive to say, and a glowering critique each week is nothing but destructive. I think EW could exercise better judgment in its assignments. This is clearly a verdict long reached for you. Goodbye.

    • ED

      Wow, you must be very easily entertained! This whole season so far has been a snoozer.

  • Shean

    How can you know mention Samuel’s power in full effect and how he manipulated Tracy… ?

    Also Sylar is now Matt! That was a great twist… you know Sylar as matt is going to go on the look for his body! Confrontation time :D

    Plus it’s fairly logical how Sylar ended up in Matts head. Matt went deep into Sylar’s head trying box of Sylar – not remove him, and make him think he is Nathan, so the fact he used his mind ability to get deep into Sylar’s head, it ended up in his mind.
    I dont understand how you get this.
    It’s practically the same as when Murray went round trapping people in nightmares etc.

  • Fred Tippin

    What a horrible recap. Maybe if you would wait for the explanation of Sylar in Matt’s head it will come. Personally, I think Matt is losing his mind over what he did, and feels guilty, and that’s why Sylar is in his head.

    • EV

      I agree. I said this in an earlier post: I believe that Sylar is just a manifestation of Parkman’s guilt.

    • Kyle

      I think that Sylar is in Matt’s head because of Sylar’s ability. Sylar understands how things work and knows that by studying the brain. When matt was inside Sylars head Sylar got into Matts head he was able to figure how Matt was erasing his memory and latched on to Matts subconcious while Matt was “reparing” Sylar’s subconcious. Also since Sylar is offically in Matt’s brain he should be able to study his brain and obtain and retain Matt’s ability which will only make Slyar more powerful

      • Q

        That’s a less compelling and novel storyline compared to EV’s suggestion, which means it’s the one that Heroes will use.

  • Mike

    Note that I’ve hated Heroes all season, but I really enjoyed tonight’s episode. The stuff with Jeremy was powerful and surprising. I really enjoyed how nuanced the conclusion of that whole storyline was. Rather than plainly state “these common folk hate what they don’t understand and what is different from them,” (like Heroes usually does) they showed a truly horrific act to make the point. Even better, when Samuel destroyed the police station, you could see how he was feeling based on the acting and the act. He didn’t say something lame and blatant like “this is for my family and all people like me.” The writers actually gave the viewers a little credit to make the simple, logical leap to understand that.

    I really enjoyed the Matt/Sylar storyline. It has to be a ton of fun for both of those actors, especially Quinto, every time he jumps in with something snarky. I liked that Matt actually told Janice what was going on for once and did the smart thing by getting her away from him. The twist at the end was obviously the best part. I knew that drinking Sylar away wouldn’t work, but I didn’t expect the role reversal. I seriously wonder if Matt is going to find a way to kill himself in order to get rid of Sylar’s conscience. It would certainly be a big risk for the show to take, but a great one.

    Given my vitriolic hatred for the character of Claire, I chose to fast forward through all of her scenes. Best decision I’ve ever made with this show. I enjoyed it so much more without being annoyed by the awful acting, ridiculous tangential storyline, and utter stupidity that usually encompasses Claire-stories.

  • Caden Canyon

    Is Hayden Panettiere *still* a wh|ore? Ah, trick question: She’ll NEVER stop being one.

  • Chris

    You’re writing this recap and you still don’t know how Sylar’s mind got in Matt’s head? Are you kidding? Obviously, when Matt placed Nathan’s memories in Sylar’s body, Matt absorbed Sylar’s mind into his own head. Call it a side effect of what he does, that’s what happened. If you don’t know that by now EW needs a new person to recap.

    • Hector

      I’ve watched every second of every episode and didn’t know that.. nor did I care. The writing is horrible and the acting is average at best. Hayden Panatierri is too smug to watch, knowing how she is in real life has ruined her on the show.

    • Al

      He has done that before and never “absorbed” anyone. His father also had the same power and never showed any signs of it.

      • james

        No, he’s never replaced one person’s memories w/ someone else’s. That was a new thing for him to do when he did that to Sylar. Yes, the show is confusing at times but lets not go out of our way to bash it!

      • james

        This recapper obviously stopped being a fan of Heroes a long time ago. How can you call this episode a placeholder when Claire discovered that her sorority leader or whatever she is was a hero w/ invisibility powers, and was trying to kill Gretchen? They may not have revisited that but trust me, that exposition will be very important to upcoming episodes. So will Sylar finally being able to take full control of Matt’s body. That storyline is just going to start getting interesting now. Placeholder? Ugh, can we get an actual fan of the show to recap? Just recap-not give your opinion. You’re just supposed to recap what happened, devoid of commentary.

    • Pete

      Did you write that last bit Chris? Because maybe you should apply for a job with the show. Every sci fi show follows rules of logic and common sense….except Heroes and Smallville apparently.

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