'Heroes': Tim Kring, an eclipse and Claire's death?
In "Heroes," it's hard to tell whether it's a good or bad thing when you don't know what is going on at times. For those of us who have followed the show throughout, throwing in a twist or two or three to make it less predictable could be exactly what's needed to keep interest. On the other hand, knowing the behind-the-scenes turmoil in terms of personnel shifts and storytelling woes, you hope as a fan that things become a bit more limpid. Clarity will come, but will anyone be around to see it?
We'll do this first. A lot is being made of Tim Kring's remarks at Creative Screenwriting magazine's 2008 Screenwriting Expo last week. He insulted (to some) traditional show watchers (non-DVR users like me that he called "saps") and downed his own show's format in saying that serialized storytelling may not work. He later apologized for it. With the precarious positon of the show, he obviously didn't mean to tick off fans, I was never offended in the first place (were you?) and don't think it's a big deal. Moving on ...
Besides taking away the powers of the powerful, the eclipse also brought with it a side effect: the need to tell powered-down stories for a bit. Claire and Noah. Daphne and Matt. Nathan and Peter. Elle and Sylar. All of the relationships, real and flawed, that are always at the heart of "Heroes," but often glossed over when a guy can fly or a girl can heal from any wound.
Hope they can take advantage, though, because there are still a lot of story lines straining to reach toward the same goal. Like ...
Hiro and Ando. Comic book stores are usually the center of the universe, as Hiro helps prove. The problems of the world are dealt with in some form through the pages of the funny books, a lesson we may have forgotten, but a 10-year-old Hiro has not (nice Red Hulk mention for Jeph Loeb). Regressing Hiro back to 10 has its moments, but the sad part is, it isn't much different from when he was older. Seth and Breckin will most likely add more humor and a bit of guidance. Luckily their paths are aligned with ...
Matt and Daphne. Aww, it's love. And the speedster is walking on crutches now. And Matt probably still loves her. One of the funniest lines on the show was after Matt unknowingly lost his telepathy but tried to use it anyway on Daphne's dad. The dad just looked at Parkman strangely and said, "Why are you turning your head sideways? You got a problem, son."
Elle and Sylar. Elle is forcing Sylar to defend himself from, maybe even kill, an innocent car rental guy? What the heck is going on here? What is Elle trying to do? A Bonnie and Clyde thing? She wants to keep Sylar evil, but is it because she's insane in the membrane, or is it so that she can continue hating him and later try to kill him?
Mohinder. Still don't care, but it looks like Arthur Petrelli is going to force him to be more relevant. This formula may finally come into play.
Nathan and Peter. The brothers squabble their way to Haiti to find the Haitian. They find him attempting to overthrow his militaristic bulletproof brother. Moon covers sun, abilities are lost, and the power then shifts to the people who have the most guns. And, of course, Arthur Petrelli was a step ahead -- they knew Nathan was on his way.
When the eclipse hits, Claire and Noah's daddy/daughter bonding moment mixes with the crazy duo storyline. HRG takes out Elle and Sylar, as you'd expect him to do if they were all powerless. But again, what was up with Elle? She realized she didn't have powers, and probably understood that Sylar didn't either as Noah gave him a beatdown, so was she really going to kill Noah? Maybe I got it all wrong in thinking that Elle was redeemable and actually on the side of good. There seem to be some levels of crazy that we may not have gotten down to with Elle.
It resulted in Claire being shot and, with no healing powers, later rushed to the hospital in grave condition.
Whose team will Tracy really be on in the end? With powerless Sylar and Elle in the crosshairs, will Noah pull the trigger? Will Claire's death be the catalyst for a rebirth of powers? All of this and more next week!
See, that's the kind of cliffhanging stuff that will keep viewers coming back. Not more time-travel, nor more forgettable characters like Caitlin (whom Kring called a "casualty of an act of God") -- both of which Tim Kring acknowledged.
You're forgiven, Tim. But know that with historically (for the show) low ratings and waning critical interest, your audience is not always just going to forget that Peter dropped a girl off in a possible apocalyptic future. Just because something, or someone, doesn't work doesn't mean their loose ends shouldn't be tied.
-- Jevon Phillips