Heroesville: Heroes, Season 3, Episodes 4 & 5 – “I Am Become Death” / “Angels and Monsters”

I’m back!  I had sort of hoped while I was gone that maybe Heroes would be a clips show. Like maybe Hiro, Bennet, Elle, and Sylar would split a cheesecake and talk about the great times they’ve shared. That would be so easy to write about. As you’re probably aware, that’s not what they did. Sure, their way was more entertaining, but it’s going to take longer on my part.

Mohinder’s looking kind of rough, isn’t he? I love that he characterizes the lack of skin on his back as “an unusual rash”. Hee. He’d probably refer to losing all four limbs as “numbness in the extremities”. He’s getting more and more aggressive, too. I know. I’m shocked that they finally made Mohinder interesting, too.

After last week’s revelation that Tracy was genetically engineered, we learn that she’s one of three triplets – Niki, Tracy, and Barbara. Safe to say we’ll be seeing Barbara before the end of the season. (Now that I think about it, one of the Medicine Man’s rock paintings appeared to show one blonde woman tossing an identical blonde woman out of a window.) This also means that Jessica was not a part of the group, so Season One’s mirror shenanigans actually were a reflection (no pun intended) of Niki’s multiple personalities. Jessica? No powers at all. And they were created for an unnamed Company who “made us forget”. Any relation to the Company that employs a guy who can make people forget? Seems likely.

The scene of Matt eating peyote and seeing the future is an homage to a similar scene in Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, in which the title character took peyote and broke the Fourth Wall and addressed the reader directly. Just a little Nerd trivia for you. Also, it’s not clear until the end of the episode, but Matt seems to be watching the same future scenes that we see, including Peter’s travels through time.

Check it out! A trip to the future that doesn’t reveal a devastated city – New York four years from now looks pretty good, actually. Except for the fact that everybody has powers. I don’t know if you guys pay attention, but most people are kind of crazy. Interestingly, there’s a rift between people who were born with powers, and those who got theirs artificially. Basically, the people born with powers are going to be persecuted no matter how things shake out. Remember how I said that Future Peter doesn’t have Claire’s powers anymore? Looks like I’m right, since she managed to shoot him dead. (Yes, Future Haitian was in the scene, but he’s not present later when the body’s in the morgue.) I’m interested to learn how Peter managed to lose a power.

In the future, Daphne, Knox, and Claire are working as a team and have access to Molly. Here, they’re presented as extremist but sympathetic, but I’m not buying it. Knox is an out-and-out sociopath, and even the fact that Daphne and Matt are together doesn’t help. Matt’s always kind of evil in the future. In fact, his Spirit Journey may be the only way to get him back on the right path, as he’s emulating Bad Dad more and more.

Legitimate question here: How is the Company blocking Hiro’s powers in the cell? It’s not like the Haitian can hang out there 24/7. Do they have technology that prevents him from using his powers? That has me a little confused.

Hey, it’s Nathan! Linderman shoots down the idea that he’s a ghost with “Nothing that obvious”, and while Nathan suggests that he’s a hallucination, I’m starting to think that’s not right either. Linderman seems to have information that Nathan would have no way of knowing, so there just may be more going on there. And once again, the idea of Nathan becoming president comes up. Note that we’ve seen Nathan as President in both alternate futures. This means that his political ascendancy has to be incredibly fast. He’s winning the next election! (By the by, we don’t actually know what year it is in Heroes. It’s not in real time, so it’s not like Nathan has a month to win the election. I tend to think the show is set a year or so ahead of real time, with all the time jumps between episodes. This, however, does not matter to anybody else but me.)

Back to Mohinder. By the way, I’ve discussed the matter with a number of other viewers, and we all agree that Maya has gotten hotter since last season. Anyway, Mohinder’s getting screwier – he didn’t notice the milk has gone bad even with his enhanced senses, for one. It’s made clear that Mohinder’s formula is not the one that leads to the future that Peter’s trying to prevent, because his formula apparently kind of sucks.

Future Mohinder looks kind of like a fly, I think. And the way he’s creeping around in a hoodie evokes the way Sylar looked in Season One, before they cast Zachary Quinto in the role. (Oh, here’s a crazy prediction. I think we’re eventually going to find out that the hooded guy in those early appearances was not actually Sylar – in most of those scenes he exhibited powers that Sylar either didn’t have at the time or still doesn’t have. (He flew and stuck to walls.) Granted, they were still working out the character then, but it might be part of something really complicated.)

So much cool stuff in the next scene. Sylar’s a friendly single dad in the future. In fact, the caption actually identifies him as “Gabriel” instead of “Sylar”. And who is little Noah? Well, he calls Peter “Uncle Peter”, so he may well be Sylar’s son. Does he look older than four, though? (I really can’t tell with kids.) And is Bennet going to make a big enough influence on Sylar that he would name his son after him? And Sylar apparently owns Mr. Muggles now. Also, Peter’s using Flint’s power when he enters the house. Presumably, that means he copied Knox and Jesse’s powers too.

This is where Peter finds out that he and Sylar are brothers – for the first time. Both Future and Present Sylar reveal it, so he’s obviously not really surprised the second time. Sylar can prevent Peter from copying his original power, which is pretty cool. (And again I ask, has Peter copied Sylar’s other powers? He uses the telekinesis pretty regularly, but I haven’t seen him use any of Sylar’s other stolen powers.) I actually really like the idea that Sylar’s original power, which just let him understand how things work, will allow Peter to work out how to fix the future. I’m interested in “the hunger” that comes with the power. Since Peter doesn’t need to hurt people to copy their powers, what does he actually hunger for? We know Sylar doesn’t eat brains now, but it’s still unclear what he does with them. Since Peter can actually read minds, there must be something physical about the brain that draws Sylar, and now Peter. (Later, Peter talks about wanting to understand, which is a nice reference to his own empathy.)

As I mentioned before, we see in the future that Matt and Daphne are together, and are raising Molly. Plus, they have a baby of their own. I really thought Matt would be sterile after spending so much time with Radioactive Ted, but there you go.

Back to Costa Verde. Peter fixes the watch (have I mentioned how cool it is that Sylar can prevent Peter from copying his power?), and also lends the repeated images of watches and clocks a symbolism beyond the Watchmen reference. And then our bad guys show up. We get a cool blurry superspeed fight between Peter and Daphne, and then Knox and Sylar get into it. Sylar is obviously reformed / neutered, since he doesn’t open Knox’s brainpan immediately. We all know there are a dozen ways Sylar could have ended that fight instantly, but he just takes his beating. Right up until little Noah gets smushed. Kind of surprising that they went there, isn’t it? And that’s when Sylar goes nuclear. The future is scary.

In the present, Mohinder’s starting to exude a weird sticky substance. Yeah, he’s totally turning into a fly. And the implication is certainly that he kills his neighbor. Mohinder is going to be a problem in the very near future.

We’ve got a nice scene of Nathan saving Tracy from suicide and revealing their powers to one another just in time to find out that four years from now, they’re the President and First Lady. Boy, Nathan is really working his way through that family. Don’t tell him there’s a third one out there! Also, we see that Nathan’s religious conversion is still in place four years from now. And then, in a legitimately horrifying moment, Peter opens his own brother’s head. Again, it’s not clear what he actually hungers for, but if he’ll kill Nathan for it (Well, a future version of Nathan), it’s going to be a huge problem for Peter. (One day, somebody’s going to have to compile a list of all the characters we’ve seen die, and how often. Between the alternate futures and dream sequences, some of the regulars have died on-camera two or three times by now.)

Back to Matt. So Daphne is the faceless woman in the painting. And in one of the best jokes of the series, poor Matt’s spirit animal is a turtle. Hee. It’s like that episode of The Simpsons where Homer is led on a spirit journey.

And we end, as we should, with Hiro. Somebody’s manipulating The Company and has Ma Petrelli running scared. And awesomely, Adam “Sark” Monroe is the key to victory. Sark! He’s also, if you recall, part of the group that slaughters everybody in Ma Petrelli’s nightmare. And he is not happy with Hiro, it turns out. This? Should be awesome!

In the promos, we see that next episode will have a shocking return. Boy, I sure hope NBC doesn’t spend the week running ads telling us who it is. Why would they do that? That would be crazy! Oh, wait…

All right, time for this week’s episode. It strikes me that we haven’t seen Elle in several episodes now. Time to get back in the game, Bell!

We open with Nathan and Ghost Linderman. There’s some interesting debate about Linderman’s true nature, but since we learn the real answer by the end of the night, it’s not worth getting into at any great length.

Mohinder, who’s getting creepier with every scene, kidnaps a drug dealer. Hey, he’s got a hunger just like Peter. Our Heroes are decidedly less heroic this season.

Speaking of, Peter’s doing a fine job of flipping out. Snapping Sylar’s neck and trying to open Ma Petrelli’s head, he’s really not winning any points with The Company. Once again, not clear on what Peter’s hunger is really for, but it is worth noting that he doesn’t know all of Matt’s mind-reading tricks. Peter hasn’t worked at it, and has so far read only surface thought, whereas Matt can pull information out of a person’s brain by force. Regardless, even though I’m pretty sure Angela is no good, I’m glad Sylar puts a stop to it all. I’d like Peter to be capable of redemption.

Over at Claire’s house, our favorite cheerleader didn’t remember the number one rule of sneaking around. Always hide your box of secrets! Take a lesson from Don Draper, kid! Anyway, we get some clues as to the other Level 5 escapees, including Stephen Canfield who creates vortexes (vortices?), and Eric Doyle, who really freaks out Meredith. I’m mostly freaked out by his giant head at this point. That freaking thing is like a pumpkin with a beard. And that brings us right to Claire, who takes out Canfield with taser work that would make Veronica Mars proud. By the way, Canfield is played by Andre Royo, best known as drug addict Bubbles on The Wire. So now that’s two Wire alumni being held on Level 5. I’m freaking out with joy.

Nice scene with Ando, Hiro, and Monroe – I like the way Hiro is using his powers effectively to put Monroe in his place. Also nice is the way that Hiro’s best bargaining tool is the promise of “a more spacious cell”. Clearly, Monroe is suspicions of Angela Petrelli – clearly he’s paying attention.

This next scene had me mystified for most of the episode, to the extent I was convinced that there was supposed to be a “Six Months Ago” caption at the beginning, but again, they explained it by the end of the episode. This is Season Three, folks. We’re not messing around! Anyway, at Pinehearst (I don’t think we’ve heard that name before), a rather lively Linderman is sending Daphne out to do some recruiting. For a dead guy, Linderman is getting around!

Bennet and Sylar would make the best buddy cop show around. I like that Sylar’s fidgeting with the radio. He’s awfully endearing when he’s not murdering, you know?

Also, it appears that Canfield is not the cold-blooded killer that The Company has made him out to be. He’s acting the heck out of this episode, by the way. He’s so good.

OK, maybe Mohinder’s more of a spider than a fly. He appears to be webbing people to the wall – is he going to drink their sweet, sweet fluids? Lay eggs inside them? At least Maya’s finally catching on to the fact that something’s wrong with the guy. It only took a giant blood trail for her to catch on. She’s lucky she’s pretty, because she’s not going to win any Genius Grants in the near future.

Another nice scene of Andre Royo putting exactly the same level of anguish playing a guy who accidentally sucked his neighbor into a black hole as he did into playing a suicidal drug addict. Man, I love this guy. Then we cut to Tracy and Nathan, where she explains that she too accidentally killed an innocent man with her powers. You can see that Nathan’s not thrilled with the idea that his powers may not be a gift from God, but rather, a gift from a doctor in Reseda.

Back at Canfield’s house, Bennet and Sylar crash the place just as he and Claire are developing a level of trust. Canfield’s clearly terrified of Bennet, and it’s nice how they keep reminding us that he’s got a pretty dark past. After saving Claire from the vortex, Sylar almost seems to be showing remorse for what he did to her before. I think we’re actually seeing Sylar take the first steps toward becoming the guy we saw in the future last week. He just might be salvageable.

Turns out, there are enough people with powers (“Specials” as Monroe calls them – I think that was the same terminology they used in The Incredibles) that a bar can get a reputation as their hangout. I would not have pictured Monroe as a guy who drinks appletinis, so I’m calling that a Scrubs reference. (Masi “Hiro” Oka used to be on that show as Franklin the Lab Tech.) And maybe it’s just because I still think of him as Sark, but I think Monroe totally planned that altercation with the bartender. He’s that good. Regardless, when Hiro gets decked, Monroe makes a run for it. (I love Ando trying to manually blink Hiro, as if that’s what activates his power.)

With Peter in a “medically induced coma”, everybody’s breathing easier. Angela confirms that both Nathan and Tracy were given their powers artificially (as was Elle, if you remember) – that does open the question of who has natural powers and who’s the result of tinkering. Since that’s the cause of the rift in the future, that will probably be a very important distinction in the weeks to come.

Hey, Maya’s using her power again! But, you know, Mohinder talks her down. Always good to let the guy who’s trying to immobilize you and feed on you take away your one defensive option. Oh, Maya. Sorry, but you sort of deserved that one.

Things are moving fast now. In short order, Knox takes down Monroe and loads him into the van. Nathan learns that his father was “disappointed” that he was born without powers, so they tinkered with him. Angela does not give any indication whether the other Petrelli boys are natural or not. (By the way, does it seem to anybody else like the older generation just made really stupid decisions that would turn out to be disastrous down the road? They seem quite bright individually, but as a group, they can’t tie their shoes. Sort of like Jedi, actually.) And then Nathan suggests that Mohinder could be helpful. Clearly they haven’t kept in touch. Canfield’s family abandoned him, and then Bennet follows up with an ambush.

Bennet tries to get Canfield to make Sylar disappear. Bennet comes off as the unreasonable one here, by the way. The lines are blurring even further. This is a really well done scene, but somebody needs to tell Bennet that Sylar has super-hearing. Whoops. Sadly, Canfield kills himself. I really liked him. And strangely, Sylar never once tried to open his head to get an awesome new power. That guy really is reforming!

OK, brace yourself. Daphne and Knox recruit Hiro for their team. It’s perfectly reasonable for Hiro to go along with it, as it gets him closer to the formula. And then Knox demands Hiro kill Ando as a show of loyalty. Oh. Well, Hiro probably has a back-up plan, because he’s not going to stab his best friend to prove a point…. HOLY CRAP! He totally stabbed Ando in the heart! What just happened? For now, I’m convincing myself that Hiro used his powers to replace the sword with a trick sword and fit Ando with a blood pack while time stood still, but at this point, we’re left with a scene of Hiro stabbing Ando! Aaaaah!

Turns out, it wasn’t such a great idea for Meredith to go after Doyle to protect Claire. First off, wrong guy. Second, Doyle can control other people’s movements. Not cool. Looks like he’s going to be a real problem next week. And his head is just as giant as his photo made it look.

Ma Petrelli’s having another one of her death dreams. This time, Claire, Nathan, and Peter have all been gruesomely slaughtered, and then a mysterious figure (if you managed to not watch any of NBC’s promos over the week) threatens to kill her, and Angela’s reaction indicates that she knows he can do it.

And we come to the end. Linderman wants Daphne to recruit Matt, and she’s freaked out about witnessing a stabbing. (Which worries me, because Daphne isn’t affected when Hiro freezes time. If he’d pulled any shenanigans, she’d know.) Anyway, Daphne accepts her assignment, and then figures out that her Linderman isn’t real either. She rolls with it, though. Daphne’s adaptable that way.

Two big reveals, one of which NBC managed not to spoil. Linderman is a creation of Matt’s Bad Dad, who did not stay trapped inside his own brain for very long. Well, that explains a lot. And that’s quite a formidable army they’re amassing, isn’t it? And then it’s the reveal. The brains behind the operation, the mysterious figure in the dream, the one who’s been running the show – it’s Arthur Petrelli! He’s not dead! He’s apparently comatose, though. Can’t wait to find out what’s going on here. And the best part, he’s played by Robert Forster! Banyon! Oh, this guy’s bringing the awesome.

All right, that’s a lot of Heroes for a single sitting. I need another vacation!

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