After the previous episode, I noted that the return of a strong and popular writer can have a synergistic effect on the rest of the writers' room, even if there are no other major changes. This episode seems to provide a counter-example. Instead of stepping up to the plate, the writers seemed to fall back into old habits.
Perhaps the worst was Matt Parkman's decision to strike back at Danko by attacking Danko's love interest Alena. The writers use Alena as an object to be used, and she is never given definition beyond her relationship with Danko. It seems to be an excuse for pushing Danko into an even more disturbing direction, thus undermining Matt's intentions completely, but that's beside the point.
The point is that the writers were already on thin ice. Daphne was killed to service Matt's character. This renders her character little more than fodder to drive Matt forward. Matt's subsequent decision only compounds the offense. Daphne and Alena became objects to be possessed, used, and avenged. I won't pretend to be the most consistent ally of feminism, but some things are too obvious and egregious to ignore.
It is likely to become a reason for Danko to step up his villainous game, which is unfortunate, because it's an external pressure. Since his introduction, Danko has been lacking a strong internal reason for pursuing his anti-metahuman crusade. Unlike Noah Bennett, who was rendered as a man with clear motivations during the first season, Danko is two-dimensional. That makes him less than compelling.
Noah's contest of wills with Sylar may have been designed to push him towards working directly with the heroes, but it also exposed all the ugly treatment that Sandra had to endure over the years. This was never much of a secret, of course, since her memory was erased on a regular basis. It's no wonder Sandra wants a divorce!
An inordinate amount of time was also spent on Hiro and Ando's travels with Baby Matt Parkman. Bringing Matt his son is clearly meant to stop him from falling further into the darkness, but that means that Hiro and Ando are once again used as comic relief. Hiro and Ando deserve a much better subplot than they've been given since the first season.
The bottom line is that this episode slipped back a bit from the progress they made in recent weeks, and this tempers my enthusiasm for the remainder of the season. It also confirms what fans should have realized from the get-go: Bryan Fuller was not the perfect savior of "Heroes", and no one writer is going to resolve all the issues in the writers' room.