Heroes Volume Two, Chapter Nine: Cautionary Tales
What an utterly bizarre episode.
Ever since the discovery of one of Isaac Mendez’s missing paintings way back in episode three of this season, we’ve known Bennet was destined to take a bullet to the eyeball at some point. For the past couple episodes, thanks to yet another precognitive painting, we’ve had a pretty good idea Mohinder would be the one pulling the trigger. We’ve all tried to puzzle out how things could escalate to such a point. How, we wondered, could their relationship deteriorate to a stage where gullible yet morally pure Mohinder would deliberately kill sympathetic yet morally gray Bennet?
Sure, there’d been some groundwork laid, what with Bennet growing increasingly paranoid and brusque with Mohinder, and Mohinder seeing evidence the Company might be less evil than Bennet had led him to believe, but still, it’s a mighty big leap from misunderstandings to murder. Could Heroes possibly pull off the killing of Bennet in a way that doesn’t undermine everything that’s been established about Mohinder?
In a word?
Nope, not at all. Not even close. Not within a country mile. Not in this universe. Not unless this is all part of Mohinder’s ingenious scheme to embed himself deeper within the Company so he can bring it crashing down.
Which, for the record, it totally is. Or probably is. I’m pretty sure it is, at least. Remember how crafty Mohinder was back in episode two of this season when he managed to convince Bob – and the audience – he’d had his brain wiped by the Haitian? You know how he’s been a reckless idiot in all his dealings with the Company since then? Either he’s been erratically written – a strong possibility in a season that devoted seven episodes to mucking about in feudal Japan – or the writers are banking on the audience assuming Mohinder's a nitwit to give him a chance to pull off something really cool in a future episode. I think it’s the latter. Call it about an 80% certainty Mohinder knows what he's doing here, even if the audience doesn't yet.
This, of course, still leaves a 20% chance Mohinder is a total moron.
We open in Costa Verde with Bennet ordering the family to pack up and leave town. Claire, as usual, is being a brat. She tells her father she hates him and refuses to leave. The upside to Bennet getting shot in the eye? It'll bring these tedious father/daughter squabbles to an end.
In Tokyo, Hiro and Ando attend Kaito Nakamura’s funeral. Hiro prepares to eulogize his father, but instead decides to go back in time to prevent his death. He teleports to the rooftop of the Deveaux building at the moment of Kaito's meeting with Angela Petrelli. The subtitles helpfully tell us this was “One Week Ago.”
Wait. This whole season thus far has taken place in one week? The murderously long sojourn of Sylar and the twins through Central America and Mexico, Peter’s adventures with the Irish mob, Mohinder's treks to Haiti and New Orleans, Molly’s coma and the subsequent drama with Matt’s evil father… this has all taken place in one week? Really?
Okay. That's cool. Just checking.
Back in Mohinder’s apartment, Molly offers to help Matt locate the remaining people (i.e. the ones Matt's father didn't get around to killing) in the photo of the twelve Company founders. Matt tells her he doesn’t want her using her powers anymore. Molly kicks up a fuss, but a subtle mental suggestion from Matt quiets her down. This gives Matt ideas. Bad ideas. He tests out his growing abilities by mentally compelling Molly to sit back down at the table and finish her cereal. Bad, Matt. Very, very bad. But kind of funny.
Mohinder (whose nose bandage has officially outstayed its welcome) arrives in Costa Verde and meets poolside with Bob and his new partner, Elle, who, we learn, is Bob’s daughter. Mohinder still insists he’s not choosing sides between Bob and Bennet. He also insists he wants to do the right thing. Both these claims seem a tad disingenuous, considering how Bob and Elle are currently discussing how they’re going to kidnap Claire for her blood and kill Bennet. This is the same Mohinder who, a few episodes back (which, in this season's condensed chronology, was probably yesterday morning) was apoplectic at the thought of injecting Monica with the modified virus. In what universe is Mohinder going to think kidnapping Claire and killing Bennet is an acceptable course of action? Sure, he wants to save Niki, but he’s never been an end-justifies-the-means kind of guy before – why would he start now?
West confronts Claire about how her father kidnapped and conducted experiments on him as a kid. Claire swears she didn’t know anything about that when she met West, but West remains unconvinced.
Matt, still working on the Kaito Nakamura murder case, tries to contact the FBI. His boss tells him to give it up– Angela Petrelli, after all, already confessed to the murder. Matt uses his new-found mind control ability to convince his boss to give him another week on the case.
Bennet confesses to his wife about abducting West. She’s not too thrilled about this, but, because her character development is limited to “likes small dogs” and “dotes on her husband”, she forgives him. He shows her Isaac's paintings, including the one of him lying dead, as explanation for his recent erratic behavior. He thinks West might be the one who winds up murdering him. He calls Mohinder and asks him to use Molly’s ability to locate West.
Mohinder, meanwhile, is in the midst of being groped and fondled by Elle. This is all under the guise of fitting him with a shoulder holster, and under other circumstances, I'd be delighted at the prospect of some hot Elle-on-Mohinder action. Right now, however, I'm too confused and depressed by how Mohinder behaves in this episode to get excited about it. Elle proclaims Mohinder “adorable” and asks her father if she can keep him. Heck, Elle, he’s only operating at about 45% of his usual awesomeness right now. You should see him without the nose bandage and the eye bruises and the surly disposition.
On the roof of the Deveaux building, Kaito and Angela replay their argument from the season opener. When Angela leaves, Hiro approaches his father and warns him of his looming death. Kaito is very Zen about it and accepts his fate.
West grabs Bennet, soars with him up in the air, and threatens to drop him unless he tells him whether Claire is scheming against him. Bennet convinces West of his daughter’s ignorance. When West sets him back on the ground, Bennet tackles him. They wrestle for a while, until Bennet gets a call from Mohinder. Mohinder claims Molly used her ability to track West and provides a street address where Bennet can allegedly find him. Since Bennet is currently sitting on top of West at an entirely different location, he puts it together that Mohinder is lying. Bennet is smart like that.
Bob arrives at Claire’s school and pretends to be a school board member wanting to talk to her about the incident with the head cheerleader. Bob slips up and uses Claire’s real last name instead of the surname the Bennet family adopted for their new life in Costa Verde. Claire runs home, but Bob shows up there and apprehends her.
Mohinder asks Elle for permission to talk to Bennet before she, y’know, kills him. Mohinder climbs into the backseat of Bennet’s car and has a terse chat with him about how he needs some of Claire’s blood. It goes poorly. Bennet harangues him, rightly, about turning over to the Company’s side, saying he warned him explicitly of the tactics the Company would use to indoctrinate him: “I couldn’t have been more clear about that.” Mohinder pulls a gun and orders him out of the car. Elle shows up and crackles her electric bolts ominously. Before she can attack, West swoops in and knocks her out.
Mohinder raises his gun, and it's the moment predicted in Isaac’s painting. Bennet punches Mohinder (right on his broken nose! At this rate, he's never going to be rid of that bandage!), then prepares to kill him, until West talks him out of it.
Bennet returns home with captive Elle in tow and learns of Claire’s capture. Where's Mohinder? He's not with Elle, and he's not with Bob. Did Bennet just let him walk off, knowing he's still armed and an active danger to his family? Or did Mohinder and Bennet have themselves a little off-screen powwow to compare notes about how this is going to go down? Boy howdy, I hope it's the latter. Via Bennet, we learn about Elle’s ghastly childhood – the Company tested the limits of her electrical abilities until she went half-mad from the pain, then wiped her memory. It’s good to have unequivocal confirmation at last that, yes, Bob is a bad guy and yes, the Company is evil. No gray area about it.
Bob takes some of Claire’s blood. Again I ask, where’s Mohinder? Why is Bob drawing blood instead of having his pet geneticist do this? I think Claire’s blood is a red herring. I think this whole mission has only two purposes: to test Mohinder’s loyalty and to eliminate Bennet. If Mohinder and Bennet are sticking to their original plan, it’s highly advantageous to them if the Company a) thinks Mohinder is willing to kill for them, and b) thinks Bennet is dead. Just throwing that out there. Bob receives a call from Bennet informing him he has Elle. They set up a hostage swap.
Hiro teleports himself and his father to Hiro’s mother’s funeral to show Kaito why he can’t let him die just yet. Hiro meets an improbably chipper younger version of himself. It’s nice to discover Hiro has always had his cheery demeanor, but… it’s his mother’s funeral! Shouldn’t wee little Hiro be prostrated with grief? This all somehow convinces Hiro that Kaito is right about the inevitability of Fate, and he agrees not to try to prevent Kaito’s murder. They teleport back to the Deveaux building, where once again the hooded figure rushes out from the shadows and pushes Kaito to his death. Hiro freezes time to get a look at his father’s killer: it’s Takezo Kensei, aka Adam Monroe.
Matt interrogates Angela Petrelli, using his mind control to extract the truth about Adam and the murders of the founders of the Company. She knows what he’s doing and tries to talk him out of it, but Matt goes ahead and uses his powers anyway. Bullying Angela Petrelli seems like the kind of thing that will come back and bite you on the ass, Matt. She's a lot meaner than you are. Matt asks for the name of the final unidentified woman in the photograph. Angela pleads with him not to make her give up the identity. She warns him if he forces the information from her, it will mean he’s turned into his father.
There’s a standoff on the beach: Mohinder and Bob bring Claire, Bennet and West bring Elle. They swap blondes. As soon as Claire is released, West grabs her and flies to safety. Elle zaps them out of the sky with her electric bolts. Bennet shoots Elle in the arm, then aims his gun at Bob. Mohinder gets his gun out and, yep, shoots Bennet right in the eye.
Yeah. Taken at face value, it doesn’t make much sense, does it?
I don’t know how this will play out over the next few episodes. It’s entirely possible we’re meant to interpret these events at face value: Mohinder, despite the best of intentions, has drifted into the Dark Side™. After all, we did get a glimpse of Mohinder’s possible future moral ambiguity in last season’s Evil Alternate Future episode, in which Future Mohinder is pretty much President Sylar’s bitch. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be the case: we’ve seen the character of the Morally Shady Indian Geneticist too many times (X-Men 3 and Street Fighter spring immediately to mind), and apart from being a cliché, there are quasi-racist overtones Heroes would do well to avoid. Mohinder’s much more interesting as a vaguely insufferable straight arrow.
In Tokyo, Hiro returns to the funeral and eulogizes his father.
Matt examines the photo of the Company founders. The mysterious woman is now labeled as “Victoria Pratt”. Seems Matt yanked the information out of Angela over her protests.
On a gurney in an empty room, an IV of blood drips into Bennet’s corpse. The bullet hole in his eye repairs itself, his color is restored, and Bennet sits upright, alive and confused. It’s possible he’s in the custody of the Company (though he appears to be wholly unrestrained) and that it’s Claire’s blood in the IV. It’s equally possible neither of those things is true.
Next week: Hiro pulls a sword on Peter, Mohinder arrives home to find Sylar lying in wait for him, and the internet collapses under the resulting deluge of pornographic fanfiction.