Heroes Reaction Time: Shades of Gray - Featured

"Shades of Gray" is a saying used often in connection with Heroes. I myself have used it...well, we'll just leave it at 'often.' The morally questionable nature of Heroes' characters and their action is one of the most intriguing aspects of the show. So, naturally, the expectations for an episode entitled 'Shades of Gray' are high...and I'm not sure they were necessarily met.


Don't get me wrong, this was a solid episode of Heroes with a lot of good moments. But I remain underwhelmed. Here are some of the reasons why:


1) Puppet-Guy as a sympathetic character.

That is NEVER a good place to start. First of all, I don't care how badly we need to demonstrate that the Building 26 effort is wrong, Puppet-Guy is a creepy f*ck and I don't have any desire to sympathize with him. He served his purpose in bringing Claire's dilemma into the light but, frankly, I was already pretty clear on that.


2) Speaking of Claire's dilemma...

An entire episode spent on that "Omg, should I be helping people?" internal conflict, only to have the issue be rendered completely moot when Claire's Harriet Tubman days are ended by her bio-dad's moronic actions. Why did we spend time on this again?


3) The slow build is dead.

Nathan and HRG (and Angela Petrelli) spend ALL that time on cover-up and it only takes one episode for Danko to unravel it all? I feel cheated, frankly. The suspense of "Will Nathan be found out?!" could have been stretched out for weeks and given proper attention to, but no. Instead, it only takes forty-some minutes of show-time for it all to follow apart. If that.


4) Calling in the big guns should not be anti-climactic.

Still on that last train of thought, when Angela Petrelli (arguably the most masterful, crafty character left on the show) gets called in, my expectation is that she produces results. Cristine Rose certainly did her part with an exceptionally entertaining Angela performance. But somehow, her ace-in-the-hole Danko-deterring acts do absolutely nothing? I can't think of a better word for it than LAME.


...and now the big one:


5) SYLAR DADDY

This was the most disappointing part of this episode. It pains me to say it, but I must. Zachary Quinto and John Glover ought to have COLOSSAL on-screen power when combined. Instead, their scenes were slow and low-energy, and that definitely contributed to the overall lackluster end to this particular story-arc. All that time with "Could he be the sympathetic product of terrible circumstances?" Sylar and "Why did Sylar not rip my head off?" Luke Campbell, and the answer to all of it is "Sylar IS a psycho. Just like his daddy."??? Not to put too fine a point on it, but I feel cheated.



All in all, I was not happy with this episode. (Good thing Heroes' fourth season has already been okay-ed.) The story twists were decidedly untwisted, the big questions had depressingly small answers, and too much (read: any) of the content felt like a waste of time.


THANKFULLY, the last minute or two offered some hope! in the form of:


a) MATT'S BABY. If this doesn't get to soap-opera-y, this new development could be awesome. (Parkman as not just a fringe character! Yesss!)


b) DEAD RABBIT FOR THE HUNTER. Oh Danko. And you thought you were scared before...





See you in two weeks.

Comments

23 comments

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Mar 10, 2009 7:19AM EDT

I quite liked this episode, but now that I've read your post some of it does trouble me. Claire for instance, why did they even bother have her apply for a job when by the end of the same episode it'd be made completely redundant? Then like you mentioned the whole should I help people thing, pointless or what? Felt like they were just trying to fill up screen time to me. I can only hope that they had a reason for revealing Nathan's ability so fast, that they needed him out of the loop so the plot could continue. I really really agree on the puppet guy thing, he is just not a good character to focus on. He makes me feel a little bit ill actually, and there's no way in hell that we'd feel sorry for him, he's one that actually deserves to be locked away. I don't think the Angela Petrelli involvement is completely over, I think during her meeting with Danko she was deliberately evasive. Angela would never act without reason, she probably wanted things to turn out how they did, and don't forget she's probably seen it all too. Sylar's dad was just weird for me, again I was left asking... why? What did he even go there for, he obviously knew his father had an ability because of last week's episode. Meeting his father has just made Sylar even more bad ass, now he's once again on a neverending quest for abilities, or he's finally accepted what he is? I think it was just a poorly orchastrated effort, and the scenes could have been so much more. Matt's baby should be very interesting indeed, can't wait for the next episode!
Sometimes it just feels like Heroes is all over the place, with too many little side stories that lead no where. But I'm convinced that it's still better than 90% of what's shown on tv at the moment. So it may never be as good as the first season, who cares. It's still different and I could spend a long time nit-picking or I could be glad that there's room for one less reality tv show.

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Mar 10, 2009 9:46AM EDT

Sometimes it just feels like Heroes is all over the place, with too many little side stories that lead no where. But I'm convinced that it's still better than 90% of what's shown on tv at the moment. So it may never be as good as the first season, who cares. It's still different and I could spend a long time nit-picking or I could be glad that there's room for one less reality tv show.
completley agree said it all for me
and i dont think Angela is done yet its clear that she and the rebel are the only ones who know how to play the game the right way

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Mar 10, 2009 9:53AM EDT

I sooooo hope that Sylars' dad comes back later, takes clairs power and kicks Sylars ass.

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Mar 10, 2009 10:52AM EDT

I actually kinda liked this episode.
I must agree though bringing up the puppet master was way out of line. They couldve brought anyone with a little charisma.
And what was the idea with Claire getting a job only to find out that in the end, the free pass was gone?

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Mar 10, 2009 1:53PM EDT

i think you've missed out on one point that did come with the sylar's dad-sylar meeting: at the end of that meeting, it was clear that what sylar really wanted to know was what to do with his time. he wanted to know what his father would do if he was given a second chance so sylar tempted him with the ability to heal. so i think sylar has probably either decided to do what his father said and gain power to change the world, or or he will try and turn away from his father and try and find his own path...seemingly starting off with having a bit of revenge on the hunter.

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Mar 10, 2009 2:20PM EDT

"Sometimes it just feels like Heroes is all over the place, with too many little side stories that lead no where. But I'm convinced that it's still better than 90% of what's shown on tv at the moment. So it may never be as good as the first season, who cares. It's still different and I could spend a long time nit-picking or I could be glad that there's room for one less reality tv show."
Couldn't have put it better myself.

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Mar 10, 2009 2:24PM EDT

i was really hoping that the microwave kid would be sylar's dad :\ oh well...

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Mar 10, 2009 3:10PM EDT

I think that Matt Parkman is not Matt's son, i interpreted it as Matt in the past, in some weird time shift. You dont see Daphne pregnant or the girl that Matt was originally with either so i rather doubt they would randomly throw a kid in.
You guys are overly critical of all of the plot holes, i think Sylars confrontation with his father laid the foundation for some insane shit in the next few episodes to come where he explores the limits of his powers.
HRG and Nathan should handle the abduction of heroes similarly to Primatech, the clue was "a tested method" so one of us, one of them should be coming back.
And really, the whole point of a season is to build to a large climax at the end where everything works itself out, hoping for hugely exciting scenes when they should be laying out the storyline is just stupid. sure each episode has its own climax but this is all foreplay baby, it is already building momentum and will be more exciting, as it always winds up being.
Overall i enjoyed the episode, Doyle was important as he had history with Claire where as most other heroes/villains havent, and the Building 26 situation could go a multitude of ways, im really looking forward to next week.

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Mar 10, 2009 5:47PM EDT

I don't think this is a very good review AT ALL.. so in reply to a few of your points:
1) It seems you missed the point of the puppet guy thing. I think this was to show people the dilemma claire and others are in. What is good and bad? Can you save some and not others? Everyone has a good side right? I think it's showing the frustrating position she must be in!
3) Your reviewing it like the story just ENDED! The whole build up with Nathans secret isn't nessacarily over, Danko saw it, and probably that camera too.. but anything can happen. Maybe they destroy evidence and say Danko's making stuff up because he was sacked!
5) I think you missed the point of the Sylars dad thing too.. yeah maybe it could have been a little more high energy but I think it was good enough. Remember it was never really building up to be a high energy encounter until one or two episodes ago. It showed why Sylar is the way he is and that the hunger will never go away, it shows what he has to do now to avoid ending up like his father. It's awesome the real evil Sylar is back..
A) Like the person above me, I thought it was Matt in the past.. although I can't fully remember where in time those two are!

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Mar 10, 2009 6:07PM EDT

Okay. I usually don't reply to people's comments on my reviews because I feel I've said my part and it's someone else's turn at that point, but ryanuk86, you have driven me to act.
First of all, a review is not bad just because you disagree with it. A review reflects the opinion of the reviewer, and whether you agree with what they have to say or not, its merit is based on the quality of a) the insights and observations and b) the writing.
Secondly, I find your replies unnecessarily insulting. Largely because you seem to have written them without actually reading what I had to say first. In regards to #1, I would like to direct your attention to "He served his purpose in bringing Claire's dilemma into the light" and all of point #2. As far as #3 is concerned, NATHAN IS ON THE RUN. HE IS NO LONGER IN CHARGE OF BUILDING 26 AND ITS EFFORTS. And to clarify, NO the whole Danko story isn't done and perhaps he won't end up in charge, BUT he did beat Nathan. As for #5, I didn't miss the point. We just disagree on the overall impact. (And, in case you missed this, we agree that the return of psycho Sylar is an excellent thing.)
All that said, I'm sorry if it seems like I'm overreacting to your comments but I found them incredibly insulting and unbased and could not in good conscience let them stand unanswered.

ALSO:As for the Parkman issue, ladies and gents, there was a glimpse of his ex-wife Janice(?) in the promo for the next episode. That in mind, I'm guessing that Hiro and Ando are currently babysitting Matt Parkman, Jr. and that no mysterious time travel is involved and that there really are two Matt Parkmans.

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Mar 10, 2009 8:39PM EDT

I totally share ryanuk86 comments. All he did was to put thing straight. You Koukou just sledge-hammered the whole episode. If you cannot take the critic do try next time to avoid writing a review when you are P.M.S. Your hormones led you to give a way too subjective critic.

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Mar 10, 2009 9:37PM EDT

i thought this episode was pretty sweet. and i thought the part were sylar met his dad was pretty dece cuz he went there expecting to kill him but its still his dad hes not just gonna walk in and then they have a huge battle that would be stupid. i didnt like how claire decides to start helping people but then she starts bein hunted aswell. And finally they Hiro and Ando make another appearance!! its about time! but over all i thought it was a good episode pretty solid for build ups for other episodes. im curios tho as to why sylar went to Danko's guess ill have to wait and see

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Mar 10, 2009 11:58PM EDT

i also think that this is the best episode in a while.
thanks for pointing out the redudancy in the whole claire getting a job but then loses it all in the course of an episode thing, but i seriously thought this episode was better a wide margin than the last few

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Mar 11, 2009 9:26AM EDT

How can Matt Parkman Jnr be Matt from the past when Hiro no longer has an ability?

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Mar 11, 2009 10:33AM EDT

How can Matt Parkman Jnr be Matt from the past when Hiro no longer has an ability?
its not yet been said whether he regains his ability as of yet
who knows maybe there's more then one catalyst out there

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Mar 13, 2009 12:39AM EDT

you know, kouou, i think you didnt get it, the season hasnt really started and its too early to write write such shit just because this episode didnt fill your expectationsi think it will get better and more exciting than the first seasonand you can judge this season at its end!!!get more passionate fucker or wach american idol! :P

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Mar 13, 2009 9:33PM EDT

As we all know heroes isnt what it used to be... after season 1 everything just started going downhill, but now theres lots of suspense added...1- Sylar's dad= angela knew who he is (makes me wonder if he was part of primatech)2- Rebel= who is this guy, how does he know whats going on all the time?3- Peter needs to learn more about his new ability just like season 14- claire... well shes still the same pointless drama queen since the start

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Mar 14, 2009 6:38AM EDT

c'mon guys we all know who the rebel is! Its the computer kid whose mom(Multiple personality) died. That much is obvious i think

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Mar 14, 2009 7:08PM EDT

i agree thats its probably safe to assume that rebel is micah, possibly working with others - but then again, as we've seen, there are lots of people who can have the same ability so its probably better to keep your options open for the time being.
im kinda hoping they hurry up and get ando to supercharge peter's ability back to normal...but at the same time its made heroes a bit better, in my opinion, now that they dont have an all-powerful hero who should be able to solve everything (with the exception of sylar of course but he's not really on any side so it kind of makes him more acceptable)
as for all those people asking about matt parkman jr. - dont you think its in any way possible that perhaps they are talking about his son as opposed to going back in time and meeting the young matt parkman?

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Mar 15, 2009 9:10AM EDT

I loved this episode.
Sylar and Sylars dad scenes were excellent if you ask me.

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Mar 16, 2009 3:08PM EDT

I cannot begin to express how happy I am that psycho Sylar is back. However, with no one else able to take on multiple abilities, any battle against Sylar would be incredibly slanted. Sylar is definitely required to take out building 26, but I'm sure someone is going to have to be able to rise up to take on Sylar (just my wishful hoping that Peter regains his full abilities).
As for people saying that the baby is a Matt Parkman from the past: people, please! In the first season, Matt's now-ex-wife said that she was pregnant. It was a whole exciting scene where Matt exclaimed "We're having a baby!" The whole pregnancy thing seemed to get shifted to the side burner and then almost lost in the second season, and then in the episode where Matt confronts his father with Nathan Petrelli, Matt gets trapped in an illusion. In his illusion, he is in a prison cell and there is a baby crying on the floor. Then his now-ex-wife is holding the baby. He says something to her like "You said it wasn't mine." and she replies with "But you read my mind, Matt, and saw that wasn't true." (The wording for both those quotes isn't exact, but the gist is there). In any case, Matt definitely had a child hanging around somewhere and it was only a matter of time before that child came into play.

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Mar 16, 2009 7:46PM EDT

You're right in that there really weren't too many morally gray areas in this episode, but I think "Shades of Gray" is based around Sylar's real name, Gabriel Gray. Though if this is the case, the episode definitely should have focused more on Sylar.

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Mar 17, 2009 12:12PM EDT

I personally think, that if it is Matt Parkman and his ex-wifes son, that this baby should be alot older. We found out Janice was pregnant in season 1, in season 2 it was mentioned HRG was hiding Janice and Matt's child from primatech, and we see a picture of 'Mommy and me' obviuosly drawn by a child. And 2 years are meant to have passed between chapter 3 and 4 of series 3. Hmmmmmmmmm very confusing.
As for rebel it could very well be Micah, but that seems a little different from his powers.It seems you are all forgetting HRG's (sometimes) partner who we have met once of twice who is called Hana, who controls emails, text messages, and phones etc... Do you all remember now???
As for the series I think your all reading into too much. Just watch it, enjoy it then judge it at the end.

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