During their jaunt 16 years into the past, Hiro gets to bask in his mother's love, and Claire gives her mother (and father) some comfort just as Baby Claire comes home
Credit: Adam Taylor/NBC

Heroes (TV series)

‘Heroes’ recap: Mother and child reunion

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There are times when I despair for Heroes. When I think that it’s all too clear that the creative minds at the wheel have forgotten what made us fall in love with these characters. When I think that whatever star had been guiding them, leading them to captivating stories, has disappeared from the sky, leaving them adrift. And those times seem to no longer be the exception that proves the rule, but rather the rule itself.

Then…Hiro sees his mother again. And everything clicks.

I’ve been pretty hard on young Mr. Nakamura this past season. First, he acted like a petulant tool when left to run his father’s company — which was completely out of character for a dude who, in his own words, is a master of time and space who saved the world twice. Then, he was forced to mince around like a 10-year old, complaining about having to pee. Any dignity the character had was squandered by poor decisions.

But then Hiro and Claire traveled 16 years in the past, and Hiro got to spend a few precious moments with the one person in his life who believed in him: his mother, Ishi (played by the still-luminous Tamlyn Tomita). Stricken with some phantom terminal illness, she wanted to give ”the light” (known to the rest of us as the catalyst) to her son, but Kaito wouldn’t hear of it, citing young Hiro’s irresponsibility, proclaiming that he ”will never amount to anything.” Hiro overhears all of this — both Hiros, young and ”old” — can you imagine how something like that would wound a kid? The only thing that could ease that kind of parentally inflicted pain is parentally offered solace.

So Hiro introduced himself to his mother, showed that her faith in him has been rewarded, and caused me to get all choked up. Because it works. Because the emotional content is real, and valid, and earned. Because it’s heartbreaking to think of a mother who died when her son was still a boy…getting to see the man he turned into. Because it’s heartwarming to think that the only thing that could heal everything that ailed Hiro was a kiss from the one woman he’d had to travel back in time to see.

Well done, Heroes .

(Of course, I think you still could’ve had much of the same impact without Hiro being a 10-year-old kid, thereby alleviating weeks of spirit-crushing agony. But that’s just me.)

Given that this episode was called ”Our Father,” it makes sense that it worked best when dealing with parent-child relationships. Claire got to pop in on the Bennets hours after they took custody of baby Claire Bear. She got to see how out-of-her-depth her mother was in dealing with the sudden lifestyle change, and to see how chilly her father was towards Baby-Her…even if he did soften once he twigged to the fact that the teenager and the baby she was holding were one and the same. Though, it must be said, there’s something fundamentally weird about Claire changing her own diaper.

NEXT: Sylar goes to a birthday party

Gabriel, after giving Elle something of a half-assed Viking funeral on the beach, decided that he needed to know the truth about his alleged Petrelli lineage. So he flipped open his phone, scrolled through his address book of folks with powers, and payed a visit to Sue Landers, a hot young paralegal who was also a natural lie detector. Naturally, now that Gabriel has regressed back into his Sylar persona, Sue Landers is attacked by those Crazy Eyebrows of Doom. And you know what? I’m now officially bored with Sylar. Because he’s no longer scary. He’s no longer Heroes ‘ Big Bad. And he stopped being the villain we all loved when he uttered one, simple word. ”Cake.” Sylar is now a punchline. Still, he nabbed the truth-telling mojo and paid a visit to Pinehearst.

Now, Peter and Nathan were dealing with their megalomaniacal father in two very different ways. Nathan waltzed into Pinehearst and announced that he was taking over. (Remember, he had his eyes opened in Haiti, and wants to unleash powers on the world to hammer said world into shape.) Peter, on the other hand (and at his mother’s behest), decided that a hostile takeover was the way to go. While Nathan was in the basement with the first of his test subjects (Chad Faust, from The 4400 ), Peter and the Haitian faced off with Arthur. And Peter would’ve shot him, too, if it weren’t for Sylar, who learned from Arthur that he isn’t one of the pesky Petrelli kids. Still, Arthur got a hot bullet injection.

You’ll note that I’m not talking about Parkman, Daphne, and Ando’s Adventures in Bike Messenging. I’m going to skip it for three reasons: (1) It didn’t follow the parental interaction model, (2) it wasn’t as cool as the Kevin Bacon-Jami Gertz flick, Quicksilver , and (3) it had the lamest chase scene ever, with Daphne running down the fleeing schmuck who didn’t want to share Isaac Mendez’s secret pages. (Which just showed us what we already saw. Brilliant! Though reading the unreleased 9th Wonders — and seeing Hiro trapped in the past by Arthur, who stole his powers — prompted Ando to decide that he wants some time-traveling juice, too.)

All in all, it was an average episode that was elevated by one, intensely satisfying subplot. I’d be a happy Heroes watcher if every episode had a strand that reminded me why I responded so strongly to these characters in the first place.

So, what did you think? Can you explain how Arthur knew exactly how/when to find Hiro and Claire? I thought the whole vision quest, painting-the-future thing only worked with, you know, the future. Why didn’t the Haitian also dampen Sylar’s powers? I was always under the impression that all he had to do was be in the room to render someone impotent. Oh, and as much as I dug Hiro this episode, hasn’t he now proven that he’s never to be trusted with anything of value? First the formula, now the catalyst. Don’t let him near your kids.

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