This Week on Heroes – Cold Wars

Spoilers for this episode below!

My overall impression of “Cold Wars”: meh.

The promos for this episode implied that we’d be getting all new insights into Noah Bennet’s character, but it all comes down to the same old whose-side-is-he-really-on question, and all Noah himself has to say is that he’s comfortable with morally gray. Nothing new there.

In fact, we didn’t learn much of anything at all this episode. We knew that Noah was working with Nathan, and that Danko was increasingly in charge of the operation. We knew that Nathan is driven by self-interest with intermittent bouts of familial affection. We knew that Angella Petrelli isn’t the sort to stand back and let her sons take over all the action. We even knew that Mohinder has questionable ethics and loyalties, that Peter is pretty good at pointing guns at people and bad at actually firing them in an effective way (which is a pretty good metaphor for Peter’s effectiveness generally as well as a factual statement about his history with firearms and standoffs), and that Matt is rapidly heading villainwards in his quest for revenge.

Heroes DVD The only revelations in this episode, as near as I can tell, are that Danko is a workaholic –which, while an interesting character note, isn’t really enough to fill an hour of programming – and that Daphne is alive.

I’m excited about that last thing, with reservations. I really like Daphne. I think she’s an interesting character, and I was super-pissed when she got shot. Not only because it was one more incident of a female character getting fridged in order to advance an emotional arc for a male character, and not only because it meant one fewer female hero out there in the increasingly man-dominated super-world, but also because I was personally very attached to the character.

But I totally hate the contrived-feeling relationship between Daphne and Matt, and now that Daphne is actually alive and Matt knows it, I have a feeling that there’s going to be a Romantic Rescue, and the thought makes me gag. And not only is Daphne still serving as an effective woman-in-a-refrigerator for Matt, but she’s suddenly become leverage for Mohinder, too, as a helpless innocent who he will feel pressured to protect.

Do. Not. Want.

“Cold Wars” had gorgeous visuals. Those dissolves between present and past and the sharp black-and-white footage were beautiful. And it had some very fine acting, with really nuanced delivery coming from actors working in tiny sets with very little action to break up the space between lines of dialogue. But the story wasn’t worth the effort. And the myopic focus on a bunch of dudes who are becoming increasingly less sympathetic and interesting doesn’t bode well. Daphne’s alive! Huzzah! Now, where’s the episode that’s all about her?

What are your thoughts about this episode, and the volume so far? What did I miss, and what did you notice?


  1. Aiden says

    Yay for Daphne being alive! But boo that all we saw was two quick shots of her gasping like a fish. I’m stoked that she’s back, but I’m also fearing a Romantic Rescue of some kind. The thought annoys me not only for the reasons you’ve mentioned, but also for purely practical ones – Daphne’s power is so much more useful as an escape tool than Matt’s, but I’m betting she’ll still need him to save her for some contrived reason.

    This episode was pretty much filler – we didn’t learn anything new and the plot wasn’t advanced in any significant way. Lazy writing.

  2. says

    Aiden: Yeah, totally. It’s super-frustrating that the female characters with active powers (as opposed to regeneration and precognitive dreams, which, while pretty awesome, are kind’ve passive in essence) keep winding up in situations where they’re unable to use them. I mean, challenges are important for character development and dramatic tension, but it’s no fun if the character has no chance to address the challenges herself.

    Again, I feel like the overall best solution for this would be to have more female heroes in the cast, so that we could balance out imprisoned Tracy and Daphne with active, resistance-fighter Whoever (in addition to Claire, I suppose), the way that imprisoned Mohinder is balanced by active Peter, Matt, and Ando (and non-powered Hiro, too).

  3. says

    I don’t like ANY of the women characters on Heroes these days (but then, the men don’t fare much better).

    Claire still has weird daddy issues and a foster dad whose attachment to her is exaggerated beyond what he seems to feel for his biological son and sends out even stranger sexual vibes when she’s around Peter, her uncle (thank heavens they’ve separated them onscreen!).

    Tracy is…the ice cold scheming blonde, and I don’t see much personality to her beyond that.

    Daphne is funky, but what does a sharp woman like her SEE in someone as passive and whiny as Matt? And I refuse to idolize thieves.

    Angela Petrelli is complex (the only complex female character on the show) but not exactly *likable* nor trustable.

    And the other female characters were on for such short arcs and then dismissed I can’t even remember their names–only that I wish they were still around. Underuse of Micah’s grandmother, anyone?

  4. SunlessNick says

    Micah’s grandmother was never given a name, so you’re not forgetting. I’m not sure that the wireless woman who contacted Ted Sprague was either.

  5. says

    gategrrl: Yeah, it does seem that the most promising female characters are the ones that are only around for a couple episodes. Boo!

    SunlessNick: Micah’s grandmother is called “Nana,” but whether that’s her actual first name or a familial name isn’t made clear on the show. Wireless’s name is Hana Gitelman, which I know comes up in the comics, but I can’t remember if she introduced herself to Ted by anything other than Wireless.

    Regardless, actually naming characters does seem to be sort of a recurring problem with Heroes, huh?

  6. SunlessNick says

    I don’t know, they seem to name their white men quite reliably. I wonder why that could be.

    Micah’s grandmother is called “Nana”

    This might be a British thing, but “Nana” or “Nanna” is what we call our grandmothers; it never occurred to me that it could be an actual name.

  7. says

    SunlessNick: Yeeeah. Did you feel like calling that one escapee from Level 5 “The German” was kind’ve a “hah hah, see what we did there?” moment, or was that just me?

    “Nana” can mean grandmother in the US, too, but it can also be a first name. Not a very common one, though.

  8. Torri says

    as well as the bad handling of female characters and stuffing them in the fridge I’m getting less and less interested because of the show’s slide towards cynicism on The- Sliding-Scale-Of-Idealism-Versus-Cynicism. It started off with a pretty nice balance but ever since they’ve been trying so hard to get rid of any characters with real moral integrity and prove that no-one-is-really-good-everyone-is-a-bit-of-an-ass.
    And that’s become really boring, I no longer like any of the character I started out liking, once the writers decided to darken them up they really made them assholes and they stopped being likable. I really used to like Peter and Mohinder in season one because they were always trying to do the right thing and stood up to corruption, I miss that!
    …I miss Eve!

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