Admit it, Heroes haters who are still watching (and reading)—you were at least semi-excited by last week’s cliffhanger. There was some lean action at the end of the episode, and they were setting us up for some serious, no-frills fun: Sylar is on the loose, the heroes are on the loose… Here’s hoping there are more black-clad soldiers and uneasy alliances—and not too much stupidity.
And guess what? Hopes answered. This was the best episode of Heroes in ages, and I’m not just saying that because—SPOILER ALERT—Daphne got killed. The action was solid, and though it was more about setting up the plot than advancing it, it still felt brisk and entertaining, even the parts with Hiro and Ando.
Anyway, we left last week with Claire discovering that Daddy is in the co-pilot’s seat of the about-to-crash plane, and he’s part of the evil cabal behind the rounding up of the heroes and villains. (We knew this, of course, because he turned on Mohinder last week, but man, Claire is gonna be pissed. Why doesn’t she just get it over with and throw Daddy from the plane already?)
The plane goes down and somehow pretty much everybody survives and starts running or chasing. Roll call at this point: Hiro, Peter, Claire, Parkman, Nikki/Tracy, Mohinder. On the bad-guy side, Nathan is at the crash site with “the hunter” (we’ll call him Zeljko, his real-life first name), and HRG is around, too. When HRG re-captures Claire, he also lets Peter go—a telling sign that his character is “complicated” (ahem, he can switch allegiances whenever the hell he feels like it, ahem).
We need to figure out who’s going to escape and how, and who will survive to play out the rest of the season—which is looking like a cat-and-mouse/mouse-and-cat game. For some reason, the amazing hunters can’t track a bunch of goofs in prison-orange suits, but maybe that’s because the heroes had a good headstart. In any case, Parkman’s newfound ability—Isaac’s future-cartooning—leads them right back to the crash site anyway. Our heroes converge into one big team, ready to fight the man—but only after Parkman gets a little motivation via the murder of his much-younger girlfriend, “the speedster.” (Man, did that name never stick, or what?)
Her death leads Parkman to go a little aggro, and in what was hopefully a sign of badass things to come, he takes over one of the solider’s minds and makes him shoot the others. (Go Parkman!) Yeah, so now he’s going to “turn to the dark side” because of the tragedy that befell his lovely lady, but dammit, that’s what these heroes need—a little true ambiguity, not the Mohinder kind where people just have huge moral switcheroos whenever the mood strikes.
Speaking of moral switcheroos, howzabout that Sylar? On a quest to cure his daddy issues, he ends up down the street from where his pop lived (I don’t know how that made sense, either) and in the house of a slutty lady and her son, Luke. It was pretty clear from Luke’s first appearance that he was destined to be Sylar Jr., and of course he has a power—microwave hands. (In a later episode, he will pop the shit out of some popcorn.) But silliness aside, this was the type of kickass Heroes scene we’ve been dying for. Sylar is truly deranged, but intrigued at the kid’s power. And he’s willing to torture and murder for fun. He popped off this great line, too, one that made the most recent episodes sound like they were written by fourth graders: “Wrong place, wrong time. I could’ve been a flood or tornado. No difference, actually.”
Toward the end of the episode, there was a lot more speechifying (and clichés) from the good guys, who talked about “bringing the fight to them” and never going home again because it wasn’t safe. Cheesy, to be sure, but it’s finally setting up some goddamn action: These heroes know who their enemy is (Nathan and his hunters), and they’re about to take a seriously proactive stance in their own survival. (If only Magneto were here to lead them…)
Meanwhile, Claire gets a pass and heads back home, where she plans on getting a part-time job.
And Nathan has spent the episode talking to a mystery person about all of the happenings. Of course it turned out to be Angela, who now knows that Nathan is full of shit—and it looks like she’s going to be a serious help to the heroes in their quest for whatever it is their questing for. (Everyone not to kill them?)
What’s next? Well, hopefully a little bit of follow-through. Now that Parkman has the cataract problem, he can send them on more missions, just like season one. They’re headed to India, and Hiro is hell-bent (sigh) on getting his powers back and helping the cause. Oh well, at least Daphne’s dead, but that’s going to suck as far as transportation goes. It’s not like they can fly coach or something, and now they’re stuck in the middle of Arkansas!
— Hiro is powerless, and Peter can only retain one power at a time. The latter is a little arbitrary, but okay.
— Nathan clearly has a little bit of goodness in him, since he thanks HRG for not killing Peter.
— “Surrender? Never. I am a warrior.” Blah blah blah.
— Why do all of Claire’s lines sound like they were dubbed badly in post-production?
— Great Sylar line: “I let you live, that’s kind of a big deal for me.”
— Totally shoehorned-in faux-political line: “Did you think they were going to treat us as liberators?” Guys, the Iraq analogies just don’t work here.
— My TiVo cut off before next week’s preview. What did I miss?