After two weeks of strangely good episodes, it’s only normal that Heroes should take a small dip this week, though in fairness, it wasn’t completely terrible.
Hiro’s poorly-defined illness did at least get a diagnosis of ‘brain tumour’ for the first time this season, though the new, Quantum Leap-style expression of his powers is a disappointing development for viewers eager to see the character in control of things. Having Hiro at the whim of ‘destiny’ was a cute device in the first season, but this far on, it’s become rather stale, and seems to be a way to kill time without any genuine progression in his story – at least if this episode is anything to go by.
The worst thing, though, is the promise that he’ll re-visit one of the better moments from Season 1 and screw it all up. His relationship with Charlie the waitress, and her subsequent death, was an important lesson for Hiro about how some fates can’t be altered even with Time Travel powers. The writers had better have a good reason for coming back to this plotline because, right now, they just look like they’re robbing the grave of a story that was left without any dangling threads.
Peter’s search for a character with healing powers was itself a poor direction. Rather than try and get in touch with Claire, a character he knows has healing abilities, he goes to Noah, coincidentally bumping into Claire at the same time. Her involvement was then short circuited with some rather spurious plot logic about tumours being negatively affected by Claire’s powers because they’re ‘living tissue’ and would be regenerated out of control. So, what, cancer would kill Claire in seconds? In a way, it’s nice that the writers bothered to tackle the issue, but when the explanation is so superficial, it’s hard not to feel like your intelligence is being insulted.
Hiro’s scenes with Emma were, at least, some of the better material in this episode. I’d like to see her powers expanded on more, and now she’s accepted them, hopefully that’ll be the case. Certainly, her acceptance made far more interesting watching than the scratchy-voiced teen Noah and Peter visited.
Aside from Peter’s hilarious shotgun-in-the-chest faux pas, there was nothing redeeming about that part of the episode. The kid’s confusion and anger was difficult to understand, given the lack of context to his actions, which made Noah’s determination to help him fall rather flat by comparison.
At least Sylar’s confusion was easy enough to buy, given his recent experiences, and the suggestion that Nathan’s personality was creeping back in around the edges is an intriguing one, but the soap opera nonsense surrounding Ray Park’s character seems a lot less engaging. If we could be sure of a twist, it’d be nice, but I’m not sure I have enough faith in the writers to give them the benefit of the doubt. This thread is almost certainly going to end with Ray Park’s character being killed when Sylar’s real personality re-emerges.
Speaking of Sylar’s real personality emerging, I’m starting to wonder what, exactly, has happened to Parkman and his head-Sylar. It’s been weeks since his last appearance. Heroes has always struggled to give equal exposure to multiple plots, but given how under-used he and Tracy had been this season, it’s not clear why they weren’t just written out entirely (unless, of course, they’re contractually guaranteed not to be…)
So, it seems like it’s back to rather dubious business-as-normal for the series. Whether this week is the blip, or the last two weeks were, it’s hard to say.
It’d be nice, for example, if we knew what the stakes for this series were. We’re almost a third of the way through and so far, nothing resembling a main villain or narrative thrust for the series has shown up. It doesn’t have to be yet another world-threatening catastrophe in the making but… can’t they give us something to care about?
Check out our review of episode 5 here.