Review: Heroes 3×23 – 1961

Visibly ageing the audience

That’s it. Two episodes to go after this. It must all be building to something.

Look! A flashback episode, shot in black and white. They’re always good on Heroes. They explain how we got to a particular point in the plot and set the course for wherever everything has to go next.

What’s that? This was actually a snore fest?

Oh. Whoops.

The last few episodes have indeed all been building to this moment: a flashback to 1961 in which we find out how Angela became all devious, how she and all the other Company founders met up, why they ended up tracking down ‘heroes’ and why this is all somehow relevant to the current government plans.

Now, to a certain extent, we got explanations. We got flashbacks to a previous government experiment, in which Mohinder’s dad, Barbara’s dad (?)/creator Dr Zimmerman and co played around with heroes locked up in an internment camp pretending to be Butlins. Staying Chez Mengler were future Company founders Charles Devreaux, Bob Bishop, some posh kid with a rubbish accent pretending to be Lindemann, and Angela, her mentalist sister and her dad.

Turning up to learn all about the holiday from Hell were Peter, Claire, HRG and Monhinder, who got to chat a lot about whether they could forgive themselves and Nathan for being an idiotic arse who rounded them all up and stuck them in his own version of Guatanamo. Apparently, they could – sort of. And Angela, who’s been having weird dreams again, wanted them all to dig up dead bodies so that she could find out if her sister’s still alive or not – she is, but no one really cares.

But, really, the burning question left at the end of this episode is ‘Why?’ Why did we just have to sit through all of that? Because at the end, although characters have gone on various journeys, there’s no real relevance to the ongoing plot, as far as I can see and we didn’t really learn anything we couldn’t have inferred from previous episodes.

Whether there’ll be a pay-off later remains to be seen, but this just felt like a Heroes episode by the numbers: let’s do flashbacks, let’s do characters meeting up in the past, let’s do characters learning things about their past and their parents.

Direction was okay, although there was a touch too much "let’s zoom in and linger on this object because it will become important later on. Zoom in! Zoom in, I tell you! The viewers are idiots!" All the characters were too busy feeling sorry for themselves to add much zing to the story. Still, a good cliffhanger, since it does imply that the show is at least going somewhere, even if it doesn’t look like it’s going to be the (literally) earth-shaking finales of previous seasons or volumes.*

And I’m telling you Tracy had better be in the next episode or I really will sulk.

As always, Greg Beeman’s blog has some interesting behind-the-scenes details. In a moment, a trailer and a sneak peak for the next episode – the far more promising sounding and indeed looking I Am Sylar, which seems to suggest that the pace is finally going to pick up again after a couple of slack episodes.

*Actually, having seen the latest TV Guide interview with Tim Kring, I’m now feeling very very worried about the finale. Don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled.


  • 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.