Friday, December 21, 2007

Season 2
Volume Two: “Generations”
Chapter Nine: “Cautionary Tales”
Written by: Joe Pokaski
Directed by: Greg Yaitanes

As a counter-point (in more ways than one) to the previous chapter, this exceptional episode focuses on the major characters absent from “Four Months Ago…”: the Bennets, Mo, Parkman, and Hiro.

Spurred on by his discovery of Maury’s involvement with the previous generation of powered individuals, Parkman stumbles on a new aspect of his Jedi mind tricks: the Jedi mind trick!
Finding he can make people do what he wants them to do by giving them a mental nudge, Parkman decides to use this power to get Granny P to tell him who the Mystery Woman in the Photo Who Looks Like Joanna Cassidy is.
Thus, another great scene with Cristine Rose, as Parkman does a Jedi interrogation and pries loose some stuff from the old days. Despite Granny P demanding a little respect for herself and the rest of her generation, who “mortgaged their souls” for ingrates like Parkman, and goading Parkman to get over his Daddy issues, he digs into her mind, and her struggle is so valiant, she gets an awful nosebleed.
Apparently, Granny P made a promise to the Mystery Woman in the Photo Who Looks Like Joanna Cassidy, who just wants to be left alone. Granny P warns Parkman, if he steals this secret away from her, he isn’t just like his father, he is his father.
The next time we see Parkman, he’s got a Post It stuck to the photo, indicating the Mystery Woman in the Photo Who Looks Like Joanna Cassidy’s name: Victoria Pratt.
(Parkman is such a twat.)

In a great parallel to Mo bringing Papa Suresh’s ashes back to India in Volume One’s “Seven Minutes To Midnight,” we join Hiro at Papa Sulu’s funeral.
Distraught, Hiro is unwilling to eulogize his father, and instead, travels one week into the past, on the day of Papa Sulu’s murder. After seeing the exchange between Granny P and Papa S (in which she slaps him), Hiro tells his father he’s come from Takezo Kensei’s time, and oh, by the by, I’ve also just come from your funeral.
Thus, Papa S understands this is his fate, but Hiro is unwilling to accept that, so he ‘ports both of them back to the day of his mother’s funeral, the saddest day of Papa S’ life.
Hiro just wants Papa S to understand the grief he’s going through, to make him see why Hiro needs to save his life. Instead, Hiro gets to talk to little Hiro, and therein lies a great emotional pay-off, as Hiro comes to understand that he needs to honour his father’s wish that fate be allowed to unfold as it already has.
So after paying their respects, Hiro and Papa S ‘port back to the Deveaux building, and say their teary goodbyes (another nice emotional pay-off), moments before the apparently flying killer arrives. And as Ando comes on the scene, and murderer and victim tip off the rooftop, Hiro freezes time, and says, if he can’t save his father’s life, he can at least see who the killer is.
We, of course, by this time, already know that the killer is one Adam/Kensei, so I guess he didn’t really fly, but simply leaped off the building, taking Papa S with him, knowing he’d heal from any damage taken from the fall anyway. (Though he must heal instantaneously, as when Ando rushed to look over the edge, all he saw was Papa S on the pavement, with no sign of the baddie.)

And in the section of the narrative that has another great bunch of emotional pay-offs, Claire is adamant about staying behind, even as the other Bennets are packing their stuff in preparation for the move.
It’s a fantastic opening scene, and everyone is brilliant here, Hayden Panettiere, Jack Coleman, Ashley Crow, and Randall Bentley. The tension and emotion here is genuine and potent, and it’s great to see Mrs. B put her foot down and act as mediator between father and daughter. It’s also during this head-to-head that Claire accuses Mr. B of abducting West when he was just 12 years old. (Lyle: “Dad doesn’t `abduct’ people.”)
Claire later talks to West, telling him that there was no sinister plan and that she’s not working with her father, but West doesn’t really buy it, so he flies off, putting an end to the discussion.

Mr. B realizes he needs to talk to West, so he asks Mo to get Molly to find West. Unbeknowest to Mr. B, Mo is already in Costa Verde, with Bob and Elle, who is Mo’s new partner. Bob also finally cops to being Elle’s Daddykins.
Bob’s plan: abduct Claire, “take care” of Mr. B. Mo’s suggestion: talk to Mr. B first. Bob agrees to go with Mo’s plan.
Meanwhile, Mr. B can’t wait around for Mo to get back to him, so he decides to drive off to Claire’s school to find West, but Flyboy takes matters into his own hands and zips by and picks Mr. B up, soaring way up into the sky.
He asks Mr. B if Claire is working with him as a tag team, and Mr. B tells him that Claire lied to him about West, so West must be important to her.
They hit the ground when West can’t sustain holding Mr. B’s weight any longer. Mr. B tells West that the family is leaving Costa Verde tonight, with Claire.
Just then, Mo rings Mr. B, and says he knows where West is, giving Mr. B a location that is nowhere near where they are at the moment, so Mr. B knows Mo is lying to him. Mr. B knows Claire’s in trouble too, so he asks West for help. (Hah! Surprise team-up.)

Over at the school, Bob shows up to talk to Claire about the Debbie incident, and during their conversation, calls her “Ms. Bennet.” It’s an unfortunate slip, and again, I thought Bob was smarter than this.
So Claire runs off (apparently all the way home as isn’t the status of her car still stolen?) and warns Mrs. B about Bob, who arrives and whom Mrs. B recognizes as the Regional Manager of Primatech Paper.

Back with Mr. B, the meet with Mo goes down, and Mo tells him they just need to take Claire in for her blood, which can help save a lot of people, but Mr. B won’t have any of that. Mo, taking matters into his own hands, holds Mr. B at gunpoint.
When Mr. B asks who Mo’s partner is, Elle shows up, Elle whom Mr. B recognizes, of course. She’s charging up when who should arrive to save the day, but Flyboy! West zooms in and slams Elle against a car, knocking her unconscious.
The distraction allows Mr. B to grab Mo’s gun and bop him on the nose yet again. Mr. B looks like he’s about to shoot Mo in the head, but West asks him what he’s doing, and he desists.

Back at the Bennet homestead, Mrs. B’s tied up, and Mr. B lets her free just as West comes in with a very unconscious Elle.
Mr. B once again reverts to Company Man and ties Elle up, placing her feet in Mr. Muggles’ doggie bath, so she gets a nasty zap when she tries to use her powers.
Mr. B then insinuates that Elle was a normal girl once, until Bob used inhuman amounts of electricity to turn her into what she is today. (Torture which she can’t remember, but then again, memory loss comes hand-in-hand with electroshock therapy, right?)
So that’s interesting, since a) it could be true, and Bob is a cold and calculating baddie, willing to go to extreme lengths for what he believes in; b) this could be entirely false and be psychological warfare to turn her against her father; or c) this could be a version of the truth to suit Mr. B’s ends. Maybe little Elle was already exhibiting sociopathic behaviour, and electroshock is, after all, still considered an acceptable treatment for mental illness by some…
At any rate, a deal is made for an exchange, daughter for daughter, but not before Bob extracts an indeterminate amount of Claire’s blood. (Hey, she can regenerate quickly, so he could have gotten a lot in the two hours before the scheduled exchange.)

At the swap—where West successfully argued for his presence by saying he was the fastest way to get Claire out of danger—Elle hears Mr. B tell West that as soon as they get Claire, to fly off with her.
So, when the exchange is made, and West flies Claire off, Elle zaps him, and they crash to the ground, Claire voluntarily taking the brunt of the impact, saving West’s life.
In retaliation, Mr. B shoots Elle in the arm, then is about to shoot Bob—Mr. B claims the Company will die with Bob’s death—when bam, Mo shoots Mr. B in the eye, just as the Isaac painting decreed.
What follows that shocker (bad Mo! Bad Mo!) is another bunch of wrenching moments, as first, Claire realizes the last thing she said to her father was “I hate you,” and that at the time she said it, she meant it, and second, she breaks the news to poor Mrs. B.

There’s a montage which winds the chapter down, as Hiro’s tribute to Papa Sulu serves as VO, as he talks about a parent living on in the actions of a child, as we see the episode’s entire cast of characters in the aftermath of choices made: Mo with the gun that he used to shoot Mr. B; Parkman with the photo identifying Victoria Pratt; Bob trying to comfort his wounded daughter, even as Elle processes what Mr. B revealed to her; Claire being comforted by West; Mrs. B being comforted by Mr. Muggles.

The chapter’s coda doesn’t come as a complete surprise, given that Bob had gobbets of Claire’s blood with him, but still, it’s nonetheless a kick-a$$ cliffhanger as we see Mr. B’s eye regenerate, just before he comes back to life!
I wonder though, if a) Bob and company will brainwash Mr. B and make him into a good little Company Man again, and b) if having Claire’s blood in his system will either give him some kind of power, or alter his physiology just enough that he becomes more physically sound, or maybe give him a Wolvie healing factor too.

So this was a great episode, arguably one of the best of this season, and certainly better than the previous chapter.
Not only did this prove that there’s a lot of narrative mileage that can be drawn from genuine human conflict (without needing to resort to massive—and repetitive—threats like viral apocalypses), particularly the sturm und drang of filial relationships, of fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters.
Then there’s the interesting parallel of Claire and Elle, that Elle is the reason why Mr. B is adamant the Company not get their hands on Claire. That Elle is, in effect, the Anti-Claire.
This is quite possibly the most thematically cohesive script of the season thus far, and props should go to Joe Pokaski, who brought this baby home in style, and Greg Yaitanes—who’s worked on everything from V.I.P. to CSI: Miami to Nip/Tuck to Lost to the short-lived Drive—for some really interesting shots and angles.

Oh yeah, bring on the next chapter!

(Behind the scene images courtesy of; TV Guide Heroes cover art [4 of 4] by Tim Sale, courtesy of

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