NBC makes a great Heroes spoof.
NBC also makes a great Office spoof for Rainn Wilson's SNL monologue.
It's pretty much NBC's week, man. Except the "interactive online experience" during tonight's Heroes episode turned out to be distracting and not rewarding enough, despite the initial coolness factor. The whole mystique is sort of wearing thin, now that it's clear they're only ever going to be superficial about it.
Now, the not-so-funny. Because this was the best Monday night of television...pretty much ever.
Look, I know this is just a mindless action show, but tonight, it was a fucking awesome mindless action show. Best episode in weeks. Minus Sucre and Maricruz, who are cute and sweet but totally boring.
They maddeningly didn't let us hear The Tape, but they made it up to us by giving us supercool spygames with the fake Cooper Green and Dr. Sara just being all, "The man with Michael is NOT COOPER GREEN. [THIS IS YOUR SIGNAL TO GO SAVE HIS FUCKING ASS, DIMWIT.]"
Meanwhile, Kellerman goes and shoots someone and visits his sister and explains to her that he's morally grey now, and I sort of love him for that. I also love that he's not going after Michael and Linc and Sara for ditching him because he knows he totally deserved it.
And then The Tape has a stupid timestamp, and they decide that the best course of action is to blackmail the President.
Except Kellerman is about to assassinate the President.
AND I JUST KNOW HE IS TOTALLY GOING TO KILL HER BECAUSE MICHAEL'S LIFE REALLY FUCKING SUCKS. (This show doesn't often make me flail but: *flails!*)
And T-Bag kills a psychiatrist just because he looks like him, and then HE ENDS UP ON THE SAME PLANE AS BELLICK OMG.
And in the middle of all this, Mahone is growing a third dimension and sympathizing completely with C-Note despite having a job to do. I honestly don't know what possible reason Kim would have for needing C-Note dead, but I think Kim just likes ordering people's deaths. And Mahone, he has his orders. This show is about what people do when they're backed up against a wall, when good and bad are just words and it's the consequences that matter.
And so C-Note kills himself to save his damn family.
There was not a single SECOND of that episode that was not TOTALLY AWESOME. That was not just easily the best episode of the series but quite possibly one of the finest episodes of television I've ever seen. Seriously, it was pretty much flawless. If there were flaws, I don't care. Because I don't think I've ever been that emotionally affected by an episode of television before.
This episode...it somehow made every single character ten times more interesting, worthwhile, and awesome.
It all comes down to a simple concept executed perfectly: what the hell happens when you've got a hostage situation involving three Heroes and the man at the center of it all? And who is that man, anyway?
I loved that we started from a different perspective to get to where the previous episode ended. This show frequently repeats scenes to re-orient the viewer, but it's never done it like this before. And, suddenly, the tension starts, and it never stops. I loved the way Matt's telepathy was used.
But, wait, let's talk about these awesome black-and-white flashbacks where we discover that Claude was Mr. Bennet's first partner. And, for God's sake, that the Haitian is his current partner. Like, he's not just his "tool" or something. That's just the way this company works. This company headed by Eric Roberts, who we learn next to nothing about, curses! And Mr. Bennet casually says he has no problems with "morally grey," and I suddenly find him scary again. Even though I love him.
There's a lot of yelling and screaming in the Bennet house and a lot of guns and I can't even remember what all mayhem happens, really, but Ted Sprague is very angry, and so is Matt, although he's the sane one who can read people's minds and can thus let Mr. Bennet know that Claire's memory, it ain't so wiped.
Meanwhile, back in the past, HOLY SHIT HIRO'S DAD WORKS FOR THESE GUYS TOO. We still don't know whether he's powered, but he seems to be a bigwig if he can fucking order Mr. Bennet to adopt Claire, and...holy shit, there it is. As soon as Claire's powered, she's theirs. That's why he was so protective and secretive of her. It always seemed like he was protecting her from other people, but in fact he was protecting her from his own company. Because they would take his daughter away. It just adds such a huge layer to their relationship. I remember early in the series when we questioned whether Mr. Bennet was interested in Claire because of her powers or because she was his daughter, and I'm glad it's been made amply clear that her powers don't mean a damn fucking thing to him.
Let me comment on the other flashbacks while I'm here. So Claude was protecting a Hero that we don't know about (also, he appreciates puns, which means I appreciate him even more), and Bennet failed to kill him! No wonder Claude was so fucking pissed when Peter led him to the rooftop. Now we know why he's been invisible for seven years; I wonder where his Hero is. And Bennet was sloppy in the early days! And holy Christ, he's been having his wife's memory wiped for years.
Back in the present, it's only twenty minutes in, and there is a lot of yelling and screaming and guns and Bennet tells Matt to shoot Claire and he shoots Claire and her mom freaks and I nearly fucking cry even though I know she's okay. For the next half hour, you guys, I am on the verge of tears because it is that fucking intense.
Matt and Mr. Bennet have to keep up the ruse, and the telepathy thing is AWESOME, and Matt is AWESOME when he's not with his damn wife, and Mr. Bennet says, "Do what I think," and it is AWESOME. Side note here to say that even though Ted Sprague is totally unhinged, I still felt for his anguish over his wife (even though I LOVED Mr. Bennet's "Please get your facts straight" smackdown), and the actor kept him grounded with that rather than make him completely nuts and unsympathizable.
Bennet's learned the Haitian can speak after being told he was mute! I wonder who else knows he can talk. And I still don't understand who the Haitian is answering to, if not the company. Claire's interests? Nathan? Meredith? Are they involved somehow? What is his connection to Claire?
Claire, next time you're rescuing people, free their legs FIRST so they can run away in a pinch. At least Lyle got away, and I actually cared about Lyle's safety because Mr. Bennet cared about Lyle's safety by virtue of Lyle being his family, the family he wanted to protect, and I love Mr. Bennet, so he sways my opinion. And then Claire and her mom are tied up, and she starts talking about faith and miracles and God and...I cannot even believe this because I'm not a religious person, but suddenly I care very much that she does not die, despite my apathy a couple episodes ago. And, again, I think this time it's because of her connection to Claire. I love Claire, and so I don't want her mom to die. And, dude: Bryan Fuller must know that pilot callbacks are made of win.
Then Ted gets a clue right before Mr. Bennet and Matt return, and then suddenly Eric Roberts arrives too, and he has a gun because guns solve all problems, and I seriously think he's going to shoot Mr. Bennet and I almost scream and instead he shoots Ted in the shoulder, and it sets him off just like Matt said it would, and then the show uses up half its special effects budget with redness and fire and dear God, he's going to go nuclear.
I don't really understand what's happening with Ted and why everyone around him isn't just incinerated, and I suddenly fear that the entire house is going to blow up and kill them all, and I can't believe they would do that. But Ted is out of control, and everyone gets out of the house except Bennet, who stays because he won't just let Ted die (...and destroy his house in the process). And Claire comes in and takes on the task, and her fucking face is melting away...
I suddenly fear that Claire's been incinerated, and she can't come back from that, but I can't believe they would do that. And she walks out, burnt to a crisp but still alive and healing herself. The entire family hugs.
And during the commercial break, I fucking cough and choke up and cry a little just to release the tension because I was so sure they wouldn't all make it out of that house alive. When you focus so much of the episode on how much Bennet loves his family, you're planning on destroying that family somehow. I've seen television shows before! It was just such a relief that no one had died, and I had been holding back tears for half an hour, and I couldn't hold them back any longer because that was a fucking climax set up by increasingly tense rising action preceded by a wee bit of exposition.
Time for the falling action. And, holy shit! Bennet is TOTALLY SELLING OUT THE HAITIAN. (Except he's not. Shh.) And Eric Roberts is suggesting Matt be his new partner! Oh! They should totally do that! It would be great! Also, there's a hot new Hero standing around not saying anything. She should get more screentime. Unless...was that Hana? It totally looked like Hana, but I wasn't sure. Did she go undercover? Wouldn't Bennet recognize her? If it's not Hana, that's better, really, which means she's an additional hot brunette. But Eric Roberts is not interested in brunettes: he wants the teenage blonde.
Bennet and Claire are driving in a car. It sure looks like he's not giving his daughter up. They talk, and I decide that Keith and Veronica need to move aside, because this, right here, is my favorite father/daughter relationship on television right now.
And...oh, shit, it's the bridge. Oh my God, this is not going to end well. Out comes the Haitian. Oh, shit, he's going to kill the Haitian for protecting Claire, as per his orders.
Oh, shit, the Haitian is going to kill him. No, he doesn't want that. Thank goodness.
And...OH. MY. GOD. NO. NO. NO. NO. He's wiping Claire from his memory. He has to stage the escape, and he has to make sure that he never goes after Claire, never even knows she exists, because otherwise, he'll lead them right to her.
"There's got to be another way!" cries Claire, and it suddenly occurs to me that WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST WIPE ERIC ROBERTS??? COME ON NOW. I'm sure it's fanwankable.
Anyone who's been reading my television posts for a while knows that certain things hit me. One of them is identity. Another is sacrifice. Mr. Bennet, one of my very favorite characters on the show, just sacrificed his identity. It was a double whammy. No one died in this episode, but he killed Claire in his head. He killed the part of himself that had a Clairebear. He killed the best father/daughter relationship on television. All so a girl who wasn't even his biological kin would be safe.
I have never cried so much at a television show before.
I'm not the kind of guy who regularly cries at movies or TV shows. I wish I were; it would make me feel more human. But I can probably count the number of times I've cried at entertainment on one hand. Maybe two. I don't have a great memory.
I...just can't believe they did that. It's episode 17. He was such a great character. And they hollowed him out like a grapefruit. It's almost worse than death. I'm almost afraid to see what he's like next week and after. I want him to be Claire's father again. I'm glad we got a glimpse of him before he was Claire's father to see that he was awesome before that, thankfully.
So Mr. Bennet erases the last seventeen years of his life to save his damn family.
After all that Heroes talk, I can't spend much time on this, even though it was still really good the second time around, and it was great to catch the foreshadowing that was just staring us right in the face. I lurve the narrative style, and I love Joey Ice Cream as the narrator. And Olivia Wilde looks really good as a brunette. And Tommy Donnelly is my identity crisis woobie.
I didn't actually notice many dramatic changes from the original pilot, although it did feel a little shorter due to the minute or so of cut scenes whose content I don't remember. And they for some reason only used the first half of "The Moment I Said It," and when they come back from commercial, it's just score, which doesn't work nearly as well as the rest of the song worked, and I don't understand why they had to rescore that if they had the rights to the song.
But the big fucking deal, of course, is the ending. All you guys who saw the pilot tonight for the first time were robbed. I love Snow Patrol, and "Open Your Eyes" is a good song, and it worked okay, but it's not the One True Song for that scene. The Arcade Fire's "Rebellion (Lies)" worked so perfectly for this scene I cannot even describe why. I've watched it like ten times; it feels like the theme song for the show, for Tommy. Please watch this, right now.
So Tommy Donnelly completely ruins his life to save his damn family.