Review: Heroes 3×1-3×2

Superfantastico

Heroes 3x1

In the US: Mondays, 9pm, NBC
In the UK: Mondays, 9pm, BBC2. Starts October 1st

Heroes was the show everyone loved during its first season. The one real breakout hit of that year’s new entries, it was an ensemble Unbreakable for the small screen: ordinary people suddenly find they have superpowers and have to work out what to do with them.

Then came its second season and then it wasn’t quite as loved as it was before. Apart from its crimes against Ireland and the disappointingly unsuper finale to the first season, the second season just plodded along like it was Lost or something. Bah. Where were the superfights and the superpowers? Why did we have to deal with all these rubbish new heroes when the old ones didn’t have enough screen time as it was?

Fortunately, along came the writers’ strike in the US and curtailed the second season, forcing it to speed up and giving the writers more time to think of a decent third season.

So now, it’s back, finally, after a hell of a wait. The writers have regrouped. Have they managed to fix their mistakes and return Heroes to the glory of the first season?

And more importantly, since it’s the only really important question in the whole of this introduction and perhaps even the world, is there any point to life any more or is Ali Larter definitely still in the cast list?

I’m going to try to avoid spoilers at this stage, but given there are so many twists, turns and revelations in these first two episodes, even if I did give away about 20 plot points, there’d still be another 980 to delight you with.

Suffice it to say that rather than plodding Heroes, we’ve been served up with zippy Heroes, sometimes quite literally. Yes, more of what you want, how you want it, and in just the right doses. Insanely great cliffhangers, more scary villains rather than tedious new heroes, fun bits with Hiro and Ando on a quest, a literally Earth-shattering future to prevent, time travel: it’s all there. You even get to see what Sylar does with his brains.

But there’s also been a bit of nimble footwork, here and there, just to stir things up. Our heroes are getting new powers, swapping powers, swapping other things: nothing is quite what it seems to be, so there’s going to be fun learning, too.

There are the usual niggles. Tim Kring still writes incredibly hokey dialogue. Plot loopholes are there aplenty. A lot of the time, you’ll be thinking, “Hang on. But if he can do that, why doesn’t he just do this?”, inserting a far more logical course of action for ‘this’. Indeed, I guarantee you that by the end of the first episode, you’ll have thought, “Hang on. Those slats are made of wood!”, for example.

Also slightly disappointing is the fact that just about everyone on the show turns out to be immortal. Really, no one can die on this show. It’s incredible. Okay, some can, thankfully in gruesome ways, but no one important or a fan favourite.

So for my one proper spoiler that isn’t actually, I’ll just reveal to you that yes, Ali Larter* is back, life does have a meaning still, and better still, she’s not Niki any more and she seems to have learned how to act. See? Even that bit of the show’s better. I will indeed carry on watching.

Previous viewers of Heroes should be relieved to know that it’s back on form and full of action – at last. New viewers might find things a little hard going, but since we’re in reboot territory and there are enough cheesy lines of “Ah ha, I think you’ll find that that’s a …, which as I said back in episode 16 to your mother who is also my best friend except for when she …” style dialogue to explain everything to the newbie, you should be in the swing of things and ready to buy DVD box sets by the end of the second episode.

Roll on part three and more Ali, I say.

Here’s a more than slightly spoilery promo.

* It’s like Michelangelo went to Mount Hotness, brought back a slab of hot, chiselled away at it for days and there inside, fully formed, was Ali Larter. She’s like the eighth wonder of the world.




  • Okay, some can (die), thankfully in gruesome ways, but no one important or a fan favourite.
    Yet. It’s still early days – remember, a good head removal can still stop Peter, Adam and Claire…
    And for all yer Larter love, I can’t help noticing whose visage adorns the top of the page; should’ve gone for Mohinder or HRG… (Fact: The only real blonde competition the future Cindylover1969 Orgasm Friend* has on the show is not Ali Larter but Kristen Bell.)
    *C/O Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  • Phoenix

    (aside: TypeKey doesn’t seem to be working on your site right now)
    I’m not sure what you meant when you said all the fan favorites can’t be killed anymore. Of whom are you thinking? I didn’t see anyone that couldn’t be killed, including those with Claire-powers (as Cindylover pointed out).
    Certain lines were grating (“Long night after a bad taco” wins the award for all-time least intimidating line from any villain ever), famous (but wrong) bits of popular myth are trotted out again (the factoid that we only use 10% of our brain has never been true, nor claimed to be true by actual scientists, and it bothers me every time I hear it).
    So many acts were illogical, especially Peter and Hiro. Argh. This explains one particular frustration as well as I could (also read the alt-text).
    Also, if Gabriel lost his powers, why does he still have telekinesis? Anyway.
    However, I did laugh, out loud, when Hiro dodged the speedy catburglar, shouting “Mudamudamudamuda!”
    (‘Mu da’ is Japanese for “it’s useless (to do that)”, and repeated like that it is the catchphrase of Dio Brando, a comic-book character who’s power is to, wait for it: STOP TIME. This is the third [I think] reference Hiro makes to that character; once last season and once on his now-gone blog.).
    So… I was burned last season, but I’ll keep watching. For now. Hopefully the writers will be less stupid than before.

  • “Yet. It’s still early days – remember, a good head removal can still stop Peter, Adam and Claire… ”
    But I don’t think, off the top off my head (ho ho), I can think of a single fan favourite character who’s been killed, certainly not since the before the end of the first season.
    “And for all yer Larter love, I can’t help noticing whose visage adorns the top of the page; should’ve gone for Mohinder or HRG”
    If I could have done a non-spoiling Larter pic before the fold, I would have done; I’m sure I’ll over-compensate before the end of the season. But her mere presence would have been a spoiler. The Claire shot comes from about 50 seconds in and so was marginally easier to obtain than other shots and was pretty much available from the minor promos so would have been less spoilery too.

  • “Yet. It’s still early days – remember, a good head removal can still stop Peter, Adam and Claire… ”
    But I don’t think, off the top off my head (ho ho), I can think of a single fan favourite character who’s been killed, certainly not since the before the end of the first season.
    “And for all yer Larter love, I can’t help noticing whose visage adorns the top of the page; should’ve gone for Mohinder or HRG”
    If I could have done a non-spoiling Larter pic before the fold, I would have done; I’m sure I’ll over-compensate before the end of the season. But her mere presence would have been a spoiler. The Claire shot comes from about 50 seconds in and so was marginally easier to obtain than other shots and was pretty much available from the minor promos so would have been less spoilery too.

  • “(aside: TypeKey doesn’t seem to be working on your site right now)”
    I think it’s a TypeKey issue, rather than a site issue, since I had the same problem on the TVToday site earlier. But I’ll give it a check over just to make sure – thanks!
    “I’m not sure what you meant when you said all the fan favorites can’t be killed anymore. Of whom are you thinking? I didn’t see anyone that couldn’t be killed, including those with Claire-powers (as Cindylover pointed out).”
    I mean for political, behind-the-scenes issues, rather than because of elements of the storyline. You can’t kill Claire because of the Claire fans, Nathan because of the Nathan fans, etc. Although if a good movie offer comes along, of course, but even then, maybe not – I think Ali Larter did four movies during the second season, and all that did was reduce her screen time rather than elicit a complete write-out.

  • Also, if Gabriel lost his powers, why does he still have telekinesis?
    Because at the end of last season, he got a dose of Claire’s blood. Since he wasn’t dead he didn’t revive, but it did give him a bit of a reboot (though you’d think it would therefore have started from the beginning with the power he originally had, but then again glancing at a Ford Cortina that’s stalled and seeing what’s wrong instantly is less impressive than the human magnet act he pulled).
    New viewers might find things a little hard going
    Based on reports from elsewhere, there ain’t no “might” about it. And in fairness it’s not the most accessible show out there (as opposed to that dancing thing on opposite it in America, which from day 1 has always been the chink in Heroes‘ ratings armour and is one reason why I refuse to watch Strictly C… I can’t even finish the title), but I still get irritated when otherwise reasonable people whinge about it being too complicated. I’d expect that from several of my co-workers, but not reasonable people. [Edited by Rob to add spoiler tags]

  • Phoenix

    But that’s what I mean. He doesn’t have any of his other stolen powers, so why that one?
    Just one of the many many things that don’t quite make sense on Heroes.
    Anyway, about no one being mortal: Didn’t D.L. die last season? Was he not a fan favorite? What about Kaito?
    I would be pretty upset if Nathan died though. I’ve been a Pasdar fan since Profit (poor show was way too far ahead of its time). Actually, Nathan, Hiro, and HRG. Anyone else… meh. [Edited by Rob to add spoiler tags]

  • “He doesn’t have any of his other stolen powers, so why that one?”
    That we’ve seen. He may have others still. I thought that’s why he was looking for Claire – so he could regenerate them back. But if it’s just the one, let’s chalk that up to another one of those Heroes “Hang on, if he…” moments.

    “Didn’t D.L. die last season? Was he not a fan favorite? What about Kaito?”
    No. And I don’t even remember Kaito. That’s how memorable he/she was.

  • You don’t remember Hiro’s dad?

  • MediumRob

    Ahem. Plus he was in the first episode

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  • AndyB

    “remember, a good head removal can still stop Peter, Adam and Claire…”
    Well, maybe not Claire… 😉
    And yes, Sylar/Gabriel forced Mohinder to heal him at the end of season 2, so now he’s got his original powers back.

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