What a convoluted and twisty mind Tim Kring has. And the proof is written in banner-high lettering throughout episode four of the new season. The themes he’s developing this year are now boldly represented, distilled from the hints we’ve been left in the opening stories. The Villains arc looks to be about how powers take as well as give, and that having them can be more of a curse than a blessing.
The same lesson is learned here by Suresh, Parkman and Peter Petrelli in different contexts, and even different timelines.
While episode four shows some restraint over the plotline rats-nest that numbers two and three invoked, this story flits a little too effortlessly between the present and four years in the future – where Peter ends up with his temporal copy in the opening scene.
Future Peter is shot by ‘dark’ future Claire. But not before he’s shown how a commercial distribution of powers to people has ruined the world, and divided those with natural powers from those with bought ones. Future Peter dies because the Haitian is present, and stops him using regeneration. Present Peter seeks out Suresh and we discover that the Fly-like conversion of him continues, but the budget didn’t actually stretch to showing us just how far. A cloaked Suresh reveals the location of Sylar through mind reading, enabling Peter to teleport to Costa Verde, where Sylar is confusingly now a loving father and expert pancake chef. Not for long.
This is a crucial scene because we get to understand much more about Sylar and his power, and the ‘hunger’ that comes with it. Sylar is a reformed character, but Peter rather foolishly takes his power, even though he’s been warned what it might do to him. At this point the future super-hero-hunters turn up, led by Claire, with Knox and Daphne in support. They’re guided to Peter by Molly, who now lives with Parkman and his future spouse Daphne (yes, I found that a stretch too).
Peter comes to Sylar for the answers, but instead his actions unleash the power in him that J. Robert Oppenheimer described when he used the words, “I Am Become Death”. The same force that would have destroyed Manhattan in season one now reduces Costa Verde to a smoking crater, killing Knox presumably, and fatally injuring Daphne.
There are other minor plot diversions too, such as Tracy discovering that along with Niki another sister Barbara was created. Can’t wait to meet her…
When she tries to commit suicide Tracy discovers Nathan’s powers, his hers, their eyes meet, and in the future he’s President and she’s Sarah Palin, err….I mean First Lady.
There’s also a rather weak segment with Hiro and Ando, where somewhat unbelievably they’re convinced by Angela Petrelli to dig up a coffin which contains the very much alive Adam Monroe. Don’t we have enough characters active? ‘No’ is the answer, it seems.
I’ve told you the salient points of what happened this week, but I’m not really sure how I feel about all that’s in this episode. As a viewer I’m beginning to feel like the dupe of a ‘find the lady’ exponent, where you know where you think the card is, but you also know it won’t be there. Whatever conclusions you draw are probably wrong, because the rules of the game get rewritten each episode, in what’s becoming a mindless game of second guessing. What doesn’t help is that each story seems to have huge plot holes in it, which they may or may not plug later depending on how glaring they appear.
The whole time travel thing seems to be an albatross around Tim Kring’s neck, from which he’s powerless to free himself. So far he’s presented the view that you can’t change the present by altering the past, and that you can: it’s about time he got off the temporal fence decided which it is and stuck to that view.
What’s really annoying me is the future in season three doesn’t seem to change irrespective of what happens in the past, which if we’re to believe the entire premise of season one, isn’t how temporal mechanics work.
The storylines in season three need to start making more sense soon, because personally my patience for things to start falling into place is wearing very thin already, much like it did in season 2. And it’s not just me that’s noticing, because the US viewing figures for this episode were just 8.2m, down from over 11m for some of the season 2 shows.
Heroes better get a grip soon, or it won’t just be Parkman who’ll be having visions of the end.
Check out our review of episode 3 here.