"Shades of Gray" is a saying used often in connection with Heroes. I myself have used it...well, we'll just leave it at 'often.' The morally questionable nature of Heroes' characters and their action is one of the most intriguing aspects of the show. So, naturally, the expectations for an episode entitled 'Shades of Gray' are high...and I'm not sure they were necessarily met.
Don't get me wrong, this was a solid episode of Heroes with a lot of good moments. But I remain underwhelmed. Here are some of the reasons why:
1) Puppet-Guy as a sympathetic character.
That is NEVER a good place to start. First of all, I don't care how badly we need to demonstrate that the Building 26 effort is wrong, Puppet-Guy is a creepy f*ck and I don't have any desire to sympathize with him. He served his purpose in bringing Claire's dilemma into the light but, frankly, I was already pretty clear on that.
2) Speaking of Claire's dilemma...
An entire episode spent on that "Omg, should I be helping people?" internal conflict, only to have the issue be rendered completely moot when Claire's Harriet Tubman days are ended by her bio-dad's moronic actions. Why did we spend time on this again?
3) The slow build is dead.
Nathan and HRG (and Angela Petrelli) spend ALL that time on cover-up and it only takes one episode for Danko to unravel it all? I feel cheated, frankly. The suspense of "Will Nathan be found out?!" could have been stretched out for weeks and given proper attention to, but no. Instead, it only takes forty-some minutes of show-time for it all to follow apart. If that.
4) Calling in the big guns should not be anti-climactic.
Still on that last train of thought, when Angela Petrelli (arguably the most masterful, crafty character left on the show) gets called in, my expectation is that she produces results. Cristine Rose certainly did her part with an exceptionally entertaining Angela performance. But somehow, her ace-in-the-hole Danko-deterring acts do absolutely nothing? I can't think of a better word for it than LAME.
...and now the big one:
5) SYLAR DADDY
This was the most disappointing part of this episode. It pains me to say it, but I must. Zachary Quinto and John Glover ought to have COLOSSAL on-screen power when combined. Instead, their scenes were slow and low-energy, and that definitely contributed to the overall lackluster end to this particular story-arc. All that time with "Could he be the sympathetic product of terrible circumstances?" Sylar and "Why did Sylar not rip my head off?" Luke Campbell, and the answer to all of it is "Sylar IS a psycho. Just like his daddy."??? Not to put too fine a point on it, but I feel cheated.
All in all, I was not happy with this episode. (Good thing Heroes' fourth season has already been okay-ed.) The story twists were decidedly untwisted, the big questions had depressingly small answers, and too much (read: any) of the content felt like a waste of time.
THANKFULLY, the last minute or two offered some hope! in the form of:
a) MATT'S BABY. If this doesn't get to soap-opera-y, this new development could be awesome. (Parkman as not just a fringe character! Yesss!)
b) DEAD RABBIT FOR THE HUNTER. Oh Danko. And you thought you were scared before...
See you in two weeks.