'Heroes': The (Kristen) Bell tolls, an eclipse ends
So, did "Heroes" have an electric ending, or didn't it? They can't do that to Kristen Bell, but did they?!? The measure of a good serialized show is, of course, whether you are enticed to return the next week. Lately, "Heroes," when it isn't a whole episode in a different time period, has gone back to the cliffhanger method -- and that's a good thing. One small step.
When the people in "Heroes" lost their powers because of the eclipse, we got to see which ones embrace what they've become (Hiro, The Haitian, Peter), reject it to a point (Hayden Panettiere's Claire, right), just kind of work it around their lives (Matt, Nathan), or have let their powers define who they are (Sylar, Daphne, Arthur). This distillation of the characters may even be a good way for the writers to get back to the characters' roots.
Cases in point: Claire and Hiro. Probably the two most popular characters on the show, probably the two who needed help the most. Putting Claire in mortal danger was good. Some of the best episodes/moments this year were ones involving her in creepy peril (Sylar's stalking and the puppetmaster come to mind). In general, making Claire a teen again, with her line "I'm not brave, I'm just a stupid teenager," and her reaction at the end to seeing herself as a baby being handed off to HRG, brought a bit of spark back to her character. And there wasn't a calfskin clutch bag in sight!
Hiro, on the other hand, has always had an overly simplistic way of viewing his heroics -- so why not make him 10 years old and go all the way? Why not have comic books be his guidebook? And, good for the comics duo! Seth Green and Breckin Meyer represent the fanboys. Ones who are able, through their random knowledge and general geekdom, to help save the world by helping Hiro. A bit over the top, but that's who Hiro is, and that's part of who the "Heroes" fanbase is. Best. Day. Ever.
Two other characters that should appeal to the fanbase are HRG and the Haitian. They are partners at Primatech, and are hard-core as individuals. In their separate story lines, there was very little hesitation from either of them in taking a life. HRG's stalking, box-cutter throat slice of Sylar was no joke (though Gabriel returned), and the Haitian wiping his brother's mind clean (that's what I assume) shows why this duo was probably Primatech's best. A side note: The Petrelli brothers' captivity and sojourn in Haiti did show that Peter has guts with or without powers and that those guts will be put to the test when he has to go up against his logically delusional big brother, Nathan.
And speaking of Sylar ... what kind of roller coaster were he and Elle on? It's always seemed like it was all an act from both of them, but to go from sleeping together on the hardwood floor at the beginning of the episode to Sylar's telekinetic guillotine at the end? And do we think he even did it? Either way, now that we know he's planning something, it'll be fun watching to see when he pounces, and who he pounces on. Kristen Bell was/is one of the best things about the show the last couple of seasons, and everyone's curious to see what her fate is.
Oh, and the Matt-Daphne romance is cute, but get back in the game already! Romance doesn't really ever end well on this show anyway. The ups and downs of Matt's roommate, Mohinder, are still a little annoying -- there was even a Maya sighting (gasp!) -- and his scales give me goosebumps. The trials of Santiago on the "Heroes: Destiny" Web series is a bit more fun than his section and worth checking out, though it's not tied in to the main storyline. Not sure if either is as fun as the Miiroes or "South Park Heroes!"
You saps! It seems that a lot of DVR users missed the last two minutes of the show according to comments on NBC.com. No, you didn't miss anything after Kaito handed lil Claire over to HRG. Except the bomb. I read a few comments, and for those who wondered where the baby hot potato came from, for shame. This all played out a while ago in the first season. The only thing we didn't get was a drawn out conversation between HRG and Kaito explaining why. Maybe that'll come.
As the Villains theme comes to a climax, things are looking up. We'll see if the ratings bear that out.
-- Jevon Phillips
Photo credits: NBC. Hayden Panettierre as Claire. Jack Coleman as HRG, with Claire in the background. Kristen Bell as Elle and Zachary Quinto as Sylar.