I feel like this week’s episode of Heroes represents progress of a sort: forward momentum in the story, some good action pieces and more for Adrian Pasdar to do. I’m far from being completely back on board, but the focused approach to this week’s main story was welcome despite some of the usual Heroes silliness.
These spoilers can’t be reversed.
It’s not as if the episode was without flaws — Hiro and Ando basically spun their wheels until the final scene, and Suresh continued to regret turning himself into The Fly (oh, you sci-fi scientists and your hubris). But spending a good amount of time in the everyone-has-powers future gave us a pretty good sense of mission for this arc.
As Future Peter explains before getting shot by Claire (thereby saving the production some money on Peter-Peter scenes), someone in the present day is making an injection that will give anyone abilities. There’s also a rift between those who think this is a positive development and those who don’t — or at least between most everyone we already know and Peter, who’s been branded a terrorist in this version of the future for not trusting humanity’s ability to keep their new powers in check. Presumably he’s taken action in support of that ideology, but it also appears that Claire, who’s now working with Daphne and bad guy Knox, is taking her orders to eliminate Peter from someone with ulterior motives.
Future Peter also tells Peter that if he wants to stop all this, he has to find Sylar and absorb his ability to understand how things work. That way, see, he can see all the "variables" in his current predicament and therefore save the world. There is, of course, a catch: Sylar’s — or Gabriel’s, as he’s once again taken to calling himself now that he’s a family man living in the Bennet house with a little kid named Noah (more on that later) — power also comes with an insatiable hunger to know and have more, which explains all the slicing open of heads.
It’s here, for about the millionth time, that we see the Peter Petrelli Principle in action, and one of the big reasons why I can’t get fully back on board with the show yet. Peter naively or arrogantly or just plain stupidly assumes that he can absorb Sylar’s ability and not suffer from its side effects. You would think two-plus years of unintended consequences in his attempts to save the world would teach the kid a lesson, but alas no.
Claire, Knox and Daphne track Peter to Sylar’s location, and an admittedly pretty good battle ensues, with Daphne putting a superfast beating on Peter and Knox drawing strength from little Noah’s fear and tossing Sylar/Gabriel about the house.
His last assault sends Sylar crashing into the child, and if we hadn’t just met him and he wasn’t such an obvious plot device his death would probably have been more affecting. Instead it just provides the impetus for Sylar to go all end-of-season-one Peter and blow up Costa Verde — which allows Claire to capture and torture Peter a little bit, until President Nathan comes in to talk to his brother and tell him how Congress has approved a "full proliferation" of ability-having people to keep future Costa Verde-like incidents from happening, because, he tells Peter, "one man can’t save the world."
Peter responds to this information by … slicing open his brother’s head, then teleporting back to the present to confront Sylar in his Level 5 cell, where he hears (for the second time) that he and Sylar are brothers. So, to review: Future, still screwed; President Nathan, possibly dead; and Peter, still unable to learn from experience.
(Peter’s actions in the future, by the way, all play into Parkman’s vision-quest story, as he sees his future wife Daphne (good call, all of you who guessed last week that it was her in Usutu’s painting) die after not getting away from Costa Verde fast enough. Usutu tells Matt he needs to pick a Jungian totem to help guide him on his quest to find Daphne — so naturally he picks a turtle to find the speedster. Hoo boy.)
Other notes from Monday’s episode:
- Thanks to Tracy’s rather illuminating chat with Dr. Zimmerman, we learn that this idea of giving people abilities they weren’t born with has been put into practice before. He tells her that she was part of a set of triplets, and that he and folks from the Company manipulated their DNA to induce the now-deceased Niki’s strength and Tracy’s deep-freeze power. (We have yet to meet the third triplet, Barbara.) Presumably the Company used the formula in this little experiment, so the question now is why such experiments stopped and why the Company elders decided to tear the formula in two and store it on opposite sides of the globe.
- I’m not sure if it was intended as comedy, but I had to chuckle at the awkward small talk between Tracy and Nathan after he interrupts her suicide attempt. "So … you can fly?" "Yep." Their ensuing makeout session apparently leads to Tracy becoming first lady in the future, and when the couple makes their statement about Costa Verde, they’re standing in front of something called Pinehearst Corp. We’ll be hearing more about that in the coming weeks.
- Hiro and Ando once again have little to do but bicker over whether Ando is truly a loyal friend because he kills Hiro in the future they’re trying to prevent. Angela, fortunately, gives them something to do in their quest to reacquire the formula: They dig up Adam Monroe, who is not at all pleased to see Hiro. It wasn’t a bad scene, but any shock value was pretty well drained by seeing David Anders’ name in the opening credits.
- Did anyone else take a measure of satisfaction in seeing Suresh reduced to a hoodie-wearing recluse in the future? Given the seen-it-all-before nature of his story line so far this fall, it seems like a fitting punishment.
- So, future Sylar: Who’s Noah’s mom, and how is it that he’s come to live in the Bennet house? It feels like we’ll be circling back to this pre-explosion future soon enough, so it’d be nice to find out what’s going on there.
Your thoughts on this week’s Heroes? Is Peter ever going to learn anything of value from his various attempts to save the world. And who do you figure is behind Pinehearst?