After a resounding call from as many as one people, here comes the (hopefully) regular weekly Heroes reviews. Still no word from the Beeb about when they’re going to be transmitting the new episodes, so US speed it is, I’m afraid.
Bit of a duff one after the previous week’s stonkers, I’m afraid, but we can talk about that after the jump. Spoilers ahoy.
So the duffness essentially comes from this feeling like an old-school Heroes episode, rather than one of the new and improved ones. While focused much more on characters than Volume 3 was, there was just a little bit too much dumbness and a little bit too much dullness for this to be an enjoyable piece of work.
By far the biggest problem was that this was an episode that revolved around the three pairings of Hiro and Ando; Claire and HRG; and Sylar and Microwave Boy. The Claire and HRG stuff we’ve seen literally half a dozen times before, to the extent that even Claire is going “And this is the bit where you say…”
Ando and Hiro meanwhile are bickering. It’s all pretty tedious stuff, with Hiro wanting to be the hero and Ando being the hero instead. Ando and Hiro are supposed to be the fun part of the show, with their references to Star Trek and comic books – geeks stuck in a geek wonderland. Instead, they’re argumentative nerds stuck on a Star Wars blog, nitpicking over stormtrooper uniforms. It would also help if their entire storyline this episode didn’t involve an apparently pointless trip to India. Why were they there? What were they doing? I don’t know.
Sylar and Microwave Boy was moderately entertaining, at least, and the plot strand appears designed to find a halfway house between “Sylar as hero” from Volume 3 and “Sylar as villain” from previous volumes. One of the few thrilling points of the episode, it’s still a little bit tedious and Microwave Boy is the main cause of this. He’s an implausible character and the point where Sylar seems to abandon him is one of the highlights of the episode.
The other highlights were Tracy and Nathan, back at Hunter HQ. Icy Tracy turns out to know all the right people in all the right places, but an abortive, manufactured escape attempt turns a would-be saviour into a convert to Nathan’s cause. The escape attempt does at least give us some Ali Larter action sequences, complete with official action heroine tank-top, but it also gives us a philosophical musing, even if the show doesn’t want to dwell on it: Tracy kills her hostage in cold (ho ho) blood – making her increasingly and delightfully Jessica- and indeed Sylar-like – but all the characters in the know think of it as self-defence. Even though she’s been tortured and held without trial, does she have a right to kill one of her captors once it’s clear she can’t escape?
But the Tracy imprisonment plot also reveals some latent stupidity. Are they really going to have her chained up to a chair in front of some hot lights for perpetuity? What about feeding time and bathroom breaks? Nap time? Why not make her prison out of liquid nitrogren flask materials instead?
Still, that is a promisingly hardcore part of the plot, as is Tracy, and the episode’s ending, with the arrival of the remaining heroes, shows that Heroes is at least getting its mojo back with cliffhangers.
Not the greatest episode, but nowhere near as dumb as some of volume 3’s or as boring as volume 2’s.