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Last night's TV

Note to self: You have only yourself to blame if you battle insomnia with scary TV, and then end up dreaming that Barack Obama's opponent for president is Catherine Weaver. Creepy, creepy, creepy.



Machine-human relationships
I can see why I'm having creepy dreams about Catherine Weaver, though, because holy FUCK she is terrifying. And I feel so bad for her daughter, who is completely scared to death of her. It was nice to get confirmation that her daughter is, in fact, human and not a machine, but you do have to wonder why Weaver just didn't kill her. Is it just some sort of new way to study humans? A sort of fascination with them? I loved all the scenes where she was studying the real Catherine and trying to imitate her, though--loved in the "god this is giving me chills" kind of way. And the parallels between her relationship with Savannah and Dr. Sherman's relationship with the AI are really interesting, especially if they keep Dr. Sherman on as a character for a while before his inevitable death.

I was really glad they didn't kill him in this episode, though, because he rocked. So perceptive, and so good at his job; his scenes with John and Sarah were terrific to watch, of course, but I think my favorite scene was when he interpreted the AI's silly joke and was laughing at it like he was the 4-year-old. At that moment I knew it was going to really break my heart if he got killed. And is it wrong that I want him to develop a relationship with the AI, and maybe teach it something new? If only there was a way for the machines and humans to live in peace. :-( I do like the fact that they kept it ambiguous as to whether it was John from the future or the machines that wanted him dead.

Parent-child relationships

The other fascinating parallel this episode draws, of course, is Catherine-Savannah with Sarah-John. And probably the creepiest thing about the episode is that just like Catherine, Sarah starts out thinking she understands the inner workings of her child when in fact her child is filled with fear that she instilled. What's more interesting is that while Catherine decides to get Savannah "fixed," Sarah is at first in denial that there even is a problem, or that John has been traumatized by killing Sarkissian. I was glad to see her opening up at the end, even though it's hard to imagine what she can tell Dr. Sherman without revealing too much.

Soldiers

I have to confess, my immediate thought on the introduction of Jesse's character was "oh, god, they want to expand Derek's character arc so we have to put up with gratuitous introduction of old love interests," but in the end I thought she worked very well thematically on several levels: she mirrors John's desire to escape from destiny; she's probably the reason Derek was able to articulate his own suicidal past to Derek; and she has some mysterious agenda of her own (assassinate John? Something else?)

And while I oftentimes find the voiceovers in this show intrusive, they worked for me in this episode to tie together the threads of war and the loss of innocence in a very poignant way. I especially liked that 19th century diagnosis of PTSD as "nostalgia"--the longing for a home that you can never return to. Because, ouch. John never even really had that home; Savannah lost hers very early on; Derek and Jesse both are running the risk of forgetting that this is not home, not safety, because the battle is still coming; and Sarah is only now realizing the magnitude of what John's upbringing has done to him.





I also caught up on Heroes last night. And I have to say, I was glad I was a week behind and could immediately watch the next episode, because otherwise I might have been tempted to quit the show.

Loss of innocence
Speaking of loss of innocence as a theme--last week's episode had me ready to throw rocks at the TV. What the HELL, Heroes? I mean, first you have Mohinder turn into the Fly, and now he's killing innocents? And Peter's gone crazy too, and Noah is trying to force his captives to kill for him and Hiro KILLED ANDO? Ok, I knew there had to be more to that last one, but I was thoroughly disgusted at the end of last week's ep.

Villains and Heroes
But I will confess that this week's ep sucked me back in, at least insofar as I want to see how it all plays out. For one thing, Daphne is really growing on me. She's cute as a button, and I'm curious to see what hold the bad guys have over her. Also, Hiro finally seems to have recovered his brain--the fake death setup with Ando was ingenious, and he's finally starting to take other people's advice again. I also really liked Tracy in this episode; I cheered at the way she faked Mohinder out by pretending to empathize with him and then icicling him. Way to not be a victim!

And I'm starting to actually like Sylar! What can I say, they're doing a convincing job of making him complex. And I didn't think they could make Angela Petrelli into a sympathetic character, but pitting her against her even scarier husband has done it for me. It was absolutely chilling the way he killed Adam and stripped Peter of his powers. And I love how he was using Matt's dad to project Lindermann at Nathan and Daphne. He's tremendously powerful AND scary-smart; that's just what we need for a really effective villain. I think I have to keep watching just to see what happens from here, even if a lot of the character arcs are bugging the hell out of me.

Speaking of which, I'm really hoping Claire learned her lesson this week, finally, and is going to stop going after bad guys that she is untrained to handle--but I suspect that instead she's just going to be emboldened by her success in defeating Puppetman (who, I must say, was an extremely effectively creepy villain, and it's hard to create two such different yet scary villains in one episode, so that's at least one thing the writing staff did right). Now if they could just stop turning my favorite characters into idiots or crazy people!!!

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
rsadelle
Oct. 21st, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
I loved the confirmation that it was John who killed Sarkassian - even Derek still thinks it was Sarah.

I liked the way that Catherine started to interact with Savannah. My thought on why they kept her alive is that they're testing to see if they can impersonate humans around those who knew the humans. I also loved Savannah interpreting her father's gesture as an attempt to hug her. That was so adorable!

Also interesting on the human-robot relations spectrum was Cameron. She was the first one to really get that John might be suicidal, and she spent the rest of the episode worrying (in a robot sort of way) about him.

I so loved the bit with Cameron and the other Terminator. The acting was just phenomenal - the way they were able to do the same movements together. Plus, then the theme of suicide carrying through with Cameron looking at the chip.
norwich36
Oct. 21st, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
As usual, my VCR clipped off the last minute of the program, so I saw all these reviews last night saying John had killed Sarkissian and I was very confused until I could watch the ending on Hulu this morning. But wow, that totally explains why he's so messed up.

I loved Cameron's observation that suicides often start as "accidents." And wow, you are right about Cameron v. the other Terminator. It was eerie and scary. Every week I am just more and more impressed at SG's performance.
rsadelle
Oct. 22nd, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
It does explain it, plus I think it works really well with the mytharc - Sarah doesn't kill humans, and it was that birthday that brought home to John what being the leader of the resistance is going to mean.

Interestingly, I read John's "accident" as not an accident. My first thought was that he was doing it to give him an excuse to go see the therapist, and then when that wasn't what was going on, I was thinking maybe it was a half-hearted suicide attempt. I love that Cameron's the advocate for him going to see the therapist for real.

I actually didn't find Cameron and the other terminator scary so much as it was a good illustration of how the terminators aren't human - they all have the same movements. (Which is also a nice contrast to the way we often see Cameron showing flashes of humanity.) But on the creepy note, I love how they used the ominous terminator theme with Catherine Weaver.
norwich36
Oct. 22nd, 2008 05:47 am (UTC)
Oh, I had the exact same thought about John's accident--I can't imagine he would clean a loaded gun any more than one of the Winchesters would.

What I found scary--or probably creepy is a better word--was Cameron twisting her into a pretzel. That really wigged me out.
rsadelle
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
I thought the pretzel twisting was awesome.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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