It probably comes as no surprise that I didn't enjoy Ando's saving-a-damsel-in-distress plot. Hope was such a caricature. And ultimately I was happy to see Ando heading home. However, I did find their 'break-up' scene quite touching, despite myself. I'm sad for Hiro that his rosy vision of partnership has been marred. But I do think Ando was a liability and I had been wondering if the show would choose to show that Hiro needed to 'go it alone' at some point in time, as part of his heroic journey.
Oh, how I love Claire! And what a tough time she is having. I liked that Claire's real mother proved to be superficially kind but flaky underneath, whereas Nathan on the surface seems like the colder of the two, but would actually be more loving and supportive in the longterm. At least if we believe Nathan's mother when she says that he's a sap, which I do. I do think he was emotionally affected by hearing that his child had survived, but his political instincts and his upbringing have taught him that the right way to handle such things is to offer money. Money that Claire didn't care about but her mother did.
I loved Claire's determination to see her father and Nathan's fear of seeing the photograph. I want those two to meet so desperately now! That moment where Claire hears Nathan say 'you did fine', confirming that he didn't want to see her, was so heartbreaking--but words are not the whole truth, because we saw him battling his emotions, presumably remembering his mother's appeal to put 'the people that really matter' (his 'real' family) first. That's a good way to appeal to Nathan because he has such a strong drive to protect them, and they're already under so much strain. I loved Claire's rage at that, and her throwing a rock at his car.
It was awful seeing Claire's adopted mother's deteriorating mental state. And I found the way this pushed Claire into confronting her father really moving and convincing. She loves her mother so much, she stops caring about protecting herself from her father. As much as I find what Mr Bennett is doing to his wife repulsive, I still find him a very compelling character--he genuinely believes he is protecting his family and that makes him even more dangerous. His love for them is frightening--he's one extreme of the spectrum of characters protecting their families in ways that cross lines.
Matt was becoming more sympathetic to me, having told his wife what was going on. However, just as I was starting to get into his character, he pockets those diamonds and loses me again... I don't find him sympathetic because he continually makes bad decisions, and now he's back lying to his wife again. Aarrrghh. I can see that they've established that he's got low self-esteem, but stealing diamonds is not going to help with that! However, it does make him similar to other characters who we see battling to protect their family. Matt says he's worried about making enough money for his family. And we've seen Nikki, DL and Micah use their powers to help their family survive too.
Hannah is interesting. It makes sense that someone's response to being kidnapped would be vendetta, not just fear. And by contacting others that have gone through the same experience, she is dragging them along in her wake. I really like the way different groups are trying to tackle the problem in different ways--Mohinder tracing people on the list, Sylar collecting brains, Mr Bennett tagging people, Hannah & Co. confronting him. And hopefully it will prompt some revelations.
As fun as Peter's training has been, I have some reservations with his ongoing plot line. Now that we know he absorbs the powers of others permanently, the danger is that he'll become Superman-like in his scope. I dislike this personally because I never liked the idea of Peter as The Chosen One. But I also think it could be a dramatic mistake for the show. Peter could become too powerful so that there is little suspense left. And it means it's less necessary for an ensemble 'showdown'. It's important that the show keeps throwing obstacles in Peter's way, so I was glad that he lost his mentor, especially through his own thoughtlessness. I want Peter to grow as a person, not just in his control of his powers.
So, it seems that the characters I most dislike on this show get killed! First Eden, now Simone. Although Simone may yet rally round to continue being a starry-eyed and annoying idealist a little longer. She annoyed me so much in the scene with Nathan--could she BE any more stupid? Does she really care about either of her boyfriends? Because that's a surefire way to bring down trouble for both of them. And she seems to be bouncing back and forth between Isaac and Peter like a yo-yo--which is no way to inspire my sympathy.
However, her shooting bothered me for other reasons. I didn't like that it was Isaac who caused her death. Especially because I think it will distract from the fact that Peter was completely out of control in that scene--he threw Isaac across a room! He's becoming very very dangerous, and his arrogance is allowing him to act out in anger, no doubt in love with his new power. Isaac thinks he's doing the right thing--I believe that he's motivated not just by jealousy but also in an attempt to prevent the nuclear disaster that he has foreseen. Approaching Mr Bennett is dangerous--it literally puts a gun in Isaac's hand--but it wasn't Isaac who escalated the situation into an open conflict, and he was clearly hesitating to shoot until Peter started goading him. The touch I really hated was Simone's hand opening on the key, since that's another stab at Isaac--he insisted on her keeping it, which leads to her entering without knocking, straight into the middle of the fight. Isaac doesn't need this baggage. Peter does. So I'm pissed that this will probably just make Peter be even more self-righteous and angry. I really hope he does some long hard thinking about the way he's partly to blame too.
Suddenly Sylar seems a whole lot more hip. He didn't really have a character to me before, even once we learnt his background--the nerdy watchfixer was a little hard to relate to. I started enjoying him in the scene with the metal-melter, and once he hooked up with Mohinder I found him more and more enjoyable to watch. For starters, I just love the creepiness of him using Mohinder to get to the others on the list. And it means that Mohinder's ridiculous naivety is actually a plotpoint--it's amusing and/or chilling, rather than just frustrating. It also makes Sylar more interesting--he preys on the innocence of others.
And he's unbelievably convincing at playing innocent himself, as we saw with his performance in front of Mohindar for Dale. I really liked Dale as a character, although her power was a little far-fetched (moods have a sound? Fear I can buy--racing heart--but how would other moods 'sound'?). I loved her line 'Damn! that was my best wrench!' though, and found her a really compelling guest actor.
And could Mohindar be any more dense? Dale spoke of having headaches and suddenly Zane is experiencing them too? Put. The. Pieces. Together.
Next time, I request more Nathan! And I'm looking forward to Jessica-Nathan showdown in the offing too.