I’ll say one thing about consistency on this show: they continue to present me with female after female who I do not like, one bit. At one point during Elle’s pouty little tramp act, I thought, “Man, even Shatner doesn’t chew scenery this much.” Then I imagined Shatner giving Peter a haircut and... I digress again, but the mental image was more entertaining than anything else in this episode.
I felt like they were trying to have the same effect with Elle as they did with Sylar. Remember Sylar? Last year we spent 9 episodes seeing him as a terrifying shadow, murderous and evil, and then when we finally saw him in person…he was just a skinny dork, who had the same feeling of special destiny as Peter but was broken. It was what opened me up to seeing some good still remaining deep inside him, and made him feel three-dimensional. Well, it felt like they were trying to do all that with Elle in one single episode. And it didn’t work. When she told her childhood sob story, I actually said aloud, “Whatever, bitch, now get the fuck off my screen.”
Also, I read Greg Beeman’s blog description of what they were trying to “do” with the character, but I still don’t feel anything. I don’t care that she grew up in a Company facility; she had to have seen from the staff around her that rubbing your tits all over the “patients” is not appropriate behavior. (OK, perhaps that is unfair of me; for all I know, maybe one of the side benefits of being locked up by the Company is having staff rub their tits all over you.) (There's a Parkman joke in there somewhere, but I'm too tired to make it.)
Elle’s performance really reminded me of the girls who lived in Batchelder dorm in my quad in college (which we referred to as “Bitchholder”, sometimes to their faces, such was our contempt for them). It was an all-girls dorm, and the horniest residents would come over to my co-ed dorm and drape themselves over the guys in the lounge, in much the same way that Elle was fondling Peter. Everyone in my dorm--guys included--looked at those girls with a mixture of disgust and pity, and did our best to ignore them until they finally felt some shame and went away. That’s exactly how I feel about Elle: I suppose I feel embarrassed for her for being so pathetically obvious, but I don’t want to befriend her and give her advice, I just want her to go be pathetic somewhere else.
You know who else Elle reminds me of? Candice, if she were a psychopath instead of fat. That same smug, preening, I-think-I-am-the-awesomest-thing-evah attitude. Way to create an original character! And if Elle really is a psychopath as she smilingly claimed to be, then there’s no way to make her likable, since she can never be trusted. That adds to the one-dimensional feel of the character.
Also I would like to point out that one of the questions the commercials promised would be answered in 4MA was, “Who is Elle?” (True story: when they said that, it took me several seconds to remember Elle was even on the show. That’s how unimpressed I was by the character in her initial outing.) However, I still don’t feel like I “know” anything about Elle. She called someone ‘Daddy’ on the phone, but her little speech kind of sounded like the Company took her away from her family as a child, so nothing was cleared up there. And I also already knew she minced around and annoyed people from her previous appearance. I guess I do have a bit more backstory, which, for all I know, is a lie told to manipulate Peter, and which didn't make her the slightest bit sympathetic to me. Great. Whatever.
Elle got off on the wrong foot with me simply because NBC shoved Kristen Bell down our throats enough that, even though I used to be a Veronica Mars fangirl, I now cringe when I see a picture of KB. (And KB hasn't helped matters, with her seemingly non-stop mugging and clowning. Just smile and let them take a damn photograph, okay?) I tried...tried...tried to keep a little piece of my mind non-closed. But frankly, at this point, I'm just praying that the promised re-writes of Volume 3 will give Elle the same fate as Candice. Except...Candice died pretty quietly. Could Elle scream in terror and pain? Just a little?
Finally, a question I've been asking myself for weeks: if Elle is a psychopath who the Company knows can’t be trusted to behave decently, why was she allowed to go after Peter in Ireland alone in the first place? I feel like this means one of two things: despite its alleged power, the Company is shockingly stupid...or the writers just went, "Say, that would be a totally kewl way to introduce the character!" and didn't think things through. I don't like either one of those options. But if Elle will get the hell off my TV screen after episode 11, I'm willing to forget about them.
Adam Monroe / Takezo Kensei (warming up)
Elle (die die die)
Peter Petrelli (nicer than you'd expect from me)