'Heroes' recap: Characters make progress on a show that refuses to

heroes-ali-larter_dlWe’re gonna do something a little different with this week’s Heroes recap. Sure, I could blow on for hundreds and hundreds of words about what worked in “Acceptance” and what didn’t. Instead, I’ll pick out a couple of noteworthy threads, and end with a “bold” prediction.

WHAT WORKED

An overall sense of cohesiveness. “Acceptance” was about four characters who did just that — came to grips with who they are, and what they’re here to do: Noah, Hiro, Nathan, and Tracy. I particularly liked Noah’s aimlessness as he sat for a career-counseling session with Claire. Episode writer Bryan Fuller has always had some insight into this company man, and he brought out the futility of Noah Bennet — he devoted his life to his job, and without the job, there’s no life.

The Swoosie Kurtz gambit. Nathan visits Millie, the mother of the girl Nathan accidentally killed in a pool mishap (which was then covered up by Angela Petrelli), and confesses to the deed. While at a cordial dinner with Angela, Millie exacts her own revenge: She hired a thug to grab Nathan in a parking garage, drive him out to the boonies, and shoot him in a shallow grave. And all the while, Millie is as still and cool as a mountain lake. Nice to see another actress of a certain age who can bring the creepy.

WHAT DIDN’T

Hiro’s time loops. Isn’t this a guy who knows he’s going to die because of all the temporal jaunts he takes? So what does he do? Travel into the past dozens of times to save one suicidal wage slave who got fired for photocopying his butt. I get that it’s the sheer monotony/inevitability of it that teaches Hiro his lesson — but why didn’t Hiro just grab him from the ledge of the building he was gonna jump from? It got Hiro to an interesting place — willing to open up to his sister about his superpowers — but I wish it hadn’t been so rudimentarily frustrating. (Plus, shouldn’t his continued pollution of the timeline have some significant ramifications at some point? Heroes used to make a lot more of the butterfly effect…now it pretends as if it doesn’t exist.)

THE “BOLD” PREDICTION

Slowly but surely, the story will force all the characters into an inevitable confrontation with the Samuel the Earthmover-Inkbender and Sylar the Shapeshifter. Not that bold, actually: Does anyone really think that something different will happen? I wish I could see something else on the horizon, but that’s just the Heroes m.o., and I don’t think Tim Kring has another card in his deck. Every season has been about building the team to defeat the threat, and during every hiatus, that team is mysteriously dismantled. Doesn’t he realize that one of the great joys of group comic books like The X-Men, The Avengers, and Justice League of America comes with watching what that team does after they’re together?

There is no second act to this story — without one, Heroes will always feel like it’s spinning its wheels.

Still, this was an improvement over last week’s episode. Even though the reappearance of the Sylar body was the only real plot progression, the time spent with the characters was well handled. What’d you think? Are we on the right path, or still floundering? And I never thought in a million years I’d be asking this, but where’s Mohinder?

Image Credit: Jusin Lubin/NBC

Comments (91 total) Add your comment
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  • Judas

    Better hire some new writers and fire the old ones. The story sucks. Or stop the show. The only good story is the first season.

    • Zan

      1. Bring back future-Hiro and his bada$$ ways. It would be awesome to get rid of bumbling-Hiro and have his future self masquarade as his old self – all while kicking butt with the carnival crew.
      2. It’s time for Tracey to evapourate. She’s all wishy-washy (wants her career back then doesn’t). Evil politicians are great characters, but Tracey is mushy: she’s got no dimension to her. It’s time to introduce another Larter clone.
      3. Said it before and will say it again. I want someone from Uhurah’s bloodline back. Perhaps he/she could be a part of the carnival crew. Writers, here’s a chance to introduce some bada$$ black folk, and I’d love it!
      4. I can’t believe how much you’ve ruined Claire’s character. No one wants to see her party at her dorm. Who even cares if it’s with a GIRL. Send her back to NY quick so that she can deal with her evil grandma and daddy-Sylar.
      5. Please reign in Quinto’s overacting. He’s almost at the point where I expect him to show up with an evil chuckle while twriling his moustache…
      6. Get pycho-Sylar out of Matt’s head. This internal angst stuff plays better on the page than the screen.

      • Carla in Houston

        Zan: great comments, I tend to agree with all of them. You should be writing this show!

  • Tony

    My opinion…If you dont like the show and see no future in it, quit reviewing it.

    • coco-b

      I’m tired of hearing people excuse Heroes’ monotony and drawn out story lines by simply saying ‘I have hope for this show and you should too, so stop bashing and give it a chance.’ For Marc Bernardin to only point out hopeful positive attributes would be an injustice to providing a review. Were you not there for season after season (after Season 1) of tiring story lines that make little sense? You can’t tell me that watching Heroes now leaves you with the same breathless anticipation of an incredible plot that season 1 had to offer. We all watch Heroes every week hopeful of a glimpse of past glory, but we’ve learned to be satisfied with mediocrity, and Heroes simply isn’t a great show anymore. It’s hardly even good. And although I, like you, hope that it’s going to get better and suck us back into its universe with a compelling story line, you can’t base your current opinion on future hopes you might have for the show, and neither can the reviewer. He’s keeping it real, and if you don’t like it then go read reviews that don’t challenge your preconceptions.

      • kaploweeb

        well said! I completely agree.

      • Mia N.

        Thanks, coco-b!

    • Marie

      I actually stopped watching it in the middle of the 3rd season because it’s just total garbage. I was hoping it would be like Lost – amazing 1st season, messy 2nd season, and finally found it’s footing by the 3rd. Unfortunately, the writers of Heroes never got around to finding their footing, and from what I’ve read, probably never will.

  • tomrd16

    “where’s Mohinder?” hahaha. It’s interesting but I always enjoy more your recaps than the actual show.

    • Sigh

      No, wait! If you bring Mohinder back, then he can get all conflicted as he reluctantly works for the bad guy … because they were going to hurt Mariah or whatever the hell her name was. My god this show went off the rails but quick.

      • tomrd16

        I don’t want Mohinder back, I hate that character, I just find it hillarious that the show has gotten so bad as for someone being missing Mohinder and you are right on what would happen if they brought him back.

  • Eve

    Screw Mohinder. He was vaguely interesting in the first season, but now I honestly just don’t care about him… like… at all.
    I did think the episode was an interesting look on how the four episode focus characters are dealing emotionally, and I think they did make some progression over the episode, which is always nice.

    • Danny

      totally agree, I am willing to accept Mohinder’s disappearance with absolutely no explanation whatsoever. I really don’t want him to come back EVER.

      • Mo

        I so agree. After season 2 he was not much use

      • NoMoMohinder

        I do… as some sort of mutated, monstrous, cocooning and blood-sucking creature that the “Heroes” have to band together to stop from destroying the world. ;)

        Hey, it beats yet another go-round with Sylar doesn’t it?

  • Mikeymayhem

    I will agree that heroes hasn’t had the best track record. That the story and the characters are at a standstill, But I have not lost faith in this series yet. I feel as if the writers proceed with this story arc. They might succeed in reviving great characthers. They really need to focus on only four characthers at a time and the interplay between the other heroes. It resolves the whole jumping around situation which was quite annoying. I hope that heroes finds a new groove and sticks with it. I really believe this show still has a lot to offer in entertainment. Sidenote I would really like to see the media to keep an open mind as well. Not just jumping on the hate heroes bandwagon. Let the show play out it’s course then judge because we never really know what’s truely gonna happen

    • Jim

      It is not a bandwagon, the show is just not working. The worst part, I think, is the potential of Heroes to be good, maybe even great. It is disappointing to see it fail time and time again with recycled plots and mishandled characters. And I don’t think we should wait to see “the show play out.” Maybe the writers of the show could read some of the criticisms here and around the internet and try and fix their broken show.

      • Danny

        Okay, Jim, you keep writing your fan fic and maybe it will get published online.

    • Freddie

      A bandwagon is he idiots who bash a new show like Melrose Place without even watching a few eps. MP is actually GOOD. Heroes cannot keep riding on season 1 glory. Hiro/Sylar have to GO

    • tomrd16

      I agree there is no “hate bandwagon” I could say that for good shows that after making one or two mistakes all of the sudden become the worst show in history but after that Season 1 finale Heroes just keeps getting worst and it’s very frustrating to watch something that had so much potential just being wasted like Heroes is, I agreed with a post I read, I believe on last week’s review about how I feel better about this show when I watch it as a comedy, except for Hiro though, that character has just been annoying for me for a while.

  • tmtm

    This show has been painful to watch since the second season… being a comic geek I keep wishing it will be more than a pale imitation of classic comics… sadly I think this show is lost.

    • Jane

      No it’s not. Lost is a good show.

  • fila19

    I thought this week was far better than last week’s episode. I really enjoyed the exchange between Peter and Nathan when he showed him is ‘new’ powers. It reminded me of a happy time on Heroes.

    And is it just me or are is the show heading to a Tracy/HRG relationship. I got that feeling in the season premiere and got it again tonight. If they are that’s a bold move and I think it would work well if handled correctly.

  • Jake Clark

    You need to correct yourself:

    “Every season has been about building the team to defeat SYLAR”

    Honestly, they need to kill off Sylar or have him disappear for a season or two. Don’t they realize the X-Men, etc. have a whole Rogue’s gallery to fight. Even if they have an arch-nemesis, they don’t fight him every single time.

    • Jack

      “Rogue’s” gallery? X-Men pun intended?

  • Heather

    I am glad Mohinder has been out of the picture, but I HATE unresolved storylines…you can’t just make a character disappear no matter how much you wish he would. Also I don’t understand how this show has such a problem repeating storylines over and over, much like Hiro’s time loop, when other shows don’t seem to have that problem.

    • Danny

      Well Mohinder went to India to eat Indian food and fart. There’s your back story.

    • Ryan

      Mohinder’s waiting in the car with the black girl from season 2, and the younger sister from Family Matters.

  • brandy

    in my opinion, the constant picking apart of the series over the last 2 years has been what is driving this show into the ground. let those of us who enjoy it just enjoy it!

    • lee

      How is that was drives it into the ground? Writers dont read this, because if they did, theyd find way more things OFF about the show in our minds than on, and hopefully theyd take a few hints… secondly, we arent stopping you from enjoying it. Get off the net if it concerns you. The problem i have is that like many of us, we invest a lot of time and (dare i say it) emotion into watching this show faithfully week after week and the last thing we need is for some halfwitted writers and no-nothing producers to completely CHANGE the very things that got us hooked in the first place.

  • Jane

    Please don’t ask about Mohinder. Don’t encourage them.

  • Darrin

    Spot on review – I’m still watching, but we’re 4 episodes in, and the season has really gone nowhere. What is it all building toward, and what is the central plot? And is Sylar now rising up just to be this season’s big bad AGAIN? And what do they do with Adrian Pasdar now – will Sylar keep posing as him for a while, and is that only prolonging Adrian’s screen time since they killed off his character last season? This show just keeps getting more frustrating to watch.

    • Danny

      Nathan and Sylar are going to share one body from on now. Which seems kind of stupid, I agree. Although it’s obvious the circus is going to be the “Big Bad” of the season. I think the Big Bad of next season will be cancellation though because the reviewer is right about that….the show has no cohesiveness. It brings the characters together then has them unfold and then brings them together over and over again. It kind of gets annoying. That’s why tonight’s epi was so good. Claire just dropped by her Dad’s and ran into Peter. I was like, “Why didn’t that happen 2 seasons ago?” It just seemed so natural, it was the first time I actually felt like they were real people and not plot devices squeezed in a scene.

    • Ari

      “the season has really gone nowhere”

      My thoughts exactly.

  • Reggie

    whyyy can’t they get new writers??? seriously, it’s time to kill sylar. why do they continuely write the plot around the worst actor/corniest chracter on the show. and the charaters NEVER LEARN ANYTHING. Literally there was one episode last season were nathan learn he couldn’t do it all by himself and then HE GOES AND DOES SOOMETHING BY HIMSELF AGAIN not 20 minutes later. this mutant thing has so much potential, but they continually destroy with the terrible writing. why not just have a war between humans and mutants like in the comics. why is everything about stupid sylar. it’s one dude gang up and kill him. they literally refused to kill him when they had him and he just killed Nathan.

    • Danny

      oh Reggie, I’d like to see you right this show.

  • darrin

    i’d rather hear a recap of the excellant first two episodes of season 9 “smallville” personally

    • Freddie

      Seriously dont bash Smallville while defending Heroes! lol

      • Troy Vandergraff Fan

        Smallvile died during it’s season eight finale. Who does that, wreck a well known character by saying, ‘Hey, we lied to you about him. He’s not who he says he is’ That’s badly written fanfiction!

    • hockeybear

      Actually, Smallville season 9 has been the best season since 1-3. If you haven’t watched in awhile, it’s definitely worth it.

  • Reggie

    all the characters suck. except for Claire( i might be bias cause shes so hot) and Claire’s dad.Mohinder and Peter constantly have this narcissitic internal struggle that i stopped caring about in season 1. like pay a shrink or something. boo hoo hoo i have powers. and Hiro power was always to over the top for me, but i’m tired of him having complications with it. like if you didn’t want him to be so powerful just give him more limitations. why does Ali Later have 15 incarnations of herself? really heroes? i like the kid who can talk to computers. i can’t even get started on sylar i’d be here for days. Matt parkman is another character that’s constantly getting in his own way. i don’t want to hear him crying anymore.use your power to help people or use your power to help yourself or both. stop struggling with it. i don’t care anymore. im ok with Angela and the Haitian is pretty bad ass.

    • Delia from Detroit

      And the Haitian deserves to have a full name, for gosh’s sakes. And yes, bring back Micah or “Rebel.” And Keep Mohinder and his ponderous, stupid narrations at beginning and end far away.

    • Freddie

      I like Pete. I even like Nathan and Angela. But I LOATHE Matt Parkman, Sylar and thr Hiro “comic relief”

      • Amy Leigh

        I agree about Matt and Hiro. I’m so tired of those two characters. I wish they’d killed Matt off in season 1 (sorry Greg Grunberg) and Hiro was great in the first season but now he’s just ridiculous. I don’t even find him funny anymore. He’s just plain annoying.

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