Matt, Niki, Nathan, and Suresh join forces to fight the Nightmare Man and the deadly virus; plus, Claire's boyfriend West starts acting creepy

Heroes (TV series)

”Heroes” recap: A new good-guy team forms

Okay, let me begin with ”About &$%!-ing time.”

After seven weeks of fits, starts, and stalling, things are beginning to come into focus. Sides are being chosen, the stakes are being raised, and Hiro is finally back at home. (And while we’re talking about Hiro, does anyone know what he said, in Japanese, over the Japanese title right before the ”previously on Heroes” recap? It’s too late for me to do advanced linguistic research, but I’m curious.)

I’ve read the comments on the message board, and I understand that some of you are looking for a recap of the episode you’ve just watched. To that, I say: Tough. Pay attention to what you’re watching. I bring you analysis. Not a play-by-play.

Now, while this episode was a marked improvement over the ones that came before, I still got an unsettling feeling of déjà vu. Once again, a decent handful of heroes have joined forces, inside Company headquarters, aiming to take down the big bad. New York City is a shell of its former self. Oh, and in the words of Bob, ”There’s a storm coming, Dr. Suresh. Claire Bennett is the key.” I understand the concept of recurring themes and circular storytelling (and I have seen Battlestar Galactica enough to understand the ”everything has happened before, everything will happen again” concept), but to be repeating ourselves so baldly, and so quickly, isn’t heartening.

Oh, yeah, West is a total stalker-psycho boyfriend. They make movies about dudes like him, and they usually end with the pretty blonde lying in a pool of blood. He infiltrated Claire’s house against her wishes to plant insidious waffles and then, later in the episode, blamed her for setting a trap? A headstrong, hormonal teenager with a superiority complex? At some point, and soon, he’s turning to the dark side. I’m guessing three weeks from now, especially since he’s crazy scared of the elder Bennett.

According to the future New York City survivor-processing bloke who’s deep in dead bodies, ”Yeah, it’s been a tough week.” Understatement from the front lines of the viral wars. Through Peter’s eyes, we learned more about the disease that would ravage not just New York but the world. (While it’s nice that we’re now playing for the whole bag of marbles, I still wish the producers picked a different city to stand in for humanity — like Los Angeles. Which is right in their backyard and wouldn’t require crappy green-screening or dodgy set decoration.) The thing that bothered me about Peter this week is the come-and-go nature of his powers. In Ireland, Peter can move armored cars with the flick of his wrist, or shoot lightning from his hands with a harsh glare, but in the future New York, he can get pummeled by clean-suited bagmen — and Silkwood showered — with nary a spark. Good thing he got that mommy-mind-meld thing going, to help him get his memory back. (Or is he just reading her mind and borrowing her memories? Interesting. What if he does that to someone who’s lying?)

NEXT: The hunt for Nightmare Man

For my money, the biggest spark of the hour was between Nathan Petrelli and Bob. The sweet static electricity of information. That little scene, in which Bob revealed a bit about Adam Monroe’s backstory as the man who drew the first-gen heroes together, was a perfectly honed little info-dump. And judging by the hurricane-into-snow trick, Adam has developed a host of new powers since last we saw him. (C’mon, you weren’t really surprised that Adam Monroe and Takezo Kensei are one and the same, were you? You didn’t see that coming? For shame.)

The weakest part of the episode for me was the hunt for Maury. (Doomdays with Maury!) The idea of a master of nightmares loose in a building, toying with his quarry and getting them to off one another, is a good one. Worthy of a full episode of another show, one that didn’t have so much superfluous baggage to clean up. Instead, in the 15 minutes that the Maury plot thread was given, all we got was Niki seeing dead people and going all Hulk Smash on things. (And she didn’t even kill Suresh! What good is a rampaging former Internet stripper if she can’t off one lousy geneticist?) Watching Parkman step up and own his past was nice, though; it almost made up for Greg Grunberg’s having to deliver the teary ”deathbed” confessional/plea. It’s almost impossible to play without it delving into melodramatic cheese. Which it did.

And, finally, Hiro. The story line that went nowhere fast has, at long last, run its course. And you know what? It ended pretty well. Not so well that I’m going to forget six weeks of wankery, but we got a fight between Kensei and Hiro, the evolution of a villain, and the solidification of a legend. (In other words, we got Star Wars, complete with a sword fight between former student and master.) And, almost despite myself, I kinda dug the last exchange between the lovelorn time traveler and his princess, who vowed to spread the word far and wide, so that ”the boy Hiro Nakamura will have tales to help him sleep.”

All in all, a promising turn of events, with next week’s chapter set to fill in some of the many storytelling blanks. Not a perfect hour of Heroes, but an encouraging course correction.

What do you think? Why did the Company send Peter to Ireland? Was it to ”recruit” Caitlin? Did Suresh really not know that Bennett is a tough customer, after watching him shoot Eric Roberts in the dome last season? Is that really why the good doctor switched sides? Is Niki Patient Zero? And with both parents gone, will Micah go bad, or will Uhura finally have something to do?

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Heroes (TV series)
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