Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hooper Reviews Heroes: Fugitives - Episode 4

Heroes Season 3
Volume Four: Fugitives

Episode Four: "Cold Wars"

What Happened:
You've waited for answers. And for about a third of this "volume's" story, we got them last night. Unlike other weeks, I can be very brief here because the episode was so tightly focused. There was no ensemble-cast wanderings, like we've had since the volume's opener. Let's begin.

HRG, kicked out of his house after admitting to still being an "agent" of sorts, goes to the hotel bar to have a drink. It is spike with barbitol, obtained by Nurse Peter and somehow secretly administered (did Parkman mentally coerce the barmaid to add it?). They drag him off to their room, keep him drugged up and Parkman begins to "interrogate" him, i.e. push through his memories to see what he knows about this new government round-up program, who organized it and what potential weaknesses there might be.

The Hunter and Nathan notice HRG's absence.

In a series of black and white flashbacks, Parkman uncovers some of HRG's recent past:

*Angela gave him a "retirement" package (plus watch) from the Company and told him to go live a normal life.
*Idly doing crosswords, he approached by Nathan to help form this new government "Company" to round up those with powers and safely contain them on the way to stripping away said powers. HRG says yes, demanding some ground rules be laid down first. He also shows Nathan his "Public Storage" room filled with boxes of data and a big black cased packed with guns, ammo and grenades.
*HRG and the Hunter, upon meeting, are oil and water. The Company's "one of us, one of them" maxim is abandoned for "twelve of us...and none of them." Overwhelming force.
*HRG even goes to the Hunter's apartment (showing he does his research) for a male bonding session that really doesn't go well. No fighting, but you can see these alpha males are headed for a showdown.
*In a twist, we see that Suresh was approached by HRG to be an agent of his, an undercover power to help counteract whatever the gov't decides to do. Suresh refuses.
*When faced with a gun, HRG lets Matt into his mind one last time to prove that Daphne is still alive, but drugged up and wounded.

Now, while we are learning that HRG is a mover and shaker, though not the power behind the black-clad commandos, the Hunter has been trying to locate his wayward agent. After seeing the bit about the public storage unit, Parkman jots down the location and lock combo; Peter takes it and flies over to it. Of course, there is a camera in that unit and the commandos close in. Peter snags a few guns and grenades (smoke, flash, etc.) and flies away.

After Parkman discovers Suresh knew something was afoot, he attacks him (a fight he can't win easily) and in the confusion, HRG escapes. He doesn't make it far, as Peter lands on the car he's trying to hotwire. Parkman sends Peter to the Hunter's apartment, where the two have a tense stand-off (lopsided, as only Peter has a gun). Nathan risks exposure and flies over, defusing the situation and letting Peter escape. This reiterates the point the Hunter has been making: Nathan, with his powered brother and daughter, is too compromised.

With the commandos closing in, Suresh offers to divert their attention, shortly after they find out about Daphne. Suresh knocks some soldiers around, but gets tagged by about eight or nine electro-rounds and the commandos still snag Parkman. HRG escorts him out and, once in the open, Peter swoops in and snatches him from their midst.

The Hunter tells HRG to take some time off, but this situation has galvanized HRG and he says he is not torn anymore between loyalties and will Do What It Takes. He later meets with Angela and we discover he's a double-agent, gaining Nathan's confidence while having an ulterior motive. When told by Angela that he'll have to make some hard choices to "prove" his loyalty to the Hunter & crew, HRG replies, "I've always been comfortable with morally grey."

In Building 26, Natahn approaches Suresh and asks for his help...or else the government won't just contain and seek to strip the powers away, but kill on site.

In NYC, Parkman finishes a furious bout of painting and wonders why, why! he's cursed to paint this. He and Peter look down at the big picture on the floor, the centerpiece of all Parkman's prophetic doodles: a nuclear bomb erupting in Washington, D.C.

To be continued next week in "Exposed."

In Characters Development:

Nothing this week with Hiro, Ando, Tracy, Sylar, Luke, Alex or Claire. Here are some quick thoughts on the others.

Matt Parkman - his orderly, police-trained mind is now showing the strains of his run from the law and seeing his love gunned down. He is out for revenge and is letting it cloud his judgement. It's a human reaction, though I'll say Greg here doesn't quite play it as well as he could. Hm. I think he needs to start thinking like a cop again. When Daphne is rescued and his desire to kill fades, especially as he starts to realize what he saw in HRG's head can be interpreted differently than "pure evil" based on his actions, I think his character will rebound into the "likable" column.

Suresh - he is wracked with guilt over killing people (vol 3., Villains) and just being a jerk overall. In fact, he probably carries a degree of guilt for those he let Sylar kill, unknowingly. So now he seeks redemption, and the sacrifice to let Peter and Parkman escape is just the beginning. Will he become Nathan's "pet special" and superscientist? What damage will he inadvertently cause this time?

Peter Petrelli - a soldier in this episode, and still a bit headstrong, I think he's taking more ownership of his powers and their responsibility, understanding that making a decision requires thought and care and that wanton revenge is not the right way (or else he'd have killed the Hunter).

Nathan Petrelli - conflicted over what he's doing and worried about the beast he's unleashed (the Hunter), perhaps after three seasons of "greater good" talk and always falling in with the smooth-talking bad guys he'll finally see the light.

The Hunter - he knew there were heroes before joining Nathan's little initiative. What more do we need to know? Who had powers in his past (see "Rev. Stryker" in God Loves, Man Kills)?

HRG (Noah Bennett) - playing the undercover hero, the spy who'll never get all the credit he deserves, the "Company Man" will most certainly play a key role to undermining and dismantling what the Hunter is doing. We see his humanity numerous times in the flashbacks, as he stresses these are people they are hunting, not animals. They can be an asset, many can be good. Remember, not all were locked up at PrimaTech, only the most dangerous. Tag the quiet ones, watch them and make sure no one goes "boom." But those tactics did prove flawed as more heroes started popping up. Perhaps he'll work for integration or some sort of mass-hiding to protect these "special" people.

Daphne - Not dead.


This episode moved. More importantly, it moved in the right direction, highlighting good characters (HRG, the Hunter, Parkman) who had dynamic stories to tell. We need to have some episode that are predominantly action at this point, not just talking heads. Bryan Fuller's first episode is close at hand.

Looking Ahead:

I want Sylar to get to the end of his road trip and an actual resistance to be formed with Peter and Parkman at its head. Are you saying that between those two (and with Angela's shadow backing, bound to be made apparent to them) they can't 1) get a hideout, 2) gather more heroes and 3) counter-attack? Come on!

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

Episode Three: "Building 26"


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