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RERUN REVIEW: Heroes 1×01-1×12 “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World”

Written by Alex Reale

I never had the time to watch Heroes back when it was on TV since I was usually working in the evenings. I caught a few episodes once in a while, but I didn’t understand most of what I was hearing. Regardless, it was neat seeing characters’ powers on the small-screen here and there. With Heroes Reborn coming out in a few short months, I figured it was time I sat down and actually watched Heroes.

Rather than reviewing each episode or each season separately, we’re going to look at the various story arcs, the first of which is “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World”. I think it would ultimately make more sense to examine these storylines on an individual basis since they each feature their own rising actions, falling actions, climaxes, and all the other basic elements of a good plot. It almost makes me wonder why Heroes didn’t separate seasons according to these stories, but I digress.

First off, this show really reminds me of Lost and the movie Unbreakable. Even from the pilot episode, you’ll notice the tiny connections that each character has with one another. One character is sleeping with another, or these other characters are related somehow. The connections are endless, and they only get deeper as the story progresses. I can’t pinpoint just one core character since everyone has their moment to shine. However, if I had to pick a central person to revolve the show around, I’d pick either Peter Petrelli or Hiro Nakamura.

We discover that Peter can essentially absorb other people’s powers and temporarily use them as his own. In the beginning, you assume he just has the power of flight, but as the story progresses, you see him catching other abilities in his wake. Actor Milo Ventimiglia is okay in the role; he seems to be a bit of an over-actor. I figured this was just his acting style after witnessing his performance in Rocky Balboa, but it feels a bit unnatural. It gets better as the series progresses, and I’ll admit he has decent chemistry with Adrian Pasdar, who plays his brother.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Hiro Nakamura played by Masi Oka. I love Hiro. He’s charming, he’s funny, he’s dorky; what’s there not to like about him? Actually, I guess one of his flaws is Ando, his reluctant and untrusting companion. I disliked Ando right from the beginning. There was something about him that just annoyed me; probably the fact that his reluctance slowed down Hiro’s mission and made the story slug along. I figured he was only going to make a small guest appearance, but it looks like he’s here to stay for the long-haul. I’ve been told he gets better. Eh. Maybe he does. For now, I’m just annoyed with him.

There are other actors who deserve credit as well, like Sendhil RamamurthyAli Larter, and Greg Grunberg, but so far, they haven’t had enough chance to shine (aside from Ramamurthy, who I thought was going to be the main character, but his absence in some episodes has made me skeptical). I can’t find any real complaints with the casting choices. This may sound weird, but I think Mr. Bennet would’ve been better played by Kiefer Sutherland instead of Jack Coleman. I know that sounds strange, but that’s what the role feels like to me.

Oh, and while I was looking up that information about Noah Bennet, I came across a pretty big spoiler about him, so thanks for that, Internet.

Speaking of the Bennets, Noah’s daughter is THE cheerleader referred to in the story title. Claire Bennet (portrayed by Hayden Panettiere) is your average preppy cheerleader at the local high school. She’s pretty normal, except for the fact that she’s virtually immortal. We see multiple instances of her getting severely hurt throughout the story, from having her head twisted around 180-degrees to suffering a branch impaling the back of her head. No big deal; her body can regenerate itself in a matter of seconds. Looks like Wolverine has a daughter we didn’t know about (and it’s not X-23!).

I can’t properly explain what exactly Claire’s role in the show is at this point. We know that she has to be saved, but what does it have to do with the end of the world? We know who she’s being saved FROM, but not why her death must be prevented at all costs. The show brings up a good point, though: what kind of statement is “Save the cheerleader, save the world”? Is it “If you save the cheerleader, then you save the world”, or is it “Save the cheerleader, then save the world afterwards”? Does saving the world depend on saving the cheerleader first? At this point, we have no idea what it all means. Please, please, please let them clear this up before the end of the season. Don’t dangle it in front of us for too long.

As you can tell by now, Heroes requires your utmost attention. You can’t keep it on as background noise and still understand what’s going on. This isn’t a Marvel movie or the like. You have to listen to every word that is exchanged. Everything is a clue or a hint or a connection. If you miss one episode, you are lost. If you miss a scene involving a particular character, then forget it. I can only imagine what kind of frustration people went through before Netflix. I rewind all the time to catch things but I’m still left confused half the time.

The first story arc ended on a hell of a cliffhanger. I couldn’t wait. I had to start the next episode right away. I wanted to make sure I got this review done quickly so that I wouldn’t start mixing my stories together. That being said, “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” was an awesome beginning to Heroes, and I hope it only gets better from here!

Final Grade: A –

+ The show is addicting as hell. 

+ All the characters are well-developed and excellently portrayed by the actors and actresses.

+ The way the characters are all connected is fascinating, and you can’t help but feel excited whenever you catch a hint.

– Ando is annoying.

– Nothing against the show, but I’m mad that I found that spoiler!

Extra Thoughts:

– Are there more heroes out there who we have yet to see? Or have we met the entire cast already?

 

How did you feel about the “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” story arc on Heroes? Any questions that were never answered? Tell us what you think in the comments or on  Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!