Heroes 4.4: "Acceptance"

As much as I appreciated the previous episode, this one left me wondering if there’s much momentum to this season at all. Certain lessons from the past seem to have been forgotten once again, and other plot threads seem to have meandered before the initial conditions could be adequately explored.

Looking back on how Hiro’s ability has been handled, even during the continuity-challenged third season, the rules were fairly clear. Only the future was mutable; the past was the past and could not be changed. That’s not what the writers are presenting this season, and they have yet to offer a compelling reason why Hiro is suddenly the latest incarnation of Sam Beckett from “Quantum Leap”.

Perhaps worse, Hiro’s efforts in this episode still seem to be played more for laughs than for any serious advancement of the character. Hiro has been the victim of poor character management since the end of the second season, but this latest direction doesn’t seem to fit what has come before. I’d like to see Hiro gain some maturity and gravitas again.

I was also displeased with the direction taken with Nathan/Sylar. Four episodes into the season, the writers have already all but abandoned the entire point of “reprogramming” Sylar into thinking he was Nathan. I said previously that it was a mistake to have Sylar start showing through the seams too quickly, but now it’s clear that they never had any intention of keeping “Nathan” around for any meaningful purpose.

That said, this is one ridiculous way to explain how Sylar regains control of his own body again. It smacks of an excuse to keep the real Sylar out of sorts and de-powered for a while, so the writers can figure out how to tie things together. After doing this with Peter and Sylar over and over again since the first season, the mechanics of the cliché have become glaringly obvious.

I’ll give the writers credit for bringing back Bruce Boxleitner’s corrupt Senator for an episode. That side of Tracy’s life disappeared completely once the writers started making things up as they went along last season. At the same time, wouldn’t the Senator be wary of associating with someone who was implicated in the events of the “Fugitives” arc? Sure, it was hush-hush, but Tracy was a major part of the story, and Washington insiders would likely have gotten rumors that she had been involved.

Perhaps the Senator and his cronies didn’t see that as a problem; he certainly had no compunction using her in other ways. She was not happy about his immediate request, and that might explain why she was so willing to consider Noah’s alternatives. Her control over her ability (or lack thereof) probably didn’t hurt.

I still think they’re trying too hard to sell the idea that the characters are seeking redemption. As I’ve said before, it’s a lot more convincing when the characters either achieve or fail to achieve redemption through action, not words. I don’t even think that the word “redemption” should be mentioned by the characters at all. Be true to the characters, let them evolve logically over time through crisis, and redemption will attend to itself.


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