Thursday, October 29, 2009

FlashForward Episode Six: Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

In a surprisingly posh train car bound for Los Angeles, Simon drinks and tells a hot blonde woman that he knows the cause of the flash forwards. When she doubts him, he advises her to use her phone to Google “quantum physicist genius.” She does, and the first search result leads her to Simon’s photo: he’s naked, with lab goggles covering his genitals. He goes on about quantum superpositions and Schrodinger’s cat for a while, which is intercut with scenes of Janis getting rushed into surgery. Olivia stitches Janis up, and it looks like she’s going to be fine.

Lloyd does card tricks for Dylan in his hospital room. When Lloyd tells Dylan he’s going to take him back to Palo Alto with him as soon as he’s out of the hospital, Dylan seems vexed. Bryce pops his head in to mention that it’s Halloween, and all the kids are going trick-or-treating around the hospital. Lloyd scurries off to find Dylan a costume. Somehow, the poor kid ends up dressed as Flavor Flav. Unfortunate.

Stan, Mark, Demetri and cute Al visit Janis in the hospital. Stan apologizes to Mark for being kind of dickish after the Senate hearings. Mark reunites with Olivia, who tenderly bandages up the wounds he sustained during the shootout. Which was in Washington, DC, 2700 miles away from Los Angles. You’d think he could’ve sponged off the blood in the airplane lavatory. It’s a six-hour flight.

Demetri wants to stay with Janis, but Stan orders him to go home. Instead, Demetri and Al start their own investigation of the attack on her. They go to the morgue to look at the attacker Janis killed, whom the coroner has been unable to identify. The guy is Asian, like the attackers in DC, and has cornea scarring from Lasik surgery. He also has a blue stamp of a hand on the back of his hand. Demetri remembers the phrase “blue hand” written on Mark’s board, linked to the word “Baltimore.” He thinks it might mean Baltimore Street in Silver Lake. Al argues that it’s just as likely to be Baltimore, Maryland, but he accompanies Demetri to Silver Lake anyway.

Halloween night: Nicole hands out candy in the Benford home while Aaron and Mark take Charlie trick-or-treating. A kangaroo hops down the sidewalk, just like the one hopping through downtown immediately after the blackouts.

Stan stays with Janis, who is now awake and responsive. He tells her about the time his wife gave birth, which makes her think of her flash forward. Her monitor starts to beep ominously, and she’s rushed back into the operating room.

Back on the train, Simon boinks the hot blonde woman. She tells him about her flash forward, which she says was a big gathering, like New Year’s Eve, with everyone waiting for the moment seen in their flash forwards to arrive. This is kind of interesting, but if that’s the case, why is this the first we’ve heard of people being aware of their flash forwards within their flash forwards? Confusing. Simon tells her what he saw: He was strangling a man to death.

Dylan leaves the hospital on his own and boards a bus, which, like the bus that plunged into the lake in Echo Park during Ned’s blackout, is from the totally made-up “UTA” transit system. There are about seven different public transit systems in Los Angeles, but no UTA. I don’t know why this irks me, but it does. Granted, we saw indications last week with “President Segovia” that the FlashForward universe is slightly different from our own, but there’s a very real snobbery in Los Angeles against public transportation, and it seems like the writers figure it’s a detail that doesn’t matter, that no one will know or care they’re just making crap up. On behalf of all the public transportation-reliant citizens of Los Angeles, I register my objection. If Speed could use a real transit agency, so can you.

Anyway, Dylan asks to be taken to 25696 Sawyer Court, which happens to be the Benford address. When he arrives at the Benford home, he brushes past Nicole and walks into the house, heading straight for the cookie jar. When Nicole tries to stop him, he says, “It’s my house, too.”

Olivia performs emergency surgery on Janis. Over the recommendations of her colleagues, she opts to perform a less invasive procedure. It’s riskier, but stands a better chance of saving Janis’s uterus. Doctors, please note: If you’re ever performing emergency surgery on me, please use the surgical technique more likely to save my life and don’t fret so much about my uterus. Thank you.

Demetri and Al drive through Silver Lake. At Baltimore Street, they see a blue hand on a stop sign. They head in the direction the hand is pointing, then continue to follow a trail of blue hands.

While taking Charlie trick-or-treating, Mark sees a bunch of men in black wearing scary masks, like the men who burst into his office in his flash forward. When he confronts them, they scatter. Mark chases one through a cemetery. He tackles him and rips off his mask, but discovers it’s just some teenager who’s been egging houses. Nicole calls to tell him she doesn’t know what to do about Dylan, who won’t leave the house.

Mark returns home. Dylan keeps insisting, “This is my house, too.” We see Dylan’s flash forward for the first time, in which he’s in the Benford living room, with young Charlie encouraging him to help himself to cookies: “Go ahead -- this is your house, too.” In the present, Charlie and Dylan greet each other like old friends, which confuses Mark to no end.

Lloyd arrives, having been contacted by Nicole via the information on Dylan’s hospital bracelet. He realizes he’s in the house seen in his flash forward, and also realizes that Mark is Olivia’s husband. At the same time, Mark realizes Lloyd is the man in Olivia’s flash forward. Olivia walks in the door and is shocked to see Lloyd sitting in her living room. Lloyd says, “You’re her!” and Mark snarls, “Not yet,” all of which is modestly intriguing in a melodramatic soap-opera-with a-sci-fi-twist sort of way, but which doesn’t hold a candle to the dead crows in Somalia, so do you think we can go back to that plotline any episode soon, please? Also, if Charlie’s flash forward -- which, remember, involved “D. Gibbons” being a “bad man” -- is so traumatic that she still hasn’t been able to discuss it with her parents, why is she so blithe and happy about seeing Dylan, whom she only knows from her flash forward? I’m feeling a little cranky, but this Mark-Olivia-Lloyd triangle is the least interesting plotline on the show, and it seems like some intriguing stuff, like Charlie’s trauma, has been shunted to the sidelines to make more room for some domestic squabbling.

Mark gets bitchy and orders Lloyd to leave and never come back. Lloyd and Dylan leave. Well. That was awkward, in more ways than one.

The hands lead Al and Demetri to a big, deserted house. They enter and find remnants of a wild party, plus smeared blood. There’s also a row of sheet-covered corpses. The blue-painted hand of one of the corpses peeks out from beneath the sheet.

Stan brings Janis flowers from Maya. Janis sobs and tells Stan that, despite Olivia’s attempts to save her uterus, there might be too much scarring for her to become pregnant.

Mark and Olivia squabble. Mark is passive aggressive and dickish and annoying, and I have to say, I don’t really like either of these two anymore. Olivia asks Mark if he’s hiding anything from her. He finally confesses that he was drinking in his flash forward, and she gets upset about how they don’t trust each other. It’s a long scene, and it’s difficult to get too invested in it.

FBI agents descend on the crime scene in Silver Lake, which is now known as the Rutherford case. Al mentions that he had been discussing the Rutherford case in his flash forward, which he apparently mentioned in an earlier episode. They show a flashback to this, and I’m mighty glad they did, because I have no memory of that scene ever happening. I have no doubt it did, just that I didn’t take particular note of it.

Dylan, back at the hospital, thanks Lloyd for coming to get him. Back at the Benford home, Mark and Olivia sulk, separately. At the office, Demetri looks at photos of blue hands, and Al looks at photos of a man on a website. He seems highly disturbed. There are hidden layers to cute Al. Stan remains by Janis’s bedside, Charlie sleeps, Dylan sleeps.

Lloyd gets in his car and finds Simon, wearing a Frankenstein mask, hiding in his back seat. Simon says he’s worried about Lloyd, adding, “We all are.” Lloyd doesn’t want to talk to him: “Our experiment killed twenty million people. What more is there to say?”

Monday, October 26, 2009

Heroes Volume Five, Chapter Seven: Strange Attractors

In the totally made-up small town of Cainan, Georgia (you can tell it’s evil, because it has “Cain” in the name), Noah Bennet watches while Jeremy, the kid who killed his parents last episode, is booked on suspicion of, y’know, killing his parents. The sheriff is being a dickwad to Noah, who (unconvincingly) tries to pass himself off as a family friend, but honestly, the sheriff shouldn’t go about releasing newly-orphaned teens into the custody of unrelated strangers. Noah calls Tracy for help, and she speeds into town in her cute car, and they exchange the de rigueur “I can get a latte here, right?” banter of all television city folk stranded in a backwater town. Noah persuades Tracy to pretend to be Jeremy’s aunt. Tracy is initially reluctant, because nobody involved with this show has sorted her motivations out yet and she can’t remember if she’s supposed to be good or evil this week, but she eventually agrees.

Tracy introduces herself to Jeremy and bonds with him over how much it sucks when you accidentally kill someone with your way-cool super-power. Noah tries to get the sheriff to release Jeremy to Tracy, but the sheriff is hell-bent on keeping him in custody. Tracy calls someone named “Dennis” to ask for a favor and is then interrupted by the sudden appearance of Samuel, who slinks around and introduces himself. He transports her to the carnival, and when Tracy asks where she is, Samuel replies, yep, “Home.”

Samuel shows Tracy around, rambling on about his whole one-big-family thing, then passes her off to Lydia. As Tracy departs with Lydia, Sylar approaches Samuel and tells him he remembers Tracy… but it’s Nathan’s memory of Tracy, not Sylar’s.

Tracy returns to Cainan, where she and Noah arrange for Jeremy’s release. Noah has set up a new identity for Jeremy in Georgetown, and Tracy will be on hand to help him control his ability. They try to escort him out of the sheriff station and to the car, but there’s a lynch mob waiting outside. When they get physical, Jeremy kills someone with his touch. Noah tries to get Jeremy to use his ability to bring him back to life, but Jeremy refuses and walks back into the police station instead.

Later, the sheriff discovers his deputies have secretly removed Jeremy from the prison. They wrap chains around his legs and drag him to his death behind a pickup truck.

No, Heroes. You don’t get to do that crap. You don’t get to evoke the horrific racially-motivated lynching traditions of the deep south (including the more contemporary dragging death of James Byrd, Jr.) in the service of your half-assed little show. Drawing parallels between made-up characters with made-up super-powers and horrific real-world hate crimes doesn’t give your show more depth, because... there's no parallel that can be drawn.

Tracy and Noah find Jeremy’s body, and Noah kicks himself for not being able to protect him like he promised. Tracy heads off to her car, and Noah slouches off in the opposite direction, and… I guess they just leave Jeremy lying in the middle of the road? Tracy pulls out a spinning compass, obviously given to her by Samuel, and looks at it.

Samuel stands in the middle of the road and waves his arms. The sheriff station crumbles into dust.

Arlington University: Claire and Gretchen discuss the World’s Least Erotic and Most Over-Hyped Kiss. Claire says she doesn’t want to mess up her only chance at an ordinary life by dabbling in lesbianism. Hey, Claire? Get over yourself. A bunch of masked strangers burst into the room, and Claire starts beating them up, but it’s just Becky and her sorority sisters, kidnapping them for the start of rush.

While being driven to an undisclosed location, Claire and Gretchen are crammed into the trunk of a car together. The show gamely tries to manufacture some erotic tension from the predicament, but all attempts are thwarted by the crippling lack of chemistry between these two. Claire and Gretchen are taken to an abandoned slaughterhouse with the rest of the pledges (all two of them. For a total pledge class of… four. Popular sorority, eh?) Becky tells them the drill: It’s the start of Hell Week, and it’s kicking off with a Screaming Scavenger Hunt. There’s a treasure hidden somewhere in the slaughterhouse, and whoever finds it first gets to sit out the rest of Hell Week.

The girls split up off into pairs, following clues in search of the treasure. Off on their own, Claire and Gretchen debate Gretchen’s lesbianism and Claire’s virginity. So help me, I never want to hear anything further about Claire’s sex life. I never want to hear anything more about Claire, actually, but I’ll settle for what I can get. A random meat hook comes flying out of nowhere and almost impales Gretchen, which gives Claire a chance to dramatically intone, “I'm starting to think this isn’t a game.”

The two other girls join up with them to scream for a bit, and then they split up again in the very next scene, which seems a little pointless, but probably no more pointless than the whole concept of a “sorority girls trapped in a slaughterhouse” plotline on a show about people with super-powers. Claire and Gretchen discuss their non-affair some more, until Invisible Becky flings a meat hook at Gretchen to get them to stop. The MVP award for this episode goes to Becky, in a landslide. Becky tries to strangle Gretchen with a chain, Claire fights Becky off, Claire gets impaled on a meat hook, Becky stops being invisible, and the other two sorority girls rush in just in time to see Becky scurrying away and Claire being totally, like, alive after getting impaled.

Los Angeles: Janice Parkman boinks Matt in front of a roaring fire. A lit fireplace? In Los Angeles? Look, it’s the week of Halloween, and it hit the low nineties today. It’s ten at night, and I’m wearing shorts and sitting in front of the fan while typing this. We don’t do roaring fireplaces here, romantic or not. Anyway, it’s not really Matt who’s boinking Janice, it’s the psychic manifestation of Sylar, who has taken over Matt’s body while Matt was off napping. When Matt comes to his senses, Sylar munches an apple (evilly) and talks about forbidden fruit.

Sylar taunts Matt, nastily, about boinking Janice, and after last week’s exploration of sensitive, damaged emo-Sylar, it’s mighty nice to see the fangs come out. Matt explains to Janice about Sylar being stuck in his head. At Matt’s urging, Janice takes the baby away with her to some undisclosed location safe from Sylar.

Matt calls Mohinder and leaves him a message, wondering where he’s gone off to. Yeah, you too, Matt? Delighted you remembered he exists, at least. Puts you one step ahead of everybody else. Sylar mimics Mohinder’s accent, poorly, and how sad is it that this is the best thing that’s happened this entire season? While pounding back a few brews, Matt notices that Sylar gets vague and distracted by his drinking. Matt concludes that getting plastered is the way to get Sylar to go away for good. Well, Matt’s never been the brainy one on this show, has he? Matt swills tequila and Sylar gamely plays along, pretending to recoil in agony with every swallow. Matt drains the bottle, and the apparition of Sylar disappears.

Janice returns, with Simon the Cylon in tow, just as Matt drunkenly passes out. When Matt wakes up, Simon the Cylon gives him a new sobriety chip and tells him they’re starting over from the beginning. Matt slumps off to take a shower, and we can see that Sylar is in control of Matt’s body, while Matt is trapped is his mind.

Sylar smirks and evilly munches another apple. Because that’s his new thing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fun With Keywords: Special “Where’s Mohinder?” Edition

Time for another look at the search phrases people have recently used to find this site. Is this just another excuse to use my snazzy “Where’s Mohinder?” graphic? Yes. Yes, it is. (I mean, just look at it! I Photoshopped ten different Mohinders in there! Ten!)

Let's get to it:

where's mohinder on heroes
sendhil leaves heroes
heroes spoilers +ramamurthy fired
heroes season 5 no mohinder?
is mohinder not in volume 5
why isnt mohinder on heroes volume 5

Mohinder will be back, probably in the episode after next, though it’s doubtful he’s going to have any kind of a relevant role this season. And yes, a male original cast member has been fired, and while I personal suspect it’s not Sendhil Ramamurthy, he’s certainly on the endangered list.

crockett loses his memory in an explosion miami vice
End of season four. After his rock-star wife (Sheena Easton) is murdered, a traumatized Crockett gets amnesia in a boat explosion and assumes the identity of his drug-dealing alter ego, Sonny Burnett. He then runs around shagging Julia Roberts and trying to kill Tubbs. It’s every bit as awesome as it sounds.

chef aprons with penis for Halloween
Er… exactly where are you planning to go Trick-or-Treating?

compass peter petrelli arm
Yeah, Peter’s got this moving tattoo of a compass that mysteriously appeared on his arm three episodes ago and has barely been mentioned since, even though we’ve had a few Peter-heavy episodes in the interim, and even though it sure seems like the sort of thing that would cause Peter a bit of worry. There’s no guarantee it’ll ever be addressed again. Somewhere along the line, probably around the time Peter stranded poor Caitlin in an apocalyptic alternate future and never mentioned her again, the writing on Heroes became disgracefully sloppy.

preppy gang vs biker gang movie
Whatever it is, it’s my new favorite film. The phrase “preppy gang” makes me unspeakably happy.

flash forward ridiculous
"flash forward" "nothing happens"
flash forward too slow

Yes. Yes. Yes.

please tell me claire and gretchen do not hook up
But they’re so loveable together!

do the kids sing on glee
Boy, do they! From what I understand, all the actors on Glee do their own singing. And they do it well.

people from heroes on glee
Meredith, Charlie and Bob.*
(*edit: And mean cheerleader Debbie as mean cheerleader Quinn, of course. Can't believe I forgot Debbie.)

heroes hysterical blindness terrible
Yes. Possibly the worst-ever episode, though I’m still going to cast my vote for “1961.”

heros scene in indian restaurant
heroes claire spitting indian food
psych indian dinner scene
bollywood homicide episode of psych can't see out of his left eye
psych bollywood homicide i see dead people

I could write a doctoral dissertation on the differences in tone between the Indian food scene in Heroes and the Indian food scene in the “Bollywood Homicide” episode of Psych. Both scenes had essentially the same premise (Westerners having a hard time with Indian food), but while the tone of the Heroes scene was weirdly malicious toward Indian culture, the latter approached it from the opposite direction and placed the ridicule squarely in the laps of our bumbling heroes. It helped that the scene was damn funny and chock full of bon mots (“I see dead people!” “I can’t see out of my left eye!”), and was executed with impeccable comic timing across the board.

who played raj on psych
who is raj on psyche
raj psych

Dear Heroes:
Sendhil Ramamurthy is smoking-hot. People like watching smoking-hot people. Sometimes, they'll even compulsively Google smoking-hot people to find out more about them. Just thought you should know.
Hugs,
Morgan

worst scene in heroes
Wow. There are so many to choose from. Here’s a random list of ten:
1. Peter rails at Jesus in “Into Asylum.”
2. Sylar calls Elle an angel in “Villains.”
3. The flashback scenes in “1961.”
4. Hiro stops the Indian wedding in “Building 26.”
5. Emma and Peter play the piano and marvel at the dazzling lights in “Tabula Rasa.”
6. Claire drops by HRG’s apartment and gives him a pep talk in “Acceptance.”
7. Claire and Gretchen mock Indian food in “Ink.”
8. Evil Alternate Future Claire tortures Peter in “I Am Become Death.”
9. Angela claims she only does evil things for the greater good in “Into Asylum.”
10. Sylar discovers he has The Power of Empathy in “It’s Coming.”

why did puck join glee club?
To further the plot. Glee is really not the sort of show where you should spend any time wondering about the motivations of any given character. Just sit back and enjoy the peppy musical numbers.

who sings avenues and alleyways on karaoke on the film love honour and obey
Jonny Lee Miller, and he does it awesomely.

who plays boy's father in flash forward
Snotty Commodore Norrington

what is matt parkman's sobriety chip for
You remember in the awful later seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer how they started making all sorts of ham-fisted allegories between Willow’s use of magic and drug abuse? Same thing here: They’re drawing parallels between alcoholism and Matt’s apparent addiction to using his psychic powers. It’s falling flat, mostly because we’ve never seen any indication that Matt’s powers are, in fact, addictive.

sendhil ramamurthy cheekbones
Phenomenal.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flash Forward Episode Five: Gimme Some Truth

It’s 1:30 AM in Washington, DC. Mark and Stan walk through a parking lot. Stan counsels Mark to keep his mouth shut about something. Mark calls someone and says he has good news. They’re joined by Agent Vreede and Demetri. They all pile into a car… which is promptly rammed by a speeding SUV. The SUV is crammed full of tough-looking Asian men, who start shooting at the Feds. Someone even fires a rocket launcher, and the car explodes. Ooooh, we’re deviating from standard FlashForward operating procedure and starting with a cliffhanger! Excellent.

Thirty-nine hours earlier: Stan, Mark, Vreede and Demetri loiter in the hallway of some government building in DC, waiting for their turn to undergo a lie detector test. Mark anxiously fingers a sobriety chip. There’s a montage of everyone relating their accounts of what happened during their flash forwards: Vreede says he was in the office along with Mark at the time, though he saw himself going out the security exit for unknown reasons. I think we’re supposed to conclude there’s something a little shifty about Vreede’s story. Mark tells the interrogators about the men with masks bursting into his office. He mentions that they were carrying AK-47 rifles, though since Mark is hep with all the cool FBI lingo, he refers to them as “Kalishnikovs.”

Post-interrogation, Mark calls Aaron, who is at the Benford house working on fixing their alarm system. Aaron asks if Mark has made it to any AA meetings recently. Olivia, venturing out of the home to get the paper, overhears this and seems concerned.

Stan plays basketball with some dude named Dave, who is played by Peter Coyote. The Senate is having hearings to redistribute emergency post-blackout funding, and Stan is fretting that the Mosaic funding will be taken away. There are references to Stan’s troubled past in DC, and his enmity with someone named Clemente, who will be chairing the hearing. Dave offers some not terribly convincing reassurances that everything will work out okay.

Back in L.A., Janis kicks the crap out of some guy in her martial arts class. I have no idea where she is, because it looks like they’re in some totally awesome temple, whereas every single martial arts dojo in Los Angeles is housed in a drab strip mall. I think it’s a city ordinance. The guy she just beat up asks if she wants to go to a showing of Enter the Dragon at the Nuart. Hey, I used to work concessions at the Nuart, for a very long summer! Yoko Ono came in once. So did Michael Stipe. And Helen Slater. Anyway, Janis does not want to go see a movie with him. Janis wants to flirt with another classmate, Maya.

At the office, Al gives Janis the CIA surveillance footage of Somalia obtained from the hacker known as Mr. Cheeto Dust.

Presidential press conference: President Segovia comes out, and it’s Stan’s buddy Dave! He fields questions about the Federal response to the blackouts. He mentions something about dropping unproductive investigations, and Stan starts to look pained. A reporter asks why President Dave hasn’t revealed the nature of what he saw in his own flash forward; the President assures him that all world leaders have opted to keep theirs secret. He flashes on his own flash forward: A man hurries into his bedroom, where he’s sleeping next to the (presumed) First Lady, and tells him that something is happening.

Aaron finishes fixing Olivia’s alarm system. Olivia quizzes him about the AA meetings, and they discuss Mark’s alcoholism for a long, long time. This is another deviation from the established FlashForward formula: Usually they save the slow-moving talky scenes for the last quarter of the episode.

In the Oval Office, President Segovia offers to make Stan the new Director of Homeland Security. Stan says his nemesis Clemente will try to block the appointment; Dave asks him to consider it..

Janis goes out to dinner with Maya, who turns out to be a chef. Janis confirms to her that, due to the conservative nature of the FBI, she is not out of the closet at work. Maya reveals that she saw herself with a wedding ring in her flash forward, which she finds confusing. Janis tells preposterous lies about her own flash forward (she was on the International Space Station having a three-way with Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton). They flirt outrageously and kiss.

The Senate Intelligence Commission holds a closed hearing on the blackouts. It’s chaired by Stan’s nemesis, Senator Joyce Clemente. She confronts Mark during a break in the hearings and asks him how he sleeps at night, knowing what he did to “that woman” six years ago. They quote Sun Tzu at each other, then Clemente mocks the Mosaic project. She doesn’t believe the flash forwards can be trusted: In her own vision, she saw herself as President.

Stan gives his testimony, where he emphasizes the importance of not pulling funding from Mosaic. What am I missing? It’s a website. A really big website, granted, but is maintaining it really putting that much of a dent in the federal budget, and if so, can’t they just follow Wikipedia’s example and hold an occasional funds drive?

Maya fixes Janis a post-coital breakfast, then they make out some more. Janis is off to work, but Maya invites her to a gallery event that evening.

At the hearings, Mark testifies about the dead crows and the two men who were awake during the blackouts. Clemente is snide and condescending to Mark. She grills him on why his flash forward recollections are “impressionistic flashes of reality,” whereas everyone else had clear visions. Mark starts to get mouthy with her. Clemente dismisses Mark’s detective work based upon his fragmented vision as being akin to voodoo or fraud. Stan storms out of the hearing.

FBI office: Janis, Al and some pixielike FBI agent we haven’t met before go through the CIA footage of the Ganwar region. They spot unidentifiable tower-like structures.

Mark tries to call Stan, but he’s not answering his phone. Janis calls and shows Mark, Demetri and Vreede a series of satellite photos from 1990 in Somalia, five months before the crows died. They can see the various stages of the towers being built.

Stan calls Janis and tells her he needs her to do something right away.

Janis meets Maya at the gallery. Maya gives her a whimsical talking alarm clock. Maya says she looked up Janis on Mosaic and found out about Janis’s mysterious future pregnancy. Janis gets flustered and leaves abruptly.

Stan shows up at the house of Renee, an attractive young woman with a young son. Later, Stan meets with President Segovia. Six years ago, Stan paid Renee a quarter of a million dollars to disappear with her son -- who might be Segovia’s kid -- to protect Segovia from scandal. Stan tracked her down on the Mosaic site: In her flash forward, she saw herself living in Puerto Rico, though she’s currently staying in Georgetown. Stan threatens the President with photographic evidence of Renee and orders him to prevent Clemente from cutting off Mosaic. After Stan leaves, President Segovia makes an ominous phone call to someone.

Vreede and Demetri drunkenly sing “Sister Christian” in a karaoke bar while Mark mopes by himself. Stan joins Mark. They snarl at each other about the disastrous hearings, then storm out as Demetri and Vreede switch to “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Mark confesses to Stan that his flash forward is a little fragmented because he was plastered. Stan is appalled he put his career on the line for Mark’s drunken hallucinations. When Demetri and Vreede come out to check on them, Stan tells them they’re celebrating: He secured their funding.

Olivia sets the new burglar alarm, but it doesn’t work. When she goes to call Aaron, she sees that someone has sent her an anonymous text message: “Mark was drinking in his flash forward.”

And now we’re at the beginning of the events of the opening sequence. Mark, Demetri, Stan and Vreede walk to their car. They hear that Segovia has appointed Senator Clemente as the new Vice Presidential nominee, following the death of the VP in the blackouts.

Janis carries a bag of groceries and walks down a dark street. She passes a woman pushing a stroller with a crying baby, and it doesn’t really seem like any maternal instincts have been sparked in her yet. Mark calls her, and we can see he was talking to Janis in the opening scene. Their phone call is interrupted by the SUV crash and the attack by the ludicrously well-armed Asian gang. Once again, their car goes up in a ball of fire.

Back in Los Angeles, someone comes up behind Janis and attacks her. She beats him up, but a second attacker shoots her in the stomach.

Mark, Demetri, Vreede and Stan all make it out their exploding fireball of a car just fine and have themselves a dandy shootout. Their attackers get back in the SUV and clear out of there.

Janis lies bleeding on the sidewalk while the talking clock Maya gave her babbles next to her. She has a vision of her flash forward: She’s lying on the obstetrician’s table and getting an ultrasound.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Glee: Mash-Up

A football player named Karofsky strolls through the hallway wielding a gigantic slushee. Mercedes and Rachel dodge out of his way in anticipation, but he beelines for Finn and Quinn. He tosses the contents of the cup on Finn and tells him, “Welcome to the New World Order” -- Finn and Quinn are no longer popular, now that Quinn’s pregnant and now that they’re both in the glee club.

Ken Tanaka and Emma approach Will about their upcoming wedding in Hawaii. For their first dance, they want Will to arrange a mash-up of their favorite songs. Emma’s favorite: “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Ken’s favorite: “The Thong Song.” In addition, they want dance lessons from Will: Ken doesn’t want Emma to step on his feet, as he had all his toenails removed from athlete’s foot. As someone who only has eight or nine toenails at any given time, I can sympathize with this. (Was that an overshare?)

Will tells the glee club there’s a lesson to be learned from a good mash-up: The differences between two wildly-disparate songs are what makes the combination great -- much like the glee club and football. Aaaaaaand I believe we have a theme. Will gives the class an assignment to come up with a mash-up for his favorite song, which happens to be “Bust a Move.” To demonstrate, he sings and raps and bops around and breakdances, and it’s genuinely great to see someone on this show having this much fun.

Quinn and Finn visit Emma under the whisper-thin plot pretense of needing her advice on regaining their lost popularity. ‘Cause Emma’s exactly the person who could help out with that. Emma sees Will, still in his peppy “Bust a Move” mode, bopping down the hallway outside her office while wearing shades. She suggests that Quinn and Finn wear sunglasses to be cool.

Emma shows up for dance rehearsal wearing a wedding dress borrowed from her cousin Betty. It’s a vast, puffy, Princess Di monstrosity with a billowing train. Will sings “The Thong Song” to her. We’re only ten minutes in, and already Will has sung as much in this episode as he has all season. When he accidentally stumbles against Emma, she’s unable to keep her balance in her gargantuan dress, and she somehow lands on top of him. They have a Moment, while Ken observes them grimly from the doorway, unseen.

During practice, the other football players get into a brawl with Finn over him spending so much time with the glee club. Ken breaks it up and bawls them out. To improve team morale, he’s scheduling an extra Thursday-afternoon practice… which, not coincidentally, is right during glee club rehearsal. When Finn complains, Ken tells him he’ll just have to choose between football and glee club.

In her bedroom, Rachel sings “What a Girl Wants” into a hairbrush. Ew. Puck lies sprawled on her bed strumming a guitar. He asks if she wants to make out. Rachel does. So they do. Which is very odd, but totally clears up the mystery of why “Rachel and Puck hook up” has been one of the leading Google keyword search results for this site for the past couple of weeks. Puck flashes back to how his relationship with Rachel began: He was eating Chinese food with his family while watching Schindler’s List, and his mother urged him to date a Jewish girl. Shortly thereafter, he had a dream where Rachel climbed through his window, wearing a Jewish star, which he interpreted as a message from God that he should hook up with her. And soon enough, Puck was bringing Rachel slushees instead of dumping them on her.

Rachel, for her part, has been imagining that Puck is Finn during their makeout sessions. She claims she won’t give herself to him if he’s not brave enough to sing a solo. So next rehearsal, Puck does a very plausible Neil Diamond imitation and warbles “Sweet Caroline” at Rachel.

Finn and Quinn wander through the halls, sunglasses on. The shades fail to work their magic, and soon enough they’re surrounded by a slushee-wielding gauntlet of popular kids, who scorn them for joining the glee club. (“Bros before hi-hos,” one of them says, and I have no idea what that means.) Finn and Quinn get drenched.

For the latest installment of “Sue’s Corner”, Sue’s odious local news segment, Sue rhapsodizes about how it’s totally okay with her if people want to marry their dogs: “I for one think intimacy has no place in a marriage.” When news anchorman Rod invites Sue over for fondue at his condo, she unexpectedly agrees. Smash cut to a newly mellow and pleasant-natured Sue energetically swing-dancing with Will (at one point Will does a front handspring, and why on earth has it taken seven episodes to learn that Will can do that?). It turns out Sue asked him for dance lessons because, after an idyllic first date with Rod, he invited her to participate in a Swing Dance-A-Thon. I like this episode a lot. In lieu of a plot, we’re just getting a bunch of musical numbers tied together with non-sequiturs.

After Sue tells Will about Ken forcing the kids to choose between glee club and football, Will confronts Ken. He initially assumes it’s because Ken got his feelings hurt when Will scorned “The Thong Song,” but Ken sets him straight: It’s because Emma secretly loves Will, and Ken knows he’s the consolation prize. So he’s making the football players choose: If they stay with team, the glee club won’t have enough members to compete at Sectionals, and thus the club will be disbanded.

Rachel and Puck stroll the hallway. While she happily picks apart Puck’s performance of “Sweet Caroline,” one of the cool kids approaches and throws a slushee on him. Rachel washes it out of his hair in the bathroom sink. He apologizes for ever dumping soda on her, because it feels terrible: “I feel like I could burst into tears at any moment.” He tells her he’s going to choose football over glee club -- and over her. Rachel kisses him on the forehead and tells him she understands.

Emma and Will shop for a better wedding dress. Emma sings “I Could Have Danced All Night” and dances around the bridal boutique with Will, and it’s lovely and romantic. This is a really good episode.

The glee club kids wait to see if any of the football players will show up to rehearsal (Quinn is still wearing her shades, which is oddly hilarious). Cute Mike Chang and the cute other football guy whose name I don’t know walk in… followed by Puck. Rachel and Puck embrace. Finn, however, opted to stay with the football team.

Finn, armed with a slushee, approaches Kurt in the hallway. He doesn’t want to throw it at him, but if he doesn’t, the football team will kick the crap out of him. Kurt tells him to go ahead and do it. Finn hesitates, so Kurt takes the slushee and dumps it over himself, telling Finn he’s taking one for the team. Kind of like when I had to wear raw frozen turkeys on my feet for a Talk Soup sketch. Good times.

Puck watches football practice from the bleachers. Rachel plops down beside him and tells him she doesn’t think the relationship will work out. This is totally okay with Puck, since he was going to break up with her anyway. He knows she secretly loves Finn; Rachel knows Puck secretly loves Quinn. Rachel wonders if they can still be friends, and Puck rightly points out that they’ve never been friends. Too bad. They were kind of cute together.

Finn stammers out a garbled explanation to Ken about how he sees a future where it’s okay to be in glee club and play football at the same time. Ken tells him he’s canceled the Thursday afternoon practices, so Finn and the others can once again do both.

When Sue, garbed in a zoot suit for the swing dancing competition, comes across Rod making out with his co-anchor Andrea, she’s heartbroken. The brusque and merciless version of Sue returns. She orders Quinn to take off the sunglasses and boots her from the Cheerios due to her pregnancy.

Will knocks on Emma’s office door and tells her he won’t be able to do her wedding mash-up. She thanks him for the dance lessons, and Will slumps off. And somehow it all ends with Will getting hit by a dozen slushees hurled by the members of the glee club, including Finn and a now out-of-uniform Quinn.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heroes Volume Five, Chapter Six: Tabula Rasa

Hiro wakes and finds himself in a hospital bed with Peter sitting at his side. They discuss Hiro’s brain tumor. Is this the first time it’s been explicitly referred to as a tumor? I think it is, right? Up until now, it’s just been kind of this nonspecific though fatal medical condition. Peter draws upon his hospice-nurse training and says he’s going to ease Hiro through the “transition”, i.e. his looming death. Hiro thinks destiny has brought him to Peter to fix a problem in Peter’s life; Peter asks him to consider the possibility that it’s the other way around. Maybe Hiro teleported to Peter so Peter could find some way to heal him. He absorbs Hiro’s teleportation power and takes off. Peter runs into a distraught Emma in the hallway, who asks him if he sent a cello -- the cello she was playing at the end of last episode -- to her apartment. Peter seems confused by this, but he doesn’t have time to discuss it. He advises Emma to talk to Hiro about her abilities.

Claire shows up at Noah’s apartment, tells him it’s laundry day, and asks him for quarters. Well, that’s a little confusing: Is she going to do his laundry? Did she haul her own laundry there with the intention of using a Laundromat near her father's place instead of the one in her dormitory? Do Claire and Noah have a standing father-daughter laundry appointment? Or did she just stop by to steal some quarters so she could do her own laundry back on campus? The mystery will remain forever unsolved, because they’re interrupted by a noise somewhere in the apartment. Noah draws his gun and goes to investigate, but it’s just stupid old Peter, who has mistakenly teleported into the bathroom.

When Peter tells them he’s looking for a healer, Claire immediately volunteers her Magic Blood™. Well, hallelujah, the continuity fairies finally decided to pay this season a long-overdue visit! (Also: Good for you, Claire, trying to be helpful and proactive for once! Isn’t that better than grousing about how you just want to have a normal life?) Noah ruins things by pointing out that Hiro’s tumor is living tissue and thus Claire’s blood would make it worse, which sort of directly contradicts everything we’ve ever learned about Magic Blood™ thus far, but hell, I’ll give this episode a point for effort anyway. (This is a valuable lesson, Heroes: See how much more generous I get when you actually sort of try to take a stab at maybe, like, incorporating past events into the current plot?) Noah comes up with the name of a young boy with a healing ability whom he had investigated during his days with the Company: Jeremy Greer, who lives in Georgia. Noah and Peter teleport off, leaving Claire by herself.

At Jeremy’s house, they find dead birds in a cage by the door and Jeremy’s parents dead in the living room. Noah brings up an example of a case in China where a healer’s power manifested into something deadly. From upstairs, Jeremy opens fire on Peter and Noah with a shotgun and orders them to get away from him. Noah tries to reason with Jeremy while Peter sneaks out and tries to find a way in through the back. Jeremy insists he killed his parents accidentally, when his healing ability went awry. When Peter bursts in, Jeremy fires the shotgun. Peter stops time, but still manages to get shot. When time resumes, he collapses to the floor, hemorrhaging blood. Noah talks a distraught Jeremy through the process of healing Peter, and seems greatly relieved when Peter returns to life. You know one nice thing about this episode? Hiro and Peter, Peter and Noah, Claire and Peter… the characters are actually sort of believably interacting with each other, like they’re aware of their mutual history, instead of acting weird and distant like they have for most of this season thus far.

Noah confirms that Peter took Jeremy’s ability, then gives him the keys to a truck and sends him back to New York to heal Hiro. Noah calls the police, telling Jeremy he’s made it look like his parents died of carbon monoxide poisoning and that Jeremy can say he came home from school and discovered their bodies. Which, considering his parents were already in an advanced state of decomposition, is going to be sort of a nice trick, but Noah seems confident they can pull this off. He promises to stick around until he’s made sure things will be okay for Jeremy. He tells him, “It used to be my job to watch over people like you.” Er… when was this, Noah? This was obviously sometime before you ever started working for the Company, because we saw all those flashbacks to what you were up to circa “Company Man”, and Noah, you’re kidding yourself if you ever thought you were helping people. See, this is vaguely insulting, the way they’ve been whitewashing Noah’s past actions and his character (Sylar’s, too, to an even greater extent). Viewers have long memories.

At the hospital, Emma knocks on Hiro’s door and introduces herself. She has trouble reading his lips, what with his accent and his tendency to lapse into Japanese, but she eventually gets it across that she wants to know how to make her power stop. Hiro tells her that abilities are a gift. Hiro, lugging his IV behind him, trails Emma around for a while, filling her in on his powers. He sees a flyer for a hospital talent show and soon enough, Emma finds an announcement for a performance by “Hiro the Magnificent.” When she goes to investigate, she sees Hiro entertaining a group of patients with an impromptu magic show. He introduces her as “Emma the Also Magnificent”, then covers her with a sheet and encourages everyone to applaud. He stops time and shows Emma the colorful lights created by the noise from the applause. He informs her, “There are no bad powers,” which… I think poor Maya might have a word or two to say about that.

Emma hides at the back of the room. When Hiro resumes time, it looks like she’s disappeared. She reappears to more applause, and for the first time we see sullen Emma being rather charming and likeable. He discusses his terminal illness with her, which brings up memories of waitress Charlie and the way she cheerfully faced her own brain tumor. Hiro realizes he left Charlie off of his list of the wrongs he needs to fix before he dies.

Later, Emma finds a piano and starts to play. Okay, no, we’ve already had one interminable piano-playing scene and one interminable cello-playing scene thus far this season. This must stop. It’s filler, and the music itself is sort of atonal and unpleasant, and the special effect of the dancing lights isn’t striking enough to watch it for several minutes every episode. Tighten the scripts, and lose these musical interludes. Hiro wanders out of his room to investigate the music. Emma orders him back to bed, but he teleports off without warning. When Peter returns, Emma fills him in on Hiro’s latest disappearance. Peter sees “Save Charlie” scrawled on a scrap of paper.

Hiro reappears three years in the past, at the Burnt Toast Diner in Texas, and spots Charlie.

Lydia and Samuel, who are very aware of their new guest’s true identity, discuss what to do with him. Samuel tells Sylar he believes he’s been damaged and has come to them to heal. When Samuel addresses him by his chosen name, a bewildered Sylar mentions that the police told him his name was Gabriel. Samuel says he’ll call him by the first name that pops into his head. Sylar replies, “Nathan,” which kind of flummoxes Samuel.

Samuel explains that everyone in the carnival is special -- by way of illustration, a man named Teddy demonstrates how he can make objects disappear and reappear at will. Samuel asks Lydia to show Sylar around. When Sylar and Lydia shake hands, Sylar flashes on a memory of… shaking hands. A lot of hands. “Like a politician,” Sylar suggests helpfully.

Samuel, concerned that the wrong memories seem to be returning, decides to jump-start the real Sylar. This is an excellent idea. In fact, that’s the best idea anyone on this show has had in too many episodes to count. Samuel, you get a cookie. He asks Edgar to deliver free carnival tickets to Officer Ernie Hudson. Yeah, well, having Sylar kill a cop on carnival grounds is actually sort of a crappy idea. I’m taking the cookie back.

During morning chores, Edgar sees Lydia cozying up to Sylar. Edgar introduces himself to Sylar and tells him he’s heard about this whole business with stealing powers. This confuses Sylar to no end. Edgar hurls a whole bunch of knives at Sylar, lickety-split, but Sylar telekinetically hurls them back at Edgar, then dunks him in a wheelbarrow of wet cement for good measure. Wet cement? Really? By the end of the season, someone’s going to drop a piano on Edgar, right?

Samuel introduces Sylar to a man named Damien, whom Samuel claims can restore his true memories. Damien leads Sylar through the House of Mirrors. There’s always a House of Mirrors, isn’t there? This is a Hardy Boys episode waiting to happen. Damien does a Vulcan mind-meld on Sylar, and soon Sylar’s visited by an apparition of his dead mother, Virginia. He sees himself killing her, then sees a montage of all his past murders. Sylar freaks out and begs Damien to make the visions stop. You know who I miss? (Yes, yes, Mohinder, I miss Mohinder. I thought that went without saying.) I miss Season One Sylar. The crazy, arrogant, invincible Sylar. If Season One Sylar had amnesia and then was presented with a montage of all his past evils, I feel pretty sure he would have nodded sagely and replied, “Yep, that looks about right. Cool.”

Later, Samuel finds a distraught Sylar, who can’t believe he committed all those murders. Samuel tells him to use his gifts to command fear. Wait a minute -- I’m starting to suspect this Samuel fellow might be a bad influence. And he seems so nice! Samuel mentions that Officer Ernie Hudson has arrived at the carnival, then sort of delicately implies that maybe it’d be a good idea for Sylar to, like, kill him or something. He tells him Officer Ernie is waiting in the House of Mirrors. Of course he is.

Sylar wanders through the House of Mirrors again. Yes, he was just there. I know from years of quality television viewing that anything of significance that happens at a carnival must, by carnival law, take place in the House of Mirrors, but this seems a bit redundant. Maybe they could have staged their big showdown at, I don’t know, the top of a stalled Ferris wheel or something. Sylar advises Officer Ernie to leave. Officer Ernie shoots him, but Sylar stops the bullet and zaps him with blue electricity. He seems like he’s about to kill him… but then he pauses. Edgar bursts in and slices Officer Ernie to bits.

Samuel hugs Sylar and tells him he’s safe. He baptizes Sylar by dousing him in water and welcomes him to the family. The carnival folk throw a big party, where Sylar and Lydia drink wine together while Edgar throws knives and sulks. At a knowing glance from Samuel, Lydia hauls Sylar to his feet and strolls off with him, hand in hand.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flash Forward Episode Four: Black Swan

Fourteen days ago: Bjork’s “It’s So Quiet”, which is a song I freaking despise, plays during an idyllic fall day in Los Angeles. The blackouts strike: A city bus plunges into the pond at Echo Park and sinks, drowning everyone on board except for a strangely calm young man and a woman who speaks in a foreign language. The man blissfully kicks out a window and swims with her to safety.

Present day: The young man, whose name is Edward Ned -- Ned Ned, in other words -- is in the hospital, still blissed out, relating the story of the rescue to Olivia and Bryce. He’s getting treated for some pain he’s been having since the crash. Bryce asks what he saw in his flash forward. Ned saw himself wearing leather pants, rocking out at a club, happy and confident. Ned, who is white, also claims he was black.

Zoe tries to discuss the upcoming wedding with Demetri, but he’s zoning out on her. She asks about rumors that the FBI has been “Gitmo-ing” the blonde woman who was with the suspected terrorists, whom he suspects of having something to do with the blackouts.

Mark entertains Charlie by pretending to be a talking egg. Olivia refers to him as “the Shakespeare of cheesy dad humor.” Heh. Okay. Between that and John Cho’s “I know what a bong is” line from last episode, they’re hitting the meta humor pretty hard, and it’s sort of lame, but I can’t say I disapprove.

Charlie’s babysitter Nicole, who we haven’t seen since the pilot, talks with Aaron, whose dead daughter Tracy was Nicole’s own babysitter. Aaron asks why Nicole disappeared after the blackouts, but she doesn’t answer. You know how last episode I mentioned that the actor who plays Aaron does a convincing American accent? I was wrong.

Mark, accompanied by the FBI agent played by the cute kid who plays Cyborg on Smallville (Lee Thompson Young. IMDB says his character name here is “Al Gough”, which is the name of one of the Smallville co-creators, so that’s… weird), asks Stan for permission to investigate the crow deaths in Somalia, but Stan frets that this might create a conflict with the CIA. Mark secretly asks Al whether a hacker friend of his could hack into the CIA mainframe. Yikes. That’s going to go over well.

Demetri interrogates the blonde woman, Alda Herzog, who claims to be an honest businesswoman. She speaks without an accent, but she’s got passports from multiple countries. She gives him a lead as to who she’s working with: Customer Choice Restaurant Group in Indio, California. When Demetri threatens her, she spooks him by telling him he’s running out of time. Demetri and Mark squabble over their next move: Demetri wants to investigate the restaurant company, Mark wants to go to Somalia. Stan opts for Indio.

In the hospital cafeteria, Lloyd tries to discuss his son Dylan’s condition with Olivia, but she once again brushes him off. She asks Bryce to transfer Dylan to Physical Therapy, so she can get some distance from Lloyd. Er... one hopes it's also because it's the best thing for this sick and injured child.

Mark and Demetri visit a restaurant in Indio owned by Customer Choice Restaurant Group. When one of the cooks hears that they’re FBI, he makes a break for it, leading them on a merry chase through a trailer park. You know what was really cool? That parkour chase scene in the opening sequence of the Casino Royale remake. I wish I could do parkour. Anyway, this wasn’t really much like that scene at all, although they scale some walls and get whacked by trailer doors and fall in kiddie pools before apprehending their suspect. Demetri, who did not bring his A-game this episode, thinks the guy has been smuggling yellowcake uranium in his backpack, but it turns out to be a bunch of weed. It’s a natural mistake.

Mark and Demetri get into a huge fight, which culminates with Demetri punching Mark in the face and telling him about the anonymous call about his upcoming murder. Mark tells him to get past the fear, using the way he’s dealing with his own flash forward as an example. Mark, not to downplay your scary future, because being chased by a bunch of gunmen is certainly stressful, but Demetri is actually, like, dead in his flash forward. That sort of trumps yours. Mark promises to solve (and ideally prevent) Demetri’s murder before it happens.

Lloyd returns Bryce’s sketch pad, which he left in Dylan’s room. He remarks on a drawing Bryce made of a beautiful woman, whom Bryce claims he hasn’t met yet. Lloyd talks about his own flash forward: He was in a strange house, and he got an urgent call from someone he didn’t know. He heard a woman’s voice -- Olivia’s -- but the flash forward ended before he saw her face.

Olivia tells Ned he has a haematoma, which requires immediate surgery. Ned’s not worried. Since the bus crash, he no longer feels nervous or afraid of anything. He’s been inspired by his vision of the future, in which he’s a confident black man (“Like Shaft, or Bryant Gumbel!”).

Nicole visits an eccentric young priest, who keeps crickets in a shoebox and calls her by her sister’s name, and offers to do volunteer work with the church. She asks him a question: “How do I atone for something I haven’t done yet?” In her flash forward, she saw herself being punished for something. When she wonders if God made this happen, the priest hastily gives her the name and phone number of the church’s volunteer coordinator and bustles her out of his office.

Bryce researches causes of pigment change. Something occurs to him, so he rushes to Ned’s room, only to find he’s already been taken into surgery. He orders a nurse to call the operating room to stop the procedure: “We’re about to kill our patient!” He believes Ned has Addison’s disease, in which the body doesn’t produce adrenaline, thus explaining his calm in the face of disaster. Addison’s disease also produces excess melanin, which explains why Ned’s skin will be darker in six months. Bryce tries to stop Olivia from operating, arguing that the surgery will kill Ned unless he receives an injection of hydrocortisone. Olivia overrules him and kicks him out of the operating room. Sure enough, Ned flatlines on the table, but stabilizes when Olivia follows Bryce’s advice and gives him the hydrocortisone.

Lloyd moves into his dead ex-wife’s apartment.

Mark interrogates Alda, who claims to know nothing about Demetri’s murder: she knew he didn’t have a flash forward because of his Mosaic posting and used that information to spook him. He asks her if she knows what caused the blackout, but she claims he’s ignoring the big question: Why were they caused? She refers to the blackouts as a “black swan” -- a metaphor for a high-impact event. She speaks in Farsi, then tells Mark a Sufi proverb: A man and a boy are in a room lit by a small candle. The man asks the boy where the light comes from. The boy blows it out and replies, “If you tell me where it went, I’ll tell you where it came from.” Alda compares Mark to a boy in the dark.

Al searches for the name “Celia” on Mosaic and looks overwhelmed by all the results. Mark asks him to contact his hacker friend, known as Mr. Cheeto Dust.

Olivia and Bryce apologize to each other for squabbling in the operating room: Olivia was reluctant to accept the diagnosis of Addison’s disease because she doesn’t want to believe in the futures shown in the flash forwards. She asks if he wants to talk about the suicide attempt, but he claims to be totally okay now: his glimpse of the future saved him. A nurse informs Olivia that young Dylan has been transferred back from physical therapy. Olivia seems a little wigged out by the news.

Mark comes home and talks to Nicole, who apologizes for disappearing after the blackouts. She tells him all about her flash forward: Someone was drowning her, and she felt as though she deserved it. Mark reassures her she’s going to be safe.

In the hospital, Lloyd entertains Dylan with magic tricks. His cell phone rings: It’s someone named Simon, who is played by a hobbit. One of the good hobbits, though. Not Sean Astin. (I’m going to get flack for that remark. Look, I love Sam Gamgee as much as anyone, but have you read Astin’s book?) Simon tells Lloyd they need to talk. Lloyd tries to blow him off, but Simon insists he can make time to listen to him, “..now that we’re responsible for the single greatest disaster in human history.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Glee: Throwdown

I like Glee well enough, but episodes like this one make me sort of wish it’d give up on having any semblance of a plot and just present a weekly half-hour of peppy musical numbers loosely strung together with vignettes, Sha Na Na style. That’d be awesome.

Sue and Will are now co-chairing the glee club, and it has, of course, been disastrous. When Principal Figgins calls them in for a progress report, they lie and claim the collaboration is going swimmingly. They’ve decided to each arrange their own separate numbers for Sectionals, with a coin toss to decide which song gets performed first.

Will asks the kids for music suggestions for Sectionals. Mercedes wants to do “something a little more black” than their usual stuff, but Rachel snippily tells her it’s the glee club, not the krunk club. Oh. This version of Rachel is back, huh? Quinn and the other cheerleaders duly report back to Sue, who decides to drive a wedge in the glee club by planting the seeds of racial unrest.

Finn accompanies Quinn for her ultrasound, where they discover she’s having a girl.

Steve, the creepy school reporter who tried to get Rachel to show him her bra in exchange for a positive review about her performance in the school play, threatens to announce Quinn’s pregnancy in his blog. Rachel is fairly indifferent to this, until he informs her that he’ll also reveal her crush on Finn. She gives him her underwear in exchange for killing the story.

Sue wins the coin toss and announces that she’s going to divide the glee club into two separate groups, with Sue taking all the minority kids. Sue’s group rehearses their number: Jill Scott’s “Hate On Me.” Sue and Will squabble some more (she used the piano for rehearsal during his scheduled time, she burned all his sheet music, she mocked his hair). Terri counsels Will to start playing dirtier against Sue, so Will flunks most of the Cheerios in his Spanish class, making them ineligible for the squad. Sue goes ballistic about this and attacks Will in a scathingly awful manner. When Figgins takes Will’s side, Sue once again threatens to expose his anti-embolism public service announcement. Figgins retorts that he already put it on YouTube himself (where it only got two hits).

Finn gives Quinn his suggestion for their baby’s name: Drizzle. Quinn gets upset, because Finn knows she’s not planning on keeping the baby. Finn tells her he wishes she was more like Rachel, which: bad move, Finn. Disastrous.

Despite being divided into two separate groups, the glee club kids get together for a covert jam session of Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me.”

With Rachel and Finn taking the leads, Will’s group rehearses their number, “No Air." Quinn throws a Sue-orchestrated tantrum in which she decries the horrible way Will purportedly treats minorities. This inspires Puck, who is Jewish, and cheerleader Bridget, who is Dutch, to defect to Sue’s group, leaving Will with just Quinn, Finn and Rachel. Sue agrees to give him back the kids if he passes the Cheerios. Will refuses.

Terri almost gets caught without her prosthetic belly by Will, who tells her he’s made an appointment for them both with the obstetrician. Terri and her sister Kendra threaten and abuse an obstetrician to get him to cover for the fake pregnancy. The obstetrician goes through a great deal of subterfuge to produce a fake ultrasound for Will and tells him Terri's having a girl.

Quinn tells Rachel to stay away from Finn, and Rachel tells Quinn to stop acting as Sue’s mole. In response, Quinn belts out a chorus of “You Keep Me Hanging On.”

After Sue is rude during Will’s group’s performance, Sue and Will get into an epic shouting match. Finn breaks them up, and the kids all storm out in disgust. Sue steps down as the co-head of the glee club, because she can’t stand the messy displays of emotion. She tells Quinn that she knows about her pregnancy -- the news will be reported in Steve’s blog in the morning. It turns out Sue found Rachel’s underwear in Steve’s locker and got him to spill the beans about Quinn. Quinn sobs in the hallway while Finn comforts her, then the reunited glee club sings Avril Lavigne’s “Keep Holding On.”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Heroes Volume Five, Episode Five: Hysterical Blindness

Hey, you guys, I don’t know if anyone’s noticed this, but this show is terrible!

Angela drops by Peter’s apartment and asks if he’s seen Nathan. Peter gets huffy when she zones out on his usual babble about how he just wants to help people. When she tries to turn the conversation back to Nathan’s disappearance, Peter huffs, “Could we just focus on me for a second, mom?” Peter? Hon? You’re not exactly attention-deprived. Remember the second episode of this series when Angela confidentially told you that you were always her favorite child? Maybe you could spare some concern for your missing brother, okay? Anyway, Peter leaves for work, but Angela decides to hang out in his apartment for a while longer. This season is… weird. The energy is all wrong, and none of the characters seem to like each other anymore. Which makes sense, because no one is very likeable anymore, but it’s still distressing and sad.

(This review got kind of long, so I'm cutting a paragraph here, which is where I originally discussed the scene where Emma talks with her doctor/mother, Louise Fletcher, and how they ham-fistedly worked in the episode title, and how there were vague allusions to Emma's tragic past. Nobody minds that it's gone, right?)

Emma wanders around the city, seeing all the noises as light. She stumbles into the path of a bus and is rescued by Peter. The music clues us in that Something Momentous has just happened, but... it’s just Peter and Emma. Peter, bless him, still hasn’t figured out that Emma is deaf. He talks to her and seems mildly affronted when she ignores him. After she leaves, Peter realizes he no longer has Edgar’s super-speed. He’s been using Edgar’s powers, right? He took them, didn’t he? Am I remembering that right? The details have kind of slipped out of my brain, but I’m pretty sure he’s no longer using that other guy’s powers. You know who I’m talking about. That Indian fellow who used to be on this show. The one with all the hair and the beautiful eyes and the cheekbones and the legs that went on forever…

Sigh.

Anyway, sure enough, Peter has Emma’s powers now. At the hospital, he comes across a bunch of kids singing the theme song to The Greatest American Hero. He sees the music as colorful lights, and then he’s off in his very own Skittles commercial with Emma, tasting the rainbow of fruit flavors. Peter tries to talk to Emma about how groovy it all is, and it finally -- finally, finally -- dawns on him that she can’t, like, hear him. He tells her about the existence of super-powers, and they sit down and play the random hospital waiting room piano together for eighty million years, and it dawns on me that I hate this show. I do, I really do. This is the episode where malingering frustration turned to unfocused, free-form contempt. Peter asks Emma out to lunch, but she flees in distress.

Later, when Peter returns to his apartment, he’s surprised by the arrival of Hiro, who teleports in and collapses.

(During a commercial break, we see a short film Milo Ventimiglia directed for something called the Liberty Mutual Responsibility Project. Milo introduces it by talking about how he once got a ticket for putting a quarter into someone else’s parking meter, and I know it’s just the awful sourness of Heroes sucking me into the Bog of Eternal Despair, because under normal circumstances I think Milo V. is a swell little guy, but I call bullshit. Anyway, Milo’s short film stars Masi Oka as a guy who just tries to do nice things -- he puts a quarter in someone else’s parking meter! And gets ticketed for it! -- and eventually gets the phone number of a hot chick for his pains. The End.)

At the Sullivan Brothers carnival, the assembled carnival folk sit around a table and share a big folksy, homey breakfast while Samuel yammers on about his brother Joseph’s death and how they’re now a broken circle, but that there are a bunch of lost lambs who will be joining their fold who need love and family, yadda yadda. In reference to Joseph’s empty chair, he says that by the end of the day, they’ll have a full table again. The others look tolerant of this idea, but not quite as hyper-thrilled about it.

Later, Samuel plays around in the dirt (this seems to be his power, dirt-manipulating, which handily explains the sinkhole he caused, but is less handy at explaining how he could threaten to strangle Edgar with tattoo ink a few episodes back. Ink, to state the obvious, is not dirt) and chats with Lydia. Lydia wants to know who the new arrival will be, but Samuel is cagey.

Meanwhile, at the fictional Arlington University in Arlington -- hey, did we know Claire was going to “Arlington University”, or did they decide on a name just for this episode? -- a cute girl named Becky approaches Claire and Gretchen. Becky, who is played by Tessa Thompson, formerly of Veronica Mars, wants Claire to rush her sorority, Psi Alpha Chi. Becky invites Claire to drop by the sorority house for an introductory meeting. Claire thinks it’s a great idea. Gretchen isn’t so keen on it, but Claire browbeats her into going along.

Anyway, there’s a montage of Claire chatting with the sorority girls during the house meeting. Wasn't this show originally about people saving the world or something? Gretchen and Claire fit in just fine at the sorority house. Bizarrely, the members describe Gretchen as “edgy.” They’re being ironic, right? The writers don’t really think Gretchen is edgy, right?

Later, Gretchen and Claire get dressed for a sorority mixer. A book falls off a shelf, which turns Gretchen’s computer on. Claire snoops and sees that Gretchen has been looking at articles about the murder in Odessa and Annie’s suicide. Claire decides Gretchen is kind of creepy. At the sorority mixer, Claire has a chat with another former cheerleader about how cheerleading is pointless and boring. As opposed to rushing a sorority. Or watching Heroes. Anyway, their conversation is interrupted when Claire almost gets impaled by a falling banner. She looks up and sees Gretchen.

Back at the dorm room, post-mixer, Claire accuses Gretchen of plotting against her. Claire goes off on her “All I wanted was a normal life!” shtick again, and I swear they’re just cutting-and-pasting together scenes from earlier scripts. Gretchen kisses Claire and tells her she has a crush on her.

Back at the carnival, Becky drops by to talk to Samuel. Becky, it turns out, can become invisible. We see flashbacks of Becky dropping the banner on Claire, dropping the book so Gretchen’s computer would turn on, and pushing Annie out the window, all as part of a crafty scheme to make Claire run off and join the carnival. Or something.

Somewhere outside Baltimore, Sylar crawls out of the grave. Still wearing Nathan’s bloody, bullet-riddled clothes, he staggers down the road. A police car pulls over, and Officer Ernie Hudson places him under arrest. At the police station, Officer Ernie talks with Dr. Gibson, police psychiatric consultant, who tells him that Sylar has severe amnesia. There’s a lot of pretty objectionable stuff here, with amnesiac Sylar seeing the beauty and wonder in the world because he’s got such a kind soul, but honestly, I’ve used up my supply of righteous indignation on this show, so I’m going to let it slide. Officer Ernie figures out Sylar is Gabriel Gray and accuses him of murdering his mother. Sylar uses his telekinesis to throw Ernie through a window, then steals Dr. Gibson’s car and takes off. Officer Ernie arrives and riddles Sylar with bullets, which fails to slow him down. Sylar runs until he sees the entrance to the carnival, lights blazing, with Samuel beckoning him to join the fun. When the police catch up, Sylar has vanished, taking the carnival with him.

Samuel tells Sylar he’ll be safe here. And if you guess that Sylar then asks, “Where exactly is here?” and that Samuel replies, “Home,” you win a cookie.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

FlashForward Episode Three: 137 Sekunden

The mysterious woman who informed Demetri of his upcoming murder at the end of last episode gives him a few more details: He’s going to be shot three times in the chest. She tells him she’s warning him so he can prevent it from it happening, then hangs up.

In Quale Prison in Munich, a guard asks an elderly prisoner named Rudolph Geyer what he saw in his flash forward. Geyer replies, “Something that will ensure my release from this hateful place.”

Charlie and Mark watch cartoons and eat breakfast. Olivia leaves messages for their babysitter Nicole, who has been increasingly flaky since the day of the blackouts. Mark covertly meets with Aaron to discuss Charlie’s apparent knowledge of the sinister figure known as D. Gibbons (in this scene, for the first time, it’s clear the Irish actor who plays Aaron -- Brian F. O’Byrne -- is faking an American accent. He’s doing a very good one, and his pronunciations are right on, but there are moments when it’s just not… right.)

In Seattle, Demetri’s criminal defense lawyer fiancĂ©e Zoe, who is played by the gorgeous and awesome Gabrielle Union, flies back to Los Angeles on a near-empty plane. As the nervous airline executive sitting across the aisle tells her, people are still terrified to fly after all the crashes during the blackouts. Demetri meets Zoe at the airport with flowers. They kiss, and wow, that’s one attractive couple. Later, as they roll around in bed together, Zoe tells Demetri what she saw in her flash forward: They were getting married on a beach in Hawaii. Interesting… Demetri lies and tells her he saw the same thing.

Mark and Janis sift through a glut of tips and intelligence reports about possible causes of the flash forwards. Mark discovers that an incarcerated Nazi, Rudolph Geyer, has been trying to locate him concerning information about the “137 Sekunden” -- the two minutes and seventeen seconds everyone was unconscious. Mark recognizes Geyer’s photo from his evidence wall in his flash forward.

Olivia lunches with Stan’s wife Felicia, who is played by Gina Torres. In her flash forward, Felicia saw herself in her college-aged son’s bedroom, tucking a small, unknown boy named Attaf into bed.

Mark and Janis arrive at the prison in Munich and meet with creepy Rudolph Geyer. Before he was arrested, Geyer lived for a time in America. If he shares what he knows about the flash forwards, he wants all charges dropped against him. He also wants to return to the United States. Janis is strongly against the deal, but Mark wants to go for it. Geyer asks Janis why she wears a ring on her left thumb -- in some Eastern European countries, it’s a code for homosexuality. He rambles on about how everything in the Kabbalah has a hidden meaning. When the word Kabbalah is spelled out in Hebrew, in which each letter also has a numerical value, the total sum of the letters equals 137. Mark is not impressed by this. Nor am I. Kabbalah? Seriously? That’s where we’re going with this?

In Geyer’s flash forward, he saw himself being repatriated to the United States: He was going through Customs at an unidentified airport, chatting with a officer named Jerome Murphy about how he was disappointed Mark wasn’t there to meet him and how he has a murder to thank for his return home. As he tells Mark, if Mark can track down Jerome Murphy and ask him for details about his flash forward, he can confirm Geyer’s story.

In Los Angeles, Demetri tells Stan that no one named Jerome Murphy works in Customs. Stan tells him to check current applicants -- six months from now, the situation might be different. Sure enough, Demetri tracks down a (naked and dancing) recent applicant named Jerome Murphy. Demetri tries to corroborate Geyer’s flash forward with Jerome’s This is difficult at first, as Jerome doesn’t know what “corroborate” means, but he eventually catches on and confirms he saw Geyer in his flash forward, down to the enigmatic "murder" comment. His flash forward inspired him so much he applied for the Customs job the day after the blackout, thus suggesting, strongly, that the events seen in the flash forwards are dictating everyone’s present-day actions. As Demetri gets ready to leave, he knocks over a bong. Jerome begs him not to bust him -- if he does, he won't be hired by Customs, which means the future he saw won't happen. It’s left up in the air what Demetri does, but Demetri sure does have a vested interest in seeing if the future can be changed.

Still in Munich, Mark meets with Janis, who is drunk and upset about the bargain they struck with Geyer. Janis, who is a sharp cookie, thinks Geyer is stringing them along. Stan calls Mark to let him know Geyer’s flash forward panned out. Thus, they can go ahead and arrange for Geyer’s release. Now that his freedom has been guaranteed, Geyer spills everything he knows. Which turns out to be… not much. After the blackout, he had a vision: He looked out his cell window and saw the city burning and dead crows -- a murder of crows -- on the ground. He gives Mark a book on birds and tells him he might need it.

(Another commercial for V. Yep, it’s still looking damn good.)

A dispirited Mark returns home to Olivia. Olivia, who is a good egg, cheers him up with sex.

Aaron talks with a bartender, Kate, who is the mother of Aaron’s dead daughter Tracy. Aaron tells her about seeing Tracy alive in his flash forward and tries to get her to sign an affidavit to exhume her corpse. Kate tells Aaron that his flash forward was wishful thinking and refuses to sign. With Demetri’s help, Aaron goes over Kate’s head and exhumes Tracy without her permission. Later, Aaron returns to Kate’s bar and tells her about the exhumation: The body in the grave was indeed Tracy. Aaron, who seems emotionally demolished, apologizes for going behind her back; Kate hugs him.

In downtown L.A., Stan delivers a eulogy during a memorial for eight FBI agents killed during the blackouts.

At Mark’s urging, Janis looks up figures on the worldwide crow population and discovers that on the day of the blackout crows died in massive numbers worldwide. The only other time that happened was in 1991, though it was limited to the Ganwar region of Somalia. Mark finds a CDC report on the incident, which noted that there were claims of mass unconsciousness in Somali villages at the same time. Mark realizes a smaller-scale version of the blackout happened once before.

1991: In the Ganwar region, crows swarm around, cawing wildly, then fall to the earth. A young goatherd runs over to investigate, and discovers what looks like an abandoned city and a single very tall, very active smokestack.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Glee: Vitamin D

Will leads the kids through a lackluster rehearsal. There’s only two weeks until Sectionals, and he’s worried they’ve become complacent. The kids have seen their competition schedule: They only have to beat a school for the deaf and a halfway house for wayward girls to make it to Regionals, so they’re feeling pretty confident about their chances. In the teachers’ lounge, as Emma lovingly wipes mustard from his chin, Will tells her he wants to find some way to motivate them. Sue interrupts to share her motivational technique: Each week, she kicks someone off the cheerleading squad at random. As she puts it, “We’re dealing with children. They need to be terrified.”

Will decides to revitalize the glee club by pitting the kids in a competition against each other, boys versus the girls. They’ve got one week to plan, rehearse and perform a mash-up. While Will yammers on about this, Finn keeps nodding off. Yeah, mash-ups don’t thrill me, either. Finn also has kind of a long voice-over about how he likes Quinn, but he’s fascinated by Rachel. It’s… a little flat. Monologues really aren’t Glee’s strong suit, though he does get in a good quip about having to mask the scent of Biofreeze with Drakkar Noir.

Sue’s having a bad day: She broke her juicer while making a beef bone smoothie, and she noticed Quinn having muscle tremors while forming a pyramid during Cheerios practice, which Quinn blamed on being exhausted from glee club rehearsals. Sue vows to destroy Will for damaging the strength of her squad. Sue stops by the Schuester home for tea and meddling: She tells Terri that Will is messing around with Emma. She urges Terri to take a job as the school nurse -- the former nurse is currently in a coma, thanks to Sue pushing her down the stairs -- to keep a close eye on her errant husband. Even though Terri has no nursing background, she gets the job, having sold Principal Figgins on her skills in folding hand towels and defibrillation.

Puck and the rest of the glee club boys convince Finn to go to the nurse to do something about falling asleep in class. Terri takes an interest in Finn’s well-being, seeing as (she thinks) he’s the father of the baby she’s planning on appropriating. To cure his sleepiness, she gives him pseudoephedrine pills, which she claims are like vitamins.

A hopped-up Finn gives pills to the rest of the New Directions boys. They perform an energetic version of their mash-up, with Finn and Artie singing the leads. Their selected mash-up? Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and Usher’s “Confessions.” And… it’s really good. I think both songs were vastly improved. The girls are stymied by the stellar performance, until Kurt plays double agent and tells them about the pills.

Quinn’s been skipping rehearsals, so Rachel confronts her and tells her not to worry -- the glee club kids won’t judge her because of her pregnancy. Aw, I like Rachel when she’s being a decent human being.

Coach Tanaka and Terri conspire about ways to break the mutual attraction between Will and Emma. Terri gives the coach some pseudoephedrine and tells him to propose to Emma. Which he does.

Rachel bawls Finn out for taking the pills, suggesting he follow her example instead with a rigorous diet and exercise routine. She loses a little of her moral disapproval, though, when Finn points out that the guys are going to trounce the girls in the competition. So Terri doses all the New Directions girls with pills, Rachel included.

The girls perform their mash-up -- Beyonce’s “Halo” and “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves -- and it’s swell, but I’m going to give the edge to the guys.

Emma tells Will she doesn’t know what to do about the coach’s proposal. When Terri spots them together, she orders Emma to stay away from her husband. Emma retorts that Will is too good for Terri, and just as I’m starting feel a little bit of sympathy for Terri, Terri makes a ghastly comment about how Coach Tanaka’s mixed ethnic heritage will cause genetic disorders in their offspring. Terri, babe, you’re making it hard for me to get in your corner.

Quinn decides she has too much going on in her life right now to be a mother and agrees to give Terri the baby.

Emma braves the unhygienic and unsanitary confines of the boys’ locker room to tell Tanaka she’ll agree to his proposal, provided she can keep her name, live in her own home, and not see him outside of school. The coach agrees to these conditions. Which is very sad.

Rachel and Finn, good kids at heart, feel guilty and terrible about taking the pills. They confess to Will, who is horrified about Terri giving the kids drugs. Principal Figgins asks for Terri’s resignation. He now also has grave doubts about Will’s judgment, so he assigns a co-director to the glee club: Sue.

As Emma glumly tells Will she accepted the proposal, Rachel throws the pills in the trash and returns to her uber-healthy, super-motivated daily fitness routine.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Heroes Volume Five, Chapter Four: Acceptance

Well, this is curious: Judging by the opening credits, this episode was written by Volume One’s wunderkind Bryan Fuller, and yet it’s still no damn good. I can’t even decide where to dive in: Do I start with the moderately uninteresting plotline (Nathan), the distinctly uninteresting plotline (Tracy), the tedious plotline (Hiro), or the claw-my-eyeballs-out plotline (Noah)? By default, I'm starting with the carnival people. Which doesn't make the most sense chronologically, but I think I like them the best.

(During a commercial break, they showed a fleeting bit of that Sprint-sponsored interactive story with Samuel and Lydia and Edgar. Go to NBC.com/Heroes and watch some Sprint commercials if you want to see more of it. You probably don’t.)

At the carnival, Lydia and Edgar have an esoteric talk about Samuel seeking revenge for his brother’s death. Lydia and Samuel go off together for a session of knife-throwing and tattooing. A tattoo of Noah Bennet appears on Lydia’s skin.

Tracy, in her liquid state, rises out of the bathtub. When she solidifies, she’s already got a bath towel chastely wrapped around her, which is kind of a nice trick. There’s a montage of Tracy getting dressed, putting on her makeup, putting on her heels… Ms. Ali Larter, you’re a knockout, but this reeks of filler. She saunters into a nice restaurant and catches the attention of Governor Malden, once again played by Bruce Boxleitner. And since I squandered my chances last season to make unnecessary Scarecrow and Mrs. King references, he’s going to be Scarecrow from here on out. Oh, sure, a Babylon 5 reference would be (faintly) more au courant, but I’m all for nostalgia. Tracy tells Scarecrow she’s been dealing with a family crisis, but she’s ready to start work again. He asks her out to dinner.

In his dismal DC apartment, Noah Bennet drinks orange juice and glumly looks at divorce papers. Peter stops by to show him the compass tattoo… which has now disappeared. Peter wants to investigate the carnival people, but Noah is kind of assy about not wanting to help him and blows him off. I guess this is only fair, since Peter was kind of assy about not wanting to help Noah two episodes ago, but hey, could someone’s motivations remain consistent from episode to episode? That’d really help things out a lot. Claire drops by, and we enter some kind of weird vortex where time stands still. Yeah, she stops by just to talk. No reason for it. Kind of like how Noah stopped by her dorm room just to talk a couple episodes ago. Yep, every bit as exciting as that scene. Seriously, this is a show about super-powers. Cyborg ninjas need to swarm in and start attacking or something, because this is ridiculous. Claire goes through the want ads and tries to find her dad a job. She suggests acting out a mock interview. Oh, holy hell, life is too short for this.

Claire gives Noah a pep talk, in which she delivers the following utterly bizarre and nonsensical statement: “Your whole life has been about trying to help people.” Where “people” may be interpreted to mean “Claire.” Sure enough, when Noah asks her to name one person he’s helped, she says, “Me.” They talk about identity, and yes, the exact line of dialogue “Why do I suddenly feel like you’re the parent and I’m the kid?” is used. Bryan Fuller, you have made me very sad.

Later, Tracy meets Noah for sushi and tells him she got her job back, but she’s conflicted: “It just feels like something’s missing. Something needs to change.” Good to see Tracy isn’t any more thrilled about the prospective return to the “Tracy, the high-powered lobbyist” plotline than I am.

Tracy meets Scarecrow in an elegant bar, where she tells him she wants to set agendas and help people who can’t help themselves. Tracy’s all over the fricking map this season, too. Wasn’t she murdering people two episodes ago? Scarecrow suggests having sex instead. Points for consistency for one character, at least. Tracy, who is no longer that kind of girl, heads for the ladies room instead. She starts reverting to a liquid state and has to fight to keep herself under control. She storms out of the bar, leaving behind a very confused Scarecrow.

At Yamagato Industries, Kimiko announces that she and Ando are getting married. She asks Hiro to give her away at the wedding. Ando is disgruntled about this: The wedding isn’t for a year, and Hiro will be dead by then. Yes, Ando definitely does seem more concerned about messing up the logistics of his wedding than about his dying friend. Huh. I’m pretty sure the scene wasn’t supposed to play out that way. Curious. Hiro fields a call on the Dial-A-Hero line: There’s a jumper on the roof of the Yamagato building. Hiro books it up there and talks with Tadashi, a disgruntled ex-employee, who was fired for inappropriate use of the Xerox machine during a company year-end party. Tadashi jumps from the roof, and Hiro blips back in time.

Hiro returns to a few moments before the phone call from Tadashi, so we get to see the same Hiro-Ando scene again. Hiro tells Ando he went back in time and prevented Tadashi from photocopying his ass at the company party, thus preventing his suicide. And yet, Tadashi calls again. He’s still on the roof, still planning on jumping. This time, Tadashi made a photocopy of his ass at a totally different party. This is tedious. Tadashi jumps again, Hiro goes back in time again, Hiro returns to the office again, we see the Hiro/Ando scene again, Hiro answers the phone again, Tadashi is on the roof again. Hiro and Tadashi have a long talk about how life is precious and fleeting. They hug it out, and Tadashi leaves without killing himself.

This inspires Hiro to tell Kimiko the truth about his illness. He does this, then reels from sudden pain. While Ando calls an ambulance, Hiro blips away again.

In DC, Angela stops by Nathan/Sylar’s office, bearing crates of childhood memorabilia, which she hopes will reinforce his belief that he’s really Nathan. Nathan picks up a toy plane, and all of a sudden we’re in black-and-white childhood-flashback territory. No, Heroes, please don’t do this. I’ve been good to you. I’ve kept watching, even though I don’t really want to anymore. Don’t punish me with pointless childhood flashbacks. Wasn’t 1961 enough? Nathan picks up a baseball cap and flashes back to a memory of a woman in a swimming pool, surrounded by blood.

Nathan visits Paramedic Pete at the hospital and demonstrates his power to move cans with his mind. He says he’s gaining new powers all the time: He can touch objects and see their past history. (“Psychometrics,” Peter notes sagely. Wow. When did Peter become the brains of Heroes?) Anyway, Nathan mentions that when he touched his baseball cap, he saw his childhood friend Kelly Houston, daughter of Angela’s friend Millie, dead in a pool. He decides to stop by Millie’s house.

Millie believes Kelly ran away after a weekend she spent with Nathan when they were teenagers -- at the time, Millie hired a private investigator to look into Kelly’s disappearance, but eventually concluded Kelly had just run off to London. Millie leaves Nathan on his own, and he prowls around the pool, touching things and having black-and-white flashbacks to Teen Nathan and Teen Kelly. When he touches the diving board, he flashes to Kelly hitting her head and accidentally drowning.

Nathan meets with Angela in a bar. He wonders why he can’t remember anything about Kelly’s death. Angela says she took care of things and had the Haitian wipe Nathan’s memory of the unpleasantness. Nathan always seems vaguely surprised to discover his mom is sort of despicable. Slow learning curve, Nathan.

Nathan returns to Millie’s house and tells her about Kelly’s death. Millie kicks him out. He calls the police, but hangs up before he turns himself in. A thug sneaks up behind him in a parking structure and knocks him out. Millie tells Angela that Nathan confessed to being involved in Kelly’s death, but that she didn’t believe him. While this happens, Nathan’s assailant dumps him in a ditch, riddles him with bullets, shovels dirt over him, and calls Millie to tell her it’s been taken care of.

And in the final shot, Sylar claws his way out of the grave.