“Heroes” fans just got “sweeps-ed”

If AfterEllen.com had a nickel for every time we wrote a blog post about lesbian plotline-turned ratings stunt, we’d be able to give every single reader ten copies of the entire L Word series and rent out U-Hauls for free. That’s a lot of nickels.

Spoiler warning: If you haven’t watched the episode yet, stop reading now.

Appropriately, in a move that disappointed many but shocked no one — especially during sweeps, where networks try to get their highest ratings — Heroes’ potential lesbian relationship between Claire Bear and Gretchen disappeared before our eyes like Becky Taylor on the kill.

Last night’s episode, “Shadowboxing,” opened with the aftermath of the sisterhood scavenger hunt gone Sorority Row and its repercussions on Claire and Gretchen.

Claire reasons, “Let’s just not tell anyone about this.” When she asks if Gretchen is OK, Gretchen snaps, “No, I’m not OK. Becky just tried to kill me.” Jeez, let’s not get so touchy with the hot blonde; she just saved your life.

Gretchen bemoans, “Why does Becky Taylor want me dead?” Maybe Becky is secretly a lesbian, too, and her trying to kill Gretchen and harassing Claire is her fifth grade attempt of showing a pretty girl that she’s in love — kind of like a little girl pulling another girl’s pig tails or putting a frog in her desk.

Claire decides that she needs to go back to the sorority house to find Becky. Gretchen is scared to be left alone in the room; besides, Becky pushed Claire’s last roommate out the window and can only want the same fate for her.

Claire tries to show mortal Gretchen some lame things she can do in case Becky is invisible in the room: baby powder sure does the trick. Instead of staying and protecting Gretchen from the bad guys, Claire won’t let Gretchen go with her and leaves her shaking in the room. C’mon, Claire, not even a hug goodbye for the terrified dyke in the dorm? Bad move.

At the sorority house, none of the sorostitutes remember the night before (“OMG, we’re gonna have a scavenger hunt?!”). Can you say memory erasing? We also find Claire Bear’s daddy, H.R.G., waiting for her and investigating this whole attempted murder at sorority row.

As they discuss what to do about Gretchen’s new knowledge, Claire screams, “You can’t erase Gretchen’s memory!” Papa Bear raises his eyebrows and says, “She must be a really good friend.” Is Daddy picking up on the lesbian subtext, too? He assures Claire that she can keep her new friend and isn’t going to erase G Baby’s memory. Phew!

Claire Bear goes back to the dorm with personal bodyguard Rene in tow, only to find her lesbian lover packing. Is she going on vaca? Spring Break Cancun? No, it’s because she’s scared to death that a sorority monster is going to gut her. Claire tells her she’s handling the situation, but Gretchen retorts, “With what, baby powder?” Touché. I was thinking more along the lines of her long golden locks and luscious lips. But they can use baby powder too if it makes things interesting.

In a moment of lesbian glory, Claire begs her not to go: “You’re too important to me. I just don’t wanna lose you.” Aww. Claire is fighting back tears and fighting for the one she loves. She’s so gay.

Gretchen apparently has no soul and says, “I’m sorry, I already booked my flight.” Claire tells her that she’s brought Rene, who can stop Becky from turning invisible. “I’m scared for my life.” Gretchen says Claire can’t possibly understand her fear because Becky’s after her, not Claire, because Claire can’t get hurt. When Claire tells her this happens all the time and it’s no big deal, Gretchen agrees, “This is everyday life for you, but it’s not for me. I’m just not like you.” What do you mean you’re just not like Claire? You’re both hot lesbians. You’re both roommates. You both want to jump each other’s bones. I can’t really find any dissimilarity, Gretchen.

Without a hug or a kiss-attack, Gretchen heads for the hills. Blowing your chances with your hot roommate because some girl is trying to kill you? Wuss. Doesn’t Gretchen know that love is a battlefield?

Claire Bear asks Rene the bodyguard to keep an eye on her boo until she gets on the plane. She shuts her door and transforms into a crying mess. I find myself tearing up, too, and just want my lesbian roommate back! Oh, I mean Claire’s fictional one. It’s not like this has ever happened to me, no. I don’t wanna talk about it.

Claire’s sob sesh is interrupted by a creepy dude with a weird accent who is Becky’s “uncle” who knows all about Claire and tries to explain his family’s legacy. How can he explain his niece pushing Claire’s roommate out of the window, though? Well, “Becky is a very disturbed girl.” Uhh, yeah. Thanks, Sherlock.

Meanwhile, Papa Bear is rifling through Becky’s sorority lair and forces Becky to materialize under threat of a high-voltage gun.

We learn that Papa Bear killed Becky’s father when she was little and when he tried to kill her, she turned invisible for the first time, never to be found by Papa Bear. Becky is back with a vengeance and is seeking revenge on Papa Bear through Claire — take away all of Claire’s dreams like he took away hers. Daddy says don’t you dare hurt my daughter, but Becky assures him, “I’m gonna hurt you both.” Before any hurting can happen, Becky’s sorostitutes enter the room, baffled at the weird old bespectacled dude with glasses in their room.

Claire tells the fake uncle about her missing her special friend through tears, “I didn’t send her away,” her lip trembles, “she left.” Claire looks like she really cared for the girl. Poor Claire Bear. Papa Bear storms back to the dorm to see his little girl with the creepy fake uncle, resists the urge to kill him, and arrests him. Mortals are so rash sometimes. Clearly the invisible niece knows of this, and tries to kill the daddy-daughter outing, but the uncle steps in, avoids arrest and takes Becky away.

After the day she’s had, Claire walks back into her dorm room hoping to see Gretchen, but all that’s there is a well-made empty bed. If only she could curl up in it with G baby. She says bye to her dad while holding back tears. I want my lesbian roomie back!

Late at night, Claire is lying alone in her room, unable to sleep because all she can think about is her BFF Gretchen. She looks over to where Gretchen used to sleep, hoping she’ll appear like Becky in baby powder. Nothing doing, Gretchen blew it. Becky really is taking away all of Claire’s dreams — especially the really good ones involving Gretchen in her jammies late at night.

It looks like just as Claire was ready to make the leap from BFFs to GFFs, Gretchen abandoned her in her time of need. Boooo, Gretchen! And booo, NBC! The three-episode story-arc was really riveting and completely original. Thanks, Heroes writers! Lesbians love any insulting morsel you throw their way just to get a spike in the ratings. It’s not like we deserve any better, right?

However, thanks to AE reader cbbread, we know that Gretchen is credited in episode 11, “Thanksgiving.” Perhaps this isn’t the last we’ll see her. I guess we’ll have to wait till next episode and see, but I’m not getting my hopes up just yet.

What do you think of the bogus way the Claire/Gretchen relationship went down? Do you think Gretchen (and NBC) will have a change of heart and come running back into Claire’s arms? And how appropriate was the SNL skit about lesbian-ish roommates to Claire and Gretchen?

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