Heroes season 4 episode 15 review

Heroes brings back Matt Parkman, but it's still a show struggling for consistency and form...

After last week’s crawling double episode that brought Heroes back from hiatus with absolutely no fanfare and some of the most hilariously backwards plot logic yet seen (listen to Claire’s talk with Doyle and see if you can figure out the logic, because I sure as hell couldn’t) it would have been nice to get an episode that had an actual point to it. And bar some rather general theme about trust and relationships, this wasn’t it.

This episode brought back Matt Parkman, now recovering at home and trying to lead a normal life following his near-death experience and involvement with Sylar. Briefly teaming up with Noah gives him pause to re-evaluate his involvement in the powerplay and espionage of the world of people with abilities. Although far from taking the logical route of, for example, forcing Noah to leave him alone, he allows himself to be manipulated into an undesirable position. While apparently just running off and leaving his kid at home.

The appearance of Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica‘s Ellen Tigh) as Samuel’s former flame is yet another example of a disappointing shorthand in modern sci-fi, where characters are seemingly cast so that the audience connect with their actor’s cult popularity rather than the character as written. As it is, Vernon herself does fine in the role, but the cast of Heroes often seems startlingly reminiscent of a sci-fi convention guest list, with T-Bag, Darth Maul, Kate from Angel and Ellen Tigh appearing next to one another. Admittedly, actors need jobs, but sometimes it feels like the primary role of Heroes is to let the creators meet the cast of their favourite shows rather than to actually entertain an audience.

Peter’s plotline for this episode sees him at odds with Emma, who has finally succumbed to the irrational and wildly inconsistent behaviour most Heroes characters display. A failed attempt at re-entering med school has lead nowhere, plot-wise, but she did find time to dump her friendship and trust in Peter because a very obviously shady stranger bought her a cello.

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This episode’s stupidest moment award also goes to this plotline where, after connecting Peter’s mysteriously animated tattoo of a compass with the symbol on Samuel’s cello, Emma only remembers to mention that Samuel gave her a weird compass of her own when she reaches Peter’s apartment some time later. It’s fair to say that most people would have come to that realisation slightly faster.

Finally, Ando and Hiro – whose powers are on the fritz yet again, due to some strange brain-scrambling from one of them Carnival freaks – get to bust Mohinder out of the asylum Hiro put him in. No indication of how Hiro managed to get him signed in to the establishment, of course, but certainly there are a lot of hilarious antics involved in getting him out. And by “hilarious” I mean painfully slapstick and unlikely.

This also involves the repair of Hiro’s brain through the medium of Ando’s magic, cure-all electricity powers, which can either electrocute you or boost your powers, depending on what the plot demands. At the conclusion of the episode, they appear in Noah’s apartment. I forget whether Hiro’s ever been there before, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the answer was “no”.

As ever, the problem with Heroes lies in its inability to follow through ideas, or to properly evolve its characters. Claire and Noah are still having the same push-pull relationship as in Season 1. Hiro and Ando are still getting into the same comic scrapes. Only Peter has moved on from his origins as a naive idealist into a more competent, calculating version of himself, but when only one of your mainstays has actually advanced in four seasons’ worth of episodes, well, that’s hardly cause for celebration.

Check out our previous review here.