Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hooper Reviews Heroes: Fugitives - Episode 3

Heroes Season 3
Volume Four: Fugitives

Episode Three: "Building 26"

What Happened:

Not much. An aside: Bryan Fuller, a creative force behind the show's first season, returned with "Fugitives" after it became apparent that his ABC wundershow "Pushing Daisies" was dead (hi-ohhh!). Responsible for the stellar "Company Man" episode about HRG's past, many say his return marks the show's return to good storytelling. Alas, we're not there yet.

This week, Claire is pissy with HRG, her mom and life. At breakfast, she gets a "Rebel" text. HRG now claims to be a "consultant" and he reminds Claire that the last time his real career was known to his wife, she almost died (so pipe down, blondie). She gets a "Rebel" text telling her to warn "Alex" that danger's on its way. Sylar continues his road trip with Luke "Hotplate Kid" Campbell and the boy has fun, testing Sylar's lie detector power and getting Peter Pan to admit he's a serial killer. They stop for lunch.

Back in...India?, Ando and Hiro find a random wedding they are supposed to interfere with (did I miss something specific about their target in that painting?) and Hiro determines to stop the wedding/save the bride from the marriage. In related news, Ando glimpses a familiar looking woman, follows her and they talk. She admits that the wedding isn't her idea of a good time, but she wanted a sign not to go through with it. Ando then uses his sparky red powers to convince said bride that he is a sign from above that she's not to get married. Hiro (and the fiancee) are (separately) PO'ed. Fiancee knocks Ando on the head, absconds with him and demands the wedding go forward.

In Washington, D.C., specifically Building 26, the Hunter uses several large boards to map out the various heroes (by power or just at random?) and we see little pictures of far more than we've been introduced to. Hunter derides Nathan, who then slaps back and gives a pep talk ("I'm requesting our budget be doubled."). Guest-star Moira Kelly, last seen in 1992's The Cutting Edge, rolls in, says she's with the Department of Homeland Security and all this black-ops nonsense needs to be justified. And the illegally detained US citizens on US soil? Trouble, Sen. Petrelli.

Clair manages to track down Alex, and he turns out to be a comic book store employee (thin, though with glasses) who can breathe underwater. He is doubtful of her warning, but after a healing demonstration, he believes. They dodge HRG, black-clad goons (during which he opens up about his power) and she hides him in her closet.

Back at Building 26, Cutting Edge tells Nathan the gig is up; powers just aren't real. As if destiny were itching to prove her wrong, Tracy at that moment breaks the chain holding her, escapes her cell and its heat lamps, and takes an analyst hostage. With guns trained on her, and both Cutting Edge and Nathan watching, Tracy freezes the analyst and shatters him, looking an awful lot like angry "Jessica." Tasered, she is returned to her cell where she tells Nathan it was awfully convenient her door was unlocked and the chain was loose. He pretends not to understand...or does he? After Cutting Edge agrees with Nathan that yes, powers are real and he's got all the funding he needs, Nathan confronts the Hunter, giving him the analyst's name and family story. Wife, two kids. So the Hunter knows what his "demonstration" cost, as he obviously engineered Tracy's escape attempt, for the "greater good." Casualties of war, and what not, he claims. Tensions rise.

On a roadside diner, Sylar and Luke chit chat about stuff, the past. Samson Gray went fishing with Luke, trucking along a red wagon, treating him like a son and even admitting that he'd sold Sylar to his brother Martin for money. Sylar reaches back and remembers that red wagon, being pulled in it. Not the monster his traveling companion is, Luke writes down the location of Samson's hideaway, casually hoping Sylar won't kill him. As they bond, some suits enter the diner and it's apparent the Hunter's men have acquired their target again. In another well-staged fight, Sylar defeats the suits, an undercover agent and some commandos. Luke pretends at first to be an abductee, but only to distract the undercover agent so Sylar can TK him across the restaurant. Sylar flees, locking Luke (who then gets tasered) out of the car. Ah, but he returns a short time later and messes up the van-full of commandos, stealing their hard case laptop...and Luke. The obvious question (that Luke then poses, once conscious) is why Sylar rescued him. Why indeed....

The wedding back on in India, Hiro now takes the opportunity to interfere, claiming the bride is being forced to marry and his Ando is being held hostage by the groom. The groom protests; the bride agrees this traditional marriage isn't for her, as she catches the eye of a eager gal in the back row. The groom threatens, but Hiro grabs a novelty/decorative sword and takes a stand (bringing Parkman's painting of Hiro to life...which in no way looked like a wedding on my TV. Just saying). Seeing defeat, the groom relents, leaves and Ando is freed. Hiro understands the powers don't make the hero; the person does.

After hiding Alex, Claire talks to her mom and can't take the lies, telling her that HRG's new "consulting" job is a bit more secret police-oriented than first described. Stopping by her bedroom, HRG gets teary and says the Mrs. wants him to move out for now. For the best, right, Claire-bear? She gets weepy, they hug and he leaves. "Aqualad" is seen in her closet.

HRG heads to a hotel and has a few drinks, getting far tipsier than anticipated. He collapses and his buddies offer to take him home. Parkman, Peter and Suresh prop him up and exit stage left.

To be continued next week in "Cold Wars."

In Character Development...:

First off, nothing happens on screen with Angela, Suresh, Parkman or Peter. Next week, for the latter three. Daphne is still dead.

Claire & HRG (and Alex)
She's a whiny brat, and that needs to change. While going against her father has put her in the good graces of "Rebel," it keeps her character growth tamped down. Still the victim and unwilling (or unable) to make mature choices, she needs to be put on the back burner for a while. HRG just needs to pick a side and start the freaking fight. He's more dangerous than his fellow agents.

...and we needed an Aqualad?

Sylar & Luke Campbell
Cut the road trip junk and we'll be cooking with gas. As it is, the driving, reminiscent (as one reader said) of Season 2's South American extravaganza, gets old. Have at least some better adventure on the way. There was no "real" development with these two, though we were reminded that Luke isn't a wholesale devil like Sylar, has feelings and can sympathize.

Hiro & Ando
As I said, Hiro learns that powers aren't a requirement to consider yourself a "hero." Just standing up for what's right, the helpless, the distressed can do it. Ando, take note. It's been said that Ando's a better character than Hiro, as he isn't so dreamy and flighty, but there's a resentful streak running through him that doesn't allow for logical reasoning. Really, with either of them. They tend to leap to a conclusion and if it brings conflict, get upset like a dog that's knocked its ball under a couch.

You gonna get it, girlie. She never learns and will ideally be killed off, paving the way for Triplet the Third who, if all goes according to plan, will be a rounded character full of complexity. Instead of voicing her opinions to the gathered commandos, before she froze the analyst, she just makes a face and does the deed. No explanation. Seeing "Cutting Edge" in the back, knowing her escape was a set-up, what not come out and say that?


A slow, uneventful week. Do you have something?

*The writers won't be the same in a few weeks as they are now, and the hope is that the new blood (Fuller) takes out some of the artificial roadblocks to good storytelling. You don't have to keep Sylar away from the other heroes, but if you do, is road tripping with a sidekick the best route? Better to have him find his dad earlier and let their story play out over more than a few episodes. Maybe...they talk! And argue without killing each other.

*Not shoe-horning in Parkman, Suresh and Peter into this week's stories worked wonders. Honestly, not every episode needs to feature every character. The best old episodes left us guessing week on week what Character X was doing while Character Y narrowly escaped peril. Or learned of a new power.

*This week was called "Building 26" but it focused more on other people than the Hunter, Nathan and their crew. Shouldn't this have been look at who they are? A missed opportunity.

Looking Ahead:

* John Glover/Samson Gray next week? Double drat.
*Daphne? I'll take a body, but I need to know.
*Will we get a bigger glimpse of that board? Lotta heroes on there...
*Does HRG really truly no-backsies choose a side next week?

Heroes: Fugitives
Episode One: "A Clear and Present Danger"
Episode Two: "Trust and Blood"


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