‘Heroes’: Hello, Daddy Issues

Making men forget that your eyes are up here: superpower?Photo: Courtesy of NBC

After three weeks of throat-clearing, Heroes finally remembered why we watch it last night. There wasn’t much action, besides the newest hero trying a wrestling move she learned from television. But the key to the show — and the reason we forgive its Crash-esque reliance on “coincidence” — has always been its grasp of destiny. The characters always seem stuck in predicaments foretold generations before. We’re not sure what creator Tim Kring’s childhood was like, but this show is racked with daddy issues. And the big takeaway this episode was that Parkman — whose bickering with roommate and co-dad Mohinder is beginning to resemble a fully clothed Tell Me You Love Me — is part of this chain, too.

The father who abandoned Parkman as a teenager might very well be the most evil human being in the universe. (No small feat with Sylar hanging around. And speaking of, we almost wouldn’t mind if he steals the saucy Guatemalan woman’s power: It would wrap up that story line quickly, and we’d still get the cool melting-eyes trick every week.) Still, as promising as the Parkman Searches for His Boogeyman Daddy thing seems, we’re concerned about the whole New Orleans–Katrina subplot. This episode was full of dunderheaded platitudes about the economy of the Gulf Coast, couched in the familiar language of our heroes trying to discover their true nature.

Katrina has been made into a lazy plot device in other shows, but here it’s particularly galling: It’s being used as yet another obstacle standing in the way of self-actualization. Life sure would be easier for those still displaced by the hurricane if they had superpowers! But now that Lt. Uhura’s household is chock-full of superheroes (this is the family we want to see living with Larry David), the cringiness isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. Maybe Parkman’s dad can adopt the family and invite them to come live in that poor little girl’s brain.

And now, the dopey Heroes line to end them all: “Nathan, just because you shaved doesn’t mean you’re clean and sober.” True … so true. —Will Leitch

‘Heroes’: Hello, Daddy Issues