If you hate retcons, then this is definitely not the episode for you. Myself, I’m a comics fan, so I’m used to seeing wholesale continuity changes – the DC Universe in general, for example – and frankly, this was pretty well done.
The flashback was framed in the “present” through Hiro’s vision quest. We got a couple of comical moments involving Hiro and Ando, but back to that in a bit.
I found that the perhaps more important plot of the Petrellis was not as interesting as the secondary plot involving Sylar. I won’t deny that the Petrellis are obviously central to the show, and we needed to see their backstory, but we didn’t get the whole story here. For instance, if we were to base some of the timeline on this story, has Pinehurst been around for less than a year?
Regardless, we get some useful pieces of information here concerning Arthur Petrelli. First, Arthur had previously acquired several powers including that of Parkman’s dad. Second, Linderman had been working to restore the stolen powers of his colleagues, and that was seemingly alright with Arthur. Third, Arthur wasn’t below using his acquired telepathy to “push” ideas into his wife and remove memories. And fourth, with some clever use of first season footage, we see that it was Arthur, not Linderman, who tried to kill Nathan. Again, this is all good to know information, but it doesn’t really establish much in the present day that we don’t already know.
Our secondary plot involved Sylar, Elle and H.R.G. Again, we already know much of how Gabriel Gray became Sylar, but this helped us to fill in the blanks in the vein of Untold Tales of Spider-Man. Again, there’s some clever reuse of footage here, as we see that C.S.I. guy and Suresh driving a taxi (and wow, that seems like a lifetime ago) bookending their story. We see that Elle and H.R.G., because “it was the job”, push Gabriel to the point where he gives in to his hunger and kills the Goth dude that shoots stuff. Zachary Quinto does a great job here as the nerdy Gabriel. He seemed to be using some subtle mannerisms to differentiate Gabriel with Sylar as Gabriel. It’s hard to describe, but Gabriel is more calm, whereas Sylar as Gabriel clearly has some internal struggles going on.
Another interesting point here is that they have been making Elle a more sympathetic character. In season two, she was more of an cold, calculating person, whereas this season, she’s been given more of a personality and made more of a warm character. And based on this episode, we can make a resonable guess as to who Gabriel is/was married to in the Season 3 future.
Also, it’s nice to see H.R.G. back as a bastard of a Company man, even if it’s only in a flashback.
Finally, our third flashback plot involves Meredeth and Company man Eric Roberts. Good to see him back, as well. Complicating the Petrelli tree just a bit more is that Flint is Claire’s uncle. To be honest, I was more interested in the 5-10 minutes allotted to Meredeth’s story than I have been with three seasons of Niki/Jessica/Tracy. As was the theme in this episode, it tied into the firey train wreck that Claire went into again way back at the start of the show. Meredith is being built up to the point where I have to believe they’re going to kill her off soon. But what was up with Eric Roberts showing compassion? I’m sorry, but the man has proven that he’s heartless – why try to make him nice now in what amounts to a one off appearance?
And then we’re back to the present. Where Usutu is now missing a head, so I guess Tim Sale’s work is done for the season. Arthur is presumably stealing Hiro’s powers as we end the episode, but I think it’s safe to assume that he’ll get them back at some point via some healing blood.
Kevin Wong writes for Prime Time Pulse, Reality Dish and Inside Fights. He really enjoyed last week’s episode of The Office.
Tags: Heroes, Kevin Wong, NBC, review, TV