Heroes 3.21: "Into Asylum"

I can understand why this wasn't the episode for everyone. In a lot of ways, this reminded me of the current "Terminator" series. Rather than focus on action, this was an episode about character. For some shows, this is hardly worthy of note, but for "Heroes", it's a rather big shift. And more importantly, the character exploration was actually well done. It wasn't fast-paced, but it made sense.

The episode focused mostly on three plots in rotation: Peter and Angela, Nathan and Claire, and Danko and Sylar. Two of the threads are fairly introspective, even if they bring characters to an important step along their respective paths. The third plot thread is a bit more active, but serves to begin clarifying some of the mess from Volume Three.

Angela is clearly going to play a stronger role in the balance of this volume, bringing together the metahumans based on her precognitive dream. This is not particularly new to the series, of course, but I liked how it was treated in this instance. It wasn't about puzzling over yet another set of Tim Sale drawings, delaying understanding and action. This was about giving Angela the peace of mind necessary to use her ability to everyone's advantage. Finding a kind of peace with Peter was necessary to that end. As such, their time in the church was as much about Peter finding his way as it was Angela getting what she needed.

I've often felt that Peter was designed to be the leader of the "good" metahumans, because of the scale of his power. The writers have adjusted that to make Peter less of a "superman", and this should push him to work with others to combat the common threat. If the previous volumes have told us anything, it's that the Petrellis have always tried to lead the metahumans through their own self-generated crises. They typically fail based on their human weaknesses. So this could be a step in the right direction, if they can begin learning from their mistakes.

Nathan is certainly no better than Peter. Nathan has the leadership skills (or he wouldn't be persuasive enough to be a successful politician), but he lacks innate common sense. He's not nearly as clever or aware as he seems to think he is. Claire is probably the last person to call Nathan on his shortcomings, given her track record of leaping before looking, but she's probably going to be the catalyst to get the rest of the Petrelli brood in gear. (And I must say, Hayden is gorgeous in this episode, particularly the first half!)

If the two Petrelli-dominated plot threads are meant to point towards potential leadership for the "heroes", then Danko's alliance with Sylar is clearly meant to elevate him back to the role as the main antagonist. This is where Sylar should have started at the beginning of Volume Three, frankly, and his manipulation of Danko is nearly perfect. Now that Sylar is thought to be dead, and he can assume any appearance, he can do just about anything. In fact, it wouldn't be all that surprising if he killed Danko and took his place.

Considering how long I've been pointing out the lack of clear and logical motivations for the characters, this is a very good sign. It gives me hope that the remainder of the season will course-correct the series and start repairing the damage that Volume Three had caused.


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