Heroes Volume Five, Chapter Seven: Once Upon a Time In Texas

At this point, eight episodes into the season, I should probably address how I’ve been numbering the episodes incorrectly -- or rather, how the show has been numbering them incorrectly, although I suppose it’s only fair that they get the final say. Even though we’ve had eight separate episodes, with eight different titles, tonight’s installment is Chapter Seven, because the first two episodes -- “Orientation” and “Jump Push Fall” -- are both considered Chapter One. So be it.

Am I stalling with minutiae before getting to the meat of the episode? Yeah.

Hiro, still wearing his hospital gown, travels back three years to the Burnt Toast Diner in Odessa, Texas to save doomed, pretty waitress Charlie. When a precocious kid catches him stealing a Knight Rider t-shirt from a nearby clothesline (excellent choice, Hiro), Hiro fills him in on his past history with Charlie. We flash back to scenes of their tragic romance, for the benefit of those viewers who never saw the first season. Aw, Heroes, that’s cute, but it’s an empty gesture: You haven’t picked up any new viewers since Season One. Really. When Sylar approaches, Hiro reflexively steps in front of the kid to protect him, which is a nice moment. There are huge problems with this episode, but it’s a good showcase for poor underused Masi Oka. Anyway, this version of Sylar has yet to meet Hiro, so he brushes past him and enters the diner.

At the carnival in the present, Samuel and Lydia worry about the failing health of Arnold, the old fellow who sent Samuel through time to meet up with Hiro earlier this season. Samuel makes tattoos of Charlie, Noah, Claire and Sylar appear on Lydia’s back. It’d be nice if Lydia’s power wasn’t so passive. There’s something a bit ooky about Samuel dictating what appears on her skin.

At the diner, Charlie serves coffee to Sylar and, with the aid of her super-memory, gives him a ton of details about the make of his watch. She also cheerfully fills him in on the nature of her ability, which is relevant to Sylar’s interests. In turn, he brings up the blood clot in her brain, mentioning that he understands how to fix things. Being Sylar, he’s totally creepy and off-putting about it. Charlie gives Sylar the hard sell for the diner specialty: Tahitian pancakes. Meanwhile, Hiro hides at the counter, silently observing them. Samuel sits down next to him.

And because everyone in Texas had a hankering for Tahitian pancakes that morning, there’s Noah Bennet at a nearby table, chatting on the phone with Sandra. He’s joined by a hot blonde lady. Oh, look, it’s Lauren, his partner at Primatech! You remember Lauren, right? From back in Season One? Played by Elisabeth Rohm, from Law and Order and Angel? Yeah, I don’t remember her either, but she must’ve been in those episodes, because it would be slipshod and crappy if they just shoehorned some random character into Noah’s first-season plotline from out of nowhere. Lauren and Noah mull over whether to start an affair -- she’s already rented a hotel room, just in case, but Noah is uncertain. Rest assured, this plotline is slightly more tedious and less necessary than I’m making it sound.

Samuel and Hiro talk about saving lives and changing the past and stepping on butterflies. Hiro is still gung-ho on saving Charlie; Samuel wants to make sure Charlie is worth it. Hiro wraps up his argument with Samuel and notices that Sylar has already left to murder Charlie in the stockroom. Before Sylar can lop off the top of Charlie’s skull, Hiro stops time. He carts Sylar away and stashes him in the baggage compartment of a Greyhound bus. But! He then frets that saving Charlie now means he won’t need to go back in time (again) to save her later, which means they’ll never have their romance, which means the whole space-time continuum will be messed up. He looks at the photo of Charlie celebrating her birthday tacked to the diner’s bulletin board and sees that he’s not in the photo, which means they never fell in love.

…You know, Heroes, it’s a bloody good thing you haven’t gained any new viewers since Season One, because anyone who hasn’t watched the original episodes featuring Charlie is going to be out to sea. I’m treading water here, and I’ve seen those episodes multiple times. Like, recently.

Hiro restarts time, then goes to confront his past self in the washroom to tell him he has to save Charlie. And Past Hiro agrees, and teleports off. And Hiro looks at the photo, and now he’s in it standing next to Charlie! The future has been saved!

(Remember watching Back to the Future for the first time, and chuckling at how cute and silly it was, and realizing it was the type of film where one shouldn’t think too closely about the details of its approach to time travel, and, even with all those caveats, still rolling your eyes at the scene where Marty starts to dissolve at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance because he’s been unsuccessful at helping his parents fall in love? The Heroes writers thought Back to the Future was a documentary.)

We revisit the first-season scene where Eden (hi, Eden!) and Noah try to convince Isaac Mendez (hi, Isaac!) to do more precognitive paintings to find out what happens to Claire at Homecoming. Noah, frustrated about the lack of progress with Isaac, storms out of the room and runs into Lauren in the hallway. Lauren kisses Noah, and they both giggle and blush. Hey, do you remember that episode of Deep Space Nine where they digitally inserted all the characters into footage from the classic Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles,” and all the actors had to wander around wearing those preposterous Sixties-era hairstyles and uniforms, and it was kind of awesome and hilarious? I have no idea why I just thought of that, although I sort of wish I had spent the evening watching Deep Space Nine reruns instead.

Back in the diner, Present Hiro introduces himself as Future Hiro to Past Ando and orders him to stay there and wait for Past Hiro to return from romancing… Future Charlie? Past Charlie? I’m lost. Would this make more sense if I’d ever read the Heroes tie-in novel Saving Charlie: The Untold Story of Hiro and Charlie?

Remember when Heroes was enough of a legitimate cultural phenomenon where they could get away with crap like selling tie-in novels? In hardcover, even?

Hiro hugs Charlie and tells her he’s going to take her on a vacation. She asks to go to Otsu, Japan, where Takezo Kensei was born. You know one thing this volume had going for it? The lack of Takezo Kensei references. Charlie starts gibbering random facts as her aneurysm starts to rupture. Hiro hurries back to the bus to get Sylar out of the baggage compartment, but Sylar has already freed himself. Sylar and Hiro have a zany standoff, with Hiro bopping around through time and space and Sylar just trying to lop his damn head off, until finally they strike a weird bargain: Hiro will tell him what he knows about Sylar’s life and death if Sylar fixes Charlie’s brain. For some reason, Sylar thinks this sounds like a good deal, and he performs a little telekinetic brain surgery on Charlie. In exchange, Hiro tells Sylar he dies alone after collecting lots of powers. Hard to know what Sylar thinks of this; I’m inclined to think that Season One Sylar would shrug and say, “Okay, cool. Lots of powers, huh?”

Noah drops by Claire’s pep rally, and the episode, which has been lurching and chugging along in fits and starts, comes to a full halt while Claire obnoxiously nags Noah about how being a paper salesman is such a lame job. We couldn’t go one single episode without Claire, huh? Not one?

We’re not done with the soul-crushingly dull scenes: Lauren and Noah meet in the hotel room, and Noah tells her he can’t go through with it, because he values her too much as a partner. They talk about how their human resources department forbids relationships between coworkers. We’re still talking about Evil Primatech, right? Primatch, which, at this point in time, was still being run by Evil Eric Roberts. Can you imagine Evil Eric Roberts giving a rat’s ass about his hired guns boinking each other on the side, as long as they showed up to work on schedule to perform routine vivisections on people with abilities?

Charlie, who feels like she cheated death, bawls Hiro out for letting future mass murderer Sylar go free. She calls him selfish for saving her and storms off.

At Primatech, Lauren gives Noah the motel key, wrapped in a note she wrote about how she had the Haitian wipe her memory of their almost-affair. I think “Hiro and Ando stop an Indian wedding” has some competition for the coveted Least Relevant Subplot award.

Noah sits next to Hiro at the diner. They commiserate, in Japanese, about how love is hard. Charlie approaches and apologizes to Hiro. She says she loves him and wants to run off with him so they can have their happy ending. When he follows her out of the diner, however, Charlie has disappeared. There’s just Samuel, who tells Hiro he’s taken Charlie back to the carnival in the present. Hiro angrily teleports them both to the carnival, but there’s no sign of Charlie. Arnold, the time traveler, has died of a brain tumor, which, like Hiro’s, was caused by his ability. His last action was to trap Charlie somewhere in time. Samuel will tell Hiro where to find her, if Hiro fixes Samuel’s past. He made a terrible mistake eight weeks ago, which he needs to fix before anyone at the carnival finds out about it.

Aaaaaaand we flash back to eight weeks ago: Samuel, looking like hell, apologizes to… Mohinder, who is lying dead on the floor.

Yes, Samuel. That does indeed qualify as a terrible mistake.


Comments

Patrick said…
Ok - I was going to watch this - but this sounds bonkers!

Should I waste my 42 minutes? At least Mohinder is back. If dead. So Charlie is stuck in time and space - alongside Caitlin I hope.

If the past has been changed - then how does this affect the present?
averys said…
I think “Hiro and Ando stop an Indian wedding” has some competition for the coveted Least Relevant Subplot award.

Definitely. What's the purpose of Lauren? To show how awesome HRG is, having the willpower to resist sex appeal of a blond woman?

Hiro cheated Sylar. I think Sylar was expecting something more substantial, like, at least time and place of his death, not the obvious "No one is going to shed a tear, even Mohinder!"

Speaking of Mohinder, I hope Sylar puts himself together and gives a good "fix" to Samuel.
Ingrid Richter said…
If I were Sylar, I'd ditch the cheerleader and go after Hiro and Charlie full-time - time travel *and* a limitless memory trump immortality in my book. Plus, Hiro totally cheated on his end.

I can only assume that Lauren was introduced to pave the way for HRG/Tracy in later episodes (he sure loves the blondes). Either that, or Lauren has a kick-ass power that we haven't seen yet ("One of us, one of them")

Oh, Samuel. Killing Mohinder (accidentally?) is very, very bad, but how come no one else on the show has noticed or missed him? Much like Nathan - too many characters dying off without a trace. Is everyone really that self-involved?

No need to answer that, of course.

Lovely review, as always, Morgan. Your Tuesday recaps are a highlight of the show.
levitatethis said…
Your review is, once again, spot on.

My head hurts.

I agree about Lydia’s power. It seems like an interesting one but it’s far too passive. Then again it fits into how this show approaches a lot of its female characters post-season 1. This is partly why I liked Monica so much before they just dropped her. She actively used her powers and wanted to try to do something with them. Obviously that’s unacceptable in the Heroes verse where the only good female characters are the ones who don’t really want to do anything with their abilities.

I despised the HRG/Lauren retcon from start to finish. So he had a partner we never heard about who he was having an emotional affair with at the same time he was getting The Haitian to mind-rape his wife repeatedly? Fantastic. Also (and I was going to mention this at my journal) but wouldn’t Bennet have recognized Sylar in the diner since this would have come after the “Villains” episode in Volume 3 when HRG and Elle were staking Sylar out? Or has the show (like me) decided to ignore most of Volume 3 all together?

I’m done with having any more HRG/Claire talks. Every time one pops up I roll my eyes and go into a daze for five minutes.

I LOVED seeing Eden and Isaac again. **sigh** Isaac. A character I really liked the first time around and although I miss him I still think he got one of the best death scenes on this show (if you’re going to go out, that’s one of the ways to do it). It doesn’t hurt that I think Santiago is the bees knees (he plays Lancelot on “Merlin” and is very, ‘be still my beating heart’).

I liked how creepy Sylar was when he first met Charlie. And her reaction to him was priceless (from happy and interesting to wtf as she backed away slowly while still trying to appear professional).

I don’t really have much to say with the time-travel business because this show has mucked with it so much that I don’t know where their “theory” behind it begins and ends. It’s one big clusterfuck and I agree with you it seems they regard “Back to the Future” to be a documentary on the subject.

There’s no way I see Sylar thinking it’s a good trade off to not kill Charlie just so he can find out his future…with that said, upon hearing his future I agree that Volume 1 Sylar would be more “lots of powers? Cool.” As for finding out he’d die alone I figured he’d be more “that’s it?” before he lopped off Charlie’s head right then and there. Honestly, I still feel like Volume 1 Sylar would have killed her…so does this mean he doesn’t have her memory ability? I’m confused (as usual).

Mohinder! Dead/in peril for eight weeks and no one noticed he was completely off the grid? What fantastic friends he has. In fact it seems Samuel is the closes thing to a friend since he’s the one (for selfish reasons, but still) intent that Mohinder dying was the beginning of the shit hitting the fan and that Hiro needs to fix it. Not that that means Mohinder figures into next week’s promo. Nope, looks like it’s back to the sorority house because we can’t go one episode without the fascinating Claire.

On the upside? Sylar makes Matt into a killer. Seriously, I’m actually interested in seeing that.
Jason Gilman said…
I actually watched this one because I wanted to see if Hiro could save Charlie. And what do you know? It all connects back to our favorite Indian character's untimely demise at Simon's hand 8 weeks ago! Now that I know Mohinder is (hopefully) on his way back I'm kind of interested in watching the show again.
Morgan Richter said…
This episode made me weary. The shaky grasp on time travel, Noah and Lauren's relationship, the Noah-Claire scene, dead and unmourned Mohinder... I feel sort of bleak about it all.

If the past has been changed - then how does this affect the present?

My guess, Patrick? Not at all.

I kept waiting for some hook to the Lauren plot -- at the very least, I wanted to know her power, because, yeah, "One of us, one of them", right? It was a bland, toothless, gummy waste of time. Heroes has also forgotten that Primatech was a big, evil organization at this time (vivisections, remember?), and there's something off-putting about following the chaste office romance of Morally Upright Noah Bennet and his giggly blonde partner without having any reference to these two being involved with horrible things.

Mohinder! Dead/in peril for eight weeks and no one noticed he was completely off the grid? What fantastic friends he has

Yeah. In the coming episodes, I need some regular character on the show -- other than Samuel -- to show genuine sorrow when they find out about Mohinder. (Won't be next episode, though -- Mohinder's not in that one.)

This episode made an already sloppy show that much sloppier.
Morgan Richter said…
Also (and I was going to mention this at my journal) but wouldn’t Bennet have recognized Sylar in the diner since this would have come after the “Villains” episode in Volume 3 when HRG and Elle were staking Sylar out?

I hadn't thought of that while watching it, but of course you're right. Yes, HRG certainly would have recognized Sylar in the diner. No doubt about that. I guess we'll have to fankwank it that HRG was in such emotional confusion over his growing feelings for Lauren that he failed to notice Sylar lurking in the corner.

Sigh.

Much like Nathan - too many characters dying off without a trace.

To rehash my ongoing complaint about the show: I hate how the characters don't interact with each other in any way approximating normal human behavior. Nathan can be missing, and no one cares. Mohinder can be missing, and no one cares.

I'm not much fun this morning. I'm sorry. The episode made me exhausted and sad. Much as I did with the volume three flashback episode "Villains", I respond poorly when episodes go back and inflict further structural damage on the already shaky foundation of the show.
averys said…
...wouldn’t Bennet have recognized Sylar in the diner since this would have come after the “Villains” episode in Volume 3 when HRG and Elle were staking Sylar out?

It's probably something of these:
- black cap and a newspaper represent an excellent camouflage;
- HRG was too engrossed in musings about his love life to notice any serial killers around;
- HRG is bad at multitasking. It's either eating pancakes or looking for Sylar, not both.

I’m done with having any more HRG/Claire talks. Every time one pops up I roll my eyes and go into a daze for five minutes.

I react in the same way (it's already happening automatically, my attention starts drifting away seconds after those two appear on screen). The talk in this episode was one of the worst. Freaking career advice again.

Anyway, I rather liked this episode. Now we have not only SuddenlyM.D.WhenNeeded!Mohinder, but Non-ContactNeurosurgeon!Sylar :)

The only problem is that now I don't know how to watch the show without jumping to "You've killed Mohinder!" conclusion everytime someone says "I've made a terrible mistake".
Morgan Richter said…
Now we have not only SuddenlyM.D.WhenNeeded!Mohinder, but Non-ContactNeurosurgeon!Sylar

I'm going to propose a Nip/Tuck-esque spinoff in which Mohinder and Sylar open a small medical clinic together, specializing in brain surgery on an outpatient basis. No anesthesia necessary, and apart from little unpleasant bleeding from your eyeballs, you'll be as good as new in minutes.
levitatethis said…
It's probably something of these:
- black cap and a newspaper represent an excellent camouflage;
- HRG was too engrossed in musings about his love life to notice any serial killers around;
- HRG is bad at multitasking. It's either eating pancakes or looking for Sylar, not both.


A multiple choice question in which all answers apply. Why is the show testing my patience?

Here's another question -- how could Sylar tell Charlie had an aneurysm? When did he get a power where he could see into someone's brain? Because if he could do that back then he didn't need to cut open peoples heads to peek at their brain. He could have still killed them but there'd be no need for the de-braining to take place.

I want that "Nip/Tuck" spin-off!
Ingrid Richter said…
I think Sylar just likes de-braining his victims. And, you know, eating the brains.

Sign me up for the Nip/Tuck-esque series too!
Morgan Richter said…
When did he get a power where he could see into someone's brain?

Another excellent question. Here's my fanwank: Sylar can only see big brain problems, like a ready-to-burst aneurysm, but for figuring out how powers work, at this stage he still needs to slice open heads and prod around in gray matter.

Alternate fanwank: Sylar just really likes the tactile sensation of prodding around in brains.

I like my spinoff idea, though. It can be a dark comedy, loaded with crazy unspoken sexual tension between Totally Fake Dr. Sylar and Not-Really-An-MD Dr. Mohinder, with a running theme of how they're always one step away from being shut down and/or arrested by the state medical board.
levitatethis said…
I get that he might like debraining his victims, but in season 1 I thought that the initial reason behind it was that he needed to physically see the brain to understand how a particular power worked. Now they're saying he could always just see it by looking at the person...

I like my spinoff idea, though. It can be a dark comedy, loaded with crazy unspoken sexual tension between Totally Fake Dr. Sylar and Not-Really-An-MD Dr. Mohinder, with a running theme of how they're always one step away from being shut down and/or arrested by the state medical board.

I'm loving this idea more and more. I can just picture it.
Patrick said…
Very hard to comment on when not watching but:

1. Didn't Sylar use the ability he had taken from Charlie at some points in volume one (the ability to learn things very quickly)? Therefore without that power things would have developed very differently.

2. Surely HRG must be worried about Nathan being missing, given that he knows its Sylar, and given that he hates and fears Sylar?

That Lauren-HRG 'relationship' just sounds weird. It also means there was a certain amount of dishonesty in what we were shown in volume one.
averys said…
Sylar can only see big brain problems, like a ready-to-burst aneurysm, but for figuring out how powers work, at this stage he still needs to slice open heads and prod around in gray matter.

Thank you for this version. I tried to come up with my own, but only made my head hurt.

Yet another question: Sylar saw Hiro's tumor too, maybe Hiro will ask Body!Sylar to help him if they meet at the Carnival?

I'd like a spinoff, too. They could ask Claire to guest-star (and donate magic blood in case of medical errors), I bet she would welcome a break from that depressing sorority stuff.
Morgan Richter said…
The Lauren/HRG relationship made no sense, and yeah, it's especially distasteful when you remember HRG was routinely having Sandra's memories wiped during this time frame.

Yeah, there's no question that things that happen in this episode should have lasting repercussions on multiple events (Sylar doesn't have Charlie's power; Past Hiro doesn't have the impetus of Charlie's death to drive him to kill Sylar at Kirby Plaza; HRG and Hiro have now met each other much earlier; Sylar and Hiro have now met each other much earlier), but I suspect nothing will be mentioned. From Hiro's perspective, the past has been fixed.

Surely HRG must be worried about Nathan being missing, given that he knows its Sylar, and given that he hates and fears Sylar?

Maybe he doesn't know? I mean, yeah, it usually makes the news when United States Senators mysteriously vanish, but Nathan's disappearance doesn't seem to be causing anyone distress, except for Angela. And shouldn't Angela's precognition tip her off to what happened to Nathan?

I feel like this episode ripped bandages off of already-infected and poorly-healing wounds.

And with the totally nonsensical introduction of Non-ContactNeurosurgeon!Sylar, I think we just found out how Hiro gets rid of his brain tumor this season.
Morgan Richter said…
Sylar saw Hiro's tumor too, maybe Hiro will ask Body!Sylar to help him if they meet at the Carnival?

You beat me to it! I'm sure this is what will happen.
averys said…
Morgan, that would be a logical plot development, which decreases chances of it happening :) We shall see.
levitatethis said…
1. Didn't Sylar use the ability he had taken from Charlie at some points in volume one (the ability to learn things very quickly)? Therefore without that power things would have developed very differently.

A friend pointed out to me that in the comics Sylar used Charlie's ability to learn how to drive an eighteen-wheeler when he was hauling ass to Virgina to kill Zane (and unexpectedly meet Mohinder). Then again do we consider the comics part of canon? I rarely do when it comes to this show but if it is then doesn't this change that?

Sylar doesn't have Charlie's power; Past Hiro doesn't have the impetus of Charlie's death to drive him to kill Sylar at Kirby Plaza; HRG and Hiro have now met each other much earlier; Sylar and Hiro have now met each other much earlier

Just reading this and then keeping in mind that no one seems to have noticed that a Senator is missing makes me want to strap all the writers to chairs and force them to rewatch Season 1 "Clockwork Orange" style.
Morgan Richter said…
I don't like needing to do this much fanwanking, but I suppose it's possible that, with the Petrelli family being so powerful and influential, that Angela has managed to keep Nathan's disappearance out of the press. But still, c'mon...

(In my own personal fanwank, I believe that it was the Petrelli influence that got Claire into a fancy college with her GED and poor high school grades -- her C- in Biology is canon, after all. Because I'm not buying her explanation that she tested well, especially since we saw her walk out of her Algebra placement test that very same episode. I have developed serious Claire issues this volume.)
Ingrid Richter said…
Rereading your review, Morgan, and something that bugged me first time around become more pronounced:

Why did the show bring back Nora Zehetner & Santiago Cabrera for the reshooting of the Eden/Isaac scene? Cameo casting?

I loved seeing them again, but wouldn't it make more sense to have them do a fresh, different scene together?
Jason Gilman said…
Okay, now I'm less interested again. Thanks for bringing me back to my senses people. Maybe in a couple weeks when we get the Save the Indian Scientist Save The World episode I will return to the viewing fray.
Morgan Richter said…
Did they reshoot the Eden-Isaac bit? I thought they replayed the same scene from before, but I could be wrong. I'd have to compare. It'd be a damn shame if they brought Nora and Santiago back just for that piddling little bit (though I'd be happy to have them both back around. Two great characters, both sorely missed).

Heh. Sorry, Jason! I think I might be bringing everyone down with my dismal outlook -- I know a lot of people really liked this episode, quite genuinely, so it might just be my sadness over Dead Unmourned Mohinder that's skewing my view.
Ingrid Richter said…
Oops. That might be my bad, Morgan. I just assumed that when they credit actors in the credits, they actually *have* the actors on set that day.

I do not know the ways of strange film people.

Jason, for the record, I liked this episode quite a bit, draggy portions and all. Even chortled out loud a few times...
Morgan Richter said…
You could be right, Ingrid -- I thought it was the same scene, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Overall:

1. I thought the episode was a very strong one for Hiro -- he wasn't useless or zany, he showed plenty of gumption against Sylar, and they actually dealt with his illness with some gravity.

2. I think the writers were fighting an uphill battle, structure-wise, because they had to build upon existing first-season episodes that were pretty structurally shaky themselves (Hiro traveling in the past to save Charlie didn't make sense in the original timeline; there's really no way it was going to make sense here).

3. Every single last one of HRG's scenes, with the possible exception of his brief chat with Hiro, was a terrible waste of time and energy and resources, and encapsulates all of the major problems I've been having with this volume (too many slow and pointless scenes).

4. The reintroduction of Mohinder: On the one hand, this nicely sets up Mohinder to play a pivotal role in the rest of the season. On the other hand, I have no faith that this will be how it plays out.

By the way, do we all just assume the line from the Official NBC Season Four Press Release about how "Mohinder returns to warn HRG about a new danger!" is patently false? Between this and the lack of Mohinder's Monstrous Beard, I'm going to make a wild guess about how this was originally supposed to play out: In the season premiere, a scene was scripted and shot in which Mohinder (and his Monstrous Beard) tips HRG off to the existence of the carnival. (It's been eight weeks real-time since the season premiere; it seems like the show is roughly following that timeline as well.) Then Mohinder disappears until this episode, where we discover he was murdered shortly after talking to HRG (and, er, shaving). But then, for whatever reason, that scene got cut. Probably to make room for that scene where HRG visits Claire in her dorm for no damn reason.
levitatethis said…
Now I feel the need to be clear that I there were things about this episode I liked, one of the main ones being that Hiro was written a bit more like an adult. I could appreciate what he was attempting to do and then having to understand that there are consequences to his actions.

I also have to say that I like the idea of Mohinder being set up (even in death) as a significant part of the plot.

In the season premiere, a scene was scripted and shot in which Mohinder (and his Monstrous Beard) tips HRG off to the existence of the carnival. (It's been eight weeks real-time since the season premiere; it seems like the show is roughly following that timeline as well.) Then Mohinder disappears until this episode, where we discover he was murdered shortly after talking to HRG (and, er, shaving). But then, for whatever reason, that scene got cut.

At this point I agree with this theory. I think this is what was supposed to happen and whether we'll see that in a flashback or not, who knows? I have little faith left in the show to get it right. Removing HRG from the equation (he can go talk to Claire about useless crap) I find myself very interested in seeing Samuel/Mohinder scenes.
Morgan Richter said…
I hope HRG gets his act together this volume. Under normal circumstances, I think he's swell, but between his ponderous scenes with Claire, his ponderous scenes with Tracy, and his ponderous scenes with Lauren, he's been dragging things down. It's like somebody involved with the show concluded that what audiences really want is to see HRG having long, pointless chats with blondes. So, yeah, until he gets back up to speed, just as well to keep him out of Mohinder's plotline.

I find myself very interested in seeing Samuel/Mohinder scenes.

I hadn't really thought of that, but those two could be pretty interesting together. Dear Heroes: Please don't botch it.
Red Haired Stranger said…
Hold the phone, wasn't Claire supposed to be oh so totally grounded at Homecoming because of her punching Jackie's face in? And then Zach convinces her to go anyways?

Gaaaggghhh!

Ok, I think I'm done. Also, Zach: kinda miss him too, along with Issac and Eden. The list grows with each episode...
Morgan Richter said…
Crap, Red Haired Stranger, I didn't even think of that. Nor, apparently, did the writers. But yes, of course Claire was grounded, and of course Zack had to sneak her out.

Give me a moment and I'm sure I could fanwank something ("She, er, punched Jackie after the afternoon pep rally?"), but I've already exceeded my maximum per-episode allowance of fanwanking. I'm just going to go ahead and label that a big fat continuity error.
levitatethis said…
Hold the phone, wasn't Claire supposed to be oh so totally grounded at Homecoming because of her punching Jackie's face in? And then Zach convinces her to go anyways?

I had a friend point that out to me this afternoon. How hard is it for the writers to rewatch the episodes/stories from season one that they plan on messing with to make sure they don't totally screw it up? Don't they have fact checkers of sorts?

I miss Zach too. In fact his friendship with Claire is the only one I've ever truly felt was believable where she is concerned.

Too much fanwanking is required to make sense of this show now. That's unacceptable.
Dan said…
... the lack of Mohinder's Monstrous Beard

By Mohinder's Absent Monster Beard!

I haven't seen this episode yet, but I'm saddened to hear of the lack of monster beard. It had taken on mythic qualities in my mind.
averys said…
Hold the phone, wasn't Claire supposed to be oh so totally grounded at Homecoming because of her punching Jackie's face in? And then Zach convinces her to go anyways?

Um... Lauren said to HRG that there were 37 hours until Homecoming would start (the scene after HRG's talk with Isaac). Later on, HRG says to Claire he hates he might miss Homecoming tomorrow.

I rewatched relevant scenes from "Homecoming": Claire punched Jackie in the morning of Homecoming. The day shown in "Once Upon a Time in Texas" precedes Homecoming, timeline is not messed up.
averys said…
A thought about Hiro: He wants to know where and when Charlie is, and one of his friends could be very helpful. Mind-reading is what Hiro needs right now. How cool would be if he turned to Matt? After all, Matt owes Hiro for saving little Matty.
Morgan Richter said…
Ah, good to know about the timeline, averys. I always assumed Sylar killed Charlie right before Homecoming, but nope, he's just wearing the same outfit.

I'm saddened to hear of the lack of monster beard.

As was I, Dan. After all the buildup, I wanted to see the beard.

You know what made me sadder than the lack of the monster beard, though? Dead Mohinder. Argh.
Morgan Richter said…
(By the way, Dan, "Skulky the Turtle Wonder will sort this shit out" is the finest search phrase anyone has ever used to find this site. Kudos.)
Morgan Richter said…
(Also, Dan: "Skulky the Turtle Wonder hopes Mohinder isn't dead" is a close second. Had to scroll down a little further to find that one. You've been busy today!)
Dan said…
"Skulky the Turtle Wonder will sort this shit out" is the finest search phrase anyone has ever used to find this site.

Thank you. I do my best to keep things current.

Just finished watching the episode and, overall, I thought it was okay. Yeah, there was plenty of sloppiness with folding this story into the original timeline. But, heck, at least Hiro got lots of cool stuff to do. And seemingly now has a purpose a little more, uh, worthy than preventing butt-copying.

HRG's scenes were, indeed, pointless. I figure maybe the writers wrote Tracy into those scenes and then remembered they were in the past, so changed her name and hired a different actress.

Or something.

But overall I enjoyed it. The presence of Pretty Charlie probably helped there too.

How cool would be if he turned to Matt?

Almost certainly too cool for the writers to actually think of.
levitatethis said…
Whew! Good to know the timeline wasn't messed up. When my friend mentioned the screw up I couldn't totally recall how events had played out during that time in the first season.

This is the first time this season (and the first time in a long while) where I actually felt Hiro was functioning at a somewhat adult level. I've been so used to him being written as overly childlike and I thought this episode did a better job of still maintaining a certain innocence to him while actually having him process things more maturely. Basically this was a step up.

My biggest problem with this episode was really the HRG stuff. It just didn't work for me.

Sylar was more hit and miss.
Morgan Richter said…
But, heck, at least Hiro got lots of cool stuff to do. And seemingly now has a purpose a little more, uh, worthy than preventing butt-copying.

Yes. There was a recent Masi Oka interview where he mentions that, starting with this episode, Hiro has a new purpose and his bucket list will be put on hold. Great news, because ostensibly we're done with watching him trying to save random characters from a lifetime off ass-xeroxing, but I wish he'd found this new purpose seven episodes ago. Pacing!

Sylar was more hit and miss.

Yeah. He had some good moments (I liked his fight with Hiro -- Ingrid and I were just discussing how rare it is these days to have a fight scene on Heroes), but he was a bit of a letdown after how cool and evil he was in his scenes with Matt in the previous episode. Still, he was a big improvement over Emo Carnival Sylar, so I'll take it.
Morgan Richter said…
Well, what do you know? It turns out that Mohinder's Big Film Reel of Plot hasn't been forgotten forever. (It also appears that it doesn't contain Chandra Suresh's homemade fetish porn, which frankly disappoints me.) Mildly spoilery for upcoming episodes, I presume, but it can be viewed here. (I sure hope you all like watching NBC commercials!)
levitatethis said…
I still don't like the idea of a young Chandra working on this top secret thing but I'll go along with it for now if it means that Mohinder is indeed going to figure significantly into the rest of the season.
Morgan Richter said…
I still don't like the idea of a young Chandra working on this top secret thing

Me either, and those clips are bringing back my deep and sincere hatred of "1961" (perhaps the first episode of Heroes that I truly despised, though sadly not the last). However, if this is the entry point for Mohinder's plot, so be it. It might be a good way to get him back into the thick of things.

...Or not. Could go horribly wrong, of course.
levitatethis said…
A part of me still clings to hope with this show (when will I learn my lesson?) that this could be an interesting storyline. But there have been so many "should have and could have been good" storylines that weren't when it comes to "Heroes" that I'm remaining very cautious.
Morgan Richter said…
Here's my take: As much as I hated "1961" (oh, how I hated it: I hated the altering of past events, I hated those stiff, stilted flashbacks, I hated the way it turned Chandra Suresh into a bad guy, I hated Angela's speech about how she wished she was as brave as Claire... actually, I just hated Angela, period), it was (very sadly) the last good episode to date for Mohinder. He was pretty sympathetic, AND it showed both Peter and HRG, of all people, treating him with kindness and respect. (And then he spent the remainder of that volume unconscious with a tube up his nose after trying to read a filmstrip by flashlight, and then everyone forgot he existed until he turned up dead. God, Heroes.)

So now we have this unsatisfying current season, where there's been no Mohinder and we've had some episodes that have been just as awful as "1961" (we've had some decent ones, too, but the one-two punch of "Tabula Rasa" and "Hysterical Blindness" almost did me in). My standards have now dropped: If our only chance at a significant Mohinder plotline is to return to Coyote Sands, I'll take it.

(The above was kind of a long-winded way of saying "Episodes with Mohinder > Episodes without Mohinder".)

In other news, I just now got my very own Mohinder action figure, complete with man-purse and thumb ring. The Heroes action figures are kinda cheap these days.
Dan said…
Does he come with optional Monster Beard? Because that would be awesome.
Morgan Richter said…
Sadly, no. I may have to whip up an Attachable Monster Beard for him. Still, I'm pretty pleased on the accessories front: He came with a man-purse! And the "Activating Evolution" book! And an Isaac Mendez painting! It's a quality product. And honestly, while he doesn't do justice to Sendhil's phenomenal bone structure, he's a damn sight less ugly than most of those figures. The Sylar action figure made me suspect someone at Mezco hated Quinto's guts.
averys said…
A belated post, but it just struck me:

In this episode, we're shown a scene from S1:
HRG tells Isaac that Sylar is killing specials one at a time. Isaac asks: "If you know who he is, then why can't you stop him?" Bennet replies: "Because nobody knows what he looks like. That's why I need your help." Really? In "Villains" he and Elle videotaped how Gabriel Gray sliced open Trevor Zeitlin's head. Noah knows both his appearance and modus operandi (one of Isaac's paintings even shows a cheerleader with top of her head removed), so he is:
- lying? I don't see why he would do that.
- failing to put two and two together? Improbable.

Or this is a glaring plothole of doom, a contradiction between S1 and S3 brought up in S4.
Morgan Richter said…
Good catch, averys, and I don't see any way to interpret that other than as a "glaring pothole of doom." I think you can look at the episode "Villains" as the point where the show seriously went off the rails -- that episode inflicted a lot of damage upon established continuity (by directly involving Elle and HRG in the genesis of Sylar, which removes Chandra from the equation, which makes Mohinder's role in this confusing (we see Mohinder in NY driving a cab in "Villains" right after Sylar kills Trevor by slicing open his head, which means Sylar has already murdered Chandra in cold blood, which means HRG and Elle couldn't be responsible for turning Sylar into a killer in this episode). It also, as you point out, means HRG had no reason to goad Isaac -- to the point of making him use heroin again -- to paint Sylar, because he already had Sylar on tape.) The show is still suffering the repercussions of one bad episode.

I get crabby when things get needlessly messy like this. There was no good reason to change Sylar's backstory, and it just caused snarls down the road.
averys said…
I think you can look at the episode "Villains" as the point where the show seriously went off the rails

I wholeheartedly hate retcons and OOC-ness from "Villains" ("1961" is a close second). And you are right, the damage is really lasting.

(we see Mohinder in NY driving a cab in "Villains" right after Sylar kills Trevor by slicing open his head, which means Sylar has already murdered Chandra in cold blood, which means HRG and Elle couldn't be responsible for turning Sylar into a killer in this episode)

Oh, this one too. Even if Sylar felt inexplicably remorseful after killing Chandra, this still means he had already killed quite a few people (and Trevor's murder looked somewhat... professional, didn't it?), thus establishing himself as a killer without help of HRG and Elle. No way around that. "Villains" defies logic even within itself, not only in the context of the entire show.

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