Heroes Volume Four, Chapter Seven: Cold Snap

After last week’s break, Heroes is back. It’s pretty darn good, especially for an episode that: a) features a plotline involving a super-powered baby, and b) kicks off with a montage of Danko watching himself in the mirror whilst shaving.

So, Danko shaves. An alarm interrupts his morning ablutions, so he goes out to his living room to investigate. He finds an incapacitated Eric Doyle with a bow tied around him and a tag reading, “My gift to you.”

Bennet has a clandestine meeting with Angela. She wants him to distract Danko’s attention from Nathan by apprehending someone else: Rebel. Bennet tips her off that Danko’s goons will be coming after her next. (Bennet, by the way, has traces of shaving cream on his face. This may be just an artistic flourish, or it may turn out to have some future relevance. We shall see.)

In Building 26, Danko takes Mohinder to a room filled with drugged super-powered people strapped to gurneys. Matt and Daphne, who is in bad shape from her gunshot wounds, are among them. Danko’s henchman does a perfunctory job of manhandling and drugging Mohinder. Sigh. Sometimes I doubt Danko’s commitment to being a sexy and dastardly villain. You know who I miss, improbably enough? Flint. Flint wasn’t much of a villain (or a character), but he sure knew how to manhandle Mohinder with gusto.

In a rare display of bonhomie, Danko offers to give Eric Doyle to Bennet, so Bennet can exact his revenge over the way he tormented Sandra and Claire. Okay, it’s creepy bonhomie, but bonhomie nonetheless. Bennet tells Danko he’ll capture Rebel for him -- provided he can use Tracy, who appears to have some kind of connection to Rebel, as bait.

Hiro and Ando babysit little Matt Parkman, who has his very own ability: his touch activates things, like toys and electronics. Hiro is pretty grumpy about getting stuck with the kid. As he tells Ando, “Heroes change the world, not diapers.” Hiro, my friend, I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with you more. Ando psychoanalyzes Hiro about why Hiro’s so crappy with kids, and Hiro somberly tells Ando about seeing his mother die when he traveled into the past. While they’re bonding over this, Janice Parkman comes home. Janice, by the way, looks just fantastic, like getting divorced from Matt mid-pregnancy was the best thing to ever happen to her. Hiro and Ando recreate a pivotal scene from E.T. by hiding among a bunch of stuffed animals, but Janice isn’t fooled. As she’s grilling them, Danko’s goons arrive to apprehend the baby. They haul away Janice, but before they can take the kid, Ando uses his super-charging ability in conjunction with baby Matt’s powers and holds them off… and then Hiro stops time! Thanks to the baby’s ability, Hiro has his powers back! Hallelujah -- this crappy super-powered baby plotline was good for something after all! Hiro still can’t teleport, but this is surely a step in the right direction. Hiro and Ando get the baby to safety and decide to go in search of adult Matt.

Danko’s goons try to apprehend Angela, but her precognitive ability gives her enough advance warning to allow her to escape. She meets up with an old friend (Swoozie Kurtz), who reluctantly gives her some cash to help her disappear for a while. Goons catch up with Angela and trap her in an elevator, but Peter flies in and saves her. Peter and Angela hide out in the Statue of Liberty’s head and plan their next move.

Rebel cuts the power to Building 26. Tracy breaks out of her cell and frees Matt, Mohinder and Daphne. She’s initially kind of a brat about not wanting to wait for injured Daphne, but reconsiders after Matt uses his Jedi Mind-Tricks™ to effortlessly get them past Danko’s goons.

As soon as they’re free, Tracy goes off on her own. While shoplifting clothes, she gets apprehended in the dressing room by Bennet, who asks her to lead him to Rebel. Via a random ATM, Rebel provides Tracy with cash and instructions to a locker in Union Station containing a train ticket and passport. Little Micah Sanders, who is both taller and deeper-voiced than when we last saw him back in Volume Two, secretly trails her. Aw, Micah is Rebel! This is a cool surprise, which was not at all ruined by seeing Special Guest Star Noah Gray-Cabey’s name in the opening credits.

Micah joins Tracy at Union Station, intending to flee with her. Tracy is horrified to realize she led Micah into a trap. As Danko’s goons close in on them, Micah manufactures a false alarm and triggers an evacuation of Union Station.

Micah and Tracy run for it, but goons surround them in the parking garage. At Tracy’s request, Micah uses his power to activate the sprinklers. Tracy tells him to run away and stay ahead of the ice. While Micah sprints to safety, Tracy commits a little mass murder by freezing everyone and everything in the garage, including herself.

Danko arrives and shoots still-frozen Tracy. She shatters. Even though her entire body is in pieces, one of her eyes blinks.

Matt and Mohinder take Daphne to the hospital. Matt uses more Jedi Mind-Tricks™ on the doctors to get them to treat bullet-ridden Daphne without notifying the cops. Daphne wakes up two days later in a hospital bed filled with balloons and flowers, fully recovered. She argues with Matt that he’s not really in love with her -- he’s just in love with the idea of it -- and zips off to Paris. Matt tracks her down. He claims he flew to find her and, indeed, demonstrates this by flying her around the Eiffel Tower. Just as this is starting to seem extreeeeeeemely fishy, Daphne tells him to let her go: she knows she’s really in the hospital, dying, and Matt is just trying to give her some good final memories.

Back in the hospital, with Matt and Mohinder keeping vigil by her bedside, Daphne flatlines.

Comments

Ingrid Richter said…
Great review Morgan!

Some very interesting, sad images this episode. The shattered Tracy still-blinking creeps me out.

About Mr. Bennet and shaving: perhaps they were establishing how he's miserable and flailing without his family? Forgetting umbrellas and cutting his face and whatnot.

Also: were Tracy and Micah in NYC? Oddly enough, New York doesn't have a Union Station.
Morgan Richter said…
Also: were Tracy and Micah in NYC?
DC, I think. Which does have a Union Station, so that would make sense.

Yeah, I think that's the point they were trying to make with Bennet and the shaving cream. Or, coming on the tail of the scene where Danko shaves, perhaps they were trying to compare/contrast the two charcters (Danko shaves neatly because he doesn't have anyone to worry about, whereas Bennet is a mess these days?). Still, it was an odd beat, and they went to so much effort to point it out, that it made me wonder if there was some unrevealed purpose to it. Probably not.

Some good visuals in this one (like shattered Tracy's blinking eye). I like it when the show makes an effort to look pretty and/or cool.

Good send-offs for both Daphne and Tracy. As much as they were trying to stress Tracy's selfishness, I thought it was pretty generous of Tracy to bother to free Mo and Matt and Daphne: I don't think she's even met Matt and Daphne, and good old Mohinder strapped her down and tried to perform diabolical experiments on her last volume...
Jason Gilman said…
I really liked this episode, but I'm disappointed that they went ahead and killed Daphne off. Apparently there was no room for her in Matt's life with Jr. and Janice coming back into the picture.

Speaking of Matt Parkman Jr. the Hiro storyline was actually pretty good. It's kind of funny that Jr's ability to make things go is actually sort of similar to Ando's ability without the cool red energy effects. We still don't really understand Ando's ability- did he just kill that guy when he blasted him or just knock him back? I'm glad he has some offensive capabilities now, but he might want to figure out if he's shooting to kill or not now.

I was originally thinking that Ando might be the key to Hiro getting his powers back, but being dependent on the baby is more challenging/interesting. Freezing time is definitely a good power to have even if teleportation and time travel are still gone.

I was happy to have my hunch confirmed that Micah is in fact Rebel. He's a welcome addition to the show and actually has the miraculous ability to turn Tracy into a likable character who might actually care about another human being besides herself. Now the question is: Was Tracy's still blinking ice eye incredibly morbid or a sign that she's more powerful than anyone realized when transformed into ice and she will be able to reconstitute herself?
Morgan Richter said…
Speaking of Matt Parkman Jr. the Hiro storyline was actually pretty good.

I would have said it was impossible, but that plotline was executed well. Hiro and Ando were in good form. Not too overly-cute and zany: they both seemed like real people, not comic relief.

Was Tracy's still blinking ice eye incredibly morbid or a sign that she's more powerful than anyone realized when transformed into ice and she will be able to reconstitute herself?

Yes.

Apparently there was no room for her in Matt's life with Jr. and Janice coming back into the picture.

Yeah. I'm sad to see Daphne go, though I'm glad they gave her a great sendoff. I'm cool with Janice making guest appearances, but I don't want to see her back with Matt (the focus on the smiling framed photos of her with Matt in her living room makes me worry that that's where they're going to go). Matt and Janice together were so naggy.

Here's my in-dubious-taste comment that I left out of my recap (because I thought Daphne's death was quite lovely and moving and I didn't want to seem like I was mocking it), spurred on by the scene of Mohinder quietly comforting Matt by Daphne's bedside: if Matt plays his cards right, he could totally get some pity sex out of this ("I just don't feel like I should be alone right now, Mohinder...").

And hooray for the return of Micah. Darn it all, I've grown rather fond of that kid.
Paul said…
If Peter can only have one power at a time why did he not loose the ability to fly when he touched Angela in the lift?
Ingrid Richter said…
Hi Paul! I think Peter is able to control his absorption of powers now. Same thing happened a couple of episodes back when he flew down and picked up Matt...

Uh-oh, Jason. I didn't pick up that Hiro was dependent on Parkman Jr. for his powers. I'd (secretly) hoped that he had full restoration of time-freezing ability, sans baby.
Morgan Richter said…
Paul, just to elaborate a little on Ingrid's answer, here's a bit from a recent installment of Behind the Eclipse, the weekly Q&A with a couple of the Heroes writers over at Comic Book Resources:

“Guys, can you explain how when Peter swoops in to save Matt, the two of them don't fall to the ground to their deaths? Shouldn't Peter have lost his flying ability when he touched Matt?”

Peter’s gotten better at his “touch.” He can now pick and choose who he gets it from. It just took some time and effort to get it under control.


They haven't really made it explicitly clear in the episodes, but since this comes from the writers, I think we can accept it as the real explanation.
Jason Gilman said…
I didn't pick up that Hiro was dependent on Parkman Jr. for his powers.

Ingrid, that may have been an incorrect assumption about Hiro and Matt Jr. on my part. I certainly hope Hiro gets to keep his limited powers from now on, but I guess we won't know for sure until they're separated.

It's crazy to try to apply logic or theorize abut this, but still fun so here goes: My thought when Jr. turned on the television when it wasn't plugged in was that he was providing the juice in some way. Without Jr. no juice. When Arthur stole powers maybe he copied the ability and stole the motive force behind them (whereas Peter just copies them). So perhaps for Arthur's victims like Hiro the abilities were always still there, but they no longer had the energy source their abilities previously drew upon. So now Jr. was able to switch on and power Hiro's stop time ability, but it's only a temporary thing because Hiro still can't power his abilities on his own. Furthermore perhaps stopping time is the least power intensive of his original abilities and Jr. can only provide so much juice- he's only a baby after all.

I can't remember if Ando has ever used his power on Hiro. If he hasn't, fully restoring Hiro's powers may only be a matter of letting Ando supercharge him and jump starting his powers again.
Ingrid Richter said…
Ha! I love it, Jason! I have this mental picture of Parkman Jr. as a human-equivalent to a portable car battery. Good for a jump as long as he's kept close by...

Er, Morgan and I aren't really into babies, if people haven't guessed by now. Nothing against them personally, I just don't find them overly interesting.
Morgan Richter said…
I like (other people's) babies just fine. Problem is, babies (and small children) are a narrative drag on action-oriented television shows just by their attention-intensive nature. If Hiro and Ando are going to be looking after Matt Jr., every single last scene involving Hiro and Ando is going to have to focus around the baby, or Hiro and Ando are going to look terribly neglectful.

This inevitably leads to an unending deluge of dirty diaper and/or vomit jokes.

That said, hey, I thought Matt Jr. was cute, and I thought Hiro and Ando were great with him. If they keep it up, we'll all get through this plotline just fine.

Jason, I like your speculation on Matt Jr's powers. It sounds very plausible, that he could go around restoring the mojo that Arthur stole from everyone last volume.

By the way, I'd like for Arthur to return for one single appearance, just so he could deliver a few witty bon mots, then suck out Mohinder's super-strength power and exit. I get the impression the writers feel a little sheepish that they gave Mo a power, because it doesn't add much to his character or his plot arc. Here's hoping it's gone by the end of the volume.
Dan said…
Awesome recap as ever, Morgan.

Okay, things I liked:

* Ali Larter got to actually do something other than sit around being sexily sweaty. (Not that I disapproved of the sexy sweatiness, but, y'know, enough already)

* The Baby Matt Parkman storyline. Was this the first episode back for writer Bryan Fuller? If so, kudos, man. I didn't think that storyline could be in any sense... what's the word? Unvomitworthy. And yet...

* Daphne running out of InstaLove™ ("Dude, I don't even, like, know you"). Although why, exactly, Matt pushed that part into the little mental theatre he was creating, I do not know.

* The Superman/Superman Returns references in Matt's little flight with Daphne. Loved the tiptoes onto Parkman's feet. Loved the (implicit) "Can you read my mind?" monologue. Loved the giant P on Parkman's chest.

Things I Didn't Like

* Yeah, the credits ruining Micah's return was a little annoying for me too. Heck, if they'd skipped the 'and special guest star' bit and just had his name in there, I probably would have missed it. Because for the life of me, I can't remember it now as I type. And yet, when you put a 'And Special Guest Star' in front of it, I go 'oh yeah, the kid who played Micah'

* Tracy's death. Did she really have to kill herself for Micah to escape? I know being sexily sweaty for episodes on end can play at a person's mind, but really.

* A lack of Sylar, his stuffed rabbit and Skulky The Turtle Wonder.

But overall, a good episode.
Morgan Richter said…
Was this the first episode back for writer Bryan Fuller? If so, kudos, man.

Yeah, it was. I've worked in television enough to know that even when only one writer is credited, these scripts are a group effort, and thus it's impossible to give any one person credit or blame for any individual episode, but snakes alive, there was a huge spike in the quality of the writing this week. Huge. And that spike in quality happened to coincide with the return of Fuller, whereas the initial decrease in quality happened when he left the show after season one, so... there are conclusions that can be drawn here.

In any case: welcome back, Bryan Fuller. Please stick around.

Loved the giant P on Parkman's chest.

Frankly, I thought the billowing red cape and the soaring John Williams score was a bit much. Still, it was cool when Parkman faced off against General Zod.

A lack of Sylar, his stuffed rabbit and Skulky The Turtle Wonder.

Fear not. Next week's ep appears to be all Sylar, all the time, probably to start the buildup to his season-ending climactic battle against Skulky.

According to the teaser, next week's episode will also feature Mohinder inexplicably wearing a paperboy hat, a la Newsies. This delights me. It's been far too long since Mo has worn something unfathomably silly.
Morgan Richter said…
Forgot to mention: I dearly love that the door to the room filled with all the drugged super-powered people was marked "HUMAN RESOURCES." I also love Danko's little burst of self-amusement with luring Mohinder into the room with some grandiose web of lies instead of just drugging him in his cell. Notice that Mo even had a little security clearance badge, complete with photo, clipped to his jeans. It's the little details that make me suspect Danko really loves his job.
Dan said…
And that spike in quality happened to coincide with the return of Fuller

Seriously! Honestly, I almost never pay any attention to the name of the writer of any episode. But, even before the credits had finished, the writing was so obviously better that I specifically looked out for it.

Still, it was cool when Parkman faced off against General Zod.

He had no choice. After all, he was the one who hurled Nuclear Daphne into space, saving the Eiffel Tower but destroying the Phantom Zone.

It's been far too long since Mo has worn something unfathomably silly.

He did have the Freddie Kruger shirt. But that was quite a while ago now.

It's the little details that make me suspect Danko really loves his job.

You can also tell by the seriousness with which he takes his morning shave.
Morgan Richter said…
After all, he was the one who hurled Nuclear Daphne into space, saving the Eiffel Tower but destroying the Phantom Zone.

Wouldn't it have been awesome if that had been Daphne's final wish instead of this "fly me to the moon" business?

But, even before the credits had finished, the writing was so obviously better that I specifically looked out for it.

I was shocked by the difference. It was poignant! There were nuances!

It also looked great. It had more of the striking visual style of the first season, with some great, iconic images: Peter and Angela in the Statue of Liberty, Tracy surrounded by frozen people in the frozen parking garage, her creepy blinking eye in her shattered head... Huge difference.

He did have the Freddie Kruger shirt.

Very true, and I appreciated it. But it's been a while since the days when he'd throw a multicolored striped scarf over a hot pink sweater, add a brown corduroy jacket, and cheerfully head out the door. I'm greatly cheered by recent on-set photos in which he's wearing some kind of patterned shirt in brown and mauve. Now that's a Mohinder shirt.
Patrick said…
Do you know that writing group exercise where someone starts writing a story and then the next person continues it and so on? Sometimes they get famous writers to do it (often for charity) but the result is invariably the same. The writers try to sabotage the people who come after them, ending their sections with increasingly implausible things, and forcing the next writer to make sense of it all. Then the next writer comes along and usually just discards everything that happened along the lines of 'The car crashed and everyone died. Elsewhere, Morgan was writing her blog...'

Anyway, that's what this episode reminded me of - a great writer (hats off Mr. Fuller) coming in with all his Star Trek references and shaking up a show that was dying, but also discarding annoying things that previous writers had left him.

How did we end the last episode? With Sylar apparently waiting for Danko, with the stuffed rabbit as a calling card. So how does Mr. Fuller deal with this? No problem! He just carries on, assuming Sylar just left, Danko went to bed, and then at a later date Sylar breaks in again and this time leaves the puppet master.

How does he get around the problem of Hiro having no powers? Easy! The baby restores ONE power, funnily enough a little bit like the way Peter was rebooted to only have one power. I think Hiro has that power for good now. The challenge was to find a way of giving Hiro some powers but not all. So teleporting is gone, but what they were really concerned about was time travelling and that is now nicely discarded, leaving Hiro with a good power, but not making him super powerful.

Tracy story was superb. Micah as Rebel made perfect sense (crushing my HRG and Angela theory), although also interesting that they knew all about him and his work.

Micah's return works very well. Daphne death was also well handled, though it seemed a little unnecessary to bring her back just to kill her again. Or was this Mr. Fuller just tidying things up again? Or have I got things completely wrong?

In any case - Bryan take a bow - great episode.
Morgan Richter said…
Patrick, your writing group exercise analogy is dead on. Much of this episode was devoted to undoing the damange and tidying up the messes and puddles left behind by previous episodes. It needed to be done.

Daphne death was also well handled, though it seemed a little unnecessary to bring her back just to kill her again

Yeah. It would have been far better if there hadn't been the first fake-out death. If she'd been injured and captured, and if Matt had never thought she was dead in the first place, they could have avoided the sense of repetition ("So... she's really dead this time?").

coming in with all his Star Trek references

Loved the Baby Genesis Project line. I'm a sucker for a good Wrath of Khan reference.
Ingrid Richter said…
I just figured that Sylar had a huge man-crush on Danko and was leaving surprise presents for him.
Morgan Richter said…
I just figured that Sylar had a huge man-crush on Danko

Hey, who doesn't?

I haven't worked out yet whether I like Danko or not. I appreciated his ruthlessness in this episode (shooting frozen Tracy, not caring that Daphne was dying). Compared to Nathan, who's been waffling all over the place, it's nice having a balls-out villain. And as I mentioned before, I do like his penchant for self-amusement.

On the other hand, he's really kind of a creep. It'll be interesting seeing him play off of Sylar next episode. That could be a fun dynamic.
Dan said…
I haven't worked out yet whether I like Danko or not.

I like him. Despite obvious limitations (ie being a creep, being incapable of rounding up the Fugitive Dream Team of Peter, Parkman, Mohinder and Hiro, being far shorter than HRG) he's hung in there, getting the job done (well, done-ish).

And heck, to the best of my knowledge, he's had the good sense to never hug a Petrelli. That makes him okay in my book.
Morgan Richter said…
And heck, to the best of my knowledge, he's had the good sense to never hug a Petrelli. That makes him okay in my book.

He's even shoved a Petrelli out a window. Some of my favorite people (Sylar, Claude) have shoved and/or thrown a Petrelli out of a window or off a rooftop. So that's clearly a plus.
Dan said…
Some of my favorite people (Sylar, Claude) have shoved and/or thrown a Petrelli out of a window

Angela didn't technically throw Claire-Bear out a window, but she did scare her sufficiently to make her leap out of it. Does that count?
Morgan Richter said…
Angela didn't technically throw Claire-Bear out a window, but she did scare her sufficiently to make her leap out of it. Does that count?

Ooo, I'd forgotten about that. You're so right. Yes, I'd say that absolutely counts.

Another little moment that I loved: HRG whipping off his glasses to talk to the shopgirl in the dressing room with Tracy. It's like he's an entirely different person!
Jason Gilman said…
Patrick, great insights on this episode. It's going to be interesting to see how the last couple episodes of the season play out. Will the upward trend in writing continue now that Fuller is back on board? I certainly hope so.
Morgan Richter said…
Will the upward trend in writing continue now that Fuller is back on board? I certainly hope so.

Me, too. There are five episodes left in the season (it's an extra-long 25-episode season, to help make up for last year's strike-shortened one), which should give them enough time to build to a satisfying finish.

Of course, one of those episodes is going to be a flashback to 1961 (episode title: "1961") to reveal the dark secrets of Angela's past. I dig Angela, but this pretty much shouts "unnecessary filler" to me.

(Despite sagging ratings and cancelation rumors, NBC has tentatively placed an order for 18 episodes next season. They could still scrap it, but most likely won't. Fingers crossed...)
Art Picked Me said…
Please, real fans who didn't give up season 2, like I did twice. This is the best the show's been since season 1 and last episode was Emmy level. Vote Right.

http://www.tv.com/heroes/cold-snap/episode/1253160/summary.html?tag=ep_guide;ep_title;20
Morgan Richter said…
Art Picked Me, I agree: this volume has been pretty strong overall, and leaps and bounds above Volume Two. I rewatched Volume Two in starts and fits last week -- some plotlines are too dull or annoying to muck through a second time without judicious use of the fast-forward button (the much-reviled Maya and Alejandro plot is outranked in sheer tedium by that damn feudal Japan nonsense, and outranked in terms of lazy, half-assed writing by the Claire-West relationship). The show's on the right track now. Let's hope the word gets out.

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