Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Let Me Show You How to E.T.S.

Heroes: Exposed
Season 3, Episode 18

So when did Sylar gain the power to remember the distant past via the power of the Mac Attack? Do I really need to once again mention the plethora of ways this show manages to annoy me? Perhaps I should just Embrace The Suck (E.T.S.) and be thankful that Hiro and Ando are utter no-shows for a second consecutive week. Even if it gives more time to the painfully ill-constructed Adventures of Claire and Aquaboy, I mean... one crappy regular character is a fair trade for two.

And just to prove that I did, once upon a time, like this show, I'll mention that this week's writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster once did the script for the pivotal "Homecoming" episode back in the glory days of season one. It was actually one of my very favorite episodes ever (and that used to be saying something). Below the cut we spoil the heck out of their latest effort.

This week's episode effectively involves just three plots, so things at least aren't as jumbled together as they normally are. Peter and Parkman are led by the hand (REBEL) from Isaac Mendez' loft/Mohinder's laboratory/a set I assume was constructed using a load-bearing wall so they decided to keep forever to the infamous Building 26 in Washington, D.C. Once there it turns out Daphne was moved to a medical facility. Why wasn't she in the medical facility earlier in the day when REBEL contacted them since, ya know, she was shot at least several days ago, we may never know. Instead Peter steals a video of men in black suits and masks leading people in orange jumpsuits and masks onto a plane. Somehow this is concrete proof that the American government is kidnapping American citizens. Apparently I missed the scene in the premiere where the word "American" was written on the back of everyone's clothing.

This sequence at least had the very first moment since this arc began that the bald technician isn't looking at the exact perfect video feed at any given time. I got no small amount of jokes out of this. I mean this guy was right on catching Claire's car near Aquaboy's comic show, Sylar driving on a nondescript road and Peter at Bennet's storage unit and later at apartment of the Hunter (Emile Danko, why he got a nickname we may never know). But they don't see the guys walking into their control room in the middle of the day.

Peter escapes, but Matt is captured because apparently a fire alarm is the secret to diffusing his mental powers. Which is a far better reason than... I don't know... someone surprises him! I have to credit Peter with at least coming up with a plausible plan to trade back for Daphne and Matt by threatening to expose the tape. I fully expected something monumentally incompetent, but at least he didn't bring the tape with him to the meet, though it would have been nice to know exactly how the tape would be released if they blew Peter's head off. And let's just ignore the idea of the government making a video diary of their own criminal activities in the first place.

In the night's other story, Claire's glorious idea of hiding Aquaboy in her closet turns out poorly. I know... who knew? He's quickly discovered by her mom and that leads to some painfully unfunny sex jokes before Saundra decides to help them. The solution involves making a fake i.d. and hiding him in another closet when the federal agents violate their stakeout for no reason whatsoever to toss the place.

I thought it was cute that Saundra and Lyle got involved as decoys in a move straight out of "Coneheads." Though it would have been more enjoyable if they were distracting more than just two people sitting in a van in front of the house. Do you really need decoys to slip out the back if there isn't anybody watching the back? Is the government's plan to watch a house involve monitoring only one-third of the doors?

Let's avoid looking too closely at the not-so-brilliant getaway plan of hiding in a pool. Because if I was a federal agent chasing a kid who could breath underwater and mysteriously lost him in a backyard where half the space is taken up by a swimming pool, I'd probably check in the pool. It would have been a simple fix, have them dive into an aqueduct or river. C'mon people, break open an issue of Aquaman now and then! And the underwater kiss is just... ugh. You know there would still be air bubbles if you open mouth kiss, especially if you are supposedly breathing out oxygen. And of course that's one of my sci-fi pet peeves, a fish or anything else that swims underwater doesn't exhale oxygen. Please do not encourage children to try and breath underwater by making out with a great white shark. That's just irresponsible. The lesson as always is don't break up your exhilarating escape with multiple incidents of sexual tension.

In the final storyline, Sylar continues to be the king of the musical cues this volume, first "Psycho Killer" and now flashbacks at a roadside burger joint courtesy of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." But hopefully, this character is going to maintain a steady path unlike some others (coughNathancoughBennetcoughMohindercough). Now, assuming they are actually trying to build Sylar as an anti-hero (or at least not an utterly evil villain), I can admire what they are trying to do here. And honestly, if he's driven this far with Luke a.k.a. Microwave Boy a.k.a. the Most Annoying Person in the World to Take a Road Trip With Ever, without cutting his skull open, Sylar can't be all that bad anymore. I mean it's a good sign when he spares people that I would kill, isn't it? And having been abandoned by a father that killed mommy (and apparently ingrained the idea of the little forehead slice in Sylar Junior's subconscious) is supposed to build sympathy and would leave Sylar relatively justified in killing dear old dad when they meet (hopefully next week).

I mean let's not pretend this story isn't still utterly awful in most methods of execution, but I've found I can get through an episode and even recount it for a review the next morning by shutting down my higher brain functions and a little E.T.S. It's a fun plan and I'm sticking with it.

One last note, starting here, I'll be using letter grades for my score. Both because they are infinitely cooler and hopefully will help with a more consistent approach to my scoring.

Final score: D+

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