When it comes to superhero stories, the importance of villains cannot be overemphasized. So maybe that’s why the last night’s episode of Heroes — which suffered from a serious deficit of evil — felt a wee bit sluggish. This isn’t to say those scenes with Horn-Rimmed Glasses didn’t crackle. His simple "Shhh" as he hovered over rapist Brody’s hospital bed and ordered his mysterious minion to "hollow him out" was the evening’s highlight, but do we really know for sure that Horn-Rimmed is a baddie? He’s creepy, certainly, but the show’s writers continue to play his intentions close to the vest. Dude obviously has some kind of ulterior motive when it comes to his adopted daughter’s powers, but does that mean he doesn’t truly love her or want to protect her?
Speaking of love, how sweet was Matt’s steak dinner for his wife — at least until he started over-relying on his powers of telepathy? By the time he headed out for a post-coital coffee-ice-cream run, even the Mrs. looked wary. And who could blame her? After all, there’s a big difference between reading a woman’s mind and understanding her feelings. I did love the way Matt impulsively talked that convenience-store robber out of his crime, but even better was the frightening aftermath: Until Matt learns to balance the gift-curse ratio of his abilities, he’s going to remain a deeply conflicted man. Such a conundrum makes me wish NBC had left the similarly themed Medium in the 10 p.m. timeslot (what a nice two hour block that would’ve been!), but not even the most powerful clairvoyant could make sense of the minds of network executives, could they?
A few more questions I’ll be grappling with till next week’s episode:
- Is there a chance Nathan (Adrian Pasdar, pictured) will end up using his power of flight in the pursuit of evil? His snake-oil smile after scoring an extra $2 million from the mysterious Mr. Linderman’s henchwoman was yet another indicator that his obsession with power has the potential to get downright ugly. Also, which was cooler: Nathan’s jetpack-like propulsion or the way he burned his heels on landing?
- Was the throwaway line about Niki’s husband having slipped out of his cuffs another hint that he and Sylar are one and the same?
- Am I the only one who remains unconvinced by Mohinder’s Scully-like skepticism? And is it lackluster writing of Mohinder’s scenes or Sendhil Ramamurthy’s vague performance that’s the issue? Or both?
- What kind of injury is in store for Peter? Hiro’s comment during his trip back in time that the floppy-haired protagonist looked "different without the scar" certainly foreshadowed an injury in the not-too-distant future.
- And finally, was it a clue or mere coincidence that the sketched silhouette of Simone hovered in the background as Peter finished Isaac’s painting of the cheerleader? The third side of the Peter-Isaac love-triangle may not be bad, but she sure is drawn that way.