As if we hadn't had enough Bowie lyrics for one week, along comes Heroes with another set for its latest, low-key episode Turn and Face The Strange.
Spoilers and more after the jump.
Although Peter and Angela looked like they were going to be the focus of this episode, thanks to that rubbish promo last week, it turned out to mainly concern HRG, Sylar and Danko, with a few minor contributions from Ando, Hiro, Matt and Mohinder.
The Sylar and co strand dealt with the deals and double-crosses between HRG and Danko, as HRG works out that Sylar isn't dead and is now a shape-shifter and tries to get the upper hand. Except, of course, Sylar and Danko are trying to do the same thing to HRG, with Sylar impersonating Sandra to file divorce papers. Who does Sylar's legal work, or does he download them off the web?
Meanwhile, just as HRG is having his life stripped down by Sylar, Matt Parkman is trying to bring down Danko and destroy everything he cares about. Which isn't much apparently. Matt despite thinking he's lost everything and eventually allowing Danko to kill him, is saved at the last second by Hiro, who's been on a teleport-free road-trip with Ando and baby Matt, finally bringing joy to the Matt's life after Daphne's recent death.
And in minor character land, Mohinder is starting to act like a normal person again, albeit one who wants to run at every opportunity, and gets to use his super power to break locks. Again, another victim of the editing suite, he did at least have a few scenes this episode. Claire, Nathan, Peter and Angela also get to make a wee guest appearance towards the end - all roads appear to be leading to Coyote Sands.
Was it any good?
Given we're in the home stretch now for season 3 and Volume 4, this was a surprisingly character-based and slow-moving episode, rather than a big action fest. Can anyone say "Saving up our budget for some big moments later on?". Woo and, I hope, hoo or else the show's in trouble.
There was some good writing in the episode. The various HRG/Sylar/Danko machinations were quite subtle and enjoyable, although I'm not sure Sylar wouldn't just have killed HRG given the various opportunities presented to him. The fact that Sylar appears to have acquired some extra, unexplained skills from somewhere is also making it hard to guess what's going to happen or even how they happened once we've seen them. Some explanations are going to be needed soon or else it's going to start getting silly. And having Sylar impersonate Sandra to destroy HRG only for the writers to show his marriage had pretty much self-destructed already seemed like a bit of a waste of time, even if it did show what an advanced state of paranoia and ruthless HRG has worked himself up into.
While Danko's girl had a whole life history once upon a time, that got excised before the episode aired, so it actually became quite unclear in the episode why cute, young Eastern European escort woman liked old baldy Danko so much, or what it actually said about Danko that we didn't already know (that he's quite ruthless? No. Really? Or was it just trying to suggest he liked to rescue people?).
Ando and Hiro started to veer towards the slightly irritating again, although Hiro's finally growing a warrior backbone towards the end of the episode managed to head that off at the pass. I also particularly enjoyed the nod to season one character overlaps, with an amusing reveal showing Nathan and Claire at the same gas station as Hiro and Ando, the characters oblivious to each other's presence.
But, despite all that decent writing, it really need some stronger pacing because my attention did wander at times. Heaven help the less committed, since this ended up feeling like a filler episode as a result, unlike the more powerful Into Asylum which used its character moments well. All the same, not bad, and definitely not a stinker.
One last thing: Tracy had bloody better be back soon or I'm going to get miffed.
Here's a YouTube promo for the next episode. Greg Beeman's blog, as always, has some good production details.