“I’m just waiting for this all to make sense.”
–Nathan Petrelli

Title: “One of Us, One of Them”

Cast

Milo Ventimiglio as Peter Petrelli
Adrian Pasdar as Nathan Petrelli
Zachary Quinto as Sylar
Hayden Panettiere as Claire Bennett
Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura
James Kyson Lee as Ando Masahashi
Jack Coleman as Noah Bennett
Jimmy Jean-Louis as the Haitian
Greg Grunburg as Matt Parkman
Christine Rose as Angela Petrelli
Brea Grant as Daphne Millbrook
Ashley Crow as Sandra Bennett
Jessalyn Gilsig as Meredith Gordon
Ali Larter as Tracy Strauss
Noah Gray-Cabey as Micah Sanders
Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder Suresh

Premise

Under the influence of his pervy mommy, Sylar decides to be heroic and joins forces with Noah Bennet to capture the villains. In the midst of the villains’ ill-conceived plans, we learn about the fate of Peter, whose temporary body has powers similar to Marvel’s Black Bolt and some incarnations of DC’s Black Canary. Bennet, however, bides his time; he plans to kill Sylar at the first opportunity, which would seem to be the very scene where he announces this intention. The Haitian is standing by. If killing Sylar is so important, why doesn’t he act then?

Hiro, Ando, and Daphne engage in screwball comedy with the fate of the world at stake.

Claire’s mothers square off as the cheerleader decides she wants to become a superhero.

Tracy Strauss learns more about her connection to the deceased (for now, anyway) Niki Sanders.

Parkman continues his quest in Africa, where he finds a gallery of his life painted by an artist who depicts possible futures.

High Points

The Niki Sanders/Tracy Strauss has my interest. Yes, I rolled my eyes at how quickly Micah was able to find the connection. The “twin” aspect may seem clichéd, but it reflects the dichotomy that was part of the original character. We have the potential for a plot/character development here that would build on the series’ past in an interesting way. The final revelation may not have surprised everyone, but it could take the story somewhere interesting.

As an aside: I know the show took some flack for slow pacing last year, but this phase of Strauss’ search didn’t need to resolve quite this quickly or this easily.

Low Point

The Hiro/Daphne/Ando plot obviously intends to restore the fun that once balanced the show’s angsty darkness. Sort of like how Lucas tried to recreate the fun of the original Star Wars films by introducing Jar Jar Binks. It doesn’t work for me. Firstly, I didn’t find the scenes to be that funny. Secondly and more significantly, Hiro grew over the last two years. In the first season, he took inspiration from his role model and became a hero. Then, he grew more worldly as he became that specific role model. He witnessed grim futures. He changed. Then he inherited a company. He’s no longer the charming otaku, the potentially heroic fool on the start of a great journey. Changing him back is poor writing, and does not bode well for Heroes. We have a show (as many of you have noted) where any dead person can return to life, any timeline can be changed, and, apparently, where any interesting character can be rewritten to suit the writers’ whims.

The Scores

Originality: 2/6. When the show isn’t ripping off every comic book ever written, it steals from itself. The former has at least been interesting; the latter just seems lazy.

Effects: 6/6. The effects remain good. I especially liked the time-freeze in the bank. Unfortunately, Heroes is falling into the trap of high-budget genre programming in the twenty-first century. They spend too much money on good visuals, and too little on good writing.

Story: 3/6.

Acting: 4/6 This episode features some of the weakest acting thus far, and the least consistent. Quinto does well when Sylar poses as an FBI agent; the scenes with his mother are nail-across-the-chalkboard painful.

Suresh isn’t even in this episode and I wanted to see him shot.

Emotional Response: 3/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 4/6.

28/42.

Questions

1. What’s up with Claire’s age? The original pre-production publicity said she was 17. Her age is given as 16 during the first season, then as almost sixteen—even though she has been shown driving. Two years later, she is indeed 17. (Hayden Panettier, for the record, was born in 1989). Given that she is a teenager, this matters somewhat. I have a bigger concern than continuity regarding age: should the show last, I hope they don’t keep backdating her so she remains in high school.

2. Those of you who like the Suresh narration: why do you like it? I find it ponderous, pompous, pointless, and inappropriately intrusive. I really didn’t need it in an episode where the character doesn’t even appear.

3. Does anyone want to submit reviews? I think I’m giving this show one more week, and then switching to discussion-only posts. Maybe we could do “rotating fan viewer reviews.”