Monday, September 28, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “Ink ” S4E2 (airdate 09/28/09)

We open with the three storylines we’ll be following this evening: Claire seems to be avoiding Stalker Gretchen, Parkman is still seeing Sylar everywhere, Peter is still saving people. And at the Sullivan Bros. Carnival, Samuel tells Lydia that he thinks he’s found someone to replace Joseph (is Joseph whom they buried in E1?) and he sucks some magical tattoo ink up into his fingertips, seeing how that’s supposed to help him tell if his chosen one will/should join them. Lydia asks him if he’s going to go “home” when he’s out there, but Samuel says no, he doesn’t ever want to go back.

NYC. Peter has gotten served with a subpoena, ostensibly for having hurt someone when he saved them. Elsewhere some woman we’ve never seen before wakes up to a truly annoying alarm: it shakes her bed, and flashes lights at her and makes a noise like a rumbling motorcycle engine. She gets distracted by a sparkle coming out of her faucet and then … nothing as we cut to Parkman on a stakeout. Whatever. I’m supposed to care about this woman why?

Parkman is on edge because he used his mind-mojo last episode (on the water boy), and is soooo not in the mood when Sylar pops up again in the backseat. Blah blah, gonna keep Sylar stuffed in the prison of Parkman’s mind as long as he has to. Parkman’s partner reports that they’ve got their search warrant and they bust into the house they were watching, guns drawn. While they’re searching the house, Sylar keeps appearing to Parkman, distracting and disorienting him. Also, he saves Parkman’s life by telling him that the drug dealer he’s looking for is in the closet (that Parkman wasn’t going to search) with a gun. After Parkman’s got his perp in custody, Sylar arches an eyebrow at him and smirks, “You’re welcome!”

College. Benet stops by to see his little girl – apparently he has fully recovered from the slice and dice Edgar Sullivan gave him at the end of last episode. He and Claire catch up: missing their family, the roommate’s suicide, you know, the usual. He invites her to lunch and when she runs off to wash up, Gretchen corners her in the bathroom, demanding answers to questions like, “What are you: a vampire, an alien, a freakish government experiment?” She follows Claire back to her room and Benet, ever charming, invites her to lunch as well, overriding Claire’s protests.

L.A. The drug dealer watches grumpily as Parkman and partner toss the house, looking for the stash of drugs. Sylar lounges on the couch and points out that Parkman could cut to the chase and just suck the information out of the drug dealer’s head. But Parkman refuses, so Sylar leads him around by the nose to what he needs to find: a pink stuffed bunny in the bathroom. Sylar says, ominously, this house isn’t used for drugs; it’s used for something much worse. So child abuse/porn is going to be what it takes for Parkman to use his mind-powers again?

NYC. Peter asks for a file in a hospital records room – here’s that woman with the awful alarm from earlier. She’s deaf, hence the bed-shaking alarm, and she keeps earphones on so people think she’s just not listening. She knocks her mug of tea off her desk when handing Peter the file, but when the mug shatters on the floor, there’s a flash of colored light. She seems bemused by this.

Peter has grabbed the file and run off to the physical therapy room, looking for one “William Hooper,” who is the person who is suing him. When he enters the room, “William Hooper” is none other than our Samuel Sullivan. After the commercial, Peter points out that he’s never seen this guy before, so Samuel tells his story, some of which is true: his brother Joseph died, Samuel has all these responsibilities now and he can’t meet them because of Peter. Peter insists that he doesn’t know Samuel and leaves.

Emma, the deaf records clerk, is getting her eyes checked. The doctor confirms (via sign language) that there is nothing wrong with her eyes; maybe it’s synaesthesia (sp?) – crossing of senses. Like Emma is seeing sounds as colors. Frustrated, Emma goes back to the records room, but not before her doctor asks her why she’s a file clerk instead of being a doctor. Emma retorts that she doesn’t like the expressions people make when they realize she’s deaf, which is fair enough.

College. Benet has taken the girls out for Indian and they are total heathens, worried that they won’t like it. I would LOVE to have some Indian food right now – we’ve had pizza for the last two nights because all our dishes are packed and anything other than cheese and grease on bread sounds great. Gretchen thinks she’s being tricky and brings up “this girl” that she “saw on YouTube” who couldn’t feel pain. Benet, of course, is not a dummy. When Gretchen asks him what he does, he says he’s retired, but “is always finding new reasons to go back to work.” And then he shoots Claire the stink eye. Dude, it’s totally not her fault this time. Well, sort of not her fault – it’s not like she really had to throw herself out that window.

L.A. When the partner goes to check out the garage, the drug dealer watches as Parkman and Sylar have this conversation, complete with shouting at each other. This wigs him out a little. Then Parkman finds a ransom note: a little girl has been kidnapped. You know, I love that Greg Grunberg is getting screen time but this is BORING.

College lunch. When Gretchen excuses herself to go to the bathroom, Benet tells Claire that he’s got to call the Haitian and clean up this mess. Surprisingly, Claire defends Gretchen instead of ‘fessing up that she’s a STALKER, and insists that she’ll take care of it herself. Gretchen is just the most annoying thing ever.

L.A. Parkman gets up in the drug dealer’s face, demanding to know where the kidnapped girl is. Sylar points out that using Parkman’s power will save time, which is important if a little girl’s life is at stake. Parkman succumbs and pulls the information out of the drug dealer’s brain: she’s stashed under the stairs. (Wasn’t that where Molly was in S1 when Parkman rescued her after hearing her panicky thoughts?) What happens next is excellent. Parkman tears open the door under the stairs and finds the girl. She’s dead. He runs back to the drug dealer and starts beating the shit out of him until his partner comes in and pulls him off. Parkman explains about the dead girl and so the partner goes to see for himself. But there’s no girl, and no body, only Sylar f’ing with Parkman’s mind. There wasn’t even a ransom note – Sylar made it ALL up. Parkman has tears in his eyes as Sylar grins, having used his own power against him.

NYC. Peter’s EMT partner tells him that some people are saying that Peter is causing the accidents himself just to get the glory of rescuing people. Peter is completely offended at this. In the meantime, Samuel has let himself into Peter’s apartment where he touches a newspaper clipping. The magic tattoo ink flows into it, adding Samuel to the photo. Peter rushes home and checks the photo. He is chagrined and surprised to see Samuel there.

College. Gretchen apologizes for being pushy and then shares one of her own secrets (bulimia, if you care) with Claire. Claire says that she would like to be truthful with her – it’s difficult and dangerous for her – but she’s willing to take that risk. Ask me anything, she says. Oh, Claire. There are plenty of people who know your secret. You are such a stupid, na├»ve girl.

Peter zooms up to Samuel who is strolling in a park. He apologizes to Samuel and asks what he can do to make it right. You know, it looks like Peter is growing his bangs out again – I really wish he’d go back to the shorter, more butch style of last season. I’m bored again as Samuel works the dead brother angle, and Peter talks about working hospice. Samuel asks why he became an EMT and Peter replies that he decided he wanted to save lives, not watch them pass. Samuel shakes his hand, thereby transferring some of that magic tattoo ink, and takes his leave.

As Samuel walks away, he passes deaf Emma who is disconcerted to see flares of light coming off a street musician’s cello. When the musician goes to get a drink, Emma picks up the cello and draws the bow across the strings, making her own music/light. The returning musician sees her, but lets her play. Soon a crowd has gathered, including Peter. When Emma realizes she has an audience, she stops. Everyone applauds but she runs away and Peter watches her go. If the music playing on the show was supposed to be what Emma was playing, it was beautiful.

Samuel finds himself in front of a mansion. He rings the doorbell, interrupting a cocktail party. His parents were servants at this house and he’d like to take a look at the carriage house where he used to live. The owner says no, this isn’t a good time, and closes the door on him.

College. Ugh. Claire is telling Gretchen everything and, at Gretchen’s request, provides a demonstration: she cuts her hand open and Gretchen watches as it heals then and there. They are interrupted by a phone call from Benet and Claire gives her dad a prepared speech about taking care of herself now. He, in turn, apologizes for being so harsh with her at the restaurant. He says that he’s here for her if she needs him, but he admits that she can take care of this herself. When he hangs up, it doesn’t look like he meant it. Double-ugh: Claire asks Gretchen if she wants to move in, be her roommate. I sense that foretold bi-curious event coming soon.

L.A. The partner lays it out for Parkman: you screwed up big time. Parkman’s like yup, pretty much ruined my life by pounding on this lowlife for no good reason at all. Then he touches his partner and rearranges his memories so that the partner thinks that Parkman beat up the drug dealer in defense of the partner’s life. Okay, says a smug Sylar, I’m proud of you – now let’s go find my body.

NYC. Peter and his partner make their way to an accident scene. It seems Samuel opened up a sinkhole to suck down the mansion that he wasn’t allowed to tour. Suddenly Peter gasps and clutches at his arm: there’s a tattoo of a compass there, and the needle is spinning. Samuel watches sternly and unseen from the shadows.

I thought this was a rather blah episode except for one thing: STILL NO MOHINDER! Yay!!

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

PS - "next time on Heroes" will be late as I don't expect to have internet access set up in my new apartment by next Monday. (Actually, I don't expect to have my new apartment by next Monday either.) I do promise to watch E3, either on t.v. or online, and I will have the recap up, but not quite so timely. Please be patient and please keep checking back!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Frazzled Mouse

Oof. I'm tired. And my hands are shredded from all the taping. I haven't seen a movie in AGES (no Inglourious Basterds or Jennifer's Body for me, sad to say, at least not during my remaining Maine tenure). Too busy putting things into boxes.

I did manage to see the Flashforward pilot on Thursday (is that even what it's called? I can't remember at this point) and liked it, although I wanted poor little Joseph Fiennes to smile at least once. I also got to the S2 premiere of Dollhouse. I am a hugenormous fan of all things Whedon and ... it pains me to say that I'm not sure Dollhouse is that good. I really loved the extra episode from S1, set post-apocalyptically and hardly starring Eliza Dushku at all, but last Friday's episode was really just meh. More shirtless Jamie Bamber would have helped.

I will get Heroes up for you tomorrow - thank goodness it's not a two-hour episode - but right afterwards I have to pack up my computer AND my television, so FMS will be on a big time hiatus, to return once I'm in SLC.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Maple Bacon Gelato

A trip to the dentist was on my long list of things to get done before the great SLC departure; my dentist's office is not too far from where my folks live so my mom and I met for coffee and catching-up first. She suggested the Bohemian Coffee House which has apparently been around a while although I'd never been there before.

They're a typical indie coffee house, with wi-fi, gently alternative music and a nice wide selection of hot and cold, caffeinated and otherwise beverages. I had a half-caf cafe au lait (the customer pours their own coffee from the thermoses and then the barista adds the milk, so you can custom-blend your joe) and my mom had a chai tea latte - which was completely AWESOME.

They also make their own gelato and Monday's featured flavor was maple bacon. Doesn't that just sound so good? I'll give them "good," but not necessarily "so good." There was a ton of bacon bits in the scoop I had - substantial pieces of real bacon too - and it added a lovely smoky/salty flavor. I would have preferred it to have been fried a little crisper, however, as being in ice cream tends to soften the bacon quickly.

The gelato itself didn't have that smooth mouth-feel that gelato should have and was not very maple-y either. I realize maple is a difficult flavor and too much can be overpowering, but this was really more along the lines of "vanilla bacon ice cream" than maple bacon gelato. Not that I have an issue with vanilla bacon ice cream, mind you, lordy no, and I scraped the bottom of my dish. It just didn't quite live up to its billing is all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “Orientation” S4E1 (airdate 09/21/09)

Thus beginneth Volume 5: Redemption. I was totally dreading this but it isn’t as bad as I feared. Let’s soldier on, shall we?

In a field, there’s a funeral for one Brother Joseph, with the eulogy being given by Samuel (f/k/a “T-Bag” from from Prison Break). Samuel is scruffy (as are the rest of the funeral goers) with an indiscriminate accent. As Samuel drones on, we see flashbacks of the previous seasons, and glimpses of things to come: Claire starting college, Sylar living in a cave, Parkman being father to his toddler. Blah blah blah, Samuel intones that it is time for all these lost souls to find their way back home. Then he waves his hands and the earth moves for him, covering the coffin. All the funeral attendees are sad but I think that’s a decent power. They walk away, back to a carnival in the distance. Okay, color me intrigued, at least by these new folks.

Claire brings a load of stuff through a dorm, looking for her room. She’s going to school in Arlington, Virginia (conveniently located next to Washington D.C., where much of her family – birth and adopted – reside) and her roommate is Annie. Annie is Very Concerned when she learns that Claire got her GED instead of graduating from high school; Annie talks really fast and is type-A and already annoying. With my luck, she’ll end up having a superpower and being onscreen a lot. Also, she alienated Claire almost immediately. Who does this?

Tokyo. Ando and Hiro have a new business, “Dial a Hero,” but no one is calling to hire them. Bored, they reminisce about their childhood, and Ando’s unrequited crush on Hiro’s sister Kimiko. Cue Kimiko to come in and yell at them for spending company money on such a crazy idea, which she blames on Ando. Let me guess: they’ll go back in time and change her mind. Then, amazingly, they get a phonecall and Hiro answers, “How can we save you today?”

NYC. Peter is a paramedic again (wasn’t he a nurse before?). He and his partner are stuck in traffic so Peter hops out to go on foot, even though they’re twelve blocks away from their call. He ducks down an alley and then super-parkours up the side of the buildings to the accident site. It’s a car crash with a pregnant woman trapped inside. With complete disregard for his secret identity, Peter rips the door off the car and says, “I’m here to save you.”

College. In a big lecture hall, Annie waves Claire over – they’re taking a placement test for linear algebra. Claire (her hair is shorter than last season and looks really good, btw) goggles when the prof shows them the one equation to solve in 45 minutes. Everyone dives in. Ha: Claire zones out, daydreaming that black-ops soldiers are bursting in and shooting her with darts … when she snaps out of it, she tells Annie that this class is not for her.

NYC. Peter’s paramedic partner (“PPP”) snarks that the pregnant lady delivered twins and named them both “Peter.” Peter chuckles: it was twin girls. Later, in the locker room, PPP marvels that Peter is so mellow after saving three lives – he’d be all revved up himself - but Peter is hard on himself because he can always do better. PPP invites him out for beers with the fellas but Peter declines, saying he’ll see him tomorrow.

Tokyo. The dumbass duo’s first client is Muffin Man, a little girl’s cat, who is stuck on the roof. Ando climbs up; Hiro freezes time when he falls. I’m bored.

Washington, D.C. Angela Petrelli telephones Bennet to exposit the revenge killings on Building 26 personnel are continuing – Tracey, murdering Danko’s men – and tells him that they need to pull the trigger (plug?) on the project. Bennet is grumpy because (1) he wishes they hadn’t turned Sylar into Nathan (there’s some more awkward exposition here to remind us all of that boondoggle), (2) he’s lost his family and (3) he’s late for Claire’s first day of college. Like she’s a kindergartener needing to be picked up. When he gets to his car, however, it won’t start and then starts to fill with water, with the doors icing over, trapping him inside. Looks like it’s Tracey striking again.

Luckily, someone outside the car shoots out a window, freeing him. It’s Danko. He’s on Tracey’s trail and offers Bennet a solution to their mutual problem: they kill her before she kills them. Bennet isn’t interested. Danko then says he’s heard Bennet’s in bed with the Petrellis again; Bennet denies it, insisting that he’s changing careers. But Danko doesn’t believe it and tells Bennet that once he’s done hunting Tracey, he’s coming back for him. Bennet just watches the water swirl down the drain.

College. Claire makes a new friend as she tries to find her next class. Unfortunately, Gretchen, this new friend, is also from Texas, and immediately recognizes Claire’s name from the Texas Cheerleader Homecoming Murder Incident from S1. Claire is a little freaked at being outed and scurries away.

Tokyo. They rescue the cat. But Hiro ends up in a trance again. Whatever.

D.C. Angela meets “Nathan” for lunch. She first has a vision, though, where Sylar is wearing his own face, not her son’s, and it shakes her up. In the restaurant Nathan’s memories are still filtering through Sylar’s physical brain, and while he doesn’t know what’s happened to him, he recognizes that things are different. The camera angles are weird, really close up on his face and framed off to the side, trying to keep us off-balance like he is. He starts to wax rhapsodic about reconnecting with his family, making major life changes, and Angela gets very tense, insisting that he’s having a mid-life crisis. She tells him to go get a sports car and a cheap floozy, and get over it.

After lunch, Angela calls Parkman. Even though she and Bennet were the ones who forced Parkman to stuff Nathan’s consciousness into Sylar’s body, she blames the cop for screwing it up and yells at him to fix it: Sylar seems to be re-emerging and that’s bad for everyone. Parkman reminds her that’s because he IS Sylar. Parkman goes on, saying that he’s wigged out, that he doesn’t do mind tricks anymore – he’s been seeing things and is troubled by what he’s done. He tells Angela that Nathan/Sylar is her problem and she needs to deal with it without him.

In Nathan’s office, Sylar’s powers are inadvertently emerging – electricity crackles between his hands – and Nathan is all, WTF has happened to me?

College. Bennet is waiting for his daughter in her dorm room, his ear getting bent by the hyper Annie. After the roommate leaves, Claire updates him on the latest goings-on. He is supportive, and there’s some nice father-daughter bonding.

Sullivan Brothers’ Carnival. Finally – I was wondering when we’d get back here. The Tattooed Lady manifests her power: an image of Danko’s face swims into focus on her skin. Samuel sends his brother, Edgar (Ray Park, f/k/a “Darth Maul”), after him – over Edgar’s protestations. Ray Park is rawther handsome. Words like “redemption” and “vengeance” are tossed about. Samuel promises that he won’t ask Edgar to kill anyone else after this one – after a neat trick where he stabs Edgar with a tattooing needle and a tattoo hand clutches Edgar’s throat, choking him. Edgar glares and stalks off.

Bennet sits alone, picking at his sushi. Tracey (ugh) joins him. He asks how it was she put herself back together after being shattered into a gajillion pieces. She doesn’t actually know the how, but insists that she’s going to kill them all for what they did to her. Bennet offers to help her regain her life, saying that he doesn’t think she’s really a killer. You can see that she’s tempted but ends up walking away. At least she didn’t try to kill him this time.

Later, Bennet meets with Danko in the ruins of Building 26. Danko isn’t interested in leaving Tracey alone, saying that he’ll kill her “even if [he] has to suck her up in a Wet-Vac to do it.” Nice. Bennet recommends that Danko leave it alone: he hands him a wicked big check (from “the government”) to just walk away. So that’s where my tax dollars are being spent. Danko still isn’t interested, so the Haitian (yay!) slips out of the shadows and grabs Danko’s head. I’ve missed the Haitian.

Peter’s phone is ringing as he lets himself into his apartment but he lets the machine take it. It’s Nathan, begging him to call him back; Nathan sounds confused, saying that he doesn’t know what’s happened to him. Peter ignores the phone, instead pinning a newspaper clipping about his latest rescue to a creepy obsessive Hero bulletin board already covered in similar clippings.

Tracey is waiting outside Danko’s apartment when he comes home. He doesn’t know who she is, but pulls a gun on her anyway. When she realizes that Bennet had Danko’s brain wiped, she decides he’s not worth killing. She turns to go, and Danko goes inside, but there are voices: Danko’s, surprised at an intruder; and Edgar’s, claiming to be here to collect something. Tracey goes into the apartment in time to see Edgar, with two big knives, dice Danko into many, many pieces. Nice! Then the carnie sees her and goes after her with his knives, moving and blurring with super-speed. But every time he cuts her, she splashes water, not blood. She grabs his arm, freezing him enough to make him drop a knife, and he takes off. Tracey pauses to collect herself, staring down at the bloody Danko pieces. Well, there’s that problem solved.

College party. Claire finds Gretchen, and then intense Annie finds them both. I AM SO BORED AS THERE’S A CLAIRE VS. GRETCHEN GUITAR HERO SHOWDOWN. Gretchen claims to be improving rapidly despite never having played before–is Guitar Hero her power?

Tokyo. Ando dollies a still-frozen Hiro back into their offices. Hiro’s nose is bleeding again and Ando is concerned for his friend. Hiro says that he’s already been to see a doctor for the nosebleeds and the prognosis is: he’s dying, and maybe soon. I’m pretty sure we viewers couldn’t possibly be that lucky. Ando thinks that maybe they could go back in time and change the past, thus saving Hiro. Hiro shouts that he can never change the past – they already know the dangers of that. And then he freezes up again in the middle of his sentence, then comes back, and then blinks out of existence: back in time fourteen years ago to a carnival. What ever happened to Badass Soul-Patch Hiro from S1 anyway – shouldn’t he be here by now?

Sullivan Bros. Carnival. Lydia the Tattoo Lady shows Samuel a picture of Hiro and says that he was at their carnival fourteen years ago. WAIT: this carnival was in Japan then? Since when do honky-tonk carnivals go overseas? This makes no sense. Regardless, Samuel thanks Lydia and exits the tent to talk to an old geezer who’s on oxygen. The geezer says something unintelligible to me (even after I rewind it four times) and Samuel replies that he knows the geezer is weak, but could he please do “it” one more time as he thinks he’s found someone who can help them “change the past.” He asks the geezer to send them back fourteen years and the geezer seems to think he can do it.

College. Claire goes back to her dorm room. Annie is not there and the window is open. When she goes to close it, she sees Annie, dead on the sidewalk below, blood pooling around her. Who here thinks that Gretchen is a stalker and pushed Annie out? I do!

Los Angeles: Parkman steps on a toy police car and has remorse. Then he can’t find his baby who is gone from his crib. Then he sees Sylar, holding the baby and snarling that he wants his body back. (Back in D.C., Nathan is freaking out and staring at himself intensely in the mirror.) Parkman is bewildered – how can this be happening? Is Sylar a figment of Parkman’s brain or is he really present? Just then Parkman’s cheating wife comes in: the vision of Sylar was all in Parkman’s head. I’m still cranky that he forgave her and moved back in.

D.C. Bennet’s smoke detector is going off because he’s burned his dinner in the toaster oven - and there’s nothing but milk and mustard in the refrigerator (looks like my fridge, actually). Poor Bennet. He then calls Sandra and a man’s voice answers. Poor Bennet! The phone rings again immediately after he hangs up: Tracey tells him to get his ass over to Danko’s apartment. When he gets there, she tells him: “I didn’t do it.”

Carnival, fourteen years ago. Oh f’ing awesome: Modern Hiro runs into his younger self and teenage Hiro asks Modern Hiro to take a picture of him, Ando and Kimiko. I hate this shit. Hiro is worried about changing the past by influencing his younger self and tries to return to now, but Samuel has found him and says they’re going to be great friends.

I CANNOT WAIT FOR ZOMBIELAND!

College. The cops question Claire about Annie. They have found a suicide note that Claire insists has been planted, as it was not there when she found Annie, plus Annie had no self-esteem issues (other than perhaps having too much) so it seems highly unlikely that she would have offed herself. Claire insists that Annie was murdered; the cop is not convinced.

Tokyo, present day. Kimiko wants to know where Hiro is; Ando tries (and fails) to cover for his buddy.

Carnival, fourteen years ago. Samuel is sympathetic to Hiro not wanting NYC to blow up by failing to save the cheerleader and all, but encourages him to perhaps change something else, right some smaller wrongs, perhaps, like fixing it so Kimiko doesn’t hate Ando. Hiro continues to demur so Samuel takes matters into his own hands: instead of teenage Ando spilling his blue slushy on Hiro’s sister, and thus ruining her opinion of him forever, Samuel pushes Modern Hiro into the line of fire and the slushy spills on him instead. (I know: soooo stupid.) When Hiro jumps back in time to now, he doesn’t think things have changed … until he sees his sister macking with Ando. He changed their relationship profoundly – what else is different?

D.C. Tracey brings Bennet up to speed on Danko’s gory demise. She is grateful to Bennet for wiping Danko’s mind and it looks like they’ll be teaming up together. Bennet then notices that the knife slashes are mostly into Danko’s abdomen, so he grabs a plastic baggie and goes spelunking into Danko’s innards (“That’s … personal,” gags Tracey.) He emerges with a key – apparently what Edgar was after.

L.A. Parkman is getting ready for work and gets all jealous when the water delivery guy flirts with his wife and calls her by her first name. Parkman should be jealous – Janice is not to be trusted. Also, Parkman is having trouble with work because he refuses to read minds to nail bad guys, and hasn’t been sleeping. He is exhausted. Janice professes concern for him and I’m all whatever.

NYC. Peter is listening to the police scanner when Bennet shows up on his doorstep. He checks out Peter’s Wall of Rescues, then dives into the whole key-in-Danko’s-belly thing. The key is to a safe deposit box and Bennet wants Peter’s help getting to the box in case Speedy Knife Edgar shows up. Peter is intrigued in spite of himself.

College. Sandra brings Claire back to school after some time away post-Annie’s death. Gretchen is waiting for her there in Claire’s dorm room, and is waaaaaaaay too interested in Annie’s suicide/murder, telling Claire they should solve the case. She’s totally a stalker.

NYC. Bennet and Peter wait for Edgar to show up at the bank. Bennet is worried that Peter is isolating himself and disconnecting from people. They open the safe deposit box and a compass is inside. It appears to be broken when Bennet picks it up. But Edgar, who has just arrived, slicing and dicing a bank employee in the process, doesn’t care. That compass belongs to him and he wants it back.

After the commercial, Edgar and Peter throw down in a Matrix-style, sped-up/slow-mo knife fight. Edgar is confused when Peter is able to copy his power and eventually runs off without retrieving the compass. Peter wants to take a closer look at the compass and when he holds it, the needle starts spinning wildly. Bennet thinks this is Significant and wants Peter to join him in figuring it out. Peter wants none of it, however, and just wants to get back to his solitary, people-saving existence.

College. Gretchen is a total freak, and wants to test Annie’s trajectory to see if it was a jump, fall or a push. With a dummy or a cadaver, as one does. Of course, Claire is immediately tempted to use herself.

L.A. Parkman is at some twelve step group, talking about how selfish he was when he “used.” Of course, a vision of Sylar interrupts, taunting him, and Parkman can barely hold it together, shouting at this guy who isn’t really there. The rest of the group thinks this is Very Weird and not a little scary. Sylar just chuckles evilly.

Tokyo. Apparently things are, in this reality, so changed between Ando and Kimiko that they’re thinking about getting married. Hiro, because he’s a moron, explains to his friend that he went back in time to make amends to Ando – and it worked so well that now he has a new mission, to right wrongs. Because this can’t possibly go badly. And because he’s COMPLETELY forgotten his vow to never again change the past. Ugh.

L.A. Parkman is interrogating some perp when Sylar shows up again. Sylar needles Parkman, telling him to just read the perp’s mind already. Parkman freaks out big time and starts to carry on a complete conversation with imaginary Sylar … scaring the perp so badly that he just gives up the name.

NYC. Peter picks up a rescue call and when he gets there, it’s Bennet, slashed and bleeding, lying on the sidewalk. He gasps out that [Edgar] got the compass. Later, Tracey visits Bennet in the hospital (this show must not kill Bennet – he’s one of the only decent characters). He tells her about the compass, and that the Speedy Knife Guy took it. She posits that maybe the Knife Guy is just like her, trying to figure out his life, and maybe they shouldn’t be trying to stop him – maybe they should be trying to help him. Bennet considers this.

L.A. Parkman returns home (Greg Grunberg is actually pretty cute when he’s playing with the toddler) and throws the ever-present water delivery guy out … and then uses his mind powers to plant a suggestion that the WDG sign up for a different route tomorrow. Imaginary Sylar grins: totally busted.

College. Unable to sleep, Claire tosses herself out her window to test the jump/push/fall theory. On her first attempt she lands right on Annie’s chalk outline and thinks, huh, guess she did kill herself. Ooh, ick: she pushes her broken ribs back under her skin. And then looks back up to her window to see stalker Gretchen staring down at her. Claire grimaces and gives her a little wave.

Carnival. Samuel is pleased to get the compass back. Edgar reports that he met an empath – who? Peter? but he isn’t anything like Deanna Troi (totally upped my geek quotient there, didn’t I?) – but didn’t get to talk to him. They talk about Samuel’s encounter with Hiro – how Samuel set him on his path, and they’ll bring him into the fold later - and then they consult Lydia’s Tattoos of Foretelling for the rest of the folks who are to be gathered: Claire, Sylar and Peter.

Summation: as I mentioned, much less painful than I thought. I’m intrigued by the carnival folk, although it’s not like we needed more characters. Claire’s hair is good; Peter’s and Ando’s hair is not. And not only was there NO Mohinder, there wasn’t even a Mohinder-voiceover. This is encouraging, my friends.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Two men enter, one man leaves

In a much needed break from packing today (I've been up to my elbows in boxes straight through since Friday, and for weeks before that ... our house is Very Small - where the hell did all this stuff come from?), I watched Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome while Mr. Mouse went for a bike ride. I am a HUGE Road Warrior fan - a young, impossibly gorgeous, Aussie-accented, leather-clad post-apocalyptic Mel Gibson wreaking havor on punks in the Outback? what could possibly be better? - and I had forgotten how much MM:BT sucks and disrespects the source material. Is MM:BT even rated R? Because it clearly goes for the "funny" as opposed to the "blatantly violent." And way-way-way too much '80s saxophone on the soundtrack. Not to mention that incredibly annoying gaggle of Lost Boys*-esque children. Ugh. Not even Tina Turner in chain-mail stilettos had any chance of saving this movie.

In retrospect, I shoulda kept with the boxes, especially since my "break" from packing tomorrow comes in the form of recapping a damn two-hour Heroes season starter. Why can't they just open with one hour? Why must they torture me like this? And could I whine any more than I am right now?

* Lost Boys a la Peter Pan, not awesome '80s vampire movie.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Maine thing, part II

Before I go any further, perhaps I should explain that if you non-Northern New Englanders are thinking of planning a trip to Maine, some times of year are better to come than others. For example, unless you are a skier, snowmobiler, snowshoer or other winter enthusiast, you should come in August or September. Maybe early October or late July, otherwise you're pushing it. Winter usually arrives no later than mid-November and lasts through April, when the slush and the mud combine for extra-exciting driving. Then the rain and the bugs (blackflies first, mosquitoes next) start up right away and can carry through June. I'm only exaggerating slightly. (Our summer vacation in July this year had an average temperature of 55 degrees F.) Maine can have glorious weather but those days are very few and you cannot count on them - which makes them all the more treasured when they do show up.

Now that that's out of the way, come on up and explore this state! Although there's a wealth of things to do in the greater Portland area what with the eating and drinking and shopping and lighthouses and beaches and ferry boat rides among the islands, there's a whole lot more to Maine.

The coast is what everyone thinks of first, of course, and it's gorgeous for sure: Camden, Bar Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Monhegan Island, Northport, Blue Hill, Winter Harbor, Penobscot Bay ... all incredible. I grew up in the Bath area, right on Route 1. Bath has come a long way in recent years - the cute little downtown has been restored and revitalized and is chockful of great restaurants, coffee shops, bars and stores. If you're driving up Rte. 1, stop in for a visit. There's also a fantastic museum, the Maine Maritime Museum, that's well worth your time.

There's plenty to see and do inland too, though - it ain't all lobsters up here. For hiking, camping, touring, swimming, drinking good beer, exploring, golfing, fishing, bicycling (roads can be sketchy, be advised) antiquing, there's Hallowell, the Belgrade Lakes, Moosehead Lake region, Baxter State Park, the Bridgton area, Bethel. If you like to ski, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Saddleback are the big ones (dress for cold and be prepared to use your edges. A lot.).

One of Mr. Mouse's and my favorite things, and one we're going to have to miss this year because of our departure date, is the Fryeburg Fair. It's the last fair of the season - this year October 4-11 - and is the closest thing Maine has to a state fair. There are tons of animals (I loooooove the animals and try to pat each one if I can ... except for the poultry - blick) and competitions and exhibits and fair food. There's draft oxen- and horse-pulling and harness racing and sheepdog exhibitions and a firemen's muster and a parade and a carnival and Christmas trees for sale. It's really a lot of fun and I'm sorry we'll miss it this year.

Ooh: the Common Ground Country Fair is going on right this weekend! It's a great fair too, but totally different: it's full of hippies and is all organic, natural fiber, back-to-the-landers, a green fair before green got all cool.

Come on, Mainers, what have I forgotten? Surely that's not all there is to do here?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Maine thing, part I

Prior to my impending departure from the Great State o' Maine, I thought perhaps I should pass along some insider information in the event some of you gentle readers ever found yourself vacationing in Vacationland. You can go here, here, here and here for some previous tidbits too.

This will be the greater Portland edition. Portland is the largest city in Maine - which under no circumstances means actually "large" - and has a bunch of fun stuff to do and see and eat and drink. (Next installment: eating and drinking beyond Portland!)

Breakfast means Becky's Diner - just get there well before 9:00 a.m. on the weekends to avoid a half hour (minimum) wait. If you're just looking for coffee and a pastry, try Arabica or Coffee By Design for the former, and Standard Baking Co. for the latter. And stop by Two Fat Cats Bakery (practically next door to CBD on India Street) for cookies, cupcakes or fabulous pies to go.

Non-breakfast meal options abound in Portland. Some of my favorites are: Yosaku (sushi), the Front Room (no reservations and BUSY - but worth it), Shays on Monument Square ($5 pineapple martinis), Flatbread Company (hippie pizza), the Foreside Tavern, Dogfish Cafe, Katahdin and Vignola (the last two are spendy but really good, the two just ahead of them are way more reasonable and still good). If it's nice weather and you absolutely must have a lobster roll (or steamers or fried clams or etc.), head out to the Lobster Shack at Two Lights. You won't believe the piece of real estate this little place sits on.

Ah, beer. Maine has about a kajillion micro- and craft brewers; in Portland alone there's Gritty's (Portland's original brewpub), Sebago, Seadog, Shipyard, Geary's ... Your best bet, however, is to go to the amazing beer bar, The Great Lost Bear. They have 65 taps: order a sampler - they let you pick your own - and figure out which Maine breweries you want to roadtrip to that way. I do recommend that you eat beforehand, however, as the Bear's cuisine is not that, um, good.

Portland-area readers, what are your favorites? What have I missed that people need to know about?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Excuses, excuses

I mean, srsly, it's been nothing but excuses on this blog for such a long time now: there's nothing good on television, I'm all discombobulated, I'm watching the U.S. Open and/or Gossip Girl S2 ... so pathetic.

Well, I've got another one to hand you now. I'm moving*. Across the country**. To the mountains***. Finally, after having the house on the market for just over a year, and 77+ showings, we are under contract (yay!) with the buyers' loan approved (yay!!) and the closing scheduled for the end of the month (yay!!!). The Mouse House is an absolute shambles, everything half-packed - so I can't even recap a Firefly for you since the DVDs are all stowed away somewhere in the 67 boxes that are currently packed - and thus most of my free time has been, and will be, spent trying to pack the other half. It's amazing what one (two) can accumulate in nine years.

What this means for you all is that I'll post as often as I can between now and the end of the month, plus I promise to get the first two Heroes episodes recapped for you, but the third one will probably be late. Of course, by the third episode that show will most likely be in full suck mode and none of you will care anyway. Please be patient with me and please keep checking back in. Things will resume normal SOP as soon as possible.

In the meantime, here's a list of what I think I will/won't miss when we leave Maine:

Things I Will Not Miss:

mosquitoes
black flies
March
“New England packed powder”
humidity
bad roads
heavy, wet snow
frizzy hair
mowing this enormous lawn
mud season
hurricane season

Things I Will Miss:

family
friends
lobster at $3.99/lb
curly hair
Reny’s
the ocean
my mug at the brewpub
watching the activity on Casco Bay from Bug Light
the Casco Bay Lines mailboat run (BYO beer)


* Mr. Mouse's job is transferring but I will soon be earnestly searching for work. So if any of you devoted readers are actually Salt Lake City area-based employers looking to hire an industrious, fairly articulate Mouse (who promises to scale back the sarcasm, at least at first), drop me a line at friend dot mouse at yahoo dot com.

** From Maine to Utah.

*** The Wasatch front, specifically.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lame, I know

Between the U.S. Open and S2 of Gossip Girl on DVD (OMFG! I totally love GG! I'm so embarrassed to admit it!), I haven't seen much to report back to you, dear reader(s). And thus I must take refuge in the Pathetic Post of the Desperate Blogger: the next ten songs on my current iPod playlist.
  • Pump It Up - Elvis Costello
  • Pot Kettle Black - Tilly and the Wall
  • A Comet Appears - the Shins
  • Fall Behind Me - the Donnas
  • Stigmata - Ministry
  • She Hates Me - Puddle of Mudd
  • Faith - Limp Bizkit
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow - the Soggy Bottom Boys
  • Not My Idea - Garbage
  • Stand - R.E.M.
I did watch Clash of the Titans recently, but that's nearly as lame as this post, so I almost didn't menton it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Big hair and rotting flesh

I thought I was a late bloomer when it came to my love of zombie flicks. But no, I've apparently loved them since the early 1980s:

Duran Duran's "Nightboat" video is actually a mini-zombie movie!





Who knew?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gleeful

Did you all watch the "Director's Cut" of the Glee pilot last Wednesday night? 'Cuz you should had. And if you didn't, you can catch it on Hulu, and you should. 'Cuz it's awesome.

It's about a glee club in an Ohio high school. The glee clubbers are misfits, of course, and the club has no funding, all available monies being siphoned off to the championship cheer squad. It is up to the teacher in charge, Will Schuester, to get his group together, polished and performing, and hoping to make a name for themselves in the regional competitions.

I thought the pilot was great. It's very well-put together, with some big production numbers. Although at first glance the characters seem to be caricatures, there's actually some depth and quirk to most of them. The musical numbers are organic - performances, rehearsals - and not of the spontaneously breaking into song whilst walking in the park variety. There are no big name actors here - Jane Lynch, hilarious as the Evil Cheerleading Coach, is probably the most widely recognizable - and I suspect they've blown the show's budget on music rights.

Hopefully in this American Idol-ized world this little show will make it, people being more accustomed to song and dance these days. (Yes, yes, the original Fame television series, I know, leave me alone.) It's on Wednesdays on Fox.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Movie review: Dahmer

What with the recent success of The Hurt Locker, and Jeremy Renner’s purported Oscar-worthy performance in that film, IFC has been running the 2002 indie flick, Dahmer, thinking people might want to see what else ol’ Jeremy has done. For me, he’ll truly always be “Penn” (from his guest-star on S1E11 of Angel) although I did enjoy him quite a bit in 28 Weeks Later.

Dahmer is a biopic of the infamous and twisted Jeffrey Dahmer who, you might remember, was arrested in 1992 for the murder and mutilation (and awful etc.) of fifteen young men and boys. The movie itself covers only a couple of days of Dahmer’s life, right before he was finally arrested, but flashes back further and further through his life: from the gay bars where he would pick up, drug and have sex with other men; to the frustrations of living with his grandmother; to his realization in high school that he was gay; to his distress at his parents’ divorce, which revealed itself in alcoholism and increasing estrangement.

The movie paints a fairly sympathetic picture of young Dahmer (who was only 34 when he was beaten to death in prison during his second year of a 900+ year incarceration), hinting that his violence, sadism and perversion arose out of being a frustrated, sad, lonely, deeply-closeted gay man. [Note: there was apparently quite a bit of outrage at how sympathetic the movie was to this serial killer and it was not out in theaters long.] Jeremy Renner is fantastic in this role, despite being far too good looking. He gives a very good, committed performance, the confusion and violence flickering behind his eyes even when he’s at his most charming.

While quite graphic – one could scarcely make a movie about a serial killer who kept body parts in his refrigerator without being a little gory - Dahmer is neither a slasher nor a sex flick. Sexual liaisons are on-screen but show no naked body parts below the waist; there is one dismemberment that takes place just off-screen (the camera pulls back only for the clean-up) and one other “exploratory surgery” scene that was no more graphic than similar scenes from a CSI or Angel episode, even.

Dahmer isn’t a fabulous movie by any means. As a biopic, there’s no plot per se, and the filmmakers definitely tread lightly on the makings of such a monster. I can see why the victims’ families were upset by the soft-shoe portrayal, and I would think that the gay community might have taken offense as well at the insinuations. That being said, it was very interesting as a character exercise and, as I mentioned, Renner is most excellent. I hope that the recent accolades bring him more good roles because he obviously is able to handle a wide range of them.