Post-Game: 'Heroes' Season 3, Episodes 1 & 2

Post-Game: Heroes Season 3.1 & 3.2

Heroes Countdown to Premiere

3.1 “The Second Coming

3.2 “The Butterfly Effect”

Welcome, gang. With so much genre on the tube, and with the recently redesigned Newsarama placing a bit more emphasis on other media, we thought it proper that we begin regularly covering some of your favorite genre programs. I’m up today with Heroes, and please regard this as your spoiler warning. Since we’re starting with three episodes, this’ll mainly be overview, then discussion. Shall we?

When last we left the series, some plot loops had closed and some characters remained in jeopardy. Hiro had defeated Kenzei and trapped him in a grave underground. The release of the Shanti virus was halted. Nikki appeared to meet her fate in a collapsing, blazing building. Nathan Petrelli was shot just as he was about to reveal his super-status to the world. Noah Bennett/HRG was prisoner of The Company. And Sylar was slowly recovering his powers in an alley. We all got that?

Monday night kicked off with a “Countdown to the Heroes Premiere” party/clip-show. Much of it felt rather self-congratulatory (whoo! We’re at the Premiere! Whoo! People in Germany and Japan watch the show!), but the recaps and teases were all pretty effective. If you’d never seen the show, you could watch this and get some reasonable idea of how things worked.

As for the double-episodes themselves, I’d say that all involved did a decent job of steering the ship into a better direction after the shaky Season Two. There are two things at play here: the creators seem so intent on recapturing the glow of Season One that there are plot points that are being outright repeated (there’s a disaster coming, Heroes from the future are trying to prevent calamity, Claire’s taping herself, etc.), but they are juxtaposing that with some new characters and new powers (super-speed, freezing, etc.) that seem to indicate that more thought was given to how to grow the environment. I’m not saying that it’s perfect right off the bat, but there are certainly some things that “feel better” after tonight.

Let’s break it down quickly in classic Good, Bad, and Ugly style.

The Good: Mrs. Petrelli, Mrs. Petrelli, Mrs. Petrelli. Christine Rose has always done fine work, but it’s great to see her step to the fore as a major antagonist. The revelation that Sylar may be a third Petrelli brother is pretty much beside the point. The real sense of dread comes from seeing how this malevolent pair works together. This configuration could certainly power the season, particularly if they draw some of the other new villains to them.

Another good element was the introduction of the villains that lend this season its subtitle. Whether you perceive that to point to the new escapees or the characters ominously configured in Angela’s dream (Nikki, Kenzei, Mr. Parkman, etc.), it’s clear that the show is intent on building real antagonists for the regulars.

Plot-wise, it’s probably a wise move to gloss over the poorly arced Shanti story. While there were good moments in the widely panned Season Two (Hiro in the past, the introduction of Kristen Bell’s Elle, HRG’s continuing evolution as a badass), the Shanti plot and the Twins plot were definitely clunkers. I’ll get back to a recurring bad point among those stories in a minute, but for now let’s get back to the good.

Malcolm McDowell is here! Sure, he may only be in Nathan’s head, but he’s gold. And speaking of heads, the confrontation between Sylar and Claire was appropriately disturbing, and should have some real ramifications for Claire going forward.

The evening was well-considered on the effects side. Loved the speedster effect during stopped-time, as Hiro followed the speed lines to their source. Similarly, Nikki’s new freezing power and Ando’s force-blast in the flash-forward were well-rendered, too. That side of things seems to test the upper-limits of TV budgets, and that’s fine with me.

The Bad: I would like to see the show break out a bit more in terms of original plot lines. Yeah, I see the notion of hitting Season One notes (as Joe Bob Briggs says, “If you’re gonna remake a movie, remake a movie”), but many stories are also like Comics Greatest Hits. Echoes of The Legacy Virus, Days of Future Past, Watchmen, and others are frequently referenced. That’s fine to an extent, but let’s see what we can do in THIS universe that’s new and compelling. You have a great and committed cast. Let ‘em rip it up a bit.

This might be a little bit more controversial, but, you know what? Mohinder is a drag. His melodramatic narration could be abandoned at this point. If the show really wants a narrator, let it be Noah/HRG; he’s the long-time human observer. Frankly, I’d be fine with Mohinder going away. I know some equate him to the Batman of this universe, but again, that’s HRG. Mohinder could be more interesting if he went completely insane from acquiring powers, but he seems a limiting factor and all of his arcs are the most leaden.

The Ugly: Does anyone else remember that Peter left a love interest from this time period stranded in an alternate future? That’s kind of a big deal to not mention. Granted, “our Peter” was stuck in Weevil, er, Jesse’s body for the two episodes, but we ran away with Other Future Peter so fast that it got overlooked.

All right, kids . . . thoughts? I didn’t go into super-detail, but I’m here to talk. What did you think, and what do you want out of the show?

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