Tag Archives: heroes

A Toxic Waltz: The Racialicious Review of Heroes 4.3

ep 3 title
By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also Published at The Instant Callback

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Watching “Building 26″ took me back to my days as a fugly kid at the roller-rink, watching the popular kids pair up and the floor clear. Yes, this episode was a Couples Skate!

Sylar and Luke: Our resident Sith and his newfound apprentice did some bonding on the road to … wherever the hell Sylar Senior is holed up these days. Along the way we got hearty bits of exposition on how Sy does what he does and more subtle-as-a-jackhammer reminders from Luke of how similar the two are to one another. Still, the MVP of their sequences was the car radio: “Psycho Killer”? Good stuff.

HiroBreadHiro and Ando: The Dynamic Duo traveled to India – how? Who knows? Who cares, right? — to fulfill one of Parkman’s predictions and save a woman (Amrapali Ambegaokar) from marrying a complete dweeb of a “bad guy.” Neither of the almost-intended exhibited any powers, so it’s quite possible the whole thing was just an excuse to get Hiro to work through his jealousy of Ando’s newfound powers and restore his belief in his own heroism, and to get them a message from Rebel urging them to save Matt – nevermind that they were just hanging around with Matt. Continue reading

The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.2

Hosted by Arturo R. Garcia

Flight 195

As Heroes continues to crawl out from under its’ own wreckage — both on-screen and creatively — we turn to our Roundtable of fans to see how the latest reclamation projects are going.

[Writer's Note:As we head deeper into the season, I continue to be surprised at the controversy surrounding Claire's apparent wig, mostly because I never notice it. Rest assured, there will be a reckoning with this hairpiece.]

Anyway, on to this week’s topics!

Hiro TakenThe thing that bugged me the most this week was Hiro’s behavior. Dude kept talking about “warrior” this and “hero” that, even moreso than usual. He sounded almost sycophantic this week. What’d you all make of that?

Hexy: It used to fit his character, or at least the story arc his character was going through. I’m not sure if it’s writer laziness, or a badly done attempt to refer back to previous characterisation to show that he’s going through a completely new search for his role. Either way, I found it stilted and annoying.

Clara: I just rolled my eyes because I was kind of expecting this sort of dialogue from him. Perhaps Hiro feels the need to compensate for his lack of powers. I would like to see more variety in his lines though, because the destiny/hero/warrior stuff is getting a little old. Plus, Hiro IS CEO of his own company, in Japan too. He has plenty of resources to draw from, but I guess the writers forgot about that again.

Erica: All the dialogue between Hiro, Mohinder, and Matt was very, very uninspired. “I am a hero.” “This isn’t your fight.” “MATT FIND DAPHNE!” Really? Here’s a tip, Heroes — in addition to interesting new plots, you should have some deep conversations. Speculate on their fear, conflicted emotions, confusion, anger, and all that. If I can predict what each character will say, I’m not entertained. Hiro’s “I am a warrior” variations were just plain bad writing. Continue reading

Band On The Run: The Racialicious Review of Heroes 4.1

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
Also Posted at The Instant Callback

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

No worldwide publicity tours. No hour-long infomercials. Heroes is now just another sci-fi show. And for this episode, at least, it was a decent one.

As it kicks off the critical “Fugitives” arc, not only did the creative team finally get the ball rolling on the various doomsday scenarios it had alluded to throughout the series, but it also skipped to a plot point that used to take at least 10 episodes – Superhero Team-Up Time!

Building on the fall finale, “A Clear And Present Danger” saw Nathan Petrelli, now the freshly-minted Homeland Security chief, begin to round up the other Heroes, with the help of Mr. Bennet and a new character, Danko (Zeljko Ivanek), aka “The Hunter.” In short order, Tracy, Mohinder, Hiro, and Parkman are picked up for shipment to … well, we never get to find out, thanks to the increasingly pugnacious Claire.

Previously spared by biological daddy Nathan, Claire stows aboard and initiates a jailbreak that goes wrong when Peter, after mistakenly making contact with Tracy (he thought she was Niki) ruptures the hull, which will apparently crash the plane — but not before ejecting one unknown hooded figure. Judging from next week’s previews, most of the core group will at least have survived the crash, and we can bet that the Mystery Masked Metahuman will make his or her presence felt later in the series. Continue reading

“Create Your Hero” Down to Two

by Racialicious guest contributor Elton Joe

Word on the tubes is Heroes will return in September . In the meanwhile, dedicated fans can check out promotions such as NBC and Sprint’s Create Your Hero, which, through fan voting on lists of attributes, has culminated in two new characters, Santiago and Audrey:

Santiago

Santiago is twenty three. He is an only child, and lives with his mother in a poor part of Lima. He works as an auto mechanic, but has a burning desire to go out in the world and accomplish something that will make his mother truly proud.

Santiago lost his father years ago to the Peruvian civil war. He carries that loss in his heart, but has found solace in the teachings of the Catholic church. Santiago attends mass every Sunday, in a local cathedral which was built by the Spanish Conquistadors more than four hundred years ago.

It was one Sunday after mass when Santiago first discovered his powers. He was playing soccer with his friends in a dusty lot, when he suddenly realized that he was faster-much faster-than his opponents. In fact he was so fast, that he had to hide his ability in order not to attract too much attention.

Santiago loves being fast-he uses his power to become the star of his soccer team-but he believes that his abilities are a gift from God, and feels strongly that they should only be used for good.

Audrey

Audrey is eighteen. She lives with her mother and younger sister in Paris, in an apartment above the family’s bakery. Audrey’s father is out of the picture, and Audrey’s mother has fallen sick, so Audrey has been forced to take responsibility for the family business, despite the fact that she is still in school.

It is while working behind the counter at the bakery that Audrey discovers her power-the power to affect the speed of other people. Audrey can speed people up, or slow them down to a crawl.

Suddenly everything is possible. Audrey can easily help her sick mother, finish her homework on time, and hang out with her friends-practically all at the same time.

However, Audrey begins to succumb to the temptation of using her powers for darker purposes. She starts by doing nothing more than speeding up her math class to get out early, but then, before she knows it, she is slowing down everyone in the bakery so that she can steal money from the cash register.

As Audrey’s understanding of her powers grows, she resolves to use them for the greater good, but sometimes her means of getting to that good are morally questionable.

Latin Americans always seem to turn out strongly Catholic in the Heroes world, but in general, I don’t think Santiago and Audrey are stereotypes.

When I first wrote about Create Your Hero, I called it a “pathetic attempt at corporate creativity.” I wanted to find something overtly offensive about the promotion, because I was tired of the all-too-common Hollywood mentality that actors of color must be pigeonholed into roles defined by racial stereotypes. Actors of color often seem to be restricted to particular roles based on their race. And casting directors often seem to forget about the possibility of filling non-race-specific roles with non-whites. As aspiring actor Liam Liu (Ken Leung) said in David Ren’s Shanghai Kiss, “Why do I always have to play an Asian guy? I was born in Queens. Why can’t I just play a guy from Queens?”

Lieutenant Uhura on the original Star Trek was played by a black actress, Nichelle Nichols. The role was written for a person of African descent, but Gene Roddenberry’s multicultural vision of the future meant that this woman of color had an important place on the bridge next to a diverse cast of multiple races and even an alien. She was black and proud to be black, yet wasn’t confined by her blackness. This is what I want for actors of color.

Although a brief look at Create Your Hero’s process of voting on labels such as “rugged” or “exotic” seemed to reveal a reliance on shallow stereotypes, I now believe the end result, created from a series of concise-yet-diverse categories, has potential. I think the challenge now is for the writers to do something interesting and surprising with the winner in the contest between Santiago and Audrey, who will star in a live-action series on NBC.com.

Claire is a blonde cheerleader, and Hiro is a Japanese cubicle worker, yet they became much more than stereotypes might have suggested. I hope the new Hero will also belie his or her brief summary, and that when Heroes returns in the fall, we can expect more characters who evolve beyond their original parameters.

Heroes recap of episode 211: Powerless

by guest contributor Elton

Heroes Volume 2, “Generations,” is over.

The season began with an exciting change of scenery, as Hiro Nakamura accidentally teleported to feudal Japan and met the legendary Sword Saint, Takezo Kensei, who turned out to be a lying, cheating, spiteful scoundrel of an Englishman named Adam Monroe. As Hiro tried to repair history and turn Adam into the heroic Kensei of legend, his brave deeds won the heart of their mutual love interest, the swordsmith’s daughter Yaeko, and Hiro himself became immortalized (figuratively speaking) as Kensei. Hiro and Yaeko’s love incurred the wrath of the jealous Adam, who swore on his life that he would bring misery and suffering to Hiro and all that he held dear.

Adam, the first man to discover his special ability, has survived through the ages because of it, and four hundred years later, he has founded a Company dedicated to finding and tracking others with special abilities. But Adam has a hidden agenda – fueled by his desire for revenge on Hiro and his bitter cynicism as a result of living through four centuries of human suffering, Adam plans to use the vast talents and resources of the Company to destroy most of humanity and “wipe the slate clean.” When the Company realizes this, they lock up Adam and throw away the key. Thirty years later, Adam recruits Peter, a son of Company founders Angela and Arthur Petrelli, in his quest to escape and release the deadly Shanti virus.

The season finale begins with the other bad guy’s quest to regain his powers. Sylar has recruited Maya Herrera, an irritatingly naive Dominican who has journeyed with him to Dr. Suresh’s apartment in Brooklyn to ask the good doctor for a cure to her cursed powers. Maya feels a kinship with (and attraction to) Sylar because they have both killed people with their powers, but she does not realize that Sylar is only using her to get to Dr. Suresh so that his powers, neutralized by the Shanti virus, can be restored.

Mohinder knows full well that Sylar killed his father, and having battled Sylar before, wants to be sure that Maya understands exactly what Sylar wants. Ever faithful, she believes that Sylar only wants to be cured of his sickness and lets slip that his powers are gone. Upon hearing this, Mohinder tries to attack Sylar with a knife, only to be met with a Company gun. Sylar reveals his true intention of regaining his abilities so that he can continue his power-hungry murder spree, and forces Mohinder, Maya, and Molly to Mohinder’s lab, formerly the apartment of precognitive artist Issac Mendez, one of Sylar’s many victims. Continue reading

Heroes recap of episode 210: Truth & Consequences

by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou

As Volume Two of the Heroes saga nears its end, the plot lines come together and the series develops a climactic peak. But at the same time, gone are the opportunities for the writers to tell backstory, and while this is good for simply the quality of each episode, it gives the show a lot fewer opportunities to slip up with things like representation and stereotype. But who was counting anyway? Oh right, we were.

In this episode, Adam, Peter, and Hiro all look for a virus, albeit for different reasons. Mohinder Suresh proceeds in his lonely medical missions before being confronted by an old villian, accompanied by Maya but not Alejandro, who is the newest victim to Sylar’s wrath. And in the meanwhile, the Bennets mourn for their not-so-dead father… moments in which Hayden Panettiere displays her best acting yet this season. (Okay, you might disagree with me there.)

Two recaps ago, I told my deep discomfort with the portrayal of the as-yet-unnamed Haitian, but I missed one thing. I don’t know the science-fictional precedent of his eclectic collection of superpowers, but somehow we must add one more to his many abilities: super-hearing? I say this because from season one, he and Claire have a relationship that has stemmed from a friggin’ windchime; when she needs someone to turn to, she just needs to hang up a special windchime and then expect the Haitian at her back door immediately to console her fears. In this episode, as Claire grieves for the loss of her father, she is tempted to hang this windchime once more to ask him to erase the memory of her father’s death. This character is even less whole than we had thought… I’d like to think that in addition to his power-negation and memory-stealing powers, he has also teleportation and super-ears, but instead he seems continually like just a house-elf for the Bennets and the Company. And this is a problem. (Please note that he wasn’t shown in this episode – this is just a remark about another reminder of this issue.)

This week we also return to the Dawsons in New Orleans. After Monica attempts to steal back a medal won by D.L., she’s caught by a gang that, besides being paid for arson, steals backpacks from little kids. Granted New Orleans is still depicted as a broken city with rising crime, but the men in this gang here fulfill very specific archetypes of the urban criminal. Specifically, these gang members do happen to be black men decked out with chains, toting guns and enacting violence upon the good. This stereotyping ties into a much greater discussion about how the criminals that these men portray have made a mark on the mainstream consciousness, but I’ll stick to the small things here. In this show, it is apparent that no effort was made to avoid or qualify this kind of typecasting at the levels of plot or representation. I can just imagine how casting was like.

And lastly, as we begin the hunt for this pandemic-causing virus, deception and coercion thrive in the plotlines of Heroes. In which case, it’s interesting to note that, well, all of the dishonest, deceiving, and generally bad characters are white: Bob, Elle, Noah (in a way), Adam, Sylar. The characters of color are generally all genuine and good, for reasons entirely inexplicable. Sorry, but I just had to make this connection. Perhaps it means nothing. :-D

To read past Heroes recaps, click here.

Create-Your-Hero is a game of stereotype tic-tac-toe

Note from Carmen: This post is about Heroes’ new online promo, Create-Your-Hero and is a critique of Week 1′s choices

by guest contributor Elton

What pathetic attempts at corporate creativity have resulted from the writers’ strike. New characters are now being created from a grid of four variables: Gender (male/female), Place of birth (Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas), Appearance (drop dead gorgeous, blends into a crowd, exotic, and rugged), and Body Type (small, medium, large, extra large). The game’s similarity to a t-shirt order form is almost too absurdly comical. It does make me wonder if characters and stories in Hollywood are really decided by a game of stereotype tic-tac-toe, because as we Racialicious readers know, it often seems that way.

The appearance categories really bother me – why must a character fall into one and only one of these bizarre descriptions? Exotic? EXOTIC?! The female icon for “exotic” is a decidedly “Oriental” eye behind a fan and some flowers. The male counterpart is the ornately tattooed face of some tribal-type. A “rugged” male is symbolized by one of those beards I can’t grow, and a “rugged” female is… the seat of a pair of pants. Heroism, indeed. And why can’t a character be both “exotic” and “gorgeous,” or any other combination thereof? More importantly, why is the act of creating a character picking from an awkwardly-described set of appearance characteristics? Shouldn’t it be “hero is as hero does,” not where he was born or what she looks like?

Another note from Carmen: Speaking of problematic race stuff with Heroes, check out the web site Save Heroes, created by The Angry Black Woman:

We need to write a detailed critique of the plot, character, race and gender elements of Heroes. We need to have one place where the producers and writers of Heroes can come and find what fandom has to say on these issues.

That’s the purpose of this website. We don’t need to Save Heroes from cancellation or network misuse, we need to Save Heroes from itself. Because it’s not a lost cause. It’s still capable of being the amazing show it was in season one. No, it’s capable of being even better.

How can you help Save Heroes? Easy. Just give your opinion on the Plot and Characters or Race and Gender issues in the show. We’re inviting all fans to contribute to a collaborative document in which we provide constructive, respectful criticism of the current season. Whether you offer your original thoughts or point to existing posts on the Internet, all ideas are welcome. Once we have enough contributions to create a coherent document, we’ll put it together in total and digitally sign it.

Heroes recap of episode 209: Cautionary Tales

by guest contributor Elton

This week’s episode revolves around the deaths of two fathers, Noah Bennet and Kaito Nakamura, and the struggles of their children, Claire and Hiro, to come to terms with the tragedies.

The episode opens with the funeral of Kaito Nakamura, who, a few episodes ago, was killed in a plunge off the Deveaux rooftop by someone he knew but least expected. Hiro is asked, as the eldest son, to give his father’s eulogy, but he hesitates, telling Ando that to do so would be to admit that his father is dead. He decides to go back in time to save him.

The prophecy apparently foretold by the Mendez paintings, that Mohinder would fire a Company gun, and the Man in the Horn Rimmed Glasses would die of a gunshot wound to the eye as his daughter Claire looked on, seems to be unfolding perfectly. Mr. Bennet tries to evacuate his family from Costa Verde, California, but is held back by Claire’s anger at his deception and refusal to cooperate. Noah Bennet has led a secret life of kidnapping and murder, and as Claire discovers that her boyfriend West was one of her dad’s victims, she comes to hate her adoptive father.

Meanwhile, Mohinder, Company man Bob, and Bob’s (adopted?) daughter Elle track the Bennets down to Costa Verde, where they will attempt to take Claire from Mr. Bennet. The healing factor in her blood is the key to saving Niki, who has infected herself with the Shanti Virus, and saving the human species, which will be devastated by the virus if it crosses over into the general population.

The conflict between Mr. Bennet, who will protect his daughter at all costs, and Dr. Suresh, who has found himself on the side of the Company in the pursuit of saving lives, comes to a head. After an initial fight with Mohinder, Bennet captures Elle, but Bob gets Claire and takes a sample of her blood. Bennet and Bob agree to a hostage exchange, and each brings the other’s daughter to the beach.

Mr. Bennet comes to a bit of an understanding with West when they realize what they both want most is simply to protect Claire, and Bennet enlists West’s help in flying Claire away from the hostage exchange. As she is being returned to her father Bob, Elle, ever devious, shoots a ball of lightning at Claire and West, who come crashing to the ground but are not seriously hurt. Mr. Bennet, seizing the opportunity, shoots Elle in the arm and prepares to kill Bob and end The Company once and for all. Mohinder chooses to protect Bob over his former ally and shoots Mr. Bennet, fulfilling the prophecy. The Man in the Horn Rimmed Glasses is dead. Continue reading