The Racialicious Roundtable for Heroes 3.6

Hosted by Arturo R. García

This week, Heroes gave your humble panelists one of the choicest lines to work with in a stunningly out-of-character remark by Ando. Before we see what they have to say, though, let’s do the roll call. Roundtable – Assemble!

Hexy!
Mahsino!
Erica!

Let’s go!

What the hell was with Ando’s “They all look alike to me”? Bad joke by him, or really bad joke by the writers?

Hexy: I found it really off putting. It actually jarred me out of what was otherwise an enjoyable Hiro and Ando scene. I thought it out of character for Ando… but then again, season one’s obsessive interaction with Niki showed that he’s less than evolved when it comes to his views on people-who-aren’t-of-his-gender, so maybe it wasn’t so out of character for him to have off views on people-who-aren’t-of-his-race. Either way, it seemed like a clunky line shoe-horned into an inappropriate racial frame.

Speaking of Hiro and Ando, while I was glad to see that Ando isn’t dead, I think they squandered the “Hiro did something you didn’t see!” card. I was expecting it, but I was hoping it would be used to show that Hiro hasn’t actually been a useless git all season, not just in the preceding episode.

Mahsino: Although I initially was amused by this joke (before realizing I’d heard it before in tv and movies), I have to say I’m really conflicted about it in a way that wouldn’t really make sense to delve too deeply in to. At most I can say, the whole Hiro/Ando storyline is starting to seem like a 21st century Kato, but instead of martial arts, they have humor. It’s getting kind of old and the writers are going to have to bring a lot more character development to those two before they have the right to inject them with dry, racially themed, humor- those are the kind of jokes you need context and character reference for- 2 things the writers haven’t deemed necessary to accessorize Hiro and Ando with.

On the flip side, I only had to pour out a little bit of cranberry juice for Ando since he came back- good thing because inflation is making juice expensive.

Erica: I think it was well intentioned, but not well executed. Here’s a tip for Ando (aka my guide to Heroes characters who are white with brown/black
hair): Matt (pudgy, carries a tortoise), Nathan (sleazy politician smile), Peter (Keanu Reeves), Sylar (big eyebrows), and Bennett (glasses). The tortoise is shaping up to be my favorite character this season…

Anyway, it was supposed to be funny but it ended up being one of those “um…” moments. Considering the overall sensitivity/diversity of Heroes, that fits; they seem to be trying, but are far from perfect (which gives us plenty of meat every week). Of course, at other times they don’t seem to be trying at all, so maybe I give them too much credit.

Let’s play Petrelli Family Feud! Is this a good direction for the show?

Erica: It depends on what you mean by “good”. The grand theories of evolution which seemed to drive Season One are turning into one guy’s conspiracy to rule the world. While this does provide a good level of detail and complexity — you definitely need to keep track of each week’s episode or you’ll be confused — it also causes serious frustration, because the Petrellis are JUST SO ANNOYING. With six billion people in the world, these crazy folks are the center of attention? (And a sinister character who absorbs other’s abilities? That’s just getting old.) On the other hand, watching the Petrelli family destroy one another can also be called “good.” I guess I’m ambivalent. Like when you really have to stare as you drive by a car wreck…

Mahsino: I’m willing to bet that, not only is Sylar Peter’s brother- he’s his EVIL twin brother. There’s no other quasi-logical explanation for it. I know Nathan’s a little slow, but you’d think he would of remembered mommy lookin’ a little preggers around 20-some-odd years ago.

Also, I don’t think the writers would be reaching the bar of ridiculousness they’ve obviously raised for themselves if there wasn’t a Petrelli triplet sister who could both give and take away, powers (and in season 4 her and mama Petrelli could slap each other while wearing Bob Mackie gowns in the Company fountain).

The only thing that could be better would be if papa Petrelli fathered an illegitimate Black Baby (who are Monica’s parents anyway?)

This whole Petrelli Family Feud has become to me, what Maury Baby Daddy episodes used to be: kinda fun in their ridiculousness until you realize they’re really just hashing the same basic story over and over again- eventually it’s just going to go from crazy to depressing.

Hexy: I finally, FINALLY saw something that makes Sylar’s turnaround a little less nonsensical. Up until now his blind acceptance of Ma Petrelli as truthful and himself as a Petrelli has made absolutely no sense to me, but with one line he redeemed the entire plot thread. She’s the only person who ever accepted him as he was… which was what he wasn’t getting from his adoptive parents. That one throwaway line made the entire scenario with the prodigal Petrelli brother so much more believable, certainly more so than Peter’s “stop calling my mother our mother!” angst. Yes, I grab at continuity where I can get it in this fandom!

I actually had a vague inkling that they were going somewhere in the direction of family powers a la the Parkmans with the whole “Peter and Sylar are brothers” thing, and I was glad to see it pay off with Pa Patrelli. I don’t know what I think of him as yet, other than that he’s either a bit greedy when it comes to the power chomping (like Sylar) or a bit terrible when it comes to the planning (like Peter). I mean, really, chowing down on an incredibly powerful ally you’ve known for years seems a little redundant when you then hoover up your son’s ability to absorb powers without the death. I do hope we get some indication that Adam screwed Pa Patrellia over in some way and hence warranted the death sentence.

I got 10 bucks that says Usutu is never named this season. Do you think they’ll ever get around to it?

Erica: Oh, you don’t think his mother named him “African Isaac”? That’s totally the top of my baby name list.

There’s at least half a season to go, and it looks like he might go to Pinehearst with Hiro*. Can they manage to avoid giving him a name that whole time? My optimistic side says, “Nah, they’ve GOT to call him by name SOME time”, but my optimistic side hasn’t been well served by Heroes…

*My husband points out that’s what it sounded like the first time through. A second listen shows it was, “You can take me there, OR you can follow your own path”, which implies Hiro’s “own path” would be fighting the villians and leaving Usutu African Isaac to paint rocks in Botswana somewhere in Africa.

Hexy: Absolutely no way.

I also wasn’t a fan of the way the shovel scenes seemed to show Usutu having an interaction as a determined character on his own terms… only to slide straight back into Magical Negro territory. “Oh, that? Defending myself against aggressors in my home, wherever that is? No, that was just a lesson for YOU, Hiro.” Gah.

Mahsino: So as the daughter of an Liberian (yes, I know, I’m crazy for droppin’ country names instead of just Africa), I’m always intrigued by the American portrayals of all Africans as a homogeneous group of people who all look alike, have names that end in vowels, and have the same accents and skin tones. That being said, the character of Usutu pushes almost every button I have with concerns to bullshit African portrayals. The only thing I can give the writers quasi-credit for, was the fact that they haven’t slapped a dashiki on him and given him multiple wives- I suppose I should be grateful for that.

And I know this is a giant leap, but the whole idea of “bringing the precog back” oozed of slavery to me. First off, everyone else had a detailed background check- all the colored fella gets is an adjective in lieu of a name. I’m also a little pissed that his drawing style looks substandard to Isaacs- he looks older and got his powers earlier, so what the fuck? So in short, no- he isn’t getting a name- or a country, at best he can hope for a couple more minutes of airtime guiding other, ahem, paler, characters on the right path.

Your take on Suresh’s appearance this week

Mahsino: So, um Suresh’s hair was combed back this week, that was a good look.
Hexy: Evil Mohinder is friggin’ sexy.
Erica: Hot, as usual. (Oh, wait. That’s not what you meant…)

Mahsino:Oh, and he kinda date raped drugged one of the blonds, only for her to continue the theme of blonde girl-power for the week. So, yeah, that’s all I have to say about that.

Hexy: I stand by my comments last week that his is the most consistant transition on the good/evil spectrum, even if this week’s evidence that the good in him is still trying to assert himself seemed a little clumsy. Of course, you could also read the scene where Tracey tricks him as stating loud and clear that even with super powers and an identity crisis, Suresh is still the most gullible person in the world.

Erica: The whole “Ooooh, Suresh is a conflicted monster!” schtick is getting old, so I hope his storyline progress more towards a conclusion next week. I suppose it’s helpful that they have added ambiguity about whether his monstrous behavior is simply gluing people to the wall for fun, or gluing people to the wall for scientific research. That’s kinda sorta character development. (See, there goes my optimistic side again.)

Open Mic!

Erica: Hey, a white guy finally died for real — the unkillable one, no less! (Any bets that he somehow manages to resurrect if killing Papa Petrelli magically restores everyone’s stolen powers?)

Even with plenty of episodes left, I’m starting to panic about not seeing Monica yet. If she’s going to play any part in this, I thought her introductory appearance would have happened by now. Six episodes in and not a trace? Disappointing.

How patronizing was Noah Bennett’s praise — “That’s very impressive, sweetheart”. He seemed genuinely impressed, but regardless was unable to say so without sounding like he was praising a kindergartner for drawing a picture of a cow with seven legs. Go buy her a teddy bear with a little stuffed tazer :-P

I couldn’t feel any tension during the Blondie Roulette game. Maybe the writers will have Claire actually kill a mother and teach her the difference between not-a-monster (Stephen from last week) and monster (Eric from this week) — meh. Or maybe they’ll just have Claire get shot and heal her way out of yet another problem — bigger meh.

Hexy: What was with Daphne being able to just zoom into Level Five and open the place up? I’m sure that place had mildly better security just a few weeks ago. I mean, my impression that people couldn’t use their powers in there was kinda blown with the Peteylar cell fight last week, but surely breaking people out should require more than Moving Really Quickly. They’ve obviously dealt with speedsters before, or they wouldn’t have a catchy name for the power!

And, finally, I would REALLY recommend everyone check out the web comic this week. It made me make fangirly squeaky noises. I DO hope that’s an indication of faces we may see in the series soon!

Mahsino: This episode was about 50/50 for me. The Parkman storyline, albeit kinda stalkery, was cute. Peter getting his metaphorical toys taken away by papa Petrelli (which I totally called midway through the show), was sheer awesome.

The executive producers need to hire a writer who doesn’t have some sort of mommy or daddy or women issues and who doesn’t have a thing for blonds. Mondays show seemed like it was co-written by Marquis de Sade and Baby Spice- women getting tied up only to be freed by sheer GIRL POWER!

I’m pretty sure Peter’s powers being taken away are a good thing- it’s about time someone knocked him down a few begs. And after that “mommy loves me bestest of all” temper tantrum he was throwing, he deserved an asswhopin’ from a parent. He should take that time to reflect on all the stupid stuff he’s done- maybe develop some listening abilities, maybe he can get the ability to reflect on his actions, or better yet foresight of consequences seems to be something he’s lacking. I really think he spazzed out this week because he came to the realization that his mommy and daddy really like Sylar best- as they should.

I wonder how Hiro (or some other minority character) is gonna get Peter out of this conundrum.

… And we’ll close on that thoughtful note this week. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading and commenting so far. Next week we’ll address the Entertainment Weekly cover story that says the show is “in crisis,” as well as Monday’s episode. And stay tuned Tuesday for the super-powered episode recap!

Previously:
Racialicious Heroes Archive

Images courtesy of HeroesWiki