Even though there’s a decidedly snide tone to my reviews – and I do criticize the show a fair amount – I truly do enjoy Heroes. It’s not a flawless show, and the flaws tend to really get under my skin (mostly because many of them could be fixed so easily), but at the end of the day there are several characters I really like, and it’s an hour that doesn’t drag. Admittedly, I don’t have that “I can’t wait until next Monday!” feeling, but I would be legitimately disappointed if this was one of the shows impacted by the Leno Effect.
I also felt that this was one of the stronger episodes of the season, mostly because it primarily featured three characters I have a soft spot for (HRG, Claire, and Peter) – who, incidentally, also bring out the best in each other, scene-wise – and while I tend to tire of the utterly redundant Sylar and Hiro, I felt they were, for the most part, harmless this episode.
Last week I joked about Peter accidentally acquiring somebody’s ability, only to discover that it was nowhere near as cool or helpful as the one he just had. Near the end of this episode, there was a lingering thought in my head that kept yelling, “Peter, don’t touch anybody!” I could just imagine him going through all of these obstacles to gain the capabilities to save Hiro, only to politely shake hands with the wrong person and realize that he can now shoot rainbows and silly string from his eyes. I am curious to see how they manage to have Peter maintain this ability until he’s reunited with Hiro. Very interesting.
I really do love what’s happening with HRG this season. When the powers-that-be decided to make Sylar the epicenter of the show, HRG’s character really suffered. And while they force-feed Sylar’s constant internal struggle, HRG is a legitimately complex character that I daresay the vast majority of the audience is emotionally invested in. Along with that, he’s perhaps the only character that hasn’t been terrorized by the inconsistent writing.
This Volume is titled “Redemption,” and I’m glad that this theme is focusing on HRG. His behavior throughout this episode in particular was wonderful, with him kindly and delicately talking down the healer, and then coming up with an explanation for what happened to his parents. I was especially touched by his epiphany that he had let the boy down, and that while he may have been monitoring these people, he wasn’t looking out for them.
Hiro is on a similar journey, using his ability to right certain past wrongs. With Hiro, it’s a fine line between endearing and annoying. His childish desire to fulfill his destiny was lovable the first season, but that was three years ago. You’d think his father’s murder and his impending death might alter his behavior a bit. Look at Peter: His character is essentially the same, and his charms are still present, but his perspective has certainly changed after everything that’s happened. But this episode, he was on the right side of that fine line. I actually did find him enjoyable, and his attempts to make Emma more comfortable with her abilities were sweet. I am also curious to see what happens with him and Charlie.
Regarding Sylar, frankly I’m disappointed they so quickly abandoned the Nathan story arc in favor of doing something we’ve already seen in the past two Volumes. How many times do we have to watch Sylar struggle with the concept of being a murderous killer? We saw it when he thought he was a Petrelli, and we saw it AGAIN when he was being haunted by his dead mother (and when he was paling around with that annoying teenager). Constantly resorting to this emotional mechanism is counterproductive. It’s hard to sympathize with him because we have already seen him consciously choose to become a killer numerous times before. At the same time, it’s hard to view him as a crazed murderer when he’s clearly so troubled by his actions. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make him complex. Instead, he’s just uneven and ineffective.
At this point, I sort of just wish they pulled the trigger and turned him into a hero when he thought he was a Petrelli. Arguably, the most I ever cared about the character was when I saw him in the future, with a son named after HRG, and presumably married to Elle, fighting alongside Peter. If the writers had some restraint, I think I would have enjoyed sitting back and learning what events transpire that makes that future a reality. I’m guessing that future didn’t involve him renting a car, though.
Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, 24, Heroes, and Smallville. You can visit his blog at [a case of the blog].