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'Heroes': 1961 and what we learned

April 14, 2009 |  6:56 am

It's great that the Petrellis and their extended family (HRG) on "Heroes" finally were able to come together, meet a crazy, powerful aunt/sister, bond over digging up bodies in Coyote Sands and declare that, as a family, they should be able to grant forgiveness to one another.  Touching stuff.  But what did we really learn from our black-and-white journey back to 1961?

Alice We learned:  Alice DOES live here.  The Storm of "Heroes" --  closer to the Crazy Cat Lady on "The Simpsons" -- was still hanging out at Coyote Sands, controlling the weather with lightning and all.  Staying put for almost 50 years because your big sister said to?  That's some serious agreeability there.  There was definitely a kind of ... deficiency going on.  Her power was definitely strong, but Angela, or Banana (a great nickname), was actually correct in terms of the hunt going on.  She was safest out there, but we have to wonder if now she'll venture out.  Doubt it.

We learned: Mohinder's dad, Suresh, was apparently well-intentioned but, like Mohinder, utterly unprepared for what he was really doing or the people he was involved with.  Mohinder may be one of the least favorite characters, but even he eventually realizes his flaws and limitations.  "I am weak. I am corruptible. I am selfish."  Fans were yelling, "That's right!" at the TV, but maybe this can be a turnaround for Mohinder?  By now, many may not care.

We learned: Angela Petrelli has been manipulating situations ever since the diner in 1961, when, at 16, she told the assembled kids -- Bobby Bishop, Charles Deveraux, Daniel Linderman -- that they would form a company to keep their powers a secret by any means necessary.  With her precognition, Linderman's healing, Bob's golden touch and Deveraux's strong telepathy, you can see how that is easily accomplished.

Petenmom All well and good.  It helped the ongoing story out by delving into Angela's past and showed how the government is not new to the idea that there are people out there with powers.  It even left us with a little mystery in the film canister Peter found and gave to Mohinder.  But ...

What we didn't learn:  There are two episodes left, and we go fishing for a crazy aunt and a 50-year-old tragedy?  Where's Matt and his newly discovered baby?  Where are Hiro and Ando?  Where's the season's ongoing central focus -- the government and Danko?  Rebel?  As much as some don't like the format, this is pretty much a serial show.  We can't get updates on every character in every episode, but every episode should be advancing the overall plot, and despite the introduction of a powerful character and a great history lesson on the genesis of Primatech/the Company, there wasn't a whole lot that they can take back with them to fight with.  Was hoping there would be the outlines of a plan (in the diner at the end) for facing Danko and Sylar.  Stronger family bonds don't seem to be enough, but they could have something up their sleeve.

Speaking of Sylar, impersonating Nathan publicly was a great twist.  We've seen him do it before in the great future episode in which he's (as Nathan) the president.  That shape-shifting of Sylar's is too much.  We need Peter to get back his sponging ability or no one will be able to stop Sylar, except maybe a hidden Maya or Lil' Parkman.  I know, I know ... said the "M" word.

The whole situation in 1961 reminded me of J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars comic-book series (awesome read) much more than any X-Men comparisons.  There were very few hints as to what we're going to see next week or, ultimately, what the whole resolution will be.  Good, actually.  Don't telegraph it.  Hopefully, it's a grand and well-played surprise.

-- Jevon Phillips

Photos: NBC