In the US: Monday 5th October, 9pm, NBC
In the UK: November? Oh, who knows
Was this episode three in disguise? I'm not convinced, despite all the NBC press releases and publicity shots that said it was. So Ink was basically just a bad move altogether.
But that's of no consequence. Do you know what is of consequence?
This episode was written by Bryan Fuller. Yes, wonderful Bryan Fuller, saviour of Heroes last season and general all-round good writer.
In the character tag-team that is Volume Five, it's a Hiro/Ando, Peter/HRG, HRG/Claire, Nathan/Sylar/Peter and Tracy/HRG episode and compared to last week's episode, it's a great return to form for Heroes. It's just a shame it wasn't quite the knock out that Cold Snap was since this could be our Bryan's last episode before he leaves to write a sitcom.
For shame, Bryan. For shame.
Still, at least he's left us with Ali Larter in a towel. God bless him for that.
As Hiro's (Masi Oka) life continues to hang in the balance, he distracts himself with saving the lives of others. Meanwhile, Angela (Cristine Rose) tries to help the new "Nathan" (Adrian Pasdar) remember his past, at the risk of his remembering too much. Elsewhere, Tracy (Ali Larter) is determined to get her old job back, but soon realizes that she needs to make more of an impact. Jack Coleman, James Kyson Lee, Zachary Quinto and Milo Ventimiglia also star. Ashley Crow, Saemi Nakamura and Dawn Olivieri also guest star.
Was it any good?
Well - yes:
But in plot terms, this was a goodie, and there was plenty of sparkling dialogue to go round, too. Let's break it down by characters:
Yet again, Hiro/Ando teetered on the edge between fun/touching and downright irritating. But while Hiro being stuck in his own personal photocopier-based Groundhog Day was mostly irritating, compared with all the potential his bucket list could be offering right now, it did at least end with a touching moment and realisation for our Hiro. But this was definitely the weakest part of the episode.
Hang on. Peter was in this one, too? Blimey. Fortunately, he was only here to interact with HRG and Claire for a few brief moments (and Nathan - see later). While this might appear to be a waste of time, seeing as all he did was tell HRG he had a tattoo - and then turn out not to have one - it did give Peter a chance not to be whiny and to enjoy his powers for a change, which was a typically nice Fuller touch. And it also meant we didn't have to endure Cello Woman, which was a small mercy.
Nothing advancing here in plot terms at all. Instead, Claire tries to motivate HRG into getting some sort of life plan together and maybe a job. It's pure humorous, father-daughter stuff, designed also to show what a hole HRG is currently in without Heroes to chase down (or a job). Given that most Claire-HRG conversations have been of the "Claire, stop doing that."/"No, Dad. I'm not your Claire bear any more" format for whole seasons now, it's great to have this kind of relationship reminiscent of Company Man again.
I say Nathan/Sylar, but Sylar himself wasn't in it much at all. Instead, Nathan is busily discovering he has all sorts of new powers - Peter helpfully suggesting that maybe Nathan has empathy powers as well, thus giving an alternative to the obvious "didn't Sylar have all these powers?" thoughts that Nathan must be thinking. Nathan/Sylar is busily having a crisis of conscience since he now remembers thanks to his psychometric skills that he accidentally killed a girl in college and Mama Petrelli covered it up and got the Haitian to wipe his brain.
Given that most of this plot was in the trailer, no big surprises here (although if you didn't already know it was coming, it would have been a real killer). But the conclusion, in which Sylar claws his way out of the ground after 'Nathan' is shot and buried does promise even more good things to come. I did feel Mama Petrelli was veering dangerously close to moustache-twirling again, but nu-Nathan's good guy act is refreshing and his chats with Peter built on the brothers' relationship well.
Surprisingly small part of the episode, given Tracy's prominence in the promo and the general acceptance that our Ali has been Bryan's muse of late. I was hoping for more (naturally). Nevertheless, possibly the most interesting aspect of the plot, given the development to Tracy here: we get to see her trying to return to her normal life, but discovering that post-Cold Snap, she no longer wants to be the Ice Queen evil-doer of yesteryear. Instead, she wants to do good things, and that's not something her former life allows.
Wow. Tracy and Peter are the only heroic Heroes all of a sudden. Didn't see that one coming.
Equally interestingly, it seems that the general wisdom of Heroes - that a power is related to personality and has appropriate side-effects - still holds true: as Tracy's life and self-image start to fall apart, so does she, starting to become her watery self again. She needs a proper job, too, it seems.
We also get more of HRG and Tracy's odd couple pairing, with both lost souls unwittingly trying to find some kind of direction in their lives and doing their best to help each other without truly understanding why. The smart money is on Tracy and HRG hooking up as partners in the new Company in an effort to help other Heroes. But we'll have to wait and see.
Not much happening this episode, but we get a little bit of a glimpse at Samuel's plan, which is basically to recruit Heroes to the Carnival for some kind of vengeance scheme. This does amp up the threatening, but still leaves the Carnival as a somewhat nebulous, Mephistophelean enemy, trying to temp our Heroes to the darkside, rather than something that poses a serious enemy to be stopped. At least, not yet.
Very good, but still a bit lacking in the awesome stakes. We're finally seeing some of our Heroes trying their best to be heroic now, albeit without much by way of fights, unfortunately. However, the emphasis on character is welcome, and this feels like a return to the glories of the first season in that respect.
It's just moving a bit too slowly, that's all. All we need now is the awesome back, and I think Nathan/Sylar might be able to help out here with the assistance of Ernie Hudson. Oh, and cello woman's back and Claire goes lesbo (apparently, at Hayden Panetierre's request).
- October 13, 2009: Review: Heroes 4x5 - Hysterical Blindness
A review of episode five of season four of NBC's Heroes – Hysterical Blindness
- February 9, 2010: Season finale: Heroes 4x18 - Brave New World
A review of the Heroes episode Brave New World and a look back at the fourth season