By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also Posted At The Instant Callback
Writer’s Note: There were moments this week where I considered not submitting this review to the site — not only was this a horrible episode (more on that below), but the white-washing of the series has seemingly gone into overdrive. It’s gotten worse as the series has stumbled along, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something extra creepy about it this year. It doesn’t help matters that the early rumors about the season finale and next season center on Those Damn Bennetrellis. This sort of willful ignorance is building to another piece later in the year. But, before that, our weekly tradition.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
There was a lot of bad to go around in “Shades of Gray” — too bad only some of it was intentional.
Like a reject from Volume 3, this episode was a mess “anchored” by a bunch of bad personalities. Topping your sh-t parade was the much-ballyhooed reunion between Sylar and his father Samson, finally revealed as being played by Smallville escapee John Glover.
Unlike Lionel Luthor, though, Samson is holed up
in a van down by the river in the remains of a trailer, hammering home hunting metaphors when not wheezing his way through cancer (while still smoking, of course, to remind us he is A Very Bad Person). After teasing both a reconciliation and a fight between the two men, in the end Sylar just … uh, walks out. We’re supposed to believe Gabe gleaned some insight from his dad turning on him, but it amounts to, “Well, I’ll just keep on being EEEEVIL.” And I know that letting the sickness take his father slowly was supposed to be ironic or whatnot, but the Sylar we’ve known wouldn’t care about making a statement; he’d just take the righteous kill — and the bunny.
Speaking of righteous kills, both we and the Bennet family thought we’d seen the last of Doyle last year … only he pops up in their kitchen looking for help from Clairiet TubBennet, referred by the mysterious Rebel.
Hemming and hawing ensues, as Claire-Bear, after spending weeks wanting to take a more active role as a hero, is disturbed by the thought of helping Doyle. Again, the material was designed to create an emotional response here, but Claire’s character has become so unsympathetic over the past couple of volumes it was hard to empathize with her. And this was before the utterly pathetic scene at Sam’s Comic Book Shop.
See, in order to forge a “secret identity,” Claire takes a job at the shop. Which is fine. But when the manager decided to frame his interview around asking “What Type Of Hero Are You?” and the group of male customers were presented as little more than leering shut-ins — which the manager encourages — I actually cursed at my screen. Writer Oliver Grigsby may not have realized that it’s the fan community that still gives two craps about this series, despite its’ critical and commercial downward spiral and continuing shoving-aside of characters who aren’t white or named Benetrelli. The joke is old, people. And in this particular instance, creepy as Doyle.
The only bright spot in this episode was the graduate-school session in evil-cool given by Mrs. Petrelli, as she brushes off Danko The Gnome Of Doom without giving up any intel — or skipping a bite of her dessert. The Hunter does get the last word in, however, as he outs Nathan as a metahuman just after Sen. Petrelli (DK-NY) gets Danko fired. Unfortunately, we’re spared a scene where President Worf strips Danko of his rank for bringing dishonor to Homeland Security. And how does POTUS not even have a name? Never mind.
Speaking of never mind …
The Racialicious Scorecard:
Hiro & Ando: Hey boys! Good to see you back in action … uh, how did you get to L.A. from India? Wait, how’d you get to India in the first place? Have you checked in with the rest of the Soggy Bottom Boys? How did you two get stuck babysitting Little Parkman instead of, oh, his actual father? Will we get answers to any of these questions?
Mohinder: Suresh was better heard than seen, I guess, this week, as we got the return of his “deep” voice-overs. But here’s the thing: did we really need to spend so much SEXY TORTURE TIME with Tracy without even a mention that he was still being held prisoner?