“Fight or Flight”
October 22nd, 2007
Five episodes into its first season, Future Hiro showed up on a subway train informing Peter to “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.” Five episodes into its second season, it might take more than Kristen Bell’s much-anticipated arrival to save a series struggling to get a grip on its own storylines. Will she bring with her the overarching storyline the season so desperately needs, or just a fanboy surge without any last impact?
Obviously, considering that her arc will last a fairly long period of time, it’s hard to judge what impact Bell will have. Her scenes were both sparse and uneventful, her impact limited thanks to either low budgets or the show’s deluge of storylines being juggled. I think her character at least introduces something new to the equation, which is at least the kind of step forward that the show needed at this stage of the game. While it doesn’t quite happen in this episode, even though Peter’s storyline moves forward slowly, there are more redemptive elements present than in weeks before.
For Peter, Elle (Kristen Bell’s character) brought lightning shooting from her hands, murdering Peter’s potential brother-in-law. Peter spent the episode opening his box, and discovering that he might soon be headed to Montreal. Elle, meanwhile, poses a question of “Who’s your daddy?” as we struggle to come to terms with just who she’s working for. I will assume she is Bob’s daughter, it makes the most sense, but that’s pure speculation. Peter, discovering who he is, gets the cliffhanger with an Isaac-fuelled painting of his near future.
Most importantly, the show finally managed to find a unique and interesting way of presenting powers that we haven’t seen before. Parkman and Nathan confront Matt’s father, who plays coy but then locks the two of them in a room and shows what happens when the Mind Reading becomes Mind Writing. Matt’s father’s expanded powers placed Parkman in a jailed dream where he confronted his worst fears, while Nathan confronted his deformed mirror image. In reality, they were fighting one another in a living room, but the Nightmare Man’s powers were the first new and compelling ones of the season.
This at least represents a step forward for the series, which wasn’t true of the rest of the episode. While Parkman’s father brought something new to the table, Monica’s development in New Orleans was a lot of the same. It echoed too closely Claire’s understanding of her powers (Discovery, revealing it to someone else [Micah]), and there just wasn’t anything new this time around. Meanwhile, Mohinder tries to get Molly some help while falling further into the company with Niki’s help, sent to the Big Easy to experiment on Monica.
The only other development in the episode was Ando consulting a parchment expert regarding Hiro’s messages from the future. Considering that we get an entirety of two scenes out of it, it doesn’t have much of an impact on the episode as a whole, so it seemed an extraneous development. Other than a quick Coleman Cameo, everyone else was absent: Claire, the twins and Sylar were certainly not missed, and I will hate to head back to them next week. Their absence was one of the reasons the episode felt tighter, if still lacking in the wow department.
- Opening with a Mohinder monologue? That is never a good sign, especially when we also have Mohinder and Parkman in a domestic dispute.
- I remember when people’s powers were really effective: a poor electricity effect while Kristen Bell walks beside a shipping cart was a strange introduction.
- “I’m not a cargo jet” was a rather odd choice of joke from Nathan, I expect better humour.
- Okay, Parkman’s Dad’s photo is way too happy. Couldn’t he have at least taken off the stupid grin?
- Hideous and laughable green screen for “The Ukraine”. Honestly, despicable.
- Why tease us with the trials without showing us any of them? It just points out the show’s glaring budgetary concern.
- “Don’t Even Get Me Started on my Mom!” was Micah’s best line ever.
- That jump rope scene went on just a little too long, methinks: Micah’s happiness became creepy.
- “Okay, I killed him, what is the big deal?” Oh Kristen Bell, I missed you so. I do wish I had been able to see you kick ass, though, a charred body just wasn’t visceral enough.
- Montreal? Woot. I greatly look forward to seeing how they manage to fudge Montreal, considering how poorly they managed the Ukraine.