Wow. That was a bit good, wasn't it? And bloody hell: it was written by one of the show's writing assistants. Not even one of the writers. How's that for beginner's luck/competence or simply the marvellous influence of new/returning producers Mark Verheiden and Bryan Fuller?
Whatever it was, the threads of Heroes are all coming together and it's really starting to feel like a decent, almost must-see show again.
Spoilers after the jump.
There was definitely much to admire here. Once more, we had a predominantly Claire-centric eccentric and she didn't suck; in fact, she was quite enjoyable, although poor old comic book lovers, getting stereotyped like that. The cliff/treehanging conclusion was especially decent, since it also means some good Nathan/Claire moments are coming up and Nathan's rehabilitation is well on course.
The fact the puppeteer thread ended thankfully quickly – leaving him heading off to his own comic book and webisode series – was a blessing in many ways, since it's clear the producers aren't belabouring too many things that should by all rights be concluded in an episode. And it was enjoyable to see that he wasn't so bad after all. Or was he? Poor bloke.
Sylar's quest for his dad is finally over, thank God, and bar some slightly overblown metaphorical exchanges betwen Sylar Sr and Sylar Jr, it was a good conclusion to that thread. It was a nice touch to see the grittier, more realistic world that is being crafted for Heroes creeping in, by giving Sylar's dad cancer and not showing a cataclismic fight between the two.
Meanwhile, of course, back in Building 26, things are going a bit pear-shaped, with Nathan and 'The Hunter' coming to loggerheads. Most of the highlights of the episode were in this storyline: the quick resolution of the Parkman plotline – another thread concluded quickly, thankfully – Angela's subtle bitch-slapping of The Hunter (ooh, I'm really starting to like her now), the Hunter's unmasking of Nathan, and Tracy's steeliness under interrogation and her evolving relationship with Nathan.
Worst bit, of course, was the return of Ando and Hiro, whose comedy routine now sticks out like a clown aboard the Battlestar Galactica compared with the other doom-laden storylines. Quite what they're going to be doing with Matt Parkman Jr remains to be seen, although my suspicion is that Matt's ex is going to be returning soon, which had got to be a good thing for his storyline. Nice to see the show returning to regular-type life situations as promised.
There were a few questions as always. How did Sylar manage to avoid his dad's powers? Is his dad just too old and knackered to do the job properly or is this another example of a hero being overpowered by another hero with a superior power? Why is Mohinder doing incomprehensible voiceovers again – didn't we get over them a while back? Where's Peter this week, not that I missed him that much, although I did a little? And when will Haydn be allowed to have her own hair, rather than YA really bad wig?
But really a very, very good episode on just about every score. Cracking writing, cracking acting and some great moments. It does seem like the promises of a rejuvenated Heroes are coming true, even if I keep flinching, expecting something truly dreadful to happen. How many eps will it take before I can relax again? All the same, so looking forward to the next one now.
As always, producer Greg Beeman's blog is a good source of information about the production and writing as well as behind the scenes pictures, so go take a gander if you're interested.
Here's a promo for the next episode, Cold Snap (the clue is in the title, friends), which is going to air in two weeks' time. It's the first to be written by Bryan Fuller since season one so should be a definite must-see. Shall we see how hard Tracy rocks?
Oh yes. She rocks.
- April 24, 2009: Bryan Fuller: True Hero?
Is Bryan Fuller the saviour of Heroes?