Okay haters, give at least this much up to this volume of Heroes: There’s some action. Even if the precious comic-book arcs have taken a turn toward the dumb/poorly reasoned, at least we’re not in that mode of discovering new characters and constantly switching motivations. The heroes are back to being heroes, and there’s a fairly clear enemy. Nathan and the henchmen—and Noah, maybe working angles—are out to lock our not-so-precious friends up forever, and they’re fighting for their lives. Not since season one has that much really been on the line.
And in this volume, the show has understood the value of a cliffhanger: Last week, we left off with the heroes kidnapping Noah at a bar. Will they torture some answers out of Noah Bennett? We can only hope. But at least twice since this volume started, I found myself actually invested in what’s going to happen next. If you don’t, well, you should probably get off this train, wait for the series to end, and just have somebody tell you what happened. It seems very likely that this is as good as it’s going to get from here on out. And you know what? That’s mostly good enough for me, which may be because I was never insanely invested in Heroes to begin with. I thought the first season was great, but always a little dumb. And even if it’s lost some steam, it’s still mindlessly entertaining for me. I watch Prison Break (RIP soon) and The Sarah Connor Chronicles for the same reason.
Anyway, on to tonight’s episode… It had its ups and downs, and overall wasn’t nearly as good as last week’s. On the plus side for you haters: No Hiro and Ando at all! None, zero, zilch. Same thing goes for Sylar and mini-Sylar. They were completely MIA as the story focused on the bad guys—and what Peter, Mohinder, and Matt were doing to fight them.
And what they were doing, as we know from last week, was kidnapping Noah. For some strange reason, they introduced drugs into this equation, with Parkman saying that Noah was too well-trained to let him get into his mind without them. And we learn (or maybe we knew this before) that having your mind read can be painful. But Matt doesn’t care—with Daphne dead, he’s all filled with rage and out for revenge. So he enters Noah’s mind, which conveniently gives him title cards “three weeks ago” and plays everything in black and white for dramatic effect.
Once inside, we learn a bunch of stuff we already knew: Nathan is basically behind the entire Heroes hunt, and Zeljko (whose character name, I think they finally said, is Panko) is a cold-blooded meanie. It looks like Noah has succumbed to the dark side, but eventually we learn that he’s secretly working with Angela to keep Nathan and Zeljko from locking up (or killing) all of the heroes.
Meanwhile, a suddenly moral Mohinder is bummed that Noah is getting a boo-boo from having his mind read—or maybe he just doesn’t want Parkman to know that he could’ve prevented all of this by warning the other heroes. “You’re better than him, Matt.” I call bullshit on that, as well as on the idea that Mohinder and Matt would have a knock-down brawl big enough that Noah could escape without detection.
Anyway, with Peter off stealing Noah’s gun stash, the baddies come in and capture Mohinder, while Matt must delve into Noah’s mind one more time—to prove that Daphne is ALIVE. (Fuck, really? Can’t we just kill the annoying people, like they did on Lost?) Yes, it’s true, Daphne just got hit in the shoulder, and for some reason Parkman didn’t notice that, and now all his meanness is going to disappear into the ether and Valentine’s Day next year is going to be great. Ugh. I liked mean Matt, and I wanted to see more of that. Speaking of that, WHY THE HELL DID MATT LET HIMSELF GET CAPTURED? He proved just a couple of weeks ago that when the baddies come with guys, he’s entirely capable of making them turn on each other and fire. In theory, he could’ve made himself invisible, or made them think that he was Noah and vice-versa. Instead, he just puts down the gun. C’mon guys, if you’re going to steal the plot of X-Men, at least use some of your bad-ass powers. Just flying isn’t enough.
So what did we learn? Not too much that we didn’t already suspect. Noah and Angela are going to be working to help the heroes, Noah in secret. Zeljko and Nathan are going to butt heads, but basically have the same mission—capture all the heroes.
But what for our heroes to do in the meantime? Crap, it looks like they’re going to have to try and save the world again. Parkman’s paintings show Washington DC blowing up, and what’s supposed to be Parkman strapped with a bunch of explosives. Here we go again?
-- Why did Noah all of a sudden speak Russian for one line?
-- It’s pretty amazing that all of Noah’s visual memories have addresses and apartment/storage numbers in them, but don’t seem to mention the fact that those places are under surveillance.
-- Zeljko begging to be killed to validate himself smells like bullshit to me. After all, he didn’t even know these heroes existed until recently, and now he’s ready to die to stop them?
-- Zeljko: “How the hell’d you get here so fast?”
-- Seriously, Daphne’s alive? That gave me a little Sean O’Neal-styled “Get me off this train” moment.