Five Conspiracy Theories About Mohinder’s Beard

Beautiful Heroes star Sendhil Ramamurthy popped up at London Film & Comic Con last weekend with a gigantic bristly hedgehog stapled to his neck and chin. From various attendee reports, he apparently made it clear that: a) the hedgehog is strictly for the show, and b) despite the lack of advance word about his plotline, he’s already shot some scenes, thus squashing rumors that Mohinder won’t be around for Volume Five.

(I mean, Mohinder’s probably not going to be around much, seeing as how he does not appear at all in the just-released teaser trailer for Volume Five. Oh, Heroes. In an erratic and uncertain universe, at least I can count on you to disappoint me at every turn.)

I haven’t found any official photos of The Beard, hence my crackerjack Artistic Rendition above. If you’re curious to see The Beard in all its furry, bristly, hedgehoggy glory, there are some great fan photos floating around online, such as the ones here and here and here.

Since there’s still no word about Mohinder’s Volume Five plotline, we’re left to ponder: why the hedgehog? What possible plot-based reason could be behind the beard? My beard-related conspiracy theories are below:

1. Beard = television shorthand for “soul-searching and spiritual introspection.” The only possible whisper of a fiber of a thread of Mohinder’s possible future plotline introduced last volume was the Big Film Reel of Plot discovered at Coyote Sands (not to be confused with the Big Box of Plot his landlord had stashed in his basement). Provided that, counter to my earlier speculation, the reel does not turn out to contain Chandra Suresh’s homemade fetish porn, this might be the launching point for Mo’s Volume Five plotline. And by “plotline”, I mean “handful of disjointed scenes of Mo wandering around Coyote Sands/Chennai/parts unknown, moping beautifully while doing nothing in particular.” I’m betting this is roughly how it’s going to play out: every three or four episodes, we’ll check in with poor Mo’s progress, and then after about a dozen episodes of this, he’ll either rejoin the rest of the cast in the main plotline, or he’ll just drift away into Heroes obscurity along with Maya and Monica, never to be mentioned again.

2. Beard = television shorthand for “Evil Alternate Future.” Hey! Mohinder had a beard in Volume One’s way-cool Evil Alternate Future episode “Five Years Gone”! And he was working for President Nathan, who was actually Sylar in disguise! And now Nathan really is Sylar in disguise, and now Mohinder has a beard! Coincidence?

Well, yeah, probably. According to LFCC attendee reports, Sendhil mentioned he hasn’t shot any scenes with either Adrian Pasdar or Zachary Quinto yet this volume. So if they’re doing the Five Years Gone universe this volume (which, for the record, would be a great idea), they’re taking their own sweet time getting there.

3. Beard = television shorthand for “crazy loner.” Fed up with the crap science he’s been forced to spew forth over the past three seasons, Mohinder forsakes his worldly goods and holes up in a ramshackle cabin in the Montana backwoods, where he neglects his personal hygiene, wears a lot of plaid, and scribbles cryptic, angry manifestos about how a goddamn solar eclipse can’t appear simultaneously in New York, Las Vegas, and Tokyo, and how a real geneticist would know better than to embark upon a lecture circuit devoted to describing two isolated cases of a mysterious virus, detected thirty years apart, as a “plague”, and how he never understood why anyone ever thought turning himself into an evil cockroach would be a positive, fan-pleasing character development in the first place.

4. Beard = television shorthand for “evil twin.” Scientific fact: Evil twins are far more likely to have wild and sinister facial hair. So maybe this isn’t Mohinder at all: maybe it’s his never-before-mentioned evil twin (a never-before-mentioned evil clone would be just ducky, too), who has imprisoned the real Mohinder in a tower somewhere and has assumed his identity for the sole purpose of causing mass chaos: befuddling Matt, seducing Noah, dropping Peter off of random cliffs. I could throw my support behind such a plot, especially if the evil twin had a totally different accent, a la Sendhil’s tour-de-force dual role in Death, Deceit & Destiny on the Orient Express. (Why, yes, I will be working in a reference to Death, Deceit & Destiny on the Orient Express into every blog post from here on out. Sendhil played twins!) Ordinarily I’d say this nefarious scheme would be unraveled when Mohinder’s friends noticed him acting erratically, but there’s a couple of problems with that:

1) Mohinder has no friends (Peter and Matt, the selfish bastards, couldn’t be bothered to spare a thought for poor captive Mo while they were making their daring plans to rescue Daphne from Building 26).

2) Under normal circumstances, Mohinder tends to behave so erratically (shooting Noah Bennet in the eyeball, stuffing people in cocoons made from his own bodily secretions) that no one would be able to tell the difference.

(I’m sorry. I seem to have a lot of pent-up anger toward Heroes these days. I don’t think this is healthy. I apologize.)

5. Plot-based reason? Hahahahahaha! There’s no plot-based reason! Remember how in Volume Two Mohinder went around with a broken nose and a bruised face for the entire back half of the season? And remember in Volume Three (yes, yes, we’re all trying very hard to forget Volume Three, but humor me for a minute) how Mohinder kept getting covered in disgusting scales and/or disgusting sticky white crap? The beard will serve no purpose other than to further muck up Mohinder’s beautiful face.

If you’ve got your own theories about The Beard, submit ‘em in the comments below. The best theory wins a fabulous prize (really, isn’t “praise and admiration from your peers” the most fabulous prize of all?).


Morgan Dodge said…
I still contend that Skulky the Turtle Wonder's contract came up and they were no longer able to afford his level of acting craft.

So to keep the animal interest in the story they hired Fowry, the black hedgehog. Sadly the writers plum forgot to write the new character into the plot, so instead they gave him the opportunity to portray Mohinder's facial hair.

Sad for everyone around really. I miss Skulky the turtle wonder already.
Morgan Richter said…
Could be worse, I guess. Mohinder could have to go through the new season with a turtle stapled to his face instead. As it is, I think he's actually got two or three hedgehogs there. It's quite a beard. I mean, he still looks beautiful with a beard, but I resent covering up his phenomenal cheekbones like that.
Ingrid Richter said…
Hmm, Mohinder the terrorist? Because beards are usually shorthand for crazy folk...
Morgan Richter said…
Heh. That'd thrill the pants off of poor Sendhil, who has taken such pains to avoid offensive stereotypes in his acting choices...
Morgan Dodge said…
I know that every time I start to grow out a beard I feel like killing someone. Makes perfect sense. Of course. [shudder]
Dan said…
Heck, Boy-Morgan, I don't just feel like killing somebody every time I grow a beard. I actually do kill people.

Beards - should only be worn under adult supervision.

Alternative Theory: Sylar pretending to be Nathan eventually has a similar mental breakdown as Season Two Nathan, grows his own beard and then morphs into Mohinder instead, beard-first.

Then he goes on a road trip with himself.
Anonymous said…
My theories:

1. The Beard is directed to a realistic storyline: "Mohinder and the Bad Economy". Poor guy simply can't afford razors.

2. There is a secret message/formula/list tattoed under the Beard! Mohinder keeps a secret, to be revealed in the end of the S4 (or not - if the writers change their minds).

3. Mohinder subconsiously feels that Sylar is not really gone, so he tries to protect himself. Plus, the Beard would totally distract Sylar from any murderous plans ( that's how Sylar will react: o_O O_o O_O )
Morgan Richter said…
Poor guy simply can't afford razors.

I hadn't even considered this, but you may very well be right! It could all be a timely observation on our economically troubled times.

I also love the idea of Mohinder having some kind of top-secret formula/list tattooed beneath the beard that he's trying to keep hidden. Makes perfect sense! Here's hoping he gets the tattoo removed at the end of the season, though; that face is too nice to cover it up with ink.
Morgan Richter said…
I totally ignored your comment there, Dan. My apologies. Yeah, originally I was thinking that Mohinder, like Volume Two Nathan, would become bearded and angry and drunk, but you're right in that it makes more sense to have Sylar-as-Nathan become bearded and angry and drunk (again), and then morph into Mohinder, beard-first. I mean, obviously.

Yeah, so per the Heroes panel at San Diego Comic Con, Mohinder is almost certainly not going to be in the new volume much. And yet they're still making him grow unflattering facial hair. Wrong, Heroes. Very, very wrong.
Dan said…
I totally ignored your comment there, Dan. My apologies.

No worries. Amazed it doesn't happen more often, really.

Did the Heroes panel say anything about Skulky?
Morgan Richter said…
Did the Heroes panel say anything about Skulky?

Yeah, apparently they showed some cool footage of Skulky engaged in a fierce mixed-martial-arts battle against a sword-wielding Ray Park. Everyone swears it was the highlight of the panel, though there were also rave reviews for the scene where Skulky mends Noah and Sandra Bennet's troubled marriage through only a few sage words of turticular wisdom. (On the down side, the general feeling is that Skulky's much-hyped make-out scene with Claire was unnecessarily sensationalistic and even a little silly.)

But there was no Mohinder. Have I made that clear yet? No Mohinder at all, and, when faced with a direct question about this sorry state of affairs, only a vague mutter from Kring about how they're doing smaller stories this volume, and how characters come and go. See, this doesn't make me happy.
Morgan Dodge said…
Mohinder, moshminder. You say Skulky gets make-out time? Go Skulky go!

(That's right! I said "moshminder!" Now, I'll be over here hiding. Don't hurt me. Please.)
Morgan Richter said…
Skulky, shmulky (see? I can do it too). I'm still surly and morose about the prospective lack of Mo next season.

But! I have found an exciting new career path for Sendhil! The smart people at Racialicious did a roundtable discussion of the recent Star Trek movie, and somehow or other the idea was raised of having Sendhil play Khan in a sequel. While it would be admittedly hard to fill Ricardo Montalban's rich Corinthian leather shoes, I think this is a fantastic idea. I'm willing to start the necessary petition campaign/billboard blitz/judicious bribery of select Paramount executives to make this happen, now.
levitatethis said…
Whatever the beard is meant for I'm certain we'll only see it in 1 second flashes since Mohinder doesn't appear to be around much in Volume 5. Yes, I know he's shot scenes for the new season but I watched the promo at Comic Con and he didn't appear once. Everyone else we at least got a glimpse of (except the Petrellis/Bennets/Sylar who we saw tons of), even Matt got a quick shot, but Mohinder was totally MIA.

I'm thinking Mohinder is going to get written out in some fashion because Kring and Co are morons who have no clue what made season 1 so interesting and are insisting on some scatterbrained vision of "interesting storytelling". How does one completely forget one of the most integral characters from Season 1?

At this point I want to help Sendhil escape from what's left of this mess. He deserves better. Mohinder deserves better.

It still chaps my ass because I remember how delightfully surprised the writers/actors/fans were at how Mohinder/Sylar took off (without getting into slashing, I'm talking about the canon of the show in season 1) and the potential for that storyline was infinite...and it all got tossed aside for what?
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah, I'll be surprised if Mo makes it to the end of the season. Then again, I'll be surprised if Heroes makes it to the end of the season without being cancelled...

One nice thing to come out of this, however, is that it's been sort of gratifying to see a wave of online support for Mo/Sendhil in the past few weeks, ever since rumors have surfaced that he might be in jeopardy. Considering all the fandom venom directed at him last season, it does seem that his image has been rehabilitated at least to the extent that a good percentage of the fandom thinks it would be a bad move for the show to get rid of him. So there's that.
levitatethis said…
It's funny you should mention the upswing in support for the actor/character because I noticed that to and it warmed my heart. Considering how derisive many have been towards both before this rumour it's nice to see the other side of the coin. A lot of people are starting to clarify that their issue with Mohinder is that the writing for him has been terrible and that a lot of potential was wasted...made worse is that it was wasted to prop up other characters and other terrible storylines.

If anything I'd like to see Sendhil come out of this well...and I'll take a decent send off for Mohinder, if at the very least to get him away from this mess. I keep in mind that Sendhil is on an upcoming episode of "Psyche" so maybe we'll get to see some of his comedic skills :-)
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah. I think if Mohinder had, say, died in the explosion at Pinehearst at the end of Volume Three, the overall reaction in fandom would have been one of "good riddance." So in that respect, I think Volume Four was good for restoring/generating some affection for him. Sendhil is so naturally bubbly and charming and charismatic that it really rates as a missed opportunity to so often write Mohinder in these unfathomable and unlikeable ways -- he could so, so easily become one of the show's big draws, if they'd only play to his strengths. Barring that, I too would like to see Mo get a dignified sendoff.

(I was watching Heroes at Christmas with my father, and he pointed out that Mohinder is really good at the dry, wry, throwaway lines -- i.e. "I'm driving a cab. You may have noticed" -- which he so rarely is given. Sendhil's funny.)

And yep, I've marked my calendar for his Psych appearance. Which, by the way, is getting promoted relentlessly by the USA network -- nice that someone thinks he'll draw in viewers.
levitatethis said…
I agree that the show has totally misused Mohinder/Sendhil. Those throwaway lines in Season 1 that he tossed at a handful of characters was always wonderfully amusing.

I also agree that his (limited) exposure in Volume 4 helped to stem the tide against him and it's nice to hear that at least one show/network knows a good thing when it sees it :-)

I'm hoping that wanting Mohinder to get a respectable and true to character send off is not asking too much, but when it comes to this show my expectations are low.

Someone at another site commented that the promo for Volume 5 with the carnival faction seems very Magneto...interesting since there's no Xavier side with the heroes still not really banded together and the very real possiblity of Mohinder (someone who really could and should be in the middle of all of it) being sidelined.
Morgan Richter said…
My worry is that Mohinder is going to dither around in the background for a few episodes, then will just sort of disappear, never to be mentioned again. And that will suck. (And really? There needs to be some purpose to the damn beard. I want a clear, logical reason why Mohinder has no access to razors this volume.)

I have no idea why the show drifted so far from the idea that Mohinder could eventually be the one to band them all together, like an Xavier with a really great head of hair. It seems like it should have been such a natural course for this character, but that got messed up when they gave him a power and sent him off on his own tangential plotline, and then stuck him on a back burner and forgot about him. The whole carnival plot, with an opposing band of super-powered individuals, would be an excellent time to start working toward this. But I've seen zero indication that this is likely to happen. A shame.
levitatethis said…
I share the same worry that Mohinder is going to be relegated to background noise/wallpaper before he suddenly disappears all together.

There had better be a legitimate sounding excuse for such a huge beard on Mohinder. I mean, I like facial scruff on the guy but this is lumberjack territory.

When you think back to season one there were so many good directions that the show could go in and yet none of those came to be. And then when the writers seemed to be moving towards something that might work it got mishandled completely. Giving Mohinder a power (and the way they did it) was terrible because it required the audience to fanwank something that should have been much clearer. All it ended up doing was hurting the character and I imagine Sendhil was unimpressed since he had been quoted some time during the first season as saying he was steadfast that Mohinder should remain without a power, that his strength and importance came in other ways.

I want to be excited about the carnival storyline because it has the potential to be great. But when have we seen that before?

Of course once Mohinder goes MIA I'll most likely be able to walk away from this show and put it on the backburner to watch when I'm bored on a Sunday afternoon.
Morgan Richter said…
There had better be a legitimate sounding excuse for such a huge beard on Mohinder. I mean, I like facial scruff on the guy but this is lumberjack territory.

I'm digging the mental picture of beautiful, fine-boned Mohinder wearing a plaid shirt and shouldering a giant axe.

What do we know about Mo's plotline this volume? Anything concrete, anything at all? There was the bit from Takhallus's awesome LFCC report:

"I just remembered that he said there was something, some plot thing towards the end of the season, which if they went through with it, would be "really cool". Someone commented that he hadn't done much smiling in season3 and would that change in season 4. He said "No, in season four I don't have much to smile about either." BUT he said that if they went ahead with this plot change then Mohinder would definitely be smiling at the end of the season."

Nice to think that Mo might: a) be around by the end of the season, and b) that something good might happen to him. However, this also sounds like something they'd tell Sendhil to placate him about not having anything important to do in the front half of the volume, so I'm not holding my breath. But seriously, is this really the only bit we know?

My best guess, like I mentioned above, is that Mo's going to do some glamorous wandering and soul-searching, most of which will happen offscreen, while trying to discover some Answers About His Father's Sordid Past. And for some reason, he'll have to grow an awful beard to do this.
levitatethis said…
LOL I think I already encouraged a friend to write a fic in which Mohinder is a lumberjack and Sylar watches/stalks him from the woods :-)

I'd love to think Mohinder will get a decent storyline (and something to grin about) at the end of the season, but I can't help but think of Dania thinking that Maya was going to get the chance to confront Sylar for what he did...which never happened. I don't know if that was a storyline that got aborted or if she was simply told that when in fact the writers had no idea what to do with her...and now I'm lamenting the wasted potential of Maya, Monica...anyone who could and should have been interesting.

Is it bad to say I need Mohinder and Sylar to cross paths again on this show? Not in a fangirly way but because their storyline in Season 1 was one of the most interesting to me and I'd love to see that touched upon again. Especially if Mohinder is going to ride off into the sunset.
Ingrid Richter said…
That goes double for me, levitatethis! Morgan and I are still fuming about the Volume 4 tease with Mohinder and Sylar crossing paths... all for naught (Mohinder's landlord?!? That was the tease?!?).

While I would never hire Mohinder as a lumberjack (unless I knew about his super-strength), I certainly would watch him from the woods. I highly approve.
Morgan Richter said…
Ohhhh, yeah, that teaser. Levitatethis, I'm not sure if that Heroes teaser aired in Canada, because I know you get different promos, but... oh, man. Slow burn. It was for an episode late in Volume Four, and the voice-over went something along the lines of, "Sylar's back, and he's up to his old tricks!", over a shot of Mohinder (wearing that ridiculous-yet-adorable newsboy hat) bursting into his apartment and looking horrified. And, of course, in the episode, he bursts into his apartment and sees that all his furniture is gone. Which, considering how we were led to believe Sylar would be waiting for him, counts as a truly foul bait-and-switch. Curse you, NBC promo people!

I'm still bitter about that.

Anyhoo. I think Mohinder would make a truly awful lumberjack, but I'd love to see him try.
levitatethis said…
I remember that tease/promo (I youtubed it after everyone freaked out about Mohinder/Sylar crossing paths again) and, like everyone else, was left ticked off and irritated when nothing of the sort happened. What kills me is that obviously the people that made the promo knew that Mohinder/Sylar was a workable selling point. Not that that means anything for the show.

Sylar stalking Mohinder is not only in character but it's something I think many of us can appreciate.

Mohinder would be a terrible lumberjack but can you imagine how colourful his particular brand of plaid shirts would be?
Ingrid Richter said…
Found it! The promo is at:

It doesn't have as much Mohinder as I remember, but I'm still mad about the tease...

Heh. I'd pay good money to watch Mohinder perplexedly look at an axe and a huge tree, trying to put it together...
Morgan Richter said…
I'm just picturing all the other lumberjacks wondering how best to explain to the fine-boned pretty boy with the fancy accent that real lumberjacks don't wear turquoise paisley shirts. Or salmon-colored sweaters. And they certainly don't accessorize with festive striped scarfs or newsboy caps.

What kills me is that obviously the people that made the promo knew that Mohinder/Sylar was a workable selling point.

Yes! It seems like much of last season was devoted to the writers desperately trying to form meaningful, humanizing bonds between Sylar and other characters: first Claire (took her power and let her live), then Angela (thought she was his mom), then Peter (thought they were brothers), then HRG (briefly partners), then Elle (pie-baking romance), then Luke (everybody loves a roadtrip!), then Danko (partners in crime), then Micah (saved him from Danko), then Claire again (that crap with mock-seducing her). While at the same time, they were spinning their wheels trying to figure out what on earth could possibly be done with Mohinder. Well, the promo department knew what could be done.

(And the sucky part is that giving Sylar special bonds with all these other people has effectively ruined his connection to Mohinder. Apparently Sylar can develop a kinship with anybody. Exhibit A: Luke.)
levitatethis said…
And the sucky part is that giving Sylar special bonds with all these other people has effectively ruined his connection to Mohinder. Apparently Sylar can develop a kinship with anybody. Exhibit A: Luke.

And this was one of my biggest problems with Season 3. By attempting to create all these "special bonds" between Sylar and others the writers ruined one of the few surprising and genuine parts of Season 1/2-- That Mohinder, someone who should mean little to Sylar (his not having a power and the fact that he's Chandra son being a big thing), somehow became someone whom Sylar felt a connection to (even after Mohinder calls him out on the Zane ruse and almost kills him, who does Sylar call first when he realizes he might blow up New York? Mohinder. When Sylar wakes up powerless and wants to get fixed he is intent on making his way back to New York to see who? Mohinder.) They worked because it shouldn't have.

All of that was washed away...which is with regards to the show I pretty much ignore Volume 3's existence and pay attention to tidbits of Volume 4.

You know what show I want to watch? The promo peoples. They seem to be more on the ball.

Great, now I'm picturing lumberjack Mohinder in a colourful plaid shirt, a newsboy cap and a rainbow scarf staring at a tree, with an axe in hand, saying, "you want me to do what?" (while Sylar gazes at him intently from a distance).
Morgan Richter said…
I know I've said this before, but my single favorite sight gag in all of Heroes was back in the first season, when Mohinder is standing in the ruins of his apartment, broken glass and smashed furniture everywhere, after he poisoned Sylar and tried to shoot him in the head, after Sylar tortured him and pinned him to the ceiling, after Sylar sliced open Peter's head, after Mohinder knocked him out with, er, a map... and the phone rings, and Sylar's first words are, "Mohinder, I need your help." Okay, that's awesome. And then it takes Sylar waaaaaaay to long to clue in to the fact that Mohinder isn't terribly interested in helping him. See, that's gold: hilarious, creepy as hell, and weirdly touching. Why couldn't we have seen some more of that last season?

Deep, moody sigh.

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