Heroes Volume Four, Chapter Six: Shades of Gray

Finally! At long last! Huzzah! After his interminable road trip, Sylar finds his real dad, who turns out to be a thoroughly creepy and cancer-riddled taxidermist. Sylar’s dad is played by the most awesome evil TV dad in the long and storied history of awesome evil TV dads, Smallville’s John Glover. This is exciting for many reasons, not least because it opens up the dizzying possibility that Sylar and Lex Luthor could be brothers. This would make a strange amount of sense, actually, and would be a whole lot cooler than last volume’s hastily-discarded revelation about Sylar and Peter’s fraternal bonds.

The air kind of goes out of Sylar’s daddy-murdering sails when he realizes his father is terminally ill, but he gamely tries to pick a fight with him anyway. Like Sylar, his dad can steal abilities from others. He’s also awesomely manipulative: he indirectly calls Sylar a coward and accuses him of leading an unsatisfying life, then somehow talks him into helping him gut a bunny.

While bonding with his dad over killing and stuffing small furry animals, Sylar (foolishly) demonstrates the healing power he stole from Claire. His dad pretends he’s not totally jealous of this, then riddles Sylar with arrows at the first opportunity. He hypnotizes Sylar with one of his myriad abilities and prepares to steal his power. Sylar recovers before his dad can cut his head open and frees himself. He taunts his dad for a while, then saunters off, taking his newly-stuffed bunny with him. Sylar is weird.

Nathan gets a call informing him that a drugged-up and panicky Matt is hanging out in front of the Capitol with a bomb strapped to his chest. Nathan thinks this is strange behavior, even for Matt, so he heads off to investigate. Matt reads the minds of the bomb squad to find out how to defuse it, then talks Nathan through the process. It’s not entirely clear why Matt doesn’t save himself a step or two by having the bomb squad take care of the matter directly, but I’m sure Matt knows what he’s doing. As soon as the bomb is deactivated, Nathan punches out Matt and apprehends him again.

Back at Building 26, Nathan gets cheesed off at Danko for almost blowing up the Capitol just to make a point about how people with special abilities are inherently untrustworthy. He threatens to have Danko fired. Danko is not overly worried. Danko is also becoming aware of the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Nathan -- who has a super-powered mother and a super-powered father and a super-powered brother and a super-powered daughter -- might be super-powered himself. Oh, Danko, you think?

The still-sweaty and shackled Tracy (Ali Larter, you’re a lovely woman, and I sure do feel bad for you having to do these scenes with that tube stuffed up your nose) receives a message from Rebel telling her that help is on the way. Danko interrogates her about Nathan. She tells him that Nathan a) has no ability, and b) is lousy in the sack. She’s not especially convincing on either point.

Danko then tries to worm Nathan’s secret out of Bennet. Just for kicks, Bennet sends him after Angela Petrelli. Angela taunts Danko with veiled references to shady incidents from his past and scares him off.

Nathan fires Danko and promotes Bennet. Danko, who refuses to go quietly, shoves Nathan out a high window and watches in grim satisfaction as Nathan flies off.

Danko returns to his apartment to find a freshly-stuffed bunny sitting on his table and Sylar lurking in the shadows.

Eric Doyle, operating on Rebel’s advice, breaks into Claire’s house, steals her popcorn, and asks for her help evading Danko’s goons. He claims he simply wants to go back to being a harmless and non-evil puppeteer. Claire, who is no fool (this episode, at least), tells him no dice.

Claire decides to take Alex’s old job at the comic book store. There then ensues a painful scene in which Claire is interviewed by the awestruck geeks running the shop while the (all-male) patrons gape at her. Ha! It’s funny, ‘cause girls don’t ever go into comic book stores, and guys who read comics don’t know how to deal with girls! The joke is even funnier now than it was three episodes ago! Hey, Heroes? You need to knock it off with this crap. No need to offend comic readers and women (hint: sometimes those two groups overlap!) for the sake of a hackneyed gag.

Danko’s agents locate Doyle. Rebel sends Claire a text message begging her to save him. Claire rescues Doyle and equips him with a new identity. Back at the Bennet home, agents burst in and hunt for Claire. Claire, meanwhile, hovers safely outside her bedroom window… in Nathan’s arms.

Los Angeles: Hiro and Ando arrive at the address on the “Save Matt Parkman” fax sent to them in India by Rebel. They encounter a frazzled babysitter, who mistakes them for her replacements and hands them a baby named Matt Parkman, who is presumably Matt’s son with his ex-wife Janice. I’m trying to keep an open mind, but I see no possible way a “Hiro and Ando take care of a baby” plotline won’t be dreadful. It’s like stranding Hiro in feudal Japan: some ideas are doomed from the start.

And the episode ends with Mohinderlogue! Aw, man, we haven’t had one of those in ages! Mo yammers on about fathers and sons or something, and it’s swell, but all I can think about is how we’ve now had two Mohinder-free episodes in a row, and how the universe is just a little darker for it. Not that there was anything wrong with this episode, but replacing the Hiro-Ando-baby nonsense with more scenes of poor shackled Mohinder getting buckets of water thrown on him would have really kicked it into a higher gear. But perhaps that went without saying.

Comments

Jason Gilman said…
Not the greatest episode in the world, but the Sylar part with creepy taxidermist dad was actually pretty good. It did seem kind of anticlimactic that his dad had completely forgotten his mother, but apparently he wasn't lying or Sylar would have known. At least Sylar came away with a new direction/purpose in life.

The whole point of Claire's brief run as Comicbook Store girl seemed to be to ask her the "What kind of hero our you question?" while providing a little levity. Plus they got to reuse the set I guess. It's too bad she didn't get a few more episodes working there though for further character development and general mind expansion.

I'm actually looking forward to Hiro as babysitter to Matt Jr. after the Indian Wedding plotline.
Ingrid Richter said…
Is it just me or is Rebel starting to slip? Does it really take that much more time to add "Jr." to a fax?

It also seems pretty clear that the Puppetmaster is still quite evil, and that Claire just helped him start a new life. Nice going, Rebel!

Loved John Glover's appearance. Fingers crossed that Sylar Sr. has a renewal of purpose in life and starts hunting Sylar Jr. down.
Morgan Richter said…
Glover was awesome. I'm disappointed he didn't steal Sylar's healing ability -- I would have loved the possibility of having a healthy, immortal, evil Sylar, Sr., running amuck. Twice the fun!

After his promising introduction, Danko continues to seem increasingly flailing and ineffectual. Still, I did appreciate him pushing Nathan out a window to see if he could fly. It's just not a wholly satisfying episode if a Petrelli isn't getting tossed out a window.
Morgan Dodge said…
I liked it okay. I mean, who doesn't want to bond with daddy over gutting cute little fuzzy critters? Well, okay I don't. I mean who else doesn't want to?

Did anyone else notice that there was a scene between Claire-bear and HRG where they didn't both manage to erode into totally annoying? Granted, it was a quick phone call and they weren't even in the same room, but still.

I wasn't excited to see Hiro back. I used to love that character. Zero character development, or worse yet backsliding, will do that. But someone has to look after Matt Jr., right?
So this is where I ask, why not Skulky? Really, why not?
Morgan Richter said…
Did anyone else notice that there was a scene between Claire-bear and HRG where they didn't both manage to erode into totally annoying?

Yup. Claire asked his advice, he gave her an honest answer, end of conversation. None of this mutual whining about keeping secrets/only wanting to protect her. Refreshing!

We're going to get dirty diaper jokes next episode, aren't we? Everybody loves dirty diaper jokes!

Sigh.
Ingrid Richter said…
Maybe Parkman Jr. has the power of invisibility? Or you know, he's a mini-Sylar and slices heads open with his wee little fingers.

Nope. Still not feeling the baby plotline.

Is Danko back in charge, now that Nathan is out of the picture? I can't see HRG being the one to lift the "hands-off" ban on Claire.
Morgan Richter said…
Or you know, he's a mini-Sylar and slices heads open with his wee little fingers.

Okay. That would actually hold my interest for at least an episode.

I'm guessing with Nathan on the run, Danko gets to keep his old job. I liked that his very first course of action after blowing Nathan's cover was to sic his goons on Claire. Not holding a grudge much, eh, Danko?

Also: there was probably some way the Matt-gets-strapped-to-a-bomb plotline could have ended even more anticlimactically, but I'm hard-pressed to figure out how.
Patrick said…
Great recap as always Morgan! Agree completely about the terrible comic book store scenes. This would be forgiveable in a different show. But Heroes is a show that is clearly written by comic book fans and is so heavily influenced by comic books. The show even has it's own comic for God's sake! So either the writers are so self-loathing that they want to show the world how dweeby and inept they are, or else they think that in some way they are better than the average comic book reader. Luckily Claire is now on the run so she won't ever have to work in the store again.

As for meeting Sylar's dad - is that it? And what exactly did Sylar learn? Or, rather, what did he learn that made him decide to go work for Danko? Which is clearly what is going to happen, he's not there to attack Danko. But at least he'll be back working with HRG.

Still more convinved than ever that Rebel is Angela and HRG together.
Patrick said…
Re Morgan's hilarious acount of Danko finally working out that Nathan has powers - even though his mother, father, brother and daughter all have them. Of course if we are being completely accurate here - Nathan is the odd one out. He wasn't born with powers, he was given them, if my understanding of some of the last volume's crazier stuff if correct. Poor Nathan.

I LOVE the people who run Homeland Security in Heroes. They are so dedicated to their job they don't mind if their boss decides to send someone out with a bomb to blow up the capital city! And they are prepared to push the button! Why? To make a point that powers are dangerous. Classic stuff.

And why don't they ever establish a perimeter when raiding a house? If they did they would capture loads of people (like Claire this week). Likewise for establishing a perimeter when a plane crashes and people escape.

With people like that looking after things I am glad I live in Ireland!
Patrick said…
Final comment before I go to bed - and apologies for writing so much!

I am still utterly baffled as to to the point of Luke. And does Luke seem like the kind of child that Mr. Gray would want to spend a LOT of time talking to, giving him his address and so on?

And if Mr. Gray really doesn't remember anything about killing Mrs Gray, then how come he was so nice to Luke? I thought Luke was meant to have reminded him of the boy he abandoned?

I am a little confused.

Final thought - if the Heroes writers ever read this blog (and I wouldn't be surprised if they do - I came across it in Ireland because it is the best-written Heroes thing on the web) then it is only a matter of time before we get a full episode with Mohinder losing all his clothes in some hilarious mishap and then getting lots of buckets of water thrown over him, while all the time looking into the camera with those sensitive, pleading eyes...
Ingrid Richter said…
Heh. I think to be true fanservice, Mohinder would also have to mouth the word "Morgan" at the camera.

Although, if it were true Morgan(s) fanservice, then Skulky would be wisely perched atop Mohinder's head during all of this.
Morgan Richter said…
As for meeting Sylar's dad - is that it? And what exactly did Sylar learn?

Valuable taxidermy skills and a fun new hobby! Apart from that, not terribly much. I have no idea why it made him decide to throw his lot in with Danko. Maybe that'll be cleared up in future episodes. Or maybe it will be one of those Unexplained Mysteries of Heroes, right along with how Nathan mysteriously healed up from his bullet wounds and came back to life on the operating table at the start of Volume Three.

And does Luke seem like the kind of child that Mr. Gray would want to spend a LOT of time talking to, giving him his address and so on?

Lord, no. Even Luke's mother didn't seem to want to spend much time with him -- I can't imagine Sylar's dad voluntarily hanging out with him. I think we can now safely file away the whole "Sylar travels with Luke" plot arc under F for "filler."

it is only a matter of time before we get a full episode with Mohinder losing all his clothes in some hilarious mishap and then getting lots of buckets of water thrown over him, while all the time looking into the camera with those sensitive, pleading eyes...

Best. Episode. Ever.
Morgan Richter said…
and I wouldn't be surprised if they do - I came across it in Ireland because it is the best-written Heroes thing on the web

Thank you very much, Patrick. I think the comments from all you smart and funny people really make this blog what it is, though, so a huge thank you to everyone for participating. It's much appreciated.
Morgan Dodge said…
Although, if it were true Morgan(s) fanservice, then Skulky would be wisely perched atop Mohinder's head during all of this.

Something for every Morgan? Wow! Ingrid! You're a genius! Brilliant! (Even if you forgot the pesto in a tube.)
Morgan Richter said…
No new episode next week, which is very sad. We'll have to wait until the 23rd. NBC released promo photos for the next episode, and they feature Mohinder getting sexily manhandled by thugs and possibly doing something idiotically noble (or nobly idiotic?), so my hopes are high. He seems to be both fully dressed and dry, though, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Also, the next new episode will be the first one written by Bryan Fuller since his return to Heroes after the cancellation of Pushing Daisies. This might very well be a good thing, though it's also entirely possible the show's drop in quality after the first season was unrelated to Fuller's departure. Still, it'd be awfully nice to get Heroes back up to the level of its glory days. Cautiously optimistic.
Ingrid Richter said…
Something for every Morgan?
To speak nothing of all those people out there waiting for some hot Mohinder/turtle action!

No new episode next week, which is very sad.
You know, I stopped watching Lost when they started doing this. Any word on the reason why?

P.S. Patrick, loved your multiple posts! But what is this 'perimeter' that you speak of? We just barge noisily through the front door out here.
Morgan Richter said…
Any word on the reason why?

They're showing a rerun of the volume four premiere next week. I don't think it's for any diabolical reason -- they probably just don't want to run out of new episodes before May sweeps.

To speak nothing of all those people out there waiting for some hot Mohinder/turtle action!

Whoever those people may be, I never want to meet them.
Ingrid Richter said…
Whoever those people may be, I never want to meet them.
Ah, then you'll be pleased to know that Preppies is in modest fifth place for Google's search results for "Hot Mohinder turtle action."

Er, not that anyone should be searching for Hot Mohinder turtle action (or clicking on the link to mess up your stats). That's just wrong.
Morgan Dodge said…
Er, not that anyone should be searching for Hot Mohinder turtle action (or clicking on the link to mess up your stats). That's just wrong.

Thank you for the heads up Ingrid. I now know exactly which search strings to avoid in the future. I wouldn't want to do anything "wrong" after all.
Ingrid Richter said…
Yes, definitely don't click on Morgan's blog if you're looking for Hot Mohinder turtle action. That would just be wrong.
Morgan Richter said…
Boy-Morgan and Ingrid, hush! My keyword stats are bizarre enough without you two yahoos spiking them (to the person who found this site whilst searching for "pee-pee bare bottom pants boy": feel free to hit the back button on your browser now).

The perpetually awesome Jack Coleman has another post up on his blog over at Television Without Pity. As always, he's brainy and snarky and awesome, which got me thinking: we should start a campaign to get Coleman commenting over here. He'd fit right in with all of you.
Dan said…
As for meeting Sylar's dad - is that it?

I kinda assumed that when Sylar mused that the healing ability was one that he'd picked up from a cheerleader who now lived in Los Angeles, at such-and-such an address, named Claire Bennett, phone number xxx-yyyy, best contacted between 6pm and 8pm Wednesdays after working at the comic book store, that Lionel would be making a visit on Claire-Bear to pick up the power straight from the source.

But maybe I'm overly optimistic.

Also, Skulky and Brer Stuffed Rabbit? Spin-off buddy cop series. With Matt Parkman, Jr as their Bosley figure. Call me crazy, but I smell ratings gold.
Morgan Richter said…
I'm slow this week. It hadn't even occurred to me that Sylar dropped rather a lot of unnecessary detail about how he got the healing ability. I hope this happens. Not because I want to see Glover go after Claire -- she's already had Sylar chop her head open and prod around in her piddling gray matter, and honestly, that's the sort of thing that should only happen once in her lifetime -- but because I'd like to see him make a repeat appearance, healthy and powerful and evil.
Ingrid Richter said…
Oh no! No new Heroes tonight! I'm trying to convince Morgan to do a "Heroes-related keyword searches" post instead.

In the meantime, I'll just add that I had a brief flurry of e-mails with David H. Lawrence XVII (a.k.a. Eric Doyle a.k.a. The Puppetmaster) after I followed him on Twitter. David Lawrence seems like a pretty awesome guy (I told him I admired how he used microwave popcorn as an evil prop).
Morgan Richter said…
Oh no! No new Heroes tonight!

I know! I feel bereft! Bereftish, at least!

I'll just add that I had a brief flurry of e-mails with David H. Lawrence XVII

This is very cool: Ingrid followed his Twitter, and he struck up an e-mail correspondence with her. As I was telling Dan, I fully expect the exact same thing to happen to me as soon as Sendhil gets himself a Twitter account.

Speaking of Sendhil (segue!), there's a new interview with Mr. Phenomenal Bone Structure himself from TV Guide (via Heroes Spoilers). It's very cute. Favorite part: Sendhil's look of flattered confusion when the interviewer gushes about he's totally the most important character on the entire show. Sendhil looks a heartbeat away from tactfully pointing out, "Er... you know I play Mohinder, right?"

I'm trying to convince Morgan to do a "Heroes-related keyword searches" post instead.

No dice. I haven't had enough zany search terms show up in my stats this month to make a full post. In brief, here's the cream of the crop:

why mohinder does not use shanti on maya
This confused me greatly until I realized they were probably referring to the Shanti virus. And then it still confused me.

im very confused about what volume of heroes is currently on
Volume Four. Season Three. One volume in season one, one volume in season two (there were supposed to be two volumes, but the season was cut short because of the strike), and two volumes in season three. Hence the confusion.

adrian pasdar gorgeous
Pretty sure this one is Pasdar doing a vanity google.

never hug a petrelli t-shirt
Pretty sure they were looking for the comments section on this post.

brea grant boobs 110%
Pretty sure they were looking for the comments section on this post. Okay, yes, I did make a comment about Daphne's cleavage giving 110%. I'm not proud of that.
Ingrid Richter said…
Aha! Boy-Morgan doubted me about David Lawrence (evil Puppetmaster extraordinaire) responding to Twitter followers and tested it out himself.

Love the fact that people are actually looking for idea threads from your comments section. Now if only more people were looking for Mookies_TM, the cookie that smells like Mohinder's hair...
Morgan Richter said…
And here I'll just glumly point out that I was following David Lawrence on Twitter weeks before either Ingrid or Boy-Morgan, and yet he never initiated an e-mail correspondence with me. I guess I'm just not special enough. (Deep sigh.)

Nothing will ever top the Mookies comment thread insanity. Memories...
Morgan Dodge said…
And here I'll just glumly point out that I was following David Lawrence on Twitter weeks before either Ingrid or Boy-Morgan, and yet he never initiated an e-mail correspondence with me. I guess I'm just not special enough. (Deep sigh.)

He didn't really strike up any conversation with me. He mostly wanted me to say "Hi" to Ingrid for him.

I also suggested "I'll be waiting for the spin off series where [he] and Claire-Bear tour the country with Mr. Muggles righting wrongs on [their] madcap, odd-couple tour. A series worthy of the 70s!"

He replied: "You keep wishing for that spin off, OK?"

But mostly he wanted me to say "Hi" to his good buddy Ingrid. Whatever.
Ingrid Richter said…
It's hard being this charming :-)

Aw, Morgan, just send David Lawrence an e-mail directly if you want to chat. Duelling Morgans *and* duelling Richters!
Morgan Richter said…
I'm consoling myself with the knowledge that I once got a way-cool and very sweet Direct Message from a nicotine-deprived LeVar Burton on Twitter.

I also suggested "I'll be waiting for the spin off series where [he] and Claire-Bear tour the country with Mr. Muggles righting wrongs on [their] madcap, odd-couple tour. A series worthy of the 70s!"

It would take a lot to get me to watch a Claire-centric spinoff. Not saying it's impossible. Just that it would take a lot.

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