Heroes – episode 17

“Company Man”

Easily the best episode of Heroes in a long time, if ever. Heck, I even teared up at the end. I was able to watch it twice in two days!

Spoilers!

One storyline, easy to recap!

Matt and Ted hold up the Bennet family.
Bennet reflects on his history at the company, from his first assignment with Claude as his partner, to the day that Mr. Nakamura gave him Claire on the condition that he surrender her should she “manifest”, to his first run in with the Haitian, to the day that he had to “retire” Claude for hiding “one of them”, to the day that he told Claire that she was adopted.
In the present day, Bennet convinces Matt to shoot Claire so that Ted won’t shoot Mrs. Bennet (here revealed to be “Sandra”), and then the two of them go to Primatech, where they collect the Haitian and some tranquillisers. Upon arrival at the Bennet house, Bennet’s superior – Thompson – bursts in and shoots Ted, triggering a chain reaction. Claire suffers the brunt of the radiation in order to stop Ted from exploding, and the Bennet family holds each other as Mr. Bennet realises that there’s no way to cover up Claire.
With Matt and Ted under observation at Primatech, the blame for the non-disclosure of Claire’s ability falls to the Haitian, who has gone missing. Bennet tells Thompson that he’s going to bring Claire in right away. He drives her to the same bridge that he shot Claude at, where he meets the Haitain. Bennet and Claire finally reaffirm their love, and Bennet follows this with a request for the Haitian to go deep and take anything that could lead them to her.

Complete character arc! I loved when Bennet became a morally ambiguous character, because it essentially coincided with Niki/Jessica becoming boring and bland. As Bennet’s character improved, the quality of the other characters degraded. It was almost all worth it for the power ballad that was “Company Man”.
We’ve got here a man who tried and failed to be emotionally distant. A man whose malevolent “my daughter is special!” behaviour never quite melded with the fact that his company would skin him alive for finding out that his daughter was special. He’s a man who graduated from being a generic HRG to being a dad whose duty of care sometimes got in the way of what was right.

Bennet turned out to be the sort of man who is too “soft” to work at a top-secret organization. Even when he had to shoot Claude, I got the impression that the first shot that he got off was simply an accident, as if he hadn’t expected to actually shoot his partner. Having done so the first time, he had to get on with the job. It’s at this point that he realises that shooting people perhaps isn’t as cool as it once seemed – and maybe he should give his daughter the love that she deserves?

Having the Haitian there was a stroke of genius because we get a credible scapegoat for the Claire Cover-Up Conspiracy™. The fact that he works for a higher power (my money’s on … I don’t know) is intriguing, and you have to wonder how the organization is going to inhibit and control people from now on. On that note, remember how bad Buffy got when it had exactly the same secret organisation in it? I of course, do not, because I blocked it out.
At any rate, Heroes managed to hit on one of the great sci-fi themes: memory. One of the saddest things that you can do to a character is erase all of their memories of a certain something. It made me cry almost every time in Fruits Basket, and well … it damn well did it here in Heroes.
Two of the best characters on the show – if you can call Claire “best” when she’s done such a good job of smug emo for the last however long – finally reconciling their feelings for each other, then having a perhaps permanent separation … that’s sad in anyone’s book.

I doubt that Bennet is gone from the series, but I have to wonder if we’re going to be “square one” with the character. I would like to think that instincts – instincts to be kind to people, and instincts to bring down the Man from within – are the sorts of things that you can’t erase.
Mr. Bennet, I love you. Keep on trucking.

Onto Bennet tangents! The God discussion in this episode was really weird, because no one on Heroes has shown any sign of being religious up until now. I suppose it’s not surprising that Odessa, Texas, would be a religious place (I forget how horribly secular entertainment has been rendered), but Claire has always struck me as the sort of girl who would rather cut herself and wonder why she doesn’t bleed rather than go to church. Mrs. Bennet, on the other hand … well, she’s got a dog whose name celebrates the fact that it bears no magical powers, so I guess I totally buy it.

Mr. Nakamura’s involvement as a high up in the organisation, necessitating its members speak allegedly fluent but realistically horrible Japanese, is also an intriguement.* Perhaps Mr. Nakamura wanted to throw Hiro off the scent of adventure because he would have to sacrifice his son if there was someone even bigger than him in the organisation. It would be far too contrived for Hiro to be an adopted hero, too.
I could be wrong, but I believe that this meeting took place atop the Deveaux building. Perhaps Shaft (can you dig it?) had something to do with the whole conspiracy, too? In which case, Simone might be spitting up bullets as we speak. I mean, we never questioned the fact that Bennet recognised the Deveaux building’s roof in the previous episode – so it just may be! Although it makes one note that, if this were the case, Claude has been hiding himself in plain, albeit invisible, sight.

Finally, Matt as Bennet’s partner? I’m all over that! Bennet finally gave Matt the validation as a character that he’s been lacking since Clea Duvall unceremoniously exited the series. If this eventuates, I can’t wait!

Heroes: exciting, but at what price? Thrilling answer to come next episode!

*Please note the deliberate made-upness of words on my part. I’m aiming to be the next Vanity Faire here.

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