In the US: Monday 28th September, 8pm, NBC
In the UK: November sometime?
Oh dear. Here we go again. It's week two and already we have a filler episode whose most exciting moment was a cello playing in colour.
And I definitely feel cheated by the end of last week's promo - don't promise what you're not going to deliver:
NEW MYSTERIES ARE UNEARTHED AS A RELUCTANT NEW HERO IS INTRODUCED - DEANNE BRAY, MADELINE ZIMA, DAWN OLIVIERI AND ACADEMY AWARD-WINNER LOUISE FLETCHER GUEST STAR - Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) faces unexpected consequences for his heroic acts and encounters a reluctant new hero (guest star Deanne Bray). As Claire (Hayden Panettiere) continues to adjust to college life, she must figure out how to deal with her ability having been revealed. Meanwhile, Samuel (Robert Knepper) moves heaven and earth to recapture the memories of his late brother Joseph. Elsewhere, Matt (Greg Grunberg) struggles with his internal demons as Sylar (Zachary Quinto) mysteriously resurfaces. Jack Coleman also stars. Assaf Cohen and Rick Worthy also guest star.
Is it any good?
I imagine there were some production missteps along the way because Ink was originally scheduled to be episode four in the season. You could just about have excused a very slow moving, character piece with almost no hero moments appearing next week, but only a week after the premiere? I'm thinking this could be a severe misstep.
As the producers stated before the season began, there are going to be fewer heroes per episode so this week's episode focused on Matt/Sylar, Claire/HRG, and Peter/Samuel. Can you see the problems here for a second-week episode?
The Matt/Sylar thread was moderately interesting, it must be said, with Sylar proving to be far more witty and entertaining when he's a figment of Matt's imagination than he ever was in person: I guess you just have to use other muscles when you can't use any of your own any more. Sylar's use of Matt's powers against him also proved to be quite a nasty, enjoyable little plotline, although you can't help but feeling that the whole "I'm going to try to kick this addiction" thread was a bit pointless and unwarranted in the first place. You can now see it going somewhere good, though, with Matt going hardcore and power-crazed. Fingers-crossed, Matt doesn't end up in Sylar's body and Nathan in Matt's.
Claire/HRG stayed firmly away from the sniping of previous seasons and was quite fun, with HRG leaving hospital a little quicker than expected to visit Claire, who now has to decide whether to tell Gretchen about her special powers. Gretchen's a little too creepy and too insistent in wanting to find out more about what she saw last episode, particularly when she insists she come to lunch with HRG and Claire, for Claire to plausibly want to share information with her. But Claire's young and has to find these things out for herself, I guess: avoid creepy stalker ladies, Claire - it's a life lesson.
Peter/Samuel was okay and was mostly just tease. Samuel is trying to recruit Peter to his cause. We don't know what that cause is, but it involves tattooing people, apparently. It was an interesting approach to have Peter sued by Samuel for damages incurred during some heroics - a touch Incredibles but not too close for comfort - just so he could chat to Peter without getting into a fight, and pleasingly 'real world' as well. Samuel's characterisation was also pleasing, as we learn a little about his history and motivations. I do wish Robert Knepper would pick an accent though.
I also wonder what's going on in the minds of the producers that they've decided to introduce yet another new hero (because that always goes down well) - another blonde women, not that I'm complaining - who is deaf but has the ability to see sounds as colours.
Maybe they're going somewhere with this - she's going to turn into Daredevil at some point or even some kind of Siren? - but really, it's not 'awesome' at the moment, however you cut it. I imagine they're lining her up as some sort of love interest for Peter (maybe she'll be the rock of normality and loveliness that returns him back to his normal self once he goes evil and joins the carnival). But this episode, we got her playing a cello as a stand-in for awesome.
Overall, then, while the character moments were nice and well written, and the individual elements fine, I do have to worry about the episode as a whole, as well as the story arc. We still don't really know what the Carnival is all about, why they want to recruit heroes, or whether they're even truly baddies or not. More importantly, we don't know if it's all going to be exciting, particularly when all the cool stuff (eg battles between Sylar and the Petrellis, houses falling into holes) appears to be happening off-screen these days.
Still, next week, we do at least have Nathan/Sylar and Tracy to look forward to. That should definitely be more interesting.