Review: Heroes 4×10 – Brother’s Keeper

A new red dress and Mohinder returns. Excellent!


In the US: Monday 16th November 2009, 9pm, NBC
In the UK: March/April 2010, BBC2

Remember the best feature of season one of Heroes? Okay cool powers are, indeed, cool, but the best bit was the way all the various disparate, separated characters would come together, either by coincidence or by design.

The excellent Brother’s Keeper returned the show back to this season one form, finally revealed why we should fear Carnies, and blessed be, gave us Ali in a brand new red dress. God bless those red dresses.

Spoilers ahoy.

Samuel (Robert Knepper) learns just how powerful he can become and takes dangerous measures to reach his full potential. Meanwhile, as Tracy (Ali Larter) begins to lose control of her ability, one of her own comes in harms way. Elsewhere, Sylar (Zachary Quinto) continues his battle with Matt (Greg Grunberg).

Kavi Ladnier, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Ravi Kapoor and Andrew Connolly guest star.

Was it any good?
As usual, it’s tag team breakdown again.

Peter/Nathan/Sylar/Rene + Matt/Sylar
So Nathan’s back. Quite why, other than he saw an aeroplane flying overhead while he was at the Carnival and the story demands it, I don’t know, but he is and he wants to know why his head’s all confused. So he turns to Peter to help.

Then up pops Rene, who keeps his distance from Nathan/Sylar for some reason, given what he does next. He tells Peter that if he wants to know the truth about Nathan, he’s got to go to one of his mom’s undoubtedly many lock-ups. Inside is stashed Nathan’s body in a remarkably non-smelly, intact state after weeks of just lying there. Quite why Angela has kept it, I don’t know either.

Nathan gets a vibe off the body that involves Sylar and Matt so, after finding out that Matt is in hospital after having tried to kill himself last episode, they head off to find him. When they get there, Peter heals Matt, Matt tells Nathan and Peter what went down in I Am Sylar. Sylar then manages to use Matt’s power to convince Nathan to touch him, so he’s back in his old body – except Nathan’s in charge still. I imagine a great big tussle for ownership next week.

So, as you can tell, not the most logical of strands, but still involving and tense. Finally, Matt’s free of Sylar – not the best of character combos – and ready to run home to Janice/help hunt down Sylar/evade the police after all the things he’s been up to while Sylar was in charge. Interplay between Nathan and Peter was good, although I’m not entirely sure why Peter’s completely forgiven Nathan for Volumes 3 and 4. And Peter’s dumped his healing power, so Hiro’s in trouble now.

Claire/Tracy/HRG + Tracy/Samuel
Ali Larter and Hayden “contractually obliged to be in every single episode” Panettierre are gal pals in real life, but you may have noticed they don’t get much screen time together – something they’ve complained about to the producers.

If you hadn’t noticed this, Brother’s Keeper would have rammed it home, because Tracy doesn’t know that Claire’s special power is healing. There are tribesmen in Burkina Faso who know what Claire’s special power is, that’s how little time Tracy and Claire have spent together.

Probably the best grouping of the episode (just), this saw Tracy continuing to lose control of her powers – only the icy ones this time though – as she loses her control of her life and turning to HRG for help. However, he’s not around – maybe because Tracy told him she never wanted to see him again – but Claire is. She tries to help out by getting Tracy to take a nice warm bath in her undies with her.

God bless Claire.

Unfortunately, not realising that ice powers probably trump bath water in the rock-powers-scissors game of life, that doesn’t work and Tracy ends up turning Claire into a popsicle. It’s quite a fun moment, something Ali isn’t unaware of judging by her performance, as Tracy ends up trying to drag Claire’s body to the bathroom and snaps her foot off.

Fortunately, Claire heals, Tracy realises everything’s a-okay, and after slipping on HRG’s dressing gown and spending some gal pal time with Claire, comes to the conclusion that joining the Carnival might be a good idea.

Although there’s the possibility that the newly arrived HRG is sending Tracy undercover to infiltrate the Carnival, the suggestion is (particularly in the latest graphic novel) that Tracy’s joined up with the Carnival for real. Quite why Claire thought this was a good idea after last episode, and decided to egg Tracy on, I don’t know. But she did, the silly girl.

This was, on the whole, a nice strand for Tracy, although taking the once strong politico and turning her into a bit of a murderous puppet for Samuel is a tad disappointing (if true). Good to see Claire and Tracy together, with the very subtle message that Tracy as a woman relies on her friends for strength, and without them starts to fall apart.

And God bless that red dress.

Mohinder’s back and he’s not irritating! This is indeed an aptly titled volume indeed if Mohinder seems a decent character while simultaneously being idiotic.

As we learnt a couple of weeks ago, Mohinder’s been dead for nine weeks, thanks to Samuel, and Samuel needs Hiro to go back in time – not to save Mohinder, but to get his daddy’s movies.

Before being killed off, Mohinder had returned to India to become a teacher again and to carry on with his stereotypically disapproving girlfriend. Thanks to daddy’s movies, we discover that Specials (someone been watching The Incredibles?) emit a force and Samuel can pick up on that force and make himself stronger with it.

Mohinder invents a compass for finding Specials – specifically Samuel – treks across America (apparently) looking for him and finds his brother, who tells him that he’s been keeping Samuel in the dark about the true nature of his power. Samuel overhears, and goes looking for Mohinder to find out more. When he discovers Mohinder has burnt the movies, he kills Mohinder.

Except, of course, Hiro comes back in time and saves the movie. More than that, he gives Mohinder a kevlar vest to save him from being stoned to death. Clever old Hiro. Could someone explain how he managed to do that without Mohinder noticing?

Trouble is, to prevent Mohinder getting mouthy about what he knows, thus preventing Charlie from being released by Samuel, Hiro sticks him in a loony bin.

I did like this strand a lot. Hiro’s smart, Mohinder’s his usual “makes things worse” self but back to being a decent character rather than a Brundlefly. We finally find out the motivation for the Carnies (or at least Samuel).

In fact, if you look closely, we genuinely have a big bad. For anyone who wondered whether the show was going anywhere with that cracked Earth graffiti last season, what do you think might be the threat posed by Samuel with “1,000 times” his normal power levels?

Just saying.

I liked it. It was well paced, it had tension, it had comedy. Characters were well developed. We’ve finally got Mohinder back. Sylar’s back in his body. We have a big bad at last. Tracy wore a red dress.

Cracking – what more could you ask for?


  • 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.