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Heroes – Company Man

February 27th, 2007

Best episode yet. Got some juicy backstory on HRG, aka Mr. Bennet. Didn’t follow all the rest of the characters, just Matt, Ted, HRG, Claire and family, but that doesn’t mean that some other connections weren’t made. Stop reading here, unless you’ve seen last night’s episode.

All season we’ve suspected that HRG was involved in some conspiracy relating to the new people manifesting powers. He was in Papa Suresh’s apartment at the same time as Mohinder, rode in Mohinder’s cab, and was connected with just about every character we’ve been watching. Sometimes he’d be holding a gun, other times in a lab. Remember when we found out that he was Claire’s father how that was an episode ending cliff-hanger. Last night we finally got some juicy HRG backstory, and the cliff hanger left us rooting for the guy (like I’d been suspecting all series).

But first lets recap. We left off last night with Ted and Matt joining forces to confront HRG and find out how he changed them, and gave them his powers. At least that is what Matt and Ted suspect, thanks to the bad information that Hana (codename Wireless, can surf the net in her head) put in Ted’s brain. Watching we’ve known that HRG hasn’t done anything to create super-powers in people, just that he’s involved with many of them, and has a protective streak for his insta-healing daughter. But Ted and Matt have it in their mind that HRG did this to them, and maybe he can undo it. Ted also wants to exact a bit of revenge for his wife’s death, wants to blame someone other than himself. You know, stages of grief, yadda yadda.

Claire’s been suspecting her father for a few episodes of ‘doing’ this too her, and of ruining her mother’s mind. Which I still blame Sylar for playing telekenetic handball with Mrs. Bennet a couple of episodes back. So she’s isn’t 100% behind her dad going into tonight’s episode.

Ted melts the backdoor into radioactive slug, and Matt and he break in and start going through HRG’s computer. Matt wants to do this the old fashioned way and bag this guy with evidence, and law enforcement. Ted convinces him the only way to go is to take hostages and get information. So the HRG family, is taken hostage with Nuclear Boy and a gun. See, Ted is bad-ass and doesn’t need a gun, he glows. This whole episode is all about keeping Ted calm. HRG tells Ted he doesn’t know who he is, and I think he’s telling the truth. I can’t remember all of Ted’s backstory, but I don’t think he’s run into HRG before. HRG says he’s just a paper salesman, and Ted gets all up in his hornrims and tells him he’s not.
Cue LOST backstory swoosh… ooops sorry, maybe not, got confused with the focusing in on the eye thing. Anyhoo, a flashback number one coming!

I like how Heroes puts flashbacks in black and white, and we also get time cues, maybe the LOST producers should take notes. Fifteen years ago, Mr. Bennet is answering, “Wildly optimistic,” to the question posed by Eric Roberts (of Julia’s older brother fame) of, “How do you feel about the paper business?” He’s won the job as regional manager for Primatech paper, in Odessa, Texas, just beating out Michael Scott, who’ll be banished to Scranton, Pennslyvania. It’s a cover job, so he already knows a bit about what ‘the organization’ does. And this is what these silly serial drama do best, answer a question by asking a bunch of other questions, and we get drawn deeper into the net. What is the organization, who is Mr. Roberts (since we never get a name for the guy)?

Mr. Bennett says, “People are fragile, like teacups.” I just love the way that line is delivered, and that also explains many of HRG’s actions in how he goes about his job of identifying and tagging those that have manifested powers. He also says, “I’m comfortable with morally gray,” which describe the other half of HRG’s actions. To do his job however, he’ll need a partner, one of them. Wow, the invisible man, another name we don’t know, but we call Claude, for his off-the-cuff remark to Peter in present times to call him, “Claude Raines” That is right, Peter’s muse was first Mr. Bennett’s partner in the organization. To help us digest that piece of the puzzle, the flashback stops, and we’re back in the Bennett house, and Ted is looking for answers.

Matt and Ted are sure that Bennett has changed them, and made them who they are, and then makes them forget what happened. Matt goes into freaky mind reading mode, and realizes that the Haitian didn’t wipe Claire’s mind, and Matt tell HRG that all he needs to do to keep people safe is to tell the truth. HRG, puts on a Col Jessup mask and says I am telling the truth. Ted goes all Tom Cruise, and starts his hands a’glowing, and says, “No THIS is the TRUTH” Begging a whole new thread of memories that the Haitian will have to pull from Mrs. Bennett’s brain. Claire gives up her father, and tells Matt he’s not just a paper salesman.

After the opening credits, Matt takes Claire into interrogation, and starts questioning her, telling her that her Dad did it to him. Claire asks truthfully, “It didn’t just happen?” Matt says he wouldn’t be here if it didn’t just happen. Matt reflects on the weird stuff at Claire’s school and Claire thinks of (Uncle) Peter Petrelli, and Matt’s hears the thought and remembers that Peter can do what he can do, and Claire thinks he can do what I can do. They agree that Peter is different. Matt realizes that Peter asked him to protect Claire, and asks her if she is different? She confesses in her thoughts that she can heal, then asks out loud, “Did my Dad do this too me?” Which engages the warp drive, and we’re back in time, on Isaac’s roof.

14 years ago, and Bennett and Claude are asking questions about the little orphan Annie. They were supposed to bag a little ‘firestarter’ (see the Heroes graphic novel, for that story), but something went wrong, and now there is an infant. The baby is held by… duh duh DUH, Hiro’s father, and Hiro is there, playing a Gameboy! Ultra cool. They talk in Japanese for a bit, so HRG is fluent, and Hiro’s dad tell Bennett he will raise the child, and if she manifests powers he’ll return the girl to the organization. Hiro gets called to leave by his dad, and does the patented Hiro glasses push as he gets up to follow Dad of the roof. Claude comes out and tells Mr. Bennett ‘Happy Father’s Day’ in Japanese.

Back in Odessa, Matt is trying to talk sense to Ted, but Ted… well Ted and sense have never been really close friends, so Ted wants answers out of HRG, and don’t confuse answers with truth, because Ted can’t handle the truth. He wants a way to explain his wife’s death, and that ain’t gonna come. We start to realize this isn’t going to end nicely. HRG isn’t just fluent in Japanese, he can think in Japanese too. Bennett tries to confuse the dynamic duo of Matt and Ted, and goes for a gun hidden in the mantle, it all goes wrong, and Ted is about to shoot Mrs. Bennett. HRG thinks to Matt to shoot Claire, to end the stand-off because she can heal. Which Matt does and then ensues some more mind-thinking from HRG to Matt, and they move Claire upstairs where she can heal without anyone knowing that she wasn’t killed. Upstairs, Claire coughs up a bullet (heh!) and asks about her Mom and brother. Matt assumes that HRG made Claire this way, and finally HRG comes up with a bit of truth saying, “I didn’t make ANYONE, you don’t have all your facts straight, and I don’t appreciate you confusing my daughter!” Woo, go HRG! Cue, the Father-Daughter talk, and Matt plays counselor and backs up HRG’s story. HRG tells Claire to do what he say, and YOU! (Matt) do what I think! cool.

Matt tries to get Ted out of the house and to the paper company. Telling Ted to go, and Matt will stay with the family. Ted won’t have any of that, he likes the comfort of home, and will stay with the wife and kids. Which cues up another HRG flashback.

Sill 14 years back, and HRG has been sloppy, and his wife found his gun. We get a bit of glimpse of Bennett’s ethic. He admits to Roberts that he doesn’t know what to do, to which Roberts replies, “Is that a new sensation for you Bennett?” (heh.) Roberts lays out an option and asks Bennett what he would do, Bennet replies, “I’d do what I always do, what I’m told. But that doesn’t answer my question.” Seriously, Jack Coleman rocks. Roberts also is awesome, how he smiles when he knows something that Bennett doesn’t know. Bennett gets introduced to the Haitian, who comes inside and starts his first of many Mrs. Bennett mind wipes.

HRG are in cahoots in getting Ted to relax, chemically if necessary. And HRG has put out the bat signal to the Haitian. Who comes down the hallway, and HRG confronts him with the knowledge that he knows he can talk (they thought the Haitian was mute), and that he’d better demonstrate the talent real fast now. The Haitian comes clean that he knows about Claire. HRG asks him why he countermanded the order to wipe Claire’s memories of her healing talent. Haitian replies he answers to someone above HRG. HRG says, “In this company?” Haitian says, “In your daughter’s life.”

Okay, this is a point to gather some threads. Claire is the orphaned child of Nathan Petrelli and his firestarter girlfriend. The company gave Claire to Bennett after they thought her mother perished in a fire that was started when Claude tried to take in her mother. So who does the Haitian answer to that is above HRG in Claire’s life?

Flashback – 7 years ago. Bennett and Claude are driving in the hills around Odessa (yeah, better not to ask…) looking for a security breach. Claude is the security breach, and HRG and Claude are having a talk about what Claude is doing, and about what HRG will do with Claire. Claude is hiding one of the other people that have manifested powers. Claude isn’t going to reveal who he’s hiding, which acts against the interests of the company. Claude tries to talk sense into HRG, pleading about Claire, then Bennett just up and shoots him. That seemed weird, like the trigger went off without HRG wanting it to. HRG puts a few more slugs into Claude, who goes invisible and falls off the bridge they are standing on.

Back to the present. Haitian, Matt and HRG are walking the hallowed halls of Primatech, arguing about the safety of Claire. HRG admits that he’s been hiding Claire for months, and the Haitian reminds him that those actions are the kind of things that will get HRG killed by men like HRG. Matt, always the man of reason, reminds them they have a ticking suitcase bomb back at the farm, and perhaps they might want to address that first. Matt says that know one will be safe until HRG gives Ted what he wants. But Matt, what Ted wants is his wife back, and that simply won’t happen.

Meanwhile, Claire slips out of the upstairs room, and goes to secure the release of her mom and brother. Ted searches upstairs and finds that Claire’s body has reanimated and disappears. Ted grabs Claire in a nuclear neck hold, that Claire thwarts with her healing power. Brother gets away, but mom and Claire are now under the watchful eye of Atomic Ted. Mom and daughter have a chummy heart to heart, and Ted starts counting on his fingers, puts two and two together and realizes that Matt, HRG and Claire make four (if you also count the Haitian…) and he’s screwed. On cue, Bennett and Matt walk in, and barter truth with Ted to release Mom and Claire. The Haitian comes in and grabs the girls and leaves, as Ted reads through his file. Ted was only giving off low levels of radiation, and given the choice of life, he let Ted live. Ted living makes Ted’s wife die, and so HRG is screwed no matter what. HRG says he’s sorry, and then Roberts (who invited HIM!?) shows up and says so is he, and pulls a gun, and fires a slug into Ted’s shoulder. Setting off a hot fusion reactor that Ted, in pain can no longer control. (got a glimpse of that when Claude was shot and disappeared, it seems the default hero setting is power on, and the subject has to control it to keep it from being on all the time) Cue the edge of seat climax of the Ted story line. HRG’s house is going up in flame, and HRG wants to try and save Ted by injecting him with tranquilizer. Matt and Roberts leave the house, and Claire goes back in to save HRG. HRG tries to get close to Ted, but he can’t get close enough. Matt comes in and takes HRG out, while Claire moves into tranq Ted. Awesome effect as Claire starts to burn, her face going all red and burnt (like Pheonix) as she approaches Ted, then walks out burnt to a crisp (except for her hair, which is flawless. To which Angie says, ‘AWESOME’!). She heals in front of Roberts and everything.

Back at Primatech, Roberts and Bennett are talking as the walk down the hall. Some more scheming between Haitian and HRG must have gone down and the ride back the the Bennett house, because Roberts thanks HRG for calling when he did. Roberts thinks the Haitian was hiding Claire the whole time, and that its too bad that HRG has to kill another partner. Ted is in Sylar’s cell, sedated, so the organization can do more tests. Matt is in another room, with some chick we haven’t seen before taking readings, that has some unspoken power. Roberts basically offers Matt as a new partner to HRG, and says the unnamed chick will help clean up the mess HRG made, and oh, by the way, when will Claire be visiting the best mutant clinic this side of the Mississippi?

HRG is driving Claire through the hills of Midland-Odessa (c’mon suspend reality a bit, please) having a heart to heart talk. Flashback to the time HRG told Claire she was adopted, and HRG is trying on glasses. In a fitting move Claire hands Bennett his trademark glasses, and tell Bennett that they make him look like her Dad. AWWW!
Back on the bridge where Claude was shot, the Haitian meets Bennett at the midpoint. This time the roles are reversed, and the Haitian pulls a gun. Bennett says goodbye, and the Haitian aims low, as Bennet points out that if he misses his mark, HRG is dead. HRG takes a slug in the gut, and then tell the Haitian to wipe his mind, taking any memories he has of the plot to save and hide Claire. Truly, Saving the Cheerleader. And the episode ends with a ‘To Be Continued…’

Some thoughts, we got some answers and many more questions. But it was great how they gave the backstory of HRG, and make him just as complex a character as we want him to be. The organization is now known to include Hiro’s father (which put him in the same lot as HRG a child with manifested powers), and at least know the face of a person above HRG in the organization, that is sure to include Linderman at some point. And NEXT WEEK, we are told, we will meet Linderman.

Great story and great episode.

UPDATE: Okay, we have to assume that there was some scheming on the ride back from Primatech, and the three players were Matt, Haitian and HRG. The result of this was a call to Roberts (which resulted in the shot that set off Ted). Also assume that the threads that ends with Haitian shooting and brain wiping HRG start on that car ride home. The entire sham to save Claire, and keep HRG safe, though shot on the side of the road. So, perhaps HRG entrusted Matt with some knowledge to fill him in on the other side. If Matt ends up partnering with HRG there could be some ‘very interesting’ things happening. Just keep that nugget in mind.

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