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I think if these two volumes of season three have taught us anything about Heroes, it's that, really, it's not that hard to make a halfway decent episode. If everyone acts somewhat within character, the plot moves forward, and a few cool super powers are demonstrated on screen, we're talking some good stuff. By that same token, though, we've also learned a lot about how to make a really terrible one: Basically, the opposite of all that. But the real question is: So if the writers know how to make the first kind of episode, why for frak's sake would they ever do the second? Not only that, but why would they build up our excitement with a handful of really good episodes, only to squander it all way in one self-congratulatory handjob of a mess?

Why? Because this is Heroes, that wily mistress. It likes to go back and forth, play with my emotions, then make me feel like I'm the one who's crazy. But no, episode. It is you who are crazy—crazy to think you can get away with spoon feeding me such filth.

More questions for you, nebulous entity that is the living embodiment of a television show: If you know, deep down in your heart, that certain plot lines are the suckiest bunches of sucks that ever sucked, why would you keep doing them? Did I forget your birthday?

For the record, here is a list of my current favorite characters on the show. Now, I say favorite, because even the Leper Beauty Pageant needs a winner:
Mama Petrelli
Nathan Petrelli
The Haitian (because not appearing is its own reward)

Now, here's a list of characters I don't really mind having around:
Claire Bennet
Peter Petrelli
TiVo girl (oh, she's there)

And finally, the list of characters I'm starting to despise. Wait, I mean tonight's recap:

Let's start with the worst offender: Noah Bennet. You were so awesome! Your glasses, so commanding! Other stuff! Tonight, though, a different story. See, remember that whole fake killing Sylar thing Danko did last week? Well, Noah can't shake the feeling that something is amiss, so he starts to do some digging. Sylar, meanwhile, can't leave well enough alone, so he decides to fuck with him hardcore. First, he pretends to be Danko himself, even getting so close to Noah as to meet his wife and shake her hand. (Foreshadowingies!) Then he becomes Mrs. Bennet, and goes to visit Noah to have him sign divorce papers. And say really mean things, like "I don't respect you." (OH NO SHE-BUT-REALLY-HE DI-N'T!) But [snickers], get this… [chokes on spit] that was Sylar, silly! [Guffaws loudly.] So when Noah goes to his real wife and pulls a gun on her, it's not Sylar, it's really his wife!

But two can play at that game, et tu? Noah decides to forego his glasses and pretend to be Sylar pretending to be Noah, and totally pull a fast one on Danko. WHICH HE DOES! So now Danko has to tell Noah who Sylar is pretending to be, but he tells him a fake guy, who Noah kills in cold blood. Then he has no choice but to literally slowly backs out of the room before turning and running away like a sissy. But see, Danko actually told him the right guy, but Sylar was playing dead. Because, lest you forget, Sylar can shapeshift.

And poor Danko has to be on the receiving end of yet another terrible decision: The continuing story of Matt Parkman. Otherwise known as, "Just because Daphne died, thank God, doesn't mean she's forgotten, not thank God." Parkman is so filled with rage at Danko for killing the love of the last two weeks (and that one dream), so he decides to get Danko at his own game. First, he plants the idea in Danko's mind that "the person you care about the most is in trouble"—oh no, that nonspecific person or humanlike animal! Turns out Danko has been gettin' some from a former escort, and telling her that he lives in Chicago with two kids, plus they'll, like, totally be together some day. So Parkman goes in and tries to kill her, but he just can't. Apparently, though, he can tell her all about how bad a guy Danko is, and take her to his house. Then point a gun at her, threatening to kill her just like Danko killed Daphne. Remember? But he just can't… hold the gun, he drops it immediately. But, but, but, vengeance!

Now Danko is going to shoot Parkman, but who arrives just in the nick of time? Hiro, who's still around! He and Ando have been spending the entire day just cruisin' around in their brand new Nissan something (how did they get such a brand new car so quickly?), bringin' Parkman his baby and all. But the baby has been crying, and when mini-Parkman sad, car no go-ee-poo. But before they realize this, they get out and hitchhike, meeting the only Asian cowboy within striking distance. He even has a name—clearly, we have just met a very important character.

Oops, he's gone after one minute.

As for Hiro and Ando, how do they keep the baby happy in the back seat, as to make their car move again all the way across the country? After a few minutes of extremely painful slapstick, Ando finds a face that makes the baby happy. And not just any face, but that of a strung-out Shrek, which he must hold for lord knows how long. But guess who gets to see most of that? Us. Poor, lovable us.

Why, Heroes? Why?

Grade: F

Stray observations:

  • I almost forgot about the moment where Sylar tells Danko to get that mole checked out. Hi-larious, and practical.
  • Nit-picky detail: Suresh says Hiro has been calling the land lord all day, then Hiro calls Suresh's cell phone. Why didn't he just do that in the first place?
  • Seriously, people, watch Chuck instead.
  • Or you can watch the only decent people dig up some more bones. Your choice.