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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

‘Heroes’ blogging: “Eris Quod Sum”

(previous: Chapter Six: “Dying of the Light”)

I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula and Superman away. –Jack Handy

And if I had an Off button on my TV, I could keep away Heroes. Oh, wait, I do…

[spoiler-laden commentary on tonight’s Heroes after the jump!]
The title of tonight’s episode, “Eris Quod Sum,” is Latin for “I am what you will be.” It shows up a lot on old New England headstones, and it’s kind of a reminder of our mortality: that even the person reading the headstone will someday be under one. What it seems to suggest in this instance, however, feels more like a threat: these characters are gonna keep flip-floppin’ back and forth between good and evil — or maybe-good and maybe-evil, or kinda okay and kinda wayward, or sorta nice and sorta naughty — forever and ever. “Nah-nah: You’re evil now, but I’m good, and soon you’ll be good and I’ll be evil!”


Someone famous once said, “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, er, won’t get fooled again.” I would have refused to believe that Hiro was in any danger whatsoever, as a result of taking the Africa Isaac-esque guy’s potion, after only the nonsense with Ando’s stabbing being faked. But here in this one episode alone, we have the fakeout deaths of Matt and Daphne and of powerless-Peter. I bet even the writers, after throwing Peter out the window from seven stories up, went, “Oh crap, that was cool but it makes no sense how he could get up and walk away from that. Better whip up some shit to explain it.” Maybe it was the injection Mohinder gave Peter. Maybe Sylar did “help” Peter along. (Though I so don’t buy Sylar’s conversion. “That’s what brothers do, they come for each other”? Pul-leeze.) Or maybe it was just the writers writing themselves into a corner and trying to fake us out… again.

It’s not working. I don’t want to be tricked — I want to see these characters (whom I used to like) struggling with this strange new world they found themselves, like we saw in the first season. That’s never gonna go away, and it’s still a strange new world. But it’s turned into a soap opera, and a tedious one.

I’m telling: someone we think is “good” is gonna be bad again, soon, and I bet it’s Sylar. The African Isaac-esque guy said:

Evil forces gather. The dark sun rises. Soon it will be too late.

But I think he said “dark son,” meaning Sylar. Either he’ll kill the old man, and we’ll be meant to see that as all shades-of-gray — you know, he killed his father ruthlessly, but he did it to stop the evil old dude — or he’ll just turn out to have been working for him all along. Like Daphne is still on the side of the devils. Or is she? Or isn’t she? Maybe she’s a triple fakeout too.

Oh, and seriously, if you can’t control your electric powers, why would you get on a plane? Is the show kidding us with this? I was afraid Heroes was turning into Lost for a moment, and honestly, I’m not sure that’s a direction that would help.

Who’s goin’ evil? Sylar. Mark my words.

(Watch full episodes at NBC’s official site for the show.)

(next: Chapter Eight: “Villains”)

MPAA: rated TV14-LV

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb

  • It’s like you need a map or a flowchart to tell who’s good, who’s bad (this week), and who’s allied with who. (Whom?) The only person who seems consistently good is Parkman, although I suppose Hiro is, too. (Too bad Hiro is apparently an idiot.)

    Why is Nathan so stupid as to go anywhere near his father, as he apparently will next episode? Does he not get that the Old Man can take away your powers, apparently permanently? (Although not Permanently For Real, as Peter will no doubt get his powers back sometime before the end of the season.)

    I guess I have more patience for the show than you do, MaryAnn, but I agree that it looks at this point like they are just makin’ this sh*t up as they go.

  • JW

    Considering that eris quod sum is the 2nd most searched term, i’d say that Heroes is doing just fine. Last year before the strike it was looking really bad, but thankfully the writers have had time to get their mojo back and this season rules. You honestly think you can have episode after episode where people are discovering their powers and learning how to cope with them? That was cute and quaint for a first season, but they have to move on to bigger things. the only thing I can agree with is the soap opera like family relations. i dont want everybody related to somebody, it is really lame.

  • PaulW

    I know the plot’s getting confusing, but there is a method to the madness here: the whole “Whose side are you on?” as the characters try to define themselves as Good or Evil. We’ve seen the actions of good men turn on themselves and cause more harm than expected. We’ve seen evildoers (Sylar) behave almost compassionately towards those they’ve fought against for months.

    There’s a little moment in the graphic novel Watchmen where Rorshach pays his respects to the Comedian’s grave at night, noting that the past archenemy Moloch was the only one who brought flowers to the service. Something to consider.

  • Christopher

    This is somewhat rare, but I can say I agree with you Mary Ann. The main problem with Heroes has and continues to be since season 2, great ideas with terrible story telling. Instead of the first season’s plan, telling a story that built up over the first 35 minutes to lead you to the big shocker/cliffhanger of the episode, it has now transformed into shock and awe. People do things and motives just dont seem that believable. Back stories and future glimpses are being thrown in for the heck of it instead of building up a story and then using the past/future to explain events you havent seen and there importance to the current choices our heroes face or showing the outcome of there current path if not corrected. Now it’s hey lets go to the future and show what Sylar would be like if he got his hunger under control and had a kid. I thought wrestling was the only soap opera made to market toward men on Monday nights, but Heroes seems to be the new man soap (no offense Mary Ann, just that the comic book/fan boy world will probably always have a larger male demograph)

  • Anderw

    Sylar caught Peter before he hit the ground with the same TK he threw him out the window with. That wasn’t hard to follow. Hell, Claire and Papa Petrelli both comment that that’s pretty much the only explanation.

  • MaryAnn

    You honestly think you can have episode after episode where people are discovering their powers and learning how to cope with them?

    Obviously that’s not the *only* thing the characters should be doing. But none of these characters feel like people anymore. They feel like pawns with no control over what they’re doing — and that’s not dramatically interesting, at least not how it’s being handled here.

  • Jason

    I think Sylar knows everyone is playing him. He may be dabbling with being good, but I really think he is allowing everyone to think he is gullible and on their side. He has his own agenda I think.

    What I cannot get over is how dumb everyone is being. Why didn’t Peter read dad’s mind to see if he was legit (he was there with some people he knew were villains and knows about mind altering/controlling powers)? Why didn’t future Sylar whip the snot out of Knox? Why doesn’t Matt just walk into Pinehearst and brainlock everyone? The problem with making them so powerful I suppose.

    The one thing that really bugged me is Matt calling the tortoise a turtle.

    All that said I love the show.

  • Maura

    I am very sad that the people who were the smart ones in Season One (Nathan, for instance) have been turned into complete and utter morons purely because it advances the plot.

  • D

    1 – “It’s like you need a map or a flowchart to tell who’s good, who’s bad (this week), and who’s allied with who.” Really? I don’t feel that way. Maybe it’s because I’m not finding the show as boring as you, or that as a casual comic book reader, I don’t have as much trouble as you following the shifting alliances, which kinda reminds me of the last “Pirates of the Carabians”. Everyone has their own agenda, which never involves loyalty to one single person or group. Almost everyone on Heroes has a “the end justifies the means” mentality, so it’s natural that they so often walk the thin line between good and evil.
    I never thought of Sylar as immoral, but rather ammoral, his intent on becoming “special”, and I suppose his hunger, blocking his feelings of empathy and remorse (and remember, he innitially hesitated on killing half New York, until he saw himself as president, and his adoptive mother again insisted on him not settling for a “mundane life”). He could have beheaded Claire (I doubt another head would have grown), but having got what he wanted from her, he felt no need to kill her. I think when Angela showed him another way he could be special, one that didn’t involve as many corpses, he took it, along with the first step to the long path to redemption. I also think he’s just waiting for the right moment to backstab his all-powerfull father, and I am sure he saved Peter.
    Mohinder is motivated by pure selfishness and fear. His arrogance placed him in a very difficult sittuation, and now he’ll do anything to get rid of it, while keeping his powers, if he can. He tells Maia, and maybe himself, that it’s for a greater good(curing Maia and other peole like her, science, whatever), but all he really cares about is himself.
    Hrg wants to protect Claire. And kill Sylar because he hates him.
    Arthur seems to come from the Linderman, Adam and Angela school of thought. Power, and “the greater good”. And also like Angela, his sons best interests. For that order of priority, of course.
    Daphne just doesn’t want to be killed. But I’m guessing Matt will grow on her and she’ll do the right thing. Also, the reason she assumes Matt won’t find out about her double crossing is because he’s too much of a gentleman to peek into her mind.
    Hiro: saving the world as always.
    Matt: see above.
    Ando: following Hiro. And money. And hot blondes. I guess you can never tell which one matters the most to him.
    Elle: controlling herself and dealing with her feelings.
    Nathan and Tracy: Dealing with their origins and doing the right thing. And I’m betting Nathan has a plan.
    Maia: I don’t fucking care.
    Claire: Same as Elle. And stop being helpless. Which I suspect will drive her to the dark side.
    Peter: If his hunger’s gone, then I think his back to being old (incredibly dumb) goody in two shoes.

  • D

    2 – “They feel like pawns with no control over what they’re doing” I think that kinda plays into the greek tragedy aspect of the series. Angela is very likely based on Cassandra, down right to the the baby-killing part(in Cassandra’s case, it was her newborn brother, who would ultimately lead to the fall of Troy, like Sylar possibly to the fall of New York, or society, or the world). All the other examples of patricide, matricide, fraticide and the inevitability of fate(and what happens when you try to change it) also add up.

  • D

    3 – Am I the only one seeing, besides the fact that their two faces of the same coin, lesbian subtext between Elle and Claire?

  • Ken

    Anderw: Sylar caught Peter before he hit the ground with the same TK he threw him out the window with. That wasn’t hard to follow. Hell, Claire and Papa Petrelli both comment that that’s pretty much the only explanation.

    I half suspect that we’re going to find out that Peter’s father is the one who saved him. If only because we’re supposed to think it was Syler. I don’t think I care any more.

    Heroes: able to leap tall sharks in a single bound.

  • Am I the only one seeing, besides the fact that their two faces of the same coin, lesbian subtext between Elle and Claire?

    A thought like that actually came into my head while I watched this episode. But I doubt they’re going to go in that direction.

    However, it does seem like someone on the production staff has a thing for blondes almost as serious as Nathan’s.

    And given that Matt hasn’t already proven capable of involuntarily reading someone’s thoughts (look what happened with his wife), the decision to have Daphne pretend to go along with Matt seems really really stupid.

    Anyway, the most shocking thing I found about this episode was the Viagra ads that were being shown during the show on the NBC site. Apparently they’re trying to vanquish whatever family audience that still remains after first season’s stripper mom subplot…

    Good thing we live in such a Puritanical society…

    Btw, it’s Maya, not Maia.

    And should I consider it evil of me that the first thought that came to mine when I saw this week’s episode title was the old Xena character Discord–whose name in Greek is, of course, Eris?…

  • Why do people assume Daphne’s pretending to go along with Matt? Why can’t she be lying when she’s on the phone to Pineherst? …Why am I sounding so adversarial? :)

  • Well, two of the main writers of Heroes got their walking papers today. It seems that NBC has not been happy with where the show has been going, i.e., aimless wandering about with shifting alliances anytime someone uses a word with a vowel in it.

  • Why do people assume Daphne’s pretending to go along with Matt? Why can’t she be lying when she’s on the phone to Pineherst?

    Okay, she’s lying to Pineherst. There’s still something awfully dumb about Petrelli’s whole “snuggle-up-to-the-guy-who-can-read-minds-and-pretend-to-like-him” scheme that doesn’t seem in character.

    And what the hell happened to Parkman’s original spouse? Is she not going to appear on the show anymore or did the producers decide Daphne is more photogenic?

    Either way, sheesh.

    And anyone else get the feeling that “Didn’t I throw you out a window” is going to become a running gag for this show? Apparently now it’s the Defenestration Show. Tune in next week to see who else gets thrown out a window…

    Personally, I’m waiting to see what happens the first time Angela Petrelli tries to make Sylar a tuna fish sandwich…

  • hey thx for the translation for “eris quod sum” :)

  • pinkie

    heroes season 3 feels like i’m watching 4400 but with more famous characters

  • drew ryce

    Season 3:
    Re vera, cara mea, mea nil refert – Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn

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