Sunday, October 01, 2006

Possible Theory Regarding NBC's Heroes

Two posts in one evening, Gentle Reader. One would almost think I was procrastinating.

But as this has been rumbling about in my mind since last Monday, I thought I would let it roam free In The World At Large.

***Do understand that this may reveal spoilers for the pilot.***


In NBC's new drama, Heroes, one of the characters, Niki Sanders, is a single mother who made a Very Bad Decision by borrowing money from some unsavory ruffians. When said ruffians come forward to collect the money she doesn't have, and then demand that they be allowed to rape Niki to "lower her loan," Niki loses time. When she wakes, she discovers that the odd reflections that she has seen of herself in mirrors have, it seems, slaughtered said ruffians without Niki ever even knowing it.

Now this show is titled Heroes, yes? And what do Heroes never, ever do, Gentle Reader?

Correct. Heroes never, ever kill.

(Well, except they do sometimes. But that's another post.)

Let us look further at Niki Sanders and what we know of Hero Creation.

1) She is desperate to protect her family.
2) She is in financial ruin.
3) She has been sexually threatened.
4) Her superpower is uncontrollable, as in, she doesn't know how to use it. It acts on its own accord.
5) Said superpower *kills*.
6) Said superpower also has a selfish core; it does things solely for her benefit. As a replication of self, or a mirror-image of her basest desires, this is particularly interesting.
7) She allows said superpower to kill without turning herself in to the authorities (see Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Dead Things" for an example of how heroes are traditionally supposed to treat situations such as this).

Few of these things really scream Hero Creation, do they? But they should be familiar to us, Gentle Reader, because they scream Creation Of Another Kind.

My theory, therefore, is that the character of Niki Sanders is not a burgeoning hero, but rather, a burgeoning villain.

Many, many villains are reluctant villains (again, I point to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the character of Faith), and many turn to the dark side for lesser reasons than these. And many villains begin their track on the dark side because they make Very Bad Decisions in trying to protect someone they love.

Just a theory, Friends. Any takers?

11 Comments:

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, it's tricky. Because the 'heroes don't kill' thing is primarily an artifact of comic books, and Saturday morning cartoons.

But in movies, heroes, including superheroes, almost always kill. An incomplete list of movies in which the superheroes kill, or are involved in the deaths of, villains:

Superman II
Superman Returns
Batman
Batman Forever
The Incredibles
X-Men
Spider-Man
X2

I don't think we have enough information yet about superhero TV for grownups to know which side of this line it's going to come down on.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Matthew,
Of course you're right re: "heroes don't kill" as a mantra of the comics. I think I was mainly considering Heroes a comic book superhero adaptation. There seems to be some suggestion of comic books in the pilot (the paintings, the character of Hiro) and I was curious to see if they would go that route.

I think your list of movies (to which I'd add a personal favorite, Unbreakable) for the most part presents heroes who try to prevent the accidental death of a villain, and ultimately fail (the "oh no! grab my hand!" moment of the movie). As you say, superheroes involved in the death of villains.
What really struck me about Niki's character, and kind of sparked this idea in my mind is that her *superpower* kills. It acted out on the basest instincts, survival, being high on the list.

Now, of course I don't fault her or blame her in any way for protecting herself. Never think that! But I am curious to see how her character develops.

Of course, you're also absolutely right that we don't have enough information yet. But I'm very, very curious about tonight's episode! :)
Thanks, as always, for your intelligent and insightful comments.
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Fanboy said...

With only oine episode aired, I can't really make a guess. However, when I was reading your list in your post, one word popped into my mind -- Phoenix. I know it's not the best analogy but it resonated a bit with me.

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
You said, With only oine episode aired, I can't really make a guess. However, when I was reading your list in your post, one word popped into my mind -- Phoenix. I know it's not the best analogy but it resonated a bit with me.

I'm not as well versed in X-Men mythology as I should be, so I really don't know the origin of Phoenix (and X3 certainly didn't help!). Could you explain to me how she fits into this scenario?

And you and Matthew are certainly right; there is only one episode aired, so it is too early to start making huge leaps and bounds. But as I am ever the girl who jumps in with both feet without stopping to test the waters... ;)
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger Fanboy said...

It's really not the best analogy. But there was an interplay between Jean and Dark Phoenix over which personality would take control (even X3 played that up). My point is just as easily made when talking about people with multiplem personalities who often aren't aware of what the other persona does or things. Perhaps that character has something akin to MPD going on with her, resulting in her blackouts. Or perhaps she's hypoglycemic and justs needs to up her blood sugar.

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger Fanboy said...

So after watching last night's episode I am going to take your theory one step further. What if her powers are burgeoning so she will be the yin to the serial killer (Skyler?) yang. Kind of like two opposiung forces in constant battle. She's not overtly "good" but perhaps a counterbalance to his Chaos.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Jennifer R said...

I agree with you. I thought, "How on earth is having a killer reflection something that would help save the world?" Oh, wait, it isn't.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Jennifer,
You said, I agree with you. I thought, "How on earth is having a killer reflection something that would help save the world?" Oh, wait, it isn't.

Not so much, huh?

But there are possibilities that I'm holding out for. I just fear that her desperation that led her to do anything to raise money and save her child will automatically equate to evil in the writers' minds. i.e. just because she's taking her clothes off for money doesn't mean she's evil or bad or has the propensity to be a villain, but some may read her that way, or even write her that way.

Although they could do *so much* with her as a villain. I adore the reluctant villain as much as I adore the tragic hero; give me oddities any day, apparently! :)

We'll cross our fingers and wait and see!
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
I'm not ignoring you; promise! It's just a Very Busy Week for me, *and* we lost power in several counties last night, so I haven't had the chance to watch Heroes yet. So I'm not reading your comment until I sit down with my DVR and watch the episode, so I remain unspoilered.

Until then, I can offer you a sonnet. Would you like a sonnet? Perhaps a villanelle?

Ciao,
Amy

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
You said, My point is just as easily made when talking about people with multiplem personalities who often aren't aware of what the other persona does or things.

Hmm, perhaps one side of her becomes evil, and the other must fight it? The classic internal struggle brought to the forefront? That would be brilliant.

Perhaps that character has something akin to MPD going on with her, resulting in her blackouts. Or perhaps she's hypoglycemic and justs needs to up her blood sugar.

Perhaps we should get her a cheesecake. I believe everything can be solved with cheesecake. And hey look, also helps low blood sugar! :)

The blackouts are quite interesting; perhaps what she's seeing is sort of a repressed memory? She's seeing glimpses of herself in the mirror that are actually memories, or perhaps precog images?
Arg! Need to watch Heroes!
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 5:36 PM, Blogger Fanboy said...

No worries. I got your email.

Pardon my ignorance, but what's villanelle. I know I could look it up, but I suspect your definition will be better.

And yes, cheesecake cures most things. In the 1890s, I am sure it was used to clear up bouts of consumption.

 

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