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Heroes

Heroes is a drama about individuals across the globe suddenly discovering that they have super powers. NBC 2006-2010

70
/100

Episode 2 - Don't Look Back

30 March 2012

Synopsis: Peter wakes up in hospital and Nathan says it was a suicide attempt. His mother tells him that his father actually killed himself and suffered from depression. Claire asks her father if she can meet her birth parents. He says he is looking into it but he finds the video of her healing ability. Niki spaces out on the way to pick up Micah and finds that four hours have passed and she has cleaned up her garage and put the two men’s dead bodies in the trunk. There are also instructions on where to bury them in the desert. Mohinder is attacked in his apartment and begins to find answers with the help of his neighbour. Officer Matt Parkman in Los Angeles is helping out with a brutal murder. He begins to hear the voice of a girl who he finds hiding in the house where her family were killed. Finally Hiro finds a comic in New York detailing the last day’s events in his life. The comic was drawn by Isaac Mendez but when Hiro arrives at his loft, he has been murdered. The police call Ando who says Hiro has been missing for five weeks. A nuclear bomb goes off in New York so Hiro jumps back to the point where he left Japan.

The Good: Hiro’s story is the most intriguing. The comic of his life drawn by Mr Isaac is a nice development but the sight of his dead body is pretty shocking. At first it’s not clear that it is Isaac and only when we realise that Hiro has jumped ahead in time does the full shock hit you. It’s a great twist for two reasons.

The first is its place in the narrative of this episode. We have heard Sylar’s voice and seen his brutal handiwork before we realise that he is going to be responsible for Isaac’s death and possibly even the destruction of New York. That realisation ties together the stories of Mohinder, Parkman and Hiro in one stroke and makes every scene a must-see because the details are important in each. Both dramatically and commercially it is a strong message.

The second is that it gives the story a timeline for us to understand. We now know Hiro and company have five weeks to prevent New York from going up in smoke, the day after Nathan wins the election. This gives all the subsequent developments a sense of urgency.

Sylar is given a really threatening feel by this episode. The sliced open heads are a strong and disturbing image and his presence in three stories demonstrates his importance to the overall arc.

Matt Parkman makes a good debut here, having been absent from the pilot. Unlike the other characters, his powers seem to appear instantly and so we can more closely relate to his development because we are present as he is first aware of them. The ability to hear people’s thoughts is also an ability which we can relate to more easily. Unlike healing or teleportation it is something we try to do on a daily basis. Everyone interacts daily with people they wish they could understand better. So in Parkman’s scenes we can more easily imagine our reaction to having his abilities. He is also cast as an everyman, having troubles at home, failing his exams and dismissed by his superiors. We can therefore begin to see the dilemmas he will face now that he has a power which could advance his career through its use. His ability is also unique in that it doesn’t have a physical demonstration the way the other hero’s powers do.

Peter’s reactions to Nathan are nice to see. At first he is angry when Nathan says he can fly. He doesn’t quite believe it himself and so he reacts angrily until he realises he is flying as he says it. The realisation that it is all true brings a flood of emotional confusion and he hugs his brother. He is clearly grateful to know he isn’t crazy and relieved that he has someone to share it with. It is an emotionally honest reaction which shows us Peter’s personality very clearly.

Niki maintains her creepy story in strong fashion. Phasing out while in her car, she wakes up in a different place and in different clothes which we can see is very startling for her. The gruesome sight of the contents of her trunk is a further shock.

The Bad: I assume the writers changed their minds once the series began because in the pilot Nathan said the election was eight days away and yet here it is five weeks away.

There’s an odd line when the cop tells the cheerleaders about how one of them rescued a man from the fire. Claire walks up and asks how he is and the cop asks who. Who else could she have been asking about? Soon after that Claire is tackled by an errant football player who breaks her neck. She of course snaps it back into place and says she is fine. This means she would probably be dead if she didn’t have her powers. It feels like dramatic overkill for the second episode of the show. The point about her powers could have been made as easily by her breaking a finger or her wrist.

The Unknown: We get more of a sense that these genetic developments are not a natural phenomenon. Isaac’s ability to paint the future is strange enough but the fact that he seems to paint his fellow mutants adds to it. This implies that the heroes are connected together by something greater than natural selection.

Best Moment: Hiro is told he hasn’t been seen for five weeks. He looks at his watch and pleads that it is only October 2nd. The detective says no it is November 8th and shoves a newspaper under his nose with the headline “Petrelli Wins In Landslide” just as the nuclear shock wave destroys New York. A really strong twist to end the episode.

Epilogue: An episode which very effectively introduces the common threads tying the characters together and throws a couple of nice twists our way. The growing threat of Sylar and some good character moments greatly add to the episode as well.

The Good: Hiro’s story is the most intriguing. The comic of his life drawn by Mr Isaac is a nice development but the sight of his dead body is pretty shocking. At first it’s not clear that it is Isaac and only when we realise that Hiro has jumped ahead in time does the full shock hit you. It’s a great twist for two reasons.

The first is its place in the narrative of this episode. We have heard Sylar’s voice and seen his brutal handiwork before we realise that he is going to be responsible for Isaac’s death and possibly even the destruction of New York. That realisation ties together the stories of Mohinder, Parkman and Hiro in one stroke and makes every scene a must-see because the details are important in each. Both dramatically and commercially it is a strong message.

The second is that it gives the story a timeline for us to understand. We now know Hiro and company have five weeks to prevent New York from going up in smoke, the day after Nathan wins the election. This gives all the subsequent developments a sense of urgency.

Sylar is given a really threatening feel by this episode. The sliced open heads are a strong and disturbing image and his presence in three stories demonstrates his importance to the overall arc.

Matt Parkman makes a good debut here, having been absent from the pilot. Unlike the other characters, his powers seem to appear instantly and so we can more closely relate to his development because we are present as he is first aware of them. The ability to hear people’s thoughts is also an ability which we can relate to more easily. Unlike healing or teleportation it is something we try to do on a daily basis. Everyone interacts daily with people they wish they could understand better. So in Parkman’s scenes we can more easily imagine our reaction to having his abilities. He is also cast as an everyman, having troubles at home, failing his exams and dismissed by his superiors. We can therefore begin to see the dilemmas he will face now that he has a power which could advance his career through its use. His ability is also unique in that it doesn’t have a physical demonstration the way the other hero’s powers do.

Peter’s reactions to Nathan are nice to see. At first he is angry when Nathan says he can fly. He doesn’t quite believe it himself and so he reacts angrily until he realises he is flying as he says it. The realisation that it is all true brings a flood of emotional confusion and he hugs his brother. He is clearly grateful to know he isn’t crazy and relieved that he has someone to share it with. It is an emotionally honest reaction which shows us Peter’s personality very clearly.

Niki maintains her creepy story in strong fashion. Phasing out while in her car, she wakes up in a different place and in different clothes which we can see is very startling for her. The gruesome sight of the contents of her trunk is a further shock.

The Bad: I assume the writers changed their minds once the series began because in the pilot Nathan said the election was eight days away and yet here it is five weeks away.

There’s an odd line when the cop tells the cheerleaders about how one of them rescued a man from the fire. Claire walks up and asks how he is and the cop asks who. Who else could she have been asking about? Soon after that Claire is tackled by an errant football player who breaks her neck. She of course snaps it back into place and says she is fine. This means she would probably be dead if she didn’t have her powers. It feels like dramatic overkill for the second episode of the show. The point about her powers could have been made as easily by her breaking a finger or her wrist.

The Unknown: We get more of a sense that these genetic developments are not a natural phenomenon. Isaac’s ability to paint the future is strange enough but the fact that he seems to paint his fellow mutants adds to it. This implies that the heroes are connected together by something greater than natural selection.

Best Moment: Hiro is told he hasn’t been seen for five weeks. He looks at his watch and pleads that it is only October 2nd. The detective says no it is November 8th and shoves a newspaper under his nose with the headline “Petrelli Wins In Landslide” just as the nuclear shock wave destroys New York. A really strong twist to end the episode.

Epilogue: An episode which very effectively introduces the common threads tying the characters together and throws a couple of nice twists our way. The growing threat of Sylar and some good character moments greatly add to the episode as well.

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