Review: Heroes 3×17 – Cold Wars

A return to form, but a misleading title

Heroes - Cold Wars

After last week’s misstep with Building 26 it’s good to see Heroes back on form again for Cold Wars. The only real disappointment: with a title like that, I was expecting a kick-ass Tracy episode. I should sue for false advertising.

Spoilers after the jump.

Although a slightly slow-paced episode in some regards, in many ways this harks back to season one classic Company Man. In it, we learn through Matt Parkman’s interrogation of HRG how he came to be working with the government to round-up those with abilities, and a bit more about Nathan’s motivations, giving both ‘villains’ of the piece much needed dimensions.

Meanwhile, errand boy Peter flies around, dropping in on people and avoiding capture, and Mohinder faces up to his past and reveals that he’s a complete spanner who can’t be trusted to do even simple jobs properly – where’s Jessica when you need her?

And, of course, since this is Heroes, Flash-girl ain’t dead.

A lot of things about this worked very nicely. Direction was good, particularly the black and white flashbacks, even if Peter’s perpetual gas-bombings did start to get comedic after a while (“Oh no, another gas bomb. Where did that come from? Woah! Who just flew by? Oh, Peter, quelle surprise.”). The time spent on characterisation was definitely worth the effort, particularly since we didn’t have so much as a hint of Hiro, Ando and Claire to dilute focus, act like big kids and whine at us.

Parkman’s increasing hardcoreness is also saving him from the “people I don’t care about” pile. He’s starting to feel like a cop, even if Greg Grunberg still can’t suggest much beyond “big friendly bear” at times.

Giving Jack Coleman, Adrian Pasdar and Zeljko Ivanek scenes together was also a good idea, since you have the show’s subtlest actors playing off their own and the other characters’ moral ambiguities to great effect. Even HRG and wife’s scenes were effective and adult, something that rarely happens.

It wasn’t without weaknesses. Possibly the most disappointing thing about the episode was the ending. Another bomb? Really? Didn’t we already do that?

And the fact that Peter now only has one power at a time means we don’t get as many great fights as we’re used to, which is a shame, since he just ends up flying off. Don’t they have helicopters and satellites, these top secret government organisations?

But still a firm return to quality after last week’s cock-up. As always, Greg Beeman’s blog is a good source of information about production on the episode and behind-the-scenes photos: give it a read if you’re interested.

Here’s a promo for the next episode. God. More Claire over-emoting. Joy.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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