It has finally happened. An episode of Heroes that didn't make me want to vomit my brains. Not that it wasn't stupid in places (it was), but there is actually a story shaping up that has a shot at being coherent. I don't think it has a chance of synching up with previous story arcs to make a seamless whole, but at least this story itself might work a little bit on it's own terms, if you don't think too much about it.
How's that for faint praise? The problem with this development is it takes away the hate, but fails to replace it with enthusiasm. Without my hate, I have nothing - nothing!
Oh well, let's give this a try.
What We Know:
* Linderman's "ghost" is actually being generated by Matt Parkman's spooky mind-control dad, who seems to have escaped the mind trap that Matt constructed for him back in Season 2. We haven't seen how he was able to get out, but I think it is fair to assume that Hiro let him out after being told not to.
* Spook Dad is himself being controlled by this season's apparent Big Bad. He's ventilated in a hospital bed, but mindreader can still communicate with him. He's played by Robert Forster, which is sweet, and his super powers are super paralysis and super big-eyed glower. There may be more. The previews seemed to indicate that this was the long-gone, suspiciously demised, Pa Patreli. If so, very nice. I was waiting all Season One for the allegedly deceased Patreli Familius to pop up. Remember, this is the guy who was Linderman's lawyer, a charter member of the Evil Parent's club, and one of the guys that crusading attorney and congressional candidate Nathan was going to bring down for crimes against everybody. Oh, by the way, remember when Nathan had a wife and two boys whom he loved? You do? It doesn't seem like Nathan does! Oh well, what the hell.
* The puppetmaster is creepy, and probably about to join up with the Big Bad, given the paralysis/lack of body control Ma Patreli experienced in her dream.
* A group of villains is being constructed that includes Knox, Daphne, Matt, Hiro, and Adam. Their intent is to bore us. I mean, get the virus. I mean, the formula. Wait, they already got that. I guess it's to distribute the formula? The idea is to give everybody powers, which we already know will destroy the world.
* Hiro is an idiot. Also, please don't think for a second that he actually killed Ando. It was a cool unexpected moment, though. I'm guessing whatever time-bending slight of hand allowed him to prove his friend-killing badassedness will further alienate him from Ando, but I don't think he just stabbed his friend in cold blood. If he did, then "Heroes" has fully committed to its total lack of attention to character, and you can approach each episode as an improvisational session with the same actors rather than an ongoing series. Also, what kind of test is that? "I want to prove that I can trust you. So kill your friend. Then I'll know I don't have to keep my eye on you." That only works if you are worried that your new team member is a cop, you know. It is less effective in a superhero setting. Also, Hiro is an idiot. Also, Hiro is an idiot.
* Mohinder is a spider. So it's NOTHING like "The Fly." At all. Like a spider, he climbs walls and spins a sticky sort of substance that he uses to imprison victims. Also like a spider, he has a simple ganglion in his lower abdomen, rather than a more highly-developed brain. I think this is supposed to be read as his descent into evil, but he is on his way to killing Inky Sue, which I think will garner him a Nobel Prize.
A Major Quibble
They need to decide if the virus/cure/Honduran getaway in Season Deuce caused Syalr to lose all the powers he'd picked up in Season 1. It certainly seemed this way in the first episode this year, but we've since seen him paint the future and we've seen him use his telekenesis. And, if he has those old powers, then . . . HE HAS SUPER HEARING. He would be able to hear everything everything everything that HornRim was saying to Vore-tex. Just make a spreadsheet of powers, people.
Oh, and don't forget that Peter came into contact with Sylar when Sylar had the super hearing, so let's remember that Peter has super hearing, too. I'm sure that if you remember this, it will pay off by annoying you with the inconsistency later in the season. Like all the times Peter would be able to hear vital information but doesn't. Yes, my gift to you is shared annoyance. Welcome to my life.
A Potential Unifying Theory (Or How I'd Fix The Show)
I've already gone on ad infinitum on how the show is off the tracks. My first steps if I ran the show would be to wipe Peter's powers with a kind of a perma-Haitian, and then make him have to slowly learn each one back. Make him earn it. Then, I'd make Sylar scary again. Then, I would destroy this plot thread that has Claire's blood bringing the dead back to life. No death to any character means anything as long as that's riding. There is no suspense that I can buy. It is definitely the moment that the show totally lost me. Let's just pretend it could only happen the one time, because of the mumble mumble mumble, and move on.
Then, I would write scenes that would force the actor playing Mohinder to have a huge range. Lots of laughing and crying and different accents and prosthesis and stuff. That would just be for funnies, like when Keanu Reeves tries to do a period epic. Mohinder would become a parallel part of the show who never had anything to do with the show but would just try (and fail) to emote. Also, I would make him try to talk like Bootsie Collins. "Hey bah-bah, I gots this crazy skin fallin' off an' a taste fo' human flesh, but I just keep funkin' anyhow, bah-bah." This should happen.
Then I would have a shocker to shake things up. Take out a major character. I'd probably kill off Hiro. This would have the dual effect of taking time shifting out of the equation and mercy-killing a once great character who has turned into a retarded Manga labrador retreiver.
Finally, and this is a big one, I'd try to fix the Company. They have a different motive from episode to episode and even from scene to scene. Just try following the Haitian's loyalties from the beginning to now, and you'll see what I mean. It's time to make some sense of that. All these futures need to be tied together in some way, and we need to have some kind of explanation regarding why this group seems bent on saving the world but also on ending the world. Why they want to catch Claire and also protect Claire from their own operatives. Why they keep so many horrible formulas and viruses and what have you instead of just destroying them. My preference would be to reveal that the reason they chose to orchestrate the New York explosion was that it was the best future that Ma Patreli (and other paint/dream the future types -- remember Shaft himself was in the first season and had some kind of foresight) could find.
In other words, a nuclear explosion destroying New York actually was the good future. And now they've ruined it, and are now fighting even worse alternative. The Heroes have to try to find a new one, a better one.
Now there is a unifying plot.
Um, and the reason they don't just destroy the formula and the virus and the other things that are bringing these apocalypses about?
Sigh. Because they're stupid. We're back to that.