Saturday, November 28, 2009

More things read recently

I don’t know what my deal is, exactly – I’ve been reading a bunch of stuff but just haven’t been revved up to write about any of it with any sort of conviction. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed or been interested by what I’ve been reading. I guess I’ve either been distracted by the new job and all the new things to do in this new city, or lazy. Could be either one, really. Anyway, this is what I’ve consumed lately.

Saga of the Swamp Thing (Book 1) and Swamp Thing: Love and Death (Book 2) by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben. I picked this up because in one of the forewards to one of Neil Gaiman’s comics, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing revitalization was raved about as one of those seminal, game-changing comics that arose in the 1990s. And you know me, I’m all about jumping on a good thing way after the fact (and am fortunate that the SLC City Library has a great selection of comics and graphic novels, including Swamp Thing). I will admit that I don’t love Swamp Thing the way I do the Sandman, and most of the reason is that the illustrations seem old-fashioned to me, pulpy, more comic-y and less art-y. I do like the depth of story, however; I think Moore is a terrific writer. I also liked the crossover with the Sandman stories in Love and Death with Cain and Abel, and Etrigan the Rhyming Demon [note: I’m assuming that Gaiman picked up these Moore characters but I read the Sandman first, so that’s my chronology]. I’m interested enough to see where Moore goes with this series, so I’ll probably pick up the next couple of Books.

The Sandman: Endless Nights is a collection of seven stories, one for each of Dream and his six siblings: Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Destruction and Delirium. Each story is, of course, written by Neil Gaiman but is illustrated by a different artist –Craig Russell, Miguelanxo Prado, Milo Manara, Barron Storey, Glenn Fabry, Bill Sienkiewicz and Frank Quitely, with longtime Gaiman collaborator Dave McKean having a creative hand in the book design. This is a gorgeous book. The stories of the Endless siblings are fascinating, giving all sorts of backstory to the Sandman series while existing as a standalone volume. The art is incredible, varying wildly depending on the artist and ranging from classic comics style to elegantly drawn portraits to crazy, trippy collages. I’ve read it through twice now and I think I’ll probably read it again before I have to give it back to the Library.

As promised in my review of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, I also recently checked out Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Books, Vol. 1. I must have read this before, decades ago, but I honestly can’t remember if I have. Everyone knows the story from the Disney cartoon: young boy lost from his village, raised by wild wolves, befriended, defended and taught by Bagheera (black panther – my favorite character), Baloo (big ol’ bear) and Kaa (gigantic python) … well, everybody should read the original Kipling version instead. It’s magnificent - elegant, violent and musical (don’t skip the poems in between the chapters). And now, after reading both The Jungle Books and The Graveyard Book so close together, it is readily apparent what a loving homage Gaiman’s book is to the 1895 original, even to the point of the language being a respectful and eloquent echo. Wonderful and accessible tale, even 100+ years later.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Breast Cancer Diaries

This is a plug for a film I have not yet seen, The Breast Cancer Diaries, a documentary about one young woman's fight against breast cancer.  Ann Murray Paige, a television news reporter, mother and wife of a long-ago summer coworker of mine, documented every bit of her battle with a video diary at her Maine home and with her sister-in-law at her side filming from Day 3 of Ann's diagnosis.  The film made the rounds in a number of film festivals over the last several years (Bahamas International Film Festival, Cucalorus FF, New England Film and Video Festival, Mill Valley (CA) FF, Maine International FF, Silverdocs/AFI-Discovery Dcoumentary Festival) as well as playing on the Documentary Channel and the Discovery Health Channel last year.  The DVD is for sale on the web site - the trailer alone made me tear up as well as smile - and you can find more information about scheduling/finding screenings on the web site as well.

You always think it can't happen to you.  Well, it happened to Ann and she's brought it to us, to share and learn and live to fight another day.  And fight she does, today sharing her story with young women around the country.  It's an inspiring story and she's a damn strong woman to share it with us all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two more by Terry Pratchett

I read these a while ago, when I was still unemployed, and then I got a job and didn’t have all day to sit around the apartment, reading wonderful books and writing about them. So now I don’t remember much and don’t have the time to re-read them. Here’s what I do recall at least regarding Small Gods and Lords and Ladies (both from 1992).

Lords and Ladies reunites us with Granny Weatherwax, the very capable witch from Equal Rites, as she and two of her witchly co-horts must needs do battle against an invasion of the Elves (a/k/a the Lords and Ladies). The Elves are bad news – destructive and whimsical and completely conscienceless – and they have been allowed back into the Discworld via some ill-advised and inadvertent magicks. As is his wont, Pratchett uses this fantasy setting to explore “serious” topics like traditional gender roles, marriage and responsibility, as well as turning some old school faerie tales on their ears. The Elf Queen is very nasty but luckily, in both this book and The Wee Free Men (which I actually liked better than Lords and Ladies), sure gets her comeuppance.

Small Gods takes place on the Discworld too but in parts far removed from Granny Weatherwax’s realm, where Pratchett takes a close look at organized religion and the matter of faith. Brutha is a young man serving as an acolyte for the Great God Om, the main deity of the Omnians. Brutha isn’t much of a thinker, preferring to spend his days hoeing melons in the gardens, but he is a true Believer, not only knowing by heart all the scripture of Om, the ferocious Bull-God, but having full and unshakeable faith in his god. Which is a good thing because Om has gotten himself stuck in the body of a tortoise, unable to regain his fiery godhead. Only Brutha, the Chosen One, can hear the god Om speak. As you might imagine, that doesn’t end up being such a good thing, involving, in short order, Inquisitors, Exquisitors, crazed hermits, fundamentalists of all stripes, fanatical soldiers and tortoise-eating eagles.

I must continue to thank Kevin C. for introducing me to Terry Pratchett fan. With every book I read, I like him more and more – even if I do get lazy on the book reports. These fantasy novels are so smart and funny, entertaining and involved, and never smug or mean-spirited. I am just thrilled that I’ve only just begun to read my way through his catalog.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “Thanksgiving” S4E10 (airdate 11/23/09)

You know what I'm thankful for?  Mohinder being trapped in a lunatic asylum and nowhere to be found in this episode!

A fascinated Samuel watches the 1950s film, narrated by Mohinder’s father, and breaks into a maniacal grin when it gets to the earthquake that heralded his birth. His screening is interrupted by an irate Hiro pounding on his trailer door, however, demanding to know where he put Charlie. Samuel’s like, yeah, yeah, I got more important stuff to do – destiny stuff. Hiro tries to get rough but Samuel reminds him that if he is killed, Charlie will never be found. “Smile,” sneers Samuel, “it’s Thanksgiving.”

Washington, D.C. Benet, in process of picking out a turkey at the grocery store, is on the phone with Claire, asking when she’s coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. She’s kind of sad about Gretchen and not sure if she wants to come, so Benet begs her to not leave him alone with her mother and the new boyfriend (weird, but good that they’re getting along, I guess). Claire says okay and when Benet hangs up, he turns around and sees his old partner, Kate from Angel. (Yes, her name is “Lauren” here but I’m sticking with “Kate.”) They flirt. I’m less uncomfortable with it now that he’s no longer married to Sandra but still: ick.

Peter’s apartment, NYC. Nathan flails in his sleep, clutching a bottle of booze, as Peter watches him. There’s a knock on the door: it’s Angela, coming in with about ten waiters and a full Thanksgiving dinner. Peter is Royally Pissed Off with his mom and brings up the whole finding Nathan’s dead body in a storage unit thing. She lies without missing a beat, saying that it wasn’t Nathan at all but a shapeshifter who stole Nathan’s form – a new twist on identity theft - and had to be stopped. Peter cuts through her bullshit, demanding, “What did you do, Ma?” Nathan comes up behind Angela and grabs her wrist as he’d like to know the answer to Peter’s question too. She completely refuses to give her sons any answers, however. As she walks away towards the kitchen, Nathan’s face ripples and a flicker of Sylar comes through.

Washington, D.C. Claire arrives a little early for dinner, hoping to talk to her dad about something important, but Kate interrupts, charging right into the kitchen to help out. Then Sandra, Doug and Mr. Muggles show up, along with Doug’s Pomeranian Miss Lovejoy, because that’s how Sandra and Doug met – through the dogs. Things get awkward right away, of course. I would be drinking heavily right about then but Jack Coleman plays it totally cute.

At the Carnival, Hiro is crankily slamming down plates as he and Lydia help set the table for Thanksgiving. She wants to know what’s wrong and he snaps that Samuel lied to him even after he fixed the past for him. Hiro storms off and Edgar sidles up to Lydia, wondering what in the past was possibly broken that Hiro had to fix. So Lydia uses all her wiles to find out what secret Hiro is keeping, convincing him to take her back eight weeks ago to see what happened to Joseph. They teleport back just in time to see Samuel and his older brother arguing, with Samuel insisting that Joseph speak to him NOW. The two brothers go off and Lydia follows them, ignoring Hiro’s protests that they mustn’t change anything here in the past.

The Petrellis are seated and the boys are sullen. Despite Angela’s request, Nathan doesn’t want to say grace: “I’m dead, he knows it, you know it!” Finally, she acquiesces, telling her sons what happened to Nathan at the end of last season. She even admits that she forced Parkman do the switch, and asks for their forgiveness. “We are still a family,” she pleads. But Nathan can’t even look at his mother.

Benet proposes a toast. But it gets awkward again quickly, Sandra and Kate sniping at each other (I’ve missed Sandra, by the way), Claire sneering at poor dorky Doug. Frustrated and out of sorts, Claire finally announces that she’s thinking about dropping out of school.

Carnival. Everyone is gathering for Thanksgiving dinner and Samuel notices that Lydia and Hiro are missing. Hmmmm.

Carnival, eight weeks ago. Samuel and Joseph walk out into a field, Samuel shouting and complaining that his older brother has been controlling him all his life. Joseph finally tells Samuel that he can move not just earth, but cities and mountains, and has the potential power to kill millions of people. Samuel wants to know how he could possibly be that powerful but Joseph replies he’s already said too much. Samuel gets angry, and angrier still when Joseph says he’s called “the government” and a man is coming to take Samuel away – he’s even sent that man a compass (so that’s where Benet got it) to help him find the Carnival. So Samuel kills him, TKing a rock right down his brother’s throat. Meanwhile, Hiro and Lydia see it all, hidden in the tall grass, terrified. Samuel hears something and starts walking towards them and Hiro just barely gets his power together in time, teleporting them out of there a split second before Samuel would have found them.

Claire tries to explain that she just doesn’t think she belongs in college right now, but Benet immediately picks up that it’s about what Samuel said to her, about being with other Heroes like her. When an uncomprehending Doug tries to help, saying that everyone goes through these phases, Claire’s all, “Look, dumbass, I’m a freak!” and slashes her wrist at the table. She heals, of course, and Doug faints. Later, Sandra and Kate bond over the still-unconscious Doug when Kate says that Benet brought them all together like this today to show Claire that she’s got family who love her. Benet takes her recalcitrant daughter into his office, showing her the compass and his investigation into Samuel. He insists that Samuel is dangerous and not to be trusted; she whines that she’s not a child any longer. They continue to argue until there’s a knock on the door … it’s Gretchen. Oh, fantastic.

Carnival, now. Hiro and Lydia teleport back, Lydia shaken and angry, saying that they have to tell the others what Samuel did to Joseph. He begs her not to, saying he’ll lose Charlie but she says it’s too important and rushes over to bring Edgar up to speed. Hi, Edgar, I’ve missed you! However, a suspicious Samuel collects her and Hiro, bringing them to the table.

At Peter’s apartment, Angela tries to carry on like this is a normal dinner but Nathan has had enough, especially since Sylar has decided to re-emerge right now. “We never should have gone to Texas, Pete,” Nathan grunts before twitching spasmodically and coming all over with blue electricity. He falls to the floor and when he gets back up, he’s transformed back into Sylar. As Angela and Peter cower in a corner, he tucks a napkin into his shirt and sits at the table: “I’m starved.”

Carnival. Samuel pontificates as he serves out pie to his family of Carnies. He says that something big and wonderful is coming for them all, but he can’t talk about it now what with a traitor in their midst: Joseph’s killer is sitting at this very table! Unable to restrain himself, Edgar speaks up, announcing that it was Samuel who killed Joseph, and Hiro saw it! But Hiro won’t back him up since he’s afraid for Charlie. So Samuel accuses Edgar of killing Joseph and sends a murderously-intended rock towards him. Hiro grabs Edgar’s hand and freezes the rest of time, thereby saving Edgar’s life. He asks the Carnie to wait a while for his revenge until the time is right. “I’ll hold you to that,” spits Edgar, and superspeeds out of there. ‘Bye, Edgar! When time unfreezes, Samuel takes Edgar’s disappearance in stride, saying good riddance. Hiro just looks sick to his stomach.

NYC. Sylar has TK’d the remaining Petrellis into their chairs as he wolfs down pie. “Let me out of this chair,” grunts Peter, all tough-like. Sylar leans over and skeezily kisses Angela on the lips – eew – and then says it’s time to carve the turkey, pointing a finger at Angela’s forehead. She screams horribly, blood pouring from the slice he’s inflicting, but then it stops: Sylar can’t finish the hob because Nathan, still rattling around inside there somewhere, is fighting to regain control of Sylar’s body. Sylar howls, his face morphing back and forth until Nathan finally wins out. Angela and Peter slump forward, released from Sylar’s hold, and Nathan leans heavily on the table, unhappy and exhausted. He looks at his mother, a desperate, bereft look: “What have you done to me?” before fleeing the apartment.

At Benet’s apartment, Claire and Gretchen catch up with each other while Benet and Kate flirt some more. Sandra helps Doug stagger out to the car and everyone is friends again as they take their leave. Benet catches his daughter on her way out, saying that he just wants Claire to take her time and think about things before making any big changes in her life. She promises that she will, and thanks him for inviting Gretchen. Claire joins Gretchen in her car and says that she’s not quite ready to go back to school, bringing out the compass that she swiped from her dad. Ready for an adventure?

Carnival. Samuel tells Hiro that he knows he saved Edgar and points out that could prove dangerous for Charlie. Hiro stands up to him, saying that Samuel needs him. Suddenly, on Samuel’s instructions, another Carnie (the dreadlocked older man) grabs Hiro’s head, sending all sorts of memories flashing through. When the Carnie lets go, Hiro mumbles some science fiction nonsense in Japanese (something like, “I’ve got to save Watson! Full speed ahead, Scotty!”) and teleports away. “What did you do?” cries Samuel. Apparently that didn’t work quite as he had hoped.

The last scene is back in NYC, as Peter staunches his mother’s head wound. He grimly promises to bring his brother back. And, in the scenes from next week, it looks like there will be Peter, a nail gun and a screaming Sylar. Fun!

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It goes with everything!

Remember our old friend, Bacon Salt, from J&D's?  Well apparently the company is doing EXTREMELY well (even in these trying times) due to the success of their Bacon Salt products and subsequent Baconnaise, and they've put out several new products since I visited their site last.  Now, here's the disclaimer: I haven't tried ANY of these three products but criminy, it's all bacon-flavored, so how bad could it be?

Bacon Pop - bacon-flavored microwave popcorn.  I'm tempted to give this a whirl, even knowing how stenchy regular microwave popcorn can be.  Perhaps a nice compromise would be to pop some popcorn the old-fashioned way - I have an air popper circa 1987 in storage somewhere - coat it with melted butter and pour on the Bacon Salt.  At least they're not hawking bacon-flavored soda, which is what I feared when I read "bacon pop."

Bacon Ranch - is bacony ranch dressing.  Sounds good - I would dip french fries into it as well as slathering my salad.  (And easy to do at home by dumping a jar of real bacon bits into bottled ranch salad dressing ...)

Mmmvelopes - and this is what made me start the post in the first place: they've taken envelopes and added bacon flavor to the stickum you lick to seal the flap.  This, to me, is way more genius than the bacon dental floss and bacon breath mints I suffered tested for you earlier.  Of course, no one sends actual paper letters anymore so this is clearly a novelty among novelties.  The name is super-cute tho'.

P.S. - My webbuddy Reel Whore had a recent excellent bacon experience of his own - I'm so very envious.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book review: Heart of the Trail: The Stories of Eight Wagon Train Women by Mary Barmeyer O'Brien

In Mary Barmeyer O'Brien's slim volume, Heart of the Trail: The Stories of Eight Wagon Train Women, we are introduced to eight American frontierswomen who crossed this country by covered wagon.  Thousands of pioneers journeyed through the American West in the mid-1800s: most of the stories and histories are just that - "his stories," records kept and tales told by the men.  But the women kept journals too, and wrote many letters to their friends and families back home, and it is in their words that the human experience may be found.

Each of the eight women profiled in this book are very different from one another.  One honeymooned west, travelling cushily in an armchair in her wagon.  Another was a devoted mother, determined that her three children would survive the hazardous trip, made even more horrifying when her husband went insane on the journey.  One was an African-American woman, a freed slave, who ended up establishing Denver's first Sunday school.  Yet another nearly perished with her family when they were given wrong advice about where to cross near the Great Salt Lake. 

O'Brien has sketched lightly out what these amazing pioneer women's journeys must have been like, utilizing the women's own letters and diaries, and then extrapolating from secondary sources.  This isn't deep stuff - easily read, I could see this being used in middle schools for American history classes (do they teach American history in middle school?) - but it's quite interesting, a look at a chapter in our country's history from a point of view not often considered.  What's more, O'Brien lists her sources and this book is thus a good jumping-off point if folks want to explore the primary materials.

I recently crossed the country with Mr. Mouse, the dog and my most cherished possessions.  We did it in four days, in a pick-up truck and towing our car.  It was a long drive, nerve-wracking during the Midwestern cities' rush-hours and while hurtling down I-80 W into Salt Lake City, and I was so relieved when our journey ended.  My trip can't compare to what these eight women - and the multitudes of others like them - went through during their emigrations, but I believe I can understand their joy and gratitude when their journeys finally ended.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “Brother’s Keeper” S4E9 (airdate 11/16/09)

Carnival. Hiro is moping over his lost Charlie while Samuel gives a shout-out for recycling. Then, public service announcement done, Samuel tells Hiro that what he wants him to do is to go back in time eight weeks and find Mohinder, take a 1950s research film form him before he destroys it, and bring it back to Samuel. Then he’ll give Charlie back. Hopefully, just because Samuel gets this film he’s after doesn’t mean he won’t still kill Mohinder. I so want that jackass dead.

Nine weeks ago, in India. Mohinder has a job teaching junior high school students. His girlfriend Mira nags that he promised to throw away all his father’s old research, which only brings him pain. He dramatically dumps a box of stuff into a rubbish bin and they go off together, arms around each other. BLECK.

Washington, D.C., present day. Tracey mopes in a diner, staring at a poster for the Carnival while Samuel’s magic compass spins in her hand. She doesn’t know what to do – should she join Samuel’s crew? – and starts to get upset. Her power flares up: the cup of coffee freezes in her hand, startling the waitress. Tracey takes off.

Nathan’s office. Nathan and Peter try to figure out what happened to Nathan: why he woke up in a Carnival and why no one cared that a senator had gone missing. (Turns out Angela Petrelli told everyone Nathan was on vacation.) Then, before this can get much more boring, the Haitian shows up. He tells Nathan to stand back as he’s here to speak with Peter. Then, ominously, right before cutting to commercial, he tells the younger Petrelli that he needs to know “the truth.”

Benet’s apartment. Claire (wearing teeny tiny shorts) stops by with laundry. She’s displeased when the door is ajar, and grabs a knife. Inside it’s just Tracey. The door is busted because she can’t control her power anymore: she just touched the doorknob and the metal froze and shattered. Then, as she’s talking, Tracey’s own hands and arms start to crystallize. The two girls just stare at each other, horrified.

Nathan’s office. Angela sent the Haitian to clear out Peter and Nathan’s memories but he doesn’t want to do it, saying that he doesn’t want to be involved. But then, rather than giving Peter any straight answers, he sends him on some cryptic errand: go here, see what your mother has done, try not to get too upset about it.

India, nine weeks ago. This is just excruciating. Mohinder can’t sleep and pages through his dad’s old research materials in the middle of the night. He finds an old research film and sets up a projector: it’s from Coyote Sands and apparently Mohinder has never watched it before. On the film, Dr. Suresh notes that when too many Heroes are gathered together in the camp, energy flares are present. Also, there’s a Hero baby about to be born and an overload of seismic activity violently rattles the compound during the birth. Do we think this Hero baby is Samuel, he who can move the earth? Yes, we do!

Benet’s apartment. Claire puts a nearly frozen Tracey into a scalding hot bath and goes to get her some tea. While she’s gone, Tracey first thaws, but then her power reasserts itself and starts to freeze the water. She climbs out of the bath, nearly frantic since she can’t control herself any longer. Claire pats her on the shoulder – there, there, it’ll be all right – and then the younger girl freezes solid. Oops. Benet is not going to be pleased about that.

Nathan and Peter open a self-storage unit at the address the Haitian gave Peter. There’s a coffin in there. Nathan is inside it. Three-way! “This is just weird,” says Peter, master of the obvious that he is. As they stand there, Nathan starts to get flashes of memory: Sylar, Parkman, a hotel room. They decide to go to L.A. to find Parkman. But when they reconvene at Nathan’s office, they learn that Parkman is in critical condition in a Texas hospital, having apparently tried to commit suicide by cop. Peter points out that he’s a healer these days and if they can get in to see their friend, he can help.

As Tracey struggles to drag the frozen Claire to the bathtub, Claire’s foot breaks off in her hands. That was excellent. Poor Tracey just sobs. But fear not - Claire has thawed out and says: “Tracey, it’s okay. I heal – it’s what I do.” She takes the foot back from Tracey and sets it on the floor with a clunk. Hee.

Carnival. Hiro is struggling, unable to time-travel. Tick-tock, says Samuel.

India, nine weeks ago. Stupid Mohinder is obsessively frigging around with more of his father’s stuff, building his own magic compass using his father’s notes, but stupidly falls asleep while doing so. In the morning, Mira finds him drooling on the workbench and is pissed off, saying that he promised to let all this go. Mohinder babbles that he’s made a breakthrough: he can use this compass to find Heroes (“Specials,” he calls them) and that he’s learned that if the baby in the film (now grown) surrounds himself with a large enough number of Heroes he can … but Mira has had enough and tells him that she won’t wait for him this time.

Texas hospital. The Petrelli boys sneak into Parkman’s room and Peter heals him. Unfortunately, disembodied Sylar pops back into view too, and is practically drooling over Nathan. Thankfully not mincing words, Parkman tells the Petrelli boys what happened: Nathan, Sylar slit your throat and you died, but then I stuffed your consciousness into Sylar’s body. The Petrellis are all, huh? So then disembodied Sylar gets impatient and somehow pulls Parkman’s consciousness out of Parkman’s body, and jumps in himself, so that now the Petrellis think they’re talking to Parkman but they’re really talking to Sylar. Disembodied Parkman, whom nobody but Sylar-in-Parkman’s-body can see, squawks helplessly. Sylar-in-Parkman reaches out a hand and tells Nathan that he can fix everything – he just needs Nathan (by which I mean Nathan-in-Sylar’s-shapeshifty-body) to take his hand. Because if “Nathan” takes “Parkman’s” hand, Sylar can jump back into his own body, displacing Nathan’s consciousness. Or not, it’s hard to say. Good lord-n-butter. Could they possibly make this more difficult for us poor recappers?

After the commercial, Nathan thinks that this all makes sense, realizing that all these new powers that have manifested aren’t really his, and reaches for “Parkman’s” hand. Peter refuses to accept this and tries to keep the two of them apart, so “Nathan” uses Sylar’s TK and bats him across the room . A guard comes in and amid the confusion, Nathan touches Parkman’s hand. Sylar winks out of existence and Parkman is thrust back in his rightful body, shouting that he can’t see Sylar anymore. Nathan picks his unconscious brother up and flies out the window.

Carnival, eight weeks ago. Mohinder has found his way to the Carnival, using his handmade compass. He finds Joseph Sullivan, Samuel’s not yet dead older brother, and starts babbling about superpowers. Joseph cuts him off, introducing Mohinder as an author when Samuel appears, but doesn’t let the two talk, sending Samuel away on some errand. Joseph looks sternly at a sputtering Mohinder and asks to speak privately with him.

Desert. Nathan has flown Peter to some isolated mountaintop. He doesn’t think it’s safe for his brother to be around him, and tells Peter that there should be a road around here somewhere that will take him back to civilization. Peter’s like, um, no, and copies Nathan’s power. In it together, brothers forever, they both fly off.

Back at the Carnival, Joseph says that Mohinder is correct about Samuel’s increasing power but says that his brother doesn’t know the extent of it since Joseph has spent his life keeping Samuel away from too many Heroes. Samuel has a bit of a power-hunger to him and could be dangerous where he to know how strong he could be: “We must keep this genie in the bottle.” Mohinder protests, saying Samuel’s power could increase a thousandfold and Josef is all I KNOW, dumbass, burn that film and get the frack out of here. Mohinder leaves, finally doubting that he knows what he’s doing … and since he really hasn’t gotten a single thing right in the last four seasons it’s clear that he’s not a quick learner. As he leaves, the camera pulls back to show that Samuel has been eavesdropping on the two of them the whole time. This must be the awakening of a megalomaniac.

Later, in his motel room, Mohinder leaves a message for Mira, admitting that she was right, this trip was all a mistake and he’ll be on the next flight home. He picks up the infamous film and drops it into a trashcan. As he’s about to set it on fire, Hiro teleports in, freezes time and switches the 1950s film with a dummy one he’s brought. And before he leaves, Hiro whispers to Mohinder to be careful with Samuel.

Benet’s apartment. Tracey hasn’t accidentally frozen anything for over an hour and is feeling pretty good about it. She and Claire talk about Samuel and his magical band of Carnies, and Tracey says that she’s thinking about joining him. Claire sounds like she’s thinking about it too. When Benet comes home, arms laden with groceries, he sees Claire’s frozen foot on the coffee table: “Ladies, how was your day?” “Same old, same old,” smiles Claire.

Samuel bursts into Mohinder’s motel room, glaring at the flaming film canister. He shouts that Mohinder must tell him what was on the film, what it is that will make him strong. Mohinder refuses to tell him anything so Samuel crushes a rock and sends the shards flying into Mohinder’s chest. Mohinder cries out and crumples. Immediately afterwards, looking at the fallen body, Samuel gasps that he’s sorry and flees. After he’s gone, Mohinder sits up with a massive gasp: he’s wearing a bullet-proof (rock shard proof, rather) vest, compliments of Hiro. Stupid meddling Hiro. Why do the producers refuse to kill this damn, useless, annoying Mohinder off? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

After the commercial, stupid Mohinder realizes that he is the one that set Samuel off with his research: he must be stopped. Hiro’s like okay, that’s good, but you have to wait eight weeks because I have to save Charlie. Mohinder says that he can’t sit around doing nothing while Samuel builds his power for two months. They bicker, Mohinder adamantly refusing to wait, so Hiro takes matters into his own hands. He freezes Mohinder in time, then teleports him off to somewhere out of the way. To Riverdale Psychiatric Hospital, actually, and in a straitjacket. He won’t cause any trouble there. Nice job, Hiro!

Washington. Tracey goes back to the diner where Samuel joins her. She tells him that she’s not sure what she’s looking for, but she just knows that she can’t keep on living the way she has been. He says he’s glad she called and he knows that they can work together to make this a better world for people with abilities.

Back in Peter’s apartment (?), Nathan is moping because he isn’t really Nathan, just a collection of memories in a mass-murderer’s head, and no one will be able to see him as anything else. Peter can’t really argue with him there.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm not holding out on you, I promise

I know, there's been major slackage here lately.  But, frankly, I just haven't been watching stuff other than college football (one downside of moving to a city with a decent college football team is that you've got to sign onto the college football wagon ... to mix one's metaphors irretrievably).  I don't have a DVR so any V/Dollhouse/Flashforward episodes I've been watching have been on (thank god for; and the live television I've been watching has been Heroes (duly documented here), Biggest Loser and Community/The Office.  I do have the DVD player here at the apartment, finally, and now that I've got a paying job I can reinstate my account, so perhaps the movies will start back up again.  I haven't seen an in-theater movie since August 21 - shocking! - so I need to get back on that horse too (I've missed Inglourious Basterds, Zombieland and Paranormal Activity - altho' the last two are still playing in the SLC area these days). 

I love this blog and have no intention of letting it wither away.  There's just been so much turmoil in my life in the last few months that some things, like watching movies and television and writing about them, have fallen by the wayside.  I'll be back to form soon, I promise.  I just wish True Blood S2 would come out on DVD already - that would be a big ol' motivator!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Other things read recently

Gravity by Tess Gerritsen. Gravity is Gerritsen’s fourth medical thriller (reviews for two earlier ones can be found here), this time taking place in space. A NASA astronaut and medical doctor, sent to the international space station, ends up battling a deadly contagion. Space shuttles crash, orbiters are shot down, eyeballs explode … it’s just another day at the office for Tess Gerritsen. I don’t know, though, I guess I’m torn. I want to like these books. I like the fact that the main characters (of the three I’ve read) are all strong, conflicted women. I like the fact that the author is trying different environments. But despite the rave pull-quote from Stephen King on the back cover (“… better than [Robin] Cook … yes, even better than [Michael] Crichton.”), her books just sort of leave me cold. Characters seem thin, as though development is being pushed aside for the sake of more science-y stuff. Perhaps next time I’ll skip ahead half a decade (Gravity was published in 1999) and see how Gerritsen has changed over the years.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. This book won the dang Pulitzer Prize! And it’s about comic books! Well, the main characters, Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, are pioneering comic book creators and this is their story. Joe is a Jewish artist (and escape artist/sleight of hand expert) from Prague who escaped from the Nazis. Sam is Joe’s cousin, born and raised in Brooklyn, a writer who is always looking out for the next big thing. Between Sam’s story and Joe’s drawings, they create the Escapist, a costumed superhero and start an empire. In addition, Chabon gives us the Holocaust, Salvador Dali and Surrealism, Superman, Jewish mothers, the rise of New York City, Antarctica, golems, a cameo by Stan Lee and much more. It’s a big book – 648 pages and teeny print – but it’s a page-turner, intelligent, entertaining, funny (laugh out loud in some places), heart-breaking. I learned more than I ever thought I might care to know about the birth of the comic book, but this extensive history is encapsulated in a wicked good story and a timely one, given my own recent forays into comic books and graphic novels.

The Sandman, Volume One: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III, covers by Dave McKean. Come on, y’all didn’t think this post was going to get away Gaiman-free, did you? Preludes & Nocturnes is the first volume (out of eleven) in the Sandman series that Gaiman did for DC Comics, thereby resurrecting and revitalizing an old and forgotten character, Morpheus, Lord of Dreams and Nightmares. This first volume of collected stories introduces us to the Sandman, captured by a malevolent sorcerer and robbed of the tools of his trades, and then follows him as he retrieves his belongings and reclaims his place in the world. Here the Sandman comes into contact with other established characters – John Constantine, Doctor Destiny, the Scarecrow – but apparently in later volumes stands on his own as Gaiman constructs Morpheus’s own world around him; hopefully there will be much more of Dream’s older sister, Death, here shown as a cute, perky Goth girl. The writing, of course, is strong: dark, scary, clever; the illustrations are much more standard issue comics fare, not the lush dreamscapes of Gaiman and McKean’s Black Orchid. I have the next couple of Sandman volumes on a wait list at the library – I can’t wait for them to come in.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “Shadowboxing” S4E8 (airdate 11/09/09)

Arlington, Virginia. Picking up right where we left off last time, in the aftermath of the screaming slaughterhouse sorority scavenger hunt, the other two pledges are completely freaking out, having seen Becky de-invisible herself and Claire heal after being impaled. Claire coolly covers by saying that the sorority sisters must have drugged their water bottles with hallucinogens, hence the seeing things: ooh, look, a pack of wild dogs! The other two (dumb as posts) pledges leave and then Gretchen starts her freak out in earnest: OMG, an invisible girl just tried to kill me!

NYC Paramedic Peter is ministering to a victim of a massive train accident. The guy seems paralyzed so Peter uses his newly acquired healing power to fix him enough that he’s not. This takes a lot out of Peter – he’s been doing this all day, apparently. In the hospital, Emma watches all the accident victims pouring in, turning the hospital into a war zone. She looks like she wants to help.

Los Angeles. Sylar-in-Parkman’s body is boarding a flight for NYC to wreak some vengeance on that “Italian Eagle Scout” (Peter Petrelli) since the last thing he remembers is Peter jabbing a syringe full of sedative into his neck, thus enabling Parkman to hijack his body for Nathan. Parkman’s consciousness floats around next to him, complaining impotently. However, Parkman somehow managed to get his service revolver into the bag Sylar was packing, which leads to Sylar-in-Parkman’s body getting arrested at the airport security checkpoint. Sylar tries to use Parkman’s mind powers to induce security to let him go but Parkman sneers that while Sylar may have his body, he sure doesn’t have his powers, and security hauls a screaming Sylar away.

Note: until further notice: when I say “Sylar,” I mean “Sylar’s consciousness in Parkman’s body whom the Parkman and the audience sees as Sylar, and the other Heroes characters see as Parkman.” And when I say “Parkman,” I mean “Parkman’s disembodied consciousness that Sylar and the audience see as Parkman, and the other characters don’t see at all.” Got it?

Carnival. Sylar’s body (oh poop - there goes my system) tosses and turns in his trailer but when he wakes up, he’s Nathan. And sees himself as Nathan in the mirror. He thinks this is WEIRD. So he gets dressed and goes outside, nervously flying off into the sky when he hears Lydia and Samuel coming. They are talking about Becky’s less-than-successful recruitment of Claire Benet to the Carnival. Lydia thinks Claire’s a lost cause but Samuel just replies that lost causes are his specialty.

College. Gretchen is still freaking out about why the hell is invisible Becky trying to kill her. Claire volunteers to go to the sorority house to go through Becky’s room to see if she can find some clues, and she tells Gretchen to lock the door behind her and not let anyone else in. Claire is finding scared Gretchen a little much – and totally unlike the stalker-girl who thought Claire being a Hero was just sooooo cool.

NYC, hospital. Emma is still standing in the way, watching the chaos in the hospital, when an ER doc, not recognizing her, asks her to keep pressure on a patient’s wound until the doctor comes to stitch her up. When she thinks nobody is looking, Emma just stitches the patient up herself. Peter sees her doing this and gives her a nod, then scurries off to another part of the ER to work his healing mojo on a burned patient. The strain of what he is doing almost knocks him over.

College, sorority house. Claire finds the other two pledges who’d seen what happened with her and Becky in the slaughterhouse and is relieved to discover that they have no absolutely memory of even being involved. AWESOME – there’s the Haitian!! Benet is there too, and only too glad to have been able to help his daughter when she called him.

Poop again: Sylar and Parkman are now on a road trip. They have to drive across the country since Sylar is now on a no-fly list, thanks to Parkman’s prank. Another prank: Parkman clouds Sylar’s mind enough that he hits something in the road and gets a flat tire. Luckily a kindly passerby stops to help. But Parkman is feeling petty and makes Sylar trip over his own feet, falling face first into the dirt, and grins that it’s going to be a looooong drive. So Sylar picks up a tire iron and beats the kindly passerby to death. Parkman is horrified: “You killed him!” Sylar smirks: Um, no, you did.

College, sorority house. Claire has asked her dad to take care of Becky, but she does not, however, want Gretchen’s memory erased because Gretchen is her friend and accepts her as she is. Instead, the Haitian goes with her back to her dorm room to protect her if Becky shows up. So who’s going to protect Benet?

Road trip. Sylar lays it out: no more sabotage by Parkman or he keeps killing innocent people.

NYC. Peter is near exhaustion when Emma finds him and makes him sit down. She suggests that maybe he shouldn’t use his power if it’s so hard on him. No way, man: “And be ordinary?” He staggers to his feet to continue helping in the ER. He asks where she learned suturing and she tells him that she dropped out of medical school.

College, dorm room. When Claire gets back, Gretchen is packing, saying she can’t take it and she’s going home. She has had it: she can’t handle this sort of life like Claire has. She thought it was awesome but it’s scary and dangerous and she wants no part of it. Claire begs her friend to stay but Gretchen is unstoppable: she’s already booked her plane ticket. Claire sobs, asking the Haitian to stay near Gretchen until she gets on the plane. After they’re gone, there’s a knock on Claire’s door. She turns, tears still on her face. It’s Samuel.

After the commercial, he apologizes for his bad timing, saying he’s looking for his niece Becky. WTF, says Claire, she just tried to hurt my friend, why would she be here? Samuel says that he knows that Claire is special, like him, like Becky, and if she’s got a moment to listen, he might have some answers for her.

Becky’s room. Oh shit: Benet has just found Samuel’s magical spinning compass hidden in the closet when the Invisible Girl gets home. He threatens her with a stun gun and she materializes.

Midland, Texas, Charlie’s old diner. Sylar orders ambrosia pancakes and a Coke, apparently planning to pack a bunch of pounds onto Parkman’s already chunky frame. When the waitress goes to put the order in, Sylar tells Parkman that he’ll kill her unless Parkman tells him where his body is and how Parkman pulled his consciousness out of it.

Claire’s dorm. Samuel is telling her about the Carnival, the people there. That a family is more than blood – it’s about trust and blood and love. He apologizes for Becky, saying that she’s damaged and complicated since her father was murdered in front of her when she was just a child. Hm, Claire ponders this. In Becky’s room, the Invisible Girl explains that she’s actually been after Benet the entire time – for killing her dad – and she’s going to hurt both him and his daughter. Things get slightly tense until two pledges interrupt. Becky invisibles away and Benet takes off. Claire’s room: Samuel goes on (and on), saying that he knows that Claire wants to fit into the real world but gets hurt every time she tries. When she asks how he’s learned to manage this, he tells her that he’s simply surrounded himself with people like him because they understand him. Which is why he’s approached her and not her father. Claire has her serious thinky face on but just then Benet arrives. He looks sternly at Samuel – who looks a little nervous – and wants to know what’s up.

When we’ve come back from the commercial, Benet has his gun out and Claire’s all, you think I would trust you over my dad? Samuel admits that Becky is damaged but Benet has some responsibility in that. Agreeably, Benet puts his gun away and tosses the compass to Samuel, saying okay, let’s talk responsibility: WTF with this compass, seeing how it’s shown up in several murder investigations (e.g. Danko’s). Samuel insists that it’s just to keep his people hidden from people like Benet but Benet wants more answers than that.

NYC, hospital. Emma finds a little girl on the floor and shouts for help. Peter arrives and she tells him that she can do the emergency procedure, but she needs his help. He helps and she saves the girl. Emma’s on her way back to being a doctor and I so don’t care.

College. Benet cuffs Samuel and starts to stuff him in the SUV when Becky, in invisible mode, appears and starts throwing the Benets around. Just as she’s about to really hurt Benet, Samuel nails her with the stun gun. Benet pulls his regular gun and trains it on the both of them, seemingly ready to shoot, but Claire screams no, dad, don’t! He lets the two Carnies go and Claire sort of glares at him.

Texas diner. Parkman explains how it (the Sylar/Nathan switch) happened and Sylar just gets crankier. He demands to know who else was involved and then answers his own question: Mama Petrelli and Benet. Answers gotten, Sylar tells Parkman that he’s going to find Nathan, get his body back and then kill everyone involved. However, when Sylar gets outside the diner, a bunch of cops show up because during the Q&A, Parkman made an unaware Sylar doodle on a napkin that he has a gun and is going to kill folks … and the waitress saw the napkin. The cops grow impatient. Realizing what Parkman intends, Sylar gasps that they’ll both die if he gets shot. And in a moment of self-sacrifice, Parkman makes his body reach into his coat as if for a gun and the cops fire repeatedly. Sylar collapses and once the body is down, Parkman’s consciousness fades from sight.

College. Benet takes Claire back to her dorm room and tries to encourage her, support her in her quest for a normal life. She’s pretty discouraged, however, seeing Gretchen’s empty half of the room. You’re better off without her, Claire – soooo annoying.

NYC hospital. Oh ferchrissakes: Emma is playing the frakking piano again. She’s frigging pointless. Peter finds her: she’s got a photo of her dead nephew with her who drowned while she was supposed to be babysitting. It was during her second year of med school and was why she dropped out. Peter really needs to go back to the shorter, no-bangs hairstyle of last season. They bond and then play a duet. Bleck.

Texas. Parkman is dying in the ambulance. College: Claire is sad in her half-empty dorm room. NYC: Emma pulls her lab coat out of the closet. Carnival: Samuel apologizes to Becky for shocking her and she apologizes for getting carried away with the Benets. Then he chuckles affectionately and says that she’ll get her revenge on them if she’s patient. Then Lydia comes up and tells Samuel that Sylar is gone. He is Not Happy about that. Washington, DC: Benet works on his wall of suspects. NYC: Peter takes down his wall of clippings and is interrupted by Nathan (formerly Carnival Sylar) who gives him a big hug and says he thinks he’s in trouble.

What’s that loud sucking noise coming from next week’s episode? Mohinder returns! (I thought Samuel said he killed him? Damn.)

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Are y’all sick of my Gaiman obsession yet? Well, that’s just too bad because I am in no way tired of him yet and dude’s prolific. I just finished one of his most recent YA novels, The Graveyard Book (published in 2008), and it’s wonderful.

The Graveyard Book is the story of Nobody Owens, commonly referred to as “Bod,” a boy who was raised from babyhood by an ancient graveyard when his parents and older sister were murdered. As the evil man Jack was dispatching his family, the one-year-old baby toddled out of his house and into the graveyard, where the resident ghosts, spirits and revenants took him in as one of their own. With Mr. and Mrs. Owens (dead “for a few hundred years now”) as his erstwhile parents and Silas, a vampire, for his guardian, Bod grows up healthy and happy – so long as he doesn’t leave the protection of the graveyard. For outside, in the human world, the man Jack still lurks.

There are eight chapters to The Graveyard Book, each of them detailing a specific adventure in Bod’s life as he grows from toddler to teenager. He makes a new human friend; he explores a haunted barrow; he balks at his lessons and encounters ghouls; he tries to fulfill a long dead witch’s last request; he attends human school when the graveyard ghosts can no longer teach him. And when he learns what happened to his first family, he wishes for revenge.

Gaiman acknowledges that this book owes a debt to Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the story of an orphan, raised by a nonhuman family, who makes his way back to the human world. It’s been decades since I’ve read these volumes and now I think I’d like to revisit them. But Gaiman puts his own unmistakable touch on the old story, adding his dark, intelligent humor and imagination, elements of suspense, magic and the macabre, bits from folklore and fairy tales, making The Graveyard Book a story that is very much his own. I wish there had been more than eight chapters so we could have had more than eight glimpses into Bod’s childhood.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Graphic novel review: Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman

My exposure to comic books/graphic novels has been fairly limited. I’ve got a BtVS Season 8 subscription; when I have extra cash, I buy the trades for Y: the Last Man and Fables, trying to collect each complete series; I’ve got my copy of Watchmen, of course. But I don’t know much about the traditional costumed heroes*. So it was with slight trepidation that I picked up Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s Black Orchid from the library. (I’d actually hoped to start his Sandman series, but the first five volumes were already checked out and it didn’t seem to make sense to start with VI.) Black Orchid it was, then.

Right off the bat it was clear that this was not your normal comic book, particularly since the main character, the heroine of the piece, gets murdered within the first few pages. And not in a kill-Selena-Kyle/awaken-Catwoman sort of way. This is the superhero herself, shot, burned and then blown to bits in a huge explosion. Well, huh, I thought, where do we go from here?

Where we go, where Gaiman and McKean (longtime collaborators on numerous projects) take us, an amazingly creative and ultimately hopeful place. When the crime fighting costumed superhero Black Orchid is killed, some of her consciousness makes its way back to the greenhouse from whence she came, and awakens one of her sisters growing there. She wasn’t entirely human, you see, but a human/plant hybrid created by a slightly mad scientist when her human progenitor, Susan, the love of his life, was murdered. The orchid-woman who awakens isn’t exactly the same as the Black Orchid; this new one abhors violence, seeks – both literally and figuratively – her roots and tries to find purpose in this life that was thrust upon her so abruptly.

Many men** affect her life as she makes her journey: Susan’s sleazebag ex-husband, Carl, just released from prison; Lex Luthor – always looking for the next big thing, and thinking that human/plant hybrids might be it – and his minions; Phil Sylvian, the scientist who created the orchid-women … and with these men violence follows.

But the ending of the book is a surprise – more so even than killing off your heroine right from the get-go – and a departure from comic book tropes that finds resolution in giant, bloody battles. I’ve read that people were surprised when the story ended like this, certain that one more chapter was forthcoming wherein the bad guys would get what was coming to them and the Black Orchid would be avenged. Not here, not in Gaiman’s hands. Here there is compassion and faith and hope.

Dave McKean’s artwork is like nothing I’ve ever seen in a comic book. Lush, atmospheric and dreamy while at times nearly photorealistic, the colors and images swirling and fading into each other … it is actually art. Anyone who scoffs that comics cannot be art (or literature) should immediately sit down with this book.

In the articulate introduction by Mikal Gilmore, senior Rolling Stone writer, it is noted that “… in the world of comic books – as in the worlds of film, literature and global politics – any story that begins in violence must necessarily also end in violence.” In Black Orchid Gaiman has proven that this is not necessarily so in comics and thus gives us hope that it might not be necessary in our lives either.

* Although I now know more than I used to, having recently read Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, review coming to a friendly mouse blog soon.

** She also meets up with many famous and infamous comic book characters: Batman and Swamp Thing, as well as the Joker, Harvey Dent, the Riddler and Poison Ivy during a trip to Arkham Asylum. This is probably a treat for full-on comics nerds but I had to look most of them up on Wikipedia just to figure out who they were. Still, a nice touch connecting the world of the Black Orchid with the larger costumed superhero universe.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “Once Upon a Time in Texas” S4E7 (airdate 11/02/09)

So, it was nice of Glee to let Charlie come back to play tonight. To make this all easier for everyone – 98% of this episode is set three years ago in Texas, but under the effect of the consequences from Hiro’s insistence at going back in time to save Charlie. The term “butterfly effect” comes to mind and, in fact, is bandied about quite a lot in this episode. Also, apparently Charlie lived in the same town as the Benets when Claire was in high school and throwing herself off towers, being stalked by Sylar, cheering her little heart out, etc. Ain’t that a coincidence.

Picking up from when we last saw him, our Present Day Hiro time-travels/teleports back to three years ago in Texas, giddily watching Charlie through the diner window. We are treated to a short series of flashbacks to remind us of their doomed story: they meet; Hiro falls in love; and then, no matter what Hiro tries, Sylar kills her. The flashback over (but still three years ago), Sylar shows up at the diner - not recognizing Hiro of course because we’re three years ago and they haven’t met yet - and goes inside. “Oh boy,” says Present Day Hiro.

In the present, at the Carnival, an upset Samuel tells Lydia that Arnold (the Carnival’s time-traveler) is dying. Their family is shrinking and the graveyard is getting bigger, he laments. She reminds him that he thought Hiro could help them, but he’s not sure how he can convince Hiro to do so. They try taking a look at Lydia’s magical soothsaying tattoos, and learn about Charlie, and also Benet, Claire and Sylar – all connected. Samuel says that he must get back to the folks in Texas three years ago – imposing on a dying Arnold yet again – since desperate times call for desperate measures.

Three years ago in Texas. Sylar flirts with Charlie as he figures out her gift (remembering everything she’s ever read ever (I wish I had that power)), and also using his own see-how-things-work gift to tell her that he sees the blood clot in her brain. This freaks her out a bit. Then, Samuel appears and hustles Hiro, who is skulking behind a newspaper at a nearby table and eavesdropping Sylar and Charlie, off for a little confab.

At the other side of the diner, Benet hangs up his phone after getting a scolding phone call from Sandra about missing Claire’s cheering at Homecoming due to his job. We also learn this: Benet apparently has a different partner in this reality, she who played Kate the cop the first season on Angel … um, where’s the Haitian? There’s a little bit of flirtation between the two of them, more than flirtation, in fact, as Kate’s booked them a motel room. Benet gets another call and has to go; Kate says she’ll meet him at the office, disappointment evident in her face.

Samuel says that he’s here in this time to make sure that Hiro understands the magnitude of his potential actions. He reminds Hiro that at this point in time, all the Heroes are on specific paths … saving Charlie would be a huge change – is she worth it? Yes, says Hiro, emphatically. But oops – when he looks over at her, both she and Sylar have disappeared from the diner’s dining room. Hiro runs to the storeroom, finding Charlie opening a can and Sylar about to open her skull. Hiro freezes time and looks sternly at Sylar.

After the commercial, Hiro wheels a frozen Sylar out of the diner on a dolly (heh) and puts him in the cargo compartment of a Greyhound bus which he has also frozen. All this freezing is going to take a toll on him, don’t you think? Then he rushes back to the diner’s storeroom, taking time to primp a little. Then he pauses: if Charlie doesn’t get killed by Sylar, he won’t go back in time the first time to try to save her, and therefore they won’t fall in love with each other … and then I get confused with the time-travel stuff because Mr. Mouse is talking to me and I don’t have a DVR to pause things. So anyway, our Hiro goes into the diner’s restroom where Three Years Ago Hiro is washing his hands, and tells TYA Hiro that he must go back in time to save the waitress (what about save the cheerleader? says TYA Hiro but our Hiro doesn’t have time for that now) … and so TYA Hiro blinks out of sight to save the day. And then, I believe our Hiro calls his past self a moron..

At the Company Benet is talking to Isaac (remember him? and that little girl with the short hair is there too – what was her power again? I remember Sylar killed her …), asking for his help to identify Sylar because that wily murderer is after Claire. Apparently Isaac is not much help (I just don’t remember what happened the first time around and can’t be bothered to look it up for you, sorry). Later, Kate finds an upset Benet in the break room … and they kiss each other! Benet is cheating on Sandra with his mind-wiping blonde hussy of a partner? This reality sucks. WHERE’S THE HAITIAN??!!? Stupid Hiro-induced retcon.

Samuel, acting as loose end editor, reminds Hiro that Ando is sitting over there at a diner booth. Our Hiro tells Past Ando to wait for Past Hiro, no matter how long it takes. Then, he rushes back to the storeroom and gives Charlie a huge hug, asking her to come away with him. She giggles, incredulously – then the brain tumor kicks in and she starts spewing a torrent of random facts. Uh-oh - this isn’t going to be as simple Hiro thought: she tells him that her aneurysm has ruptured and she’s dying. “Not yet you’re not,” he says, and hops on his Vespa (where’d that come from?) back to the Greyhound station. He throws open the bus cargo compartment, only to find that Sylar is not there. Because Sylar is behind him, and crankily TKs him up against the side of the bus. Apparently Sylar is not a fan of bus travel. I hear you, man.

Sylar is super-annoyed at being treated like luggage and demands to know what Hiro did to him. Hiro instead asks him to fix Charlie before she dies. “You’re going to die,” growls Sylar (oh how I’ve missed growly Sylar!), extending an index finger. But Hiro freezes him, running out of range. They pretty much do this back and forth all the way down the street to the diner. Hiro, his brain tumor headache kicking in from all the time-freezing, finally promises to tell Sylar everything he knows about Sylar’s future if only he’ll save Charlie. They go back to the diner where Charlie is still sitting in the storeroom, shaking. Sylar tells her to hold still, snarking that he usually prefers more invasive procedures - and Hiro barks that if she dies, Sylar dies – and pulls the blood clot from her brain and out through her eye. Um, ick. There are tears and hugs between Charlie and Hiro.

Sylar just stands there, however, impatiently wanting to know what Hiro knows about him. Hiro tells him that he will kill many people, absorbing their abilities and becoming very powerful, but in the end it won’t make any difference. Other Heroes will band together against him and then Sylar will die alone and unmourned. Um, not quite, Hiro. Then Hiro says he wishes he could change the past but this is Sylar’s path. This is not quite what Sylar wanted to know, I don’t think – more details would have been helpful. Then Hiro teleports Sylar out into an alleyway, leaving him there.

Outside the diner, Benet finds Claire and they have a largely pointless scene together where she tells him she wants him to be happy. After she runs off to do cheerleading stuff, Benet looks ruefully at the motel key in his hand.

Kate is having a drink when he gets to the motel and pours him one. He takes a drink and tells her that he can’t do this – workplace romances never work. But she cuts him off, smiling that she’s had the human resources training. She says that this is more than just physical between them, and don’t they deserve a little bit of happiness? Benet sidesteps this, saying that he loves his family and even though he lies to them now, he doesn’t want to destroy the possibility that one day he could tell them the truth. He tells her that he needs her, needs her help with Sylar and with Claire. Kate sighs, yes, yes, I will always help you.

Charlie comes out of the diner looking a little pensive. She’s upset: she’d made peace with dying but this, this feels like cheating. How can Hiro be okay knowing that Sylar is going to kill all those people? She scolds Hiro, asking why she gets to live when so many others don’t. “Because I love you,” he pleads. “That’s just selfish,” Charlie snaps and walks off.

The Company. Kate (I’m not calling her Lauren) hands Benet an interoffice envelope. It’s got a motel key inside and she kids him a little about it. He’s confused, asking if they’re pretending that their conversation this morning never happened. Now Kate’s confused. He checks the envelope again and pulls out a note. It’s from her and says that she asked the Haitian to wipe her memory, saying that it’s better this way. Benet makes a thinky face, ultimately agreeing. So then what’s her power? She must have one because three years ago, the Company always did a “one of us/one of them” for their bag-and-tag teams.

A little while later Charlie finds Hiro and apologizes for her outburst. She thanks him for saving her life and tells him that she wants their happy ending together. Smooches! They leave the diner for their life together, Charlie a little ahead of Hiro … but she has disappeared by the time he gets outside and Samuel is there instead. He says that he has taken Charlie away to the Carnival in the future/our present. Hiro is furious and grabs Samuel’s shirtfront, shifting time and space to bring both of them back to the 2009 Carnival. The other carnies surround them, staring. Then Samuel ‘fesses up that Charlie’s not exactly here.

A frantic Hiro searches for her but instead finds Arnold, dead in a trailer. Samuel explains that Arnold was the Carnival’s time-traveler but his body couldn’t take the strain (he also had a brain tumor, just like Hiro’s); the last thing Arnold did, on Samuel’s instructions, was to take Charlie and trap her somewhere in time. This last act which killed him. Hiro is feeling manipulated but Samuel simply says that he needed Hiro to fix his own past transgressions – something that the other carnies wouldn’t understand. When Hiro gets vaguely threatening, Samuel reminds him that he is the only one who knows where Charlie is and Hiro must do exactly what he says if he wanted to see her again. “What must we do?” asks Hiro. “I made a mistake eight weeks ago,” admits Samuel.

Eight weeks ago: Samuel killed Mohinder. I just knew I liked that guy.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Possible technical difficulties

Y'all, I hope I'm wrong, but there's the possibility that the Heroes recap may be late. I have been having the awfullest time with my computer having been infected with spyware/viruses, etc. (stupid Comcast, stupid ineffectual McAfee) and I may be taking it in to the computer doctor tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to keep up with the recap but if not, I promise I will have it up and running just as soon as this machine is, well, up and running.