For most of the episode, this was little more than a transitional installment, moving the plot forward incrementally. The final act ramped up the tension a bit and pointed to a more exciting direction for the next episode, which certainly helps, but even that seemed to do little to redeem this hour.
The writers aren't being particularly subtle in their treatment of Danko and his steady takeover of Nathan's little program. His troubling background was covered back in "A Clear and Present Danger", so he's just falling in line with his established characterization. He was always going to be a serious threat to the metahumans, and that threat is certainly growing. His decision to use Matt to prove his point is just an evolution of the tactic he used with Tracy.
All of which continues to demonstrate just how much of an idiot Nathan really is. It's bad enough that he thought a government program, however "black ops" it might be, would somehow be the best way to handle the potential threat posed by metahumans. He failed to see how containment could easily become elimination, especially when bringing in someone with a clear reputation for overkill. Add to that his inability to see why Peter and the rest of his "friends" among the metahumans would want to resist death or imprisonment, and he's living in a very special fantasy world.
It would help tremendously if the "heroes" had an effective leader. Once again, Peter drops the ball in that regard. First, he and Matt lose Mohinder (who is oddly ignored by all sides in this episode). Then, in the process of trying to find Daphne for Matt, Peter manages to let Matt get captured. After negotiating an exchange of stolen information for Matt and Daphne, he walks into one of the most obvious traps ever devised.
This may be overstated a bit, but the âvillainsâ always seem to have a leader, while the âheroesâ always seem to fumble and distrust one another. Because of the nature of the series thus far, this is mostly a delaying tactic. The writers know that the heroes, if working together logically, could easily overcome the threats leveled against them. (For that matter, they've had how many chances to incapacitate or kill Danko so far?)
The irony is that "Rebel" (increasingly likely to be Micah, based on the skills on display) has the potential to be that kind of leader. He's certainly guiding the aborning resistance movement well enough, if Claire's subplot is any indication. Alex may say Claire isn't some stop on the Metahuman Underground Railroad, but isn't that exactly what she and Sandra are being asked to create? (That doesn't make her "romance" with Alex any less cloying.)
Sylar's road trip with Luke takes an interesting turn, to say the least. So Sylar's father killed his real mother, and sold him off to his brother? The flashback was a bit goofy at times, and it seems rather convenient that the road trip would just happen to take them past this particular restaurant. It also feels like the writers brought along Luke so they would have someone to talk with Sylar and give the scenes a little more heft. I'm not entirely sold on the notion that Sylar had to keep him alive (despite the hints that the two are related, which has yet to come up directly).
The next episode promises to be a bit more lively, given Sylar's more violent direction and Matt's predicament. The process of getting there, however, was a bit drawn out and tedious. It also doesn't help when the writers assume that the audience is following all the online content. They featured Rachel, one of the government agents watching Claire, as if she was a well-established character, when most of her screen time has been devoted to webisodes. It was incidental in this case, but this isn't the first time the writers have made this mistake.