Monday, April 13, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “1961” S3E23 (airdate 4/13/09)

Picking right up where we left off last week, Angela's group is still digging and have uncovered a lot of bodies by now. Peter sulks a bit, saying that digging up these graves is wrong and he wants to know why they’re doing it. Nathan says that their mom will tell them when she’s ready and Peter stomps off, not wanting to hear it from his turncoat (and turncoat again and then again) brother. Claire tries to mend fences but Peter isn’t interested, instead going to confront his mother as she gazes off into the distance. “What are we doing here, Mom? … we didn’t know you had a sister. What happened out here?” Angela turns, and

Flashback to February 1961 (is this Lost?), “Coyote Sands Relocation Area.” Buses pull up to the compound and dozens of folks get off, including Angela and Alice Shaw. A young Dr. Chandra Suresh greets them. He takes the new arrivals on a tour of the facility – movie theater, playground, cafeteria – and shows them their dormitories. Strangely, the children will be housed separately from their parents. Young Angela asks why the guards have guns and Suresh reassures her that it’s just for their protection. The actress playing 1961 Angela is a good cast looks-wise.

Later, it’s raining outside as Angela and Alice unpack. Charles Deveaux, Lindeman and Bobby Bishop – all in their late teens, early twenties – come in and introduce themselves to the girls. There’s a little bit of flirtation between Deveaux and Angela, and then the boys excuse themselves. Alice is scared – she doesn’t like this place and wants to be with their parents. Angela chides her younger sister, saying that the doctors should be able to cure her nightmares, the cause of which are purportedly genetic, so the whole family needs to be involved. She promises Alice that she will always be there for her; reassured, Alice smiles. The rain slows and then the sun comes out. I know what Alice’s ability is!

Flash forward to now, as Angela tells her younger son that her sister and her parents all died here. And if they’re not careful, she’s afraid history will repeat itself. They both fall silent and the camera draws back … as a woman’s hand pulls aside a curtain in one of the derelict buildings.

Later, Angela tells her group some more about 1961: the place where the government put people with abilities to “cure” them. Peter is still being difficult, pointing out that she could have told them all this “in a restaurant.” Angela says that she’s been dreaming a lot about Alice lately and she thinks she needs to find her, give her a real burial. Peter snaps that she should have told them about this place but she retorts that she wanted to spare them the pain – it’s a mother’s prerogative to protect her children.

She goes on to tell them that the Company was born here, an oath sworn to never allow such a thing to happen again. She and her cohorts kept the secret for fifty years and now she and Bennet have been working to protect the Heroes again. Claire, looking at her dad: “So that’s what you were trying to do?” Bennet: “Yeah.” Claire: “But you blew it.” Bennet: “Yeah.” Angela says that they need to go back to the old methods, the ones that worked; Claire is incredulous: “Like erasing people’s memories and killing?” Angela’s all, yup. Peter is on his high horse – I’m sorry for what happened here, but you did not have the right to treat people like that, and you still don’t – and says he won’t be a part of it. Over his mother’s protests, he flies away. Nathan zips up his jacket and says he’ll get him, flying away after his little brother.

March 1961. Young Angela awakens from yet another nightmare. When she goes outside to clear her head, Deveaux, Lindeman and Bishop are waiting for her. They say that weird things are happening to them too – Deveaux says they’re lab rats, but Bishop and Angela protest no, the government will cure them. Deveaux tells her that she needs to stop being afraid. With tears in her eyes, she says, “That doctor? Suresh? Don’t trust him.” Alice wakes up and Angela goes back inside with her. As they whisper to each other in bed, Alice confesses that she thinks she can control the weather – she once created a hailstorm to smash their dad’s car when he grounded her. Angela doesn’t quite believe her so Alice looks out the window as snowflakes begin to fall. “Is Dr. Suresh going to come for me now?” she quavers.

Now. Claire sits with Angela for a little multigenerational bonding. Angela praises her granddaughter’s strength and courage. Claire asks what happened to Alice and Angela sidesteps, musing about doing something so terrible and awful that you never want to think about it again. Suddenly, the wind starts blowing hard, whipping sand against the buildings. Angela dreamed of this – it’s Alice! she cries. They run out into the storm but it’s too strong, and Claire has to pull Angela to safety back inside a building.

Nathan finds Peter sulking at the Coyote Sands café. I would have gone a little further, I think. Nathan extends the olive branch, saying that they need to get past this. Peter runs right over him, saying that this problem in Washington, their current problem, is all Nathan’s fault. He’s not really wrong. Nathan insists that they need to work together; Peter says that he’s trying. They’re interrupted by a weather bulletin informing them of a severe windstorm in the entire valley area.

Out at the compound, Bennet is wandering around in the sandstorm, calling for Claire. A piece of corrugated metal hits him, dropping him to the ground, and then someone drags him off by the ankle as he shouts for help. A really weird and awkward editing cut later, Mohinder has shoved him up against the wall of one of the shacks. WTF is Mohinder doing there? He accuses Bennet of following him but Bennet explains that Angela brought them here, that this place was a concentration camp for Heroes. Mohinder seemingly knows nothing of this. Finally, Bennet asks: “What are you doing here?” Mohinder hands him a file, saying that he learned that his dad had been a doctor here fifty years ago and he came to find out what he was doing. “Now I’m not so sure I want to know.” That’s right: I forgot that he found those old files of his dad’s in the basement storage. Rats. I really had hoped he’d go back to India.

April 1961. Suresh asks Angela if he can speak with her – Alice is unhappy as her sister goes off to the lab with him. Suresh tests her and when he’s impressed with her responses, she confesses that she isn’t reading his mind; she had a dream about this exact moment. The actress playing Angela makes some odd choices, at first smiling and looking comfortable with Suresh and then, in her next line, telling him that she dreamed he was going to kill everyone here at the compound. Suresh says that’s not going to happen; she insists that it’s going to spiral out of his control. There’s another weird jump where Suresh tells her that she’ll ruin their work if she leaves (but she never mentioned leaving). They speak some more about dreams and then Suresh gives her an injection, saying it won’t hurt a bit. That was an awkward scene and I think it’s the writing as much as the acting.

Now. Angela shouts that she’s sure Alice is the one creating the storm and she has to stop her. She runs out into the storm. Claire rushes after her, just a few seconds behind, but by the time she’s clear of the building, the storm has stopped. Nathan and Peter come in for a landing and a bewildered Claire tells them that their mother is gone.

In another part of the compound, Bennet is showing Mohinder all the bones. Mohinder is all torn up, and feeling sorry for himself in relation to his father. Bennet tells him not to make assumptions about his father’s involvement. Claire and the Petrellis join them and they all decide to search the area for Angela. Mohinder and Peter check out one of the lab buildings and Mohinder is STILL whining about the apple not falling far from the tree: “Peter, I am weak, I am corruptible and I am selfish.” Hell to the yeah! Peter points out that they’re all selfish, Nathan having demonstrated that again and again, but they’re still basically good people. Except for maybe his mom, who wants to build the Company 2.0. Now it’s Mohinder’s turn to say that there is hope for redemption for everyone, including Angela and Nathan. Ugh. Bryan Fuller didn’t write this episode, did he? I wish he had – this is tedious, inelegant and all over the place.

Bennet, Claire and Nathan search another building. The two men agree that they pretty much made a mess of things while Claire somehow doesn’t hear them from just across the room. Bennet tells Nathan that Danko and Sylar are in cahoots, plus Sylar is now a shapeshifter; Nathan is suitably wigged out by that. Claire interrupts them with some reminiscence about her old life, and then notes that while she should be a basket case – what with the grave digging and all – but she’s not. Then she says she was foolish for being an “agent” and trying to save the world. Cripes – this dialogue is all f’ing nonsensical.

May 1961. Deveaux has come to Angela: they are ready to escape and it’s Angela’s plan. But she’s reluctant to go, since he doesn’t want Alice to come – she might slow them down. Angela feels guilty as Deveaux convinces her to lie to her sister to keep her calm. After he leaves, Angela tells Alice that she and the boys are sneaking out for a bit – she wants to hang out with kids her own age for a while – and Alice will be safe and fine if she just stays here.

Now. Angela Petrelli regains consciousness in some sort of bunker. It’s fairly well appointed and cozy for a bunker. Angela wanders around a bit, looking at the stacks of newspapers and books. A door opens and she hides as her sister – crazy, wild haired, I­lived-alone-in-a-bunker-for-fifty-years Alice – walks in. Angela begs Alice to talk to her.

1961. At the café, Angela complains that the cops don’t believe her about what’s happening out at the compound. The boys are pointedly nonchalant, enjoying their burgers and fries, and Deveaux even asks her to dance. Of course, a counterman tells them that there’s no dancing with the colored allowed in 1961. Deveaux stares at him and says, intensely, that they’re sorry and there’s no reason for anyone to be concerned. There’s a hum in the air and the townsfolk turn silently back to their meals. Angela marvels at Deveaux’s ability and he smiles at her that they don’t need to be scared. Until a weather bulletin interrupts, saying that an intense storm has hit the valley. Angela: we have to get back to Alice.

Now. Alice says that Angela looks so old she almost didn’t recognize her. Angela asks why she stayed here, alone, for so many years. Alice says she stayed because Angela told her that she would be safe if she stayed … plus she figured that the world would be safe from her. Angela kneels and asks her sister what happened the night she left her behind. Alice: “The doctor – Suresh – he came for me.”

1961. At the lab, Suresh attempts to give an injection to a frightened Alice. A lackey holds her as she struggles and she shouts, “Stop!” The door flies open with a sudden burst of wind; when the flunky tries to close it against the storm, a bolt of lightning hits him. Alice runs out into the compound yard, Suresh chasing after her, pleading with her to calm down. He grabs at her and slaps her in his panic; her dad (or someone) runs up and TKs him across the yard. Then the soldiers draw their guns and start firing. The winds are howling as poor scared Alice runs and hides under a building (the lab building, Building 26, to be specific). Screams and gunshots.

Now. Angela comforts her sister, saying that everything is all right now. She’s come to take her into the world, to keep her warm and safe. Alice grabs her into a hug. But Angela continues, saying that she’s sorry for lying to Alice that night, and Alice’s eyes turn hard. She claws Angela’s shoulders, wailing “You!” and the winds whip through the bunker. A little bit of lightning tosses Angela into a bookcase. As the storm rises, Peter and Mohinder ride in on their white horses (not literally – but that would be hilarious), Peter putting his arms around his mother. Mohinder, however, reaches out a hand to the panicked Alice, shouting, “Calm down!” which is exactly what his father said to her that night in 1961. Which she remembers. And thus hits him with a huge bolt of lightning. Awesome. I hope she killed him.

Angela reaches out to her sister, crying that Peter is her son, Alice’s nephew, family! And they are here to make everything all right again. The storm fades, Alice turns to her sister and says one word: “No.” She walks out of the bunker and when Angela runs out after her, she has disappeared. Ooh – an insane weather goddess on the loose. That’s cool.

What is not cool: Mohinder, not dead or even crispy. Peter tells him that Alice has gone – the storm having covered up all the graves again - and gives him a reel of film that he found: footage from Suresh’s experiments. Mohinder takes it, opining that maybe this, like the graves, should remain buried, and then says he’s staying here, not ready to forgive himself yet. Fine, stay. Pleeeeeeeeeeease stay.

1961. Angela tells Deveaux, Lindeman and Bishop that they cannot let anything like this (the Coyote Sands massacre) happen ever again. She had a dream and they’re going to form a group to protect themselves from the rest of the world, and to protect the world from people like them: “It’s a necessary evil.” The boys hang on her every word.

Now. Angela, Peter, Nathan, Claire and Bennet sit at a table in the café, eating burgers and fries. Peter sighs, saying that this group at the table isn’t a company, it’s family. And family has the capacity to forgive … as well as keep the secret of the Heroes. Bennet chimes in that they can maybe try to put their lives back together and Claire smiles at him fondly. So what now? Nathan declares that he’ll go back to D.C. and talk to the President, taking ownership for his actions. (Which would fall under the “not keeping a secret” category, so again I say: WTF?). Claire looks up at the television and says, “Looks like you already have.” They all look up and Nathan is on the tube giving a press conference, saying, “Nothing will ever be the same.” Bennet growls, “Sylar!” and Angela smiles a grim, grim smile.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes


  1. i have a question .. what song was playing when angela and alice were unpacking ?
    it was like a hawaiian type sounding song ..

  2. Ooh - good question! It's "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny and definitely has that twangy, surfer-movie vibe. I found it on which will eventually connect you to iTunes, if you're so inclined. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  3. this episode was really bad, they pretty much rewrote the story of suresh's dad's envolvement. The actors in the flash back were really bad. The back story should have been better. Angela's sister controlling the weather was over the top. Angela asking how is the fries after just learning over the radio that her family died was bad writing. Angela starting the company seems out of line being that past eps showed that she was like 5th in command behind her husband, the hiro's dad, amongst others. Sylar playing around with noah last ep when he could have just killed him, out of character. and Danko trusting sylar makes no sense at all. It seems that the writers were told only 2 eps ago they need to hurry up and end the show, so they are putting crap together that doesn't jibe with the plots of the first seasons.

  4. @Major - I agree that this episode was a big devolution from the last few. I thought this season started out better than S2, then started flailing around and sucking mightily, and then when Bryan Fuller wrote three episodes my hopes were raised again because (1) some attention to continuity and (2) way better dialogue ... then this ep, that went back to the flailing and sucking. They have not yet gotten back to the quality of S1. Sigh.