Murphy’s Law – Holding out for a hero

Joel Murphy

With apologies to Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington, I have some exciting news to report to all of you – I have a new man-crush and his Noah Bennet. Well technically, the guy’s name is Jack Coleman, but he plays Noah Bennet on the NBC show Heroes.

I came late to the party on Heroes. My work schedule last year had me working late on Monday nights, so even though my brother raved about the show, I was never really able to check it out (this was before I had a DVR). Before the start of season two, my girlfriend and I caught up on season one of the show and both became instantly hooked. I haven’t missed an episode since.

Like everyone else, I am a big fan of Hiro (oh, and I also really loved his dad, who was played by George Takei), but this season Bennet has been my favorite part of the show. As I’ve mentioned countless times in previous columns, I am a huge fan of Batman and to me, Bennet is the Batman of this show. While all of the characters around him have amazing superpowers, he relies on his training and intellect to guide him. Plus, he operates in shades of gray and is willing to execute vigilante justice in order to do what he feels is right. (If we could get him into the Batsuit, he’d be perfect).

My favorite scene of this season is in “Cautionary Tales,” when Mohinder pulls a gun on Bennet, but thanks to a diversion created by West, Bennet is able to grab the gun out of Mohinder’s frail hands. Bennet knocks Mohinder to the ground and aims the gun at him shouting, “You lie to me; betray me; come after my daughter – how did you think it was going to end?” If West hadn’t been stading there, Bennet would have killed Mohinder right then (which would have saved Bennet a bullet in the eye later in the episode).

While Hiro, Bennet and Sylar (who made the season finale by having a fantastic annoyed look on his face when Maya finally wised up and confronted him) continue to make the show fantastic, there are a few things about Heroes that keep it from being a truly great show. So, while we wait for the cheap bastards who run the television studios to end this writers’ strike so that we can get new episodes of Heroes, here are five problems with the show that I would like to see resolved in “Volume Three: Villains”:

    1. Learn when to kill off characters. This is something that great shows like The Wire and Lost know how to do. I like the Nathan Petrelli character and was happy to have him around this season, but it would have been more emotionally resonant to have him die at the end of the first season. After only looking out for himself and his political campaign for the whole season, Nathan was willing to sacrifice himself to save Peter and New York City. Having him die a martyr would have given him a noble and powerful sendoff. Instead, he spent most of the beginning of season two plodding around with nothing to do, looking mopey and sporting a very fake-looking beard.

    DL also should have died in the season one finale. Having him miraculously survive his gunshot wound only to be killed protecting Nikki made his death seem flat and pointless.

    The story should dictate when characters die. I worry that the writers of Heroes are afraid of upsetting fans and they will continue to be afraid to kill off characters, which will hurt the show in the long run. I also think that introducing the idea that Claire and Adam’s blood can bring people back to life could ultimately end up hurting the show as well. Anytime a character is killed, they could instantly be brought back to life – which ruins the suspense of the show. If no one ever really dies, there is never any suspense. (That being said, I was glad they brought Bennet back – both because of my aforementioned man-crush and because I still think they can get a lot of use out of his character.)

    2. Peter is too powerful. As I mentioned above, I always loved Batman because he was a real person without any powers. On the flip side of that, I was never a fan of Superman because he seemed way too powerful. Vulnerability is interesting, ultimate power isn’t. Peter is basically unstoppable at this point – he has absorbed everyone else’s powers and is apparently better at using the powers than the people he gets them from are (which became evident when he was able to resist Parkman’s attempt to control his mind even though Parkman had recently mastered this ability and Peter rarely, if ever, uses his mind control power). Even Superman had Kryptonite, Peter seems to have no weakness, except …

    3. Peter is a moron. Trusting Adam, who you barely know, even after Hiro and Parkman, two people you trust and who have no reason to lie to you, is just plain stupid. Plus, you can read people’s minds, so why didn’t you read Adam’s mind or Hiro’s and figure out which one of them is lying. Maybe that is why Peter is constantly taking his shirt off – I think that the tight shirts he wears constrict the blood flow to his brain and cause him to not think clearly.

    4. Stop with the love stories. Love stories in action-packed shows always seem tacked on, but in Heroes they are especially painful. I could go the rest of my life without ever seeing Claire and West having a romantic date on top of the Hollywood sign ever again.

    5. Kill Mohinder. I absolutely hate his character. He constantly switches sides and flip flops his beliefs based on whatever suits him at any given moment, but manages to walk around with a smug sense of superiority. Plus, he continues to try to be a bad ass, which always fails miserably. However, I get the impression that we are supposed to like his character. If he was supposed to be a villain on the show, it would all make sense, but he does the voiceovers and has always been portrayed as one of the protagonists, which baffles me.The only saving grace for his character would be if they were willing to go all out with the homoerotic undertones that exist between him and Parkman, who live together and are raising a child together. I’d love to find out which one of the two of them wears the pants (or the “World’s Greatest Dad” apron) in the relationship.

With any luck, this extended break caused by the writers’ strike will give Tim Kring and company a chance to recharge their batteries and fix some of the problems with the show. Kring himself admitted that there were problems this season and seems intent on fixing them, which is definitely a good sign.

But, even if they can’t fix all of these problems, as long as Noah Bennet and his dreamy horn-rimmed glasses are on the screen, I’ll be watching. Without pants.

Random Thought of the Week:
Keifer Sutherland has begun serving a 48-day prison sentence for his September DUI arrest. I can’t wait to see how Chloe busts him out of jail. I also can’t wait to see if he is sporting the same mountain man beard Jack Bauer had after getting out of the Chinese prison at the beginning of last season.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.


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