For weeks, “Heroes” fans have patiently awaited an explanation for Samuel’s recruitment process and his ultimate goal. In tonight’s episode, “Brother’s Keeper,” they finally got their answer. Did it satisfy? As with all things about the “Redemption” volume, yes and no. While the answer more or less proved organic in the context of what we’ve seen so far, it’s unclear if that answer is anything more than the histrionic desire for POWER. Sweet, delicious, augmented POWER!
[Full recap of Monday (Nov. 16) night's "Heroes" after the break...]
I feel the earth move under my feet
Let’s flashback nine weeks before the primary action, shall we? The sky was clear. The birds were singing. And Mohinder Suresh’s face was as smooth as a baby’s butt. Apparently, he’s only allowed to shave in India, where he resettled to teach in the aftermath of “Fugitives.” Apparently his own form of redemption involved not consistently aiding the enemy near the end of a volume of “Heroes.”
Instead, Mohinder decided to switch things up and actually start the whole world-threatening cataclysm himself. In classic “Heroes” fashion, he opens something he shouldn’t (in this case, a box of his father’s Coyote Sands research), and learns not only about Samuel’s birth, but the true nature of Samuel’s powers as well. The same mechanism by which Samuel employs terrakinesis also can manipulate what can only be referred to as the “Heroes” version of midichlorians. In essence, when one or more superpowered people get together, the energy they emit from their body augments on an exponential basis. Look, I’m just recapping here. Don’t give me that look. I didn’t write this stuff.
In any case, from there, it’s easy to see why Samuel is eagerly giving the superpowered community the hard sell on joining his carnival. Forget all that kumbaya stuff regarding those with powers looking out for each other; Samuel’s essentially storing up an ever-growing amount of personal energy. Whereas he could once merely turn debris into darts, he’s since sunk a mansion and a police station. Looks like his plan is working. Now, if he decides to manipulate the San Andreas Fault, I think Lex Luthor might sue him for copyright infringement.
Assuming that his ultimate goal doesn’t concern the mother of all real-estate scams, it’s still vaguely unclear what his ultimate goal is. His brother Joseph, who kept the carnival’s numbers low over the years in order to keep Samuel’s powers in check, insinuates that all Samuel wants is more power. Lord, I hope this storyline has a more interesting end-game in mind. For starters, we’ve already had a villain whose sole purpose was the accumulation of more power. Granted, he sliced peoples’ heads open in order to obtain it, but still. Secondly, this volume’s name is “Redemption,” not “Accumulation.” Samuel’s attempted transformation from Hal to Henry, were one to invoke Shakespearean imagery, needs to have a more concrete, less stereotypical goal to make this season’s journey be worthwhile.
On the plus side in this storyline? Both Hiro and “Heroes” seem to give a damn about time travel paradox. Everything concerning Hiro’s attempts to save the film for Samuel made complete, airtight sense. When Samuel gave Hiro his marching orders, I waited for the scene in which present-day Samuel would in fact realize that he saw Hiro eight weeks earlier. But no: Hiro switched out the film reels (keeping past Samuel in the dark) and even managed to give Mohinder a makeshift Kevlar vest in order to sell Samuel on Mo’s death.
Naturally, Mohinder pays Hiro back by instantly promising to undo Hiro’s precarious position (never mind Charlie’s safety) by going after Samuel right away. Thus, rather than risk everything, Hiro puts Mohinder into an insane asylum. Not a heroic act, you say? Seems pretty damn heroic to me. We were doing fine without the good professor and his pontification this volume. Keep him straightjacketed until the next one.
Ice, ice baby
Going to be quick on this, since it seemed out of place, unrelated to anything else in the episode, and violated everything that happened last week. Other than that, it was awesome!
Tracy sits in a diner, gazing longingly at Samuel’s compass and a poster of the carnival. (Luckily, “Heroes” recognizes that the Burnt Toast Diner isn’t the only one in the entire world.) She’s still longing for a new beginning, frozen (pun intended) between her past life and her future one. With her anxiety in full bloom, her powers start to manifest themselves uncontrollably. She freezes a coffee cup. She freezes Noah’s front door. She freezes Noah’s daughter. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Since Claire’s a healer, her state was only temporary. (No “Save the Snowman, Save the World!” catchphrases this volume.) Sans a foot, which ostensibly takes a little while to regenerate, the two discuss the plight of how the world just doesn’t have any place in it for two insane blondes. I know most of you can relate out there. I waited for Tracy to bring up the word “Samuel” to trigger a freakout in response to the events of “Shadowboxing,” but Claire…just thinks Tracy’s plan to join the carnival is just dandy. Um. What?
It’s one thing for Claire to not wish her father to straight up shoot Samuel in the wake of last week’s events. But it’s another to consider his view a viable option. At the very least, you’d think Claire and Tracy would swap stories. Had this entire storyline been pushed to another episode, perhaps they could have had that chat. Maybe Noah could have chimed in, instead of only appearing for a gag reaction shot.
But either in the interest of time or the disinterest of exploring this apparent narrative plot hole, none of these things happened. While no one but Mohinder and Hiro truly grasp the true danger of Samuel at this moment, it’s really pushing the edge of the suspension of my disbelief to truly believe either of these women are at the point where Samuel seems like their only option.
As the camera panned through the diner window in which Tracy and Samuel discuss her imminent arrival in the carnival, I prayed the final composition would reveal some twist. Maybe a new member of the carnival that augments individual powers, which would explain Tracy’s flare-ups. Maybe Noah, who had agreed to work with Tracy to take down the carnival from the inside. But nothing. Just another wasted shot in a wasted storyline.
Always something there to remind me
While the title of this week’s episode primarily revolved around Joseph Sullivan, it could equally be applied to Peter Petrelli as well. As the show desperately tries to undo the massive narrative miscalculation of convincing Sylar that he’s the deceased Nathan, Peter had to take on responsibilities that once exclusively remained with his older brother.
Ensconced in Nathan’s Senate office, where his absence was explained away by Angela’s meddling, The Haitian came to wipe both boys’ minds again. I’m sorry, not “The Haitian.” He’s now “René,” a name that apparently everyone in the “Heroes” universe has known for years but only started speaking aloud two weeks ago. (The midichlorian thing is really sticking in my craw this week, can you tell?) René cannot in good conscience execute Angela’s demands, so he instead directs Peter to the storage unit in which the real Nathan is in a coffin.
A flash in Nathan/Sylar’s head leads them to Matt Parkman’s hospital room, where Peter heals him to re-awaken both Matt and Head Sylar. Parkman tries to get both Petrellis to leave, but Head Sylar takes over Parkman’s body, creating Head Parkman, and sweet mother of God am I happy this is the last paragraph in which I have to try and recap this. In short, Sylar-in-Parkman gets Nathan-in-Sylar to eventual touch him, which liberates Sylar’s mind from Parkman’s body and sends his conscious into the burrows of his own body.
However, it’s not a complete symbiosis, as Nathan’s memories still dominate Sylar’s body. Perhaps the mere hint of a touch between the two bodies didn’t allow a proper download, as it were. But Nathan-as-Sylar is worried that the beast will emerge soon enough, leaving a moral quandary for both brothers. Can Nathan live knowing he’s just a facsimile of the real deal? And can Peter treat a memory as a flesh-and-blood entity?
Good questions. Unfortunately, none are connected to the carnival storyline. In fact, Samuel’s capture of Sylar in the first place now seems suspect, in light of what information we gleaned tonight. Samuel’s potential power explosion comes from quantity, not necessarily quality, of powers. Perhaps the show wants us to think that in the mathematics of power energy, Sylar counts for like 30 regularly powered people. But if not, why risk introducing Sylar into the mix? Samuel would be better off populating his carnival with people like Charlie: they contain the energy to aid him but not the powers to topple him. But there I go again, bringing logic into fuzzy superpower science. My bad.
Did tonight’s revelations sell you on the volume as a whole, or send you running to the hills? Leave your thoughts below!