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Snap Judgment: 'Heroes: Fugitives.' Any better?

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Heroesmasi_lYou know what? Better. Much better. Heroes still isn’t what it should be — the last season and a half of mediocrity left NBC’s super-power-hour at the bottom of a pretty big ditch — but the “Fugitives” arc shows some promise.

Why? A couple of POTENTIALLY SPOILERY thoughts after the jump.

1) A slower pace. For the first time in a long time, it didn’t feel like Heroes was jumping around like the Bourne Ultimatum editor on a trampoline. We got to register everyone’s desire for normalcy — Mohinder back behind the wheel of a cab, Peter’s new gig as a paramedic, Matt and Daphne’s life as a proto-couple — in a manner that didn’t seem like a race.

2) A new threat. It’s not the Company. Or Sylar. Or Sylar working for the Company. Or a new Company with Sylar picking up some extra hours. Sure, the black-camo’d government spooks hunting heroes is right out of X-Men 2, but at least it’s something different.

3) Hiro, minimized. It’s kinda nice seeing the Once (and, I’m sure) Future King of Heroes bucked down to a mixture between Alfred and Q. And it’s refreshing to see Ando using “the Ando-Cycle” to pick up strippers. Some people are motivated by the need to Do the Right Thing. Others are motivated by their pants. To each his own.

Sure, the show still wears its influences very much on its sleeve — right down to the very Lost-y tease for next episode (“The plane crash that will change their lives forever”) — and Claire wears too much lipstick, but I’ll tune in next week. Which is more than I might’ve said a few hours ago.

What about you? Did “Fugitives” shift the must-see meter one way or the other?