by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou What is his name?!? There is too much to…
by guest contributor Elton
As I had hoped, several of the loose threads that had been hanging around since the Season 1 finale are resolved in this week’s episode. Matt Parkman comes to little Molly’s rescue by confronting his deadbeat dad, Maury, a.k.a. the nightmare man. Amnesiac Peter Petrelli, drawing on an ability he unwittingly absorbed from Hiro, transports Caitlin and himself to a grim version of 2008, where the Shanti virus (a virus that first killed Mohinder’s older sister, and strips Heroes of their abilities) has killed 93% of the world’s population. Peter reunites with his mother in the future and regains his memory of her. Mrs. Petrelli reminds him that he is the most powerful of the Heroes and that it’s up to him to prevent this scenario from happening.
Mohinder has reluctantly found himself working for The Company, studying the Shanti virus. He and Noah Bennet are secretly allied in an effort to bring down The Company from the inside, but The Man in Horn-Rimmed Glasses is obsessed with collecting a series of 8 paintings of the future. One painting contains an image of Mohinder firing a gun and another shows Bennet dead of a gunshot wound to the eye while his daughter Claire looks on from behind the embrace of a shadowy figure. The Mendez paintings have been misleading before (a painting that implied that Hiro would travel back in time to fight dinosaurs with a sword turned out to be Hiro practicing his moves with the newly stolen Kensei katana at the Museum of Natural History), but at first glance, I think Mohinder will find good reason to betray Mr. Bennet, and Claire will find herself on the side of her boyfriend West in his feud with her father. Already, there has been foreshadowing of their conflict – West was originally “tagged and bagged” by Mr. Bennet, and is deeply disturbed to find that his “alien abductor” is Claire’s dad. Meanwhile, Mr. Bennet reacts to his discovery that his daughter has been secretly seeing West by ordering his family to pack up and move once again. He has killed his Russian mentor in his quest to find the paintings and his obsession with his own death as depicted in them. What blunder will result in his death at the hands of Suresh?
We learn a very important fact about The Company: It was started by an Adam Monroe, who first convinced the older generation of Heroes – Nakamura, the Petrellis, Bob, Linderman, Charles Deveaux – to band together and “make the world a better place for our children.” Despite their initial altruistic philosophy, Monroe and his disciple Linderman revealed that they believed the best way to help mankind was to exterminate large numbers of the population (hence last season’s bomb). This led to The Company “locking him up and throwing away the key,” but of course Monroe was able to escape, and is now out for revenge. Read the Post Heroes recap of episode 207: Out of Time
by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou Yes. It finally happened. Hiro Nakamura got some action…
by Racialicious guest contributor Elton
One consequence of the sheer number of separate storylines in Heroes is that it feels as if the story is only being advanced a fraction of an inch each week. It’s becoming impossible to squeeze the entire cast into each episode. Last week, Hiro was absent for the first time, and this week was Claire’s first duck out of the spotlight. There’s nothing wrong with omitting a few main cast members from a few episodes now and then, but the show still feels disjointed. Yes, everything that happens in Heroes is connected (eventually). Last season, many of the Heroes were more or less united in a mission from Future Hiro: “Save the cheerleader, save the world”. And they did – in a spectacular battle at the end of Season 1, the “good guys” united to prevent “the bomb” from destroying New York City, and villains Linderman and Sylar were (apparently) killed by DL and Hiro, respectively.
One might hope that the Heroes, finally being in the same place at the same time, would at least Facebook friend each other. Alas, Season 2 began with a reshuffling of the deck and they each went their separate ways, even more distant than before. DL is dead, Niki, upon finally getting their son Micah back, has decided to leave him behind once again, Hiro and Ando are separated by hundreds of years, and Nathan and Peter have no idea where the other is.
Well, not everyone is dazed and confused – a few of the Heroes (Noah Bennet, Mohinder Suresh, Matt Parkman, Molly Walker, Nathan Petrelli, and The Haitian) have formed a sort of confederacy in order to investigate and destroy The Company, an organization apparently founded by a mysterious group of 12 people from the previous generation of Heroes in order to find and control people with special abilities. So perhaps that will be this season’s uniting mission: take down The Company.
But another consequence of there being so many separate stories to tell is that no single character’s story is being developed thoroughly. This may result in characters of color being presented as stereotypes. As David mentioned last week, now that Issac is dead, Maya and Alejandro are left to represent Latinos, and it doesn’t help that they’re on the run from the police and trying to enter America illegally.
Then there’s the issue of Hiro Nakamura. He seems to fit the nerdy foreigner stereotype to a tee. And now that he’s running around trying to serve his hero Takezo Kensei, who happens to be a white Englishman trying to find his fortune in feudal Japan by “fighting dirty” and exploiting the natives, the image of Hiro as a subservient and cowardly Asian male stereotype might be complete. He’s even letting Kensei take credit for his bravery in battle and steal the heart of his love interest, Yaeko!
But I think it’s possible to fight stereotypes even in Hiro’s situation. One response to the Asian nerd stereotype has been to counter with guys like the Yul Kwons and Daniel Dae Kims of the world, and show that Asian men can be tall, strong, and sexy, too. However, I think that Hiro represents a different way to subvert the stereotype. A lot of Asian-American guys identify more with Peter Parker than James Bond. It’s true that many of us are short, wear glasses, and love comic books. Instead of denying this fact, Hiro seems to be saying, “So what?” He’s always been the Hero who most completely embraces his powers, no matter what. While other Heroes are ashamed of their powers, or using them for ill gain, Hiro goes on and on about how important it is to protect the weak and fight for justice. Let’s not forget how he won the heart of the beautiful Texan waitress, Charlie. Tragically, she was killed by Sylar before they even kissed, but instead of despairing, Hiro became even more resolute in his mission. He represents a different kind of masculinity that transcends stereotypes in its own way, with intelligence, sensitivity, and conviction. While Hiro may geek out about his powers from time to time, he’s also courageous, determined, and loyal. He can also be a badass – he did stab Sylar, and at some point in the future he will speak fluent English, wear a soul patch and ponytail, and carry Kensei’s sword as his own. So let’s not worry too much about him. Read the Post Heroes recap of episode 205: Fight or Flight
by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou
The introduction this season of new characters of color has become increasingly of interest in the discussion about race on Heroes. In this Monday’s episode, we have learned more about the Honduran siblings trying to immigrate illegally into the States. As strikingly, we see in this episode for the first time a family of hurricane survivors in New Orleans. All of these characters continue to carry the burdens of expectation and typecasting in their roles. Here is just a taste of this week’s racial undertones.
Siblings Alejandro and Maya are still trying to escape the apparent lawlessness of Central America-slash-Mexico, as portrayed oh-so-accurately with palm trees, sand, and run-down neighborhoods. Throughout much of the hour, the siblings drive up to the border in a very standout, product-placed Nissan Rogue, intended to be visually discordant against the backdrop of the depicted third-world. As they drive, they meet a stranger (the baddest villain of last season, but that’s not important here). Maya translates as Alejandro warns her in Spanish.
When we talk about stereotypes on television, all accusations can be legitimate if there are no other characters to defy the claims portrayed. Here, Maya and Alejandro are the only Hispanic characters on the show, (the one last season suffered a bad heroin addiction and was killed off) and, hence, qualities embedded in their characters can become statements about entire groups of people. So in this episode, some things were clear: Maya’s constant references to God and miracles, presumably as a Catholic and their constant struggle to illegally cross the border into the States… well, what does that say about Hispanics?
There were many questionable parts to this episode other than this ride through Mexico. We see for the first time this week a family in post-Katrina New Orleans, relatives with whom a mixed-race child named Micah from last season is staying. As the child adapts to his evidently strange, new cultural surroundings, he has to put up with a hostile boy who splashes water on his face and mocks him for his different, “whiter” accent. Along with the du-rag-wearing criminal that attempts to rob a store at the end of the episode, it’s hard to miss the obvious stereotypes of confrontational black males. Read the Post Heroes recap of episode 204: The Kindness of Strangers