Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach

The weather outside is frightful, but I've got my lust to keep me warm

Those of you who rely on the BBC for your Heroes will probably have noticed that season 4 started tonight on BBC2 (my review of those first two episodes is back here, by the way).

However, if like me, you're watching Heroes fresh from the USA, courtesy of magic fairies who sprinkle pixie dust into your computer each week*, we now find ourselves more than halfway through the season and back with a bang after the Christmas break. So here are some thoughts on Upon This Rock and Let It Bleed:

  • Oh portentous Mohinder voiceovers, how I haven't missed you. Does anyone even listen to these any more, or are they just an attempt to lull people into an hypnotic state in which they won't reach for their remote controls? If that's the effect they want to achieve, they'd be better off saying "And coming up in the next hour and a half, Sylar will take his shirt off TWICE!" Call me shallow, but that'd get my attention much faster than any amount of rambling about the meaning of existence. (In fact, surely Sylar taking his shirt off IS the meaning of existence? Or as near as dammit, dammit.)

  • Anyway, the first episode of the pair, Upon This Rock, was something of a sad waste of time. Among its lowlights:

    1. Mini-Samuel and mini-Joseph hold a contest to see who has the worst Oirish accent in the history of anything. I suspect that the earth wasn't trembling due to Samuel's power; it was screaming in pain at the needless torture of innocent vowels.

    2. Emma becomes the next in line to suffer Samuel's tedious "trust me, I'm a dodgy plot salesman!" persuasion tactics. He gets her to discover her true ability, which turns out to be... busking that people actually WANT to listen to. Big whoop, eh? Still, as Bennet points out later, Samuel has previously turned a juggler into an assassin, so perhaps he's capable of turning a cellist into a ninja or something? Let's hope he never gets his hands on one of those people who stand on a box pretending to be a statue for a living.

    3. At the carnival, Claire tries valiantly to pull the plot along and coax her co-stars into revealing Samuel's plans, but then she meets the plant-powers guy and switches abruptly from "You're evil, Samuel, and I don't trust you!" to "Oooh, pretty flowers!" in the space of five minutes. Sheesh, talk about getting easily distracted. Samuel may be intending to reduce the whole planet to a quivering pile of rubble, but at least he's got a landscape gardener on stand-by so the post-apocalypse will be more attractive than usual.

  • "It's like someone took a shabu spoon and stirred up his fanboy brain." - Yes, Ando, I do believe this happened to Tim Kring some time ago... oh, you're talking about Hiro? Well, the pick-and-mix bag of geek references failed to excite me in themselves, but Hiro's burst of sidekick love for Ando was quite sweet, and I rather liked the self-referentiality when Hiro switches to speaking Spanish and his subtitles suddenly turn yellow in the style of Maya and Alejandro, little-be-they-missed.

  • Meanwhile, back in what passes for the real world, Senator Nathan Petrelli has been tragically killed due to flying a plane while unexpectedly dead. More shockingly still, someone actually remembered that Nathan had children other than Claire, and bothered to invite them to his funeral. Even his ex-wife turns up... except it's not really her, it's some cunningly positioned extra in a veil, but nobodys notices. I do hope Angela's lackeys frisked her on the way out: she may well have been pilfering the silverware.

  • Anyway, the pause to remember Nathan and plots-gone-by was nicely done, and leads us neatly on to the greater pleasures of Let It Bleed, which I shall now discuss in more detail.

  • As well as its gardening-based applications, it turns out that Samuel's ability can also be turned to the cause of fan-art. However, all he ever draws are cheesy portraits entitled "OMG My Lost Mary-Sue Girlfriend Does Not Love Me Any More, WOE", and he's unlikely to get many comments for those.

  • Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a rudely thrown puppet-master, smashing into Samuel's ink pot to signal the arrival of something much more enticing. Oh Sylar, my psychotic sweetie! The previous 45 minutes were nothing without you.

  • "I returned with one simple, singular thought." - Oddly enough, I have one simple, singular thought when I see Sylar, and it also begins with F. And it isn't "fun". It IS fun, though...

  • Note to Samuel: when I see Sylar and yell "Take it all off!" very loudly, I'm NOT referring to his skin and his flesh and his eyeballs. Yeuch.

  • Fortunately for the viewing public, everything grows back, as baby-soft as ever. And although touch-and-feel TV hasn't been invented yet (damn!), Lydia is there to cop a feel in our place, with hands AND tongue. Lots of tongue. Mmm. The whole shebang was a delicious blend of creepy and ridiculously hot, I must confess, even if I did roll my eyes just a teensy bit at Sylar secretly just wanting to be LURVED. Why does the guy have such trouble with the whole "popularity + mass murdering = mutually incompatible" equation? It ain't rocket science.

  • Peter and Claire are justifiably cheesed off with their respective parents, and take out all their frustration on a pile of innocent citrus fruit. I enjoyed seeing them getting righteously angry and having a decent conversation for once, but I did roll my eyes at Peter wandering around with René T. Haitian's ability turned on. Just how long does it take to switch off a power, Peter? And if the answer is longer than a second, where the heck do you keep your off-switch?

  • And now over to "The Noah Bennet Guide To Romance", in which our horn-rimmed host will demonstrate his own special way of impressing a date. Firstly, commandeer a nice restaurant. Secondly, knock out any muscular criminal who happens to be passing and use him show off your drug-enhanced freezer-based BDSM skills, Company-style! Unsurprisingly, Lauren is a little dismayed by this medieval approach, and he is forced to resort to that terrible torture method: the CUP OF TEA. That water can't possibly be boiling hot, so yes, it DEFINITELY counts as torture. Thank goodness he wasn't obliged to resort to the comfy chair too, that's all I can say.

  • Peter on Sylar: "I want to make him scream. That's all I can think about." Don't feel bad about it, sweetie; lots of us have the same problem.

  • Meanwhile, despite his disappointingly limp trigger finger, Sylar has already perfected the art of crowd-pleasing and is demanding a tattoo for important plot-related reasons, i.e. so he has an excuse take his shirt off again. Not only does he obligingly strip for his art, but he then proceeds to stand around for ages, letting the camera pan longingly over his taut and muscular torso in a fashion that I would probably call gratuitous and obscene if I wasn't enjoying it so much. But instead, I shall just say: happy new year to me.

  • BTW, when the dark and fuzzy tattoo-cloud started crawling over Sylar's skin, was anyone else expecting it to shimmy up his face and make passionate love to his eyebrows? And when he and Samuel were watching it settle where we couldn't see it, who else was thinking "oh dear, drawing of a floppy penis!"

  • While we're discussing matters of the heart and groin, it seems once again that this show just can't do straightforward romance. Season 4 has set up various potential ships - Peter/Emma, Bennet/Lauren, Claire/Gretchen - but they all seem to have stalled or been half-forgotten along the way: people wander off or fall out with each other before they even get to the tongue-action stage. It's like trying to get giant pandas to breed. Sylar's the only one who ever gets any, and he's not exactly the poster boy for healthy relationships.

  • "I have a love/hate relationship with rooftops." - Ha ha, Peter. Perhaps you just like feeling tall without having to opt for platform shoes.

  • Ah, so that shoehorned-in chat about the long-forgotten wet-and-weedy West was just a convenient excuse for Peter being able to fly again. I wonder whether he also picked up that eyeroll-to-the-heavens that West always did when he took off.

  • Alas, poor Claire, for Stalker!Sylar has now decided that she's the human Viagra who can fix his telekinetic droop, and even the fact that he recently believed himself to be her father doesn't seem to deter him. Where on earth is this plotline going, apart from somewhere Deeply Wrong (TM)? Is he only using Claire as a convenient substitute for her uncle Peter? (Whose own mother believes he wants to "put a fist through Sylar", don't forget.) And what happens if you add Claire's daddy issues to Sylar's mommy issues - is that where baby issues come from? I can hardly wait to find out.

  • In conclusion, a very disappointing first chapter, but the follow-up scored high marks for both potential kinky wrongness and sheer crowd-pleasing exhibitionism. Call me shallow (again), but more of this kind of thing would make me a very happy viewer indeed.

In other televisual comeback news, I see that Being Human returns tomorrow night. A mixed blessing, since a) it kind of clashes with the Dancing On Ice results show (hem hem), and b) the first series mostly failed to thrill me. Still, if Aidan Turner displays even half the selfless devotion to clothing removal that he displayed in Desperate Romantics, I'm sure I can find something there to hold my interest...

* Admittedly, I don't completely understand the technology, but I'm pretty sure this is how it works.
Tags: heroes, telly
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