Maybe David H. Lawrence XVII can help us figure it out. After spending 35 years in the radio industry, including hosting a syndicated show on XM, Sirius and WGN in Chicago, the actor took the role of Eric Doyle, the villainous new character who shared a creepy pasta dinner with Meredith last week.
I recently talked with Lawrence, who says maybe we’re over-thinking things. “I thinks it’s best if you just take the show one episode at a time, and just let them wash over you like you did in the beginning. With the first episode, you didn’t know everybody’s backstory. You didn’t know everybody’s power and the ability to take away powers and all that. Just let the story unfold rather than try and figure out what’s going on.”
Heroes has a reputation of not dumbing down stories for the viewers, which is good. I was telling someone the other day that you can’t be multi-tasking while you’re watching the show, because you might miss something crucial in that five seconds it takes to check your email. Lawrence agrees.
“With Heroes, I think people expect very dense, very human stories,” he says. “The consensus last year was that things got away from the original formula. But this time around, there’s a lot more action, and I think the writers are really excited. This is the season where you start filling in the gaps and learning who Arthur Petrelli is.”
Ok, about that … Arthur Petrelli emerged last week, lying in a bed while Maury Parkman talked about building an army, “just like you wanted, Mr. Petrelli.” So is Arthur the head honcho?
Lawrence isn’t much help on this question, because he doesn’t read the other storylines. He’s a die-hard Heroes fan and wants to experience the story as it comes, just like the rest of us. But he does offer this on Petrelli: “From what I’ve seen, it appears he has some power that other people don’t have.”
Of Eric’s relationship with Meredith, there’s a meaty backstory there. “I think that at some point in their past, he and she had a thing, probably when he was younger and thinner and had more hair. You know, because Meredith gets around. She’s not the town puritan.”
So what happened to split them apart? “Either his evil came out or she found some hot guy who was better than him. Who knows, but he’s never lost his torch for her, and now he’s resorting to some really desperate measures to let her know how he feels.”
But Eric doesn’t necessarily think he’s doing anything wrong, much the same as Stephen Canfield. “He has a great deal of humanity,” Lawrence says of Doyle. “I think Stephen Canfield is somewhat of a sympathetic villain, if you can even call him a villain. Eric is like this lost little puppy that really loves the idea of being together with Meredith.”
It follows the season’s theme of good vs. evil, of “rounding out the two faces of everyone,” in Lawrence’s words. “You know friends who can be the nicest people in the world, but also the biggest bitches or bastards, because they’re feeling angry, selfish or put upon. Eric Doyle would go to the ends of the earth for Meredith.”
And at least he has a place to take her. Lawrence is proud of the fact that he’s the one villain who has a lair. “He lives in this very, very creepy puppet theater. I’m telling you, it was amazing to shoot in. I walked in the place, and it was like being in a theater that scared me to death when I was a kid. I walked in, and all those memories came flooding back and, uh oh, do I want to be in this place?”
To learn more about Eric Doyle, how he spent his time at Level 5, and what happened just before he escaped, check out Episode 107 of the graphic novels, titled Doyle.
And don’t miss tonight’s episode. “There’s much more of the creepy Eric Doyle, more heinous things to come,” says Lawrence. “That pasta dinner was minor compared to what he’s capable of doing.”