Review: Heroes 3×21 – Into Asylum

Got to run run run run run away

A little bit less action-packed this week as various members of the family Petrelli go into hiding, while Sylar finally gets his mojo back and gets himself a new partner. Spoilers and more after the break.

Quite a subdued, low-tech piece, in keeping not only with the back to basics Heroes of volume four, but with the fact this was rushed through in the last minute when it turned out Cold Snap was going to be a bugger to make and they needed more time. Focusing almost entirely on three pairings – Nathan and Claire; Angela and Peter; and Sylar and ‘the Hunter’ – it lacked the sparks and ostentation of Cold Snap, but was a satisfying character piece that rehabilitated more or less everyone involved and gave them much needed depth.

On the Sylar and ‘the Hunter’ side, Sylar’s got much needed characterisation and depth, as well as a return to his first season scariness. To a certain extent, while the Hunter retained some nuances, this was to the latter’s detriment since it makes you wonder how he’s managed to catch anyone at all until now. But since we only really care about Sylar, who’s now got a new power, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If Sylar came out of this the best, Nathan came out the worst. Could the man flip-flop any more? I know he’s a politician, but this number of u-turns is looking daft. All the same, some nice character moments between him and Claire, particularly the selling of Nathan’s watch to buy back HRG’s gift to her, and it’s nice to know he was in the navy – did we know that already?

Claire, in common with previous episodes, was surprisingly un-irritating, with even Nathan finally calling her on her bratty teenagerness and demanding at least a little gratitude for saving her life. The drinking scene was particularly fun, and we got to see sides of both characters we hadn’t seen before.

Meanwhile, back at the church of all places, Peter and Angela were getting re-acquainted, and Angela was getting some more personality. Given the current female count on the show – alas, no Tracy this week – I imagine feverish workings behind the scenes to give as much story time as possible to the few who are remaining. Angela now comes across as a smart cookie who’s been forced to do terrible things to get a disbelieving world to listen to her. It feels like a bit of a re-write of history, but it does make her a relatively sympathetic character, one I think everyone’s going to want to have on-side.

Peter gets to whine as well, but only at God. Thankfully.

While we didn’t have all the powers-fun of Cold Snap to enjoy here, we had a fair few action sequences, with Sylar’s chase of ‘Martin’ proving particularly memorable and incorporating a double-bluff that wasn’t what we might have expected. Not quite as exciting as Heroes at its peak, and something of a join the dots episode for the plot, but satisfying all the same.

What’s this?
Intelligent, thoughtful writing? We’re nearly back at season one, as just about everything is being reset: Nathan coming back into the fold and ambivalent; Peter and Angela on speaking terms; Ando and Hiro fun again; Mrs Parkman back on the scene; Claire fun and lovable; Sylar scary and unstoppable; HRG nuanced. And what with Micah being back, what does that leave to get the full reset? Hmmm.

A couple of questions:

  1. When is it going to stop being cool to hate Heroes and cool to start liking it again, given volume four has been so good?
  2. Is it possible to give everyone in the world a collective mind-wipe to eliminate volume three from our memories? Or shall we all just choose to agree it never happened, just like Highlander 2?

As always, have a gander at Greg Beeman’s blog for production details and behind-the-scenes photos, including an HRG/Micah scene that got chopped at the last minute. And here’s an exceedingly dull promo for next week’s episode which suggests either

  1. It’s going to be a very dull episode
  2. Every exciting scene’s got a massive spoiler in it. Go Tracy, our icy T-1000 (fingers crossed)


  • 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.

    View all posts