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.


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

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