Heroes: The Kindness of Strangers

by Paul William Tenny

heroes-2x04.jpgThe Kindness of Strangers (2x04) felt closer to an episode from the first season than any other thus far, which is good, and yet it left out two of the better arcs entirely in favor of pushing two new ones that utterly suck and have up until this point been pretty boring.

I jotted down some notes so I'd be able to quickly cover all the points I wanted to write about once the episode was over, and here's the one I ended up writing in three different places: "WHERE'S PETER?"

If you haven't seen this episode yet, go no further.. Okay great, glad you stuck with me. Neither Peter nor Hiro appeared in this episode at all outside of the "getting you up to speed" flashbacks, commercial teasers, and NBC's own teaser for 2x05 Fight or Flight (one of the most descriptive, cool, and overused episode titles in television history.)

I was very much ready to write the entire episode off once we got to our wandering South American friends. First let me reiterate how much I hate the sister, and I think this is important to make clear, because she has done nothing to gain any viewer sympathy. If anything, she's only pissing us off because all she does is whine and murder innocent people with her evil oil blood.

We're four episodes into this season which opened with these two people, and absolutely nothing has actually happened with their arc yet. She has killed a number of people, her brother has saved a number of them, and that sad little formula has repeated itself over, and over, and over again.

That arc's only saving grace is that it has apparently been merged with the second best (perhaps about to the *the* best) arc - involving our bad boy who appeared to have been stuck somewhere deep in the jungle.

I'm so glad to see this evil bastard that I forgive Tim Kring & Company for completely screwing up his escape. What was the point of showing him stuck, alone, deep inside an impenetrable jungle, if he was going to walk out of in in three short hours and we never even get to see it?

Might as well have him open the shed door and step out into the barren desert where we found him, at least that would have been somewhat consistent and the a massive open stretch of scorched desert is just as foreboding as a dense jungle.

So with that out of the way and the previous big bad now set on a collision course with the people of New York (just can't catch a break, can they?) here are the significant elements to touch on for "The Kindness of Strangers."

Monica - The burger girl is yet another person this series doesn't need and that I don't really want. Peter and Hiro's arcs were pushed aside to make room for this one and it goes without saying that such diversions are not appreciated. Bringing in new heroes is cool, perhaps even an outright necessity, but doing it at the cost of not seeing all the ones we're already emotionally invested in is a mistake, especially when it's two of the Big Three (Peter, Sylar, and Hiro.)

Get rid of her.

West - Is it just me, or does this guy remind you somebody that in five or ten years will turn into the wife-beating, controlling, domestic abuse nightmare type of person? He pumps his girl up, makes her take stupid risks, then "saves" her so that she relies on him constantly even though she's freakin indestructible.

He's also turning her into a rabid liar, which is hardly an innocent act on any show, but with with stakes like this? Come on, West is evil and Peter *must* fight him to the death.

Another small nitpick, does it make sense to you to walk only a single block from your house, and then fly away only a couple of hundred feet off the ground over a densely populated suburban neighborhood, in broad daylight, at about 8 or 9am?

You'd think that even though Claire is turning into a retard and has clearly forgotten all the danger her "power" caused her back in Texas, she'd at least berate the guy for doing something that insanely stupid.

West must die!

If Only I Knew You.. - It feels really odd that 90% of these people that were brought together at the end of last season seem like they've never met before in their lives this season. Is this a consequence of not paying enough attention to who actually met whom in the first season?

It could be.

I do happen to recall D.L. only getting shot once and dying, while Parkman ate like six bullets in the chest and seems fit as a fiddle these days. What's up with that? Also, how cool was that?

The 12 - Great arc, glad to see progress on this front. Finding out that Parkman's father is the big-bad torturing the little girl in her dreams was really awesome at first, then it kind of sucked a little bit. The reason mysteries are really cool and stay cool for a really long time is precisely because of what you don't know about them.

Once the mystery is revealed, they aren't cool anymore. Suddenly knowing the identity of big-bad 2.0 kills the mystery of who he is and steals some of the power of mystery. He doesn't seem anywhere near as evil and bad now, either, because it feels a lot like this guy is just going to be some kind of super psychic, like Parkman x10.

Neat, but hardly the huge all-dominating evil we're been expecting. In many ways if that is the case, Sylar is still the big bad on the show. Given how great Zach is at playing Sylar, that could be a good thing in the end.

As always, you can watch "The Kindness of Strangers" streaming online by hitting NBC's website on Tuesday, where it'll be available until next Tuesday.

We know from the teaser that Kristen Bell will be making her first appearance next week and that her arc will be intertwined with Peter's. So...who is Kristen Bell again, and why is a minor 'netlet actress getting lucky and joining a breakout hit a big deal again? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments..

[NBC isn't taking down previous episodes like they said they were going to, at least not yet. For the time being you can see "Four Months Later", "Lizards", "Kindred Spirits" and sometime tomorrow, "The Kindness of Strangers" all on their site at the link above. Get it while it lasts folks. - Ed.]
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Okay, first, I'm in total sympathy that we did not get to see Peter last night. I didn't like his character as Jess on Gilmore Girls but he's totally badass as Peter in Heroes. Second, the South American Twins: the only reason I am happy about seeing them last night is that they meet Sylar and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he WHACKS them soon. Little disappointed that he didn't do it already, I'm so sick of them.
West MUST DIE. Really, a punk kid who can fly (which is a talent already held by a few other of our heroes) is not a necessity to anyone. I think the only angle it is lending is that it is creating that negativity bad guy feel to Claire's dad again. Been there, done that...BORING!!!
I'm okay with the Bad 12 or whatever, because while we know who the one guy is, we don't know what his deal is as Parker hasn't seen him since he was 13. What I am noticing is that heredity is more prevanlent this season. While we saw Mica's little family full of talent and it was long suspected that Peter's Witch of a mother had power, we are now seeing that even Mica's extended family, the lines of Peter's family from parents to niece (Claire) etc are powerful which is creating a Heroic Heirarchy that could be exploited in future seasons or will be a dud depending on the Heroes Origins series. Me personally, I kind of like our New Orleans Burger flipper. Her copycat talent will give her more range of ability then just ONE thing like Claire and Parker, but not as powerful as Peter. She may not be needed but I like the idea of her and where she is from and her ties to Mica. Gives people hope and lends a little more to the DC comic fans: more of a normal person with a gift versus a super gift....I'd like to see how the story on her develops...but preferably taking the place of the twins or Flyboy instead of Peter. Something needs to happen soon or I'm giving up on the show. It will still be played in my house as my husband is as addicted as ever...but he's much more patient then I am. As of right now, I'm bored with it.

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