Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Season 3 Episode 2
Volume Three: “Villains”
Chapter Two: “The Butterfly Effect”
Written by Tim Kring
Directed by Greg Beeman

“You have no idea of the fire that you’re playing with. You don’t screw with time.”
-- Mama P

Say what?! (In reaction to Mama P’s big cliffhanging reveal, and not the quote above.)
Urrrr… this better be some cockamamie scheme on Mama P’s part, ‘cause if not, why are we dipping into hackneyed soap opera territory? (Wasn’t Peter’s amnesia last season bad enough?)
And while I’m happy to see a bigger role for Mama P, given that she’s now in charge thanks to the Company’s chain of command, I am terribly disappointed that Bob has now suffered one of those thankless Heroes deaths: blink, and the character’s history. (And it happens off-screen to boot.)
And now poor Elle’s out of a job… but only after she inadvertently causes the escape of about a dozen powered lowlifes from Level 5 (when she lets out a massive electrical discharge as Sylar is cutting her head open, she causes the power grid to go down, and presto, escaped supervillains).

That escape gets Mr. B out as well, and he runs off into the night, but only after ensuring Sylar’s confinement (which Mama P looks about to rescind, thanks in part to the reveal that, gasp, he’s her son!).
As I said though, maybe this is Mama P trying to manipulate Sylar into doing her bidding, by giving him a mother figure by claiming to be his real mother.
Gods, I hope so.

So Mr. B heads back home, to have a brief reunion with Claire, and is set to go off again, to take down the Level 5 escapees.
But not before he brings back Claire’s pyrokinetic bio-mom Meredith, to keep his family safe.
And I say that without sarcasm, as, honestly, this was one of the few high points of the episode. I just hope that Meredith is on the level here, ‘cause she did seem a tad mercenary the last time we saw her…

Oh, and one of the Level 5 escapees, Jesse Murphy (played in a little bit of stunt casting by Veronica Mars alum, Francis Capra), is where scarred Peter-from-the-future “put” the real Peter. (Does Future Boy feel like such a d!ck now, or what? Is a portion of Volume Three basically just cleaning up the idiot mess he caused by gunning down Nathan, while the other is cleaning up Hiro’s idiot mess?)
So now Capra gets to share screen time with Milo Ventimiglia in the role of supervillain on the lam (does Capra get half a paycheck then?)
Jesse’s power: sound manipulation.

And my mention of The Fly in response to Mo’s totally irresponsible “oh, I’ll inject myself with an untested compound because I am so conflicted and tortured right now” moment?
Well, what do we have here but a scene straight out of Cronenberg’s remake, where a shirtless Mo is hanging off the rafters, then does some wall-climbing? He then makes the moves on Maya, who succumbs to his shirtless charms, and ends up in bed with him.
Of course, he wakes up in the middle of the night, and, well, he seems to be… flaking. Or something.
You know, he’s looking in the mirror, very Fly-like, and there are some odd looking patches of skin on his back that are coming off.
So we’re raiding soap operas and sci fi remakes.

Meanwhile, Nathan’s Linderman appears to be a figment of his imagination.
Gods, Nathan is certifiable.
Either that or Linderman (who is supposed to be dead) is just invisible to everyone else, but that’s just plain silly, right?
Nathan, by the way, takes the offer for the junior Senator seat, provided Tracy-who-looks-exactly-like-Nikki will be on his team.

Oh, and Tracy-who-looks-exactly-like-Nikki? Well, she apparently has the power to instantaneously deep freeze anyone she touches, and of course, when a human insta-popsicle falls to the ground, the body shatters, leaving itty bitty bits of bloody ice all over the place.
(The poor sap who gets the messy death? The Greatest American Hero himself, William Katt! Stunt casting, hurrah!)

And Parkman?
‘Ported to Africa, where he meets Usutu (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine), who knows Parkman’s name, and claims that he shouldn’t be there, and that this is not the future he painted.
Another Isaac?
Oh, and Usutu is apparently the one who painted that cracking globe symbol which Parkman saw in the previous episode.
(And why hasn’t anyone wondered what happened to Parkman? Has no one noticed that’s he’s gone missing?)

Hiro (I’m the idiot who’s responsible for that dangerous half-formula being stolen by some super-speedster, and can’t I see that how I’m treating Ando could very well turn him against me?) Nakamura on the other hand, has a plan to track Daphne the super-speedster and catch her before she steals the other half of the formula.
Fine, let’s see how that pans out, though why do I get the feeling that won’t work out too well either?

Claire, meanwhile, realizes that she now can feel no pain, which troubles her deeply since, despite her extraordinary regeneration, what kept her grounded and human before was the fact that she could still feel pain.
Now, while I admit that’s an interesting turn of events, the “attempt #7” scene is curiously lacking in the emotional weight department. I’m not sure if the greenscreen is totally to blame (as such shots always seem to be bereft of any genuine tension due to their artificiality), but it certainly doesn’t help any.

Meanwhile, Mama P has a disturbing (and rather comic book-y) dream where some of the heroes are shown being defeated/killed by a bunch of baddies, which include Nikki (or whatever the hell her name is) and Parkman Sr.

Well, I can’t say that that was significantly better than the first hour, and I have to say that this troubles me a bit.
After the largely slapdash and compromised affair that was Volume Two, I had hoped that this third volume would waste no time and from the opening, immediately detonate at ground zero and recapture the glory of the golden age of Heroes (back in Season 1, when Bryan Fuller was still in the house).
Sadly, that didn’t happen.
There are still too many characters running about, and worse, some of them are acting rather idiotically, apparently just to kick-start some subplots.
And then there’s that whole Sylar-as-long-lost-Petrelli-son reveal.

Well, hope springs eternal, and there’s always next week for another shot at redemption…

Parting shot: In the lag between the time the premiere aired, I got to see it and wrote this review, and today, when I finally got to post the review, news broke regarding the “letting go” of Heroes co-executive producers Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander. (Details here and here.)
As much as this came as a shock, how this will affect the show is also at the forefront of my mind.
It has already been indicated that Kring will be “simplifying” the storytelling, and “refining the tone of the show.” There’s also a bit about—thank Heavens—“emphasiz[ing] character development more than plot twists.”
I imagine the exact repercussions of this sudden shake-up will become evident sometime in the second half of the current season, during Volume Four (reportedly titled “Fugitives”).
Though it does seem like Loeb and Alexander have been shafted—and who exactly did the shafting is up for debate—this does present yet another opportunity for the show to clean up its act (if Loeb and Alexander were indeed the problematic pieces in the Writers’ Room).
Like I said, hope springs eternal. Let’s see, shall we?

(Images courtesy of,, and

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