Heroes: Why Don't We Do It In the Lab?

You can tell that Tim Kring, creator of mega-mutant soap Heroes, was overcompensating in a big way last night. In the exciting two-hour premiere, he proved to the world that he can make his scenes smaller, shorter, and faster than anybody else's scenes. No more of those long, dreary trips to Feudal Japan like last season. This season began with scenes so bursty and brief they made YouTube vids look leisurely. The time-travel freakout plot that causes mutant virus mania was practically incomprehensible (a perennial danger with time travel plots), but still fun in a whacked-out, 1980s DC Comics way. Plus, everybody's getting laid. Spoilers ahead! Kring and Co. are making things crazy this season by having many of the characters switch sides, blurring the line between "hero" and "villain." Of all the weird ways this tweak might have gone, probably the most intriguing involve the impeccably-accented scientist Suresh Mohinder and evil brain-absorber Sylar. Last night saw the beginning of both their transformations. Mohinder has used the perennially naive but lethal Maya's blood to whip up a serum that could allow anyone to gain mutant powers instantly. The key turns out to be more fake science to do with the "mind-body connection via neuro pathways" and "adrenal glands." Basically, superpowers are Hulk-like: They are activated by fear and rage. Of course, mutant-wannabe Mohinder immediately injects himself, inexplicably choosing to do it on an abandoned dock instead of in his lab. But this allows him to go through his sweaty, shirtless transformation in a place of danger, where he can quickly beat up some muggers and squash their guns into pulp. Upon returning to the lab, Mohinder's next move is to have mutant-powered sex with Maya (we can only assume she does it because she's hoping his next serum will cure her). As you can see in the scene above, the Mohinder transformation is an almost shot-for-shot recreation of a similar scene in The Fly, right down to mainlining sugary drinks and climbing the walls before hot sex. (Later, Mohinder finds sharp things and gooey shit coming out of his back, also a reference to The Fly.) What we're witnessing here, aside from a much-needed dose of Mohinder's horny side, is the good scientist's transformation into a mad one. And, for anyone who watched The 4400, the "serum" will sound a lot like Promicin, that show's mutant-making, superpower-creating serum. Mohinder's transformation has also demonstrated that the awful "evolution and destiny" voiceovers that he'd been doing can actually be worse. I know, it's hard to believe it could get worse than last season's mystical pseudo-science blecch. But last night, he actually read an ENTIRE FUCKING YEATS POEM in voiceover. You know, the one about "things fall apart" that every kid reads in high school? At least he could have had the decency to read "Leda and the Swan," given the hot mutant sex theme. Just kidding! I don't want more poetry, and I don't want more Mohinder voice over! DO NOT WANT!!! Sylar, meanwhile, is on the road to chaotic goodness. First, he steals Claire's super-healing powers in a genuinely disturbing scene where he literally strokes and drools on her brain while she lies immobile on a table. We discover that she can't be killed — and now, neither can he. But, towards the end of the episode, Sylar is given a chance to work for the (sort of) good guys when he's recaptured by The Company, now being run by Mama Petrelli. Turns out she's Mama to more than just Nathan and Peter — she's also Sylar's mom, and for some reason this information seems to impress the usually-nonplussed killer nerd. Speaking of killer nerds, I wish Heroes knew what to do with the once-delightful, now-nauseating Hiro. Somehow his biz executive sister is out of the picture and he's running his dad's company, going on dumb missions to find pieces of paper that contain "dangerous formulas." Unfortunately the whole Hiro plot has become one big awful formula, and his otaku act is getting really old. We need more of the badass future Hiro so that the terrific Masi Oka can progress beyond cuteface acting. And don't even get me started on psychic cop Matt, transported to Africa by future Peter, who has just been rescued by a Magical Negro who dwells among other "African" things such as scorpions, snakes, and turtles. I wish they'd just throw some rhinos and hippos in there too. Plus, some gentle tribesmen who are in touch with nature. That would really make the Magical African Journey subplot a perfect parallel to Peter's Magical Irish Journey last season. Of course, the true weirdness of the episode had to do with Future Peter coming back to the present and shooting Nathan to prevent "the dark future" of oppressed mutants being rounded up in concentration camps. Here's where it gets hopelessly tangled: Future Peter is now masquerading as Present Peter after having stuck the actual Present Peter into the body of imprisoned mutant bad guy Jesse (played by Weevil from Veronica Mars, yay!). But then Linderman magically appears to heal the shot Nathan, who finds God. And Peter winds up setting in motion a series of events that lead to electricity-shooting Elle releasing all the Company's prisoners — including Present Peter, in the body of Jesse, who is now hanging out with a bunch of lameass escaped villains who like to burn old ladies for fun. Where is Present Peter's actual body? No idea. Why does Mama Petrelli yell at Future Peter for fucking up the future, when in fact the future was going to be really horrible anyway? Also, unexplained. Why is Future Claire so pissed off, and has she maybe dyed her hair? I think we have a shot at figuring that out, since the post-Sylar brain surgery Claire now no longer feels pain, which inexplicably makes her all emo about "not feeling human." At least Claire's dad Bennet is back on the case, chasing down the guys who burned the old lady (plus Present Peter in Jesse's body). And we're probably going to find out more about Claire's dye job next week, when there will be more Future Claire, more Future Peter, and more . . . crisis on infinite timelines!

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