Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 2/3/09

Now that was an entertaining episode of HEROES! It has been way too long since I have been able to write a sentence like that, but “A Clear and Present Danger,” Chapter One of the new volume, “Fugitives,” was truly exciting. What made it a great episode was that things happened; it was not all status quo. We learned that Nathan is now head of Homeland Security, with the power to implement his plan to round up people with special abilities without charges and put them in internment camps. The parallels to the real world’s Guantanamo Bay are obvious, and the depiction of captured heroes trussed up in hooded orange jumpsuits echoes reports we’ve all seen on the news of people being shipped to Gitmo. It was scary to see our friends Peter, Claire, Hiro, Matt, Mohinder and Tracy bound and kept drugged so they couldn’t use their abilities. The Hunter in charge of the capture teams is known as Danko, and played by Zeljko Ivanek, most recently seen winning the supporting actor Emmy for playing Ray Fiske on DAMAGES. The Hunter erred by letting someone else lead the assault on Sylar, so know the baddie knows he’s being hunted. I know HRG appears to be working with the Hunter, but I’m withholding judgment; as my favorite character, Noah Bennet deserves the benefit of the doubt. It is notable that the Haitian is not seen working with Noah and the capture teams, nor is any metahuman seen. It’s possible the Haitian refused to participate, but surely some of the more unsavory powered people out would be willing to help round up their fellow evolved humans in exchange for preferential treatment. Nathan certainly seemed willing to accept Peter’s participation. “You’re a self-loathing hypocrite,” Peter said. Note that Nathan does not know what Peter’s current abilities are. (Neither do we, but we later saw him absorb powers through direct touch, like their father.)

Hiro’s attempts to turn Ando into a superhero — complete with a lair and “Ando-Cycle” — were charming, and marked a welcome return to the buddy-buddy relationship between the boys. I like the way Hiro wants to use powers, because characters like Peter and Matt wanting to be “normal” is dull. (What does Peter do when back at his “normal” EMT job? Complain that he should have been “faster” to save an accident victim.) And Matt? He was working as a security guard and trying to convince Daphne to slow down and live life as a normal. But then a vision of Usutu (killed by Arthur in the last volume) appeared and gave Matt the ability to draw the future. I’m all for keeping comic book artist Tim Sale on staff, but it’s becoming a burden for the story to keep digging up people to paint the future. Just please don’t draw New York exploding yet again! I am interested in Sylar’s hunt for his true parents, but it was pretty dull — until the government thugs showed up. At first I thought Sylar’s healing power helped him shake off the taser, and I wondered why Claire couldn’t do the same thing, but then I figured maybe it was Sylar’s electrical powers that helped him recover so quickly. Still, Danko should have known better than to try to capture Sylar alive. Nathan warned him to put a bullet in Sylar’s brain. Claire being Nathan’s daughter saved her from a similar fate, and although she made her move on the transport plane too soon, her heart was in the right place. The chaos of the crashing plane made for one helluva cliff-hanger. We know unkillable Claire will get through it, but who else?

The season premiere of MEDIUM featured a guest turn by James Urbaniak (Gary, THE STARTER WIFE) as an art teacher. I know Urbaniak better as the voice of Dr. Venture on the brilliant animated series THE VENTURE BROS. from Cartoon Network.

I’ll say this for last night’s GOSSIP GIRL. It was all about the destructive power of gossip posted on that Web site, and it sort of trivialized things by illustrating just how flimsy the premise is. The character Rachel even ridiculed the idea that people would live for rumors posted anonymously. I was happily surprised to see Blair appeal to Daddy Waldorf, who just happens to be played by John Shea, who was Lex Luthor on LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, so you can bet he got results. Thank goodness Chuck pointed out the obvious Eyes Wide Shut vibe to his whole plotline with Elle. Overall, not an episode to write home about — or, rather, post online about!

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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