Heroesville: Heroes, Season 3, Episodes 1 & 2, ” “The Second Coming” & “The Butterfly Effect”

We’re back! After a seemingly endless hiatus, Heroes is back. Remember how young we were back when Hiro fought Adam Monroe and Peter Petrelli saved the world from an airborne virus? I’m pretty sure that I had to get a grown-up to buy me beer. Back in those distant times, I sort of remember that Nathan got shot dead at a press conference and a flaming building collapsed on Niki. Strangely, those two have been doing a lot of publicity appearances for the new season. Think they’re just big fans of the show now, or will we get a couple of mysterious resurrections? Oh, who are we kidding? This is Heroes. Unless somebody actually removes your brain from your head, there’s still a paycheck in your future.

Wait, Malcolm McDowell is in the credits? OK, you can still keep showing up for work even after your brain is removed. Somewhere, D.L. is very sad.

All right, we start out four years in the future. So, you know, the world is falling apart one year earlier than it would have back in the first season. Sort of depressing when you think about it.

First off, who the heck would Peter run from in the future? What with the teleporting and invisibility, escape shouldn’t be an issue. Now, I’m going to just toss something out there now, but I think future Peter may have lost some of his powers. Sure, he’s got Hiro’s powers yet, and he apparently picked up shapeshifting along the way, but he has a scar. With Claire’s powers, he shouldn’t scar. That seemed weird the last time we saw him in the future, but I think there’s actually a reason for it.

Well, Claire’s gone evil in the future, too. Or at least pragmatic. Now, despite Peter’s powers, it still makes sense for her to take a shot at him. Claire and Peter both believed at one point that destroying their brains would mean they couldn’t regenerate, and we don’t have any reason to believe that Claire knows Peter has Hiro’s powers. It all depends on how long ago they lost track of one another. I noticed some really prominent shadows in this scene, as well as in the Claire and Sylar scenes. I wonder if that’s going to be a new visual theme.

So Future Peter shot Nathan? I was not expecting that. I did, however, sort of suspect that Nathan would heal – I guess he’s got some of Peter’s blood still in his system. This is good, because I like Nathan.

And there’s Hiro, staring at the clock just like the first time we met him. Only now, he’s skipping all over the clock. And now clocks tend to represent evil, thanks to Sylar the watchmaker. By the way, I love that Hiro’s dad really thought ahead. He’s probably got about a dozen DVDs waiting around for his son.

Our buddy Sylar is back and he’s fixin’ to rack up the body count, as he so often does. These scenes with Claire are good and creepy. He’s really just playing with her, what with the fact that he can open any door or set anything on fire that he so chooses. Isn’t it so much more fun when Sylar’s at full power?

You know the season’s off to a good start when things actually happen in a scene featuring Mohinder and Maya, who both have the superpower to destroy plot momentum. I’m curious as to where he sent Molly, but more interested in his revelation that powers come from the adrenal gland. Sort of like the Hulk, really. No wonder all his blood-based serums failed last season – he was starting from a failed hypothesis.

Was anybody surprised that Hiro opened the safe that his dead father told him not to open? (My Own Private Linderman messaged me to say it’s only a matter of time before Hiro digs up Adam Monroe, just for the heck of it.) But at least that gets us to this mysterious formula. From beyond the grave, Hiro’s Dad tells us that one of them will have the “purity of blood”, which sounds a little like Mohinder, and also be a “ ‘light’ to safeguard against the darkness.” They keep putting “light” in quotes, so that’s clearly worth noting. My immediate thought is that it’s Elle, with her electricity, but I really just like her and want to tie her into storylines. And I am ridiculously excited about the new character, Daphne. We haven’t seen speed powers on this show, and I loved the effect they used for her speed when Hiro froze time. It was like a live-action recreation of an old Flash page. (I assume her red outfit is a tribute to the most famous speedster of all time.) She also has an interesting question about the extent of Hiro’s powers. Like Hiro, I’d never thought about that.

In my notes, I questioned whether Peter was our Peter early on. Of course, they resolved that in about twenty minutes. So much for the notes. Anyway, Future Peter wished Present Peter and Matt to the cornfield. Future Peter is bad news.

The scene with Nathan in the chapel was one of my favorites, because it’s such an interesting direction to go for him. Nathan has a religious conversion and twists the series’ original catchphrase with “Save ourselves, save the world”. Heroes has only flirted with religious themes in the past, so having Nathan go full-blown apostle on us could be really interesting.

Back with Claire and Sylar, I spent a lot of time pausing and transcribing everything I could from the files that Sylar was leafing through. If I’d waited an hour, Bennet would have just read them and saved me the trouble. Double-length episodes can mess you up that way. I admire Claire’s pluck in stabbing Sylar, but, you know. Guy got run through with a sword and managed to work his way through it.

Next, we learn that Sylar doesn’t eat brains. Huh. I’ve misjudged him for all these years. I’m not sure what he did with Claire’s brain to get her powers, though. Did he just have to touch the right ganglia or something? Whatever the case, we’ve now got an indestructible Sylar on our hands. He tells Claire that she can’t die, which makes sense considering that Adam Monroe has the same powers and he doesn’t even age.

Linderman showing up? That was a surprise. I thought for a minute that he healed Nathan, but now we know that he’s either a ghost or imaginary. Still, can’t wait to see where this is going. I always thought he needed more episodes and now we’re getting them!

And continuing with shocking moments, Niki is alive and well, only now she’s named Tracy and doesn’t seem to recognize Nathan. Is it possible they’ve finally made her character interesting? Next, Matt wakes up lost in the desert. Hmmm. Is it a stretch to note the religious symbolism there? People in the Bible (and Torah) were always wandering in the desert.

Hiro jumps to the future to see if the world gets destroyed. You know, whenever somebody goes forward in time on this show, the world is always destroyed. The Heroes world is very fragile. And there we see the Hiro/Ando faceoff. That’s surprising by itself, but Ando shooting lightning? Man, I said “Holy crap” a lot in this episode. (By the way, despite how Hiro interprets it, we don’t really get any indication that Ando is evil in this scene. From what we see, Hiro may just as well be in the wrong.) And then, Tokyo is destroyed. Hey! It’s not New York this time!

I’m not entirely sure I buy Mohinder’s storyline here. All of a sudden, he desperately wants powers? His motivations run toward the murky, so I’m not calling “shenanigans” or anything, but it didn’t quite click with me. I’ll give them the benefit of doubt, because it seems like his arc is going in an interesting direction. But going outside to shoot up with super powers? My Own Private Linderman can’t decide whether Hiro, Future Peter, or Suresh made the stupidest move in this episode. I think Bennet needs to slap all three of them around, personally.

Finally, after screwing with us for all this time, we learn Ma Petrelli’s power. She’s precognitive. Sort of like Isaac, but there’s no painting involved. That’s probably more useful. (Interestingly, Angela’s visions adapt to the changes in the timestream. She can tell when Future Peter has altered the future. Isaac’s paintings always happened, even if they were misleading.) It was implied last season that she had could mentally coerce people, but she might just be really pushy. Anyway, she knows that Hiro’s formula will destroy everything. For future reference, when George Takei gives your orders from beyond the grave, you really should listen.

We’re almost to the end of Part One before we get a glimpse of Bennet, who’s chilling on Level 5 with a lot of tough looking guys, including a fella who claims to be Peter Petrelli. (By the way, that guy is played by Francis Capra, who played Weevil on Veronica Mars. Veronica herself was played by Kristen “Elle” Bell. Reunion!)

In the wrap-up montage, Mohinder quotes Yeats’ “The Second Coming”. That brings back our religious symbolism, and may well require closer study sometime when I’m not writing up a two-hour episode at midnight. (Sidenote: The same poem is also prominently quoted in Watchmen, which Heroes frequently homages.) During the montage, we see the same image appear to Matt and Mohinder, a globe bisected by what looks like the logo on Hiro’s sword. (There’s also a giant snake in Matt’s scene. Hello, Genesis!) And finally, Mohinder now has super strength after shooting up in the trainyard. Plus, he’s awfully mean now. If only we could see the next episode right now! Oh, wait…

OK, things have gotten creepy with Claire now. She doesn’t feel pain anymore. Sylar brought her powers to the next level. Considering Claire already feels like a freak, this is not going to turn out well for her.

Angela’s dreams show a dead Hiro, Matt, Peter, Bennet, and Claire. There’s an assemblage of villains, including Adam Monroe, Niki (or Jessica or Tracy), Matt’s Bad Dad, a guy who looks like Knox (from Bennet’s files), and Sylar. I have a hard time believing that Sylar would actually work with others rather than killing them and taking their powers, but that’s a pretty nasty bunch.

Future Peter is setting up strings to represent time, just like Future Hiro did in the other future. (If you stop to think about it, this is a very confusing show.) He’s already screwed up the future by telling Claire to stay at home, thus leading Sylar to her. It seems Sylar wasn’t a factor in the future that Peter came from. So now in his future, the Heroes are on the run and Sylar is indestructible. Way to fix things, Future Pete!

Mohinder is really not acting like himself. Of course, that means that he’s not moping, so it’s probably an improvement. He seems to be drinking a lot of milk, doesn’t he? Can’t wait to see what that’s all about. And then, well, My Own Private Linderman said it best – “When Maya gets riled up, she kills everybody. She didn’t kill Suresh during sex. Guess we know when she’s faking it.” Hee.

You know what this episode needs? Kristen Bell! Hey, there she is! And Bob (or as MOPL continues to call him “Ned Ryerson”) is still dumping on her. She seems really insistent that she can beat Sylar, and given the way she takes him down later in the episode, she appears to be right. I find myself wondering if she’s the Company’s secret weapon – we know they engineered her powers, and maybe she’s designed to bring down any of the Alpha Heroes, as I insist on calling them.

The reporter who accosts Tracy in the parking garage is played by none other than William Katt, star of The Greatest American Hero. Ralph Hinkley himself! Apparently, the alien supersuit gave him investigative reporting skills, because he’s turned up Niki’s old website. Sure, he’s doing his job. When I tell women that they look like some girl from a porn site, they think I’m creepy.

If I knew more about art and history, I probably would have identified a lot more of the items in Daphne’s apartment. I’m pretty sure one of them was supposed to be the Holy Grail, which would be awesome. Nice job with making the Mona Lisa fairly small, too. That’s what people always say when they see the real thing.

OK, Claire has some good scenes in this episode. Her new video was really sad, and it does not indicate any happiness for her in the near future. And I was glad it was Peter who saved her. For one sinking moment I was afraid it was her old flying boyfriend, West. I don’t miss that guy one bit.

Over on Level 5, it’s an emotional rollercoaster as Elle saves Bennet (Yay!), and then gets tossed around by Sylar. (Boo!) I am, of course, tickled that Weevil is desperately pounding on the window, trying to help out Veronica Mars. And of course, Veronica always had her handy taser back in those days. But now, she is the taser! She unleashes a serious blast on old Sylar. Doesn’t it seem like people’s powers are cranking up in intensity? Good thing they keep all those psychopaths locked up. Oops…

Nice scene with Hiro, Ando, and Daphne. I like the new awkwardness between Hiro and Ando, and I can’t wait to see where their relationship is headed. I like them and I hope they don’t end up killing each other with swords and lightning.

So much for William Katt! I expected Tracy to tear off his arm, but these ice powers are brand new. And also disturbing. People shouldn’t shatter like that! The ice power makes it clear that Tracy isn’t another personality for Niki. And besides, she seems pretty well established in the Governor’s office, and not that much time has passed since Season Two. Wait, is Tracy the real Jessica? Did Niki’s sister actually survive? Niki’s “Jessica” persona is just the manifestation of a fractured psyche, and Tracy is the real Jessica.

Ma Petrelli’s running the company now. While I don’t approve of firing Elle, that makes it more likely that she and Bennet can work together on a regular basis and get their own spinoff. And now, even though they have Sylar, twelve bad guys escaped. MOPL calls them “The Dirty Dozen”, and I think we’ll stick with that.

OK, so who’s Daphne’s boss? Apparently, the other half of the formula is in Berlin. We can look forward to big time action on the German front next week!

Mohinder is…. What? Molting? His skin seems to be peeling off. This is something we haven’t seen before – everybody with powers is still recognizably human. Maybe he’s drinking all the milk because his bones are growing through his skin? I don’t know, but this is the first time I’ve ever been excited about a Mohinder storyline.

Nice gag with Parkman talking to the turtle. For just a second, I thought his powers had increased to where he could telepathically communicate with wildlife. I’m interested in this African man, although I am prone to liking bald guys who talk in vaguely mystical terms. It’s like they’re all Locke. A “spirit walk” is probably a good idea for Matt, who’s gotten a little cavalier about messing with people’s thoughts.

So, I knew for sure that Linderman was imaginary when I saw him playing chess with Nathan. If Hurley has taught us anything, it’s that crazy people play chess with their dead friends. Of course, this is Heroes so he could be a ghost or astral projection, but I think he’s a figment of Nathan’s imagination.

All right, we get some bios on the escaped criminals. Knox can absorb fear and turn it into strength, which is fairly cool. Flint’s a firestarter. “The German” has an awesome name and controls magnetism. And then there’s Jesse Murphy. Bennet doesn’t even want to tell Claire about his power, but the screen says “Sound Manipulation”. He seems to be the one Bennet fears most, so I want to see how that will play out. And is Peter really in Jesse’s body, or has he had his appearance changed? Those other guys, by the way, are freaking evil. Anyway, Claire’s Birth Mom returns, which is good because I like her.

Finally, the big reveal. Not only does Angela release Sylar, but she’s his mother? What? Sylar is a Petrelli? Wow! I did not see that coming. And does this mean Nathan really got screwed in the power department, or is he going to reveal another secret that puts him in his brothers’ league? Between Angela and the escapees, Sylar’s looking comparatively less evil. This is confusing.

No sign of Monica, Micah, or the Haitian, but I didn’t really miss them. Besides, they were pretty busy since EVERYTHING happened this week.

Heroes? It’s back, baby!

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