Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

Heroes: Cold Snap
Season 3, Episode 20

It's not that surprising that it's been a long time since I've had anything to look forward to on this series. As I've mentioned many times over, the second season was wildly disappointing and the third has been more a pain to get through than anything else. But this week marks the return of Bryan Fuller, who wrote a pair of episodes in the first season, including "Company Man," the highlight of series from a storytelling perspective. Almost as large a reason to rejoice, the Jeph Loeb Era is in our rear view mirror. The once great comic book scribe managed to suck most of the joy from the series the last couple of years, much like he has in every comic he's touched in the last five years.

All of that being said, we're still a long way from calling this show "mediocre." But at least some of my long held complaints are addressed this week. Continue below the jump and maybe we can find some way to frame Tim Kring for some type of felony.

Well, cutting back on characters is a big part of what this show needed to do. So we get a week with no Sylar, no Claire (Thank the Lord!) and almost no Peter. It all makes up for a steady helping of Hiro and Ando. And in that constructive spirit, they allow Tracy Stauss to sacrifice herself and Daphne to "go to the moon" a.k.a. die, only six episodes later than she should have. I cannot restate often enough how much I favor trimming this staff. Especially since we know Tracy probably has more twins out there, so we've got a few to work our way through.

It's a cute little slap to the earlier portions of season three when Daphne calls Matt to task for their underdeveloped and rather simple "love story." It's horribly funny that Greg Grunberg, excellent in other series, is completely unable to convey affection towards Daphne. Better luck next time, Heroes writers!

Giving their relatively powerless individuals something simple to fill their time with, the Japanese dynamic duo get to babysit . It's almost enjoyable to watch Hiro reflecting on watching his mother die late in season two. That's right... reflecting. He actually stopped bouncing around like a toddler in need of Ritalin, and thought about how his life was effected by something.

Of course, any amount of good will this storyline earns is wasted in the re-powering of Hiro. Apparently, the Baby Genesis Device, a.k.a. Matt Parkman Jr., gives him back the ability to freeze time, but not teleport. I understand the desire to have the franchise character have a power, I just don't trust the other writers to maintain this limitation. And, alright, thanks Mr. Fuller for the Wrath of Khan reference.

Ever since the idea of Rebel was revealed, I've anxiously been awaiting the moment young Micah would return to show us the joys of young actors going through puberty. And when he turns around and rips off a humorously deep and raspy, "Taxi" I got my chuckle. There's only so much joy one can take from so obvious a mystery dragged out about four episodes too long. But the payoff scene lets one of this show's characters actually act heroic for the first time in too long and gives Danko the first scene in seven episodes where he looks like a badass. Of course, both will be ruined by the terrible special effects and further reduced of meaning if Tracy comes back.

In the final main storyline, Angela Petrelli tries to avoid Danko's men now that he's running the government operation. More than anything else, this storyline comes off as weak filler, just getting Angela into her story's place - on the run with Peter. This is just more of the same plot driving the characters as opposed to the other way around.

Am I looking forward to next week's episode? No, not really. The show needs to be more consistent and go a couple weeks without bringing Tracy or Daphne back to life. And maybe at least straddle the line between the Hand of God plot devices running things and the characterization developing things more fluidly. Ideally, someday crossing that line, but let's not expect the second coming of Jesus Christ just yet. Of course, this was the best the show's been in a long time, so let's revel in the average-ness of it all.

Final score: C-

1 comment:

Billy said...

Hiro's mother died this season, late in the last volume, but this season nonetheless. I can totally understand how you can mess that up though, I mean, this season is the secret to time travel...every agonizing second it is on the screen seems to last an eternity.

It's telling that the best part of the episode was all the Khan references. "Life from lifelessness" it wasn't, but at least it wasn't a shattered ice lady blinking in death...

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