Saturday, March 3, 2007

HEROES Season 1 Episode 17 (WARNING: SPOILERS)
“Company Man”

Though I’ll probably be accused of bias, I’m going on the record as saying “Company Man” is one of the best episodes of Heroes since the pilot landed us all firmly in the middle of this brave new chapter of serialized television.
Ted and a hesitant Matt taking the Bennets hostage sets the stage for us to witness HRG’s past, and an explosive past it is.
It’s fifteen years ago and HRG gets a partner, one of “them,” and look! If it isn’t our roguish invisible man.
HRG then gets to adopt a baby girl, thanks to… Gasp! Sulu is evil! And there! That little geeky Japanese boy! And that rooftop looks awfully familiar!!! Is everyone in this world evil?!?
As it turns out though, it appears HRG may be one of the least evil of the bunch. Eric Roberts (yes, Julia’s brother) appears as Thompson, HRG’s immediate superior, and a slimy superior he is (and we all know E.R. can do slimy with the best of them).
There’s more in the flashback, pivotal moments in HRG’s life, and even as we’re privy to that, there’s the whole tense hostage situation at the Bennet home taking place, a stand-off which results in the spectacular destruction of said home from Ted’s minor meltdown (the best protracted fx sequence of the show thus far).
And when Thompson sees evidence of Claire’s powers, all I could think was, “The f*cker saw! The f*cker saw! Now Sulu’s gonna take Claire away!!!”
Man, this episode wrung me out…
Written by Bryan Fuller (co-creator of the sadly short-lived and sorely missed Wonderfalls) and directed by Allan Arkush, this is one of those brilliant hours of television where everything just falls into place. Even the final step HRG takes to ensure Claire’s safety has a nice poetic irony to it.
Fuller and Arkush make it all look so effortless, and my proverbial hat is off to them. The tension is palpable, the performances are top-notch, the episode looks great, and the script is emotionally potent, firmly establishing relationships and conflict, giving characters we’ve already come to know even more depth and complexity. (Mrs. B is an eye-opener.)
Here’s hoping we see more of the Fuller-Arkush tag team in episodes to come.
Given how “Company Man” ends though, I hope HRG’s journey back towards humanity hasn’t been brutally truncated. I also hope this doesn’t mean Claire disappears off the board for awhile. Then again, we do have to get back to the other subplots, particularly Jessica off gunning for Nathan. (It has been two episodes since we’ve seen Jessica. And yes, I know I’m not her biggest fan—shhh, don’t let her hear that—but that particular dangling subplot is distracting.)
And soon… the mysterious Mr. Linderman…

(Originally posted 022807)

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